What Makes a Good Souvenir?

I’m back once again. I’ve been in and out of town this summer, mostly visiting family and friends. Last weekend I was in Indiana, visiting my grandparents and assorted relatives. My mom is a Hoosier, and every summer since before I can remember we’ve visited Small Town, Indiana to visit her side of the family.

We usually spend the time seeing people and catching up. Occasionally we go to Spring Mill or Amish country for an excursion. This time I brought Husband with me. It was the first time he met my grandparents and the first time he had ever been to Indiana.

Husband is a GOGOGO traveler. He’s not content unless we’ve seen EVERYTHING, eaten at ALL the touristy hot spots, and won’t come home until our legs are falling off. Sometimes when I come home and can’t walk because my feet are covered in blisters, I get irritated at his rabid pace. Most of the time I like his traveling style because we cover so much ground in so little time.

This vacation proved to be no different. I’ve never really thought of Indiana as a tourist destination, mostly because, well, there’s a lot of corn and soybeans. Do you really need anything else? But Husband spent the two weeks leading up to our vacation looking up everything in the surrounding area. He made plans, canceled plans, made different plans, and listened to my relatives’ advice on the best places to go.

So for the first time in my life, I was a tourist in my mom’s hometown. And it was AWESOME.

It turns out that the area is soaked in American history. We toured Grouseland, the home of William Henry Harrison, who had the shortest term of any American President (at 31 days). We visited the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes. Clark was a military commander who helped capture the area from the British during the American Revolution. His younger brother was also William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame. As we drove around Vincennes looking for the road home, we tumbled upon Sugar Loaf Mound, rumored to be an Indian burial ground dating from 600 AD. It was super creepy and super cool.

As we were flying out of Indianapolis, we decided to drive through Bloomington on the way back. We poked around the Indiana University campus and bought some shirts for Husband and Mom. When we were walking back to the car, I found a cool indie bookstore called Boxcar Books. Husband is not so enamored with my love of bookstores, but in my opinion, you haven’t experienced a place until you’ve checked out their bookstore. We didn’t have much time, so I decided to snag a copy of the Indiana Review, the literary magazine of IU.

It was the perfect souvenir for a great vacation. Sometimes it takes bringing along another person to see a place you think you know with new eyes.

And now a question: have you been on any stay-cations lately? Have you ever stumbled across something new in a place you thought you already knew?

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4 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Souvenir?

  1. L.G.Smith says:

    There's so much to do here in Colorado, but usually we take it for granted. Some of our best weekends, though, are when we pretend to be tourists and visit the little museums and shops we normally drive past. Stay-cations can be great.

  2. Libby says:

    I love when people make you see a place a different way. 🙂 I've done a few staycations recently and visited Charlottesville VA that way, since it's only a few hours from the house. Great place to spend the day.

  3. Hektor Karl says:

    I'm a pretty poor tourist/sightseer. I probably would only have lasted half a day on your schedule. :)And I agree with you on "new eyes":An outsider's eyes always help us to see things in new (and interesting) ways.

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