I believed I had the greatest gig going. Silly, silly me.|
Travel writing — now that's where it's at.
Take a trip, enjoy the night- and day-life of a community, pen a couple thousand words about it, and get handed a check. Eat, drink, dance, sleep, get paid. A month later, it's the same routine in another cool town.
Have I mentioned I used to have the best gig going?
Much has been made of the band of travel writers that descended on the Quad-Cities this week for the annual fall conference of the Midwest Travel Writers Association. Before they arrived, the local put-your-best-foot-forward showcasers worried themselves into a tizzy about how our little two-state extravaganza would play for our ink-stained guests.
Really? Why worry?
Seriously dudes and dudettes, we're good. What don't we have, save for lengthy rush-hour delays? Those come later — between 7 and midnight — on the Interstate 74 bridge. I hope our visitors haven't seen that.
In case they missed anything after visiting local staples such as the John Deere Pavilion, Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, the Figge Art Museum and the Rock Island Arsenal, here are a few last-minute suggestions about things the travel writers can see and do in the Quad-Cities.
Travel writers have to pen something about the hometown vittles where they stop, don't they? It's in the travel-writer's handbook.
We have some solid chains, but it's the local fare that sets us apart. If you haven't been to East Moline's Jim's Rib Haven, head there now. Ask for a bib or lick the spilled barbecue sauce off your shirt as I do a couple of hours after you waddle out. Order one of everything.
If your heart can handle fried chicken, take in Mulkey's in Rock Island or Fields of Pizza in Moline. Sample the grilled tenderloin at Davenport's 11th Street Precinct or Rock Island's City Limits.
Duck City Bistro (Davenport), Johnny's Italian Steakhouse (Moline), the Faithful Pilot (LeClaire), Steventon's (LeClaire) and Red Crowe Grille (Bettendorf) are solid upscale options, but Chef Jerry at O'Melia's (Rock Island) is the best locally at his craft.
Sit at the lunch counter at Lagomarcino's (Moline or Davenport) and have ham-salad sandwich and a hot chocolate, and grab a caramel apple on the way out. I can't speak for local breweries, but I have friends who are experts (if you know what I mean), and you can't go wrong with any of them. Whitey's Ice Cream (we have one in every town) will have each of you shipping it to your houses in two weeks.
You get paid to write about the Midwest, so you know the scenery in these parts at this time of year can't be duplicated. It also means you understand that little creek out back we call the Mississippi River. Enjoy all of it.
If you long for an alternate neat view, drive Moline's South Shore Drive and catch the Rock River at sunset.
Everyone is glad you are here, and some of us (look at me!) are a little jealous of what you do. Now go, and enjoy. Tell them Johnny sent you.
Make sure you tip.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.