Internet travel blogs give firsthand tips to would-be tourists

HARRISBURG (AP) -- Robert McCreary is getting a chance to share his love of Pennsylvania's historical attractions with an Internet-wide audience, and the state's tourism office is picking up the tab for his travel.
McCreary, 37, of Chalfont, is among several real-world travelers who are posting stories about the Pennsylvania places they visit this summer, thanks to a Web log feature recently added to the state's official tourism Web site.
The first installments of the Web logs -- online diaries known more commonly as "blogs" -- were posted June 1.
In his, McCreary details a four-day trip he took to Gettysburg in early May, which included visiting the battlefield, chowing down at the Lincoln Diner and strumming his banjo during a local bar's bluegrass jam.
"I think it's always fun to find new things to do around the state," McCreary said.
"When it comes to Pennsylvania history stuff, I'm like a kid in a candy store."
The tourism department is always on the lookout for ways to promote tourism using technology, and officials decided in March to develop blogs appealing to six different categories of tourists, said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary of tourism.
A casting call for would-be bloggers was sent out through marketing and advertising firms, and participants were chosen based on 500-word essays.
The state is giving them $1,000 per trip to pay for travel costs.

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