Stars Hollow is a fictitious town that serves as a backdrop for the beloved series- The Gilmore Girls. Stars Hollow enchants audiences with quiet charisma, Victorian architecture, historical monuments, and relatable good-natured people.
Towns that are like Stars Hollow are treasures found throughout the United States and Canada. These towns are historically significant, picturesque, quaint, and uniquely enjoyed. They rely on tourism and host many varied activities to attract visitors.
Here are 20 towns like Stars Hollow.
The Gilmore Girls pilot episode was filmed in Unionville in Ontario; Stars Hollow is a place of fiction that draws on the characteristic charm of towns like Unionville and Washington in Connecticut.
Towns Similar to Stars Hollow
Stars Hollow possesses small-town qualities, like lush green suburbs, national historic Victorian buildings, centuries-old heritage, and character fostered by town inhabitants.
1. Camden (Maine)
Camden, situated on Penobscot Bay in Maine, is considered the unsurpassed cruising destination of the world. Camden’s appeal extends beyond an incredible ocean experience to the nostalgic atmosphere of historic architecture and treasured national heritage.
High Street Historic District has homes built in the 1800s and the Camden Public Library, the Amphitheater, and Harbor Park. There are fifty-eight buildings between Main Street and Sherman Point Road that hold immense historical value. Duck Trap Trading, located on 20 Main Street, is a specialty art gallery.
The Camden Opera House Block, built-in 1893, is registered on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NRHP is the United States federal government assessment of architectural sites, buildings, and districts considered worthy of preservation due to their historical relevance. The Romanesque-styled building houses Camden International Film Festival yearly.
The Penobscot indigenous people who lived in the Camden area for thousands of years called the area Megunticook -which means vast swells of the sea; this refers to the description of the outline of the Camden hills.
Culture has long played an essential role in Camden’s history. Poets and musicians like Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay played a part in Camden’s cultural heritage, and harpist Carlos Salzedo- founded the internationally recognized Salzedo Summer Harp Colony in Camden.
2. Carmel by the Sea (California)
Located on the Monterey Peninsula and is mainly called Carmel, this old town has a rich artistic history stemming from the first decade of the 1900s. In 1906 the San Francisco Call revealed that 60% of Carmel’s residence were committed to engaging in the aesthetic arts.
Artists administered the initial city councils, and they focused primarily on protecting and promoting art. Many city mayors have been professional poets, actors, and artists, for example, Herbert Heron (founder of the Forest Theatre), author and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood.
Carmel is a treasure developed on the coast shore; its history amalgamates Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican, and American melting pots. In 1905 the Caramel Arts and Culture Club was created.
3. Cocoa Village (Florida)
Cocoa Village is a historic town in Florida that developed just before the shoreline. The village possesses unique characteristics, from specialty shops and boutiques to restaurants, coffee diners, and art galleries.
Set up by fishermen around 1860 located along the Indian River, Cocoa interacts with coastal shore and antique charisma. The entire town: Delannoy Avenue, Brevard Avenue, and Harrison Street is a walkable distance, a confluence of art and enterprise.
The Cocoa Riverfront Park is a waterside park that hosts many events and activities; it’s appreciated for its scenic beauty and number of independent businesses and restaurants. Taylor Park (founded in 1920) is adjacent to Cocoa Riverfront Park.
4. Friday Harbor (San Juan Island, Washington)
Friday Harbor is situated on San Juan Island and is a geographically strategic commercial hub for the San Juan archipelago. The harbor is named after Joseph Poalie Friday- who was a native Hawaiian. Friday Harbor is currently productive and prosperous.
Friday Harbor is home to the renowned marine biology facility- Friday Harbor Laboratories, a field station of the University of Washington. Friday Harbor Laboratories has its mandate focused on research, teaching, outreach, preservation, and promotion of oceanography.
