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Have you traveled to a bunch of places, yet none seem to speak to your inner artist? The photographer, painter, writer, creative genius in you that’s always thirsty for more inspiration for your next masterpiece? Well then perhaps it’s time you paid a visit to the places where some of history’s most talented artists birthed their most creative works of art. The Hemmigways and Dalis of the world all at one point congregated in some of Americas most beautiful, tucked away hidden city treasures. Be it out of a sense of adventure, poverty, or like most artists – a disdain for convention, there are urban slums and small towns all across this great country of ours that have inspired many of the greats to create there, because they’re rich with natural beauty. So if a visit to an old western ghost town is just what you need to inspire your own independent film, or, you simply want to experience a place where the scenery is every bit as picturesque as the most beautiful of paintings – then we have a list of places to consider for your next trip that’ll tap into that inner creative genius of yours, inspiring it to create your next masterpiece.
Painter Norman Rockwell, The Age of Innocence’s Edith Wharton, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Moby Dick’s Herman Melville all spent time up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts while in the midst of their most famous creations. This American small town is rich with culture – from it’s lengthy gardens, theaters, a terrific Tanglewood Music Festival – there isn’t an artist alive who wouldn’t be inspired by this artistically cultured town.
Sag Harbor, New York
Sag Harbor, a 200-year-old whaling port in the Hamptons, and mentioned several times in Moby Dick, is now home to a ton of Yoga studios and day spas. This is because of its relaxing, laid back atmosphere – not to mention its beauty. Here you’ll find an art show on every corner – including the Sag harbor Fine Arts Center, which is a must visit. If music festivals, and Rockwell’esque scenery is your thing, Sag Harbor is your place to be.
Manitou Springs, Colorado
Looking like something out of a Disney animation background cell, Manitou Springs, Colorado is America’s most charming town. Nestled high atop of Pike’s Peak, at an elevation of 14,110 feet – if the altitude doesn’t take your breath away, the gorgeous architecture and local tourist attractions definitely will. Manitou Springs is the ideal spot for aspiring artists who want to rent studio space, and work on the piece that’ll be their claim to fame.
Madrid, New Mexico
Once the gold and coal ran dry in this New Mexico city back in the 50’s, the Wall Street Journal posted an ad offering to sell the whole damn town for just $250,000. Even more surprisingly, no one bid – turning Madrid into a ghost town. But today, it’s home to a bunch of folk art and craft shops that sell handmade cowboy boots and other exquisite native artifacts. Plus, with a population of about 210, you’ll have plenty of peace and quiet to experience, and become acquainted with the locals of a town America’s long since forgotten.
Ask most anyone here, and they’ll say the Pebble Beach golf course is Carmel-By-The-Sea’s best work of art. But to the locals, all 4,000 of them, they know better. This town is rich with the arts, as there’s always a festival to been seen, a poetry reading to attend, or scenic and very wealthy enclave to shoot for your portfolio. Artists from all around the world flock to Carmel-By-The-Sea, California – not for the golf, but rather, for the inspiration.
Delray Beach, Florida
You know when they make a song about you, you must be inspiring. The 70’s Mark Jordan song sums up this warm sunny spot perfectly, with lyrics that speak to it’s laid back, easy-going lifestyle. Marina Delray is so cool, calm, and collected, it can inspire even the most struggling of artists. There’s just something about wearing flip flops all year long (it’s 71 degrees in January FYI), that makes the mind wander in all sorts of creative directions.
Gatlinburg is home to the world’s largest independent arts community. A place many a starving artist flocked to after the Great Depression, this Tennessee town has an art & crafts trail that extends 8-miles long, and features over 100 artisans selling everything from pottery, ceramics, to jewelry and wood carvings.
This small western town was named after William F. Cody. While that name may not ring a bell, his nickname “Buffalo Bill” sure will. This town is known for its Buffalo Bill Center, which is part museum that pays tribute to Cody’s life; his American Frontier experience, bison hunting, and even him as a showman. “[It’s] among the nation’s most remarkable museums” hails The New York Times, so you know it’s worth the visit. Then once you’re done there, take a tour of the Rendezvous Royale community festival where you’ll be treated to a Buffalo Bill art show and sale.
Home to German settlers in the 1850’s, Fredericksburg was named after a place in Prussia. But the locals know it better as Friztown, or as its endearingly referred to, “The Peach Capital of Texas.” Once here you’ll find it’s full of independent artists working on their craft, visiting locals galleries, or attending the town famed art school.