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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by yannie on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:42 AM
St. John, U.S.Virgin Islands, Population depends on the time of year. Full season we have around 5,000 people and off season roughly 3,000. Coral Bay is the coolest town on this side of the planet with 600 plus or minus characters. I'd say the mascots here are the wild donkeys that roam freely with the chickens,cows,goats,mongoose and Iguanas.We have many "famous" (in my mind), people living here and of course visiting. Our locals go by first names or unusual names like Elliyacht,Pirate Bill, Puerto Rican Pete, Mean Jean,Toothless Kevin, Ziggy, Frenchie, JeffDog, Andy the Theif and Baked Alaska. Kenny Chesney is found here along with the famous Artist /Sailor David Wegman.We are all pretty much aquainted and know that help would be there if needed, 'cause that is how our little community works. Benefits and Fundraisers are as regular as returning visitors who can't get enough of this special and beautiful place.Rockefeller was a smart man, putting 3/4 of the land into National Park. On this Island of 20 square feet,roughly 10 x 4 miles there is great hiking and 39 gorgeous beaches with colorful snorkeling and diving. We drive on the Left and not much more than 25 miles an hour! Coral Bay has an active sailing community with Wednesday night races and a Thanksgiving Regatta. We have 2 Eco- tourist resorts complete with a Clay studio,Glassblowing,Textiles, and several Yoga and wellness retreats and seminars.We have plenty of talented local musicians and many who come from afar to play in our restaurant/bars. Our restaurants(Skinnys,Shipwreck,Donkey Diner, Island Blues,Plantains,Aqua Bistro, and Sputniks are not shy of festivities and yummy foods,both native dishes and other delights.We have Thankspigging,a wild Kentucky Derby party ( bigger than the Superbowl!), Full moon parties and many more. Wierdest folklore? Everyday,there is the coconut telegraph as we call it, strange news you hear, " You can't make this S*#T up" .There is plenty of history here dating back to the Taino Indians.. There are no Airports,K-Marts or Home Depots, it's an "Island getaway" from the hustle and bustle of the mainland U.S.A. There are shops like the Jolly Dog where you can find Local made jewelry,clothing,books,music as well as the newest Billabong,Roxy stuff for the youth. Pirate paraphenalia abounds as well. Local Art Galleries are numerous,with locals opening their own studios up for visitors. If that isn't your cup of fun, we have boat rentals,sunset cruises,and seminars from the National Park to peak your interests. Our climate is sunny and warm,not a snow flake falling! It is a subtropical climate, moderated by easterly trade winds. There are plenty of flowers,fruit trees, and gorgeous orchids. It's flip flops and tank tops and an ocassional light sweater. The dress is mostly casual, but we clean up well for occasions. We are a friendly town, why else would we call it "Love City"?

Posted by Maridee53 on Monday, December 22, 2008 2:55 PM
I would like to nominate a quaint little town that is nestled in the middle of the country in Southern Indiana. It is Santa Claus, Indiana with a population of 2,356. As you travel the curving back roads that lead to this town you are thinking that surely this place has been over advertised and it is not going to be what you are expecting it to be. WRONG!!! This little town has attractions that draw people from all over the World! One of their biggest attractions is that of theme park Holiday World and Splashing Safari water park. Their slogan is We're #1 in family fun and that they are!! Family owned and operated, it is totally family oriented. It is a place that has to be experienced to really feel the theme of the park. It is a place where lifetime memories are made for young and old alike. And if that is not enough in itself to boast their right to claim being the greatest little town in the U.S. they also have several other attractions that are neat to check out while you are there. These are: Santa Claus Museum, Buffalo Run Farm, Santas Candy Castle, Christmas Lake Golf Course, Santa's Lodge and St. Nicks Restaurant, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Park, Lincoln State Park & campground, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Abraham Lincolns boyhood home.

Posted by minpt on Monday, December 22, 2008 2:32 PM
Mineral Point, Wisconsin: 21 artist owned studios & galleries, world-class art workshops & cultural events, historic sites, well-preserved19th century architecture, wood-fired pizza, handcrafted beer, great food, an outdoor summer theater under the stars, award winning artisan cheeses, quaint historic lodging, small town shops, Cornish pasty, figgyhobbin, bucolic nature trails and lots of friendly folks. Population: 2,613 - give or take a few. There is something special going on here, and whatever it is it makes this little town really cool. It's kind of hard to put into words, but more than a few of us have experienced an undeniable pull to move here and make it home. Mineral Point has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, the first city in Wisconsin to be so honored. In 2007, the National Register recognized us as one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations. This small community has been recognized as an artist magnet for decades. There is a lively and creative spirit that flavors the community. Since the 1930s, passionate and talented people have been drawn to the beauty and simplicity of this historic city. The details that led these artists to Mineral Point vary, but a common thread seems to weave them together... a sense of belonging to a place where creativity is the very fabric of our being. Shopping in Mineral Point is a big part of what makes us an original ... a small town with a flair for creativity. You can put a face with your purchases as you visit with the artists and watch them at work. Friendly shopkeepers, personal service, locally produced art, charming gift shops, family owned businesses... no malls, no big boxes. Mineral Point's unofficial mascot is a zinc dog that has guarded downtown for over 130 years. He sits proudly outside the second story window of a landmark downtown business, always posing for the camera. He is one photogenic canine, warmly welcoming one and all to just one of several great restaurants. Structures built of locally quarried stone, circa 1860, house restaurants, several of which serve meals prepared with as much locally grown food as possible. You might want to enjoy the traditional miner's meal with a Cornish pasty and finish with figgyhobbin, a funny name for a most delightful dessert. There's a brew pub that serves fabulous burgers, steaks and the Wisconsin traditional Friday night fish. And quite possibly, the best key lime pie in the world! Across the street at another favorite restaurant, a woodfired pizza oven is framed with a ceramic mural crafted by a local artist. And tucked into a hillside nearby, yet another - the 1850s railroad hotel has been transformed into a cozy pub and restaurant. Word has it that it's haunted... could be ... this is a difficult place to leave. With a history that goes back to before Wisconsin was a state, Mineral Point has plenty of stories and local folklore. Wisconsin's nickname, the Badger state, originated here. Miners who burrowed into the hillsides to create crude temporary shelters looked quite like badgers to passersby. One of our favorite streets in town is called Shake Rag. It has been said that housewives (or prior to the arrival of women, one of the male miners designated as cook) would shake a rag to signify mealtime. More likely, shake rag is derived from a term that signified a place where rough and ragged individuals lived. Mineral Point, an early mining community, certainly was that. But over the course of nearly 200 years, it has transformed itself into a truly cool place, an authentic place where the creative spirit flourishes.

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