What I did over summer vacation…
We all know that often-used topic for a back-to-school essay. Lewis University junior Mary Moran interned this summer at the Gaylord Building Historic Site in Lockport, Illinois, leading walking tours of Lockport’s Historic District. If she were to write an end-of-summer essay, I hope that she would include some mention of her internship. She led both locals and visitors through the town, making stops at the Norton Building, Central Square, and Lincoln Landing. In her tours she noted the city’s history as a model of historic preservation. She learned a good deal about local history in a national context, improved her interpersonal skills, and shared Lockport’s special sense of place. Her experiences led me to think about the value of walking tours.
I worked for a number of years as a Port Expert for Princess Cruises. I always enjoyed the half-day walking tours available to passengers. I have fine memories of ambling around city centers both renowned, like Istanbul, and humble, like Corfu. The tours grounded me and helped me get my bearings. The local guides enjoyed showing off their city and drawing visitors’ eyes to things often overlooked. They could suggest cafes for a cup of coffee or give directions to a place a bit off the beaten path.
As summer draws to a close, you still have time to take advantage of nearby walking tours. For example, the Chicago Architecture Foundation offers an array of tours, including a tour of Chicago’s Grant Park. Be on the lookout for walking tours in your community. They are a great way to connect to both the past and what’s happening today.