CHAZY — Staff at area hospitality businesses and other sites can play a key role in spreading the word about the region’s tourist attractions.
To encourage that approach, the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau recently held its fourth-annual front-desk training at Heart’s Delight Farm at William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute.
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North Country Chamber of Commerce Group and Event Specialist Kristy Kennedy said it is a chance for people to learn what attractions are available here in the North Country so they can share information with tourists and others visitors.
“They are able to recommend what there is to do right here in our neck of the woods,” she said.
Miner Institute Public Relations and Marketing Director Rachel Dutil said they were excited to have the opportunity to host the event. She was impressed with the reaction of the people who attended.
“I think this is a really great idea,” Dutil said.
It is beneficial to interact with staff who can direct people to the region’s attractions, she said.
“I think it’s very important we work together.”
She thanked the chamber for its assistance in marketing Miner Institute and noted they have seen increased visits to the Heart’s Delight Farm Heritage Exhibit in the last few years.
Amanda Casamento, a human-resources assistant at CVPH Medical Center, said she works on physician recruitment. The front-desk-training session is a great place to collect information that she can include in the packets they provide to those interested in relocating to Plattsburgh.
“I like to be able to tell visiting physicians about what’s going on,” she said.
Having so much information available in one place is a great help, she said. It would take days or even weeks to contact all the attractions on her own, and there are some she wouldn’t have known about.
“This brings it all right to the forefront,” Casamento said.
One place that caught her attention was the Imaginarium Children’s Museum at 4709 Route 9 in Plattsburgh. Many of the physicians the hospital recruits have families, she said, so it is important to show them what’s available for children.
Mary Fortin of Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, located at 9839 Route 9 in Chazy, said she has participated the past two years. It saves a lot of time when she can visit with so many people in such a short period.
“It’s a great networking opportunity,” she said.
In the first two hours, Fortin had already talked with a number of people representing hotels, restaurants and other attractions.
She hopes to start working on promotions with local hotels, perhaps with a Taste of the Adirondack Coast gift basket that would include Amazing Grace wine, local chocolates and an invitation for a free vineyard tour and wine tasting.
Amazing Grace will start its summer entertainment series July 7 with a performance every Saturday.
Suzanne Hand of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association said this was their first time taking part.
“We’re hoping to make more people aware of our museum,” she said.
The North Country Underground Railroad Museum is at 1131 Mace Chasm Road, right next to Ausable Chasm. The Underground Railroad has a strong presence in the North Country, Hand said, particularly in the Peru and Keeseville area.
She said they presently have a multimedia exhibit about John Thomas, who escaped from slavery in Maryland and later settled in Bloomingdale after abolitionist Garrett Smith gave him land for a farm.
FOSTERING FARM VISITS
George Weidle of Country Dreams Farm, located at 260 Pellerin Road in the Town of Plattsburgh, said they are part of the growing agri-tourism movement.
The farm, owned by Melissa Monty-Provost, offers tours and class field trips, horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides, an annual corn maze and a petting zoo.
Weidle said they are hoping to make more front-line staff aware of the farm.
“That way, they can tell their guests about our establishment,” he said.
This was their third year at the event, he said, and he thinks it has increased the number of visitors.
“The Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau is doing a good job promoting this region,” Weidle said.
Dawn Recore was there to collect information for the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System. They are able to distribute brochures, fliers and posters for nonprofit organizations as the outreach department van visits the 30 area libraries in the tri-county area each week.
Even though she is a North Country native, Recore said she was learning about some area attractions for the first time.
“There are many more attractions than you realize. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the people behind them,” she said.
Recore was also impressed to learn about what’s available for children. In addition to the Imaginarium Children’s Museum, she had gathered information about Lake Champlain Transportation Museum and the summer camp offered by the Kayak Shack, but for a more personal reason.
“I’m collecting brochures because I want to plan my summer with my grandchildren,” she said.
Matt Stanley, the general manager at Santa’s Workshop in Wilmington, thinks the front-desk training is a great event.
“I wish more chambers did something like this. I think anytime you can put a group of activities together with the front-line reps, it can only be a positive thing.”
Stanley said Santa’s Workshop is one of seven members of Adirondack Attractions. The others are Ausable Chasm, High Falls Gorge, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, Whiteface Mountain, The Wild Center and Great Camp Sagamore.
The website adkattractions.com is used to help promote each other.
“The Adirondacks need to work as one, and this is a great example of that,” Stanley said.
Email Dan Heath:firstname.lastname@example.org