Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Favorite Things to Do in My City (Town in my Case)

While small, my hometown is rich in history, having survived the Dust Bowl and boasting of both dinosaurs and outlaws having walked its grounds.  Located on the historic Santa Fe Trail, one of America's first pathways from the Mississippi river to the West, Clayton today is a farming and ranching community I call home.  

When I need a bit of an extra kick while chasing the little boys around, I head over to our locally owned coffee shop, Crossroads Coffee.  Not only do they brew a great cup of Joe, they also roast their own beans in an old feed mill behind the shop!  I used to be found in coffee shops in the wee hours of the morning finishing up research papers and projects for college.  Now, I am there for a split second for a pick-me-up. With smoothies for my boys, daily lunch specials and even a drive-thru, it is a special treat to have such a fun place to go just a few miles from home.

Every now and then, my mom, husband or babysitter blesses me with a little free time, and my first instinct is to get a pedicure!  There are a couple of places to get one, and The Imperial Salon is one of them.  What a relaxing hour that can be.

As I mentioned before, Clayton has so much history.  In fact, one of the West's wildest outlaws was hung near this historic restaurant and hotel in the early 1900s.  With its hotel recently renovated, the Eklund now not only serves everything from juicy steaks to New Mexican cuisine, but it also is the perfect place to lay one's head.

Across from the Eklund is the Luna Theatre.  Showing one movie a week, it offers its small-town residents a chance to "sit back, relax and enjoy the show" in a quaint theatre with all the amenities one could need and the ambiance of a different era.  It is a go-to for date nights and provides inexpensive, family-friendly entertainment for all!

Another thing I love about Clayton is its architecture.  The local high school was built in the 1930s as a project for the WPA.  Its Pueblo-style buildings and rock fence give it an incredibly unique and beautiful look.  Within the old junior high is now a museum containing products (such a pottery dishes) made and sold by the WPA to fund the building of the school.

Another one of my favorites is the local Catholic Church.  It is where I go for a quiet moment of peace and reflection.

I could go on and on.  We have an incredible museum

a grocery store you would expect to find in a much bigger place,

a hardware store that's been in the same family for generations, 
and a taco wagon that would give Austin's trailerpark a run for its money.  

I love it all, but what I love most is driving home to this...
...and spending the evenings with my husband on our front porch seeing this
Clayton is my home and has my heart.

What is so neat is that most people have a similar affection for the place they call home.  I'm collaborating with Kendra Thornton (former Orbitz director of Communications) on this post, and we're both sharing our favorite things about our cities.  She lives in the ever-exciting city of Chicago and has painstakingly chosen just a few of her favorites here:

Chicago is home to some of the most spectacular sites in the country, rich with its artistic culture and plenty of entertainment options for a city that is lively throughout the year. Between the theaters to a number of highly regarded restaurants, there is much to be enjoyed in a city that I feel privileged to call home. Although it's difficult to handpick a few, the following are my personal favorites to enjoy in The Windy City.

Shopping in Andersonville

Andersonville is a quaint neighborhood in Chicago that attracts a large crowd for its shopping options with the number of boutiques that cozily sit in the location. It's the perfect place in the city to find unique and trendy clothing, as well as gift items. Stockholm is another treasure, selling wearable art that can be worn for eclectic and sophisticated pieces.

The SkyDeck in Willis Tower

Known as one of the most breathtaking experiences in the country, The SkyDeck in Willis Tower provides an exceptional view of surrounding skyscrapers on the 103rd floor of the building. The fully enclosed glass box allows visitors to feel as if they're floating above the enchanting city with aerial views in all directions for a scary, yet thrilling attraction.

Enjoying a Spa with the Girls

Sometimes, a girl just needs to unwind, and when this is the case, the Peninsula in Chicago is one of my favorite places to visit, even if I'm not staying there for the night. I found out about the Peninsula using the site gogobot, a site that reviews hotels throughout Chicago (and all other cities as well). Both their spa and dining provides a relaxing and tranquil environment with a delicious European menu and a variety of services at the spa that makes for the perfect weekend getaway.

Catching a Sporting Event

Living in Chicago has made me fortunate enough to have a sports team to cheer for in every season. Whether it is the Blackhawks during hockey season, the Bulls during basketball season, the Cubs and White Sox during baseball season, or the Bears during football season, there are more than enough sports teams to keep my interest! While the games can be expensive, there are often deals and promotions so you can take in a game live for a fair, reasonable price! The games are always an event, and always worth it!

Check out more via twitter (@KendraThornton) and let us know if there is something you particularly love about your hometown!


  1. I love this post, Britt!! Small towns are amazing and your pictures really capture what I love about them. It was neat to read about Chicago after reading about Clayton.


  2. Oh my goodness this totally makes me want to visit your hometown!

  3. This really makes me want to visit Clayton for a vacation!!

  4. What a lovely photo essay! I would love to hang out in Clayton - it's my kind of town. And of course Chicago, which in my opinion is THE best place for small town people to go on vacation! I wish Kendra had included some photos, though.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Nancy! Thanks for being a part of making Clayton so great!

  6. Graduated there in 1946. A quarter would get you a hamburger and coke, at the Luna Café, and go to the movie. That was the good ole days whene the times were hard. Good memories.

    1. How neat! Thank you for commenting! I bet you know my grandparents - Sam and RosaLee Britt.

  7. Britt!! You should seriously be in charge of marketing for Clayton. These pictures are amazing and I love your sweet words about home. You're awesome!


  8. Love this post, Britt! I love visiting small towns with that quaint, homey feeling that you know is rooted in it's unique and rich history! Beautiful! Pray one day our little family will be able to visit yours!