Why did Ruth & I go to Chattanooga? I got to thinking about how many cities of 100,000 or more in the United States that we haven’t been to and started wondering what we’re missing. I went through a 2017 Rand McNally Atlas and came up with 22 of them, like Tallahassee, Florida, which we’ve been near but never to. Chattanooga certainly has a lot for tourists. So do Columbia and Charlotte, 2 other cities that made my unvisited list. Perhaps we went through some of the 22 on our way to other destinations many years ago but didn’t linger long enough to get an impression.
As I made my list, a problem developed. Many towns of 100,000 or more have blended into large cities and grown as a result of that. Is Plano, Texas, a part of Dallas, or is it a stand-alone town? Is San Bernardino now part of the Los Angeles megalopolis? Is Edison, New Jersey, now said to be in the New York city metro area? We’ve been in all three. There are about 20 cities of 100,000 or more that are now so close to very big cities that they might be considered part of them. Look at Jurupa Valley in Southern California and tell me if it’s part of LA or an independent city. I had to make a decision and ended up listing for visiting only what still seem to be stand-alone towns far enough away from huge metros, like Flint, Michigan, which brought up another issue.
If we are attempting to travel to the 22 on the list, are they worth it? Travel can be a hassle, but when we go someplace like Chattanooga, it’s full of focused, appreciative visitors. Is Flint really worth visiting? It certainly has been in the news recently with it water problems. Is Erie, Pennsylvania, another city we haven’t been to, worth the effort to see? Only going there can answer this question satisfactorily. Being in Charlotte and seeing its go-go development is critical for understanding it. When I told a friend that Ruth and I were going to Columbia, South Carolina, Pat beamed and told me there was a lot to do there. He was right! I certainly now have fond memories of Trinity Cathedral, the Governor’s Mansion, Mr. Friendly, etc.
So now we’ve been to 3 of the cities on my unvisited 100,000 list. All were worthwhile destinations. However, when we were in New York City the first week of October, 2017, we planned to take a train to Waterbury, Connecticut. Its population is over 108,000. We’ve never been there even though we’ve traveled to Hartford and found lots to do there. Waterbury has grown close to Hartford, and I couldn’t find much to see other than the Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center and some churches. We never made it to Waterbury because there was so much to do in Manhattan.
We’ve never been to Rochester and Syracuse, New York, so we’re planing to include them on a trip in 2018 when we go to a great city we haven’t been to for a few years, Toronto. Should we include Erie?
There’s one major city with many tourist attractions among the 22, and I can’t believe that I’ve never been to Orlando, Florida. However, it’s true. To be continued.