America's Coolest Small Towns

Every now and then, you stumble upon a town that's gotten everything right—great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. These 10 spots have it all, in perfectly small doses.

After a frenzied stint on Broadway's 42nd Street, actor Luke Walrath was ready for a quieter pace. His actress wife grew up in Whitefish, so the two decided to make it their new home. "It's at once folksy and stylish," he says of the town, a 35-minute drive southwest of Glacier National Park. The couple cofounded the Alpine Theatre Project, which stages seven shows a year (alpinetheatreproject.org). At the foot of the Rockies, Whitefish has long drawn adventure seekers. Ski bums and urban refugees congregate over red malty Highlanders at The Great Northern Brewing Company (2 Central Ave., greatnorthernbrewing.com, pints from $3.75). To live out a rustic Montana fantasy, book a cedar-walled room at Good Medicine Lodge, which feels like a set from Legends of the Fall (537 Wisconsin Ave., goodmedicinelodge.com, from $95). Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

> Check out last year's winners in the 2009 Readers' Choice poll.

> Plus, nominate a cool small town for consideration in the 2010 Readers' Choice poll.

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2010 READERS' CHOICE POLL

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