Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

By , Monday, Feb 9, 2009, 2:24 PM

Posted by Tom Kepple on Monday, February 09, 2009 10:14:45 AM
Huntingdon, PA is a terrific small town. It is home to Juniata College so there is always something interesting to do. We also have Mimi's - a Cheers like resturant that competes with anything on the east coast. Also just south is Raystown Lake the largest lake in PA. Plus there are hundreds of miles of walking trails. Rails to Trails is my favorate. If you are looking for a place to retire but with lots to do with your mind and body and Amtrak service to NYC, DC, Phila and Pittsburgh this is it.

Posted by tswain on Monday, February 09, 2009 9:54:54 AM
Onancock, Virginia 23417. In our friendly town of roughly 1500, people will make eye contact and speak to one another whether strangers or not. They figure they won't be strangers for long. A town of long and interesting history, Onancock hasa picturesque wharf with public access to a deep water creek off the Chesapeake Bay. Mallard's is an excellent restaurant and bar right on the edge of the wharf in an antique building. Up the street, are numerous restaurants that would rival not only New York, but fine restaurants worldwide. Among these are Bizzottos's, Charlottes's Hotel and the Inn and Garden Cafe. If you prefer less formality, we have The Bistro in Onancock for wonderful local seafood and home cooking, Janet's General Store for wraps and soups and other tasty surprises and an Irish pub and a European style restaurant for variety. There is also a new steakhouse. Our Corner Bakery (which is not on a corner anymore) is the best anywhere. Try a glazed donut or a lemon bun and know what Heaven is like. Light traffic and well-kept sidewalks make it a joy to walk off all that food. Pick up a brochure describing some of the lovely historic homes for a walking tour. We have dog walkers and exercise walkers and runners and bikers from in and out of town. Some of us like to take our daily constitutional and then slow down with retail therapy in Dawn, the local ladies clothing and home shop or in North Street Market, Tim Smith's Antique shop, or one of the decorators' or garden shops. There are at least seven galleries in town displaying everything from locally made furniture to worldy treasures, traditional to avant garde. Our old 1921 school, which is being developed into a community center, houses many artists and artisans where you can see creativity in process as well as make purchases. Look for numerous community events throughout the year, including festivals at the wharf, at Ker Place (a museum and gift shop in one of the oldest homes in town), at the school, and all over town when the Artisans Guild or Christmas Tours are going on. North Street Playhouse, Roseland Theater, Cokesbury Church and varoius musical groups keep homefolks and visitors entertained. When you are tired, try one of our fine bed and breakfasts. You might want to make reservations as they are quite popular! Onancock is a great town to visit and to live in.

Posted by karmillei on Monday, February 09, 2009 9:19:12 AM
Our town has under 7,500 residents. The best restaurant is Mimi's which could deifinetly survive in New York. Our biggest attraction is Raystown Lake Our town is full of history. Standing Stone Coffee Company is a new business near the Juniata College campus. they roast and grind their own coffee beans, have wireless internet service, great baked goods, wonderful soups and sandwiches. The owners are very community minded. Juniata College is in our town thta has about 1200 students. The students, who are from all over the world, are very involved in the community. Please come visit us.

Posted by Suzanne Snare on Monday, February 09, 2009 8:22:50 AM
Huntingdon, PA l6652. Most people know each other in our town of under 7500. The best restaurant is Mimi's where I love the fact that the food is prepared fresh when ordered. We also have Raystown Lake which has lots of outdoor recreation most of the year. I participate in the summer thru fall farmers market with my fresh baked goods. Our town has over l8 churches with most of them having historical values. The most recent unique business is , Standing Stone Coffee Company. They roast and grind their own coffee beans, have wireless internet service, great bake goods, wonderful soups and sandwiches, and is own by the nicest couple you will ever come across. Please be sure to visit us anytime. You will find us in central PA along the Juniata River. We're anixous to see you all.

Posted by EMMASUE on Monday, February 09, 2009 7:55:54 AM
I wish to nominate Port Royal, South Carolina. Port Royal is the coolest small town in America because it is loose and tuned-in to it's citizens. We have a great state-of-the-art indoor skate park! We have a public beach! we are surounded by water-we are on an island! Port Royal is in the center of one of the most unique and saltiest eqautic ecosystems in the world! Our Town Council, Mayor, and Town Manager are known by there first name! Our State owned Port is for sale! We have music festivals in the street! And we are the home to Parris Island. Port Royal has been claimed by nearly more foreign countries than Antartica!

Posted by sallyp on Sunday, February 08, 2009 8:04:05 PM
We welcome everyone from around the world to shop, visit and discover all that Powhatan County Virginia has to offer. Discover things to do, places to stay, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and tour one of the most beautiful counties in Virginia. Powhatan's historic attractions and recreation opportunities are a delight. Take a ride into Powhatan and visit any of the antique shops, restaurants, or bed and breakfasts and it only takes a minute to know you are being greeted by the the owner. Try an afternoon excursion to Apothecarian Herbals or Inlight Yoga then have lunch at the Village Garden Cafe in the Historic Courthouse Village. If you're in the mood for the best barbeque south of anywhere, stop by Perrin's BBQ Express and sample any of Rick's award winning sauces. Afterwards visit the Powhatan Historical Society or take a ride out to Cozy Acres Campground. Rural character is abound in Powhatan and we're proud of it.

Posted by Paulette Davis on Sunday, February 08, 2009 4:48:12 PM
Bakersville, the last vestige of small town USA in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A sweet, peaceful atmosphere permeates the main street anchored by a historical courthouse/community center built in 1905. Coupled with an arts and crafts community which has grown out of Penland School the homey, quiet hometown capitalizes on beauty and peace. Studios dot the coves and hollers and operate on an honor system allowing exploration at any given time. Downtown galleries and coffeeshops are inviting respites. Visit beautiful Roan Mountain and walk the world's largest natural rhododendron gardens on the Appalachian Trial which crosses natural balds at the North Carolina and Tennessee state line. The view is memorable and a favorite of many through-hikers. Come and savor the deep quiet of the mountains as the First Nation and first settlers appreciated three hundred years ago

Posted by cagibbinpa on Sunday, February 08, 2009 10:22:13 AM
Dubois, Wyoming, a small town nestled in a valley between the Wind River and the Absaroka mountain ranges seems to move at a slow pace as though time stood still in the late 1800s. This is a town in cowboy country with many attributes of past years while still providing the comforts of the present. The town is surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest lands and wilderness and is the central community serving many local working ranches and dude ranches. The town's ambience with old-time wooden sidewalks suggests rest and enjoyment of the past, but it has many attractions beyond cowboy living. Dubois is the home of the largest Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the lower 48 states. A museum-like National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center tells the story of the sheep in its displays. And Dubois has its own museum with a lodge that can seat and feed over a hundred people. The town also boasts the Headwaters Arts and Conference Center, a library, and a medical center. Dining and overnight accommodations are many and varied. There are motels to fit every taste and pocketbook, two B&Bs, and there is a rustic historic lodge. The shops, of course, are oriented to the western lifestyle, but also provide the myriad of day-to-day items that may be needed. The area offers many choices for those seeking a wilderness vacation at a ranch with accommodation ranging from rustic to the comforts of a fine resort. For those wannabe cowboys, this is one of the best places to experience the cowboy life. The scenery in the area is spectacular with the ruggedly beautiful landscape of the upper Wind River Valley and the Wind River Range. Every period of Earth's history is visible throughout the area since is was carved by glaciers millions of years ago. The area is a dream come true for rock hunters and amateur geologists.

Posted by Seagal on Saturday, February 07, 2009 6:02:17 PM
Seaside, Oregon is hands down the coolest city! We have a unique natural setting, mild ocean climate, year-round events. The beach is wide, sandy available for all kinds of cool activities, from low rider beach bikes, volleyball, sand castle building, kite flying, hot dog roasts. It is clean, rarely crowed and open to everyone. We have a Promenade built in 1920 that parallels the ocean. It is great for enjoying the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean while getting your daily exercise. The historic Automobile turnaround in the center of Seaside's famous Promenade is where a sculpture of the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail stands. We have dozens of specialty shops and what's really cool is there is no sales tax! Seaside has a plethora of culinary delights satisfying even the most discriminating taste buds. We have been a family destination for over 150 years. Those young at heart will enjoy; the carousel, miniature golf, tilt-a-twirl, paddle boats, surreys, scooters, bumper cars and boats. For the adventure seeker/out-door lover you can crab, clam, fish; hike, bike, bird watch, surf. With all of that said who could disagree that Seaside, Oregon is the coolest small city ever!

Posted by dyslexikchikin on Friday, February 06, 2009 4:35:42 PM
I would like to submit Annapolis, Maryland. There has been recent construction to make this town have more of an upscale look and feel to it. There are unique shops downtown that can be found nowhere else, such as Potato Valley Cafe - a place fit for New York City with gourmet stuffed baked potatoes that are to die for! Also, there are local art exhibits and many bars which host open mic nights for local musicians. The city dock area allows for boats to come in through the Chesapeake Bay, dock, and explore our shops. I'm not sure if we have a local mascot, but the Naval Academy is located adjacent to the downtown area, and their mascot is a Ram. One neat thing that happened was during the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel. Our downtown area is underneath the sea level and water from the dock area flooded the streets. Residents took out their kayaks to navigate the city. we have delicious seafood, with the Maryland crab cake (made with MD blue crab meat) being a local specialty. There's lots of rich history here as well.

Posted by Joe Lee on Friday, February 06, 2009 8:57:44 AM
Port Royal SC in the Low Country of SC--the first settlement in the new world--1562. Home to more than 15 eating places each with a different flavor from fine dining--big city style, to sandwiches. Home to two festivals--one celebrating our local soft shell crabs in April the other a fall Oktoberfest. An all weather 10,000 square foot skateboard park for our young adults, a boardwalk and beach area for all our citizens, home to two military installations--we produce 20,000 new men and women Marines at Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot, and medically serve our area via our Naval Hospital. Our average height above seal level is 15', we are located on the intercoastal waterway and have a port with the deepest water on the East Coast. We are home to both performing artists as well as a variety of working artists including painters, writers and craftspersons. Our citizens and visitors fine the walking community, the laid back atmosphere and the eclectic mix of people a unique offering for a village that is between Charleston SC and Savannah GA. In our village area you are never more than three blocks from tidal water and the views and marsh that cause poems to be writtten and songs to be sung. What really makes Port Royal the coolest small town in America is that our neighbors have come from all over America, bringing with them the skills and sense from their homeplaces and all of these people have become important threads in the fabric of our town. This melding makes a "place" much better that it could ever be on its own and will take it to many many centuries to come.

Posted by sdwarner on Thursday, February 05, 2009 5:50:15 PM
Huntingdon Pennsylvania is a small town, with major institutions like Juniata College, which has an Art Museum housed in a Carnegie Library there, inside are gorgeous stained glass windows with a wonderful dome, theater life there would be the Clifton 5 Cinemas on Washington Street, with a coffee shop also on Washington St, Caffeine Cafe, as options for dining incluse Hoss Sea and Steak House on US 22, Boxer's on Penn Street near 4th Street, a Chinese restaurant is open at the shopping center anchored by a Peebles and there are others. Miller's Diner is a few miles east of town on US 22, while on 22 there is a Swigart Car Museum, home of Herbie the Love Bug, a great place to take the family. Raystown Lake is a very popular destination for fishing, camping, hiking and is a few minutes from Huntingdon, and is close to nature, in a valley. Huntingdon is expanding, especially among the retirement community, with the Westminster Woods development, and their opportunities for cultural life including Concerts, Art Exhibits, Lectures, movies at Juniata College, with the Winter Lecture Series at the Exhibit Gallery at the Huntingdon County Historical Society, which also houses a very interesting exhibit on the JC Blair Co, producing writing tablets, which is now Mead in nearby Alexandria Pa as the Huntingdon plant is now housing for Senior Citizens. In the Summer a Concert series is held at 5th and Penn Streets in Downtown Huntingdon, and in nearby Portstown Park is an arts festival in early June, as the community comes alive with Mayfest at the end of april or early May as warmer temperatures and summer is near, which concludes with Hartslog Day in October, in nearby Alexandria Pennsylvania, which celebrates the harvest in a historic setting, alao a great outing for the family. With this short narrative of Huntingdon, I think Huntingdon Pa is pretty cool in a small town setting, with community services for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities, students of Juniata College, residents and visitors alike, who will find comfortable rooms at the Comfort Inn, which has an indoor pool.

Posted by delltaylor on Thursday, February 05, 2009 8:55:16 AM
Lexington is the coolest town in Virginia because in this place, nature, history, fun and adventure come together. We sit sandwiched between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany Mountains and just off the awesome Blue Ridge Parkway which is turning 75 next year. The entire town is a registered historic district, but history is not what Lexington is completely about. Two Universities, Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University sit side by side. These institutions and the students and professors that come with them, keep the ideas fresh and the town constantly changing. The combination of old and new give the town an energy that is hard to explain. Lexington is a town of stories, old and new ,from Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee to Sally Mann and Cy Twombly who call it home. The Arts are alive in Lexington with the coolest theater ever, where entertainment comes naturally! Theater at Lime Kiln... where a starry night sky and the ruins of a 19th century lime kiln and quarry create a magical setting for theater and concerts. Young and old gather to celebrate good drama, good stories, and good wine and hot dogs. The Red Hen is Lexington's first farm-to-table restaurant, featuring the bounty of the Shenandoah region's most talented farmers. There's a new menu everyday depending on what produce looks best to Chef Tucker Yoder. This dedication to local food means each dish preserves the intricate flavors of the land. (It's also good for the environment and our local economy.) If horses are your passion we have the Virginia Horse Center. One of the world's leading equestrian facilities hosting 90 events annually. The facility offers pristine grounds, scenic views, an Olympic caliber cross-country course, indoor arenas and unique gift selections. There is always something to do and see with events happening 50 weekends a year. Lexington has it... outdoor recreation, history, architecture, arts and drama all to enjoy with new attitude!

