The following article, “America’s Quirkiest Towns”, is the 3rd part of Huffington Posts’ ‘The Blog’ article posted by Katrina Brown Hunt, taken from Travel+Leisure Sept. 3, 2014.
America’s Quirkiest Towns (PHOTOS)
Paul Stone loves the colorful locals he sees on Boulder, Colorado’s downtown plaza, the no-cars-allowed Pearl Street Mall… That double-jointed blend is probably why the Colorado mountain town also made the top 20 for quirky locals, according to Travel + Leisure readers…
In the heart of history-rich Bucks County, there’s a fine line between quirkiness and extreme quaintness: cutting-edge souvenirs include the locally grown sachets from the Peace Valley Lavender Farm. Doylestown also ranked well for its fairs, such as the annual Polish Festival, held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa (a Black Madonna sometimes seen as a subversive), and the crowd-pleasing Beer Fest, held at the town’s former estate, Fonthill Castle. Readers also applauded Doylestown for brunch: try the Purgatory Plate (poached eggs over slow-cooked sweet onions, plum tomatoes, and Grana Padano cheese) at local favorite Domani Star.
This Kansas town made the top 20 for embracing those who aren’t afraid to make public spectacles. Each summer brings the Lawrence Busker Festival, featuring sword swallowers and fire dancers, and every Christmas the fire department makes a show of rescuing Santa off the roof of Weaver’s Department Store. Year round, Lawrence supports the Museum of the Odd, whose curator has collected such fascinating exhibits as celebrity toothbrushes, ashtrays made from animal limbs, and roughly 600 sock monkeys. It also ranked highly for its ice cream, such as the cookie-and-candy-filled Kansas Twister scoops at Sylas and Maddy’s.
This ski town landed in the survey’s top 10 for being friendly and smart, but quirky isn’t too far behind. After all, it seems locals have a habit of attaching stuff to trees. The Sanctuaries in the Snow tour, led by a retired attorney, will take you to see the area’s best mysterious shrines—elaborate homages in the woods devoted to, say, Jerry Garcia, golf, or Snoopy. Past quirky residents, meanwhile, have included at least one woolly mammoth; a tusk was excavated a few years ago in Snowmass Village and can now be seen, along with other local fossils, at the town’s Ice Age Discovery Center.
The most iconic site in this Blue Ridge town is truly off-kilter: Liberty Bridge, in Falls Park, a pedestrian bridge whose 90-foot-tall masts tilt an eye-catching 15 degrees. If you’re not feeling woozy afterward, stop in at the Dark Corner Distillery, the state’s first legal moonshine operation, where you can taste the Butterscotch Shine or the chipotle-and-cinnamon Hot Mama, and learn to make your own hooch back at home. Readers also liked the casual dining scene: at Papi’s Tacos, the off-the-menu favorite is the Walking Taco, a loaded bag of Doritos and a fork. Locals may enjoy it ironically, since Greenville also placed in the top 10 for being hip.
This charming town south of Nashville dances to it own beat, winning the survey for its un-countrified festivals, such as its summer Jazz Festival and winter’s Dickens of a Christmas. Franklin also won the survey for its cool souvenirs. You might go home with bottles of brisket marinade and denim coozies from Puckett’s Grocery, or rare volumes from Landmark Booksellers, whose building dates back to 1798 and reportedly houses some busy ghosts. Around here, that’s not so unusual: Franklin’s present-day locals scored well in the survey for staying active.
Amelia Island, FL
There’s a fickle backstory to this little island town: it has belonged to eight different nations, and today offers a fun-loving blend of Deep South and island culture. The town ranked highly in the survey for historic inns like the Victorian-era Hoyt House andWilliams House and for its family-vacation appeal. For a one-of-a-kind activity with the kids, take Amelia River Cruises’ Eco-Shrimping Tour, where you get to catch (then release) the little shellfish.
While some towns do Civil War reenactments, Beaufort does an annual re-creation of a 1747 showdown between pirates and feisty town locals. That swashbuckling sense of excitement still lives on. Readers loved this Inner Banks town for its romantic places to stay—such as The Cedars Inn, which has hosted seafaring types as far back as the late 1700s – and its live music. To hear the best local musicians, go to the Backstreet Pub, where Wednesday nights are “Hoot Nights,” and during downtimes, patrons are welcome to play cribbage at their tables.
Hope you all enjoyed your armchair travel time,
Parts 1,2,3 with us.
Get out and enjoy nature’s autumn bounty this weekend.