Get Your Arts and Culture On: The Inland Empire contains a veritable constellation of ghost towns—those long-abandoned and oft-forgotten historical settlements where folks came to get rich (or at least get by) and ultimately drifted away, disappointed. These hint at various eras of the IE’s formative years—and are perhaps monuments to the ever-optimistic American spirit. San Bernardino County alone boasts at least 35 ghost towns, many with bizarre (Crackerjack, Bagdad) or evocative (Wild Wash, Coyote Lake) names. A little over 10 miles south down the dirt road near the old Ludlow cemetery is Stedman, a mining settlement which until the 1930s had its own railroad connection. Vandals torched much of it a few years back, but some buildings and death-trap mine shafts remain (tread with caution and never visit after dark). A few miles southeast of Stedman is the brilliantly-named Ragtown, another former mining center which is now a lot more “ghost” than “town.” Be warned that, other than Calico (the truly touristy ghost town north of Barstow, www.calicotown.com), many of the IE’s abandoned places require a hardy vehicle, a sense of adventure and a fertile imagination to be fully enjoyed.
Why You’ve Gotta Come Back: Riverside County has around half a dozen ghost towns too (www.ghosttowns.com).
Ludlow Motel, 25635 Crucero Rd., Ludlow, (760) 733-4463.