The Worst-Smelling Towns In America

Last week, I was in Eureka, California, for a couple of days with my parents and brother’s family. Despite the cute, historic downtown and an epic feast at the renown Samoa Cookhouse, our overwhelming impression of this coastal city is that it should be renamed “Eureeka,” because it stinks – literally.

The stench of … bait fish? Fish meal or perhaps cat food processing enveloped our hotel, and that’s just not an aroma that stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. It was like living in a bucket of chum.

My niece and nephew, 12 and 16, respectively, suggested I write a piece for Gadling on the stankiest places in America, and I’m more than happy to oblige. In addition to personal picks, my fellow Gadsters were only too happy to (cow) chip in.

Coalinga, California
Anyone who’s driven I-5 past the famous cattle stockyards knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Yellowstone National Park, and Thermopolis, Wyoming
These two famous attractions may stink of sulfur, but they’re worth putting up with the fumes.

Pago Pago, American Samoa
Think giant fish cannery.Chinatowns, everywhere
Special mention goes to NYC on a breezeless summer’s day.

Greeley, Colorado
Let’s just say that being the home of one of America’s largest beef abattoirs has far-reaching consequences if the wind is right, which it usually is.

Gilroy, California
Depending upon your feelings about garlic, the nation’s largest producer of the stuff is heaven or hell (personally, I choose the former).

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Its unofficial nickname is “The City of Five Smells,” due to the grain processing plants located there. Like roasting coffee, not always an olfactory pleasure.

Gary, Indiana
According to one Gadling contributor, this city famously smells like, “coke (a coal by-product), steel, and sadness.” Apologies to residents of Gary but this one came up more than once.

Got any picks of your own? We’d love to hear your votes for America’s smelliest town!

[Photo credits: cattle, Flickr user St0rmz; fish, Flickr user amandamandy]

Hold the cologne – Airplane tip

Most travelers know to shower before they fly. It’s common sense that when you’re going to be captive for hours, with no personal space, the last thing anyone needs is body odor. What some new travelers don’t realize is that even the tiniest amount of aftershave or perfume can be toxic to cooped-up fliers.

At home, your loved one may adore the smell of your fu-fu, but people sitting near you on a packed flight, will not — and there is just no way they can get away from it.

So, to recap: shower; wear fresh, clean clothes; but please hold the cologne.

Snowy roads in the Netherlands may be smelling sweet this winter

There seems to be a major salt shortage in the Netherlands this winter. According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the country normally uses about 70,000 tons of salt to de-ice the roads each winter. So far this year, over 100,000 tons have already been spread on icy roads around the country. If the temps don’t warm up fast, the Netherlands could run out of road salt.

To combat the shortage, some cities are using sand, which doesn’t work as well and is not good for the roads. But at least one town has gotten a little more creative. The town of Etten-Leur has spread 18 tons of scented bath salts on its roads in an effort to keep them ice-free.

So, if you find yourself driving in the Netherlands, you may notice the roads smelling a little sweeter than normal. According to the news report, the “coloured bath salts smell of lavender, green tea and mango.”%Gallery-79319%



Hotels to Smell Like Pie

I once stayed in a rather grungy hotel in a small town in Colorado that had an awful smell. I’m still not sure what the odor was, some mixture of rotten eggs and Lysol. A sour-sewage reek whose malodorous molecules still haunt my olfactory cortex to this day. Obviously, I will never go back to this hotel.

But what if you went to a hotel where everything smelled very pleasant? The delicious fragrance of hot apple pie wafting through the halls, the sweet whiff of begonias in your room. (Question: in Vegas, will they have pheromone-scented hallways).

Well, the folks over at adjab have posted about a new campaign by Sheraton Hotels for their Four Points chain that will intentionally introduce satisfying odors into the lobby and other points in the hotel. For example, White Tea scent will be sniffed in the Westin chain (which might mean nothing to those of us who have no idea what white tea smells like). No matter. This is all very clever, and those who orchestrated this campaign are obviously aware that they are dealing in primitive grey matter, that it is our olfactory cortex that is the oldest and in some ways most powerful sense. Freud would be proud.