From the inside, Salem is looking pretty good these days. We are seeing a Farmer's Market and First Wednesday grow in popularity, new and good restaurants are replacing old rundown ones, and the cultural scene is expanding with the opening of new galleries. The general feeling in Salem is that this place is on an upward trajectory. Are these improvements obvious to tourists? Here is a visitor account from a blog in Eugene called Eugene Modern Monkey. The blogger writes "I'm hungry and I'm driving through a place named Salem and all I can see is a Denny's and a McDonald's, what should I do, where can I stop to satiate my burning desire for good and hopefully healthy food?" Fortunately she makes her way downtown and finds La Capitale and says, "If you can't hold over until you land in your foodie retreat of Eugene or Portland there are some points of food salvation to be found in Salem" She also found Off Center Cafe, a place that a lot of Salemites have not found yet. She says "you would do yourself a disservice to not drive yourself over to Off Center Cafe. It's quirky but the breakfast fare is beyond fair."
I'll take this post as a visitor satisfied but we can do better. We have to come up with a way to bring tourist to our downtown without having them experience the sprawl that seems to clutter at our cities gateways. Tunnel?