Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Million Dollar Question…

So yesterday I posted a video by Tim Maloy. I was fortunate enough to receive an email from Tim thanking me for posting it. Neatly tucked away in that email was another video and the timing of this one is rather interesting. The subject matter of the video below is a coaching run that Tim traveled along with to film. This being driven by George Bowman and the Bowman family. A British dynasty in the world of coaching and competitive carriage driving. Kudos to Tim for passing along another great video.

Limerick to Dublin by Stagecoach from Tim Maloy on Vimeo.

My next order of business with Tim is getting the scoop on his work at hand. The guy has to be working on something. I prodded but no news as of yet. We’ll see what turns up. If I can break a story on a really slick new driving video you will be the first to hear about it.

So like I said receiving this video was quite timely. The last time Cheryl and I took a day off we ripped up to Door County. For those of you not familiar with Wisconsin, Door County is the peninsula that juts out into lake Michigan just north of the world famous Green Bay Packers.

The County is a beautiful natural phenomenon. There is more natural coastline in Door County Wisconsin than any other county in the United States. The terrain is varied from rocky shores to wooded bluffs to fertile agricultural land. The countryside is rich in history and the only real communities North of Sturgeon Bay are best described as small villages. It is a tourist area and like many such places it has maybe seen more contemporary development than necessary. That being said all in all it is a really beautiful place.

So what am I leading up to here?

As we walked along a stretch of quiet country road near Fish Creek known as Cottage Row a thought came to mind. This area would be perfect for horse drawn coaching tours. Cottage Row is one of so many beautifully tree lined country roads with grand historic homes perched along the Door County shoreline. The majority of these roads are bordered by stone fences, gardens and rocky bluffs. One can easily picture a coach and four traveling this road with passengers from town to town.

What I like about the Door is the proximity of each village and the ability to travel via scenic country roads to reach your destination. The towns are filled with historic Inns and fine dining establishments. All fitting to a travel business venture of this type. I’m just guessing but the length of the peninsula top to bottom is maybe 80 miles from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock. Routes could vary and I could see making daily stops in all of the villages to drop off and pick up passengers on holiday.

So the million dollar question remains. Is something like this feasible in the United States? If so where? Door County Wisconsin seems like a great opportunity for something like this but it can’t be the only option. One has to believe there are a number of areas in this great country that would be suited to this type of business venture.

So where are they? What seems critical to me is solid tourist traffic with disposable income. Unique lodging and dining opportunities. Safe and quiet routes of travel. Historic architecture and natural beauty. Urban areas in close enough proximity with a supply of ready travelers.

That little walk along Cottage Row this summer stirred up something. Tim’s video sparked it again. Seems to me this could be an absolute blast. A really unique opportunity for travelers and a piece of history to keep alive.

Dreamer? Maybe. Always been a dreamer. Right now I’m a sponge.

Have a great weekend!


Linda Freeman said...

I think your idea is great...why couldn't we do what Nemitz does in Germany. I hear they have started something similar in England now.

Anonymous said...

I live in Canada, and would LOVE to take a tour in Wisconsin by horse-drawn carriage!! Build it and they will come......

Cara said...

I think the key would be marketing. In the US, I think you would have to create the market. This is a bit different than getting a market share in one that is already established.
I think now is a good time to start getting it together. Doing something like this right will take a year or two, at least, between conception and implementation.

Peter said...

Where I live, Georgia, they have BRAG, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia where they have a fun ride across the state going from town to town with food and entertainment each evening put on by the local communities. I had been thinking that CRAG, Carriage Ride Across Georgia would be a fun thing to put together.
If not a commercial venture, it sounds like the this area of Wisconsin would lend itself to a CRAW

Toddersville said...

Hi All,

Thanks for all the good points. It seems to me it would be fun to be able to vacation somewhere that would have coach transportation service. My thought if there is enough business would be to run it 3 or 4 days a week or as needed on scheduled runs between participating inns and restaurants. People could park their cars for thier stay at our home base. We load up the luggage and take them away. We can drop them at an inn for one or two nights and then we take them someplace else for a couple nights, whatever. Pick them up and bring them back at the end of their stay. Run all summer long on scheduled runs. Could go into fall and even a few special runs in the winter.

I'm soaking it up..

michelleblackler said...

There are a lot of possibilities in this one, Todd. This is what I've been thinking about, finding opportunities to increase the awareness of the sport. Maybe a coaching run with multiple entries and prize money? Then publish a commemorative book with a brief history of coaching? Then have a coaching ball and fundraiser to buy tickets on the coaches for corporate sponsorship? This could leverage the funds for the prize money...