Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Dublin (OH) Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new SMERF Sales and Marketing Manager.  I am a SMERF.  A what? Leatherlips Dublin OHA Smert? A Merf? A little blue creature that ran around in a forest during the 1980’s a.k.a Smurf?  Well since I spawned from the 80’s, I might be that too … but my title encompasses all that’s green instead of blue.

SMERF is a tourism industry term that stands for Social, Military, Educational, Religious and Fraternal. So if your organization falls under any of those categories, you may be working with me.

I just began my position at the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau about two weeks ago and I’ve been soaking up every bit o’ Irish knowledge. Since I need to be an expert about this city, I’ve been exploring all of its opportunities.

My travels have  included viewing the Dublin Arts Council’s Art in Public Places.  I never knew corn on the cob could look so cool!  Malcom Cochran, an Ohio artist, commemorated Dublin’s history as a farming community by creating a field of 109 human-sized ears of corn. The Field of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees) even has a parking area so you can get out of your car and strike a pose with your favorite cob.

One of my favorite sites is Scioto Park. A 12-foot high sculpture of Chief Leatherlips watches over the park’s sprawling hill that rolls towards the river. There’s an outdoor stage that’s ready for summer concerts and shelter houses that are perfect for get-togethers.

Seeing the Dublin sites has been very informative, but most of my time is spent in Historic Dublin’s BriHi District … in an office.  It has proven to be a wonderful place to work. The CVB office bustles above the Visitor Information Center that we keep freshly stocked with area maps, brochures and tourist information. The welcoming environment and friendly co-workers has made my huge transition much easier.

So has TehKu Tea Company, located right down the street.  I’m a sucker for the restaurant’s tea of the day and organic food selections. It has inspired me to get my own tea press. I’m also inspired to adopt-a-lion from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, after I had a meeting there. We’ll see what happens first.

Since mid-August I’ve been living in Dublin. Now that I’m working for Dublin I’m immersed in learning about the events, hotels, history and beauty. As a former Ohio State Buckeye, I feel like I’m having a love affair between these two areas. What can I say? Irish is an attitude and Dublin, Ohio is stealing my heart.

-Post by Allison

I don’t know about you—but by the time Memorial Day rolls around every year, I’m thinking summer vacation. (I think it’s Zoombezi Bay ingrained in us from our elementary school years—like some kind of mid-year notch in our individual lifelines.)  And I LOVE to travel.  There is something about exploring a new place that is like spring cleaning for the soul.  Apparently, there are a lot of Americans who continue to share this passion … tough economy or not.  

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s recent summer leisure travel forecast, an estimated 54 percent of American households are planning a trip this June, July or August.  (That’s compared to 50 percent at this time last year.) That equates to an estimated 322 million domestic leisure per-person-trips. (I’m picturing millions of travel-warriors like me who will eat Mac & Cheese for a month before giving up our summer vacations!) Viva les vacances!!

Yes, we will be watching our travel budgets. Yes, we will be looking for deals. But—indications are that we expect to spend about the same amount on our vacations this year as we did last year.  Some of us may not be traveling as far. Some of us will stay closer to home. But that’s the great thing—there is SO MUCH TO DISCOVER right in your own state.

I’m a BIG fan of Ohio travel. My family is fond of hopping in the car, driving two hours and uncovering some awesome gems right here in the Buckeye state … like Amish country, Hocking Hills, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, King’s Island, Ikea and the Cincinnati Museum. (We LOVE the Omnimax(R) theatre there!)

If you’re looking for an economical family vacation idea—consider Dublin, Ohio.  I know. You’re thinking I sound like a commercial. But you don’t have to take my word. Just ask some of the people who have already booked a getaway here this summer. Sales for our popular Wild & Wet Summer Getaway Package are already slammin’ …. and it’s no wonder. It’s hard to beat the value–a choice of 8 hotels (with special rates); discounted tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay; free Bob Evan’s kid’s meal and free Graeter’s Ice Cream sundae for one low price.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the Wild & Wet Getaway page of our Web site, put in the dates of your trip and run the numbers for yourself.   But when you DO come to town, stop by our Visitor Center and say ‘hi!’   (I promise not to say, “I told you it was a great deal!”)

-Post by Mary

I brought my family down to the Dublin Historic District for dinner last night and ran into a family Dublin Ohio Visitor Centerthat was looking for information on Dublin and central Ohio. They were visiting friends and family for the holidays. So, I walked them over to the Dublin Visitor Information Center (9 S. High Street).

 

The facility offers a free resource for visitors and residents alike – with weekly events listings, brochures on attractions and events in Dublin and around the state, maps, city information, phone access, hotel reservation capability, etc. (Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily). Feedback from out-of-town visitors tell us they see it as a great resource; this past year alone the Visitors Center hosted visitors from 46 states and 12 countries.  Next time your in town, stop in. Be sure to play with the cool interactive Kiosk as well!

 

 

-Post by Scott