Leavenworth becomes one big tourist trap during Christmastime. Tucked deep in the mountainous forests of central Washington, the town fully exaggerates its alpine aesthetics, with a Nutcracker museum, and live reindeer.
But if you come any other time of year, you’re in for a true mountain paradise, one that’s often overshadowed, especially in warmer months, by Washington’s glimmering coasts. The holidays try their hardest to manufacture magic. But once the crowds have dissipated, that same magic comes naturally in this Bavarian Brigadoon.
Lucas has been called the “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” the tiny town smack dab in the middle of the state is home to art both compelling and different. From the downtown’s storied public restroom in Bowl Plaza; sculpture and rock gardens; the five-room, a traveling roadshow dedicated to putting mega roadside attractions in miniature.
There are, of course, more traditional small towns all over Kansas. But for a certain set of people, this is paradise. And for the rest of us, it’s an essential stopping point on a cross-country trip.
New Jersey: Sea Bright
Suppose you want to experience the Jersey Shore without barrels of industrial sludge. In that case, Sea Bright is a veritable 1.2-square-mile oasis of bars you want to visit, beaches where you can find a nook to yourself, and everything else you love about summer, including ice cream.
Sea Bright is surrounded by the mighty Navesink River on the west and the even mightier Atlantic on the east. Sea Bright isn’t overwhelmed by kitschy tourist traps and saltwater taffy stands.
If you happen to be in Kansas City, or in St. Louis and you have a couple of hours to spare, don't hesitate, to take your car and drive down to Rocheport. It is located along the Katy Trail and the meaning of its title is French for "Rocky Port."
The small town is best known for being a well-known trading point for the native Americans who used to live in this area. These days, there are many B&Bs as the town usually gets packed over weekends with local tourists, visiting to admire the simplicity of the surroundings and the picturesque views.
Not all American towns (and especially the small ones), preserve a strict American culture. Many of them have cherished their origins, and Decorah in Iowa is a perfect example of that. The town is rooted in a Norwegian way of life. Every July, the town is dedicated to celebrating the Norwegian culture, and it has become the highlight of the year.
Amongst many other interesting points that Decorah has to offer, it has the country's biggest immigration group museum, the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. The town is home to many breathtaking and nurtured nature resorts, Dunning’s Springs Park being one of them.