“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night…”
The world famous America’s Highway provided the setting for the Pixar movie ‘Cars’, John Steinbeck called Route 66 ‘The Mother Road’ in his novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and Dr Feelgood and many others have immortalised this iconic road in song. I got really immersed in America’s most famous highway during a pitstop in Seligman, Route 66’s birthplace.
Exploring a small town on Route 66
When driving the endless road connecting eight states from Chicago to Los Angeles, you’re going to drift into a ‘freedom’ state of mind, which will stay with you forever. In addition to the endless tarmac, blue sky and long hot summer feelings, you’re also going to love the pit stops. From my experience there’s no better place to stretch your legs than Seligman, which is located alongside Route 66. , an ideal destination to recharge.
‘The Birthplace of Historic Route 66’
Seligman is a small roadside town in North West Arizona that you will come to when heading West along the route. Covering just 6.4 square miles and with a population of less than 500, it’s a popular pit stop for many road trippers.
Seligman is known as ‘The Birthplace of Historic Route 66’ because the town retains its unique historic charm, which attracts travellers of all ages. Exploring Seligman is essential to understanding Route 66’s unique story.
Seligman isn’t difficult to find. When you’ve driven a few hours and settled into the beautiful, continuous and mesmerising desert scenery, you’ll be suddenly assaulted with a riot of colour. To say that Seligman is a colourful town is an understatement, I’ve never seen so many rainbow hues all in one place. The architecture and design of the town is pure America, with the residents preserving the vintage and classic style of the 50s America.
Sightseeing and taking pictures that are popular on Instagram
You’ll find it easy to take hundreds of pictures in this small area. Not only of the iconic Route 66 sign, but walk around Seligman and you will see the place is full of vintage and historic ‘Insta’snaps, such as a gas station that was built in the 60s. The shops in the main district have all retained their early 20th century appearances. Some of them are individually listed in the National Register of Historic places for their historic charm and background.
The unusual, quirky but stylish posters, antique signs and colourful license plates are causally stuck on walls in every corner of town, even in the restroom.
If you’re a big fan of Pixar, like me, you gotta love this place. You will see straight away how the decoration of Seligman inspired the cartoon characters from ‘Cars’ and you will see Mcqueen’s cardboards everywhere. Old-timey cars are parked on the roadside with eyes decorated on them to make them look alive! They’re always the most popular attraction and of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enrich my Instagram story material!
The temptation of American fast food
After hours of driving, you will be ready for something to eat. In Seligman, there are not many restaurant choices save for the ‘Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive In’, which always has long queues of people ordering from, yes, you’ve guessed it, a classic menu of burgers, malts and shakes. My favourite was their signature- ‘cheeseburger with cheese’ and the ‘dead chicken’. Yes, Delgadillos is known for their yum-yum but that’s certainly not all they have, they also have a great sense of humour! It did make me laugh when I pushed the door open and a neon sign came on, saying ‘Sorry, we’re closed.’ (LOL!) The staff serve in a humourous way too. No one was allowed to easily and peacefully get their food until the staff had played tricks on them or asked silly questions to make them laugh. What a lovely group of people!
The atmosphere at Delgadillos is wonderful. You can choose sun or shade while you listen to a local live band playing legendary music and, you will enjoy your meals with mellow and relaxing vibes, right next to the road (The famous Route 66 Yay!). I’ll never forget how cool that feeling was… swigging ice cold fizzy coke under the hot sun.
Shopping and collecting memories
Before you hit the road again, don’t miss the chance to visit the unique and captivating gift shops. It’s fantastic to browse and collect rare and exclusive souvenirs that you will not see again after leaving Route 66 or even Seligman.
The shops are a haven for souvenir hunters and filled with a variety of iconic Route 66 and Western USA souvenirs such as magnets, maps, postcards and personalized key rings, printed with the iconic ‘Route 66’ and ‘Arizona’ signs. They are mostly made in the USA and some of them are even handmade by the native Americans. Got to be the best present ever, right?
Seligman is a fascinating town to take a brief rest in during your road trip journey, with its early 20th century appearance and roadside architectural style. The residents maintain a very tourist-friendly atmosphere and for a while, you too can become part of this unique experience, surrounded by sunshine, lovely music and Americana vibes. After recharging in Seligman, you will feel reinvigorated, a little nostalgic and ready to hit the road again!