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Monday, August 1, 2016

The "Home Town Pride: Part I - The USA" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting in the waiting room of my eye doctor, waiting until my eyes completely dilated in order for my doctor to examine me.  The room is softly lit, but bright enough that you can read the variety of magazines available in the room.  I picked up a copy of Susquehanna Life and began to leaf through it.  Stories about town after town along the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Got me thinking about all the small towns Carol and I have had the chance and honor to visit all over the globe and the pride each town has in its heritage.  Towns of all sizes are proud of their traditions, achievements and beliefs which are part of the history of their town.  Every town has stories to share with the visitors that may find their way to their town.  Some of my favorite towns in the USA which I have visited over my lifetime are:
  • Still Pond, Maryland -  
    Doug Sassi Pottery
    Still Pond is located in Kent County and is a town that you have to keep your eyes open our you will miss it.  Some of my favorite locations in the town are a really neat old-town general store that displays photos of the town as it used to be and a small barn with a sign attached to it that reads "Pottery".  Stopped quite a few times to buy the beautiful pottery that potter Doug Sassi creates.  During our last trip to his barn we found that he has now started a touring business to Italy.
  • Alexandria, Virginia -
    Scottish Walk Parade
    Alexandria is a town rich in history and beautifully preserved 18th and 19th century architecture. Located on the Potomac River with a view of nearby Washington, D.C.  Great restaurants line the downtown streets and create the backdrop for one of our favorite parades, the Scottish Walk Parade which is held the first week-end in December each year.  Plenty of Scottish bagpipes and Scottie dogs along with town dignitaries riding in classic cars make for a great time.  That evening we head to the river for the parade of boats along the Potomac River.  A final visit to The Torpedo Factory, an actual factory that at one time made torpedoes, the next day is a tradition to view all the artwork and crafts of the town's residents.
  • State College, Pennsylvania -
    College Ave. and Allen Street
    Since our traveling friends, Jerry and Just Sue, have moved to State College, Carol and I have been making trips to their home to spend time with them and tour the small towns around State College.  But, State College, in Centre County, is truly a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of Pennsylvania State University.  Carol and I always enjoy time with our friends and the chance to visit sections of the town, eat in one of the town's restaurants and travel along College Ave.  Truly a "Happy Valley."
  • Chesapeake City, Maryland -
    Chesapeake City Bridge can be seen in the background.
    Perhaps my favorite town along the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries has some of my all-time favorite restaurants for food and relaxation along the C&D Canal.  Any season of the year is a great time for an hour drive to walk the old town streets and have a meal along the canal, hoping a large boat or barge will pass under the bridge that connects North and South Chesapeake Cities.
  • Chestertown, Maryland -
    Chestertown waterfront.
    Another really neat little town along the Chester River which is a tributary that leads into the Chesapeake Bay.  The town was founded in 1706 and eventually became Maryland's second leading port behind Annapolis.  So many eclectic shops throughout the town with the little shop "Twigs and Teacups" our favorite.  Saturday morning farmer's market in the small park in the center of the town is also a fun stop.   
  • Lititz, Pennsylvania -  
    Downtown Lititz, PA
    My final small town is no more than a few miles to the north of Lancaster.  I have recently written a series of stories about Lititz which garnered recognition two years ago when they were voted "Coolest Small Town in America."  So you see, it is popular all over the country.
My list could carry many more small towns whose pride makes it a great place to visit, but I would have to go on forever, listing at least another dozen or more favorites.  I have picked a few that are within driving distance from my hometown of Lancaster, PA.  Tomorrow I will give you some of my favorite home towns that are located outside the USA.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


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