This month I’m celebrating a big milestone. I’m turning 40. Since my birthday falls in the middle of Cherokee County School District’s winter break, I decided to celebrate by introducing my sons to the nation’s top travel destination, New York City. As a certified travel counselor, I know how important research is to a successful trip and I know the best tools to use in the process.
My first search was for official visitor guides from the city and state economic development agencies. Our office has been working for months on the annual update to the Woodstock visitor guide. Our guide and the Georgia Travel Guide are the resources I reference most when helping people who stop by the Woodstock Visitors Center on weekends.
Official visitor guides are the best place to find comprehensive, organized information on accommodations, attractions, events and dining options for visitors and residents. You can find official guides in downloadable form or request one by mail on the website of a city’s destination marketing organization.
There’s generally a lot of information not included in the visitor guide on a city’s tourism website. On visitwoodstockga.com, you’ll find a packed events calendar, the Woodstock Trolley schedule and route, information on the Downtown Dollars program, and other city data.
From the website, I clicked the links to visit New York City’s social media pages. A city’s Facebook page is a great place to find out what’s coming up around town. I always look to an Instagram profile for inspiring shots of locations I’d like to seek out, like public art or gardens. A city’s Twitter profile is a great place to find links to helpful articles elsewhere online. Often an organization’s pins on Pinterest link to the most reliable information and are worth pinning to your own board.
The final place I searched was crowd-sourced review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which provide information like hours and addresses alongside photos and reviews by users. Did you know there are more than 6,800 reviews for Woodstock Accommodations, Restaurants and Things to Do on TripAdvisor? If you’re looking for a way to help your favorite small business, and in turn help our local economy, leave positive reviews on sites like these. The best reviews offer your honest opinion and a few useful facts about a business.
Whether planning a milestone trip or a day around Woodstock, I hope these tools will help you discover new ways to escape, gather and refresh.
By Stacy Brown, Marketing and Tourism Coordinator for the City of Woodstock.