Posted by pkeller on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 8:38:02 PM
Enveloped by scenic rivers, live oak trees and fragrant long-leaf pines, Covington, Louisiana, 40 miles north of New Orleans, intermingles historic charm with absolute cool. "Main Street" ambiance vibrates through our historic downtown where you can peruse our unique boutiques and galleries for one-of-a kind treasures, dine at one of our exquisite restaurants, and kick back in the evening at one of our live music venues — all satisfying an eclectic array of pleasures. Earning the state designation of Cultural Arts District, art enthusiasts enjoy tax-free art purchases when adding to their collections in Covington. Community events abound throughout the year featuring the weekly Covington Farmer's Market every Wednesday and Saturday rain or shine; Sunset at the Landing concert series on the banks of the beautiful Bogue Falaya River; Second Saturday Evening Stroll, monthly coordinated gallery openings; and that's just to name a few. Home of the Covington Three River's Art Festival, our downtown becomes a pedestrian mall for over 50,000 visitors every 2nd weekend in November. For the health conscious, the new Covington Trailhead is located at one end of the 31 mile Tammany Trace, the first rails-to-trails project in the state, connecting communities from the west side of the parish to the east. Family, friends, and visitors navigate the Trace by bike or on foot, stopping at the new Covington Trailhead, complete with an amphitheatre, visitor center and market place, providing amenities for travelers seeking rest, water, and bathroom facilities. Our downtown fabric balances progress with preservation — we have several new mixed-use condo developments where you can open your business downstairs and live upstairs (the units add a modern twist to the old "mom and pop" business operation). Largely responsible for Covington's designation on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, are our "ox lots", a credit to our forefathers who planned our original town grid layout allowing for public squares in the middle of each block for purposes of trade and commerce. Farmers would bring their oxen-driven carts to town loaded with wares and conduct business in these designated center-block locations — today they serve our off-street public parking needs. Covington's allure radiates nationally, given the distinctive recognition by the State of Louisiana as a state Certified Retirement Community. When you're ready to head for home in Covington, be careful to drive around those 193-year-old live oaks that we've left in the middle of the street — after all, we were only formally incorporated by the State in 1816. Cool embraces Covington and Covington embraces it right back.

Posted by janet on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 5:07:11 PM
If you love antiques, down home Southern cuisine, beautiful historic homes, unique shops, and just good ole Southern Hospitality, then you'll love Vienna, Georgia. Vienna's beautiful historic downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can participate in a self guided driving tour of historic homes featuring more than 50 sites. The City sports a number of unique shops featuring gift items, home interior items, art, jewelry, accessories, women's and children's clothing , and of course - antiques galore. There are 3 antique malls just bursting at the seams with great buys, located just of the Interstate 75 Exit 109. If food is what you want, Vienna has a great coffee shop and deli, a downtown grill, barbeque carry out venues, a country cooking restaurant, and even a sports bar. Vienna is the county seat of Dooly County which is the #1 cotton producing county in the state of Georgia. If you visit Vienna in the fall of the year, the cotton is so thick and so white it appears to be snow on the ground with bright green trees framing the view. You can also learn about how the crop has played such an important role in the lives of not only the locals, but epople from wround the world at the Georgia Cotton Museum. Another agritourism site in Ellis Bros Pecans. You can actually see the orchards and how the pecans are harvested. While there enjoy candies that are made right their in the kitchen or a cool refreshing ice cream cone. Vienna is also known as the home of the BIG PIG JIG, a barbeque cooking contest. The event takes place each year in October when thousands come to BBQ City USA, a unique village where the cooks compete for the Georgia Championship trophy. You'll enjoy your visit here, I'm sure. Just come on down, we are waiting!

Posted by victoryknuckles on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 4:07:25 PM
There is only one Allegan, Michigan! Allegan is a community with an unbeatable combination of historic small-town atmosphere and sense of community. The one-of-a-kind riverfront boardwalk, historic downtown and homes, and friendly citizens give Allegan its distinctive small town ambiance. No matter how decided to spend your time, you will be a part of a unique experience found only in downtown Allegan. With its specialty shops and timeless appeal, downtown is truly the heart of Allegan, offering both the rare and the practical. While shopping, a variety of dining options are all within a few short steps. Hometown specialties and hometown treats will have you never wanting to leave. Just around the corner is the famed Regent motion picture theatre. This rare single-screen art-deco theater has maintained all of the 1930's charm including the newly restored marquee, which received the 2008 Michigan Governor's Award for Historic Preservation. The Regent is open nightly for first-run films. During the summer month the Regent offers free family-friendly movies Monday through Friday at 2pm & 4pm. The nostalgic look and feel along with first rate friendly service will make a night at the movies something special once again. Featured on the Travel Channel's "Steakhouse Paradise 2", The Grill House offers a world class dining experience. Just 2 miles south of downtown Allegan, discover the best that dining out has to offer at the Grill House, where you become the "grillmaster". The grill is hot and the choice steaks are ready to sizzle. All you need to do is have some fun and perhaps show off your talents at our 8' x 10' grill. Don't worry if you are not an expert grillmaster. A grill assistant is always available to lend advice if needed. During warm weather you can enjoy outdoor dining in our unique courtyard. From the musical, to the thrill seeking, Allegan plays host to a variety of events no matter the season. Whether it is classic Christmas events, art shows, the July 3 Jubilee, fresh produce from the local farmer's market, or the riverfront gazebo with diverse musical acts that will entertain the whole family; Allegan offers something for every age or personal tastes. World class entertainment, combined with intimate venues allows the community to take advantage of the many events that occur year round. A true splendor of Allegan is found in the breath taking natural beauty that so consumes every mile. Nature has painted Allegan like a beautiful canvas, in every season. Follow the deep blue sky to endless miles of tree line, down the hill side covered in beautiful evergreen and over the bold and glistening river, all a treat for all the senses. The "Old Jail Museum" displays the artifacts of Allegan's founding. Free to all, the museum takes pride in providing historical information for research and education for future generations. From the unique homes to natural landscape, enjoy the journey along Allegan's historic streets. The "Old Iron" 2nd Street Bridge, built in 1886 was restored in 1981 and has become a symbol of the city of Allegan. The 229 foot, single-lane truss bridge spans the Kalamazoo River and provides a unique entry point into the downtown area. This was one of the first truss bridges restored in Michigan. The 2nd Street Bridge remains as one of the most beautiful restored bridges in Michigan and contains more builder plaques than most truss bridges anywhere. The bridge also features extensive v-lacing and the portal bracing has an ornate portal bracing design to it. From the vintage, to the trendy, to the handcrafted, and the timeless, there is truly something for everyone. For more information check out . How cool is that?

Posted by Mayumi on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 2:49:48 PM
Buena Vista, VA is my new hometown! Whichever way you turn the great outdoors is ready to greet you! Located right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and the Maury River, the views are gorgeous - particularly in the autumn. Right in town is Glen Maury Park with 600 acres of hiking, fishing, swimming, canoing, camping and golfing. Despite having only ~6,000 citizens, Buena Vista still manages to host several large festivals that celebrate it's mountain heritage: Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Music Festival, Maury River Fiddler's Convention and Buena Vista Mountain Day. Just minutes from downtown are the Natural Bridge of Virginia (a Historic Landmark and Natural Wonder), Virginia Gold Orchard (the largest organic Asian pear farm in the country) and Theater at Lime Kiln (a unique theater built into the ruins of a lime kiln and quarry). No wonder the town of Buena Vista was named "Beautiful View"!

Posted by tetongal2 on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 11:01:10 AM
Teton Valley, Idaho

Posted by Liadan on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 9:50:17 PM
Onancock, Virginia is the coolest small town in America. I recently moved here; I could have lived anywhere in the world and I chose Onancock. It has beautiful untouched nature: Herons, deer, ducks, close to wild ponies. It has theatre, concerts, clubs. I'm originally from Los Angeles and was worried about missing good restaurants. Never fear. We have a wide assortment of excellent restaurants ranging from Steak Houses to fish restaurants, European cuisine and Irish pubs (I've been to England and Ireland, we have the best Fish and Chips anywhere). We also have fantastic art galleries. It seems everyone here is an artist, a sculptor, an author, a craftsperson. I don't know how I was allowed to move here, I'm not artistic at all. We also have great museums, such as the Ker Place, a Colonial Museum. Onancock is centrally located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, so anyspot on the Eastern Shore is close by. We can go to Chincoteague one day and Cape Charles the next. My daughter says the mark of a great city is having public transport, an independant coffee shop and an independant book store. We have all that without sacrificing our small town uniqueness and flavor. We have great bike trails and kayaking. And this town is so friendly. I was warmly welcomed. No small town cliqueishness here. We are also dog friendly. You'll see dogs everywhere around town, and they are welcomed in most shops too. We have Yappy Hour every Second Friday where dog lovers gather with their dogs. Several of the B & Bs allow dogs too. The town is also ecologically responsible. All our lodgings are certified Virginia Green (the first in Virginia to do so). We have a Green Task Force to recycle and clean the town. We have a health food store and vegetarian food in every restaurant. Onancock has all the big city amenities, the small town charm and friendliness, and the best of raw nature. How can it get any better? tag "coolest small towns"

Posted by jamelb on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 3:57:52 PM
Hood River, OR, is always in season and offers something for everyone. Less than an hour drive from downtown Portland along the mighty Columbia River and the oldest historic scenic highway in the United States, the town of approximately 6,500 people is filled with an abundance of attractions and activities for people of all ages and interests. You name it, Hood River has it. Nestled between two snow capped mountains, the historic downtown core is filled with top-rate restaurants, art galleries, theaters, four local wineries, three micro-breweries, boutique and specialty stores, unique coffee shops, spas, lively night spots, amazing local artists, musicians, cultural events and festivals galore. In addition to the thriving downtown scene, the town now has a waterfront park, equipped with a family swimming area and beech, launch spot for windsurfers, and an outdoor theater. Hood River has long been known as the windsurfing capital of the world and ample recreational opportunities abound, including windsurfing, kite-boarding, sail-boat racing, kayaking, white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding, mountain and road biking, horseback riding, hiking endless trails, technical climbing, and golfing and fishing, to name just a few. Agriculture is very much alive and thriving in Hood River, which is recognized as the largest producer of winter pears in the United States. The region also is a large producer of apples and cherries and recognized as an award-winning wine region, offering an abundance of tasting rooms and scenic wine tours. Recognized as an American Viticulture Area, the region's unique microclimates truly create "A world of wines in 40 miles," offering over 40 vineyards and 23 grape varietals. Locally sourced Farmer's Markets and Crafts festivals are also common themes throughout the year. And if you're looking for some family fun, be sure to take the 35-mile, scenic drive through the valley's orchards, forests, and farmlands, where you can sample delicious fruits and take your favorites home, visit a winery, experience fields of fragrant lavender, meet adorable alpacas, savor delicious baked goods, and create memories by participating in family activities hosted at Hood River Valley Fruit Loop locations throughout the year. But perhaps the very best thing about Hood River is the true feeling of community felt by all who live here. In Hood River, there is truly something for everyone year-round and we graciously invite you to visit and explore. But be warned -- with its magnificent scenery, friendly community atmosphere, and amazing quality of life you may never want to leave!

Posted by murphyblack on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 2:07:54 PM
Grand Marais— How cool is the harbor village of Grand Marais, Minnesota? Well, for starters, this thriving arts and tourism community sits on the northeastern shore of Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake and the biggest air conditioner on the planet. One minute, you're enjoying a cappuccino or dinner in an eco-friendly café next minute, you're at the doorstep of the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness — over a million acres of pristine lakes, wilderness and wildlife. Once a center for fur traders and fishermen, today Grand Marais is a magnet for talented artists, artisans, writers, actors and musicians. (And let's not forget the moose, wolves, loons, black bear, otters, fox and the occasional lynx, all nearby.) Here is a happy mix of restaurants, galleries and shops with one-of-a-kind artistry, both indoors and out. It's home to the Grand Marais Art Colony and North House Folks School, where hundreds of visitors come each year to wrap their hands and hearts around their own creations. Best of all, Grand Marais boasts 1,414 of the world's nicest people, waiting to meet you!

Posted by KayOG on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 1:02:00 PM
Between the top of Roan Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the crow flies, lies the beautiful little town of Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The grandeur of the mountains surround the town and you can rest assured that you will be welcomed by a smile and a "we are glad you are here" welcome. All seasons are well represented with some white snow in the winter, the bright blooming daffodils of spring, and the very brightest of fall foliage with its reds, yellows and browns. Children can romp in Riverside Park, catch a trout or take a dip in the Toe River that runs beside the town. A walking path along the river is a benefit to those needing their exercise. Entire families visit to catch a glimpse of the train as it travels the tracks through town. Shopping will catch your eye with the art galleries stocked by local artists from nearby Penland School. A visit to the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree store is a must. It is never to early to pick up a gift for that special person. Many festivals are held downtown that bring visitors from far and wide. The Fire on the Mountain Blacksmith Festival takes place on the last Saturday in April, with the best of the best blacksmiths demonstrating and a Blacksmith Art Show is held at the Toe River Arts Council. In July folks from all across the country travel to hear storytellers spin their tales at the Toe River Storytelling Festival. This event is held on the third Saturday in July. When the fall leaves come so does the Mineral City Heritage Festival which is held on the second Saturday in October. If this is not enough, check out the Toe River Arts Council Tour of Studios in June and December. Also, The Carolina Theatre in Downtown Spruce Pine presents a variety of entertainment throughout the year.

