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To the north of St. Louis: Springfield, Il.

Nothing introduces you to a town quite like local, hole-in-the-wall dining, so start your Springfield getaway at Cozy Dog Diner (2935 S. Sixth Street, 217-525-1992; www.cozydogdrivein.com). Park under the spinning sign, cut past the wall-to-wall Americana memorabilia, step up to the long counter and order a corn dog. It’s probably better to call it a Cozy Dog, because this is where corn dogs were invented, or so the owners claim. The dogs are $2.05 each. Cozy also runs specials on a dozen for $20.75. That’s probably overkill, but who are we to judge? Photo by Doyle Murphy.