Escape to Small Town America in These Bingeable Shows

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While many of us are still adhering to social distancing, binging new (or old) television shows has become a common activity to get us through the days.

Sometimes you are just not in the mood to watch a show as intricate and complicated as Game of Thrones (although everyone should, at some point).

Real life can be hectic enough as it is. In those moments when life gets too crazy, you might want to sit back and enjoy a light-hearted watch by escaping to small-town America in one of these shows.

Stars Hollow Town Square

Stars Hollow, CT (Gilmore Girls)

The Bid-a-Basket fundraiser. Knit-a-Thon fundraiser. Festival of Living Art. Revolutionary War Reenactment. The 24-hour dance marathon. These are just a few of the many events typical of Stars Hollow, CT.

Stars Hollow has so many eccentricities. You'll find yourself marveling at their ability to create an event just as ridiculous as the last. Most episodes even consist of a town meeting!

Jess/Dean/Rory Bid a Basket - Gilmore Girls Season 2 Episode 13

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have a mother-daughter relationship most girls would envy.

Their days mostly consist of at least one meal at Luke's Diner, town meetings, a lot of movie nights and a lot of junk food. Who wouldn't want to grow up with a mom like that in a town like this?

Like most of New England, Stars Hollow has beautiful seasons.

They are so beautiful, in fact, you might find yourself planning a trip to Washington Depot, CT, as thousands of other Gilmore fans have; Washington Depot was the town that inspired the creation of the show!

Lorelai and Rory in Winter  - Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls is so loved, Netflix released a four-part revival in 2016, almost 10 years after the show ended.

Revival Stars Hollow is just as quirky as the original, and it's comforting to know not much has changed.

Bon Temps, LA (True Blood)

Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels written by Charlaine Harris, the show follows Sookie, a telepathic waitress in Bon Temps, LA.

The story starts shortly after vampires come "out of the coffin" and have integrated into society. Sookie starts dating one, and all hell breaks loose.

Merlotte's Bar

Bon Temps is a fictional town set near Shreveport, LA. Anyone familiar with the area will hear a lot of shoutouts to real-life small towns in northern Louisiana.

One of the best things about True Blood is it has an authenticity that is unmatched by many other Southern shows, given Harris is from the area.

Common of southern small towns, Bon Temps has two churches (white and black), a small sheriff's office, and only one bar in town where many of the residents have lunch and/or dinner every night.

A small-town drama with a supernatural aspect, True Blood is a perfect binge that you can find on HBO Max.

True Blood Cast Poster

Mystic Falls, VA (The Vampire Diaries)

TVD is another supernatural small-town hybrid. Vampire brothers Damon and Stefan move back to Mystic Falls, VA, where they once lived during the Civil War.

The story centers around the brothers and Elena, and we even get to learn how vampires were originally created.

Mystic Falls has a unique tradition: the town's founding families pass down journals throughout their generations, which makes things difficult for the vampires who keep returning to the town.

Twilight at the Grill

All Mystic Falls events either take place in the town square, the high school, the Mystic Grill, or at the Lockwood family mansion.

They might turn out deadly, but the high school's decade dances are staple events of the show.

One of the most entertaining events of the town has to be Miss Mystic Falls, a pageant integral to the town's history.

A small town with a big vampire problem, Mystic Falls is a place you want to visit. All seasons are on Netflix.

Miss Mystic Falls Picture

Bluebell, AL (Hart of Dixie)

New Home - Hart of Dixie

Zoe Hart completed her residency but didn't get the cardiothoracic fellowship she wanted in New York City.

A New Yorker's nightmare, she ends up working in a practice in Bluebell, AL.

Zoe is a city fish fresh out of water, trying to navigate her way through this new environment while maintaining her business.

Bluebell has its share of unique town events, including Planksgiving, the Sweetie Pie Dance, and a Turtle Derby Race. They give Stars Hollow a run for their money!

Arrgh, Planksgiving!

In addition to their signature town events, they, of course, have a healthy constant Alabama vs. Auburn college football debate, as is expected of an Alabama town.

The show kind of laughs at itself by having a former Crimson Tide linebacker be the town's mayor, living in a plantation no less. 

One of the best things this show gives us is the iconic best friend relationship between Lavon and Zoe.

He takes her in when she moves to town, and you can't get enough of them. 

Zavon Exploding Dap

Hart of Dixie has the cutest southern charm with just the right amount of drama and comedy. Watch it all on Netflix.

Virgin River, CA (Virgin River)

Virgin River Scenic Downtown

Mel Monroe is a midwife and nurse practitioner from Los Angeles.

Needing to get away after some traumatic events took place, she takes a job in Virgin River, CA, to help out the town doctor.

This Netflix original romantic drama feels a lot like Hart of Dixie.

It feels so much like it in part because it, too, has an ornery town doctor played by the same actor, Tim Matheson. 

Doc Mullins - Virgin River

Matheson isn't the only actor who is somewhat reprising an old role.

Mel is a nurse, and Alexandra played a nurse as Sophie on This is Us.

Jack is a veteran, and so was Riggs (Grey's Anatomy).

Hope is the Virgin River mayor, and Marth Kent ended up a senator from Smallville, KS.

Jack and Mel at the Bar - Virgin River

It makes you feel like you already know all the characters.

The town has no hotel, one doctor, and only one place open to eat after 5 PM, a bar owned by Jack Sheridan. Jack is Mel's first friend in town, with the possibility of a little more. 

Mel has some pain to overcome and so understands the need to escape; Virgin River is that for her.

We soon learn she isn't the only one who is using Virgin River to escape their past. But the small-town living isn't as simple as she thought it would be. 

Serenity, SC (Sweet Magnolias)

Maddie and Cal - Sweet Magnolias

This new Netflix original was just released on the platform in May 2020.

The show follows three friends: Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen. Maddie is fresh out of her marriage after her doctor husband got his nurse pregnant.

Maddie then becomes the talk of the town after getting attention from her son's baseball coach.

Sweet Magnolias has down-south feels in more ways than one. Of course, everyone is in everyone's business, and they even gossip about it after church on Sunday.

Sweet Magnolias After Church

They don't shy away from that Southern racism, either.

Dana Sue has no problem reminding Helen of the reason she and her ex had to sneak around in high school was that his dad didn't like him dating a black girl. Dana Sue is a fierce, loyal friend who won't put up with nonsense.

Sweet Magnolias touches on all the normal drama and feels like home.

From Margarita nights to the high school baseball games, Sweet Magnolias feels like everyone is family. 

Sweet Magnolias Margarita Night Poster

When the workdays are long and feel like too much is going on, find some peace and quiet by escaping to these towns!

Which town is your favorite?

Or maybe you can't pick a favorite and would rather make a road trip of visiting them all.

Share your favorites in the comments.

Which will you visit first?

Berea Orange is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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