Posted by drlong on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 10:45:01 AM
Onancock, Va. Historical in that the Presbyterian Church was founded here in 1883, This a wonderful small community of about 1500 residents that in many case arrived here from other parts of the US, bringing new life and ways that vitalized a small community. There are at least 15 restaurants and 9 or 10 art galleries, many shops and a beautiful harbor off the chesapeake Bay. The whole area seems like a bird and wildlife sanctuary.

Posted by ales787 on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 12:26:46 AM
Onancock,Viginia,with less than 1 500 people

Posted by olga787 on Tuesday, February 03, 2009 12:21:11 AM
Onancock, the beauty of Virginia

Posted by dybearpaw on Monday, February 02, 2009 4:33:50 PM
Come to Dubois, Wyoming, our population is aprox, 1,000, we are 70 to 75 miles from the largest city, we will hug your neck in the grocery store, we have restaurants that would blow NY out of the water! All our little shops are local owned and they have the very best of unique items from antler art, bear paw art, log furniture, one of our stores has been here since the beginnning of time! We ahve a gas station with the world largest Jackalope! our small hotels are all log and rustic dacor. no white walls. We have the largest Big Horn Sheep herd in the world. Big Horn Sheep Center is here and a large museum with Tie-hack artifacts! No street light! Our Taxi service is a stage coach! Come to dubois this summer for the time of your life! Rodeo, parades, square dances, chuck wagon cookouts, large mountain man and antler ronduve in early spring! National Quilt and Artest show in Feb.

Posted by skagitmarketing on Monday, February 02, 2009 3:00:51 PM
La Conner, Washington. We have a population of 860. We have no stoplights, no franchises, no speeds over 25. However, we have 3 museums and 21 art galleries and happen to be where the cascade mountains, the skagit valley, the river delta, and the puget sound collide into a kaleidoscope of blow you away nature. Life Magazine did an article about the great northwest masters hanging out here in the 50's and 60's. Their spirit still remains. We have the only Northwest Regional museum, an outdoor sculpture walk and any day you are strolling along you can view a handful of incredible artists at work (including the eccentric neon mike)....along with a couple of amazing pioneers in the organic farming business, tugboat captains, fresh crab and shrimp being pulled out of the waters by our local fishermen, and award winning chefs delivering organic plates of art with 95% zero waste policy. To Answer Your Questions: 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? Nell Thorn would thrive in NY! 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? Mary Davis Lighting if you are into restored antique lighting, Childhood Bliss for one of the best children's boutique experiences in the USA, Earthenworks for arts and crafts, The Museum of NW retail store for art and gifts, Nasty Jacks for antique furniture, Organic Matters, and Cottons for great women's clothing & shoes. 3. Is there a local mascot? of course, the wild turkeys that roam down 1st street 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? let's see...well we are not suppose to talk about it but there is a place called fishtown where there are still artists living in shacks on the river and painting. could consider author Tom Robbins kind of a good way :-) 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? our own la conner microbrewery, our own coffee roasting company, an art-coop, and a wine tasting bar on the water. also, a famous sculptor artist purchased the old quarry and built an amazing home, guest house, outdoor sculpture garden ... named At The Quarry. So unchain your brain, think outside of the box, and let your right brain go wild. come check out la conner.

Posted by lck111 on Monday, February 02, 2009 2:21:00 PM
Apalachicola, Florida is by far the coolest small town in Florida, and I would argue, the country. Located on the panhandle of Florida, Apalachicola has only 2,237 residents and boasts only 2 traffic lights. Diversity abounds in this small community. It is an historic jewel nestled along a very overdeveloped Gulf Coast. Character, authenticity and timelessness permeate the air. The original town plan, developed in the 1830s, remains in tact. It features wide tree lined streets, rows of brick and granite cotton warehouses, a working waterfront and a charming commercial center. Ship's stores, old net factories and a sponge warehouse now house a mix of eclectic and discretely sophisticated shops, restaurants and galleries. These locally owned and operated businesses create a quaint and friendly atmosphere for visitors as well as local residents. Far from a typical "tourists town", the waterfront is dotted with shrimp boats and other fishing vessels proudly showing the patina of years of service. The business district is interwoven with oyster houses, shrimp packing plants and an original icehouse. The Apalachicola Bay is the source of 90% of the oysters served in Florida, and 10% served nationally. Restaurants are nationally noted for using locally harvested seafood, produce and tupelo honey. Restaurants are a source of great delight, as there are quite a few that could survive in NYC. Touted as "one of the best small food towns" in the October 2006's Saveur magazine, Apalachicola is known for its freshly prepared local seafood and variety of great restaurants. Tamara's Floridita Café fuses the flavors of Venezuela with the fresh produce and seafood in Apalachicola. The Owl Caf? Boss Oyster, Caroline's on the River and Papa Joe's are but a few examples of the excellent restaurants that prepare locally harvested foods with a fine-tuned simplicity that is designed to delight even the most sophisticated palates. In the morning head over to Caf&3233; Con Leche a local coffee shop that offers a great hot breakfast, homemade pastries and a spectacular cup of Joe! Apalachicola also offers great entertainment throughout the year. From the annual Florida Seafood Festival, which shows off our local "mascot" the oyster, to the annual Art Walk in April and Pleinaire Painting weekends that take place every spring. One favorite entertainment spot is the Dixie Theater, located on the downtown square. Built in 1912, the Dixie Theatre became the entertainment center of the county. There are 15 shops and galleries that occupy historic structures in town that include Avenue E Antiques and Interiors and Blue Beach and Home, both noted by publications like Southern Living and Coastal Living. The Grady Market is a particularly interesting shopping destination as it offers a little something for everyone — baby clothes, children's toys, apparel for men and women, home d?cor and antiques. It is also housed in the historic Grady Building, which was built in the 1880s as a ship chandlery and with the French Consulate situated on the second floor. Today, that French Consulate has been transformed into four luxury vacation rental suites that overlook the Apalachicola River. With over 900 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, heritage tourism is the strongest growing segment of Apalachicola's economy. Overnight accommodations can be found in 8 historic locations. A centerpiece for the town is the Gibson Inn, operated as a hotel since 1907. Its ornate, richly paneled bar and lobby have changed little as they celebrate their 100th anniversary. Finally, nature itself is the centerpiece of this wonderful town. Whether you are sitting in a restaurant overlooking the Apalachicola Bay or driving over the bridge into Apalachicola, the pristine marshlands dotting the coast line and the magnificent birds and wildlife are a form of artwork that can be watched with wonder. There are no high-rise condos, commercial developments or traffic jams in this cool little town. There are only cool people and places — places that transport you back in time when Florida was known for its slow, sweet, Southern charm.

Posted by rstahl on Sunday, February 01, 2009 10:59:48 PM
America's Coolest Small Town, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Imagine a small town set within the verdant ridges and productive valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, with unique architecture, warm, friendly people and one of the country's best small colleges. That town is Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Huntingdon, a town of 7,000 located on the Juniata River, is nick named 'town of a thousand hills.' Locals frequently use these hills ( Piney Ridge, Stone Creek Ridge, Terrace Mountain, Tussey Mountain) to describe their location. 8,300 acre Raystown Lake has been termed the 'crown jewel' of Central Pennsylvania, providing boating, fishing, camping and hiking opportunities to over 2,000,000 visitors each year. May 2009 will mark the unveiling of over 30 miles of single track mountain biking trails at Raystown. That's cool. While located in the midst of the mountains, Huntingdon is definitely not 'backwoods.' Only a two to three hour drive separates the community from major metropolitan areas, and Penn State University is only an hour away. Juniata College's 1,400 students add to the community's cultural diversity, by attracting world class entertainers and speakers. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive with the help of the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Sill Business Incubator. One of the businesses assisted, is Ultimate Creo, operates Huntingdon's old fashioned ice cream truck. Again — cool! Unique small businesses offer customer friendly service. Sweet Annies Herb's offers herbs, gifts and a bed and breakfast located in a fine Queen Anne-style mansion. Vintage Art Glass features stained glass created by owner Leah Davis Dell. OIP, Walt,s, and Boxer's, offer informal dining in Downtown Huntingdon. Mimi's, a full service restaurant, provides a more formal dining experience in the heart of the Huntingdon Historic District. The Caf? and Standing Stone Coffee Company offer Internet 'hot spots' unique sandwiches, pastries, coffee and tea. Founded in 1767, Huntingdon is the oldest community in the Juniata Valley. The National Register Historic District features the 1815 Orbison House, 1820 Huntingdon County Jail, the 1883 Huntingdon County Courthouse, and the 1888 J.C. Blair Building, once the tallest building between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The Juniata River and Juniata College take their name from a native American word meaning 'Standing Stone'. The Standing Stone has stood near the junction of Standing Stone Creek and the Juniata River since before white settlers arrived. A walking tour provides background on these cool sites and more. In Huntingdon family-friendly outdoor recreation, natural beauty, small colleges and history are cool, very cool!

Posted by Route522 on Sunday, February 01, 2009 1:57:02 PM
Rock hill Furnace Pa Home of the East Broad Top Railroad A very Special Place Going to Rock hill Furnace is like going back into time cause everything @ the railroad is all there and is like time just stop because everything is all there

Posted by Nell Roquemore on Friday, January 30, 2009 3:43:52 PM
Lakeland (population 3000) is "Georgia's Historic Mural City." Its principal tourist attraction is the array of 32 murals depicting 150 local citizens as they appeared in 1925, the year the town's name was changed from "Milltown" to "Lakeland." The muralist, Ralph Waldrop, of Columbia, South Carolina, began his Lakeland work in April 1998. Each year Lakeland hosts four festivals: "Deerfest" (the first Saturday in March), "Milltown Murals Motorcade" (the last Saturday in April), "Flatlander Fall Frolic" (Labor Day weekend), and "Lighting of Lakeland" (in early December). Lakeland's name was inspired by 11,000-acre Banks Lake on its outskirts, picturesque Lake Irma two blocks from Main Street, and the beautiful Alapaha River just east of town. The town and county, Lanier, are a mecca for fishermen and hunters. Besides the usual typical Southern eating places, Lakeland has two restaurants converted from historic buildings: "Station 26" (with firehouse decor) was formerly an old gas station; the "Dogwood Cafe" was formerly the Woodmen Hall. Although Lakeland has two attractive gift shops, "The Junction" and "Southern Quail", Harvey's Supermarket, Fred's, Lakeland Drug Company, two hardware stores, and two variety stores, most clothing and big items are bought in nearby Valdosta. Farmers & Merchants Bancshares Holding Company owns seven banks, one in Lakeland, four in adjoining counties, and two near Atlanta. The town's principal industries are Patten Seed Company (selling grass sod and seed, as well as pecans and pecan trees) and Georgia Printco (with signboard and printing customers thoughout much of the country). The Louis Smith Memorial Hospital (affiliated with South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta) has 25 beds and an excellent nursing home. The town and county have a rich heritage of folklore, documented in a locally-authored book covering 150 years of history and genealogy. Lakeland was the home of Governor E. D. Rivers (1937-1941), whose residence is still in use by his daughter, who has made it into a Rivers museum containing mementos, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Rivers' law offices are still in use in the F&M Bancshares Building. His stately mausoleum graces the local cemetery. Rivers was very important to Lakeland's history. Lakeland's newest pride is the "Jim & Mary Threatte Arts and Civic Center." The brick building, dating from 1926, was erected as the school auditorium, with a regulation basketball court as the stage. Four years ago it was cut into four pieces and moved from the old school campus to the opposite side of town and lovingly restored. In addition to the 300-seat auditorium, the building has a spacious lobby, two classrooms, and two restrooms. The versatile building has been used for "Deerfest", the funeral of Jim Threatte, banquets, dances, receptions, concerts, etc. Lakeland has three logos: "Lila" (a sketch of a miniskirted young lady), representing a local civic organization dating back to 1968, "Let's Improve Lanier's Appearance;" the Bulldog, mascot for the schools' athletic teams; and the liveoak tree. Lakeland has two parks: Flatlander Recreation Park and Roquemore Memorial Park, each of which has a fish pond. Flatlander Park has a baseball field, tennis courts, and an outdoor entertainment pavilion. Roquemore Park has a gazebo, a popular venue for weddings, photographs, Sunrise services, and Bluegrass bands. Lakeland is the only incorporated town in one of Georgia's smallest counties. When strangers arrive they often go into a store and buy a disposable camera so they can take pictures. Valdostans often bring their guests to Lakeland to see the murals. People seem to think Lakeland is a pretty cool town. (For additional information go to and

