A byway is a road or path that doesn’t follow the main route. It can be treacherous, or a trek ‘off the beaten path’ leading to amazing experiences that most could only ever dream of.
In the US, Scenic Byways are roads recognized for one or more of six “intrinsic qualities” – historic, cultural, recreational, archeological, natural, and scenic. Scenic does not mean these will be easy routes. Most of the time, they are not. But the joy and beauty sometimes found can make the journey worth the time and effort.
A byway is a good metaphor for describing the ‘detours’ we often find ourselves on having met life’s roadblocks, and increasing in the disruptions of our working lives. Sometimes we are fortunate, and land on a beautiful and gentle path leading to amazing new places. Other times the road is hard, the way forward uncertain, and the destination, if we even know where we are going, is clouded by doubt, fear and frustration. Not all byways are scenic. But some are, even if not at first, and the best byways usually are the roads less traveled.
A byway, whether scenic or not, brings a newness, and often richness and depth to our experience. Literally. it seeks to preserve and protect important but often less-traveled roads and promote recreation and tourism with economic development generating new work.