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I recall hearing of a word that described those strange locations, along the highway, in the middle of nowhere perhaps, where people don't ever live, or truly think about, but yet (as least in the U.S.) are a strong memory for anyone who travels. Highway stops, gas-stations, pit-stops, rest areas... I feel that the word applies strongly to the geography surrounding highways; the landscapes people travel across, but would never think to stop at for a lengthy time, let alone live in.

Does this word exist? I hope someone out there may have an answer!

  • "point of interest" - might be a place along a route where people stopped for some sort of observation or experience. - something like a "hospitality station" or "convenience stop" - I think there is a word something like that that means more than a store and point of interest combined a (port of call ) works for a sea voyage – Tom22 May 16 '18 at 3:12
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    In air travel it is called flyover country. – Kris May 16 '18 at 3:36
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    "way station", also used metaphorically. But you have enough words to do searches. I don't think there's a single word. – Xanne May 16 '18 at 4:05
  • "corridor" - the Northeast Corridor, the Route 202 Corridor, etc. – user662852 May 17 '18 at 15:06
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One possible noun is roadside.

From the article Along the Interstates: Seeing the Roadside:

Access control was the reason he could not see the familiar roadside of his past travels.
As Bryan discovered, roadside America is still out there.

A related derived term is a roadside attraction.

True, at least in this article, the fast food rest stops and gas stations on the freeway would not, in fact, count as 'roadside' in the relevant sense. The author seems to agree with John Steinbeck who wrote

These great roads are wonderful for moving goods but not for inspection of a countryside. You are bound to the wheel and your eyes to the car ahead and to the rear-view mirror for the car behind and the side mirror for the car or truck about to pass, and at the same time you must read all the signs for fear you may miss some instructions or orders. No roadside stands selling squash juice, no antique stores, no farm products or factory outlets. When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing.

                               from Travels with Charley: In Search of America (The Viking Press, 1962)

What the author of this article has in mind when he writes about roadside is more

The surviving moms-and-pops are there, too, for better or worse, along with thousands of attractions, inspiring and tacky, beautiful and ugly, informative and dumb.

But the author does not have a monopoly on this word. I'm sure there can be such a thing as a memorable interstate roadside.

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Thanks for the comments and answers, everyone! In truth, the word I sought after was "Liminal spaces"

Liminal, from Latin limen, as an adjective means "on the threshold." It can be used to describe the boundary between something perceived or ignored (think about the word subliminal in that case)

Liminal boundaries can then be seen in two or more points of time, of space, of perception, or even of identity, among other abstract concepts. Liminal spaces are those locations I described above - not fully understood or perceived, not completely ignored.

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