To really get a feel for American culture and tradition, small town America is the way to go. Choosing where to visit, with so many unusual and quirky destinations, is the really difficult part. From the Berkshires to New Mexico, there are dozens of small towns, each as unique and individual as the people who live there.
If the postcard scenes of Rockwellian Americana appeal to you, then go right to the heart of the matter and make for the Berkshires. Not only can you find the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, nearby Great Barrington is a haven for folk musicians, foodies and arty types who all come to walk down Railroad Street, and visit the Guthrie Centre to relive the ‘Alicie’s Restaurant Massaccree’ made infamous by Arlo Guthrie. You can even take part in the ‘Historic Garbage Trail Walk’ each year. Western Pennsylvania is where you’ll find the stunningly beautiful little town of Butler. Small town America is full of towns which grew up around farming communities, but as well as hand built barns, Butler is where the Jeep was invented at the American Bantam Car Company.
More Great Small Towns
Taos, New Mexico is great example of how small town America has become a must for artists and musicians. D.H. Lawrence and Georgia O’ Keeffe have visited the town, and the beautiful church of St. Francis of Assissi is one of the most photographed images of the area. If you yearn for a taste of the Wild West, from mining to mountain men, then Durango, Colorado is the one for you. The fantastic feat of engineering that is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad opened in 1882, and still takes passengers high up into the San Juan Mountains to this day. Gig Harbor in Washington is a fabulous destination for those who like to mess around on boats. Founded by immigrants from the Adriatic Coast in the 19th century, who were traditionally ship builders and fishermen, Gig Harbor still holds the Maritime Gig Festival each year. A favorite for epicures, with great local seafood and wines from the Washington vineyards.
There’s so much more to small town America, sit under the boardwalk on the beach at Naples, Florida, or take in the hippy culture of Mill Valley, California. With hundreds to choose from, there’s sure to be one just perfect for you.
Picture: Jorge Salcedo