Rural travel offers travelers a rich perspective on culture and rewards beyond the experience itself.
I used to think agri-tourism meant renting out a guest house on your farm and charging people to feed your sheep and milk your cows. It only just occurred to me most of my travel is agri-tourism. Not in a guided tour kind-of-way either. I meet local people in small towns, off-the-beaten path, all the time. It’s the ultimate goal of every traveler to experience the world in this way, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
When you travel for work, it can easily become tiring and old. Airports are time-consuming burdens, hotels are interchangeable and itineraries are often made to “get in and get out” as quick as possible. With family, the farm and my cat at home, I understand how this happens. Even on the most hectic of trips though, it’s rare if I don’t get to a farm or small town.
Visiting a rural area is a great way to experience the true culture and charm of a country. You don’t need to venture far and you’ll discover every backroad has its own stories to tell. In fact, you don’t need to travel at all. Go for a drive on the weekend and you’ll be amazed by what you find in your backyard you never knew existed.
7 Reasons to Visit a Rural Community
- Barns. Always different and always beautiful.
- The food. Homecooked meals in small-town restaurants. My souvlaki and salad at Restaurant Jean Lafitte was the best meal I had traveling Eastern Ontario and Montreal area for a week.
- What is local? The best context you can have to the food you are eating is seeing it grown. True, you can grow most anything with the right conditions, but when you understand what the main crops and animals raised are in a region, you can have the greatest confidence you’re truly eating “local”.
- The real culture of a place is in its rural regions and people. Before mechanization and migration to urban areas, rural communities were home to the majority of Canadians. In some areas, things haven’t changed much and you get a real sense for how our country was built.
- Fresh air.
- Rural communities need your support. With fewer people and less funding from government, it is increasingly difficult for small towns. Spending your money in these towns helps keep businesses’ doors open, ensuring there are jobs and a tax base to keep the community alive for future enjoyment.
- There’s no choice but to slow down. Be it farm equipment, Amish horse-drawn buggies or an old Chevy out checking crops, traffic always is a little slower in the country. Settle down and sit back and enjoy the scenery.