Importance of Tourism
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting a group of a dozen Canadians from the Enns Brothers John Deere dealerships in Winnipeg and Manitoba. Leigh Manikel, a delightful and obviously creative executive with the company, had brought his salesmen from all over with their wives to Houston for a John Deere conference. He was looking for a way to entertain them and found my Historic Tours of Texas on the internet. Aha! A wine tour!
Leigh cautiously called to check me out. He asked if his group could take a wine tour. I assured him we certainly could. Then he asked if they needed to come to Huntsville in an Uber. I assured him he certainly should not! I offered to come down in the Joye Mobile to bring them to Huntsville. He was thrilled. I was terrified. Driving in Houston, especially in a big bus, is not my cup of tea. But I did it and they climbed aboard in awe of the comfortable cushioned seats and, of course, the dance pole.
We had to stop at the Sam statue for a picture and a history of Sam himself. Then we visited Joe Zimmerman’s beautiful Teysha winery, came back to town for lunch at Diego Varela’s Sam’s Table in downtown Huntsville. We concluded the afternoon with a trip out to Sandy’s gorgeous West Sandy Creek with music and a new baby camel, and finally a stop at Alex’s Golden Oak Winery with guitars to entertain the assembled multitudes, or at least the dozen now very happy Canadians.
The trip back to Houston allowed for time to use the dance pole, enjoy more of the wine from our wineries and listen to CDs of ‘70s and ‘80smusic. Traffic snarls and getting in the way of an ambulance didn’t bother us at all. They were delivered to Ninfa’s, one of the best restaurants in Houston, where Leigh had wisely made earlier reservations.
So, what was missing? Touristy items. The statue has some but not near enough.
One of the girls said she had always bought a Christmas ornament from every place she and her husband had visited. When they decorated their Christmas tree, they recounted stories to their children about the many places they had visited. We searched Huntsville high and low for such an ornament. Nothing. Nowhere. Not even mugs with Sam’s picture on them. Nor T-shirts with pictures of Sam and Margaret, or beautiful postcards of our justifiably famous trompe l’oeil paintings around downtown.
Dearly beloved! What are we thinking? Justin? Pam? Jessica? Tammy? Anelle? Come on, babies! We need to step up our game! If we can spend thousands of tourist dollars on billboards and festivals, why are we not cranking out mugs and T-shirts and beautiful Christmas ornaments? And how about a brief book on the history of Huntsville? Time to get jiggy with it! (Do people still say that?)
Come on! Let’s do it!