Friday Harbor was the setting for the 1998 film Practical Magic. It has a characteristic charm of a relaxed, slow-paced small town. Fast-food chains and superstore markets are non-existent; instead, there are friendly, welcoming, and attentive people happy to help in whatever way they can.
5. Gananoque (Ontario)
The Gananoque is an aboriginal name that translates to Town on Two Rivers; it is an access point to the Thousand Islands (1000 islands). The Thousand Islands is a scattering of tiny islands steeped in history, marine life, and two UNESCO-designated sites: the Frontenac Arch Biosphere and the Rideau Heritage Route.
Gananoque is built along the Lawrence River and is an incredible waterfront community; it holds potential for innumerable opportunities of once-in-a-life touristic fun and experience: scuba diving, hiking, ziplining, skydiving, helicopter tours, and sailing.
There are also boat cruises throughout the archipelago; one of the destinations is Boldt Castle. Boldt Castle is situated on Heart Island and is a significant landmark in New York State. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority spent $15 million renovating and restoring the Castle for the enjoyment of future generations.
The Thousand Island Playhouse, established in 1981/82, is Canada’s Dockside Theater and holds many events throughout the year. Founded by actors who graduated from Queen’s University, the Playhouse is a treasure of Gananoque. The Playhouse has a year-long residency program called the Playwrights Unit that fosters the talent of young artists.
6. Haines (Alaska)
Haines was initially named Deishu by the Chilkat people of Tlingit; Deishu translates to end of the road.
Every year between October and February, the Bald eagle makes a highly anticipated appearance; during this time, Haines has the highest number of Bald eagles globally.
Haines hosts Alaska’s most protracted beer festival that attracts 1500 tourists, visiting breweries from Alaska and Yukon.
Haines holds the Southeast Alaska State Fair on the last weekend of July; the festivities include vendors, rides, games, and a music festival. The State Fair draws people from all around Alaska and her surrounding states.
7. Jim Thorpe (Pennsylvania)
Jim Thorpe is in eastern Pennsylvania; it is an old-world, small-town. Jim Thorpe is otherwise referred to as the Switzerland of America for its scenic beauty, mountainous surroundings, and historic architecture; the small town contains many different architectural influences.
The Town of Jim Thorpe was initially named Mauch Chunk in 1818; the name is from the native Munsee Lenape inhabitants and translates to Bear Place. In 1954 the town was renamed Jim Thorpe after the first native American Olympic Gold Medalist- James Francis Thorpe.
This European village has many historic landmarks: the Old Jail Museum, the Mauch Chunk Museum, No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum, and Eckley Miner’s Village. This history meets with outdoor activities that make the destination fun, exciting and refreshing.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is a time-capsule adventure, touring through the Pocono mountains. The journey along the Lehigh River is nostalgic in beauty and charm with its vintage interior and lush scenery; the 16 miles narrated trip to Old Penn Haven is a must.
The Mauch Chunk Opera House, a historic building that celebrates vaudeville-style, has run for 138 years and still operates. Quietly hidden at an intersection amongst the lush mountains, it is one of the more significant buildings for its size, heritage, and architecture. The theater is intimate and holds about 380 seats.
Kennebunkport is a coastal resort town in York County, Maine; this town possesses scenic, idyllic splendor; it was the vacation retreat to both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Kennebunkport was made a municipality in 1653 and referred to as Cape Porpus under the Massachusetts Bay Colony administration. In 1821 the town was renamed Kennebunkport, as its growing economy was dependent on fishing, trade, and shipbuilding on the Kennebunk River.
It was in the 1870s that Kennebunkport’s potential as a summer retreat steadily became realized. Currently, this coastal resort is in high demand for its heritage and quiet charisma. There is kayaking, whale watching, and canoeing.
Kennebunkport offers an array of individualized experiences from a town theater, antique shops, art galleries, open patioed dining areas, and a fine assortment of accommodations. The historic buildings include the homes of sea captains and shipbuilders.
