View Full Version : Need Help from ppl up on American Geography/Localities

03-06-2011, 12:19 AM
Since I'm Canadian and don't know where to start lol.

Okay, so I'm trying to think of a place where one of my characters grew up. I want it to be a place in America that's:

- not very populated. In fact, I picture them living in a cottage or something pretty much by themselves, ie) very few people around for miles (where the town is)
- near a lake or body of water, very outdoorsy
- the kind of place where you don't need a lot of money to live
- probably in the northern half of the country....

Sorry if this seems really stupid, but for the life of me I can't really think of a place. I know the major cities and that's pretty much it :) The character doesn't live there anymore, but I just want to be able to mention that place as somewhere he grew up.

Thanks :)

03-06-2011, 12:37 AM
The Adirondacks in New York state (look for Blue Mountain Lake on a map - northeast of Utica) or Upper Peninsula of Michigan (try Newberry or Ishpeming). Puma

03-06-2011, 12:42 AM
Alaska. Think the Yukon, only with lots of guns.

In the Lower 48, much of the western U.S. north of the desert southwest. In particular, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon. Also rural northern Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin.

Plenty of on-line map resources to help you pick a useful locality. Gooooooogle is your friend.

03-06-2011, 12:42 AM
Since you said northern part of the country, I would probably have said rural, upstate New York as well.

03-06-2011, 02:05 AM
Minnesota? Try finding a cottage in Minnesota that isn't near a lake...

Or, upstate Maine/NH/VT. It can still get pretty small-town out there.

03-06-2011, 02:57 AM
I lived in a small Montana college town of 10,000 (when school's in session) 50 km south of Canada, which is also part of America. North of the border into Alberta and Saskatchewan, they look pretty much the same as in Montana, only they use different money.

The Montana Hi-Line, 600 miles of U.S. Highway 2 and the Burlington-Northern Railway from the Rockies to the North Dakota flats is lined with tiny towns. Cellular phone typically can't "hear me now."

All of Montana has only a million people, and its largest city, Billings, has about 100,000 souls.

Towns along the Hi-Line are Libby, White Fish, Kalispell, Browning, Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Plentywood.

03-06-2011, 05:11 AM
I'd pick Montana too.

03-06-2011, 07:06 AM
I'd pick Upstate NY too. Lots of pretty lakes and small towns (I actually just set my first WIP there).

Montana might be pretty, but only the western part. The eastern part was miserable to drive through. Imagine the most remote parts of Saskatchewan. NOTHING there.

When you say cottage, I think a lot of us would think NE, like NY, Connecticut, etc. Out west, they tend to be more "farmhouses." But, the cost of living in the NE is quite a bit more. Especially in NY. So Montana would definitely be the more affordable option.

Possibly Western Oregon might be good too.

03-06-2011, 10:22 AM
Non-coastal Maine would be a pretty good choice, too. Places like you describe in the U.S. won't be much different from the same kinds of places in Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, rural Ontario.

Of places I've visited, Ely, Minnesota would be a good one.

03-06-2011, 05:54 PM
Minnesota is called the land of lakes, and is sparsely populated outside the cities. Read some of John Sandford's books. He tells about cottages in upper Minnesota.