I have two hometowns (is that possible?). I grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio, and I’m raising my daughters in South Orange, New Jersey. My foundation was built in the Midwest, and my future is happening on the East Coast. These are the places where I’ve laughed the hardest and learned the most, the towns where I had my first kiss and will probably have my last, where I know every inch of every park. I know the families who own the businesses and which dogs live on which streets. Nothing huge happens in Lyndhurst or South Orange (unless you count the quiet work of children being raised and dreams being built). And yet I’d rank my hometowns as the most interesting places I know.
In May, we put out a call for the Most Interesting Towns in America. Hundreds of people chimed in, with stories and photos from all 50 states. Poring over the entries, I was inspired by the nuance, the flavors, and the characters that make our country so rich. Lori Kroeger from Seattle wrote to me. She says everything I want to:
My town? The United States of America. For our honeymoon, my husband and I rode our motorcycles from Key West, Florida, to Seattle. I discovered something: We are all citizens in one small town. Seattle has the Space Needle, New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Luckenbach, Texas, has a really large bull you can sit on, and New York is, well, New York! How could anyone possibly point to a location and say, “This is the most interesting place in America”? I feel privileged to call all of you my neighbors.