Posted by daisypearl on Friday, January 30, 2009 11:24:00 AM
My nomination for the most terrific small town [in the world--forget the United States] is Little Switzerland, NC; it is nestled in the central range of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a short drive from I-40, I-81, I-26, large cities [Asheville, Knoxville, Charlotte], and convenient airports. The Penland School of Crafts, a unique college offering classes in the arts, is within 30 minutes of downtown. The county is home to many artists and craftspeople who have chosen the area because of the climate, topography and the laid back style of living. Many new residents have been drawn to the surrounding community based on the quality of life and cost of living. Little Switzerland itself is a tiny town--official population 46-- but the surrounding community numbers many more. The town started in the early 1900s as a summer home area for all the flatlanders who were sweltering down in the piedmont of NC. They built the community and it has enlarged today to encompass the downtown area, a world-class lodging facility [the Switzerland Inn]. Adjacent to the Inn are several businesses representing many of the artists and craftspeople who live in the area. There are two terrific restaurants. The Switzerland Inn has a large dining room with a knock-your-socks off view to the mountains; there are two smaller dining rooms with a more intimate ambience. A varied menu is offered and all three meals are served daily: hearty breakfasts; lunches with your choice of salads, sandwiches, soups; and an evening meal of steak, fresh fish, pork and all the accompaniments. The Switzerland Cafe is less formal and is the hub around which "downtown" Little Switzerland revolves. The owners strive for the best possible barbecue in NC and, in my opinion, certainly achieve their goal. They have a varied luncheon menu of soups, sandwiches and salads. In the summer their weekend evening entrees include fresh fish, steaks, and delicious pasta. The chef/owner oversees the kitchen and food preparation; she is also a talented baker and the dessert case is always filled with wonderful delights. The other owner manages the Switzerland General Store; this store contains a great wine and beer selection, representative works from local artisans and memorabilia from the area. The area is incredible--forests, mountains, waterfalls--all within a few miles. If you want to stay for a summer there are many super homes for rent; there are also realtors for those folks who come to the area and simple cannot leave. You can roam up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway [about 0.5 miles from downtown Little Switzerland] and view high mountain ranges and deep valleys. The Parkway is a National Park Service property with controlled access--no trucks or commercial vehicles. Along the drive the Parkway has many overlooks for maximum enjoyment and also trailheads if you wish to hike the area. For those of us who have relocated here to realize that "this is our backyard" never fails to make us realize how very lucky we are. The area is full of history, charm and wonderful people. Every day I live here I love it more.

Posted by ksjerram on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:42:42 PM
The resort community of Horseshoe Bay is located in the heart of the Texas hill country, an hour NW of Austin and 90 minutes N of San Antonio. This small town of about 4,000 residents exudes the serenity of a quiet hillside village as it sprawls out along the southern border of beautiful Lake LBJ. The 23-mile, constant-level lake offers views of multi-million dollar homes of the rich and famous as well as Horseshoe Bay lighthouse, the oldest of the state's four inland lighthouses. You will find safe, quiet neighborhoods with mostly upscale homes and condos. Nowhere else can you possibly find such a beautiful combination of palm trees, cactus and yucca. It is a photographer's paradise. You'll drive along boulder-lined winding streets going up and down among the hills and through low-water crossings where you see turtles sunning themselves on partially submerged rocks. Nature delights you with abundant views of Whitetail deer foraging on the hillsides or napping on lawns. You'll catch an occasional armadillo or roadrunner and you'll wonder at the amazingly graceful birds flying overhead only to be startled by their lack of beauty when you see them on the ground finishing off the remains of the most recent road kill. Not to be outdone by the wildlife, local residents are the most inviting reason to visit Horseshoe Bay. They are some of the most welcoming, friendliest people you will ever meet. Many belong to one of the two local churches "up on the hill". St. Paul the Apostle conducts services for those of the Catholic faith and The Church at Horseshoe Bay is an interdenominational church offering services for those of Protestant persuasion. Seasons vary. Spring is warm with waterfalls flowing and cactus blooming. Almost everywhere you look, you see Texas Bluebonnets (state flower), wildflowers and butterflies covering the hillside meadows making it just perfect for a round on one of the three championship Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses or a casual hike along the beautiful trails. Summers can be quite hot but pleasantly lack the humidity to make them unbearable. Perfect for a day at the pool, lake or a place in the shade with a good book. Fall comes late with the brilliant colors of turning trees taking you right into the holiday season. Winters are a mixture of warm and cool days with nighttime temperatures ranging from cool to cold. These cool evenings find local residents relaxing around a chimenea with friends, perhaps sampling a new wine variety chosen from the broad selections of local wineries. Landlubbers have a choice of golf, tennis, hiking, biking, hunting and horseback riding while water lovers may choose to boat, fish, sail, kayak, water ski, swim or just bask in the sun. Bird watching, deer watching or visiting one of the local spas also ranks high among locals. The Horseshoe Bay Beacon, a free weekly paper, keeps residents and visitors in tune with activities in and around town. There are many weekly and monthly happenings to choose from, such as Yoga/Pilates meets twice a week. Hill Country Trekkers (hikers) meet weekly. The International Club and the Bingo Banquets meet monthly. There are also annual events such as the 4th of July vehicle and boat parades and the celebration open to residents and visitors. Although there are not yet an abundance of restaurants, you will enjoy different dining experiences whether at Resort restaurants or local Taste of Thyme or The Tall Texan. There are currently two new shopping venues in the planning. Village Square and the Shoppes at Hi Circle will bring upscale retail to Horseshoe Bay. The Horseshoe Bay Resort provides 3 championship golf courses, an 18-hole par 72 putting course that is beautifully landscaped and home to 15 birds including parrots and flamingos, 4 swimming pools, white sand beach, spa, fitness facility, full-service marina, 5 dining facilities, 12 professional tennis courts, Marriott Hotel and luxury villa rentals. The Resort is a members-only club, although hotel and villa guests are granted temporary membership allowing access to many of the Resort amenities during their stay. The Resort also operates an airport and jet center, a full-service FBO with fuel services, hangar space, tie-downs, charter jet service and 6,000-foot runway. Neighboring communities compliment Horseshoe Bay offerings with venues such as the Hill Country Theatre, annual boat races, Main Street USA-style street fairs and festivals, wineries, live music, restaurants, marinas and boat rentals plus CastleRock ... a Living Architecture of Art and Culture, Music and Magic currently under development that offers the look and feel of Santa Fe or Sedona right in Horseshoe Bay's backyard. Horseshoe Bay is the perfect place to be active or do nothing at all — truly one of America's coolest small towns ... It's almost like a piece of Heaven nestled into the hills of the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

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!

Posted by kdandria on Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:31:52 AM
Smithfield Virginia. Smithfield is a historic town where the local people are very friendly. Smithfield is known as the "Ham Capital of the World" and the local museum has the world's oldest cured ham on display. Smithfield has a unique shopping area that has antique and specialty shops. It also has a wonderful Farmer's Market and a cultural arts program that involves programs from theater presentations to an arts stroll along main street where local artist can demonstrate their talents.

Posted by hiker on Friday, January 23, 2009 1:06:20 PM
Dubois, Wyoming! A small town surrounded by Wilderness, one of the most remote locations in the lower 48 states a part of the Yellowstone eco-system. A place where there is a strong sense of community and a some of the old west ways live on. There is a vibrant and diverse population that pull together for creating a better place to call home. The surrounding include mountains, rivers, wildlife...recreation possibilities abound! Check it out.

Posted by burleybrown on Friday, January 23, 2009 10:08:16 AM
Berlin Maryland is definitely one of America's coolest small towns — there is something for everyone! Located in the heart of the mid-Atlantic coastal region, a mere 7 miles inland, time and nature have created a most perfect place to live...and a very exciting place to visit! From surfing, sunbathing and fishing at the acclaimed Assateague Island National Seashore, located on one of the few remaining natural barrier islands to canoeing the quiet, peat-blackened waters of the meandering Pocomoke River this area has much to offer any water enthusiast . Hiking, biking or driving is enjoyed along the nearby scenic, 63 mile long old Algonquin Indian "beach to bay" trail is available for the land lubbers. And, viewing the famed Chincoteague Island ponies in their natural habitat or the endless variety of wild fowl stopping to rest here along the famed Atlantic Flyway is also within an easy drive from town. Within our towns' small Main Street commercial district, along tree lined streets one may view not only lovely period historic homes but set forth on a journey of discovery to seek that special something within our myriad unique shops and to view the works of the many resident artists and craftsmen of renown within their galleries. We must mention too the multi-acre Stephen Decatur Park, that includes a large nature pond and public tennis courts! Berlin was recently honored with the State's much coveted "Arts & Entertainment District" designation. As for the "entertainment" portion of the honor — along with the usual eateries there is the fully restored, Globe Theater...serving trendy bar food along with a full menu of year round live musical performances. However, like any small town our civic pride forces focus towards our annual Chamber of Commerce sponsored festivals including the Spring Jazz and Blues Fest, the well loved Fall Fiddler's Convention and caroling during our month-long Victorian Christmas celebration. Our Town museum — the Calvin B. Taylor House also sponsors a series of popular summertime Concerts on the Lawn. To enjoy a picture view of our very real, small town flavor, rent the now 10-year-old Paramount movie — Runaway Bride starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere — where you experience see Berlin Maryland up close! You will see that we're a very cool, small town and certainly are one of the best places to live or visit. Come join us anytime!

Posted by baysidepartners on Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:22:13 PM
How cool are we? The Chesapeake Bay is our front yard—we get to watch the sun rise over the Bay from our seven-block boardwalk, marvel at the diving ducks in the winter, watch the watermen set their crab traps, and rejoice when the ospreys return on St. Patrick's Day. North Beach, Maryland, a community of 1,800 combines small town living with big city amenities. We are just 25 miles from Annapolis, 32 miles from Washington DC, and an hour from Baltimore. We have one of the few public beaches on the Bay, attracting over 31,000 visitors in 2008, a record number. We're a walking town with friendly, smiling people. Our boardwalk is lined with benches, each with a special plaque, and many honor victims of the 9/11 bombing of the Pentagon. On Friday nights from May through October, the town's residents get to shop at our very special Farmer's Market. Our young local farmers usually sell out within the first hour, so get here early for the opening bell at 6:00 p.m. Harris Orchard, Maryland State Fair winners in the apple, peach and pear categories are regulars. But this is not some ho-hum farmers' market. JR the waterman, who has been the subject of a Maryland Public TV special, brings live crabs, oysters and seasonal fish. Barbie the Bread Lady always has the longest line because of her delicious, crusty artisan breads. On Friday market nights, classic car owners from all over Maryland, Virginia and DC line up for blocks along the boardwalk as the sun goes down for our cruise-ins, basking in the rosy glow over the Bay. We also have free entertainment most Friday evenings at the Boardwalk Pavilion, ranging from acoustic and retro to bluegrass, alternative rock, teen-age rappers, DJs and karaoke. The upscale Bay Wine & Spirits also hosts wine-tastings every Friday night as well! Our biggest event of the year is Bayfest in August, which draws more than 20,000 people over two days for live bands, crafts, vendors, and a crab feast. Bring your own chair or blanket for our monthly Movies on the Beach, shown on our 40-foot big screen with sand between your toes and the soft waves lapping at the shore. We feature free outdoor concerts, and for Halloween, an annual Haunted Boardwalk featuring pirates of the Chesapeake and lots of thrills and chills for kids and their families. Every Christmas, we have a holiday parade with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Each New Year's Day, we host a Polar Bear Swim, where hundreds of people strip down to their Speedos and jump into the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Thousands more show up to watch. For a tour of the area, simply park in one of our free lots and hop on the Beach Trolley. Round trip is such a deal - only a quarter each way from North Beach to Deale or North Beach to Chesapeake Beach and back. You can also learn about the wild history of the town and Uncle Billy's Pier at the Bayside History Museum, open Sundays from 1:00pm-4:00pm. The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum also has models and photos of the area's heyday when cruise ships from Baltimore and trains from DC brought visitors in to play in the bay - and gamble. Also within walking distance of the beach is a collection of trendy art galleries, shops and eateries. Seascapes and Coffee, Tea & Whimsey (that's their friendly pooch!) feature upscale furnishings and accessories to deck out your beach house in style. The Arts @ 7th Gallery features original works by many local artists and painters. Across the street, Nice N'Fleazy Antiques, with an Elvis bust in the window, draws you in to see what other treasures could be inside. Two beautiful marina-resorts that have become wedding havens are within a mile in each direction. The Herrington on the Bay Eco-Lifestyle Resort in Rose Haven has won numerous awards for being the most environmentally sensitive marina in the United States. And the historic Rod N'Reel Restaurant and Marina offer charter fishing. For a relaxing massage, try the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa. MapQuest/Google Map coordinates: 5th and Bay Avenue, North Beach, MD 20714. t through the incubator. In Huntingdon, old-fashioned community spirit joins with progressive purpose. On Friday nights at the local community center, elementary kids are lacing up their roller skates for a evening spin around the wooden floors. Just up the street is another community center of sorts supported by the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association, a group composed of local practitioners of alternative wellness models who are dedicated to educating the public on the principals of yoga, massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology and many other methods. Hardly a new town, Huntingdon was founded in 1796 and has been "discovered" time and again by visitors who seek out our town to enjoy its unique view of central Pennsylvania

Posted by pmcrjc on Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:56:18 AM
I would like to nominate Smithfield Virginia as the coolest small town. It is a small town near the major metropolitin area of Hampton Roads. It is a rural and friendly town with a very charming Main Street. It is a town encouraging of cultural arts with a very welcoming atmosphere. It is located on the Pagen River with picturesque views in all directions. Come see us.

