VISTA, Calif. — Visiting some place new always feel a little strange, but what if you had a voice whispering in your ear telling you exactly where to go? In this Zevely Zone, I visited Vista while listening to the city's new self-guided podcast.
As COVID restrictions ease, cities across the county are trying to attract visitors. In Vista that starts with free parking and a podcast. Business owners, artists groups and the City of Vista came together to create a podcast that guides visitors around Vista's downtown public art and history. I popped my headphones in and started listening. A friendly voice told me, "Welcome to Vista Made Tours the Podcast. Simply stroll along the sidewalks and listen, have fun and enjoy our beautiful downtown."
As you stroll the streets of Vista, listening to the 50-minute self-guided tour, you just match a voice with a friendly face. "Hi, I am Colleen Kollar Smith and I'm the Operations Manager for the City of Vista's Recreation Department," said the podcast. Suddenly, I was face-to-face with Colleen. "I heard you on the podcast," I said. Colleen responded, "Oh that is me." She was born and raised in Vista and wants you to visit her hometown to enjoy art projects like Love Locks. "We are unlocking Vista. It is open," said Colleen. "There is a lot of art." Anyone can visit the exhibit and place their own lock on the project.
The podcast is filled with Vista residents offering their inside scoop. "The Avo Playhouse was built back in the late 40's and it was where my mom had her first kiss," said Colleen. What happened next could only happen in a small town. "Hi! I went to high school with all of them," said Colleen. Sitting side-by-side at the Curbside Café, one group with Colleen's friends and another with mine. "Jeff Zevely, he does the Zevely Zone, and you are being filmed right now because that is what he does," said Clay who once appeared in a segment.
Our next stop was once Vista's bus stop and the old Greyhound Station. "I've been listening to you on the podcast," I said to Riley Herington. She is the one taking trips these days across America to fill her store with interesting items. Riley owns the Re-find Off Main. "I grew up in Vista, so I actually went to Vista High School. I came back to establish myself," said Riley.
Next the podcast led us to The Film Hub. "This used to be the old post office," I said after hearing the insider fact on the podcast. Inside we met the podcast producer, Zeke Corley. "If you've got someone visiting take them on this tour and they will see everything that you see on a daily basis without you having to make a list or an agenda," said Zeke.
Small towns are filled big shots. "Mayor Judy Ritter, nice to meet to you," I said. Mayor Ritter shook my hand and said, "Nice to meet you." Mayor Ritter suggests visitors walk the Vistacado Parade which is one of the longest outdoors murals in the state. "Vista is open and it's great," said Mayor Ritter. To prove it, we visited Beads, Crystals and More, a shop owned by Phil Fischman. "You're famous," I said. "You're on a podcast.
Phil smiled and said, "Vista is the place to be. Vista is so delicious." This whole community is a real gem and by the end of your journey, you'll feel right at home in Vista. Or as the podcast states, "It's all waiting for you and it's all Vista made. Well, there you've had it, you've completed the loop around Vista's Historical District."
If you'd like more information about Vista and their new self-guided podcast, click here.
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