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Best-Kept Secrets In Your Town

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
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31
Having lived in NW Ohio all of my life, I sometimes get a bit irritated when I talk to folks from other areas of the country. They usually are saying, "Yuck, why would you want to live there? What's there to do, watch the corn grow?"

NW Ohio.....and just about every other corner of every other state.....is filled with "best-kept secrets".....places (or events) that you know about, you enjoy, and would suprise others if they viewed whatever it is.

I'll share a story.....The Lake Erie Islands (four bigger, bunch of smaller) are in the western basin of Lake Erie, just 35 miles east of Toledo. One (1) of the islands is called South Bass. About 100 people live there year 'round.....but in the summertime the population swells to thousands and thousands. The little town on the island's main bay is called Put-In-Bay.

If you have ever been there, you know what I'm talkin' about. Put-In-Bay is filled with about a dozen or so bars. All of the docks in the bay fill-up with hundreds of cigarette boats and thousands of dock-walking partying let's-enjoy-summer tanned and buffed bodies, some with traditional beads (if you know what I mean).

There is also family stuff on the island, including caves, a state park, bike rentals, golf cart rentals.....and one (1) of the tallest National Monuments, and the best walleye fishing and smallmouth bass fishing in the midwest.

A few years back a business friend was in from Atlanta. He had never been to Ohio and in his mind were "visions" of rust-belt America.....all cold factories with no fun or clean water, etc. I took him to "The Bay" (us cool guys call Put-In-Bay by that name).

He went into shock. While sitting in The Roundhouse Bar he kept saying, "I can't believe this is Ohio. This is so cool. I'm going to take pictures and show my friends back in Atlanta. They won't believe it. Wow!"

'Nuff said.

Bear
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
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18,516
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69
In Cleveland, I'm still exploring. A friend took me to a very hip blues bar a couple of weeks ago, isolated in an industrial neighborhood.

I think what throws people here is the topography. People think of Ohio, especially Cleveland, as flat, but the region is actually somewhat hilly. Like Toronto, there are deep ravines and river valleys everywhere, the most impressive being the Cuyahoga River and Chagrin River valleys. A trip to the field yesterday took me past three waterfalls. My neighborhood is quite flat, but my trip to work involves a drive down a very sizeable moraine, and a 20 minute drive down Mayfield Road will land me in the parking lot of a ski run.

Any geologist would have a blast around here.
 

Attachments

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
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39
Try telling people you live just outside Orlando! All they think of is theme parks. I like the theme parks, but they are NOT Orlando. Planners tend to diss Orlando (sorry prejudiced planners) because they have never actually been to the town itself. I grew up here, and it is a great metro area. We have wonderful little shopping/dining districts, lakes, boating, arts, great state parks, etc. Just stay away from the horrific tourist strips and beige subdivisions of clueless transient transplants.
 
Messages
1,264
Points
22
One of the most interesting places in Baltimore that a very few people know about is the Gwynns Falls Trail. Currently, it is a 7 mile trail that parallels and crossed the Falls (aka stream or creek for my fellow Midwesterners Maybe one day, I'll share my thoughts what I thought the Battle of Bull Run was).

An extension of the trail is being designed. The extension will take the trail to the nearby Ravens Stadium. At some points the Falls is very rapid like. Sometimes I go there to get away from the hustle and bustle. I remember seing a fox drinking from a pool of water adjacent to the Falls and hearing police and ambulance sirens about a 1/2 mile away at the same time. It was kind of weird, I guess. Someday, I'll remember to bring my camera with me so I can post some pictures on this site.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
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5,270
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30
Sweet Daddy's Diner ---- Best damn breakfast in 100 miles, but daddy keeps strange hours.
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
I think the best kept secret in Decatur is the arts scene. Yes, Decatur, Illinois, and it's arts scene. For a city of 80,000 we have an incredible array of local arts options. We have Millikin University, one of those small colleges known for its music and theater programs. Their Kirkland Fine Arts Center hosts an annual season of top flight acts such as the Vienna Boys Choir, Tom Chapin, the revival tour of The Music Man, etc. Our Park District sponsors excellent programs for children's theater, adult chorales (I'm a member of the Greater Decatur Chorale, I sing tenor) and a nationally respected show choir that attracts kids from across the country. The MacArthur High School Jazz Band regularly wins competitions around the country. There are several professional summer theaters in the area. And if you want to see the big acts, they all come to Champaign, only 40 miles away, and Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis are all within 3 hours. Not bad for a post-industrial blue collar town.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
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34
We have the nation's largest Advertising Museum

