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Old 10-17-2016, 05:49 PM   #1
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When you're cruising, do you try to learn how the towns are?

Wifey B: Do you get a feel how it is to live there?

We do sometimes and not others. Perhaps we don't really talk to those living there enough. I know in Nicaragua we got a feel, even had the driver drive us through areas of extreme poverty and talked to him and others about life there. We've gotten an incredible feel for places like Apalachicola. Also my favorite name for a town.

We're tourists and often just touch the places we go. I got no feel for how it is to live in Chicago, just how it is to sight see and eat well and spend money. Nothing day to day.

What brings this all about is we've been in St. Louis. We've seen the city, the arch, talked to people who live there. However, we felt compelled to visit Ferguson. I don't know why. We just wanted to talk to people there. We talked to quite a few people with different views of their town, a lot of different attitudes. We wanted to get a little taste somehow other than tv. We even met the new police chief and walked with him a few minutes. We bought a lot of lunches as thanks for people speaking with us. Now, this isn't about Ferguson, but about the side trips when you cruise or the towns you see. When you're at a town for 3 days or 7 days do you walk the main streets and talk to clerks in stores? We love to walk the streets of small towns. A lot of people in small towns in the US and elsewhere live in a world we barely know. Some of the towns seem like Mayberry and I mean that as a compliment. I know I'm rambling but perhaps the question is, "In addition to sightseeing do you listen (note, not talk as it's secondary) to those who live there? I will say this that in most places we go in assuming it's a nice town, but leave feeling it's even better than we thought. Today was more educational for us than any of the museums we visited in St. Louis.

Most of the time we're happy just being tourists, doing touristy things. Today we were just compelled to do different. When we were "stuck" in Apalachicola longer than expected meeting some of the local artists was incredible. For us, better than meeting some celebrity. (Although maybe not better than meeting Sofia Vergara was for my hubby.).

So just curious as to what others do.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:57 PM   #2
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When visiting, we like to visit historical/architectural/natural-beauty sites as well as the grocery stores/venders and residential districts. That's not counting the local restaurants: food is important!
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:02 PM   #3
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When I cruise, even when it's for work, I try to get out of the obviously touristy areas and get a bit more local feel for the place and people.

Of course it's not easy to get a real feel for a place and it's people in just a few days or even a week. But it's worth the effort to try I feel.

When we were in Cuba and Havana a couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a local contact in the form of the sister of one of the guys that does custom wood work for me. Getting to know her and her friends and seeing the place with them made a huge difference in the experiance we had.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:05 PM   #4
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When visiting, we like to visit historical/architectural/natural-beauty sites as well as the grocery stores/venders and residential districts. That's not counting the local restaurants: food is important!
Wifey B: So you get some of both, tourist and local. We like to walk. Some of these towns have walking tours and we'll start on their route and then wander off a bit, like the houses on the next block. Some of the smaller towns it's not like which restaurant, you go to The restaurant. And the local ice cream shop and we just found the fudge and ice cream shop. I'm typing as we've been driving back to the boat.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:09 PM   #5
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We are extremely slow travelers and go out of our way to meet locals. Some of the greatest times we have had have resulted from meeting absolute strangers who welcomed us. We have been invited into homes for dinner, to parties, picnics, churches etc. Unfortunately we don't seem to get anywhere very fast unless we are on a delivery.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:12 PM   #6
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I find that no matter whether on commercial stuff or yachts it takes more than 'a trip' around a city/village/town to figure out the niceties of a place.

Sometimes it's reading the local paper to see what jobs are being posted. Or whats for sale. IMHO it takes weeks maybe a month to figure it out.

Having done the Erie Canal at 'super fast Fwd' I saw towns blur by (at 6 knots) that I REALLY wish I could have stopped at. BUT.... time is money. And I have less and less of each with every passing month. I guess if I had unlimited time I could stop and smell the roses. But schedules usually don't allow that (yet). Maybe the Boss will allow more leisurely sojourns as we get into retirement. But I have found with more GKs and obligations there just aren't enough days/hours/dollars to 'do a good job' on all the desires.

Also, having visited other ports, the seasons make a difference too. High season in Costa Rica is WAY different than Low season.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:24 PM   #7
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Wifey B: Cappy, you're right it takes more time to know, we just get a glimpse. We don't know how Ferguson is but we got a glimpse into how some people who live there feel. Now, if hubby would go into a remote barber shop like Floyd's on Andy Griffith or I'd go into a beauty shop, we'd pick up all the local gossip, but we've heard Ray Stevens Barber Song and we're scared to get hair done away from home.

