Are you sick of your friends bragging about their international vacations? We here at Movoto Real Estate have come up with a strategy by which you can trick everyone into thinking you’ve been to Europe and more, without technically lying.
With our American International Road Trip, you can see Paris, Athens, Berlin, Moscow, and Prague, all without having to deal with grabby TSA agents, iceless beverages, and people who refuse to speak English.
So fill up the gas tank, strap your luggage to the top of your car, and prepare for the long haul.
These five towns with Old World names might be more modest than their namesakes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a certain unique appeal -- one that only you are clever enough to discover.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be a convert and decide to buy a home in one of the biggest little cities in the country.
Visit the Old World for Half the Price
Located in the northeast corner of Texas, Paris is the seat of Lamar County, home to 25,000 people. Locals call it “The Second Largest Paris in the World.” A replica of the Eiffel Tower was built there in 1993. At 65 feet, it’s only the world’s 17th largest Eiffel Tower replica -- but it might be the only one wearing a cowboy hat.
If you fall in love with Paris, Texas and decide to stay, you’ll be amazed by the real estate deals. This cute three bedroom house with a wraparound porch is located just 1.5 miles away from the Eiffel Tower, and is selling for only $36,000. Try finding a deal like that located 2.5 km from the original Eiffel Tower.
The 1984 Wim Wenders movie, Paris, Texas, put this little town on the cultural map, though the story isn’t actually set in Paris.
Other states with towns called Paris: AR, GA, IL, IN, ID, KY, MI, MO, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, WI
Next up is the city of Athens, home to Ohio University. While Athens, Greece, is commonly regarded as the birthplace of democracy, its namesake in Ohio is built around the ideals of universal education and freedom of ideas. Founded in 1804, Ohio University is the ninth oldest public university in the country.
Athens is considered one of the most haunted cities in the US. This is due largely to the the legacy of the Athens Lunatic Asylum. The hospital, originally called The Athens Hospital For The Insane, was founded in 1874. Over the nearly 120 years of its operation, the asylum treated everyone from kids to deranged criminals to Civil War veterans. Lobotomies were performed there. Nearly 2,000 former patients are buried in the cemeteries immediately surrounding the decommissioned hospital. This area is now called The Ridges, and is known for spooky activity. In 2010, it was featured on the FOX show, The Scariest Places on Earth.
Other states with towns named Athens: AL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MI, ME, OH, PA, TX, WI, WV
With the plucky motto, “Prague, Oklahoma: Czech Us Out,” this town combines the best of Central European heritage and central American optimism. Located in Lincoln County, Prague has a population of about 2,100 people. If you’re there on the first Saturday in May, you can check out the Kolache festival, a celebration of the town’s Czech heritage that includes dancing, music, costumes, and carnival rides– along with plenty of Kolache, a traditional Central European pastry with fruit filling.
Prague’s current civic preoccupation is the transport of Jim Thorpe’s body back to its native land. Jim Thorpe is Prague’s most famous citizen. Born on Sac and Fox territory, Thorpe’s ancestry was a mix of French, English, and Native American.
Thorpe won the Decathlon and the Pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, becoming the first athlete in history to win both events. He went on to play professional baseball and football, and is considered by some to be the greatest athlete of the 20th century. After Thorpe died in 1953 of a heart attack, his body was forcibly removed from Oklahoma–during the funeral!– by some greedy Pennsylvanians who’d named a town after him.
Other states with towns named Prague: None. New Prague, MN
This small town in Idaho is home to about 24,000 people. In Moscow, you can visit the Appaloosa Horse Museum, which aims to preserve and celebrate the history of these magnificent spotted horses. You can also go “glamping” at MaryJanesfarm, a Bed and Breakfast with a uniquely rustic twist. Nylon tents and sleeping bags are ditched in favor of permanent canvas tents, fully furnished with a bed, wood stove, and wood floors. There’s even a heated, outdoor clawfoot tub -- the “farm” version of a hot tub.
The town was originally called “Hog Heaven,” because the area was rich in camas bulbs, a favorite food of pigs. In 1872, the town’s name was briefly changed to Paradise Valley. Legend has it that five men gathered to decide on a name for the town, but couldn’t come to an agreement. Finally, they ran up against a posting deadline, and the postmaster, Samuel Keff, wrote in “Moscow.”
It’s possible that Keff didn’t realize towns could be named anything other than Moscow: born near Moscow, Pennsylvania, Keff would later move to Moscow, Iowa.
Cold Warriors be damned -- there are twenty-seven states in the US with the name Moscow.
Other states with towns named Moscow: AL AR FL ID IL IA KS KY ME MD MI MN MO NY ND OH OK PA RI TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI
Berlin, New Hampshire
Berlin is called “The City that Trees Built.” Though named for a German city, the majority of Berlin’s population is of French ancestry. This is due to the town’s proximity to the Canadian border -- it’s estimated that 65 percent of its 10,051 inhabitants speak a variant of New England French, dubbed “Berlin French.”
Skiing is popular here: in 1872, some Scandinavian men founded the nation’s first ski club, which they called the North American Ski Club. The club is still in operation today, though it’s now called the Nansen Club, in honor of the famous Norwegian explorer (and skier) Fridtjof Nansen.
Perhaps of greater importance, the modern casserole was invented here, by a French Canadian immigrant named Elmire Jolicoeur. We’re still not sure if we should laud Jolicoeur or not.
Another famously named town -- Milan, New Hampshire -- is a mere eight miles away.
Other states with towns named Berlin: ND, WI.
Time for a Road Trip?
Though their histories aren’t quite as auspicious as those of their namesakes, these US towns have their own share of charm and intrigue. An added bonus is that you won’t have to contend with hordes of fellow tourists -- and almost everyone you encounter will speak English. You can calculate how much your gas will cost here.
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