The Aert Museum has gained international fame. Recently management from the Paris Louvre came to learn from our folks.

Beer.

We have a 3- or 4-day lakefront festival every weekend from June though mid September.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Solano County, California-

Rockville Hills Park-a fantastic 650 acre open space. The wildflowers are awesome in the Spring. It is well known to mountain bikers, however.

Rio Vista, CA: A classic Sacramento River Delta town that is timewarped from 1947. Cool place.

Vacaville's Buck Avenue/downtown and residential district. (my neighborhood!!) Everything from spectacular Victorian piles to classic bungalows to poorly built 1980 townhouses (my place :p ) And, especially in the fall-the trees are fantastic. liquidamber, a double of palm trees, gingko trees. The Aristocrat pears are fantastic right now!

Vallejo-Federal Hill neighborhood-an old military officers' housing area for the (now closed) shipyard. Hilly streets, great views, and fantastic California Colonial architecture. B Street in particular makes this a really cool neighborhood!
 

Bangorian

Member
Messages
198
Points
7
Around my town (it is way too small to have very many secrets):

Days Ferry - a small riverside hamlet across the Kennebec that was the ferry stop in the 1700's. Just a handful of colonial houses huddled on the ledges of the rocky riverbank.

West Point - a small fisherman's village on the cusp of the Casco Bay. A handful of modest homes, a working lobstering wharf, a "country general store" that'll serve you up a haddock sandwich and a moxie, and a fabulous view out into a bay filled with islands, peninsulas, and lobster boats.

Five Islands - Another small fishing village on a rocky island (surrounded by four others). A good wharf and many grand old houses. Once a week a local farmer comes in on a small sailboat and peddles his vegetables. A good little beach here, too.

Sheepscot Village - A tiny little village at the confluence of the Sheepscot and Dyer rivers, both of which are tidal. Lots of salt grass and little rivulets snaking everywhere. three old bridges. A big white church on the town green. A grange hall and many pre-1800 homes throughout this tiny place.
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
Believe it or not, wine country. Not quite like the Napa Valley, but just west of St. Louis along the Missouri river, you will find some great small towns of German heritage and about two dozen active wineries. They are all within an hours drive of the city and are a great weekend get away. In the fall bus loads of partiers from the city head out for the day.

http://www.missouriwine.org/

Augusta and Hermann are the two towns with the largest concentration; I highly recommend either for both a nice small town environment and good wine.


http://www.hermannmissouri.com/


http://www.augustawinecountry.com/


And yes the highway that runs from St. Charles to Hermann is known locally as Der Weinstrasse, which beckons to the areas Teutonic roots. Or as my Grossvatter use to say

Wies ist gut, Rot ist sehr gut!

Prost!
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Thanks for the link, HR. I will be passing through there in about three and four weeks, and may stop at a couple wineries.
 

ebeech121

Cyburbian
Messages
83
Points
4
I could do ATL but I don't have enough time...so...

There are a great many things that are cool in Atlanta like the Georgian Terrace Hotel or the train in the Underground (for sitting). Woodruff park is pretty cool for people-watching.

But if you dig cows, SUVs and construction, come on down to McDonough! Why those things?

