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Tip Criteria, Pt. 1: Food, Trains, Beauty

Alvord Leather Guy.We receive hundreds of tip submissions on tourist attractions every week. Many are simple eyewitness acknowledgments of the continued operation or existence of a place already well documented. More substantial updates, with new info and a photo or two, may be added to the site. And then there are the new places, which are always exciting to discover and add to the collection.

We diligently filter submissions to keep the RoadsideAmerica.com particle beam of fun focused on the kind of unusual and offbeat places we most enjoy.

We ask ourselves: Is it funny, scary, mysterious, unique, stupid, or over-the-top…. or some combination of these wholesome attributes?

This means whole categories of submissions just don’t fit. They may be perfectly wonderful attractions, but better suited to another web site (There are exceptions, which we can address in a future post).

Before you submit a tip, here’s a little guidance on what to avoid:

  • Restaurants where the food is really excellent. RoadsideAmerica.com is never only about food (unless it’s GIANT food). If there isn’t a 2-headed calf over your table or a waiter throwing a hot roll at your head, it may miss the mark.

  • Train museums and restored depots. Yes, we know — there’s a huge audience of railroad buffs who drool uncontrollably at the thought of a 19th century train engine. There are too many of these places, though, and we lack the mental roundhouse to sort them out. Exceptions: Train made of cheese? Box car filled with paper clips? Bobbing ghost light from hook-handed brakeman killed by train? We’re there.

  • Beauty. A rule of thumb: if the first adjective that pops into your head about an attraction is that it is “beautiful,” you may have us mixed up with AwesomeScenicVistas.com. We don’t cover pretty scenery, most natural wonders (unless they’ve been unnaturally named or manipulated), National Parks, pristine lakes, quiet contemplative glades*. You get the idea.

* Unless it contains a tiny church AND Bigfoot.

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