Published July 30, 2012
If you've ever had a hankering to briefly visit Hell, explore Joe Batt's Arm or perhaps slog through Boring, you're in luck: they all exist as travel destinations. Here are some of the craziest sounding towns to visit -- and don't forget to send a postcard to startled friends back home.
Yes, come winter you actually can watch Hell freeze over. Hell, with a population of several hundred, is about 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. What can you do in Hell? Eat ice cream at Screams, pick up something to eat at Hell in a Handbasket, and even, if you're feeling particularly devilish, get married at the Hell Chapel.
The community of Boring - which proclaims itself "an exciting place to live and work" - was actually named after one of its first residents, W.H. Boring. Located about 22 miles southeast of Portland, Boring recently found itself anything but when it paired with the Scottish village of Dull. The two communities, now known jointly as "Dull and Boring" have their own Facebook page.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences actually started life with the name Hot Springs, but discarded that in 1950 when radio quiz show host Ralph Edwards offered to air his show from the first town that renamed itself in the program's honor. Hot Springs, about 140 miles south of Albuquerque, took on the new nom de ville and now has become something of a pop culture reference, including the 1997 Kiefer Sutherland movie "Truth or Consequences, N.M." (filmed in Utah and Nevada, however).
Yes, that's right: common spelling. This town on the island of Anglesey in Wales has one of the longest place names in the world but it can be shortened to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. The full moniker means "St. Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave." Try getting all that on an envelope.
Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland
According to legend, this fishing town located on an island off the Canadian province of Newfoundland was named after the first European settler, Joe Batt, who possibly was a deserter from the employ of Captain James Cook. An arm is a jut of land and hence the name Joe Batt's Arm, which is located a healthy 338 miles from another memorable Newfoundland town, Jerry's Nose.
Before you decide this small rural community northeast of McAlester must have been a funny place name on "Petticoat Junction," consider this: it produced one of the better known speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives, Carl Albert. Albert, who died in 2000 at the age of 91, grew up in Bugtussle and attended its two-room schoolhouse. When it finally closed, he came back to give the graduation address.