From above, the town of Manassa is a perfect grid. An eight-block-by-eight-block patchwork quilt, with each square containing history and nostalgia. The grid layout of the town harkens back to the old Western city plans which called for efficiency and sustainability in farming and community. At the center of the town sits the Mormon church, where it has served as center for spiritual and secular activity since the days of Manassa’s founding in the 1800s. From there, the blocks of land branch out until they hit the base of M Mountain, an overlook that peers over the town, emblazoned with the town’s initial painted white.

In such a small town, it isn’t hard to find bits and pieces of history just around another corner. Nearly every block contains a homestead or business that predate even the desert elm trees that dot the streets.

Not to be missed is the Jack Dempsey Museum, situated in the sunny field of the park also named in his honor. Born in 1895 in a log cabin that still stands today, Dempsey became a heavyweight boxing champion in 1919 and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Outside of Manassa, the magical landscape that cradles the town from all directions beckons visitors to embark on one of the limitless hikes, drives or high-mountain desert adventures available.