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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by rbourke on Friday, December 19, 2008 2:34 PM
New Hope, PA

Posted by billzuchowski on Friday, December 19, 2008 2:25 PM
I nominate Wellsboro, Penna. which has a population of 3800 people. With Pine Creek Gorge, a 50 mile bike trail, abundant hiking trails, and a unique Victorian setting, Wellsboro attracts thousands of visitors each year. On the first saturday in Dec. , a "Dickens of a Christmas" is held, closing streets to craft and food vendors of the Dicken's Era. Endless Mountains music frestivals are held thru out the year, bringing an assortment of professsional musicians to our area. Artisan and antique shops along with restaurants line Main St. A true "family owned Department Store" still is alive and well in town. A gas lit boulavard adorns the center of Main st, making it the most beautiful town I've ever seen. Italian and Greek cusine are available along with a great Steak house. These are just a few of the reasons Wellsboro should be considered the "coolest" small town.

Posted by bmenner on Friday, December 19, 2008 2:21 PM
Home to one of America's most prestigious liberal arts colleges, Grinnell, Iowa (pop. 9,323), is also home to a remarkable collection of buildings designed by world-renowned architects. Louis Sullivan, Walter Burley Griffin, George W. Maher, Walter Netsch and Cesar Pelli all left their mark on this community that sits just off Interstate-80, midway between Des Moines and Iowa City. From the 1884 Goodnow Hall, designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, to Sullivan's 1914 masterpiece "The Merchants National Bank" to Pelli's modern 2006 Joe Rosenfield Center, Grinnell has an eye-popping collection of great buildings for a town of just over 9,000. The college and the architecture draw visitors (and students) from every corner of the world. But those coming to Grinnell find more than buildings and books. They find a vibrant, diverse community unlike most others in the Midwest. There is a thriving downtown, included in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places; numerous dining options ranging from Thai to Cajun to Mediterranean; a 50-acre park that features softball/baseball diamonds, playgrounds, soccer fields, a driving range and a two-mile walking path; and some of the best people you'll meet. Founded by J.B. Grinnell -- the man, legend has it, to whom Horace Greeley said "Go West, young man, go West!" -- the town was a destination for abolitionists when it was founded in 1854. It was the hub of the Social Gospel movement in the early 20th century, and produced such luminaries as New Dealer Harry Hopkins and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce. Today it remains anchored by Grinnell College, a nationally recognized private liberal arts school of 1,600 students with a strong tradition of social activism. A regional medical complex, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, has more than 50 physicians on its staff. And Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, the county's largest employer, has a presence in states throughout the Midwest. Grinnell is also a thriving arts community. There are community theatre productions, a community band, a high school fine arts program recognized around the state and a core of local artists who keep culture at the forefront. Downtown Grinnell was recognized by the State of Iowa in 2008 as an official Cultural and Entertainment District and incorporates music, theatre, visual arts and historic architecture/preservation into the retail & service sectors. During the past five years, the community and its residents have made huge investments in Grinnell. A new high school gymnasium and 700-seat auditorium (with a fly system), new downtown streets and a streetscape that pays homage to Louis Sullivan, a new library that will be LEED-certified, a new public safety building and numerous investments in historic, downtown properties have enhanced Grinnell's already-stellar reputation. Combine that with numerous recreational trails and other opportunities and you have what we refer to as the "Jewel of the Prairie"--another reference to Sullivan and his jewel-box bank. Grinnell is a community, thanks to the College, that draws residents from around the world--faculty, staff, students, service providers, entrepreneurs and others. What they find when they get here is an eclectic little town, built on a notion of service and equality, that blends the charm of a rural community with the intellect and quirkiness of a college town.

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