Summer Reading programs have been a staple of the public libraries for more than 100 years. This year's overall Summer Reading theme in South Carolina is "Travel." The Adult program is "Novel Destinations" and you could just read about all sorts of exotic places and submit reviews to our website. But for a twist on doing the tried-and-true, here's a suggestion for you to consider from the Beaufort District Collection:
With money tight and gas tanks expensive to fill, Summer 2011 might be the perfect time for your "Novel Destination" to be the former Beaufort District, South Carolina. Instead of a vacation, try a "Staycation" and become a local heritage tourist. Being a local heritage tourist has advantages. You can learn about the history of where you live, pack a picnic lunch from home flavored just the way you like it, and sleep in your own bed!
In addition to the beauty of the sand, shore, outlet shopping, and golf courses that brings millions of visitors each year, the former Beaufort District is replete with opportunities available for anyone hankering to try out being a heritage tourist on home turf!
The National Trust defines "cultural heritage tourism" as traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic and natural resources."
For my purposes, I define a local heritage tourist as one who is interested in experiencing the broad spectrum of the past of a place or culture by thoughtful visits of historic sites, museums, libraries, archives, historic houses, attractions, or events - without having to leave your home.
Over the course of the summer, I'll highlight a variety of cultural heritage organizations, attractions, and opportunities here in Beaufort County, with some nods to former parts of Beaufort District, i.e., Hampton and Jasper Counties. Some of them might be pretty obvious, but I hope to introduce you to a few opportunities of which you may not be aware.
Please note: I'm going to do my best not to become guilty of "boosterism." Even so, I'm certain that I'll end up inadvertently offending someone's sensibilities or miss someone's favorite historic site or cultural heritage organization. You can post a comment to a blog entry and I'll do my best to respond to your concerns.