We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.
Have you ever wondered why some towns in the U.S. don't have more appealing names? For example, there's a city named Bland in Missouri and one called No Name in Colorado. That said, you're probably grateful that you don't live in Slickpoo, Idaho for obvious reasons. Regardless of where you call home, you won't be able to stop smiling when you learn the names of these eight American towns.
Two Egg, Florida
This city is certainly a good egg — two of them, to be exact. Two Egg is actually an unincorporated area in Jackson County, Florida. It doesn't have a city government, so no one in the community pays local taxes or has access to municipal services.
The area was developed in the early 20th century, and one of its first businesses was a sawmill built by the Allison Company. In honor of the company's contribution to the region's economic growth, the city was named Allison. However, the newly birthed city didn't keep the name for long.
When the Great Depression hit, jobs began to disappear, and people started to barter for their daily needs. As the legend goes, a mother often sent her sons to trade two eggs for sugar at the general store in town. Eventually, the store came to be known as a "two egg store." As time went by, even visitors began calling the town “Two Egg.”
The name, however, testifies to the resilience of the American spirit. At a difficult time in history, it represented the rugged optimism exhibited by the Greatest Generation. Two Egg officially made its way to the map of Florida in 1940. The city also has other claims to fame. Actress Faye Dunaway is from the region, and the area is said to be the roaming grounds of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.
The name of this town almost certainly gets laughs from everyone who hears it. While it may not be obvious from the name, this town sits in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania. It's surrounded by Amish farms, and shops sell handmade Amish quilts, furniture, toys, and crafts. These attractions make it one of the top tourist destinations in Pennsylvania Dutchland.
However, none of the above explains how Intercourse got its name. The town was originally known as Cross Keys and it didn't get its more colorful moniker until 1814. There are three prevailing theories as to how Intercourse was named, although none are as racy as its name indicates:
Theory One: The town had an old racetrack named "Enter Course" and in due time, the name evolved to "Intercourse." However, there’s little historical basis for this theory, and it may just be a modern justification for a potentially embarrassing name.
Theory Two: Intercourse may have been a reference to the town's location at the intersection of Routes 340 and 772.
Theory Three: The city may have been named as a nod to the close fellowship enjoyed among its communities of faith. Such social cohesion was vital to the region and may have been reflected in the town's name.
While the town of Intercourse is certainly worth a visit, you don't need to go there to find out what it looks like. Instead, check it out in scenes from the 1985 movie Witness, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.
This oddly named town (and the nearby river of the same name) is located near the Washington coast and gets a surprisingly high amount of traffic. Highway 101 cuts through the town, taking tourists and travelers to Washington's beaches or the Olympic National Forest. Odds are the name Humptulips has drawn many laughs from tourists over the years.
While the name combines two oddly paired English words, its origins are not Anglo-Saxon. The name comes rather from the native Quinault word "Ho-to-la-bixh," which translates to "hard to pole." It was used to describe the Humptulips River, which was "hard to pole" — or a challenge to navigate — due to downed timber in its waters. While this explanation makes sense, other sources claim the word really means "chilly region."
So, if you ever find yourself in the city, let the name "Humptulips" remind you of the region's history — after you enjoy a good laugh, of course. Then appreciate the beauty of the notoriously difficult river from the banks. You can also take in the Douglas fir forests that once made Humptulips a famous logging outlet.
It turns out that you can go to hell — you just have to plan a trip to Michigan to get there. Hell, Michigan is actually located near Ann Arbor in the southeast region of the state. The town was first established in the 1830s. Back then, it only had a grist mill and general store. The founder, George Reeves, paid farmers for grain with home-distilled whiskey.
There are several legends about the name's origin and two of them involve George Reeves. The one embraced by locals is that farmers' wives used to kiddingly claim their husbands had "gone to Hell again" when they visited Reeves during harvest time. Yet another theory that involves Reeves is that he was asked what the town should be named. Allegedly, he answered, "I don't know, you can name it Hell for all I care.” Meanwhile, still others speculate that German visitors once described the town as "so schön hell." This phrase translates to "so beautifully bright." No matter the origin, the town officially became Hell, Michigan in 1841.
Today, the town fully embraces its name and even leverages it as an important source of revenue. For example, anyone can pay to be the Mayor of Hell, Michigan for one hour or one day.
Boogertown, North Carolina
Sure, it's a bit immature, but we're willing to bet you couldn't stifle a smile when you heard this one. The name of this unincorporated community may sound like a playground taunt, but it actually refers to the stories of boogeymen who were reported to haunt the forests of a North Carolina town. No boogeymen ever existed, of course. It was just an invention of crafty bootleggers looking to keep townspeople and authorities out of the woods while they made moonshine.
So, where is this comically named town located? You'll find it in Gaston County, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte. The vibrant area boasts plenty of exciting events and activities for visitors and residents alike. If you're game, consider heading into the woods at spots like Crowders Mountain State Park, which is known for its stunning hiking trails and climbing. We promise the boogeymen are long gone, although we can't say the same for the area's famous moonshine.
If you're confused, we understand. Unalaska is, in fact, in Alaska. It’s also called the Port of Dutch Harbor. The town is the main population center on the Aleutian Islands off the southwest coast of the state. There, the town is known for its fishing industry and for being one of the top commercial ports in the country. Unalaska is also a prime destination for outdoor lovers with everything from hiking and kayaking to skiing, birdwatching, and more.
Fishing and outdoor adventures — sounds pretty Alaskan, right? The town's name, however, is far from indicating an anti-state sentiment. It’s actually derived from the native Aleut word for the island: Agunalaksh. When Russian fur traders settled in the area in the early 1800s, the name morphed into a number of variations, including Ounalashka and Oonalaska. By 1900, the name was standardized into the simpler "Unalaska" version used today.
If you decide to visit the (un)Alaskan town, expect to be greeted by a red-shingled, onion-domed cathedral on the skyline, which gives the town an unexpectedly eastern European aura. The building — the Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church — dates back to the fur trader days. Not only is it one of the oldest churches in Alaska, but it is also the oldest cruciform-style cathedral in North America.
Drive through the northwest corner of Maryland, and you may stumble upon Accident — accidentally. How could a town be an accident? The name was first recorded in a 1786 land survey, but the widely accepted origin story dates back to the 1750s. A Mr. George Deakins was to be given 600 acres of land in Maryland from King George II as payment for the debt he owed. To determine what land he wanted, Deakins sent out two different teams of engineers to survey the best spots in the area. Unbeknownst to each other, the two teams returned while having chosen the same plot of land. Deakins had the land patented as "The Accident Tract," and the name stuck as the town grew. Another fun fact about the town? A person from Accident is called an "accidental," but we bet they've already heard all the jokes.
Today, Accident is known for its Drane House, one of the last remaining frontier plantation homes in the region. It also offers easy access to nearby states and national forests, with a wealth of Appalachian allure surrounding the small town. Between its charm, intriguing history, and natural beauty, you may find a visit to be not such an accident, after all.
No, Belchertown isn't home to an unusually high number of burping residents. The town was named for Jonathan Belcher, a major landowner in the town and the Royal Governor of the Massachusetts colony from 1730 to 1740. His name — far from being a reference to any potential gaseous tendencies — was derived from the old French words "bel" and "cher," which together mean "good cheer."
Belchertown is a quintessential New England town situated near the city of Amherst and its Five College Consortium. Explore the historic district while you're there, or take advantage of nearby orchards and wineries for a taste of the region. Just don't drink too much too quickly, unless you want to give the town's name a new (and far too predictable) meaning.