This story appears in our debut, Fifty Grande Magazine #1, the Hometowns issue.
How do you begin a fresh exploration of the United States in 2020? It’s home to 328 million residents in 3.8 million square miles, with expansive passageways and borders, diverse terrains and communities. It’s also an idea as much as it is anything else: A better way of life, achieved through democracy, liberty and opportunity. A City Upon a Hill. The American Dream. Exploring the country is all of this: people, places, ideas and more, across all 50 states.
For us, it was important to start our exploration by taking a thousand steps back from our overconnected, minute-to-minute digital lives. To side-step the onslaught of news and politics and media and everything else. To hit do-over in a way and begin with basic reasons why the country is exceptional and worth exploration.
Which is why the debut issue looks at the country through the lens of hometowns. Almost nothing says more about you than where you’re from. And no one can convey more about a place — about America, really — than all of us “townies.” Guides recommend where to go. Locals can tell you the spots they like. But we wanted to hear from people who know shit—to help resee well-known places, to learn about little-known adventures, and to discover anew.