9. Kent (Connecticut)
The Town of Kent, located in Litchfield County in Connecticut, borders New York. It was established in 1739 and named after Kent in the United Kingdom. It is home to the former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The Indian Reservation Schaghticoke is within the perimeters of Kent.
Macedonia Brook State Park is a tourist attraction spot, established in 1918; it consists of 2 300 acres. It was given to Connecticut state by White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield. Currently, it provides 51 campsites around meadow, wooded, or riverside areas.
There are many activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, and picnicking.
Kent Falls State Park is considered a spectacular gem with 17 striking waterfalls. The source of the falls belongs to Warren town in Lichfield, and the rivers travel down to the main Housatonic River, which is straight across the highway from the park. There are intricate trails with raised viewing platforms at various and exciting stages of the trek.
This chic little town is rich in culture and heritage; there are award-winning theaters, art galleries that showcase incredible talent, distinguished museums, and innovations in architecture that attract many tourists.
The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association is situated in Kent and an excellent choice to step out and explore a time long past. This non-profit museum is committed to the upkeep and maintenance of antique industrial and agricultural machinery. The mission of the museum is to enlighten people as to how different eras functioned with varying machines.
10. Ligonier (Pennsylvania)
Ligonier settled in 1760; it is a borough, which means it is a self-administering town or district. Ligonier is famed for its amusement park- Idlewild, the oldest amusement park in the United States. Within proximity to Ligonier is the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, with its high elevation of 3000 feet, a skiing destination.
Ligonier has a unique charisma; the classy little town boasts over 60 specialty shops, galleries, diners, boutiques, inns, and bed and breakfasts. The character of Ligonier is a result of the preserved and maintained heritage; Fort Ligonier is one such landmark.
Fort Ligonier features an assortment of art, history, events, and education that makes visiting there a worthwhile experience. English country dances held at Fort Ligonier indicate the diverse range of activities that it promotes.
The city center of Ligonier is called the Diamond. It has a bandstand like the one in Stars Hollow, including the Diamond Café, the Diamond Theater of Ligonier, and the Ligonier Library. Found at Main and Market Street, the Diamond is proximate to beautiful historical sites like the Town Hall and the Heritage Methodist church.
Ligonier also holds highland games; tickets are on sale at Idlewild Park. Influenced by Scottish heritage, the yearly gathering of various clans heralded by beautiful bagpipes marks the start of the highland games. There are numerous events and shopping opportunities like a farmer’s market.
11. Littleton (New Hampshire)
Littleton is located on the northern edge of the White Mountains and borders the Connecticut River. In 1764 the area was called Chiswick, which is Saxon for cheese farm.
The Littleton Grist Mill, located on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River, is valued for its immense heritage; it first opened in 1798 and has since been repaired to its original appearance.
The Littleton Opera House (1894/5) looks out over the Ammonoosuc River; its architectural style is Late Victorian. It is five stories to the rear and three to the front owing to the riverbank slope. The most distinguishing aspect of the Opera House is its six-sided tower.
In 1973 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Opera House is in an important location on the eastern end of Main Street. It initially housed all levels of municipal services: police, library, and town offices.
An auditorium occupies the east end of the building with 750 seats.
12. Mackinac Island (Michigan)
Mackinac is a resort island in Michigan state. Originally called Michilimackinac by the Ottawa Ojibwe, it translated to Big Turtle. The architecture on the island has gone through extensive renovation and historic preservation.
The island has a ban on nearly all automobiles.
The architectural designs bridge across three generations, which include ancient native American structures to 1800 buildings of European-American. Mackinac has lighthouses, shipwrecks, churches that serve as historical sites. Over 80% of the island is Mackinac Island State Park- a conservation park.
Due to its historical relevance, the entire island is a National Historic Landmark (1960). The United States government acknowledges national Historic Landmarks for their inherent outstanding historical significance; there are only 2 500 out of 90 000 (3%) recognized buildings, sites, monuments, districts, and objects.
