Are These America’s Most Interesting Towns?
Breathtaking scenic views, powerful local legends, and more: As we search for America’s Most Interesting Town, these stories surfaced as interesting entries.
Lake Placid, FL
What: “The Sistine Chapel of Winn-Dixies”
So, what makes it interesting? After retiring, Bob and Harriet Porter of Lake Placid, Florida, above, set off to see the world—on motorcycles—eventually reaching Chemainus, British Columbia, where they were inspired by the town’s outdoor murals.
“They immediately started their trip back to Lake Placid with a fervor to revitalize the town,” wrote neighbors Mike and Jan S. The couple founded the Lake Placid Mural Society, and today 44 interactive murals enliven their town. So impressive are the works of art that the Tampa Bay Times dubbed one “the Sistine Chapel of Winn-Dixies.”
What: Springtime snow
So, what makes it interesting? “At least 10 feet of snow remains on the Mount Eccles Elementary School playground, and the children have built igloos and snow slides in lieu of swings and other equipment that is buried beneath their feet,” wrote Rochelle V. “Folks in the community are estimating the snow should be melted off by September, just in time for the start of winter in October.”
What: Marriage Day
So, what makes it interesting? “Elkton celebrates its rich history on ‘Marriage Day’ every year,” wrote Kimberly M. Why’s that? “Between 1913 and 1938, there was no waiting period in Maryland to get a marriage license, as there was in neighboring states. Eloping couples streamed into town on trains and buses for a speedy ceremony at one of the dozen chapels on Main Street. At the height of business, 11,791 marriage licenses were issued in one year”—including to celebrities of the time like Joan Fontaine, Debbie Reynolds, Martha Raye, according to the Washington Post. Following this tradition, eager couples tie the knot in Elkton on the third Friday of every June.
What: The Thunderegg Capital of the World
So, what makes it interesting?“Legend is the thunder gods who lived in Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood would hurl large round-shaped rocks at each other,” wrote resident Susan B., explaining one theory behind the geodes scattered over the plateaus of Central Oregon.
Show Low, AZ
What: Funny origin
So, what makes it interesting? Two cowboys decided their town wasn’t big enough for both of them, and determined the loser of a card game would leave. According to the town’s site: “One said, ‘If you can show low, you win.’ The other turned up the deuce of clubs and replied, ‘Show low it is.’”
Hay Springs, NE
What: The Walgren Lake Monster
So, what makes it interesting? “Our town has an interesting ‘thing’ living in our lake,” wrote resident Jennifer W. “Legend says that a monster, 20 feet long, lurks in the mossy lake near Hay Springs, NE. Near the turn of the century, it was reported by fishermen who used the lake for catching trout. It has never been photographed or caught, but as word spread it became a mascot for our town. Some say it’s a large otter or muskrat. Others say it’s imaginary. Only true believers know for sure,” she continued. “If you camp at the lake this summer, you may see it hiding in the reeds, or swimming in the mossy undergrowth of the lake. Come…see for yourself.”
Santa Claus, IN
What: Year-round Christmas celebration
So, what makes it interesting? Never mind the North Pole: Residents say Santa Claus, Indiana is the place for Christmas cheer, 365 days a year.
“When I tell people I live in a town called Santa Claus, it brings a smile with a ‘Really?’ from each and every one,” wrote Melissa W. “As home to the only post office in the world with Santa’s name, our charming town receives thousands of letters addressed to jolly St. Nick from all over the globe.” The town planners even kept the holiday spirit when naming streets, which boast jolly names like Holiday Boulevard, Ornament Lane, Silver Bells Terrace, Snowball Drive, and Kringle Place Boulevard. Wonder which one Rudolph lives on?