Cuz that's all that's here! Oh yeah and the 200+ strip malls!! Can't forget those (especially when you go somewhere (by SUV of course, no other means of transportation)

Here are some pictures!

http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ebeeching1982/album?.dir=/e5f3
 

MennoJoshua

Cyburbian
Messages
56
Points
4
I think my favourite thing about Canton-Massillon is the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath. It stretches from south of Massillon all the way up to Cleveland.

Unsurprisingly, the canal travels through the most historic parts of settlements from its terminus in Zoar up to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on Lake Erie; here in my own county, you can see the watery equivalent of Main St. in Canal Fulton (complete with a few open shops and restaurants). Unfortunately, the canal's frontage in Massillon mostly consists of the state route 21 expressway.

Next year the path is to be completed to Bolivar once Stark Parks finishes the trail through a former railroad tunnel near the south edge of the county. I can't wait to explore it then; having the canal here within biking distance of me is one of the things that has made living in the land of four lane + turn lane roads, single-story shopping malls, and 3,500 sq. ft. minimum build size allotments survivable.
 

sjbryan

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
(B)Orlando

Zoning Goddess said:
Try telling people you live just outside Orlando! All they think of is theme parks. I like the theme parks, but they are NOT Orlando. Planners tend to diss Orlando (sorry prejudiced planners) because they have never actually been to the town itself. I grew up here, and it is a great metro area. We have wonderful little shopping/dining districts, lakes, boating, arts, great state parks, etc. Just stay away from the horrific tourist strips and beige subdivisions of clueless transient transplants.
I have been here twelve years now. Borlando should be dissed. Those that have never been anywhere call it "The City Beuatiful." There is certainly nothing beautiful about it. It is not even beuatiful if you only consider only Florida. There is Tampa, St. Pete, Sarasota, Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Sanibel Island, Amelia Island, Naples, and just about anywhere else in Florida.

The only reason anyone lives there is because of Disney World. If Disney World were to disappear, the area would dry up and revert back to a boring litttle town instead of a boring big town.

It is a nice place for a vacation, then after a week leave. That is the best thing about (B)Orlando, leaving.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
Points
29
sjbryan said:
I have been here twelve years now. Borlando should be dissed. Those that have never been anywhere call it "The City Beuatiful." There is certainly nothing beautiful about it. It is not even beuatiful if you only consider only Florida. There is Tampa, St. Pete, Sarasota, Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Sanibel Island, Amelia Island, Naples, and just about anywhere else in Florida.

The only reason anyone lives there is because of Disney World. If Disney World were to disappear, the area would dry up and revert back to a boring litttle town instead of a boring big town.

It is a nice place for a vacation, then after a week leave. That is the best thing about (B)Orlando, leaving.
Sorry to disagree, but you consider TAMPA and SAINT PETERSBURG better than Orlando? Amazing. I've never lived in a more depressing, ugly environment than the Tampa Bay area. Sure, there are beaches, but they are hidden behind hideous concrete high rises and endless beach shacks and 7-11s. The County Seat, Clearwater? One tiny enclave of nice 20s mansions, the rest is ugly concrete block ranchers and hideous strip commercial. Downtown Tampa? Desolate and danegrous (the crime rate in Tampa approaches Miami if you look at the stats)

Orlando doesn't have the Gulf, but it has some neighborhoods with charm-the lakeside neighborhoods are quite nice.
 

illinoisplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
5,335
Points
25
I can't tell you...it's a secret. LOL.

Some of mine (in my area):
Downtown Woodstock, IL...tucked away behind all the major highways, it features a lovely square, Opera House, historical courthouse, nice shops, and fine restaurants. The set of the movie Groundhog Day.

Lake Carroll, IL...a lovely lake with shoreline vacation homes tucked away in Northwest IL, southwest of Freeport. Very rural feel. So quaint and unpopulated.

Elgin, IL...a lovely city of almost 100,000. It has a beautiful auditorium, brand-new library, a glorious Fox River shoreline with brick-paved plazas and monuments, some charming neighborhoods, and a nice casino, among other things.

