If you’ve seen the map of our trip so far, then you know that we’re not exactly taking the straight forward route across the U.S. In fact, I’ll go ahead and admit it: we don’t have a plan! We know roughly the order of the states we’re visiting, but we typically don’t know where we’re going within its borders until a few days, sometimes hours before we get there. The benefit of all this mindless meandering? Seeing the countryside, of course.
Since we can’t go above 65 without a lot of sway on the trailer, we tend to stay away from interstates. We don’t really save any time by taking them since we can’t go the speed limit. And while we respect truck drivers, we hate semi trucks. The blowback from a big rig is enough to make my heart palpitate just thinking about it.
In all our 20,000 plus miles off the interstate, we’ve ran across a few small towns that we think are truly something to see. I know what you’re going to say: where’s the cut off for a small, small town? It’s 5,500. But luckily for us, many of these towns are barely above 3K. Well within the threshold. If you get the chance to stop by any of these towns, do it and don’t hesitate.
Bisbee, AZ (pop. 5,360)
I’d heard long long down the grapevine rumblings about Bisbee. It was a little out of our way as we left AZ, but it was so worth it. The town boasts it’s 1,000 step challenge. Meaning there are stairwells chiseled out of the hills and alleyways and nooks and crannies of this cool old mine town. Take them all and explore all the cool old hotels and art along the way. Plus: do not miss the old mine. It’s HUGE.
Jerome, AZ (pop. 448)
Another cool old mountain town, I truly don’t understand the logistics / science behind how this town exists where it does. It’s truly hanging off the mountain side. It’s crazy. We had so much fun wandering the streets and perusing the shop windows and eating at Haunted Hamburger.
Fort Davis, TX (pop. 1,201)
A small town often overshadowed by its neighbor, Marfa. But the town looks straight out of the wild west and maintains that character in the best way. We even went to the old Methodist church in town for Christmas Eve Service.
Pin Point, GA (unincorporated)
The last black-owned waterfront property on the coast of Georgia, this town is so small it’s not even officially incorporated. But once you see the sign for the Pin Point Heritage Museum, you know you’ve made it. Spend the afternoon there and get familiar with the culture and way of life of this amazing community. Pin Point is also the boyhood home of Clarence Thomas, the supreme court justice!
Lewisburg, WV (pop. 3,955)
A funky, artsy community in the foothills of West Virginia. You’ll have fun wandering the streets and
Monroe County, WV (county pop. 13,483; Union, pop. 564)
We know: this isn’t just one town in particular. But if you’ve been to Monroe County, then you know that all the towns are so unique and interesting, that you really should just do them in one day. Marvel at the covered bridges, old English country style mansions, fields and old downtowns. Just don’t miss the Amish cheese shop. You’ll wanna be there. Trust us.
Lewes, DE (pop. 2,896)
The first town in the first state, Lewes has that old time town charm. Cobblestone streets line the downtown, filled with cute shops, eateries and a bakery that makes something called oooey gooey’s. Stroll around and visit the Zwaanendael Museum.
Milton, DE (pop. 2,717)
Visit for Dogfish Head Brewery and stay for Po’Boys Creole.
Sprague, CT (pop. 2,984)
I can’t really articulate to you why we were attracted to Sprague. Carson liked it almost immediately. It just was sort of foreign compared to the small towns we grew up in. It had that look — you know, that New England-y small town vibe that we just knew we’d find in CT. You can also get pizza here. CT loves it pizza. There are at least 3 pizza places in a town that doesn’t have a grocery store. Odd, but wonderful.
Errol, NH (pop. 291)
There’s only about 5-8 businesses in the whole gosh darn town. And it will take you all of 2 minutes to drive through. But it’s worth it. Eat at the Northern Exposure Cafe. Have the breakfast special and a piece of pie and take it all in. Watch the bikers (motorcyclists?) as they come and go on their Harley’s and go to L.L. Cote for some outerwear.
Southwest Harbor, ME (pop. 1,764)
We never got a chance to eat it because our hosts were amazing cooks, but we hear the pie at Quietside Cafe is the best on Mount Desert Island. And if pie isn’t enough reason for you to visit, try Beal’s Lobster Pound or a drink at the Upper Deck.
Wellsboro, PA (pop. 3,351)
This is a small town that has lived up to its potential. There are thriving businesses all along Main Street; a cool old hotel that's been refurbished; an old-school car-style diner and a rehabbed movie theater. It's a town that swings well above its weight given its tiny population. Plus it's only 10 miles from the PA's "Grand Canyon."