Towns of America A to Z: The S Towns #atozchallenge

Sadly, I didn’t get all of these posted with the month of April, but I most certainly want to finish.  I am like the guy in the 5K that shows up last….at least I will complete the race.

So, the biggest list of town names in the alphabet is probably those that begin with the letter S.  There are a load of towns and places, but I will limit them to a readable amount.  I do have some fun names at the end.



Sandwich Historical Society – Sandwich, New Hampshire
Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!

Hungry?  Maybe a sandwich?  If so, don’t visit Sandwich, New Hampshire as there is not a place to get a sandwich in Sandwich.  Promise you…I even asked in town hall!!  That said, Sandwich is a lovely little town (despite our going 30 minutes out of the way for me to experience a “Sandwich Fail”.).


Squam Lake Marketplace – Holderness, New Hampshire

Still want that sandwich?  Closest place to Sandwich, NH for a sandwich is at Squam Lake Marketplace in Holderness, NH, about a 13 mile drive west on NH Hwy 109 and 113.  Be alerted that a simple PB&J will cost you about $10, but they are generous with the amount of stuff.


Sparta House Tea Room, Sparta, Ontario
Sparta House Tea Room, building built in 1830s
Norma Roberts and some of her Tea Pots
More Teapots at the Sparta House

Now, if you are still hungry and are craving some truly hearty British home made fare (such as a Ploughman’s Lunch, Kidney Pot Pie or a Cornish Pastie), then a visit to the Sparta House Tea Room in Sparta, Ontario is the place you want to visit. Its been about 15 years since I visited, but Beatle-loving Ken Roberts and his teapot-collecting Norma still run the place that has been around since the 1830s.  They took it over in 1996 and still dish out some amazing fare.

Ye Olde Forge and Anvil Museum, Sparta , Ontario
The trillium is the Provincial flower of Ontario. They grow all over Sparta
One of many gift shops. This one is also in an old historic building. They make candles here

Sparta also has an old Quaker Church, a huge field of trilliums (if you are there the right time of the year) and a wonderful little museum called the Forge & Anvil House.  There are a few other touristy businesses in the quaint little community.


Story, Indiana
Welcome to Story, Indiana

Speaking of old places, how about the small town of Story, Indiana?  (I wrote a long post about this place in 2017).  What used to be an old farming town with a nice general store (formerly known as the Wheeler General Store).  It is now the storied Story Inn, which prides itself on “One Inconvenient Location Since 1851.”  The town is basically a place with dining and a number of rental rooms and small houses.  A great little getaway in a very proudly inconvenient location!

Formerly the Wheeler Store, now the Story Inn
Story Inn, Story, Indiana
Story Inn, One Inconvenient Location
Story Inn Dining area
Bathroom Sign in Story Inn
Sumoflam at the Story Inn in Story, Indiana


And the story doesn’t end.  There is also a Story in Arkansas.

Sumoflam in Story, Arkansas


Sunrise, Washington

Technically not a town, but it is a place on the map named Sunrise and it sits in the midst of the beautiful Mt. Rainier National Park.  Sunrise features a store and some amazing views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascades.

Mt. Rainier as seen from Sunrise, WA
Rugged Cascades as seen from Sunrise, WA


I presented a Sunrise.  How about a Sunset?  Basically a dot on the map on TX Hwy 287 between Bowie and Decatur, it has a great place for breakfast.  There is indeed a Post Office too!

Sunset, Texas
Sunset, TX Post office
The Sunset Trading Post offers up a great breakfast


Finally have a chance to post one of the few places I have been in Delaware.  This is a welcome sign at a rest area in Smyrna, Delaware.

Welcome to Smyrna, Delaware


Way south of Iowa City on US HWY 218 in the middle of nowheresville is a small farming community called Swedesburg. Originally built up by Swedish immigrants who arrived in the area in the 1860s, the community now has a population of about 90.  However, it is home to the “World Famous” Swedish American Museum, a local historical society museum celebrating the Swedish heritage of the area.

Welcome to Swedesburg
Pastoral scene in Swedesburg, IA as seen from US Hwy 218
The Swedesburg Swedish Heritage Museum
Watch out for the Swedish Crossing!!