Fox River Trial/Prairie Path...bike path running along the Fox River and along Route 31 in Kane and McHenry Counties. Beautiful rivertowns, forested areas, and areas of wide open prairie

Downtown Huntley...a nice little town with nice shops, churches, a gazebo, and homes dating to the civil war

Moraine Hills State Park...lots of nice hiking/biking trails, prairies, woodlands, riverfront, small lake, and beautiful wildlife species
 

Future Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
124
Points
6
Julian, CA in the mountains about 1 hour and 15 minutes east of San Diego... it's a tiny, former mining town of a few thousand residents now famous for its apple pies, mostly from local apple production. Its touristy - but has a main street straight out of the old west (1880s) a reminds me of a much simpler time in our history.
 

Boru

Cyburbian
Messages
235
Points
9
Ok, so I live in a large enough city, and large cities always have lots of little secret places which certain people know about and keep to themselves. Therefore I think that the best kept secret in Dublin is Dublin Bay. Until 2-3 years ago the bay was a horrible polluted liquid dumping ground for the ordure of the city. You were taking your own health in your hands to swim in it.

Then a state of the art sewerage station was opened on the bayfront (in the docklands) which takes all of the city's waste and with capacity for 3-400,000 persons more. The waste goes through primary to tertiary treatment, with two end products, clean water (not quite drinking quality but nearly) and waste pellets, sold at rock bottom prices for fertilizer.

The main upside is that the bay is clean, the beaches (there are several beaches within walking distance of the city centre) are clean. For an ever increasing amount of swim freaks like myself this is a blessing. During the summer I can leave my office and be swimming in the sea near my house within 3/4 of an hour. No matter how much the city gets me down, the spring/summer/autumn swimming makes it so worthwhile.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Moderator
Messages
13,689
Points
53
Cook County, IL Forest Preserves - they are great resources that seem to be overlooked all the time, but I love them. I wish I lived closer to one, though the Thachter Woods in River Forest is nearby.

There is the northern portion of a local Chicagoland first ring suburb that is a hidden secret and its housing hasn't yet exploded, but I am keeping the location secret until I buy there.....then everyone can know about it.;-) :-D
 
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donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
The best kept secret is TO is the TTC day pass. Ride the TTC all day as mych as you want for $7.50. On the weekend, it is good for 2 adults and some kids.

Best kept secret in terms of neighbourhoods, unfortunately there are very few left.

In terms of things to do, Allen Gardens, the Islands, Cherry Beach, the necropolis, Riverdale Farm.

Restaurants

Yet Sing Pastry Bakery, United Dairy, Papaya Hut
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
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Moderator
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7,393
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33
Best kept secrets...
Well, there is a person in our town held in very high esteem that is a bisexual swinger... Oh wait, you're talking about places and such...:-$ (I'm actually not kidding about this, our police department happened onto this during an investigation for something else)

As far as places...

Majestic Theater (San Antonio) - The absolute most beautiful theater I've been in. It was built in the 20s and had technology at that time that I still find impressive. The indoor architecture is spectacular. Actually, I'm going there in a few weeks and should take a few pictures.

King William Historic District (San Antonio) - First neighborhood on the national register in Texas. You'll get to see it at APA this year. Five Star Arts complex is also nearby and has an excellent microbrew (this may be our Laefest location).

Obst Road (near my city) - Road runs past several historic ranches and general stores as it follows Cibolo Creek. Absolutely gorgeous drive that few people know about.