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Old 10-17-2016, 06:26 PM   #8
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Wifey B: Interesting question.

I spent a decade doing a fair amount of traveling for the AOA. Most of the time I was spending time with my colleagues so not as much chance to spend time with the locals.

However, very often I would get to a city the evening before the work started and would go out and have a meal by myself, and the same would be true after the work was over and I would be waiting to head to the airport. I have found that ever since I was a kid, I actually enjoy having a meal in the local restaurant/diner by myself. Most of the time the staff will engage you in conversation and you can find out a lot about their experience in the city or town you are in. The best time for this is eating a late dinner, which I would often do after flying East to whichever city I was in. Late dinner they aren't busy but aren't necessarily looking to close up.

When on the boat, I don't get those opportunities because I am usually with my wife and she doesn't like having conversations with random strangers. However, she does like to sleep in and I wake up early. So I walk the town, find a coffee shop or diner and have some coffee and maybe a breakfast and chat up the locals. That is not the same as really spending a few days in a location however and meeting more folks as the two of you seem to be able to do.

FWIW, I like solo road trips for the same reasons.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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Wifey B: Interesting question.

I spent a decade doing a fair amount of traveling for the AOA. Most of the time I was spending time with my colleagues so not as much chance to spend time with the locals.

However, very often I would get to a city the evening before the work started and would go out and have a meal by myself, and the same would be true after the work was over and I would be waiting to head to the airport. I have found that ever since I was a kid, I actually enjoy having a meal in the local restaurant/diner by myself. Most of the time the staff will engage you in conversation and you can find out a lot about their experience in the city or town you are in. The best time for this is eating a late dinner, which I would often do after flying East to whichever city I was in. Late dinner they aren't busy but aren't necessarily looking to close up.

When on the boat, I don't get those opportunities because I am usually with my wife and she doesn't like having conversations with random strangers. However, she does like to sleep in and I wake up early. So I walk the town, find a coffee shop or diner and have some coffee and maybe a breakfast and chat up the locals. That is not the same as really spending a few days in a location however and meeting more folks as the two of you seem to be able to do.

FWIW, I like solo road trips for the same reasons.
I'm somewhat like your wife, but it's not I don't like having conversations, I'd just be too shy to start them. However, with my wife who is so outgoing, I find myself in those conversations and enjoying them.

I traveled on business and would walk around the streets near the hotel just observing but that was it. I did stay over a couple of days at a time in Puerto Rico and met a few locals.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:56 PM   #10
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Our cruising style is a little different. We have probably spent more time in South Carolina, but Moonstruck doesn't really have a home port. We move the boat to different areas to really get the feel. For instance we have been in Ft. Pierce for a couple of years. We like it. It's near the Bahamas that we love. I just got a call from the vet down there today. They were checking on our dog, Troy, to be sure he was up on his check ups and shots.

We have had long stays in the Chesapeake, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida. Florida stays include the panhandle, St. Pete, Bradenton, Venice, Boca Grande, St. Augustine and Ft. Pierce. We have met some wonderful people along the way. Staying long term in an area allows time to really cruise it.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:03 PM   #11
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That's not counting the local restaurants: food is important!
Milano (Milan, Italy):

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Old 10-17-2016, 07:14 PM   #12
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Our cruising style is a little different. We have probably spent more time in South Carolina, but Moonstruck doesn't really have a home port. We move the boat to different areas to really get the feel. For instance we have been in Ft. Pierce for a couple of years. We like it. It's near the Bahamas that we love. I just got a call from the vet down there today. They were checking on our dog, Troy, to be sure he was up on his check ups and shots.

We have had long stays in the Chesapeake, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida. Florida stays include the panhandle, St. Pete, Bradenton, Venice, Boca Grande, St. Augustine and Ft. Pierce. We have met some wonderful people along the way. Staying long term in an area allows time to really cruise it.
There seem to be a lot of people who either start or complete the loop and along the way find the one place they want to stay longer. Then 6 months turns into years. I'm sure your initial plan wasn't to stay as long as you have and will in Ft. Pierce.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:32 PM   #13
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There seem to be a lot of people who either start or complete the loop and along the way find the one place they want to stay longer. Then 6 months turns into years. I'm sure your initial plan wasn't to stay as long as you have and will in Ft. Pierce.
Right, we had planned to stay a season. After that we had no plan. We would like to get up to the Chesapeake again, but that's all. We may go up to Jacksonville to stay a spell. However, my grandson is finishing college this year, so that is not as attractive now. We could stay awhile up there while working back to the Chesapeake. We like Shelter Cove on Hilton Head, so that may come into play. We'll see. We are getting near time to make some life decisions. It's been a good ride.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:41 PM   #14
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i constantly consider living wherever I am visiting. I could jump ship easily. Besides talking to the locals whenever possible, I often check out the real estate listings to see what it would cost to live locally.

