A Grand Sight: Toledo, Oregon

toledo oregon

I love Toledo.  No, I don’t mean Toledo, Spain, although I hear it’s beautiful.  It’s not in America, and it’s not a small town, so it doesn’t belong on this blog. And not Toledo, Ohio, either.  It may be in America, but it is not small.  No, I’m talking about the Toledo in Oregon.   It’s just a short trip from the coast and its attractions, but far enough away to escape much of the tourism that the beach towns get.  Once you turn onto Business Loop 20 and head south, there is not a clue that you were anywhere near the ocean. It’s a bit sprawly; buildings sort of just trickle in, until you … Continue reading

St. Thomas

megans bay st. thomas

The amazing thing about the Caribbean is that it rains at night, making everything is so clean, clear, and beautiful during the day. I mean, you’ve never seen hues of green and blue until you’ve been to the islands. It’s truly stunning. So, it was no surprise that when I stepped out of my room, I walked over to the railing, inhaled deeply, appreciating the beauty and abruptly decided that I needed some coffee. I know that I should not have taken the beauty before me for granted, but you know…coffee. The need for caffeine trumps everything. Charlotte Amalie is the hub of St. Thomas and a lot people cruise the city looking for duty-free … Continue reading

Island Hopping: Dominica

dominica caribbean

Of all the islands in the Caribbean that I’ve been to, I’d have to say that Dominica (pronounced: dom-a-nee-ka) was my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, because it was still beautiful, just in a different way. The island itself is considered the, “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” because of its unspoiled nature and I imagine would be a hikers paradise. It’s the youngest of all the Caribbean islands and is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity. Dominica (Latin for Sunday) was named after the day of the week it was discovered by Christopher Columbus. He was a creative lil’ feller, wasn’t he? At the time, the Carib Indians settled on the island after being driven … Continue reading

Just Another High Desert Town … Usually

Just Another High-Desert Town

Sisters, Oregon, is nestled under tall Jackson pines in the high-desert country east of the Cascade Mountains.  Not too far from Bend, its citizens slog through the snowy winters and sweat through the hot summers, like the rest of the little towns at the foot of the mountain range. It’s not very big; the business section is only a couple of blocks long by two or three streets wide, and that is all the regular citizens need.  Life’s pretty quiet here. Until the second week in June, when the town is converged upon by thousands of people, most toting over-sized bags and quilt projects.  This is the Annual Outdoor Quilt Show, and the town takes … Continue reading

A Mecca for Adventure Seekers

Aspen Trees Park City Utah Adventure Mecca

It’s the home of the United States Ski Team and the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a mecca for skiers, cyclists, and adventure seekers. More importantly, it’s close to the home of one of my favorite humor bloggers, Heather Armstrong, over at Dooce.com. I just heard the collective gasp from my blogging friends, as their underwear just twisted and crept up their butt cracks, because they thought I said she was my favorite. No, no, no. I said she was ONE OF my favorites. Chill out and pull your underwear outta your crack. That’s gotta be uncomfortable. Anyway, she lives over in Salt Lake City, not far from here, and if I just stopped by unannounced, y’all would probably have … Continue reading

Trees, Trees, and More Trees

Redwood National Forest california

Before I head on over to Park City, Utah and freeze my ass off, I figured I stop to take a look at some trees. Yes, trees. You know those tall things with leaves, and trunks with bark? Yeah, those thingamabobs. BUT … I’m not looking at just your average, everyday trees. Nope, I’m looking at redwoods! As in, The Redwood National Forest! Yeah, THOSE trees! Aren’t they awesome? Apparently, I wasn’t alone. There were plenty of other lookey-loos and picture-taking-contraption-users. And elk hiding out, too! They left me utterly speechless (the trees and elk, not the photographers). Does this really qualify as a small town? No, and I don’t care. Sometimes you just need … Continue reading

I Didn’t Leave My Heart in San Francisco

sausalito california

I was born in a big town (Seattle), and have lived in them for most of my life (Dallas, Charleston, Boston, San Diego), but when I moved to Hillsborough, NH in 2000, I found an appreciation for small town life. No noisy neighbors. No bright lights to obscure the celestial skies. No traffic. Pure tranquility. Since then, I can honestly say that I never want to live anywhere “bustling” or “over-crowded” ever again, at least, if I can help it. Maybe, it’s because I’m getting older. Anyway, I’m going to tell you why I didn’t go to San Francisco. I was close, though, and got to see the skyline from a small town, and that’s good … Continue reading

Champoeg: A History-making Town That is Lost to History

Champoeg, Oregon

Driving into what, at one time, had been the most important city in the Oregon Territory, there is no way to tell it from the countryside around you.  Farms of hops, cattle, sheep, and food crops, small cozy houses sprinkled about in a rather haphazard fashion, and finally a sign welcoming you to Champoeg State Park are the only clues that you are not just going through rolling countryside. What makes this place so important is what was decided here.  It was no less than the fate of what soon after became the state of Oregon.  Pronounced “shamp-OO-ee”, the town plat sits alongside the Willamette River, and about 100 feet above it.  In its heyday, … Continue reading

Standing On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona

standing on a corner in winslow arizona

♫ Standing On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona ♫ Recognize those lyrics? It’s, Take It Easy, by The Eagles. Don’t worry, even though I’ve heard the song many times, it didn’t hit me until I saw this: (You can thank me later for putting that little nugget in your head. Now, you’ll be singing it all day. You’re welcome.) The song tells the tale of a disconsolate singer with woman troubles, and includes the following lines: Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me. You just sang that while … Continue reading

The Town Too Tough to Die

gunfight at the ok corral tombstone arizona

Before we get started, let’s tend to a little business, or as we like to say in the south, “bidness.” Facebook has decided to charge pages like American Small Towns a fee to share my articles, even with people who have Liked my page. (My last article was seen by only 9 of my current 428 Facebook followers. I’ll have to pay Facebook before they’ll share it with the rest of my fans). Thankfully, there’s a better way. If you’d like to receive my posts, you can subscribe via email. Yay! Simply type your email address in the Subscribe box, which is located in the top right-hand side (under the header picture) of my blog. You’ll … Continue reading