The straw goat below is known as a “Julbock,” and is one of the biggest symbols of Swedish Christmas traditions.  The Yulbock is traditionally known as the bringer of gifts to the household.  They have one in Swedesburg to welcome visitors.

Yulbock in Swedesburg


This is a fun town if you like quirky roadside attractions and unique art.  My favorite thing to see in the town is a large marble hand statue called “Agraria” by American sculptor Larry Kirkland.  It is actually made from the same marble quarry that Michaelangelo used centuries ago.

“Agraria” by American artist Larry Kirkland
Agraria’s giant hand holds a special item!

Also in downtown Santa Rosa one can find the “Guardian of the Creek,” a one and a half ton mosaic rainbow trout created by local Santa Rosa artist Mario Uribe.  The trout is 13 feet tall and is surrounded by a 30 foot diameter mosaic map of the Santa Rosa Watershed.

Guardian of the Creek by Mario Uribe in Santa Rosa, CA
Definitely something fishy about this picture!

But, perhaps one of the more quirkier California monuments is a 65 foot tall obelisk made completely from junk bike parts.  It is called “Cyclisk,” and was created by Petaluma-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector.  It was completed in 2010.

“Cyclisk” by Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector
A close-up of the conglomeration of old scrap bicycle parts that comprise Cyclisk
Standing tall with Cyclisk in Santa Rosa, CA


There is another Santa Rosa worth visiting and it sits on Route 66 in New Mexico.  I drove through one evening (a good time to drive through an old Route 66 town) and the neon lights were everywhere. I certainly got my kicks on Route 66.

The Comet II Restaurant in Santa Rosa, NM
Bill’s Place in Santa Rosa, NM
Route 66 Inn – Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Pecos Theatre – Santa Rosa, New Mexico
La Loma Motel – Santa Rosa, New Mexico


Honestly, not many places scare and Scary Creek, West Virginia didn’t scare me either.  This was actually on the site of one of the earliest battles of the Civil War and one of the first Confederate victories. It took place on July 17, 1861.  There is an old memorial sign about the Battle of Scary.  The community of Scary was established in 1886, but the Post Office was discontinued in 1931.  The small community is not too far from Interstate 64, near Nitro, WV and lies near the Kanawha River.

The old Scary Creek Church of God sign. Not sure if I would want to go to a church in a place called Scary.
Scary Creek Paintball
The not so scary Scary Creek in Scary, WV
A mailbox on a Scary Road in Scary, WV
A Scary building along Scary Creek in West Virginia


There are many places named Seymour in the United States (actually 11 of them).  I have been to at least four of them, all shown below.  I am starting with Seymour, Wisconsin (about 20 miles west of Green Bay), because they claim it to be the home of the first hamburger.  “Hamburger” Charlie Nagreen is credited with this.  The town has a twelve foot fiberglass statue honoring him.

Welcome to Seymour, Wisconsin – home of the hamburger
“Hamburger” Charlie Nagreen served the world’s first hamburger at the Seymour Fair of 1885 when he flattened a meatball and put it between two slices of bread.
The face of a Burger Creator — Charlie Nagreen
Giant burger on a building in Seymour, Wisconsin


Annually I make a winter pilgrimage to Seymour, Indiana to see the huge Sandhill Crane southern migration.  This is ALWAYS a thrill.  Thousands of these huge birds flock into the cornfields in the area for food for their long trip south for the winter.  One year I was EXTREMELY lucky and was able to also see a very rare Whooping Crane migrating with them (There are estimates that there are only 800 of them left). In the photos below you can see the white-colored bird in contrast to the gray-colored Sandhill Cranes.  An experience of a lifetime!

Sandhill Cranes flying over Seymour, Indiana
Sandhill Cranes graze in the cornfields around Seymour, Indiana
Close-up of three beautiful Sandhill Cranes
Chance encounter of a rare tagged Whooping Crane. Only about 800 remain
Whooping Crane in flight in Seymour, Indiana


In February 2020 I was in west Texas and once again was seeking out Sandhill Cranes in their northern migration to Nebraska.  We had gone to Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and there were none there.  Eventually, as we neared Dimmitt, Texas, we saw thousands of them flying amidst the wind generators at the Bethel Wind Farm.  I was thrilled.  After taking well over 200 photos, we continued on to Fort Worth, passing through a number of small Texas towns.  One of these was Seymour, Texas and, lo and behold, there were more migrating birds there.  We stopped again for more photos of the Sandhill Cranes in Seymour.  And, as I was writing this and looking closely at the photos, I discovered that there were a large number of blue-winged teal ducks flying with them!!

