Don't you hate when some national site decides it wants to rank something and dings your place near the bottom? That's just happened again, but I'd like to have a little fun with a new "ranking" claiming Missouri and Illinois are two of the least beautiful states in America. Shall we begin?

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Before I tear apart critique Thrillist "Most Beautiful States In America" that was just updated for 2022, I'll share where we landed and why I think this is totally flawed. In fairness to them, I'll also share a snippet of why they dinged us.

#48 - Illinois - "This largely featureless Midwestern state compensates in the most effective way possible: plugging dozens of beautiful skyscrapers along Lake Michigan."

#42 - Missouri - "It's tough for Missouri—which borders five states that have already appeared in the bowels of this list—to distinguish itself. The great sprawling center of the state is a less agriculturally fatigued transition between Illinois and Kansas."

Bowels? Ouch. That hurts. Not.

In defense of their list, Thrillist does credit the "dramatic vistas" in other parts of Illinois and they admit that in Missouri "that southern third or so is a delight". Thanks.

To understand lists like this, it's worth checking to see what THEY think (yes, emphasis on "they") is paradise. #1? California. That's right. In their opinion, California is as good as it gets. Gnarly.

For reference, here's a fun graphic I found showing how much people in California love California.

That graphic tells you a lot about how great California is.

My point to this? These "most" and "best" and "worst" lists can be taken with a grain of salt. Let them believe we aren't pretty while we kick back and enjoy a nice Missouri and/or Illinois sunset which is about as pretty as it gets from many parts of our area.

Vintage Missouri Gas Stations from a Long-Gone Era

Famous People from Hannibal, Missouri

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