Bracken Bat Cave (nearby) - Cave with no public access; supposedly the largest bat population in the U.S. (they show up as this huge green mass on the weather radar when they come out at night).
 

jmello

Cyburbian
Messages
2,583
Points
22
The El Salvadoran and Mexican restaurants and taquerias in East Boston

The bars and Portuguese restuarants in and around Union Square in Somerville

The MBTA bus system (especially the crosstown routes): newcomers will frequently ride the subway all the way downtown and back, unaware of a faster bus route linking the two destinations

Our secret swimming hole: a pristine former reservoir surrounded by a state park 10 minutes north of downtown Boston

The Blue Hills Reservation: deeps woods hiking, horseback riding and skiing (day and night) only 15 minutes south of downtown Boston

Savin Hill (my neighborhood): an affordable urban oasis with easy access to the subway, I-93, I-90, Logan Airport, the beach and ocean, and everything else
 

cololi

Cyburbian
Messages
1,186
Points
22
Future Planner said:
Julian, CA in the mountains about 1 hour and 15 minutes east of San Diego.
Didn't Julian nearly get wiped out in the fires a couple of years ago? It is a great little place.

SLC actually has a lot of best kept secrets, mainly because you really do have to be local to discover many of them.

Maza, a great little middle eastern restaurant located in a neighborhood, although it is becoming more and more popular.

Hidden Hollow is a great urban forest area, not huge, but the trails in there extend for several miles. A great place to take the kids or go for a walk. Other great hikes are the Quarry Trail, City Creek Canyon, and many others.

Probably the most unkown thing about SLC is that we make great beer, and I don't mean beer made for the masses. The small batch brews produced by the local micro breweries. They usually only have them on the menu for about a week at the time before they are gone, but there are some great ones out there. Also, homebrewing is huge in the SLC area, particularly in the sugarhouse area. There is a whole culture surrounding home brewing in the area, and if you are lucky enough to get invited to one of their festivals. . .:)
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,966
Points
49
Several historic districts in Kalamazoo are amazing, and will within most peoples price range. There are also a few advanced programs in the public school district. One has many of their students go on to places like MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. K-zoo public schools get a bad rap because of the number of low education individuals they have, but they also have a number of very bright kids that balance out the population.
 

jmello

Cyburbian
Messages
2,583
Points
22
cololi said:
Probably the most unkown thing about SLC is that we make great beer, and I don't mean beer made for the masses. The small batch brews produced by the local micro breweries...There is a whole culture surrounding home brewing in the area, and if you are lucky enough to get invited to one of their festivals. . .:)
Yeah because you can only get 3.2% beer in the stores :-(
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Best kept secret? Hmmm. Rumor has it that the Mayor isn't on the up and up. ;-)

Tough to say. There are some wonderful neighborhoods that people don't seem to know about, like South Shore, Brighton Park, and Albany Park. Of course there are a billion eateries. Out-of-towners don't seem to realize that there is some amazing theatre in the neighborhoods, or that you're not going to hear the best live music in town unless you leave downtown/near north.
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
6,241
Points
27
Best kept secrets?

Yes there really are nice housing neighborhoods in Detroit.

The Motown Museum, run by Berry Gordy's sister.

The Joe Louis Statue and bronzed glove that kicked Nazi ass in Cobo Hall (It is often glossed over due to other memorials such at the fist (that racist suburbanites like to paint white) and the Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings.)

Fort Wayne Historical Park in SW Detroit (War of 1812 and Civil War histories, section for Tuskegee Airmen added under Coleman A Young's mayoral reign).
 

plankton

Cyburbian
Messages
751
Points
21
DetroitPlanner said:
Best kept secrets?

Yes there really are nice housing neighborhoods in Detroit.

The Motown Museum, run by Berry Gordy's sister.
^-- agreed. A good buddy of mine worked there (maybe he still does) for many many years.

I don't think I'd be shocking anyone when I say that Oregon's Coast is a beautiful place to live and an incredible place to visit.

So, I would like to give a shout out to my previous town -- The Motor City.

Detroit's ethnic festivals, held every summer weekend at Hart Plaza, are top-notch.

