11 thoughts on “Breezewood”

  1. A lot of farm towns go through this too and are trying to reinvent themselves. Even with our distributed workforce, a town still has to have something to offer to attract new people and keep some of the kids around. Rather than existing small towns all finding a way, it could be that new small towns pop up in locations that can cater to what people are looking for.

  2. Most of the smallish towns (<10k people) I know of in Eastern WA are drying up. Some that are close to larger towns are turning into housing clusters–the stores and facilities (except gas stations and bars) are closing, and what used to be the downtown is pretty much empty. Maybe some of them could be saved by finding something touristy to do, but there are lots more towns than tourist attractions, and I expect most of these towns are going to be essentially gone in another generation.

    1. Yeah. The article talks about people coming for outdoors activities but in Eastern Washington where the small farm towns are it is a mix of desert, scablands, and Palouse and while beautiful, not many people would want to travel there for hiking. There are some good hunting and fishing but hard to sustain a town around stuff like that.

      Small towns in the Okanogan region have more visual appeal for the outdoors crowd and some of them have cheap electricity and some old industrial buildings that have been appealing to crypto miners.

      It is getting easier to live where ever you want and work from home but when looking for a home there are still all the other things people look for. A big one is healthcare. You can make do with shopping online for things you cant find in a small grocery store but taking a day to go see a doctor isn’t all that practical, especially you take into consideration emergency response times and how long it would take to get to an ER by helicopter.

      1. Yep. My mom had to be flown to Spokane by helicopter. It’s an all day trip (or sometimes a two-day trip) to head into a city big enough to have decent specialists; it’s going to be a big pain when they can no longer drive those distances. The smallish towns probably have more attraction for older people who are likely to be more in need of medical attention than younger people.

        The state confiscated a railroad right-of-way that was supposed to be returned to the original landowners to build part of the John Wayne Trail through the area my grandparents lived in. That has several dying towns and some nice scenery (we used to hike part of it), but it never seemed to attract touristy types (there was a lot of marijuana planted along the trail, for some reason). Maybe someone could set up a mountain bike/e-bike hotel near there, but it’d likely need a lot of advertising to get enough tourists to break even. The landowners along the trail aren’t all that happy with it, so any hotel owners might have to worry about disgruntled neighbors as well.

    2. I remember Soap Lake and Ellensburg and other than that, a whole lot of nothing between Spokane and the Grand Coolee Dam prior to reaching Seattle on one of my major vacation trips by car, 33 years ago. (Gads, am I that old?).

      1. Yep. Scabland and irrigation circles don’t draw a lot of tourists. I don’t know if the wino infestation has moved up quite that far, but I don’t think wino tourism has worked as well as they were hoping in SE WA.

        1. The origin story of the scablands is great and it heavily influenced my views on global warming alarmism. But looking at where waterfalls used to be isn’t as cool as seeing a waterfall.

          I wonder if there would be a draw for people why fly recreationally but that is also very niche.

          1. Palouse Falls is pretty, but not pretty enough by itself to pull people from more than an hour or so away.

            I’d heard about people landing crossways on the runways at the airport at Moses Lake (I think it used to be used for training 747 pilots. They wouldn’t have been landing crossways).

  3. I mean, good for her, glad to see smaller operators like that are still around, but as a PA resident I wouldn’t take the Turnpike if you paid me, and I’ll go out of my way to avoid Breezwood. Because it’s a crossroads, traffic is a nightmare (especially around holidays or during vacation season), and because it’s Pennsylvania no effort has been made to maintain, let alone upgrade the roadways to accommodate more traffic.

    1. Well, it’s been decades since I drove through the place, but I recall that even in the 80s, it was a grind to get through. On the rare occasion that I drive from MI to DC, I go through West Virginia.

  4. Most of the article reads like the plot to the movie “Cars”: Small Town America is drying up because of interstates and bypasses.

    Cars are more fuel efficient, safer, and more reliable at higher speeds than in the past, so it just makes sense that interstates would take over.

    I still take “back roads” (2-lane state highways) most of the route when I visit my parents; the overall distance is 30-50 miles shorter than the interstate but 30-50 minutes longer in time. I still prefer the slower pace of the back roads and lack of traffic compared to most interstates in and around Chicago, I’m not sure that I necessarily even save fuel with all of the slowing and speeding up through the small towns, but the antique stores are usually worth a visit now and again.

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