Traveling Across America

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and

There’s nothing more rewarding than spending some quiet time with friends and family over the holidays, and this year it’s especially lovely. I am pleased to report that many places are opening up and offering a chance to get out and enjoy the outdoors, special celebrations, and of course, wonderful food.

A small town is what I came from, the kind where everybody knows your name and your business – lol! Small towns across America is our topic this month where charm is in the air, and the opportunity to support small businesses abound.

In Florida, you’ll find St. Augustine, a coastal and quaint spot. It is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America. There’s a 144-block Historic District and plenty of fun to be had. There’s a “anti-aging” spring from which to sip, some haunted saloons and lighthouses, too. My suggestions for where to stay are the St. Francis Inn or the Casa Monica Resort and Spa.

Small town America.

In Kentucky, you’ll find Bardstown is a real treat. It is the hometown of some of the best-known bourbon distilleries, as well as boasts a historic Main Street for shopping delights. The My Old Kentucky Home State Park is not to miss, as well as wandering around in and about the over 300 buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places. The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train is an ideal place to catch a culinary experience. My suggestion for accommodations is the Bourbon Manor B & B outfitted in a mansion complete with a bourbon bar.

In South Carolina, Beaufort is the place to be with its sleepy charmed oak trees draped in moss. Bay Street has the best boutiques, galleries and restaurants, and the Old Bull Tavern is where you’ll find trendy and easy treats.  Book a kayak tour and bring a camera, as you’ll be sure to discover sleeping alligators, dolphins and beautiful beaches.

In Missouri, Hannibal is the sweet spot with the spirit of Mark Twain everywhere. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is where you can learn about one of America’s most well-known authors. The Mark Twain Cave is a tourist hot spot as is the Mark Twain Riverboat. My suggestion for a place to stay is the Garth Woodside Mansion, which is one of the quaintest B & B’s in America.

As you start planning your vacations for the holiday and even into the year ahead, book early and call ahead for reservations as many of the best places are open but at limited capacity. There are countless ways to spend time with friends and family, and some of the best are in a small town tucked away with treasures to be found!

Keep on traveling!  For more information, visit