by Brad Herzog
27 Aug 2014
Anyone remember Little Big Man, the comic novel by Thomas Berger that debuted 50 years ago in 1964 and became a celebrated film starring Dustin Hoffman six years later. Well, this post is about Little Big Cities.
I’m not a city person. Although I’ve resided in two of the biggest (in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and Manhattan’s Greenwich Village), I prefer the wide open spaces. In fact, even the photo above wasn’t actually taken in a city. It’s a Lego skyscraper from Legoland in Carlsbad, California. That’s my preferred pace.
I live in what many would describe as a small town on California’s Central Coast. I’ve written three travel memoirs, all of them about some of the tiniest dots on the map. A house on wheels has taken me to some of the more remote places in the country — from Promontory (Utah) to Plaquemines Parish (Louisiana). I like it that way.
It’s not that I stay away from cities, by any means. They still form the backbone of every summer trip for us—and this summer we went everywhere from New York to Philadelphia to Boston. But I always prefer a place where quiet is the rule, not the exception, and where the view isn’t obscured by concrete and glass.
That being the case, I think I’ve come up with a way to reference some of America’s most populous places without necessarily having to become part of the population. The following are nine communities with familiar names, but they’re in less familiar places. And there’s something worth seeing in each of them. Tour them in this order, and it could constitute a viable RV itinerary: