Businesses, Bureaucrats Pool Plans To Entice Tourists

September 22, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

Before visitors can catch their breath, Joan D. Meekins can spout off 13 points of interest in the county.

The county's program administrator for tourism is not promoting a breathtaking race through Carroll, during which tourists rush from one site to another.

She wants people to come, stay for a while and return again and again.

"Catch Your Breath," the title of the Bureau of Tourism's newest brochure, should make visitors think of the county as a place to"release life's hectic realities and capture a quiet niche," Meekinssaid.

Those attending the Wine Festival this weekend will be the first to see the hot-off-the-press brochures, 35,000 of which -- a year's supply -- arrived in Meekins' office Friday.

"They have a shelf life of about four years," Meekins told members of the Carroll County Tourism Association on Wednesday at the Winchester Country Inn. "They will help us take our show on the road, describing what our office can do and what opportunities are available in Carroll County."

At the association's bimonthly meetings, members share what advertising and promotions attract visitors.

Glenna Lambert, owner of Dancing Made Easy and one of the newest members, said she would like to bring ballroom dance competitions to the county. Mike Pressimone said Havilah-Hayes Dinner Theater, which opens with "The Odd Couple" in November, plans to expand and lengthen its season.

About 25 businesses, including bed and breakfasts, a riding academy and the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society, discussed their plans for this fall.

"These sessions give us an opportunity to see other businesses first hand and to work together as a group," said Dort Mollett, ownerof Antrim 1844, a Taneytown country inn. "We see what the county really has to offer our guests."

The area municipalities also have a chance to plug events, like New Windsor's Oct. 6. House Tour. Charlotte B. Collette promoted Manchester's Business Fair and Carol Donovan invited everyone to Westminster's Fallfest, which begins Thursday.

On Oct. 8-9, businesses will have another opportunity to attract travelers. Employees of the information centers along Interstate 70 and in Washington County will be touring the county. Besides directions, travelers often ask the staff at these centers where to go and what to do.

"We will be giving these people a lot of information and great hospitality," Meekins said. "We want them to pass their good experiences on to motorists."

Innkeeper Estella M. Williams, hostess for the meeting, gave a presentation on what the Winchester Country Inncould offer county guests.

Target Inc., a group that trains and places the developmentally disabled, operates the bed and breakfast, which opened six years ago on Center Street in Westminster. Williams is preparing for a new group of trainees, who will learn housekeeping,cooking and gardening under her watchful eye.

Following the luncheon, Williams took the members on a tour, pointing proudly to a governor's citation hanging on her office's wall.

"The governor gave methe citation for our program when he visited us here in July," she said, as she invited the group back to one of the inn's open houses this fall.

"We are all small businesses here and can really use these meetings," said Kathleen Campanella of the Westminster Downtown Business and Professional Association. "Sharing this information is the key to success."

At the next meeting, Nov. 13, members can participate in a workshop, led by state officials, on the American Disabilities Act. Micki Smith, deputy director of administrative services, will discuss handicap access at upcoming events in the county.

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