Posted by bartnrod on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 4:19:02 PM
We have to nominate Silver City, New Mexico. The population is just right on the 10,000 mark which makes it a little easier to do some shopping. It's greatest attraction to us is it's southerly location in the state which eliminates bitter winter weather and yet is it 6,000 ft. high which tempers the southwestern summer season... It sits nearly astride the continental divide and has deserts to the south and mountains to the east and north which provides for endless opportunities for hiking and photography. It is home to the Gila National Forest and the first wilderness ever created in the country. The artists have found the town and it is literally crawling with galleries of every kind. Some nationally recognized architecture exists there since there was $$$$ by the boatload when the town was a young booming silver mining center and many easterners built victorian style businesses and homes. It also has a smaller university which provides the arts as well as the athletics to round off a fun life-style. There are several authentic Mexican restaurants and if you want a great steak and a bit of history, try the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House in nearby Pinos Altos. Several avante-garde coffee houses and natural food outlets lend themselves well to a changing community. I'll include one recent area photo.

Posted by cafe on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 2:58:24 PM
Little Switzerland received it's name because of it's everpresent killer views and cool temps. At 3400 elevation, it began as a summer colony around the turn of the 20th century, when the Blue Ridge Mountains were just being opened up by rail and road. There are about 300 homes here, mostly seasonal. We're located right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and not far from the Appalachian Trail. Small? Yes, we're small. The town motto is "still no cell phone signal". And we like it that way. Lots of folk arts here, since Penland School for Arts is in our County seat and many studios dot the hillsides here. The Switzerland General Store serves as the towns gossip center. You can get your ten penny nails here while choosing a good wine to go with your Brie. The Restaurants here are quite good and many visitors are surprised to find treats like house smoked native rainbow trout, or shrimp and grits on the menus at the Switzerland Cafe, a small "downtown" bistro, or at the upscale Chalet restaurant located "uptown". Hiking trails, waterfalls, summer square dances and live Jazz are just some of the things there are to do here. There's also gem mining in an historic mine or learning about beehives and the migrating monarch butterflies at an historic apple orchard. Storytelling hayrides, tubing a river ..there's plenty to do here but it's all pretty out of the ordinary. No water slides or rubber tomowhawks here. This is the kind of place that young ctified yuppies choose to move to when they drop out of the rat race. The kind of a place where you might dream of owning about 5 acres of pasture land and make money raising say, Emus. The kind of place where, after about six months of cleaning up after Emus and not making a dime, you try and sell them at the Asheville Farmer's market or in the local paper. The kind of place where no local in their right mind would really buy an Emu. The kind of place where young newly resettled citified yuppies might become frustrated and then simply open the barn door in the middle of the night and hope they have no more Emus to feed in the morning. Yes, it's the kind of place that has alot of wild Emu sightings. Maybe you can experience that the next time you come for a visit. But don't expect to call your friends back home on your cell and describe the experience.

Posted by leah on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 2:13:00 PM
The scenery in Dubois is a full 360 degree experience. The pristine waters - actually a headwaters to the Missouri river and everything in between all serve to have a positive impact on our community and the attitudes of the local residents. If we don't have a shop specializing in a desired item odds are someone in the community can make you something equal or better to what you were looking for. The same goes for a dining experience. If some restaurant doesn't have the menu item desired our local caterers can create just about any taste treat desired. From the cyber cafe' -- to the world - Dubois residents reach out to share or connect with anyone or any subject they desire. The best part is they do it with a smile and a helpful, sharing hand. Life in the Upper Wind River country, as Dubois is often referred to, is as modern as anyone could want - but remains a premium small town experience to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors alike. Also known as Never Sweat, Dubois enjoys premium weather ! A man (or woman) can work here all day and never break a sweat - or so the story goes...

Posted by goober on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:12:47 AM
Blowing Rock NC! The Town of Blowing Rock is a unique, year-round mountain destination in North Carolina's High Country known as the Crown of the Blue Ridge. At 4,000 feet in elevation, it sits astride the Eastern Continental Divide, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the top of Blowing Rock (yes, there IS one) there are commanding views of layer upon layer of gorgeous mountain scenery. Blowing Rock features four distinct seasons: It's a festival of wild blooms in the spring, cool in the summer, dazzling with color in the fall and a Currier and Ives portrait in the winter. Activities such as hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, mountain and road cycling, rock climbing, fishing and hunting are close at hand, along with skiing in the winter. Blowing Rock has been welcoming visitors since the 1880s. Reminiscent of a small New England village, it has a population of just 1500 that grows to nearly 8000 during the summer and fall months. It's unique as a tourist destination, with virtually no chain hotels, fast-food places or strip malls. Lodging and dining venues are locally owned and operated, many in historic buildings constructed with local natural materials. Accommodations for overnight guests are diverse; visitors can choose from among a variety of small inns, rustic cabins and bed & breakfasts, along with the famous Chetola Resort. The well-known Westglow Spa is nearby. At the turn of the last century, Annie Oakley used to come to Blowing Rock and teach rifle lessons at the Yonahlossee Camp for girls. Blowing Rock's sophisticated small-town atmosphere inspired bestselling author and former resident Jan Karon to pen her famed Mitford series and inspired thousands of Southern Living readers to vote it a Readers' Choice Award for Favorite Mountain Getaway and Favorite Small Town. Within easy Parkway driving distance is Grandfather Mountain, a spectacular, privately owned biosphere reserve with a mile-high swinging bridge, wildlife habitats and incredible views. ( Also close by at Tweetsie Railroad, Linville Caverns, Mystery Hill and Boone. On a mountain overlooking the Town and surrounding area is the Mariam and Robert Hayes Performing Arts Center, a 26,000 square foot state of the art facility. The Center is home to the Blowing Rock Stage Company ~ which has produced traditional as well as original theatrical presentations for 23 years ~ and a variety of touring performances and a classic film series. The Performing Arts Center is a facility typically found in America's larger cities, and it offers function space that is available for weddings, corporate meetings and almost any kind of event. ( Events enliven and enhance the visitor's experience throughout the year, starting with the long-running Saturday Art in the Park, May through October. Now in its 47th year, the renowned Art in the Park series features the works of 100 juried artisans in watercolor, oil painting, fiber, metal, wood, basketry, glass, clay, jewelry, photography and more. Blowing Rock is also well known for its fine art galleries, most of which are within a few blocks of each other.

Posted by jennevoy on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:05:11 AM
North Beach, MD - Beautiful and quaint town on the Chesapeake Bay. North Beach offers a beautiful boardwalk and beach along the bay. Neighbordhoods are walker friendly and charming shops are plentiful. Local restaurants offer great seafood selections year round. One in particular is Neptunes Seafood Pub, the Cheers of North Beach, where everyone knows your name and offers great seafood, atmosphere and drinks. North Beach is 30 minutes from Washington DC and is home to young military personnel and Washingtonians looking for a break from the big city. North Beach offers a farmers market every weekend during the summer as well as outdoor concerts and an annual festival.

Posted by shannonerickson on Monday, January 19, 2009 7:38:42 AM
Port Royal, South Carolina Lovely small town with an eclectic flair! Wonderful restaurant choices housed in converted warehouses to old school buildings. Old & new blend together to make this safe, inviting community a really happening place. Home to true walking neighborhoods, you can get to the beach or to a backyard oyster roast. The mix of residents ranges from folks who've lived their whole lives in the same house to those who are here for a 3 year military assignment. What used to be a state port site is up for sale (multi-use development) with a complimentary shrimping dock - the only publicly owned one on the southeastern coast- and an incredible seafood restaurant adjacent to the property. Located beside beautiful Beaufort, SC, the Town of Port Royal is a gem in the crown that makes this area of the lowcountry a truly remarkable place to be! (There is even a story book written by a young local about the travels of a landmark sea buoy that broke free of it's mooring!)

Posted by CharlotteGonzalez on Monday, January 19, 2009 7:03:03 AM
Port Royal, SC - I have lived in many places over the past 30 years due to the military and Port Royal is by far the greatest little town I have run across. It has all you could want - a great little coffee shop with internet access so you can sit and have a wonderful cup of coffee while checking your emails or just surfing the net. The elementary school is by far the best in the state! Several great resturants, one in particular that has been in town for years is Dockside and anyone visiting has this place on their must eat at places. Beteaux resturant located in the Customs House for the Village of Port Royal in 1838 can go up against any of the 5 star resturants around the world. Port Royal has several festivals and events around town throughout the year that are just wonderful to attend and are always free and open to the public. This little town is just in the most wonderful location - close to Beaufort, Charleston and Savannah when you have the need to attend a larger town.

Posted by marygee on Monday, January 19, 2009 6:46:41 AM
Newburyport Mass. is one of my favorite small towns and I was lucky to live there for three years. The main street is quaint and still has that fishing-village flavor. There are good restaurants and beautiful coastal places to see. The architecture is peroid-perfect and many older homes have been lovingly restored. Plum Island has a nature reserve and the beach is always a treat. The people are smart and friendly; unique souls who are artsy and interesting. I'd move back in a minute if I could afford to.

Posted by rberdar on Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:06:06 PM
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania: Located at the convergence of the Juniata River and Standing Stone Creek, Huntingdon, Pa. is the center of culture, business and government in Huntingdon County, i.e., the center of it all in our part of the Alleghenies. Huntingdon County as a whole draws millions of visitors per years thanks to attractions such as the historic narrow gauge East Broad Top Railroad and Raystown Lake where there is a mountain view from every shore. As for Huntingdon itself — a borough of 7,000 residents — locals and visitors alike find themselves on a perpetual treasure hunt between shops, restaurants and the community's ever-growing recreation opportunities. The town has an extensive trail system that links numerous beautiful vistas — from historic Riverview Cemetery to Flag Pole Hill (where pilots once delivered and picked up local mail) and to Juniata College's Baker Peace Chapel and nature preserve. The Peace Chapel, a serene granite circle which sits atop a secluded hill was designed by the renowned artist and architect Maya Lin, whose work includes monuments around the country such as the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Huntingdon enjoys a degree of separation of the world, yet is only hours from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and New York City. Although some of the east coast's most exiting cities are within reach, Huntingdon is far from shabby when it comes to dining, arts and culture. Boxer's Cafe boasts the largest selection of micro-brews in the area and a menu of home-cooked meals that appeases most tastes including vegetarian. Boxer's is dedicated to preserving the planet, and delivers an environmentally-friendly nod at every turn from biodegradable drinking straws to the owners' small fleet of veggie oil-powered vehicles. There is also Mimi's, a cosmopolitan restaurant and bar known for its exquisite desserts and gourmet martinis, located in one of downtown Huntingdon's former hotels. One of the town's newest additions is the Standing Stone Coffee Co., serving organic coffee, unique sandwiches and a venue for local talent from artists to musicians. If your appetite yearns for art, Vintage Art Glass and its proprietress Leah Davis Dell, a gifted stained glass artist, hits the spot with an almost overwhelming array of glitter, gleam and sparkle. Annie Wishard, published author and commentator on herbal medicine, is another source for unique gifts, as well as well-being. Her shop, Sweet Annie's Herbs, is located in the carriage house of one of Huntingdon's grand old victorian homes. The town is proud of its history and the architectural examples of past eras. The former J.C. Blair Stationary Co. building, once the tallest structure between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, now serves as housing for senior citizens following painstaking renovation which preserved much of the Chicago-style building's glory. The building is only one of the town's historic treasures, having been home to the company which invented the modern writing tablet. Mark Twain himself was a fan. Huntingdon is great supporter of public art, thanks in large part to a very active arts council. The borough's outdoor artworks is ever expanding and to date includes of series of murals in the downtown area and in Portstown Park located along the Juniata River, as well as the dazzling Penn Street mosaic which tells the history of the borough from ancient times through the industrial age. Huntingdon is also home to the Iris Film Festival, a competitive showcase of work by Pennsylvania filmmakers to be held in September 2009 at the circa-1920's Clifton Theatre. Juniata College is also a great contributor to the arts in the community. The college is home to "The Gravity Project," through which students collaborate with professional theatre artists from around the county to bring avant garde theatre to Huntingdon. Juniata College is also a partner in local economic development, having launched a "business incubator" providing start-up assistance for entrepreneurs. Computer experts, videographers and even Huntingdon's ice cream man have gotten their start through the incubator. In Huntingdon, old-fashioned community spirit joins with progressive purpose. On Friday nights at the local community center, elementary kids are lacing up their roller skates for a evening spin around the wooden floors. Just up the street is another community center of sorts supported by the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association, a group composed of local practitioners of alternative wellness models who are dedicated to educating the public on the principals of yoga, massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology and many other methods. Hardly a new town, Huntingdon was founded in 1796 and has been "discovered" time and again by visitors who seek out our town to enjoy its unique view of central Pennsylvania

Posted by charlottenicolosi on Sunday, January 18, 2009 2:51:43 PM
PORT ROYAL, SOUTH CAROLINA is the perfect example of a small, sleepy southern town with a lot of history and character. It was the deepest port on the east coast until it was closed to facilitate selling the property for commercial development. We have historic houses, a funky beach on the Beaufort River (the Intracoastal waterway), one of the state's best elementary schools, a very varied and interesting cross section of residents and some singular small businesses. It is quiet, relatively crime-free, home to hundreds of retirees from all over the country, and some true characters who've lived here all their lives. It is a unique and very appealing place to visit and the walking is great.

