There are very few places in the world that have never sent a visitor to Twelve Mile Circle in the several years since I started the site. Nonetheless I check my access statistics for any new arrivals occasionally along with all the rest of my borderline obsessive-compulsive reader behavior examinations. I conducted the last comprehensive check for first-time countries in April 2013 and I expected few additions. A handful of locations continued to cling stubbornly to the No Visitors list. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I’d added seven new locations since that time as the map slowly nears completion. I’d observed a couple of them when they arrived while the others somehow slipped past my attention. The most recent additions were Burundi, Cape Verdi, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Norfolk Island, Saint Helena and South Sudan.
I was particularly pleased by the African additions. I’ve attracted very fewer readers from Africa per capita most likely for a variety of reasons, probably involving the rate of Internet penetration in some of the less affluent corners of the continent combined with large percentages of people speaking languages other than English. A site such as mine oriented towards geo-oddities primarily within North America and Europe and written completely in English would be less relevant to much of that audience than perhaps to other topics.
The Burundi hit may have been the most interesting of the new batch from Africa. The reader appeared to have a fascination with U.S. county boundaries as displayed on Google Maps. What was the story behind the story? What unusual set of circumstances led that reader to 12MC? Was this the sign of a budding County Counter? An American expat planning a return trip to a native land? Those are the kind of topics that run through my mind whenever I spot a visitor anomaly like this one.
The hit from South Sudan was also a great pickup. I’d already captured Sudan, the larger version, before South Sudan seceded in 2011. I’m sure that people of South Sudan had bigger issues on their mind than the hole their independence created on my African visitors map. Nonetheless a large empty spot appeared that day and it took two years to finally fill it back in.
I also continued to capture various islands although they didn’t have quite the dramatic visual impact on my map since they were so small and widely scattered. A couple of them fit both the African and island definitions, though. Cape Verde is an archipelago off the coast of western Africa originally settled by the Portuguese. Also, Equatorial Guinea includes both an island component and mainland component, and it’s one of the few areas of Africa where Spanish has been among its official languages. I can’t comprehend why my visitor from Equatorial Guinea wanted to take a ferry from Maryland to Virginia although that’s what he or she apparently hoped to do, so best of luck on that idea. It’s not an easy feat to complete even for those of us living in close proximity.
Then I got to the truly crazy catches: Norfolk Island, a largely self-governed area of Australia; and Saint Helena, part of a British Overseas Territory. Granted, English would be an official language on either island and that should increase the odds of attracting readers, however Norfolk had only 2,300 residents and Saint Helena 4,200. That led me to speculate whether one or both may have involved a regular 12MC visitor on holiday who happened to know I enjoyed hits from odd places. It’s happened before so a big Thank You if that’s the case.
The 12MC family likes to go to the beach in the Winter. I realize that sounds completely counter-intuitive, to put it nicely. However, the crowds are gone, hotels are available and at much cheaper rates, and I don’t enjoy lying on the sand in the sun anyway. Sitting in a single spot actually increases my anxiety. We went to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for the weekend, returning early on Sunday morning to avoid an ice storm.
16 Mile Brewing Company
What does that have to do with anything?
That allowed us to chart a course through Georgetown, Delaware, the location of an article I posted called 12 Mile Circ… no wait, 16!. I love it when I’m able to visit a place in person that I’ve featured online.
It also combined two things of interest to me, geo-oddities and beer. Georgetown was the home of the 16 Mile Brewing Company, a microbrewery (not a brewpub). There I enjoyed a beer sampler at their attractive tasting room. That’s a fairly recent trend, by the way. Microbreweries used to not cater much to beer tourism. They’ve become more like vineyards in recent years, learning from their wine making cousins that tasting rooms serve as excellent advertising and as a means to cut-out the middleman.
Of course, my mind was drawn to a large map posted on a nearby wall explaining the significance of the 16 miles, which matched with what I reported in the earlier article. I’ll note that I was the only person standing in front of the map, gawking. Everyone else seemed happy to sit at the bar or at a table and sip their samples.
Naturally I stopped at Dogfish Head’s brewpub Rehoboth Beach, which I’ve visited several times before, although the shark adorned festively with a Santa hat was a nice holiday touch.
As always, I enjoyed my brief visit to Delaware, the tiny state with more geo-oddities per square mile than any other place on the planet.