Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"How To Make Your Own Tourist Trap"

Skip to the random thought

Recall back in March, when Amber and I went to Nova Scotia, one of the places we wanted to go was this place near Moncton, New Brunswick called "Magnetic Hill". You drive your car onto this, you take your foot off the brake, and your car appears to roll uphill! (Of course, it's just an optical illusion, based on the surroundings. Or...is it?)

But, Magnetic Hill was closed for the season, so we missed out. So maybe that's why we felt like going to this place on Saturday called Mystery Hill, located south of Boone. $8/person to get in? Whatever. We saved money by not going to Grandfather Mountain, and I guess you have to spend money somewhere on a trip. (Well, you don't...but whatever.)

What is Mystery Hill, anyway? Well, the main thing is this "Mystery House", which is basically a house built at an angle. So, you get to see a ball roll "uphill", water roll "uphill", and see other things that look uphill, but are actually downhill, because of the angle of the house. (Unfortunately, Amber forgot her camera, so we don't have any pictures to show you.) Then, they also had some other optical-illusion-themed exhibits and puzzles. It was enjoyable, but only for about 10 minutes. Personally, I'm ashamed that we went to this place. It's not like I didn't have fun there - it actually surpassed my expectations - but $8 is a little steep, and in a way, I feel like I was "had". But it must be a riot for kids. If nothing else, it can serve as a nice "get the kids out of the car so we're not driving on curvy roads all day" stop, if that situation should ever arise.

I think Mystery Hill is a good example of a "tourist trap". I consider "tourist traps" to be gimmicky-type places that are located near tourist destinations, but themselves have nothing to do with the location, and are typically overpriced, and quite lame. And I'm sure many of them have the word "mystery" in their name. Because, if there's anything that attracts families with money looking for something to do, or a way to entice the kids in the back seat to yell "Daddy! Daddy! Stop here! Stop here", putting the word "mystery" in your name is it. Most tourist traps have something quite ordinary, sold as something revolutionary. And, it has to be family-friendly. And while you're at it, you should charge at least $10/person. And a gift shop doesn't hurt, either. People spend money more freely on family vacations than they do any other time[citation needed]. When it comes to tourist traps, exploiting kids and families with deep pockets is the name of the game. Personally, I'd rather to go the places I actually planned my vacation around. (For the record, I do not consider Moncton's Magnetic Hill a tourist trap - it's a "major tourist destination". If it's labeled on my TripTik, it's legitimate. I'm pretty sure Boone's Mystery Hill does not appear on AAA maps. And if memory serves me right, New Brunswick's Moncton's Magnetic Hill is actually cheaper.)

Really, we went to Mystery Hill for comic relief more than anything else. Mission accomplished. Now we don't have to go back.

Last Year: "Grocery Store Roundup". Back then, I guess I hadn't found Kroger yet. Well, I'm glad I did, because Lowe's Foods is dirty, and Harris Teeter is expensive and crowded. And I haven't stepped inside a single Food Lion since I moved here.

Tomorrow: "Driving Through Greensboro". I'm going to go "road geek" on you again and talk about that "other" metropolitan area in Central North Carolina.


Today's random thought:

- Someone left a pocket-size copy of the New Testament in the bathroom at work yesterday. Did someone simply forget it, or did somebody leave it there on purpose in order to help "spread the word"? It was sitting in plain view on the sink, so it seems like it was on purpose. But, then again, maybe someone brought it with them for bathroom reading material, and forgot to grab it after they washed their hands. Regardless, if you're going to leave a copy of the New Testament somewhere for someone to pick up, the bathroom is the best place to do it, because everyone who works on that floor will probably go there at least once during the work day. (Well, half of the people on the floor.)

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I went to a place almost exactly like that in South Dakota...I think it was called "Cosmos" or something corny like that. In addition to having everything on a hill, all the trees in the area were for some reason bent over 90 degrees. I never figured out what was going on with that.