The island is renowned for its many cultural festivities and celebrations and its distinct, varied architectural designs. The Victorian Grand Hotel opened July 10, 1887; it has a history of noteworthy guests, including five United States presidents, Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain.
13. Stillwater (Minnesota)
Described as the birthplace of Minnesota, Stillwater arose in 1858. At the time, the first territorial convention set into motion the creation of Minnesota as a state. Stillwater is an ancient town hallmarked by buildings of immense historical importance.
The name Stillwater is due to John McKusick’s observation of the tranquility of St. Croix River, adjacent to the city center; he built the town’s first sawmill and became a state senator in years.
Stillwater has frequently voted the top vacation destination in the United States; accolades include The Prettiest Town in America by Forbes and Top 5 Midwest Towns to Visit Now. The activities of Stillwater include paddlewheel riverboats, cruises, and gondolas.
Currently, Stillwater city is acknowledged federally as a Preserve America Community and is registered as the Stillwater Commercial Historic District, added there are 21 buildings on the National Historic Registry.
There are numerous televisions, books, documentaries, and movies that use Stillwater; these include Juno, Fargo, Beautiful Girls, and Paperboys (documentary).
14. Sturbridge (Massachusetts)
Sturbridge is a town of contrasts. It is steeped in well-preserved history and is the location of a developing high-tech industry- positioned as the headquarters for innovators in the fiber optic area.
Sturbridge maintains the Old Sturbridge Village living history museum; it is the most extensive outdoor history museum in the Northeast. Old Sturbridge Village recreates day-to-day living in pastoral New England from 1970 – 1830.
There are varying other points that hold historical interest. The Sturbridge Public Library came into being in 1873; it is now called the Joshua Hyde Public Library (JHPL). The JHPL is very active in community development and education.
15. Sykesville (Maryland)
Sykesville has the honor of being- The coolest small town in America- in 2016, as voted by budget travel. Established in 1904, Sykesville has a characteristic small-town charm. Sykesville has many interesting historical landmarks.
The Springfield Psychiatric Hospital Center is a sanitarium founded in 1896; the National Register of Historic Places recognizes it as 2000. Initially, this area belonged to William Patterson that built a summer home and 3000 acres slave plantation. Frank Brown, Governor of Maryland, purchased and sold the estate to Maryland as a mental hospital.
Sykesville has pretty parks and recreation areas, including the Piney Run Park, Maryland’s oldest developed park. It hosts many opportunities for activities like canoeing, races, and education on the fauna and flora.
Patapsco Distilling Company is in Sykesville and crafts premium spirits homemade from Maryland cultivated grains. Patapsco offers tours that demonstrate how to distill the spirits; these are informative and fun.
16. Traverse City (Michigan)
Traverse City is renowned for its cherry orchards, being the most noticeable producer of tart cherries. Yearly, the city hosts a cherry festival for the first week of July, drawing about 50 000 tourists. The adjacent countryside boasts grape harvests and wine production.
Traverse City has numerous attractions, events, vineyards, freshwater shores, downhill skiing areas, and gorgeous forests. This small town with its national lake is a great retirement destination and a top small city in America.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trails is a part of the area once belonging to the Anishinaabe people; it is over 21 miles long and is accessible at all points. The trail intersects at various sites of interest like Glen Haven, DH Day Campground, the Dune Climb, and the Port Oneida Historic District.
17. Unionville (Ontario)
Established in 1794, Unionville is a historic town. Tourism contributes to Unionville’s economy, and Unionville’s Main Street draws thousands of visitors annually. Unionville is about a thirty-minute drive from Toronto.
Main Street was formerly the track from the settlement’s first gristmill; it has nine restaurants, three pubs, and a succession of 19th-century homes and buildings that create an atmosphere of a foregone time.
The details and architecture of the buildings are a significant attraction for tourists who want to experience an environment removed from modern stresses; for example, a horse-drawn carriage transports residents and tourists over the winter season.
