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June 2020

“We have reached our cruising altitude. You are free to move about the cabin.”

A flight attendant’s next words would remind passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fastened unless they really need to use the facilities. The crew knows their charges are safely buckled up; they also know that “when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”

The world’s economies and people in general are about at the “gotta go” point. Like the flight captain, COVID-19 authorities think the pandemic has peaked enough to lighten quarantine restrictions with the caution to keep our seatbelts on because some turbulence is likely still ahead. People are beginning to emerge, but they are not going far. This summer, the vacation-planning buzzword is “staycation.” The 2020 cool thing to do is stay home and do your town like a tourist does.

Garlandites are especially lucky in the staycay department. Take a look at the May 20 article “The 100 Best and 10 Worst Cities for a Staycation this Summer,” in which Forbes Life contributing writer Gary Stoller reported on WalletHub’s recent comparison of 182 U.S. cities and how they rank in the realm of wallet-friendly fun. Garland scored well in the study at impressive number 19 among the top 100 staycay destinations. More remarkable yet, Garland’s fourth place among the 16 Texas cities on the list was above Texas tourism destination anchors like Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

WalletHub’s study is scientific with well-stated methodology that focused on 15 metrics between two primary categories: recreation, and rest and relaxation. The metrics included quality of life biggies like green space, outdoor entertainment options, affordability and weather, every one of which Garland’s got in abundance.

Parks & Trails – Garland has 63 parks and 15 trails, with more than 2,250 total acres that include a disc golf course, off-road biking trail, walking trails and beautiful parks that hug the Lake Ray Hubbard shoreline.

Firewheel Golf Course - Whether you're an avid golfer ready to play a round or a novice player looking to hit a bucket of balls, you'll experience a day you won't forget at Firewheel Golf Park. The 63 holes of championship-caliber golf include three regulation courses in designs that both challenge and delight.


May 2020

If we had to settle on just one word to sum up the first half of 2020, the word “change” would be a top contender. The COVID-19 global pandemic blowing in on the last notes of Auld Lang Syne put mind-boggling change in motion, and it’s still unfolding now in May. We’ve been quarantined apart, normal activities have been drastically curtailed and there’s no clear light at the end of the tunnel. Uncertainty for the future mingles with certainty that whatever it looks like, the future will be different.

History is packed with stories about human resilience. Challenge gives way to creativity, necessity to invention. The Visit Garland team believes life after COVID-19 has marvelous potential because of – and in spite of – what lifestyle differences stick around as the world reopens. And they want to get ahead of it.

I am one of their strategies for shaping how Garland will talk about its community assets in the brave new post-COVID-19 world. I am a blogger, and I write about places. My job? To get to know Garland’s backyard from the best resource: You – Garlandites and Garland-impassioned people.

Consider what makes Garland Garland. Why is it special? What is your favorite thing to do in Garland? What do you love most about Garland? What do you think is Garland’s best-kept secret? When the world finally opens for business again, what are the must-sees and must-do’s in Garland? If you boiled it down to just one word, what word best describes your Garland?

Soon, people will emerge. It will likely be slow as we all take baby steps in tandem, but a change of scenery is going to be high on most people’s want-to list when we are finally free to move about more than just the cabin.

So, Garlandites, point me in the right direction. Share your insider knowledge in the comment section below.

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