This story appears in our Underrated issue (Fifty Grande Magazine #2), in stores January 4, 2021 and available here.
There’s a scene in 1992’s Wayne’s World 2 when cable-access-TV hosts Wayne and Garth, the two endearing doofuses played by SNL pals Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, clown around in front of a TV-studio green screen. The special-effects background allows them to instantly “travel through time and space,” Wayne explains, and off they go. As postcard-worthy imagery of various U.S. states drop into the background, Wayne and Garth react in the foreground with the first thing that comes to their dipshit minds. In front of New York’s skyline, an upbeat Garth says, “Hey, let’s go to a Broadway show”; they break into surfing moves when a Hawaiian landscape drops in; Garth flexes an over-the-top old prospector accent in front of Texas’ Alamo, and then…
“Or imagine being able to be magically whisked away to…Delaware,” says Wayne, enthusiasm waning. “Hi… I’m in…Delaware,” and then a brief moment of awkward silence. Cut to next scene.
That moment got a big laugh from a Massachusetts audience when I saw it in the theater way back when. The joke hinges on a shared assumption that Delaware isn’t a place you want to visit or, I suppose, an absence of any strong feelings about the state one way or the other. Either way, Delaware is the punchline. (Side note: I’ve gone to Rehoboth Beach with my wife’s family a handful of times over the past few summers, and it’s a blast. If you get the chance, I’d recommend checking it out for a classic East Coast beach experience.)
Fifty Grande’s mission is to inspire more people to see all parts of the U.S. For me, that’s naturally pointed us toward lower-profile states, much more than ones at the top of most-visited lists. Which is the reason we’ve focused on the underrecognized, undervalued places across the country in our first Underrated issue. Here we opine on cities, states, parks and ideas that we think are worthy of your attention. Some were chosen due to low yearly visits, like the gorgeous state of Alaska and the remote Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. Others are cities that are in underrated regions (Midwest) and in a near-constant state of being undervalued, like St. Louis and Knoxville. Some spotlight offbeat ways to explore well-known places, like classic Los Angeles through a string of recent closings or foraging in Maine. If traveling still isn’t in the cards for you, there’s also an essay on the very underrated idea of exploring neighborhoods close to home with more reckless abandon. There’s more, of course, and we do hope you’ll find it entertaining, helpful and inspiring as you think about your travel plans in 2021 and beyond.