Either works really. As you say, it depends on how specific you want to get about the mc’s hometown life. But you can still give a range of options that are all about an 8 hours drive away, even if you want the hometown to have more variation.
As for which places would make for cool hometowns I’m afraid I would prefer to leave that up the American members of this community.
Well makes sense he got something from his mom’s side of the family.
Well my mc does have a bit of a theatre geek within him, just not a math or technology whizz.