If you’re ever been on a Hollywood studio lot, like maybe you’ve done one of those Universal Studios tours, or you’re a famous actor, or like me, you once went to a party at the Paramount lot, for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer who met online, then you’ve seen the quintessential small American town from every movie and TV show ever. And maybe you think, why did someone go through all the expense to build this fake town when a million real towns just like this exist everywhere? Wouldn’t a real town be more convincing, and also cheaper?
I have now learned the answer to this question. The quintessential small American town does not exist. Oh sure, when you exit the Interstates and drive down the narrow roads to real America, you’ll come upon plenty of small towns. With strip malls, Walmarts, and the occasional Hardee’s. I rely extensively on Walmart to provide my RV toilet paper needs and frequent overnight accommodations, so I’m not complaining exactly. But that’s a different kind of movie.
Remember that scene from Say Anything where John Cusack goes down to the Gas ‘N Sip and seeks out the wisdom of the guys who hang out there on a Saturday night? it’s kind of that like.
Sometimes, you do come upon a town square with maybe a statue of the founder and quaint buildings all facing in. But when you look a bit closer, you mostly see boarded up windows and closed signs.
So you understand that when I came upon Sandusky, it was proof that the world wasn’t built on lies after all.
And then I got to Hudson.
I came to Hudson accidentally. I was in Ohio for Sandusky. After leaving there, I was driving along the turnpike towards Washington DC, the next scheduled stop on my calendar. I started getting a little hungry.
I noticed a KOA wasn’t too far away, so I figured I’d stop there for the night and find something nearby to eat. (It was a nice KOA, although as you can see, my site wasn’t quite level. And while the photo shows clear blue skies, it rained later, which made the unhooking process in the grass a little muddy.)
Yelp told me a town with highly starred restaurants was nearby, so off to Hudson I went.
Hudson is quite possibly the platonic ideal of a small American town. Hollywood should shoot every movie here. It’s beautiful. And tranquil. The people are suspiciously friendly.
I had dinner at the bar of a great restaurant called Downtown 140. Everyone agreed their town was wonderful, although no one could really pinpoint how that came to be. Hudson only has 20,000 people in it and isn’t super close to any large cities (it’s about 20 minutes north of Akron, but at a population of around 200,000, it’s not huge either). The bartender told me to stop back on my way back through to update them on my trip.
And then there was the library.
Yes, they were having a lecture on bitcoins. And yes, they had an amazing garden patio. Free wifi. An entrepreneurship center. Comfy chairs. Outlets. A cafe right in the middle of the library with couches and coffee. I just… might have to move here.
As I was sitting in a coffee shop later, I family came in. They were house hunting. They drove through the town one day and liked it so much, they decided to move.
That’s what happens when you come to Hudson.