Kevin Parker, a long-time Utica resident says, "One of the things I love about New York state is we have the best fishing, we have museums everywhere. There's something for everybody within a hour of whichever direction you go."
Oneida County Tourism and Mohawk Valley Community College held their Local Familiarization Tour today. Both area residents and people who work in the community got the chance to stop by popular area attractions and landmarks in Central New York.
Carolyn DeJohn, a coordinator of the events says, "It's a tour around Oneida County, showing all the hightlights that we have here and all the great destinations. It's basically geared toward people who are in contact with customers, so they can see what we have to offer and then bring it out to our community."
For a conceirge who works at the Turning Stone Casino, he says the tour gave him helpful information he can use at work.
Joseph Lanza, a conceirge and resident of Herkimer says, "There is so much that you don't even need to leave the state for, that people travel across the county for, you can stay in your own backyard, and drive about 15 minutes away and get the same experience."
Whether you're a long-time resident, a tourist, or brand new to the community like myself, everyone can enjoy the sites that Central New York has to offer. Participants got a behind the scenes look at the F.X. Matt Brewery, a visit to the Stanley and Capitol Theatres, a drive through the beautiful Sylvan Beach and they even got to learn about plant hydroponics at the Aqua Vita Farm.
Parker adds, "A lot of people miss the things that are in their own backyard. I've learned this by traveling all over. I decided today would be a good experience to go out and find things I havent seen before and I actually did. I learned a few things I never knew about the area before."
Area residents and workers in the community agree that you don't have to be a tourist to appreciate all the gems Central New York has to offer.