I came to Australia for a 12 month visit 30 years ago, and have overstayed my initial plan. But our family often talks about moving somewhere else again. Places like Fiji, Belize, Chile come up from time to time. There are lots of options out there.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:55 PM   #15
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i constantly consider living wherever I am visiting. I could jump ship easily. Besides talking to the locals whenever possible, I often check out the real estate listings to see what it would cost to live locally.

I came to Australia for a 12 month visit 30 years ago, and have overstayed my initial plan. But our family often talks about moving somewhere else again. Places like Fiji, Belize, Chile come up from time to time. There are lots of options out there.
We do that too, even though it's our intent to never move from the house we're in. We especially find it interesting in areas completely different from anywhere we've lived. I was amazed how many houses in Buffalo that were built around 1900. Some available that I'm sure need work, but at prices we've never seen. I'd compare them to going to an older boat and doing a lot of work yourself. I can imagine them as great starter homes especially for DIY'ers.
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:23 PM   #16
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i constantly consider living wherever I am visiting. I could jump ship easily. Besides talking to the locals whenever possible, I often check out the real estate listings to see what it would cost to live locally.
Getting the real estate info is usually the second thing we do when visiting places, first is checking out the local restaurants.
One of the reasons our Erie Canal trip was so enjoyable was meeting people in the small towns along the way and imagining living in so many of them.
If anyone is interested in Buffalo better buy now! The city is having a fantastic renaissance. We live about an hour and a half away and are watching the transformation with interest. If we were younger I'd be investing in Buffalo real estate for sure.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:02 AM   #17
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When we travel the first stops are restaurants. Talking with the folks there we ask them about their town. Most are eager to share the history and what things there are to see and do.
It's human nature to carry the conversation and want to impart your knowledge and experiences. But we don't do that. We just listen and ask more questions. That is how you learn what the local folks know.
Due to pulling my back, we got stuck in Tarrytown, NY for two weeks. Great time. Several historic mansions, working mill and the most interesting was the Cemetery of Sleepy Hollow. The who's who of history are buried there, some in large structures. And the town folks could not have been friendlier.
Stuck in Key West for ten days. Got to know the locals so well that each day we spent time at Sloppy Joe's and bought the first beer, the next two were on the house. This was in Key West. Really
Had the water taxi captain in Newport, RI offer to take us on a land tour for a day. Farmers market, grocery store, maritime museum in Bristol and a tour of Shannon Boat Works.
Stop, smell the roses and ask the local folks questions and listen to the answers.
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Leona Helmsley grave site. A trust fund is in place that provides $1,000,000.00 per year for the annual maintenance of the structure. Is that nuts?
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:56 AM   #18
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I try to embrace the area I'm in. I eat and drink at local places and try to avoid chains. Though a buddy in the restaurant business pointed out that most chains are franchised and therefore ARE actually locally owned and still employ locals (something to consider I suppose).

However, I also try to keep in mind that we visit tourist areas. I've lived in a tourist area. Tourists are transient. The locals look at us like transient tourists. I recall this hitting home when I was in a 'locals' bar a few years ago. There was a sign on the wall that said it all:

"Please remember that we live here and we're not on your vacation".

I'm very friendly with people, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the world has the time to feed our brain while they're feeding our stomach. They really have better things to do and we're keeping them from it.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:47 AM   #19
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As others have mentioned, I like to patronize the locally owned establishments and see some of the sites. Beyond that, the cities are provisioning points with other attractions. Try not to fixate on why places like Chicago don't solve their problems. While I do spend my money there (cities in general ), I know it won't make a difference and there's nothing I can do that will change their problems. For the most part, I cruise to get away from the urban environment and all its problems.

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Old 10-20-2016, 08:13 AM   #20
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We walk the towns we visit and spend money on restaurants, groceries and supplies but I don't think one can really get to know a town in a day or two. Many of the towns have spread out away from the waterfront and left empty storefronts or gift and art shops. The residents are commuting somewhere else to work and the real shopping is in malls on the outskirts of town.


Even when talking to locals, they understand that we are outsiders and are just passing through.
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