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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by DAHOFF on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:29:46 PM
I nominate Dubois, Wyoming as America's Coolest Small Town in the West. I visted Dubois two years ago, taking a day off skiing to visit a friend in this town of just over a tousand people. The 85 mile drive over Togowotee Pass is filled with some of the most amazing scenery in the West. We passed snow mobilers accessing the Continental Trail and wildlife too numerous to count. In town I was surprised to see a vibrant community with architecture reminiscent of the turn of the last century but in a cool western style with all the comforts to suit a modern day traveler. We had a delightful lunch at the Sundance Cafe which served food that would satisfy even someone jaded by the finest NYC restaurants. This seems to be an artistic community weiht galleries, periodic art shows, and cool things you would not find in just any town. It is place that could keep a tourist busy for a couple of days or a pleasant day trip away from the crowds in Jackson.

Posted by akaczynski on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:44:57 PM
Historic Downtown Lewisburg, West Virginia offers a unique blend of southern hospitality with a metropolitan flair. The town of 3,700 boasts 12 art galleries, 7 locally owned restaurants, 3 coffee shops and 2 bakeries and its very own Carnegie Hall within the 235-acre historic district. The town was deemed, "a Mayberry setting with a Sante Fe Soul," by the Washington Post in 2006. Lewisburg celebrates an active arts community and is one of two cities in the state of West Virginia to earn the Certified Arts Community designation. Lewisburg is also home to the state's Official Year-Round Professional Theater, Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Special events draw locals and visitors alike to the downtown area from the Taste of Our Towns Festival, affectionately titled T.O.O.T., in October and the Lewisburg Chocolate Festival in the spring. First Fridays After Five is a monthly event taking place on the first Friday of each month that offers late shopping, from 5:00-9:00pm along with special artist receptions, refreshments and live entertainment. The city has also worked diligently to bring a bit of nature to the cityscape to compliment the surrounding Allegheny Mountains. The addition of a mini park on each block offers a comfortable bench with a bit of greenery in the shape of trees and flowers for people to enjoy. The city has also added a new greenspace which offers visitors and residents a place to enjoy free Wi-Fi as well as live music in the summer while children play in the new recreational fountain. Described by the city's website as "natural continuity and vitality rather than contrived restoration" downtown Lewisburg has earned the honor of being named one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations by The National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the top southern mountain towns by Pinnacle Living magazine. The city was also featured in Patricia Schultz's 2007 release, 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die. From its great dining and shopping to the laid back atmosphere and active arts scene, Historic Downtown Lewisburg captures the very essence of a cool small town.

Posted by meb on Monday, January 26, 2009 3:33:45 PM
Port Austin, MI, They just had their Winter Chill Thrill and did a it's a deal or no deal show at the Community Playhouse with the beauties in Red this year ( last year they were in black) The beauties are men dressed as the case holders, or in this version, pizza box holders. What a riot, anyone not laughing has no sense of humor. And that's just for Winter fun, summer there's the one of the state's top Farmers Markets May thru October.

Posted by katieluxon on Sunday, January 25, 2009 8:35:30 PM
Grand Haven, Michigan. Also known as "Coast Guard City, USA", the beach on Lake Michigan is the initial draw of this town (Grand Haven State Park was nationally recognized for having one of the top 5 beaches in the United States, by Good Morning America), but it is the unique features surrounding the beach that keeps visitors coming back and that convinces residents to stay here forever. To start, walk the beach and listen to the legendary "singing sand" which emits a whistling sound when walking on it, then everyone must walk the grand haven pier and lighthouse which is a widely recognizable state landmark, after the pier head down the boardwalk stopping at the most delicious family owned place in Grand Haven, Pronto Pups, which are the epitome of a corn dog, even John McCain couldn't pass them up when he came to town. As you pass the Musical Fountain which contends nightly with the massive lighted water shows in Las Vegas, head downtown to shop the multiple boutiques and eateries which are consistently reinventing themselves in the same historical buildings which have made the Grand Haven downtown unique for 150 years. Drop the kids off at the "Imagination Station" at the local YMCA which is an all wood whimsical play area and skate park designed completely by kids! Grab a glass of wine in the old town theatre turned wine and oyster bar or have a party in the Piano factory which has refurbished the 100 year old piano factory into Portabello's, a delicious italian restaurant downstairs and an entertainment venue upstairs. Stop by Michigan Rag Co. to pick up a custom t-shirt hand printed with quirky designs which change frequently throughout the year. At the end of town, stop for breakfast or lunch at the Morning Star Cafe which features inventive, delicious and organic dishes. Don't forget to grab a latte in one of the many independently owned coffee shops in a town which is distinguished as the first municipality in the country to feature a city-wide wireless internet service! If you are still hungry stop by the farmer's market located at the boardwalk every monday, wednesday and saturday. The multiple shops and restuarants are being supported by multiple new green focused condos and residences being built to compliment the history of the town. A 20 acre waterfront development, Grand Landing, will be finished within the next couple years and will include an outdoor ampitheatre, loft-style accomodations, dining, business and shopping, including a boat house by Earth's Edge (a store downtown which focuses on earth friendly clothing, hiking, camping, kayaking equipment, etc.) for boat rentals and demos to encourage more earth friendly exploration of the canal and Lake Michigan. Grand Haven is an eclectic mix of history and the future, chicness and small town charm, shopping and beachcombing, sports and relaxation. All you need to do is spend 5 minutes in it to see that it is the ultimate coolest small town in America!

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