Monday, March 27, 2023


Our secret to finding the best places in a new town

By Barry Zander
My wife, Monique, was prepared for the worst, her teeth already clenched in anticipation. She knew that I was about to make some stupid remark to the sales clerk as I tried on a funny hat and made some asinine attempt at humor.

But the clerk was ready to console her. She reached over and, as she gently patted Monique’s arm, she said softly, “Don’t worry, Dearie. I’ve got one at home just like that!”

By way of a meager defense for my dumb wittiness, I am trainable. Monique has gotten me to quit saying, “We’re the Griswolds” when checking into a campground. If you’ll remember from the National Lampoon series, Ellen would beam a cute smile while Clark Griswold waited for the hostess’ stilted laugh. I guarantee, she didn’t have one at home like him.

The point is that by engaging the sales clerk with the frozen smile with a question other than “Where’s the nearest bathroom?” Or “Do you take cash?” you could actually make a friend. Ask a real question about the area: “What’s the best restaurant in town?” “Is there a museum we should see?” “How did the town get its name?”

She or he knows what is worth seeing in town. When we show an interest in the clerk, we gain tips about hidden attractions. For us, that’s what keeps our travels fascinating, if not exciting. You’ll find that showing your interest in what the locals have to say can foster memories you would have otherwise missed. They’ll know things that a quick internet search won’t teach you. Listen.



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2 years ago

We always ask locals where they like to go for a meal, especially breakfast. No Cracker Barrel for us, or any other “fast food”, if we can help it.

2 years ago

We often stay at Elks Lodges! (Must be a member) What better way to meet the locals? They are loaded with info, what to do in the area, places to eat, etc! We often learn about things to see and do that you won’t find in brochures or other publications. We love doing this. Have met many great friends who we now keep in touch with all over the country. We also visit each other in our travels!

2 years ago

I like the person who suggested in a prior issue that you ask ‘where NOT to eat’. I asked that a couple weeks back and the man told me about a burger place that had new owners and people were getting sick! We would have gone there as I had already had it on my radar. Glad I asked that specific question!

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