Posted by mattledoux on Friday, January 16, 2009 2:45:35 PM
Charleston, Oregon- By far the coolest small town. It has recreational activities unsurpassed by none. There is hiking, biking, surfing, people watching, kite flying, fishing, scuba diving, 4x4ing and that's just a scratch on the surface. Charleston is a place that has to be seen to believe. It's friendly, it's busy, it's fun! Charleston is a seafood lovers dream. Charleston exports most of the worlds Dungeness crab and also exports fantastic fish like ling cod, snapper, halibut and albacore tuna. This is the first stop seafood being shipped out all of the country. It's the minature bay area of the pacific northwest even priding themselves with there own Fishermen's Wharf that provides off the boat seafood. Great restaurants like the High Tide Cafe that cook that same off the boat fresh seafood flourish in this area. Charleston, Oregon has my vote!

Posted by saloisio on Friday, January 16, 2009 10:37:09 AM
Highwood IL (pop 4143). Twenty-eight miles north of Chicago, spunky Highwood is more a small self-sustaining community where everything one would need is nice walk away than a suburb. Highwood has always been, and continues to be a city of immigrants, with major waves coming from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Russia, Mexico, and Central America; roughly in that order chronologically. Come to Highwood hungry and you will leave satisfied. Most of the restaurants are locally owned, and some have been in business for generations. A nice smattering of sidewalk cafes have opened along Waukegan and Green Bay Rds, and all can sell you an espresso that you will not forget. Las Tres Hermanas is a family run restaurant that has been serving authentic Mexican dishes for over 30 years. Have a double-decker pizza, an Italian beef sandwich, or a nice cold micro-brew or import beer at Buffo's. If you want to dress up and open your wallet up a bit, explore one of the several upscale restaurants for a night out. Join a public tournament at the Highwood Bocce Club. It is the Augusta of bocce, having hosted the World Cup Championship of Bocce, as well as the National Championship as recently as 2008. It is rumored that the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti, a bocce fan, played a private match here while visiting for a performance in Chicago. Visitors can catch a play at the Attic Playhouse. Walk the historic grounds of Fort Sheridan, where George S. Patton was first assigned in 1909 after graduating from West Point before chasing Pancho Villa and channeling Hannibal. With a long history of generous liquor licensing, Highwood was once a Guinness Book record holder for its high density of drinking establishments. Rough-rider Teddy Roosevelt called it the "toughest town in America", but in this century, an always family friendly Highwood remains a fun place to go out for a nightcap.

Posted by Rebecca Lisher on Friday, January 16, 2009 9:55:23 AM
Beaufort South Carolina

Posted by Mot on Thursday, January 15, 2009 7:34:30 PM
Pinehurst, NC, Carolina Hotel for genuine southern hospitality and 2 world class restraunts. The village itself has high end art gallerys, boutiques and hotels, plus being the golf capital of the U.S.. Tom Myris

Posted by Cazana on Thursday, January 15, 2009 6:21:12 PM
Del Mar, California is an awesome little piece of paradise. It's an historic beach town with only a few thousand residents nestled between the Del Mar Racetrack and the scenic Torrey Pines State Reserve north of San Diego. The wide sandy beach stretches the length of the town with access on every block and surfers lining the many desired breaks. The Powerhouse Park is a popular grassy knoll along the beach where the cliff subsides and the train slows downs and passes by the kids waving from the playground. A block away is the downtown, just a few stop signs along the old Highway 101 but it is full of hip clothing shops, intimate restaurants and one of a kind finds like an independent bookstore and the Dinosaur Gallery filled with expensive fossils for sale. Jake's is the staple restaurant perched right on the beach, and the main plaza has the impressive Epazote restaurant with an outdoor bar providing sweeping views of the ocean. Summer means horse racing season in Del Mar and it is still the place to see and be seen with A-list bands rocking the stage for free every Friday. After a fun night on the town it's hard to sleep in. The perfect weather draws everyone out for a walk along the seaside cliffs or dog friendly beach to one of the four cafes. With a top bioscience industry and an oceanography institute and a university nearby, the population is becoming an interesting mix of surfers and the international who's who of science. The slow surfer pace of the town is therapeutic with happy people just enjoying everyday that they get to live in paradise.

Posted by jdrinne on Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:38:37 PM
Dubois Wyoming is the greatest small town! It has a homey western atmosphere, and the people are great. There are many small unique shops and cafes to enjoy, along with the National Bigh Horn Sheep Center and a GREAT museum. In the summer there is hiking and fishing and sight seeing, and the snowmobiling in the winter is the most sought after in the west. For a town of less than 1000, Dubois offers many things to experience. --Kathy

Posted by BurnhamInk on Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:35:38 PM
It's 10 am on a Saturday, and the Liar's Bench at Onancock Wharf is full. The four older gentlemen on the bench have spun a few fishing yarns in their time. From their perch, they watch boat trailers back down the ramp and kayakers in red life vests preparing to launch into Onancock Creek, which leads for miles out to the Chesapeake Bay. Boat slips and a deepwater anchorage are filled with sailboats and cruisers from as far as Nova Scotia and Florida. Local folklore holds that Capt. John Smith came up this very creek in 1608, and a revolutionary war hero is buried downtown, though nobody's sure exactly where! Though small, Onancock (pronounced "o-NAN-cock" by locals), population just 1,500, has much to attract visitors. Eclectic eateries range from Eastern European to local seafood, with a couple of wine and gourmet shops. There are several Victorian B&Bs and a boutique hotel to lay your head. You can peek inside art galleries to see local artists at work, and locally-owned shops offer intriguing, one-of-a-kind treasures for home, garden, gifts and clothing. There's not a chain store in sight in this truly authentic town, where the family-owned pharmacy is located in the oldest bank building on the Eastern Shore, and the hardware store sells nails, local produce, fresh seafood, and muskrat (in season) by the pound. There's usually a running game of Crazy Eights going on in back. The retro movie theater shows first-run films and an international film series, while the playhouse stages first-rate theater throughout the year. Onancock is 'green'-- all the lodgings are Virginia Green certified, and there's recycling at the wharf—and 'pet-friendly,' with waste bag dispensers around town, decals in the windows of shops that welcome furry friends, and a monthly Yappy Hour during the Second Friday Art Stroll. Annual events include a hometown Ice Cream Social and Band Concert in the town square, Harborfest in the fall, and a Christmas Homes Tour. What strikes most visitors about Onancock is the friendliness: there's no vying for parking spaces, and folks nod in greeting. Grab an ice cream cone and take the historic downtown walking tour that includes a half dozen churches and the Ker Place Historic House. You'll soon be on a first-name basis with shop owners and artists, a mix of "born-heres" and "come-heres" in this charming waterfront village. Visit for more info

Posted by jpalma on Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:10:49 PM
Carolina Beach, North Carolina definitely gets my vote. There are so many cool things about this small town. You can find reasonably-priced accommodations and affordable things to do with the kids. The beach is beautiful and it is a place where you can kick back and escape your least temporarily. There are a couple of shops worth noting. Britts Donuts has been there for seventy years and was recently recognized by MSN City Guide as selling the second best donuts in the nation. Carolina Beach is also home to an establishment called the Fudgeboat. Its steps away from the ocean and serves up some of the best fudge you will find anywhere. And, the fudge is actually served across the deck of a restored 38-foot-long wooden boat. Another cool thing is their unique taxi service. It is an electric "Green Cab." Apparently the first licensed golf cart cab service in North Carolina. For the outdoorsy types, Carolina Beach has three parks. One, of them, Carolina Beach Lake Park, is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest freshwater lake near saltwater. And, the Carolina Beach State Park is home to the rare Venus flytrap. All year-long they play host to a variety of events, but one in particular is especially unique. During the summer, they have a Film & Fireworks Series. Families can enjoy family-friendly, first-run movies which are shown on a huge screen under the stars at Carolina Beach Lake Park. There are also free outdoor concerts and fabulous fireworks displays on the beach. Last but not least, here is a bit of trivia. Carolina Beach is home of the legendary Chicken Hicks who is credited with the development and popularization of the Shag dance.

Posted by lawinski on Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:55:02 AM
BARNEGAT LIGHT, New Jersey 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? Kubel's 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? Viking Village 3. Is there a local mascot? 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? Maritime ghosts on 12th street, oceanside 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? At Viking Village-you can buy the freshest seafood and witness the scallop boats bringing in their catch. You can also see how they distribute their loads to local restaurants-they even have mini-tours for kids that guide them through all of the processes. Step a few feet across the crushed oystershell graveled road and you will find a coffee shop that brews a great blueberry cup of java...a few steps to the right and there are a scattering of antique shops. Two years ago, the Barnegat Light Historical Society hosted a historical house tour, which was incredible! When i was 5, I could see the Barnegat Light Light House by standing on my bed, looking out my window. When I was a teen, I served local fisherman breakfast at 10 am when they were, "ending teir day" at a local tavern. Now, I am married with kids and still bring everyone back to the place where my best childhood memories thrived.

Posted by oregonkat on Thursday, January 15, 2009 1:08:53 AM
Charleston, Oregon! While yes it is quaint, it also has fabulous restaurants and small town charm. With a working dock, amazing hiking, biking and kayaking trails, there's no better small town. Oyster Cove restaurant has been visited by the likes of Racheal Ray and they have a homemade recipe called Oysters Charleston that is a creamy creole based bit of heaven. At Davey's Locker, fisherman stop for supplies and the most outstanding meatloaf sandwich you'll ever find. Right next store is a little tiny hut where local pottery folks take turns displaying their hand made crafts. the weirdest piece of folk lore is how seven devils road got its name. Different stories about about there being seven hairpin turns on the road and you'd meet your maker, or how Jedediah Smith when he first traveled it proclaimed that it felt like Seven Devils were chasing them the whole way. The town mascot is Charlie the Tuna. Charlie made national news last year when his 7ft statue was kidnapped from Charleston. Missing posters went all over town and newspaper headlines everywhere proclaimed Sorry, Charlie. Alas, Charlie was discovered by the Sheriff's Dept as 2 youth were hacking him up with a chainsaw after they were scared of being caught from all the publicity. the next day newspaper's across the country read: Charlie gets filleted! Other cool attractions are camping in Yurts at Sunset Bay State Park, kayaking over to the now closed Lighthouse. the bridge is out and kayaking is the only way to get there. the High Tide Cafe has the fish and chips you'll ever eat!

Posted by innosense721 on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 4:27:20 PM
Cody, Wyoming is THE coolest small town! Beautiful scenery, friendly people and a small hometown atmosphere are just a few of the amazing points I should bring up! This small town is in northern Wyoming, only an hour from the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. You are only a short drive from so many amazing sites, just a few might be the Park, frozen waterfalls in the winter and bison and other wildlife close enough to touch! Only a short drive will put you right into the mountains and allow you to go snowboarding, skiing or snowmobiling. A rustic downtown, in the summer is a tourist hot-spot for people traveling from as far away as Japan! There are parades, festivities and even an old "real" western shoot out on the main street every day during the summers! Go hiking, fishing or even white water rafting in the warmer months! For those that are interested in a little history, Cody offers one of THE BEST museums in the West! This is a five building museum with art, historical exhibits and more focusing on Buffalo Bill Cody, indian heritage and much much more! It has wildlife exhibits with stamps for the kids to collect and even full sized, stuffed animals! Delicious food abounds and for some great american west burgers you can always head down to the "silver dollar saloon" or head out on a friday night to get some food and drinks at "Cassie's" bar and grill to enjoy some live music. This town is getting better by the minute and has been attracting more and more people due to its wonderful outdoor scene. It even has gained National recognition by being a featured "clue" for participants to figure out on the TV hit "The Great Race."

Posted by leh on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 3:10:34 PM
Bandon, Oregon, has it all. The old town, known as Bandon-By-the-Sea, is approximately 8 blocks along the Coquille River of up-scale shops, unique restaurants, antique stores and sea nicknacks. This where the charm of the town is found. Bandon celebrates its culture and past with various cranberry, cheese, wine, fish, and wind festivals. The coolness of Bandon is its central location on the beautiful Oregon coast. This is the best of the endless beaches and rock-meets-water on the Pacific Ocean. There are 3 world-clsss golf courses here. There is fishing, whether it's the great salmon and steelhead fishing on the Elk River to the south, crabbing from the riverfront, or ocean fishing for ling cod, rock cod, and salmon on a charter boat. Whale watching is popular from the high cliffs in town or at Cape Arago to the north. In the spring and in December the migrating Gray Whales pass close to the headlands. The state of Oregon provides interpreters at popular locations during the migrations, with binoculars or spotting scopes. In early spring, the scourge, Gorse, and Scotchbroom flower on the clifftops. The area becomes a vibrant, living gold from the fragrant blooms. To the north on the Seven Devils Road, in March you'll find skunk cabbage blooming in the South Slough Estuarine Reserve. There is a special boardwalk that keeps you above of the mud flat to view these flowers and wildlife, like Great Blue Herons. We have camped across the river from town in Bullard Beach State Park. Our camp site was under an Osprey nest. We watched the parents comings and goings, fish in talons, as they fed the juveniles. This park is the starting point for the walk to the lighthouse and shipwrecks. Our favorite time to go to Bandon is in the winter. Either, it is a stormy day and we watch the waves beat the rocks from the shelter of the cliff base, view the horizontal rain from our hotel window, or fly acrobat kites on the beach between rain storms (this way our back is always to the wind and these kites love wind). Or the weather is clear and calm and we beachcomb for miles along the strand and, at low tide, view sea stars, anemonies, and crabs, in the rocky tidepools.

