Vacation Spots with Personality

When considering vacation spots, why stick with the same old destinations everybody goes to? There are lots of fascinating locales with weird names that can make for a unique vacation you’ll never forget.

For example, why is there a Normal, Illinois? Is it because there were abnormal people in Illinois and they wanted to differentiate between the two groups? Actually, Normal, Illinois is named because the Illinois governor in 1857 created a bill to establish a ‘normal’ school. The term normal was based on the schools in France that were set up to become teaching colleges. Part of the stipulation of the governor’s bill was that the location for the school would be the best place that would entice students to come to college. Because Bloomington, IL, raised the most funds to support the school, the ‘normal”‘ school was built outside Bloomington. Consequently, the town was called Normal, and the university was called Illinois State Normal University―today it’s known by Illinois State University.

What about Climax, Blue Balls, and Intercourse? Since these towns are located in Amish country in Pennsylvania, they are good vacation spots despite their risqué names. Of course, you have to visit Bird-in-Hand while you’re there, too. Wonder if Good Intent, PA, is anywhere nearby?

Ever heard of Boring, OR? Boring was named because W.H. Boring lived there. In 1903, the town was platted as Boring Junction. Today, Boring is located in one of the fastest growing counties of Oregon. While it has a weird name, the residents find much pride in their slogan, ‘Boring…the most exciting place to live’. Somehow, I think this would be a boring vacation destination!

Have you heard of Hot Coffee, Mississippi? Hot Coffee is located between Jackson and Hattiesburg. Hot Coffee is just a community of homes, businesses, and farms. Back in the 1870s, Levi Davis, who owned a local inn, would sell ginger cakes his wife had made and hot coffee and to guests and travelers. After a while, a sign was constructed that said, ‘Hot Coffee’. People soon referred to the Inn as ‘Hot Coffee’, and eventually the area surrounding the inn was called the same thing.

What about the devil and North Carolina? Kill Devil Hills is a part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks that is a very popular tourist destination, as it has the distinction of having one of the best beaches in the US. Most of the legends on how Kill Devil Hills got its name center on rum. The one that seems to be the most popular, though, is that its name came from the ‘activities’ of pirates that had settled on a large sand dune. The pirates were involved in making moonshine and some of their potions were so strong that they were rumored to ‘kill the devil’. Certainly exploring this weirdly named town would be a good vacation spot―as long as you don’t drink the moonshine or run into a pirate.

Some vacation destinations might make you feel a little spacey―Jupiter, FL (which is a nice destination, by the way); Mars, PA; Mercury, NV; Saturn, TX; Neptune, TN; Pluto, MS; or Earth, TX. I certainly wouldn’t want to go on a vacation to Accident, MD, or stay overnight at Crook, CO. But I would want to make sure I went to Gasoline, TX. And, of course, what would a vacation be without a little Romance in AR? And for the most unusual vacation of all, maybe you should visit Odd, WV, and Peculiar, MS.

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