Our Americana is a podcast that explores unique small towns across America and examines the stories that impact, cultivate, and challenge community.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE SEVEN
(HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE)
This week is Petoskey’s Holiday Open House. In our Season Two Finale, I checked in with some old and new friends as they prepare for the big event; including the event coordinator and the local journalist covering it.
Special thanks to Sufjan Stevens, who was raised in Petoskey, for providing the holiday soundtrack.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE SIX
In 2013, hundred dollar bills started mysteriously appearing throughout Salem, Oregon;
in diaper boxes, tip cups, people’s cars. This is the story of the mysterious person hiding them,
and how their generosity became contagious.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE FIVE
NORTH AMERICAN HIGHWAYS
It’s how this whole thing started. When we set off on the open road that May evening,
we knew our lives were about to change; we had no idea exactly how. We had no idea exactly how much,
how wonderfully; how it would take us to right here, right now. #VanLife is, of course,
bigger than just us and our travels. And so, I reached out to some of our fellow
roadtrippers to see how life on the road has changed them and their perspective on America.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE FOUR
MADRID, NEW MEXICO
A high desert ghost town is revitalized as an unincorporated, off-the-grid artists’ community. In this ungoverned, un-policed town of 219, law enforcement consists of a self-appointed, five-person Intervention and Safety Team. This town and its governing by volunteerism will change the way you think about law enforcement, guns, ethics, and their impact on community.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE THREE
GOLD RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA: PART TWO
This episode concludes the story of Luna the Whale and his time in Gold River. The town comes together to save Luna, and the town struggles in the wake of his absence and the lessons learned.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE TWO
GOLD RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA: PART ONE
(LUNA THE WHALE)
In 2001, the small town of Gold River was adopted by a baby orca. Over the next five years, Luna the Whale would both unite and spark debate amongst the previously segregated town. And he would put this isolated Vancouver Island community on the map and at the forefront of an even bigger conversation about what happens when conservation and humanity collide.
SEASON TWO | EPISODE ONE
BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
In the season two premiere, we… encounter some growing pains and quality control issues while using fancy new equipment …we also head to a rural county in the Berkshires, where the coalescence of agriculture, city weekenders, and a regional currency helped create the farm-to-table movement.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE SEVEN
(MARFA IS OVER)
What happens when the town you live in, your home, your culture, your community, becomes a trend? And then, what happens when people declare that trend dead? This week we go to the tiny West Texas art mecca, in the middle of nowhere, to find out.
It was 2010 when Huffington Post declared that Marfa was the next big tourist destination. And by 2015, they’d said it was over; that Marfa had killed itself, become a victim of itself. When I read that 2015 headline and other scathing OpEds. in various media outlets, I couldn’t help but think of our time there. That it was more than just a trendy destination: It was a town, a community, people’s home, a history that reached far beyond the scope of being labeled cool and then uncool.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE SIX
CITY ISLAND, NEW YORK
(IN THE SHADOW OF NEW YORK)
City Island is a small and sleepy island town, that somehow exists in quiet isolation in the shadow of New York City.
In this episode, you’ll meet a New York mother who wanted her kids to have the free and easy childhood she had in 1970s Oregon; the man who saved his family home by turning his father’s hoarding into a business of selling nostalgia; and a young man who has used his political career to help revitalize the island he grew up on.
But just as I was about to finish the episode, something happened. A community came together to help save one of their own, in the most touching way.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE FIVE
SAN LORENZO VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
(SERIAL KILLERS, GHOSTS, & BIGFOOT)
Deep in the Santa Cruz mountains is a cluster of towns…
I think we all have that place; that place you run away to, to escape from the real world. This was mine. I grew up about an hour and a half from the San Lorenzo Valley. And when I needed to escape and just be with my thoughts, I drove through the woods and up into the mountains to this eight mile stretch of one-lane highway. That, over time and through various visits, I’d come to realize had a rich, rich history and folklore.
This is an area where people believe in bigfoot, where they believe that ghosts haunt the woods, where during the 70s and 80s close to a dozen serial killers buried bodies and found victims. It’s a place where people believe a spaceship is buried under the mountain that creates electromagnetic abnormalities. And despite all these weird things, it’s a loving place with a strong community, where people look out for each other.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE FOUR
MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA
(SISTER, TAKE THE BACK DOOR)
Morgantown is a place that defies expectations. Nestled in the lush, green foothills of the Appalachians, is the town that is home to West Virginia University, a large coal-mining population, and West Virginia’s oldest gay bar. Against all odds, this gay bar, Vice Versa, has become the center of Morgantown’s thriving and connected community. This week we talk to three “sisters” who refuse to be silenced.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE THREE
PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON
(WE FOUND BUSYTOWN)
On the peninsula of a peninsula, in the northwest of the Northwest, there is a town whose citizens pride themselves on being masters of trade; and that trade is less commodity and more currency. Some call it Busytown, others refer to it as Lynchian; we called it home for a month, while Andrew renovated Vantasia.
Today we head to Port Townsend, and tell stories of tazing deer, a boat race to Alaska, a family who dresses as superheroes, feasting on roadkill, and me slowly losing my mind in a cabin in the woods.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE TWO
(FOODTRUCKS & PONIES)
Chincoteague is a small island off the coast of Virginia that is inhabited by wild ponies. You may remember the book “Misty of Chincoteague” – Yeah, that Chincoteague.
In this episode I chat with 3 pairs of Millennials (all of whom are foodies): A couple who runs a gourmet doughnut truck, sisters-in-law who recently arrived on the island and are still trying to find their footing there, and best friends who have spent most of their lives on Chincoteague. We talk about the food trucks craze, the importance of your local mailman, and, of course, those ponies.
SEASON ONE | EPISODE ONE
It seemed only right that the first episode of Our Americana’s podcast be about Petoskey. It was our favorite stop on the trip, and a place we’ve come to speak of us our own personal eden: that place you hope to end up.
In this episode, I chat with five Millennials who have recently moved (or returned) to Petoskey about what it was like leaving the big city for a small and rural town. We discuss the perks and challenges of small town living, dissect the paradigm shift of young people returning to small towns, and try to figure out what makes Petoskey such a magical place. Plus, lots of Gilmore Girls references.