Posted by smfdtour on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 1:36:59 PM
Smithfield, Virginia... a small river-town that is about 45 minutes from anywhere, holds host to its share of historical, cultural, and odd-ball residents and communities. Known to most as the Ham Capitol of the World, without a doubt food adds to the spice of life in Smithfield! Be it having a ham biscuit and some she-crab soup at the historic Smithfield Inn, licking an ice cream cone from the Ice Cream Parlor, a sip and nibble from the Olde World Tea Company, or a drink and a view from the Smithfield Station... you're sure to find something for anyone's pallet. You'll probably want to walk off that last pastry from the Gourmet Bakery so you should stick around for our Smithfield Monthly Arts Stroll on the 2nd Friday of each month! Resident and local musicians, thespians, and artists line the streets and fill the shops for an evening full of traditional and offbeat entertainment. A history buff will find a home in our historical sites and museums. But, certainly, a reader of Ripley's Believe it or Not will already know about our Isle of Wight County Museum — home to the world's only recorded pet ham. Don't forget to take the historic walking tour and be sure to see the Sinclair home. It was in this house that "retired" Revolutionary War Privateer John Sinclair stored nearly 13 cannon and 14 muskets as he built a ship in his back yard — before being caught by the local law enforcement. Hear the tales of gambling dignitaries, cross dressers, and other intriguing court cases long past in our 1750 court house. Listen to the 1630 parlor organ play sounds long since lost and take in stories of jumpy preachers at Historic St. Luke's — the oldest church of English foundation. Still not enough? Join us for one of our annual events and festivals! Automotive enthusiasts rejoice at our antique and hot-rod car shows. Take in a show at the local Smithfield Little Theatre. Stop and listen to our summer concert series, or crack open a cold one at our Mike Aiken & Friends music fest! Whether you're looking for a little relaxation, indulgence, or cultural substance... you're sure to find it in Smithfield, Virginia. The home of Hams, History, Hospitality, and HeART.

Posted by jrhammer on Monday, January 12, 2009 6:15:25 PM
Bandon, Oregon is my choice! . Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? There are several wonderful restaurants! Bandon Boatworks is excellent for one. 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? Anywhere in old town Bandon! 3. Is there a local mascot? Believe it or not Bandon grows excellent cranberries! And it is right on the ocean and has a lighthouse across the river! Fun stuff 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? The whole town burned down in the 1930's because of the plant "gorse" that grows wild. It is again growing like wild and taking over...Now there is a good fire hydrant system so the town shouldn't go up in flames without help to extinquish it! There are some neat Indian stories about the rocks just off the shore too! 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? The old town is excellent with tons of cool and unique shops. There are also several restaurants up on the cliffs overlooking the ocean!

Posted by judyx3az on Monday, January 12, 2009 5:37:34 PM
Port Townsend is a quaint, lovely town surrounded by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Townsend Bay and Discovery Bay. In the 1800's this was a major seaport. In fact it is only one of three Victorian seaports in the U.S. on the National Historic Register. Looking out across the harbor you can see the Olympic Peninsula. Port Townsend is the Jefferson county seat and the beautiful brick courthouse has a clock tower. The town has many restaurants, art galleries and unique boutique shops housed in the beautiful historic buildings. Every September the harbor is bustling with the Wooden Boat Festival. Hundreds of wooden boats, including a few tall ships are on display. Good food, music and boats provide a lot of fun. There is also a thriving arts community here with visual arts, writers, poets, music, and theatre. Port Townsend has lots of charm and something for everyone.

Posted by tadzio260 on Monday, January 12, 2009 2:02:24 PM
Inverness, california is located on Tomales Bay, about 1.5 hours north of San Francisco and abuts the Point Reyes National Seashore. it is very small and very beautiful, shaded by many trees and filled with shingled houses.

Posted by dhugos on Saturday, January 10, 2009 9:46:04 AM
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is only 2 hours from New York and 1 and change from Philadelphia but far enough away from everything that our town slogan is "You Don't Have to Go Far to Feel Far Away". Art galleries, music venues, restaurants, outdoor activities ranging from hiking, biking, skiing, rafting and kayaking - we have all that here. And we don't have to get in our cars or in a cab to get to it. A typical visit itinerary might be to come in to town on a Friday evening and check into one of many cozy local B&B's or the main hotel, the New Orleans-style Jim Thorpe Inn. Stroll a block to Moya (named after the head chef's hometown in Ecuador) for a cozy and absolutely delicious dinner. Then wander down the block to the BlackBread martini bar for a nightcap in Jim Thorpe's Stone Row, built in 1845 by one of the town's coal baron millionaires from days of yore. In the morning experience a genuine English Tea or an elegant (but inexpensive) omelette at the Albright Mansion, just a stroll from wherever you're staying. Hike or bike it off in Lehigh Gorge State Park along the river or visiting on of several waterfalls along the route. Pick up whatever you need first right downtown at one of 2 outfitters ready to set you up or even drive you to your destination. If you don't need to get into a change of clothes for your hike, just walk around to some of the many local historical attractions like the Asa Packer Mansion, built in the 1860's by a man who arrived in town on foot and penniless and left it as the third richest man in America, worth 57 million bucks in 1875. Check out the view off the fabulous deck. Learn the story of the town at the Mauch Chunk Museum and how it changed its name to Jim Thorpe. Continue up the street to the Old Jail Museum which was a functioning jail until 1996 and was where the famed Mollie Maguires, the coal-miner Irish forerunners of union activists, were jailed and hung in 1877. Check out the gallows where the doomed Alexander Campbell left a muddy handprint on the wall proclaiming that his innocence would ensure it's permanence. Come back, shower off and stroll back up Broadway for some shopping or browsing one of several galleries and local gift shops. Check out the Emporium of Curious Goods for an amazing assortment of, well, curious stuff. Right next door is the Mauch Chunk 5&10 just full of things a little more accessible. Or do the gallery and restaurant thing at Flow, a combination art gallery and farm-to-table restaurant recently opened on W Broadway in the middle of a residential neighborhood in a beautifully renovated 19-century stone factory building. Housing both an expansive gallery and stalls for resident artists known as the Carbon County Cultural Project and an eclectic restaurant and bar for dining and socializing, Flow is one of the unique destination establishments in the region. Then walk back down to the Mauch Chunk Opera House, a newly renovated 350-seat venue where you can take in rock, folk, singer-songwriter, jazz, big band, classical and of course, opera in the most relaxed setting around. They'll give you a free glass of wine for your trouble and you can meet the performers after the show. Newly installed seats (by the same company that re-seated the Apollo Theater in new York) ensure your comfort and leg room and a brand new steel roof keeps the Pennsylvania thunderstorms out. There's a quality show just about every weekend. After the show walk down to Mollie Maguires pub and mix with locals and visitors. Everyone there will tell you a different version of whatever you'd like to know about Jim Thorpe. Or if you want to expand the area of your visit, check out some of the hiiden restaurant treasures in the surrounding nearby Coal Country towns such as Kelly's Pub in Lansford, home of the best meat loaf dinner in the United States and some of the friendliest service. If you want to see some of the big 70's or 80's bands like REO Speedwagon or Johnny Winter, check out Penn's Peak, a first-class 1500-seat venue only 3 miles from the center of town that also features a great restuarant and deck with spectacular views. Before you head out there, be sure to visit the Jim Thorpe memorial, a non-kitschy interpretive site that honors the great Native American athlete who won both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. he was one of the charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its first commissioner. This sort of diverse experience is had for a lot less than in New York or Philadelphia and at a much more relaxed pace, though the town is only 2 hours from millions of people. If you like to explore a bit, and look around a few corners, Jim Thorpe is for you. Your fun doesn't get handed to you Disney-style, but it isn't hard to find. And when you get home you'll think you were worlds away.

Posted by rodwms on Friday, January 09, 2009 4:56:24 PM
Morro Bay, California is located on the Pacific Coast of California about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles near Hearst Castle and the Big Sur Coast. It is a working fishing village. Its famous landmark, Morro Rock, was named by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo when he first charted this coast during his 16th Century voyage of discovery. The town is a pleasant tourist destination which has very mild weather all year long. Very few homes have, or is there a need, for air conditioning units. There is no such thing as traffic in Morro Bay, unless, of course, you count birds, sea mammals, and fish. Although small in size, Morro Bay has its fair share of fine restaurants from which to choose. Within a drive of 30 minutes you are in the wine country of Central California, dozens if not hundreds of local wineries. Twelve miles to the South is University of Cal Poly, the Harvard of the West, in the quaint and beautiful city of San Luis Obispo.

Posted by Tquilts on Friday, January 09, 2009 4:08:31 PM
La Veta, Colorado is my favorite small town - just under 1,000 year-round residents. it is located in southern Colorado, far from the trend ski areas, so it has more of a hometown feel with an 'arty' edge to it. There are many artists living in the area, many galleries in town, 2 bakeries, just enough shops, and one grocery store where everyone hangs out. The tall Spanish Peaks loom over the town at the south, and it is close enough to Trinidad and Pueblo for more shopping, if you need it. The Cuchara River runs through town, and thee is great fishing higher up in in several lakes. What a great place to unwind and get away from modern uban life.

Posted by bethbuehler on Friday, January 09, 2009 12:25:37 PM
Crested Butte, Colorado, is definitely one of America's coolest small towns. With a population of 1,600 (about 3,900 including nearby Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte South), the town oozes with authenticity, friendliness and free spirit. Founded in the 1880s, Crested Butte's early history was mining and ranching, with skiing entering the picture in the early 1960s. Much of the town was put on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s, way before it was the cool thing to do. When you think of Aspen (you can hike there from Crested Butte) you think of glitzy; when you think of Crested Butte, you think of real. Since new owners purchased the ski area in 2004, Crested Butte has been regularly showing up on Best Of lists and landing on the radar screen of tourists year-round. The town also rocks in the summer and fall, being designated the "Wildflower Capital of Colorado" in the 1980s by the Colorado Legislature and turning amazing shades of gold in the fall. Crested Butte shares the status of the Birthplace of Mountain Biking with Marian County, California, and is home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, located in the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum. The Crested Butte Center for the Arts and Crested Butte Mountain Theatre, Colorado's oldest continuously operating community theatre group, add to the cultural mix as does a jam-packed calendar of events that includes the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival, Crested Butte Arts Festival, free outdoor summer concerts, Bayou in the Butte, July 4 celebration, Mardi Gras parade, Flauschink, Vinotok, and much more. The culinary scene keeps residents and tourists very happy with the variety and great taste. Soupcon is a high-end French restaurant in an old miner's shack that holds about 30 with two seatings. Secret Stash is an amazing pizza place that has a great vibe and several tables where you sit on pillows. A couple from New York owns the Stash, so surely it holds up to any New York offering. Go to The Alpineer for great mountain clothes and equipment, and the Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery not only is named after a local hiking trail it has great plein air works by a local husband-wife team and others they have hand-picked. An ArtWalk on the third Thursday of the month tours art lovers around the galleries in town. Pooh's Corner is the place to go when your child has been invited to a birthday party and needs a gift, the owner is a former mayor and state senator and has been in business for more than 30 years. Our local mascots are Bubba and Betty, the polar bears that represent the ski area, Crested Butte Mountain Resort. I don't know how the mascots ski and snowboard (and ride the chairlift) in the big costumes but they do with friendly waves to the kids and adults. One of the weirdest pieces of local folklore dates back to 1976, when the first group of 15 or 20 cyclists from the Butte rode one-speed town bikes over the 12,705-foot Pearl Pass to Aspen in response to a group of Aspenites riding their motorcycles over Pearl Pass and parking them in front of the old Grubstake Saloon (now the Brick Oven) in Crested Butte. The Crested Butte rowdies pulled up in downtown Aspen in front of the historic Hotel Jerome upon arrival. This has become an annual bike ride but is not for the faint-of-heart! There also is the Grand Traverse, a 40-mile backcountry ski race that starts at midnight in Crested Butte and ends in Aspen the next morning. There is no Starbucks in Crested Butte and probably never will be if locals have a say. We prefer supporting locals Al and Wythina Smith and their four Camp 4 Coffee locations in Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte South. Al roasts his own beans and makes a special-recipe chai, and Camp 4 is easily recognized as all their locations are covered in license plates. Buckaroo Beanery also brews a great cup of java. The Eldo is the place to go for local brew, and they have a great deck that looks over Elk Avenue, which is downtown. The Dogwood is a new spot for a great martini and other unusual adult concoctions and yummy small plates. The school is among the highest rated in the stated, with the countywide district just passing a $55 million bond referendum to expand the school and make other improvements in the district (not an easy feat in 2008!). Our library is in the late 1800s school house right across from town hall, which also occupies an old school building. One more thing that's on the edge about this place, Mayor Alan Bernholtz comes up with the most unusual floats for the 4th of July parade (zip line, mountain biking, skiing through a ring of fire into a tank of water) and has been known to ski through fire during the Mardi Gras parade. Go Crested Butte!