Indian Village (n'hood on Detroit's east side)

Detroit's Eastern Market

Hamtramck, MI (a city within the City of Detroit)

Little Italy's & Shields Pizza....mmmm.....mmmm
 

Future Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
124
Points
6
cololi said:
Didn't Julian nearly get wiped out in the fires a couple of years ago? It is a great little place.
No. The surrounding open space and forests all burned along with hundreds of homes. But they were able to completely save the town and its as good as ever. I was just there a few weeks ago and had the best apple pie!
 

sjbryan

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
BKM said:
Sorry to disagree, but you consider TAMPA and SAINT PETERSBURG better than Orlando? Amazing. I've never lived in a more depressing, ugly environment than the Tampa Bay area. Sure, there are beaches, but they are hidden behind hideous concrete high rises and endless beach shacks and 7-11s. The County Seat, Clearwater? One tiny enclave of nice 20s mansions, the rest is ugly concrete block ranchers and hideous strip commercial. Downtown Tampa? Desolate and danegrous (the crime rate in Tampa approaches Miami if you look at the stats)

Orlando doesn't have the Gulf, but it has some neighborhoods with charm-the lakeside neighborhoods are quite nice.
You actually think the flat boring landscape of BOrlando is prettier than Tampa Bay. I bet you are the person that came up with "The City Beuatiful" to describe BOrlando. What a joke. Tampa cannot possibly have more boring strip malls than BOrlando and I bet 50% of them don't get robbed every night. At least in Tampa aand Miami there is something that looks and acts like a city. There is no city here just boring suburban looking houses. Downtown BOrlando looks more like a suburban office park than a city center.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
mendelman said:
Cook County, IL Forest Preserves - they are great resources that seem to be overlooked all the time, but I love them. I wish I lived closer to one, though the Thachter Woods in River Forest is nearby.
I'll second that. The Palos Hills and Sag Valley Forest Preserves in southwest Cook County are gorgeous natural areas offering some of the only real change in topography in the Chicago area. The area is huge -- maybe 8,000 to 10,000 acres -- and is very reminiscent of the Cuyahoga Valley that Dan wrote about in Cleveland.
 

drucee

Cyburbian
Messages
229
Points
9
In my current home (Chicago):

Good Mexican restaurants everywhere. Even Californians are impressed.
A commuter-rail system (Metra) that actually runs on time. In addition, city and suburban bus fare structures are linked, so it's just $2 (and only 75 minutes, faster than driving most of the time) from downtown to Woodfield Mall.
Hyde Park and Kenwood, for the architecture, the University, and the lakefront wonder that is Promontory Point.
Echoing the sentiments of jordanb[/B , interesting, unspoiled neighborhoods: Albany Park, South Shore, Lincoln Square, Avondale, Chatham, Bridgeport... and the fact that the trixies, chads, and hipsters confine themselves to a few neighborhoods of the city rather than running everyone else out of it.
The most beautiful urban housing stock of any major US city.

In my family's hometown (Memphis, TN):
Little bar-b-q shacks everywhere. And most of them are good.
The highest standard of suburban residential architecture anywhere I've seen. Even tract houses have stylish brickwork, and you won't see a McMansion anywhere.
The historic districts of Midtown. People don't have the "MIDTOWN IS MEMPHIS" bumper stickers for nothing.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
I'll speak of Valdivia since I know it more than Santiago (and besides it's smaller)

Best kept secrets: Well there's a park administrated by the local university near my house that has a very well kept valdivian rainforest. Most people only visit the municipal park besides it. This park also has a little farm in it, where the local vet students go to do their internships. Funny thing is, there's no admission cost, whereas the municipal park does have a small cost.

Now to the coast: Curiñanco is a huge beach that doesn't recieve much visitors, although the small village (also called Curiñanco) does recieve visitors for their "week" in the summer. The reason is simple. The longer distance and the gravel roads to get there. But it's worth the trip.
Also in the coast or should I say in the stuary of teh Valdivia River, Mancera Island is rarely visited and the local population is slim. There are the ruins of an ancient Castle and fort, where kids are taken to play classical music in the summer. But the beauties of the Island are beyond that and can be walked easily since there are no cars because the island is quite small.

Those come to mind in the moment...
 
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