Creating Heritage Trails

Create Heritage Trails to Feature Your Best History

Heritage trails enable cohesive exploration of a particular aspect of heritage in any community, and as is illustrated by the below examples, can cover a very wide variety of topics.

An Agricultural Heritage Trail, LaGrange County, IN

National Travel Center has been integral in the development of an Agricultural Heritage Trail in LaGrange County, Indiana where 79% of the land is farmland. That situation made farm-based tourism one of the only ways, beyond additional agricultural production, to deliver additional economic development to all areas of the county. A tour of the county revealed that routes in the eastern portion, even though a very beautiful drive, did not meet the criteria to be designated as a Scenic Byway. However, in view of the timeless farms in that area that began when settlers from New England arrived in the 1820s, a decision was made to feature the area on a Heritage Trail. The many specifically designated Hoosier Homesteads, farms that have been in business for 100 years or more, were combined with active locations such as the livestock auctions and farm-related shops and restaurants, to take visitors through eastern LaGrange County. This approach enables visitors to dine and shop, while they explore the unique landscape and learn the stories of these timeless farms, some of which also sell directly to consumers.  The Trail will ultimately be enhanced and extended with a new heritage museum display in the southwestern part of the county as a draw to locations that visitors currently rarely explore.

Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail, Southside, VA

When the original school where the protest in Southside led to the famous legal case Brown vs. Board of Education which desegregated schools throughout America became a National Monument, a Principal of National Travel Center conducted additional research that revealed a whole collection of locations where other events in the quest to deliver quality education in the region occurred. That work led to the development of the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail, spearheaded by the Principal that included (1) original research in a 10-county area to identify the comprehensive collection of related locations still in existence, (2) oral interviews and historical document research to obtain the details surrounding the full story, (3) development of the route that was ultimately extended to incorporate locations which included innovation in the education women, men, Native Americans, and the disabled, as well as African Americans, (4) development of the text to be used on interpretive signage and included in print materials, (5) incorporation of the material into a comprehensive presentation, and (6) development of a marketing plan to promote the trail.

Ironmasters Heritage Trail, Centre County PA

When Historic Bellefonte began an effort to attract more visitors to increase their economic impact, the first task was to investigate the fascinating history of this town which pre-dated State College, its bigger sister, and home to Penn State.  At one point in the 1850s, the region surrounding Bellefonte produced more iron than any other place in the world and an inventory revealed iron forges, furnaces, villages, and Ironmasters mansions scatted about Centre County. Some were intact, others in great condition, still others that had been repurposed, and some properties were found to be in ruins.  The properties that were available to tour, experience, and view, were assembled into a heritage trail to reveal this important Centre County history, which also spreads economic impact of visitor spending throughout the county.

Crooked Road Country Music Trail

A Principal of National Travel Center conducted the initial research and development of the locations on what is now the highly successful Crooked Road Music Trail in southwestern Virginia, along with delivery of the initial content describing the various special places along the route.

Case Studies

Together, let’s discover the heritage locations in your area that can be developed into a trail to tell the unique story of your region.
Download the America’s Heritage Trails.