So the 2003 Cranberry High School valedictorian decided to use experiences gleaned from traveling to places around the globe and combine that with her insatiable appetite for knowing the history and culture of a place to start a business in Franklin. Though she claims she really isn't a foodie, she wanted to showcase what Franklin had to offer for restaurants and shops while taking people around to several historic spots in town. She wanted to share her interests in learning about places with others.
"A Bite of History Tours" was formed with the help of an Oil Region Alliance "Get On The Trail" grant that is awarded to a small businesses that can illustrate a direct benefit the area's culture and tourism interests.
She then ended up taking a job on a cruise ship and recently was a cruise director for the Holland America cruise lines.
She travels and hass experienced a lot of different places
Though she didn't really know who Julie McCoy was when she became a cruise director, she said she eventually had to look up the famed television character from the popular 70s and 80s show "The Love Boat."
"I get called Julie all the time," said Perry with a laugh. She's learned to enmbrace the comparison. "Yup, that's what I do."
Though she doesn't know when she will be called back to the ship, she is hoping her tours will become a part of the area for sometime to come whether she offers them when she comes home between sails or has a replacement ready to guide the tours.
So she began to research and research. how to get one started and, more importantly, about the area. She has written travel guides so she knew what sort of things to look for. She wants to keep learning and extend the breadth of her tours, but has already learned a lot of little known nuggets of interest. She said the tours are good for locals as well as visitors from other places.
"I've yet to have a guest say they knew it all at the end," she said. Her three-hour tours include stopping at eight different shops for food samples and conversation. They are little breaks from the several historic site stops. She talks about Monarch Park that was one quite an amusement destination back in the day, but is now the Izaak Walton Society Park off Deep Hallow Road. Not a trace of the park really remains there. She utilizes an old alley mural that depicts a streetcar with Monarch written on its side. The trolley would run folks out to the park from Franklin and Oil City.
She discusses assassins, presidential visits, a hidden little cemetery where the original settler sent west by George Washington lies, and even the famed pop-up city of Pithole. "I love hosting events," she said.
She also said to like the page on Facebook for even more updates and other events happening around the area.