This came across my desk last week. A small company in Blowing Rock, NC called Christopher’s Wine & Cheese is using social media to compete with large companies and their multi-million dollar marketing budgets. Banding together with three small Bed & Breakfasts, they are sponsoring a “B&B and Winery Dream Vacation” along the Blue Ridge Parkway through sites like Twitter, Facebook and various blogs. Through these channels, the word is spreading quickly. Here is the story that inspired them:

Recently Queensland, Australia held a contest to find a caretaker to blog and promote tourism in their area. More than 34,000 applied for their Dream Job. Murphy Goode Winery is wrapping up a similar campaign soon with over 408 qualified entries and each campaign generated massive media attention with over 100,000 articles written or blogged about.

Since small, locally owned businesses don’t have the ten’s of thousands of dollars needed to build a website and crank up a media frenzy, Christopher’s turned to Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the Ning network to prove that small companies can compete with these big marketing budgets using just the free tools that are available online.

Lately everyone’s posting contests to win this or that job – and we think that’s just crazy. Everyone we know needs a break, not more work!

So Christopher’s Wine & Cheese decided to offer folks a chance to win a dream vacation for 2 along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.

For six days in September, just as the leaves are starting to turn, the winner will travel along the Parkway – spending 2 nights at The Inn at Meander Plantation in the heart of Virginia’s wine country, then off to the more casual High Country area where you can indulge in the great outdoors while staying 2 nights at the Blowing Rock Victorian Inn before heading south to the always entertaining city of Asheville where you’ll be staying at the 1900 Inn on Montford.

So how are we going to pick the winner? We’re not. America is. Simply submit your video telling everyone why you need a break – and we’ll put it up for a vote. And we’ll let the public decide why you’re the one who really should be working less and taking a break more.

Every few days, we’ll be posting more of the itinerary – meals and events hand selected by your innkeepers to really showcase the many fun things to do while vacationing in their area. As small, local business owner’s – they’ve always got the inside scoop on their area and specialize in creating the most memorable, romantic get-a-ways imaginable.

To see the promotion go to or search for #deservebreak on Twitter.

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