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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by tioga on Monday, December 22, 2008 10:32 AM
Owego, New York is a small, but historic village, located on the Susquehanna River in the heart of New York's southern tier, in the Finger Lakes Region. It is a "Preserve America" community, being awarded this prestigious national honor in 2007. It is home to an enchanting downtown experience, as eclectic shops and restaurants line the streets of the historic area, and families can enjoy the recreation opportunities afforded by the presence of the Susquehanna River. Crossing over the Court Street bridge (one of the most expensive bridges built in New York State in 2003- @ $18 million) into Owego is an awesome view of the Tioga County Courthouse, built in 1872. It is Owego's tallest and most dominating structure. A fine example of post-Civil War construction, the courthouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The Jail House Restaurant in downtown Owego is an attraction as well as a casual fine-dining restaurant. The former jailhouse building was transformed into a restaurant in 1998 with first and second floors featuring the restaurant, complete with cell blocks, original walls, and prisoners beds used as tables (remodeled, of course). The Evergreen Cemetery in Owego opened in 1851, contains several old and interesting graves. E.T. Gibson, erected a tombstone honoring his ancestors and family, with the longest epitaph in the United States (135 words). Several Civil War graves can be found in this cemetery as well. The cemetery is also listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Owego is home of the creation of "Roberts Rules of Order" - It was the second floor room of the house at 317 Front Street that world-famous parliamentarian, General Henry Martyn Robert wrote his most important work, "Robert's Rules of Order, Revised in 1915." Owego also boasts home to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration plant, who won the contract to produce the Presidential helicopter. Owego is the "coolest" town and has been growing due to its promotion of its heritage, its small town uniqueness, fantastic festivals such as the annual Strawberry Festival and Lights on the River Festival and wonderful shopping. They offer a Third Friday Art Walk which features artists' galleries, live entertainment and refreshments throughout the downtown shops and restaurants. In 2009, the village will welcome a newly constructed Riverwalk in the center of town that will have access to the River and run behind downtown "riverow" buildings. Owego, New York is a "happening" town and it deserves this nomination!

Posted by evbk on Monday, December 22, 2008 9:34 AM
Cape May, NJ, has always been my favorite small town to visit. It's historic appeal and gingerbread houses make me feel like I stepped back in time. I visit in the summer since it's right on the ocean, and also in the winter because every home is wonderfully decorated and I love to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town to this amazing restaurant was a plantation home in 1840 called The Washington Inn. Everything's first class and the wine cellar is amazing. The restaurant draws folks from NYC and Philadelphia on a yearly basis. The "mall" is a great place to stroll and windowshop. I love to grab a coffee and visit all of the little shops...most are owned by local folks so you're bound to find some unique items. There are art galleries with beautiful paintings of the town today as well as how it used to be in the 1800's. What I love most is that each home has been restored to capture the way it had looked, thus it feels as though not a day had gone by, which also brings about local folklore about ghosts. Some of the homes claim to be haunted, and since most are converted to B

Posted by xiann on Monday, December 22, 2008 8:36 AM
Check out Floyd, VA. It's very small, I think the population is under 1000. It has great healthy and vegetarian-friendly restaurants, very talented local artists, lots of art galleries, an amazing annual world music and art festival (Floyd Fest), and a beautiful location in the Appalachians. Also, I noticed none of last year's picks are in the South?! Hopefully you'll find at least one this year.

Posted by hswelch on Monday, December 22, 2008 8:21 AM
Why is Weston, Missouri one of America's coolest small towns? It could be the Orval Hixon photo gallery and camera museum, the quaint storefronts where, inside, you will clamber over the aisles of centuries old hardware store merchandise, one of a kind gifts and antiques, or even do $0.25 shots at the McCormick's Store. Want to tour the McCormick Distillery? Have you ever wandered into an operating Burley House? Need a message? How about some of the best festivals in the U.S? The Weston Irish Festival is second only to the Weston Apple Festival! Do you like to try local microbrews? O'Malley's Irish Ale is just the thing after all that shopping. Try the Weston brewery for some of the best food and ambiance in town! Looking for something more upscale? Walk over to Pirtle Winery, in the old church. Sample internationally famous, award wining meads, spectacular wines, buy a bottle and sit in the wine garden where you're sure to make new friends. If the bread and cheese basket isn't enough to fill you up, head across the street to the winery's fine dining establishment. You want more adventure, you say? Head over to Weston bend State Park with miles of biking and hiking trails, including the famous Missouri River Overlook. Oh - and are you a photographer - don't put that camera away! A new, unusual photo opportunity presents with every step. But, careful, don't trip on those old cobblestones while you're looking around!

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