How To Be A Hometown Tourist

This weekend is our city’s home and garden show. More than 50 vendors are on hand to talk spring home improvements, both indoors and out. The CVB was asked to set up a booth at the show and fill it with all the information we had about Ottumwa and Wapello County. We said, it would be our pleasure.

We often overlook the special and interesting attractions of our own hometowns. We get wrapped up in working there, living there and often complaining about there. And then we tend to gripe and complain instead of seeing the community for its bright spots and blessings. That makes living in that place boring or dull or frustrating instead of enjoying everything it has to offer.

That’s why being a tourist in your own hometown is so vitally important. There are two specific reasons you need to know what your town has to offer and share those highlights with everyone you know.

1. Being familiar with your community and finding all those hidden treasures in it benefits you and your family in countless ways. You can never say “there’s nothing to do here,” because there’s always something to do here. The events calendar on our website ( is always full of local happenings in every size, shape and genre. The people who complain about being bored are probably the ones who shut themselves up in their homes and stare at a screen all evening. If you’re actively looking for activities and events, there are more things to do than you have time for!

And when you know what’s in your town, you can support local businesses and your own community members. “Shop Local, Support Local” isn’t just a fun catch phrase. The money spent in your town blesses local business owners that make their livelihood here. Then their profits can be spent here, too, blessing a whole chain of local merchants in the process. Strong local business means strong local communities. Everyone benefits from that.

2. Knowing what and who is in your town means you can share that information with other people. When someone asks for restaurant recommendations, you know about the new sushi place, the Hawaiian BBQ downtown and the ice cream shop on Second Street that’s been there for decades. The more you know, the smarter you sound when you share it. (Wink, wink)

Plus, as you’re exploring your hometown, you’re going to fall in love with it. That may sound corny, but when you find that hole-in-the-wall diner, the farmer’s market and the sewing house, you add one more star on the map. Those stars add up to create a place you love to live, which is such a blessing.


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