The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is an art museum located on Main Street; the artwork features local, national, and international talent. There are tours, workshops, studio courses, and family events. Scholars and bursaries like the Wallace Joyce Scholarship and the William J. Withrow School Visits Bursary program are available.
Every year Unionville Festival is celebrated; first organized in 1969, it currently offers visitors an experience in music, vendors, and social gatherings. One of the permanent attractions is the Old Firehall Confectionery; once a sporting goods store, it is now a sweet and chocolate shop.
18. Watch Hill (Rhode Island)
Watch Hill is an exquisite summer destination and affluent coastal development. It is a tiny Victorian-styled town comprised of many quaint, charming cottages. The main charm of Watch Hill is the elite and discreet quality of a few wealthy residents; activities enjoyed are yachting, sailing, and cocktails on the beachfront.
Important landmarks include the Watch Hill Lighthouse constructed in 1745, the Flying Horse Carousel assembled in the 1880s, the oldest remaining carousel in the United States, and is a National Historic Landmark, the Ocean House Hotel built in 1868, and the 1916 Olympian Tea Room.
For a handful of generations, Watch Hill has consistently maintained its elite, old money ambiance in the area. Famous guests include Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Julius Henry Groucho Marx, David Niven, and Jean Harlow.
The gingerbread houses that make up the Victorian town atmosphere dazzles in the heightened beauty of the accompanying ocean shore. The shingled houses exude an air of deep history, wealth, and quiet privacy. The National Register of Historic Places acknowledges and protects Watch Hill.
19. Washington (Connecticut)
The town of Washington in Connecticut boasts gorgeous vineyards and farmlands; picturesque, historic, engaged in civic and cultural affairs, Washington has a deep connection to New York City. Washington is one of the central locations that inspired the series Gilmore Girls.
Now a place for wealthy business owners and the elite, it was once a slavery safe harbor, a stop on the Underground Railroad; the residents of Washington provided places of refuge to self-emancipated former slaves and endeavored to obscure the trajectory of bounty hunters.
Frederick W. Gunn, an abolitionist, and designer of the Gunnery prep school, created the first-ever summer camp in 1861 in Washington. Frederick is referred to as the father of recreational camping and was known for promoting education in others to revere nature, build character, and abolish institutions of slavery.
Washington promotes an ethos of volunteerism and involved civic commitments; residents belonging to Washington allot their time freely for different social duties, including emergency providers and upholding community benefits and social causes.
A significant percentage of homes in Washington were designed and built before 1950. From 1950 onwards, the homes endeavored to maintain the pastoral New England aesthetic resulting in a rarely seen architectural cohesion across decades and generations.
20. Zionsville (Indiana)
Zionsville was built in 1852 when a railroad extension reached its furthest point. It’s a historic town where Abraham Lincoln made his whistle-stop speech in 1861, traveling to his inauguration.
Zionsville, also called Castle Hill, was listed as a National Register of Historic Places in 1983. City center Zionsville is a tourist attraction; Main Street is entirely lined in brick with its boutiques, specialty stores, and dining area.
The Sullivan Munce Cultural Center is an art and genealogy center and showcases the history of Zionsville. Annually, the museum holds a ghost walk; this tour includes minor enactments of people’s lives decades ago.
Star Hollow is a quaint town that conveys old-world charm and picturesque beauty. Scenes from Gilmore Girls captivate audiences with the backdrop of the shingled, brick face, Victorian-style architecture, buildings, and leafy gardens.
The experience of Stars Hollow appeal is in numerous towns across the United States and Canada. Many of these villages have sites recognized and protected by the National Register of Historic Places for their immense contribution to heritage, education, and culture. Each town, although similar, is uniquely experienced.
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Reddit.com – Towns Like Stars Hollow
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Travelchannel.com – 23 New England Towns That Might as Well Be Stars Hollow
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