America boasts a number of towns that are on the border between one state and another. Part of the fun of exploring these places is to see what goes on where the two meet. Here are a few to sample as you #DriveTheNation.
Bristol, Tennessee & Bristol, Virginia
This charming pair of cities form the center of the five states area. They meet where the state line runs down the middle of State Street. There’s a brass plaque in the pavement, to remind you of this curiosity. If you are careful you can get a photo of it, or one of you with it – look both ways! On either side of the street you will find some inviting antique shops to explore. The Virginia side boasts The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a spectacular new museum in downtown Bristol. On the Tennessee side, NASCAR fans flock to Bristol International Speedway. See South Holston Dam, the third largest earthen dam in the world, for fishing, boat rentals, picnicking at many different places at the dam, and there are many trails to bike or hike. Explore the Blue Ridge Highlands region including nearby Johnson City and Kingsport, which, along with Bristol, form the Tri-Cities area. Follow the Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia, a network of fifteen driving trails linking unique artisan studios, fresh produce farms, galleries, craft shops, and vineyards. Or take the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail commemorating the 1780 campaign that led to the battle of Kings Mountain. Dine at The Troutdale for fillet or the Mad Greek for Greek and Italian cuisine. Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, or the Holiday Inn Bristol Convention Center.
Florala, Florida & Florala, Alabama
The name Florala is a combination of the two states in which it is found. Andrew Jackson stopped here in 1818, and Lake Jackson commemorates that visit. The lake is popular with boaters, has a beach and the park is a pretty place for a picnic. There’s a lot of history here, in a region that boomed because of its lumber, cotton, railroads and textiles. Stroll or drive as you soak in the period architecture, highlighted by the grand Hughes Mansion, a Victorian showplace with fabulous gazebo style porches. The First National Bank of Florala is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. The restored Louisville and Nashville Railroad Depot is open to the public on special occasions. For a nearby excursion into the historic past, take a short drive south to Florida’s DeFuniak Springs to see the resort architecture of the 1880s, including the impressive Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood. In Florala, dine at the Country Folks Buffet or at the Bryce Family Restaurant housed in a log cabin alongside 331 South. For quiet and character, stay in the charming Florala Lula Mae Cottage a 1920s “grandma’s house” type bungalow, with shady porches, and be sure to have a nice long soak in the claw foot tub.
Texarkana, Arkansas & Texarkana Texas
The Texarkana post office and federal courthouse is a uniquely situated building, constructed so that it stands directly on the Texas-Arkansas State Line, with part of building residing in each State. Stop by, as many do, for a photo op there, and then explore all there is to see in these twin cities, to find the truth in their motto “Twice as Nice”. Texarkana was the hometown of ragtime composer Scott Joplin who began his career here, forming a vocal quartet, and teaching mandolin and guitar. In the spirit of live performance, why not take in a play at the Perot Theater. Tour the historic 1885 Italianate Draughon-Moore “Ace of Clubs House”. So named because of its clubs-shaped floor plan. According to legend, the funds to build the house came from money won in a poker game. Maybe. Or maybe it is just a Texas tall tale. Take the Texarkana ghost tour for more local history. Eat at Naaman’s Championship BBQ and order “The Bishop” or “The Blasphemer”. Or sample the fare at Ironwood Inn for chicken and waffles in a Texas ranch style setting. Stay at the Holiday Inn Express or the Hampton Inn.
Stateline, California & Stateline, Nevada
The California portion of these border cities is also known as South Lake Tahoe and Laphams. The oldest name, Laphams, commemorates William W. Lapham who opened a hotel here way back in the year 1850. People came and have been combing to stay ever since. These picturesque towns are situated on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. They are popular destinations for summer and winter outdoor recreation, both on the water and on the slopes. There’s also lots of indoor recreation at the towns many casinos; most are located along Kingsbury Grade. It is a dramatic scenic drive between Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley that is sometimes closed to traffic in winter due to poor weather conditions. Stay at any of the many hotels, such as The Stardust Lodge, The Landing, and Marriott Grand, especially out of season, when great rates abound. Or opt for Doc’s Cottages for cute and cozy, with your own kitchen, among the tall trees, dating back to the 1930s; looking like it just stepped out of the famous scene from “It Happened One Night”. Dining choices include Brooks Bar And Deck at Edgewood for delicious food in a country club setting with stunning views, and Ciera Steak and Chop House—have the lobster bisque and fillet mignon.
Delmar, Delaware & Delmar, Maryland
Yes, the name Delmar is a combination of the two states. Delmar is at the midpoint of the Delmarva Peninsula, halfway between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The “Eastern Shore” is a world apart. In Delmar, what sets things apart is the dividing line that runs down the middle of State Street. Everything north is in Delaware and everything south is in Maryland. Everything in the middle better watch out for cars! The towns share the nickname: The Little Town Too Big For One State. The community grew with the coming of the railroad, whose tracks and some shops remain along Pennsylvania Avenue. See the Dickerson Potato House, where sweet potatoes were stored—it is the last remaining building of its type. If you head west out of town on Delmar Road (Route 54) you will come to the place where the state of Delaware turns the corner, and is surrounded on three sides by Maryland. There, you will see one of the original survey stones for the Mason Dixon Line, in a brick and ironwork pavilion, at a pull-off on the north (right) side of the road. Take in the races at the Delaware International Speedway. Stop in for a steampot and old fashioned funnel fries at the Old Mill Crab House, considered by many to be the best crab house on the Eastern Shore. It also sits right on the state line. Stay at the Holiday Inn Express. Drive east to nostalgic Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, or the hustle and bustle of Ocean City, Maryland, or westward to the charm of St. Michaels on the Bay.
Sioux City, Iowa, South Sioux City, Nebraska, & North Sioux City, South Dakota
This 160 year old cluster of three cities is situated at head of navigation of the Missouri River. Among its notable achievements, Sioux City built the first elevated rapid transit system in the world, in 1891. Chicago learned from them. Today, you can elevate yourself at the Sioux City Arts Center, with its impressive collection of fine paintings, many by America’s most noted artists. See the Louis and Clark Interpretive Center, and learn about their great expedition. The Cathedral of the Epiphany boasts impressive architecture, as does the Woodbury County Court House designed 100 years ago by architects George Grant Elmslie and William grey Purcell. It is considered to be the best commercial Prairie Style architecture in the country, so do visit and enjoy the beautiful domed interior. Dine at Famous Dave’s for rib eye, brisket BBQ and baked chicken. Kahills serves locally-sourced food and has great steaks. Another good non-chain restaurant in town is Minerva’s. Go to Bev’s on the River for the great food and views. Stay at Stoney Creek Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, or the Hard Rock Hotel. North Sioux City, South Dakota is just across the Big Sioux River in Union County. South Sioux City, Nebraska is directly across the Missouri River in Dakota County.