Desert area around Seymour, Texas
A view of the Green Pastures Wind Farm near Seymour, Texas on Texas FM 1919

Much like the Dimmitt area, Seymour is also home to the Green Pastures Wind Farm and the cranes were in the surrounding fields.

Sandhill Cranes fly over the fields near Seymour, Texas
A flock of blue-winged teals join the Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes grazing in a field near Seymour, Texas
A duck with the cranes

As we continued east, we caught a lovely sunset outside of Seymour, Texas.  It was a great day there.

Sunset in Seymour, Texas, Feb. 14, 2020


And, for a final Seymour, how about ROHO the giant rooster at Uncle Roosters restaurant and Ozark handcrafts in Seymour, Missouri?

ROHO the Giant Rooster at Uncle Rooster’s in Seymour, MO. (Closed as of May 2019)


I can’t do a post about S-named towns without including a brief look at the quirky Sebastopol, California.  My good friend Doug Kirby, from Roadside America, highly recommended that we go out of our way to visit this fun little town to see the amazing quirky art of Patrick Amiot. (I actually did a big post about this HERE.)  There are probably well over 150 scrap metal art pieces scattered all over the town.  Well worth a fun visit for the whimsy of it all.

Artist Patrick Amiot’s house in Sebastopol, CA
Batman and Robin in Sebastopol
A Crow Bar


One last place that is near and dear to my heart is the lovely red rock country of Sedona, Arizona.  For five years in the 1980s I was a tour guide in Flagstaff and I made well over 300 trips to Sedona with tourists.  I got to return for a visit in 2019.

A view of the famous Cathedral Rock with my Nava-Hopi van ca 1984
Cathedral Rock in Sedona in 2019
Sumoflam at one of his favorite places in 2019
Some of the red rocks of Sedona, including Coffee Pot Rock in 2019

Finally, as always, I will close with a few “unique-named” places that start with S.

Stab, Kentucky

Shopville – Stab VFD – Kentucky. A place called Stab!
Stab Road – Stab, Kentucky

Smiley, Texas

SMILE!!  You are in Smiley, Texas.

Smiley, Texas
Smiley, Texas Post Office

Success, Missouri

Yes, there is a road to Success and I found it in Missouri.

Road to Success, MO
I found Success! It’s in Missouri

Static, Kentucky

Road to Static, Kentucky
Charlie’s — Coldest beer in Static, Kentucky. I think it is the only beer in Static!

Shiner, Texas

You may not get a shiner on your eye, but you can certainly guzzle a shiner in your mouth in Shiner, Texas.  Home to the Spoetzl Brewery, where Shiner Beer is made. Might be colder than Static!!

Shiner, Texas

Startup, Washington

Welcome to Startup, Washington

Santa Claus, Indiana

I have included this in numerous posts before, but why not add a little Christmas spirit?

Santa Claus, Indiana
Welcome to Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana Post Office

Sisters, Oregon

Lovely little corner of Oregon.  By the way, there is also a town named Brothers in Oregon!

Sisters is named for the “Three Sisters” peaks, the third, fourth and fifth tallest peaks in Oregon
Mt. Hood can also be seen from Sisters

Sistersville, West Virginia

Speaking of sisters, there is a town in West Virginia that had a famous ferry on the Ohio River.

Large mural in Sistersville, West Virginia
Sistersville established in 1839

Spotted Horse, Wyoming

Spotted Horse Bar- Spotted Horse, Wyoming
Spotted Horse, Wyoming – Population 2

Stanley, Idaho

Not really a strange name, but definitely one of America’s beautiful little secrets…Stanley, Idaho

Welcome to Stanley, Idaho
Gravel main street Eva Falls Ave. in Stanley, Idaho
The Sawtooth Mountains and the Salmon River in Staley, Idaho

Well, we meandered all over the place on this one. Hope you enjoyed the trip.

If you like what you see, you can check out my books which cover so much more!


You can get my books online!  The series now has five books and I am working on books six and seven. Book Six will be all about murals from all over the country!! Watch for them later this year.