Sing with me. “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays. ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam, when you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze. For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.” Hey, you sounded great! Yes, friends, there is a reason for Gildshire’s Small Towns That Will Welcome You Home series to run in December. This is the month of “home.” It’s thirty days of holly in the windows, Hallmark on the TV (*spoiler* the couple will always end up together), and the soldiers’ wish to be home. Today, we are pleased to offer up the second in our series.
Beaufort, South Carolina:
Compared to the likes of Stockholm, Wisconsin (population your last family reunion minus Uncle Zebediah’s family), Gildshire is pushing the envelope with Beaufort’s 13,357 population number. While we promise not to go any higher, we wanted to include Beaufort for its small-town charm and historical significance. The locals will tell you the history in their town dates to the formation of the colonies into a nation. You won’t find that kind of context short of a visit to Philadelphia or Boston, and they don’t have antebellum mansions still in use as personal residences. Has your appetite for history been fulfilled? Take a carriage ride through downtown or go to one of Beaufort’s driftwood-dotted beaches, such as the one pictured above.
Okay, population 155. Here is one for the small-town purists in the crowd. But, don’t be fooled into thinking there’s nothing to do, because the population is so small. Volant is primarily an Amish town. Gildshire knows from experience that Amish means the tastiest foods and the highest quality crafts, quilts, blankets, etc. While you’re there, take some time to learn a bit about the unique lifestyle and drop by Miss Scarlett’s Gift Parlor. Homemade fudge and one (or more) of sixty whole bean coffees are waiting.
Depoe Bay, Oregon:
Yes, you can get homemade fudge in Depoe Bay, and saltwater taffy, as well. But, you’re here with bigger fish to fry. Much bigger fish! The body of water that makes up Depoe Bay itself is home to a pod of gray whales. (Puh-leeze stop with the “whales are mammals” stuff. Gildshire knows that, but “bigger mammals to fry” just sounds wrong on so many levels.) The giant miracles of nature often venture close to shore, offering visitors a chance to witness them as close as can be without chartering a whaleboat. While in the area, drive the Otter Crest Loop. The photographers in the family will ask to stop repeatedly, but wait until you get to the top for the best views on the entire Oregon Coast. When you get back to downtown Depoe Bay, stop in downtown and patronize the friendliest merchants on the Oregon Coast.
Medicine Park, Oklahoma:
The movie “A River Runs Through It” was written about the Bitterroot River in western Montana. But a clear and running river does pass through the heart of Medicine Park. It is a popular natural swimming spot for the 443 residents and their guests alike. This is the kind of town in which you would expect cobblestone streets, and so there are. It all adds up to a picture of quaint and serene. While in town, stop in at The White Buffalo Trading Post for Native American items, and general store inventory, as well.
On the shores of Lake Erie find this tiny town, with a whole lot going for it. Visitors can enjoy the vista of Sandusky Bay, and check out Marblehead Lighthouse in one stop. Only 884 people call Marblehead home. Frankly, we don’t know why it isn’t a lot bigger! Gildshire has never found a prettier downtown, and these folks know how to party! A parade or festival of some kind takes place seemingly every weekend. While in town, stop in at Bergman Orchards for some fruit, a little candy, or 12 dozen pies. The baked goods are seriously so good they will welcome you all on their own.
That’s Part Two, in our list of small towns that will welcome you home. We know there will be a Part Three, and maybe more. Who knew there were that many things going on outside the major cities? Actually, Gildshire wrote all about it in The Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken, available on our home page. Check it out and check out some of these small towns.