While visiting Youngstown for the holidays, Mark Baker was inspired by the city to use his experience and newly published blog to write an ode to Youngstown. He talks about the authenticity of our city, and how it can be leveraged to appeal to travelers that are looking for real history, and interesting places. Here’s a taste:

The idea to write a mini “guidebook” entry on my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, originated on Instagram. Over the Christmas holidays, while I was home, I posted a photo of the city on my Instagram feed and wrote (just to be cheeky): “when Lonely Planet gets around to writing a guidebook on the Rust Belt, I’ll have a first-row seat.” And then it occurred to me: Why not write my own guide and post it here on my blog? Yeah, I know it doesn’t exactly fit the “Travel & Adventure in Central Europe” part, but Youngstown was largely settled by Poles, Slovaks, Czechs, and Hungarians. It’s a little piece of Central Europe in the middle of the United States. Continue reading on Mark’s blog.

“It doesn’t get any more real than Youngstown”

In our interview, Mark talks about his experiences around the world and the trends he sees in travel. Things that can be found right here in our city. “When I’m traveling around Europe, and other parts of the world, I see a lot of trends in travel. A lot of things that people want to visit. A lot of those things, Youngstown has but probably doesn’t even realize it has.”

“Let’s talk about Millennials and hipsters for example,” says Baker. “It is a real demographic, and what I understand by hipster isn’t somebody wearing a beard or drinking craft beers, but somebody who’s really searching for authenticity. Or searching for real history, and real places, where experiences are real. And, you know, it doesn’t get any more real than Youngstown.”

From Baker’s perspective the city has nothing but potential. “Youngstown has an amazingly underutilized and underappreciated downtown. You just see it, you can feel it in the air that there’s something happening, but yet the potential is so vastly underutilized still. And I think a lot of people are looking for opportunities. Tthe interesting spaces, things that are not out of a big box store, or cookie cutter, things that were really built to be an individual expression of a place, and Youngstown has that individual expression of a place.”

To read Mark’s blog, visit markbakerprague.com.
Follow him on social media @markbakerprague on Twitter and Instagram.

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