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Everyone Should Visit These 10 Intriguing Small Towns In The USA

Everyone Should Visit These 10 Intriguing Small Towns In The USA

I’ve been fortunate enough to do some traveling around the USA, and along the way I’ve come across a lot of neat little towns. While these places might not offer everything that larger tourist traps and cities have, it’s usually cheaper to visit them than say, New York City. Indeed, it might not cost you much of anything at all if you’re only looking to take a day trip. Below is a list of small towns that draws upon both personal experience and research. They aren’t listed in any ranked order, as each has something to offer that the other doesn’t. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first town on the list

1. Corinth, New York

10IST#1

    This town is often called “the gateway to the Adirondacks” since it literally resides on the southern border of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. What does that mean? Well, first off, it’s important to understand that New York as a whole is entirely different from New York City, which is what most people think of when they imagine this state in their minds. The rest of New York is more like Vermont or Maine, with greenery everywhere and lakes and streams of various sizes dotting the sprawling natural landscape. This is especially true of the Adirondack region, where Corinth resides. If you’re a fan of beautiful sights, an untainted Hudson river, greenery galore, and American history, you’ll be a fan of Corinth and the surrounding area.

    What To Do

    • Take a swim in the Hudson river.
    • Visit the local Ledge Rock Hill Winery.
    • Go hiking.
    • White water rafting.
    • Visit the nearby Grant Cottage.

    What To Eat

    • I’m not biased or anything, but the pizza in this town is pretty good.

    2. Sedona, Arizona

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    10IST#2

      Unfortunately, I was sick with the flu when my family went to Sedona, so much of the time I was locked in the hotel room. Regardless, I still managed to drag my body around town once I started to recover, and it was definitely worth it despite my condition. Sedona is in northern Arizona, so it’s a bit greener and cooler here than the rest of the state. Overall it’s such a unique environment that it’s tough to put it into words, though basically speaking, it’s sort of got a “mystical” vibe to it. The mesas and plateaus are a site to behold, nearly as majestic as what you see when visiting the Grand Canyon (though with far fewer tourists).

      What To Do

      • Walk along the trails.
      • Take in the sights.
      • Immerse yourself in Native American culture.

      What To Eat

      • The equivalent of main street in this town has an endless amount of restaurants. Both the pizza (somewhat surprisingly) and the Mexican food here was good (though check Yelp as some were better than others).

      3. Lake Placid, New York

      10IST#3

        This town is about a two hour drive from Corinth, and while it’s a bit more tourist-y, it’s definitely got a cool eclectic vibe. From what I could tell, it almost felt like a miniature San Francisco nestled in the Adirondacks, which in itself is pretty cool. Lake Placid was once the site of the winter Olympics, and it still has many athletic competitions hosted there today. If you’re not an athlete, there’s still lots to do, from learning about the town’s Olympic history, to touring the shop-lined streets and admiring the views.

        What To Do

        • Take a gondola up the nearby mountain, giving you an insanely awesome view of Lake Placid.
        • Visit the site of the Olympic games.
        • Take part in one of the many athletic competitions hosted there.

        What To Eat

        • I don’t know if there’s any one thing I could put here, so I’ll refer you to this page.

        4. Santa Cruz, California

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        10IST#4

          Santa Cruz is a pretty small town, but it’s also a prime tourist destination during the summer time. I advise going in the fall or winter, when the weather is a bit more dreary. The plus side to this is that the town will be nearly completely empty, besides the local residents and college students. Being a rather liberal town, there will likely be a bunch of cool cultural events taking place on a daily basis.

          What To Do

          • Go to the beach, just make sure you’re wearing a wetsuit.
          • Hike the forest trails near the university.
          • Check out the Nickelodeon Theater, which shows old movies.

          What To Eat

          • There’s a Chinese restaurant on Mission Street that’s pretty tasty. Santa Cruz has all kinds of foods though, if you can imagine it they probably have it.

          5. Apple Hill, California

          10IST#5

            I’m not sure if this one can be classified as a “town,” per se, because it’s actually an association of Apple ranches that is smack dab in the middle of a couple of towns like Camino and Placerville. That being said, it’s easier to just think of it as its own little town, especially since the people who live there think of it as a separate entity. You’ve probably never heard of Apple Hill, but, much as the name implies, it’s all about apples. If you or a family member has a particularly strong fondness for that fruit, this could be the place of your dreams. Being nestled in the Northern California mountains as it is, you’re also close to lots of natural landmarks.

            What To Do

            • Visit the fifty Apple ranches, and do all of the things that entails (like apple picking)!

            What To Eat

            • Well this one’s easy. Apples! Or anything apple related, of course.

            6. Lexington, Massachusetts

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            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

              I’m a sucker for Colonial American history, which is good, since I’ll likely be spending the next few years of my life studying it. Anyways, what better way to sate your historical appetite than to visit the town where the first battle of the Revolutionary War was fought?

              What To Do

              • Watch battle reenactments.
              • Visit the site of the “shot heard around the world.”

              What To Eat

              7. Ithaca, New York

              10IST#7

                Ithaca reminds me of Santa Cruz, except instead of an ocean it has a lake, and instead of a UC it has an Ivy League college, Cornell, adorning its hills. It’s very much a college town, though it’s not much of a tourist trap, at least compared to a place like Santa Cruz in the summer.

                What To Do

                • Take a ferry tour of the lake.
                • Visit Cornell.
                • Visit Carl Sagan’s house.

                What To Eat

                • Apparently, Ithaca has more restaurants than New York City. Or at least, that’s what the locals kept telling me. It depends on your taste, but there’s a good restaurant in town for just about every type of food you can think of.

                8. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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                10IST#8

                  The main reason to go to Gettysburg is to experience the Civil War history, which is reason enough for me. It’s been a while since I went, but for being a huge historical landmark I remember it to be pretty darn empty and devoid of tourists.

                  What To Do

                  • Visit the infamous battlefield.
                  • Take a ghost tour.

                  What To Eat

                  9. Nevada City, California

                  10IST#9

                    I have a friend with quite the eclectic personality who hails from this area. I used to have trouble understanding her, but now that I know more about her town it all makes sense (if you ever read this, I totally mean that in a completely positive way)! Basically, this “city” (in name only seeing as it only as a population of 3,000) is famous for its art, music, and offbeat culture. It also helps that it’s in close proximity to many of California’s more amazing natural features. A pretty neat combination if you ask me.

                    What To Do

                    What To Eat

                    • Being the eclectic town that it is, Nevada City has farmer’s markets that are bound to please the organic food lovers among you. For everything else, there’s this nifty list.

                    10. Paia, Hawaii

                    Good morning in Paia

                      Located in Maui, Paia represents one of the last places you can get a close-to-authentic Hawaiian experience. By that I mean you won’t find any sprawling resorts or hordes of tourists here, at least not like you’d see on Waikiki beach. They are known especially for their multitude of shops, selling anything from clothes to specialized sports equipment. With a population of under 3,000 people, Paia will surely be a breath of fresh air for those of you who are used to staying in Honolulu.

                      What To Do

                      • Windsurfing is big here. You can buy everything you need for it at the local stores.
                      • Shopping!

                      What To Eat

                      That’s all for now. As you can see, I tried to choose towns that don’t really get much in the way of advertising on other “best small towns” lists. Hopefully this helps you plan a future mini-vacation or day trip! Have you visited a small town that you had a wonderful time in? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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