Small Town Escapes

If you're interested in small town tourism, would you go to places that aren't necessarily geared towards it? We just had friends visit Chicago from London, and on top of their midwest to-do list: find a small town that didn't have anything particular they wanted to see. Rather, they were seeking an unknown experience, a truly authentic small town, one where they might just go bowling, meet a few people at the local diner, and stay in a less-than-glamorous motel...

They picked Paris, IL and here's what they got during a two-day, one-night stay:

  • the motel (one of two in town, I believe)
  • a hot dog at a convenience mart/gas station
  • an American-Italian dining experience
  • a greasy spoon diner
  • a story about why the bowling alley closed
  • a first time experience playing miniature golf (in lieu of bowling)
  • a stop along the road to buy fresh corn and tomatoes straight off the truck
  • a lot of nice conversation at every stop along the way
When visiting another country, this can certainly be an appealing way to see the "real" place. But what about stateside or in the Midwest? Would you take an overnight trip like this just for kicks (if small town life isn't your way of life, that is...)?

For more small towns on the classic getaway / quiet tourism end of the spectrum, read about West Sunset Magazine's Top 20 Small Towns list.

Image: Linn Grove Iowa

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