Disney theme parks are great! I say that without hesitation and without qualification. A Disney vacation can be the trip of a lifetime or the way to celebrate rites of passage in a family’s timeline. That said, they are crowded, hot this time of year and expensive any time of the year. Getting there is problematic unless you live at the edge of the country. So, for a totally different vacation vibe, join Money Examiners as we explore small towns you should visit before this summer is in the books. We even included some restaurant and lodging ideas.
Money Examiners loves the small towns on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Frankfort is one of the best. When we’re there we visit Point Betsie and the lighthouse that is shown to the left. It was built in 1858 and sits on an idyllic sandy beachfront. Frankfort is also renowned for Victorian homes and a unique shopping district. Have lunch at Crescent Bakery on Main, and stay the night at Harbor Lights Resort.
Oneonta, New York
This little town in the Albany-Syracuse-Binghamton triangle is one impressive historic building after another. The Masonic Lodge (pictured right) is just one example of the Queen Anne architecture that is in place. Oneonta is a fun town with a lively atmosphere, in part because of SUNY Oneonta, and the four local venues for concerts and shows. Have lunch at Undercover Eggplant Company on Chestnut, and stay the night at the Hampton Inn.
From Dennis Quaid to the late Margot Kidder, Livingston, Montana is home to more famous people than small towns should boast. That’s because of its Old West persona, illustrated by the Livingston Depot (pictured left). It’s a retired Northern Pacific railroad station, repurposed into one of Montana’s best museums. Livingston sits in a valley beneath four mountain ranges and is a gateway to Yellowstone. Have lunch at Gil’s Goods on West Park, and stay the night at the Livingston Inn Motel.
Thirty-five miles as the crow flies from Lake Erie find Medina. Its restored public square is a beautiful setting for the small town’s cafe and shopping center. The square’s best landmark? The brilliantly painted Medina Town Hall/Engine House Museum. That’s the red building in the picture to the right. This structure dates to 1878 and has served as the center of village government as well as it’s fire hall and (briefly) its jail. Have lunch at Timber Lodge on Pearl, and stay the night at the Hampton Inn.
Bar Harbor, Maine
We can’t get enough of Acadia National Park, and Bar Harbor is the prettiest gateway town to get into it. You’ll love the miles of cycling trails, the rocky coast, and the granite cliffs that tower over it all. Have lunch at Rose Eden Lobster on State Route 3, and stay the night at the High Seas Motel.
We admit that certain things draw us to a town, perhaps more than they should. Any place that has “by-the-sea” in it is going to grab our attention. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California is one square mile in total, but it packs a punch in that mile. Spectacular coastline is all along the Monterey Peninsula, but nowhere is it at its stunning best like in Carmel. The beautiful Spanish Colonial Carmel Mission and its attendant gardens (pictured right) date to the 1700s. Have lunch at Dametra Cafe on the corner of Ocean and Lincoln and stay the night at the Carmel River Inn.
Are you getting those traveling urges? Yes, we thought you would. Join us, for a great time!