For this evening we met at the Hardesty-Higgins House in Downtown Harrisonburg. Issac Hardesty was the first Mayor and Henry Higgins built the house. It houses much more than you would think in a small house. Harrisonburg Tourism, Visitor Center, Rocktown Gift Shop, Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room, Valley Turnpike Museum, and Civil War Orientation Center, and Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance…I’m pretty sure there’s more but can’t remember.
First we did a tour of the building, and though I have been in it quite a few times, I had never been in the Civil War Orientation Center or the Valley Pike Museum. I feel that it’s just one of those things that you don’t fully take advantage of what’s in the area you live in. But with the growth of “stay-cations” we are all paying a little more attention to what is in our backyard.
With Harrisonburg Tourism we learned that they do quite a bit of marketing and work with Virginia Tourism to have some collaborative efforts in marketing (and share costs!). They also get free space on virginia.org to highlight what’s going on in the City and to promote some of the big events. I look there sometimes to see what’s going on in the area too! It’s a great resource!
As far as economic development goes, apparently the people that come to shop here are in about a 30 mile radius. That’s a pretty big radius! Though, Sean and I think that once you get to 20 miles south of Harrisonburg, you may gravitate toward Charlottesville due to the variety of shops they have. I asked about Preston Lake (which is in the county, oops!) and there were going to be some awesome shops put in. We’re talking, you don’t have to go to Charlottesville anymore! Well, that’s my opinion. But because of the economy slowing down, that is on hold for now. But hopefully soon, that can get back up and running.
I also asked about the Olive Garden. People talk about it all the time, so I asked. Olive Garden has been here. They have looked and likely one day they will be here. But, they have not found the right place.
It’s like Chick-Fil-A, when they finally get set up, people will be camping out for opening day. They will not have down time for a long time.
Then we moved on to my personal favorite (since I volunteer with them) Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. Eddie Bumbaugh told us about the growth and the change in the downtown area over the last couple years and we saw how much it grew! We even got a heads-up about some new eateries that are coming, including Cocolicious-a cupcake shop! I am super excited about that! Also another restaurant will be gracing Downtown. Check out their website for the latest and greatest!