Posted by GRANPA604 on Friday, January 09, 2009 11:44:14 AM

Posted by turp4gold on Friday, January 09, 2009 11:22:43 AM
Nashville, Indiana

Posted by klarson767 on Friday, January 09, 2009 11:00:33 AM
BARNEGAT LIGHT, NJ POP 1000 off season 5000 in season. Barnegat LIght is located on the north end of the barrier island of LONG BEACH ISLAND. We are only 30 blocks long, and 2 blocks wide, with water on 3 sides of us. Our beaches are considered one of the top ten in the world with the whitest clean sand and prisitine water, guarded by faithful lifeguards in the summer months. Many activities abound as fishing, crabbing, sailing, rental boats, water sports, shopping, two art galleries, learning about commercial fishing, etc. Fresh seafood is our specialty with the a commercial fishing fleet that ships its products all around the world and to local restaurants also. Artists abound here too with their artwork comprising the local color of the fishing fleet, beautiful sand dunes and the most popular subject being the BARNEGAT LIGHTHOUSE. Our beautiful red and white lighthouse just celebrated 150 years with its relighting. Tourists can climb its 213 steps to the top for lofty views of the island and Atlantic ocean. Three Arts&Crafts shows and two Antique and Collectible shows are put on each summer at the commerical fishing village of VIKING VILLAGE. Viking Village also has many shops and a fresh seafood takeout restaurant (with outdoor seating also in the shaded courtyard).. Every Friday in the summer a free commerical dock fishing tour is given so people can learn how our fisherman bring you their freshest catch. Local restaurants and bars allow the tourist to sit with townies and even the local commercial fishermen. Enjoy a beer or two chatting with the fisherman's latest two week trip out to sea. Three hotels/bedandbreakfast, all within a very short walking distance not only to the beach but to all attractions, provide friendly and helpful staff for your accomodations and stay. If you're up for a day trip fishing, head boats are here for bluefishing, fluke, wreck fishing and charter boats too. One hour Sunset cruises for those wanting a shorter "voyage" into the Atlantic ocean. Our local MUSEUM is considered to be one of the best maritime museums on the east coast. Local volunteers are there daily to welcome you and answer your questions. The original Fresnl Lens from the Lighthouse is on display there along with many other maritime artifacts. They have a historic homes tour every few years so that people can see the stately old Victorian homes and cottages and how the locals lived back at the turn of the 20th century. BARNEGAT LIGHT and Long Beach Island is a very family friendly vacation spot. Families come here faithfully every year to rent a home or stay at their favorite hotel. If someone where to describe Barnegat Light's best feature, I think it would be that it is a quiet town enjoyed by families. Other towns on the island are within less that a 15 mile drive, with Art Galleries, Restaurants, amusement park, and shopping galore and many other hotels, motels and Bed&Breakfasts.

Posted by 072742 on Friday, January 09, 2009 1:03:07 AM
Heber City, UT., pop. 7,500, set in Heber Valley, alt. 5,600 ft., is the largest town in Wasatch Co., pop. 18,000. Heber is 45 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport by expressway. Found in the 36 sq. miles of Heber Valley are six 18 hole golf courses and one nine hole course. 18 holes with a cart costs less than $40 at four of the courses. There is also tennis, fly and trout fishing in the famed Middle Provo River which meanders across Heber Valley, horseback riding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides. High attitude and low humidity (15% in the summer) make the 300 sunny days a year unbelievably pleasant, even at 20 or 90 degrees; Deer Creek Lake offers fishing, boating, ice fishing, the busiest beach in Utah, and wind surfing; glider flights, small aircraft sightseeing, and hot air balloon trips at the Heber Airport; rock and ice wall climbing, depending on the season; golf; and year round swimming and scuba diving inside a volcano in 90 degree water at the unique Homestead Crater. Within an hour's drive are parasailing at Point of the Mountain and at the end of Squaw Peak Road; a 900,000 acre Wilderness Area; Olympic cross country, downhill, and half pipe venues, four world class ski resorts: Sundance, Park City, Deer Valley, and The Canyons (Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbasin, and Powder Mtn. Are about 90 minutes); The Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; 700 miles of groomed skimobile/cross country/snowshoeing trails at Strawberry, 25 miles east on US 40; 400 miles along UT 150 from Kamas; Ice fishing at Strawberry, Jordanelle, and Deer Creek Lake; Ice climbing at Bridal Veil Falls, US 189, 18 miles. Rock climbing, hiking, and mountain climbing in the summer; in the fall, see the salmon run at Strawberry Reservoir; spectacular scenic mountain drives-- UT Rts 150, 35, and 92. During ski season, four star accommodations in Park City run $300-1,500; in Heber Valley, $170-400. World class restaurants: Zermatt, Inn on the Creek, Blue Boar Inn, and Snake Creek Grill at bargain prices, but for something really different, head for moderate Spicy Lady (nothing more than $25, most under $20) with Utah's oldest bar and an eclectic menu of world wide peasant dishes-- don't miss the kangaroo appetizer-- or Chick's Cafe, a throwback to the 1950s and the most authentic comfort food you will ever eat and a steak dinner costs $10. "Big Will"a quarter pound cheeseburger at the bowling alley for $3.89 is hard to beat at any price. Utah has two indigenous foods, "scones", a modified Navajo Fry Bread(Chick's Cafe) and exceptional thick milk shakes. Granny's is a Utah institution for shakes, but shakes are also good at Dairy Keen and the bowling alley.

Posted by ChristieStruck on Thursday, January 08, 2009 10:50:06 PM
Petoskey, Michigan, (one of the nominated towns above) is the coolest small town! There is a plethora of great restaurants, with one of my favorites being a locally owned coffeehouse, Roast & Toast, where they roast their own coffee, have an awesome soup and salad menu, and an eclectic mix of people at any hour of the day. As for dessert, you will have to choose between an authentic Italian gelato or sorbetto at American Spoon Foods Gelato Cafe or a decadent ice cream cone from Kilwin's Chocolates. I'm sorry, I can't help you decide, I have enough trouble deciding for myself! But be sure to pop into American Spoon Foods next door to the Cafe to get a taste of what National Geographic Traveler calls, "perhaps the premier producer of fine jams, fruit butters, and preserves in the country". I would have to agree wholeheartedly with that, because they are! If you're looking for shopping, the Gaslight District of our downtown is the place to be. There are such a variety of shops with something for every taste, and all within walking distance. There is also a great art community with many unique galleries and an art center that brings us concerts, ballet, and great local theater productions. One of my favorite times of the year is the first Friday in December, when the streets downtown are closed to traffic and the stores stay open late for Open House. That night, there is the lighting of the Christmas tree in the downtown park, and the streets are filled with people enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas, as well as the goodies that each store shares with its patrons. The Petoskey High School Steel Drum band plays, and it is magical. One of the most unique things about Petoskey is the Petoskey stone. It is a real stone, actually petrified coral and is found in Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay, on whose shore Petoskey sits. Sanded and polished, these stones are beautiful and can be made into many different things such as clocks or beads (my personal favorite). There are so many places to relax and just enjoy yourself. Come and visit and you'll see what I mean!

Posted by madjack247 on Thursday, January 08, 2009 8:42:37 PM
OJAI CALIFORNIA, with a population around 8,000 in 2.2sq. miles is special because of all it offers for its size. We have movie stars, spas, artists, exceptional live theatre, music and tennis and so much more. We are located 15 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, yet surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest. We are in a beautiful valley filled with orange and avocado trees. We have beautiful Lake Casitas with some of the best bass fishing in the nation. In an hour and 1/2 we can be in the center of Los Angeles yet we feel far removed from that fast paced life in our little, serene valley. However, the best part of living in Ojai is the friendly people. The rich, poor and those in between go to the same bakery, restaurants and one show movie theatre. We have more volunteerism than most towns, people who care about Ojai and the people who live here. We work hard to care for and support our senior citizens. We were probably green before people knew what that meant. We live in Shangra-La and love it

Posted by jmbonds on Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:36:24 PM
Coolest Small Towns - Experience our Cool Community Farmville, NC is a growing community of 4,600 in eastern North Carolina that features historic and new homes, specialty shops and restaurants on a vibrant main street and a unique four school campus within walking distance of downtown and many neighborhoods. Farmville is a short drive from a major university medical campus that is part of the fastest growing university in the North Carolina university system and an excellent community college with technical programs that contribute to an educated workforce in the local economy. Farmville has an active arts council on Main Street that holds four productions a year, a contemporary library with a Gates computer laboratory, the Farmville Area Veteran's Memorial on a scenic Town Commons, a Museum on Main Street with one of the largest collections of family quilts in the state and a calendar of family oriented community events like - Taste of Farmville, Hometown Halloween, old-fashioned Fourth of July, the Dogwood Festival, a growing recreation program for all ages. Farmville is part of the Raleigh-Greenville corridor, approximately an hour and a half to the Raleigh Durham International Airport, an hour and a half to the crystal coast of North Carolina with its many fine beaches and five hours to the mountains of North Carolina and the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge. Farmville is a picturesque, vibrant small town in the historic eastern region of the state with an abundance of history. "Having lived all of my life in Farmville, I know that there is no more special place on earth. It is a town where people still know and care about their neighbors and where family, friends and faith remain our defining values," said Congressman Walter Jones, United State House of Representatives. Come to Farmville and experience our cool community.

Posted by WelshLoveSpoon on Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:11:28 PM
Oberlin, Ohio offers a walkable, comfortable town environment with a wide variety of affordable housing, artistic and intellectual amenities of all types, and an incomparable opportunity to live in the place where major trends and events of America's 19th century history, particularly the fight to end slavery, took place. The life of the town is centered around a wooded central square, which is ringed with Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, churches, and the Allen Art Museum, as well as a choice of restaurants and stores. Kendal at Oberlin, a retirement community on the edge of town, sets the national standard for places where retired men and women from all over the country settle to enjoy decades of healthful and vigorous later life in an environment of intellectual stimulation and creature comforts, often with their own pets and gardens. The spirit and soul of Oberlin are expressed in its advanced recycling program, a car-sharing program which allows many people to dispense with the expense of owning their own vehicles, and the participation of many residents of all ages and walks of life in outdoor activities, especially birdwatching. Oberlin is reasonable driving distance to Cleveland's world-famous orchestra, art museum and museum of natural history, as well as to Lake Erie resorts including several that are open for swimming and other recreation year-round. The town is lively without being frenetic, relaxed without being boring, and friendly and welcoming without having to know all of your personal business. It is a great place to visit and and even better place to settle down and live.

Posted by mtuomala on Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:00:16 PM
I nominate Carrboro, North Carolina. Even though it's small, you might be surprised to learn that Carrboro is North Carolina's most densely populated town. Bordered by the University town of Chapel Hill, it has absorbed the rich culture of the area and condensed it down to a rich and funky brew that's quite intoxicating. Downtown Carrboro has great nightlife, you can catch concerts at a number of small bars and venues, as well as at the Cat's Cradle, which attracts regional and national touring acts. Food is good, and reasonably priced, and most restaurants are very local-conscious, supporting area farmers and serving fresh, seasonal ingredients. The Carrboro Farmer's Market is perhaps the town's most famous attraction, it's open year round Saturday mornings, and Wednesday afternoons in the Spring and Summer months. Here you can sample locally produced cheeses, buy a bouquet of the most gorgeous wildflowers you've ever seen, and ask the farmer for a recipe on how to prepare that yummy produce you just bought from him. Carrboro is also home to several art galleries, including Wootini, housed in historic Carr Mill Mall, a historic mill turned indoor shopping mall. Every 2nd Friday of the month is the Art Walk, where galleries open up for receptions showcasing new art. Shopping is great too, don't miss Nested! And the best part, you can walk every where, or if you prefer Chapel Hill-Carrboro public transit is free!

Posted by debnik1426 on Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:16:26 PM
I would nominate Saugatuck, Michigan. It is situated on Lake Michigan only about 3 hours at most from any place in lower Michigan and just a hop-skip-and jump from Illinois (Chicago) Indiana and many other destinations. The town is a unique artisan community that has a great marina to access the town by water. It has great motels--sometimes a bit pricy but well worth it--camping and beautiful old as well as new bed and breakfasts. The town is definately non discriminatory. It is nothing to see gays walking hand in hand on the streets searching the shops for unique values as well as streight couples and families enjoying this wonderful little paradise that is hidden among the bigger places along Lake Michigan's shoreline. debnik1426

Posted by spenser33 on Thursday, January 08, 2009 12:43:04 PM
Ocean Springs , Mississippi has a wonderful ambience,old growth live oak trees, hills,a view of the beautiful Mississippi Sound ,view of the barrier islands,quaint bayous,wonderful facilities ,and several of the largest art festivals in the country . It is a city that embraces life

Posted by klc203 on Wednesday, January 07, 2009 11:02:23 AM
Dubois, Wyoming is America's Coolest Small Town! Nestled against the badlands in the shadow of Ramshorn Peak, they call this area the Valley of the Warm Winds! Dubois is 55 miles from Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Whether you're after an authentic western experience, want the best of dining, dream of world class fishing, wildlife viewing, or exciting snowmobiling, or seek unique shopping and chats with friendly locals, Dubois has it all. Visit Spin A Yarn where Wyoming sheep become wearable art, stop next door at Silver Sage Gallery for museum quality art, or do your shopping at The Water Wheel or Two Ocean Books for genuine western gifts with a flair. Eat gourmet fare along the Wind River at Sundance Cafe, pick up a picnic lunch at Paya to take out to the big horn sheep viewing station, grab a bite at the Cowboy Caf? or venture into the historic Rustic Pine Tavern or the Whiskey Creek Saloon for a taste of the west as it once was. Downtown Dubois looks just like it might have in the late 1800s when the town was founded! When you are tired you can take your pick of motels at the half the price of what you'd find in neighboring Jackson, choosing a cabin, a lodge on the Historic Register, motels complete with all the amenities, or a dude ranch! Show up the last two weeks in July and you can attend the 60th annual Wind River Valley National Art Show. Visit the world class western art collection at the Headwaters Arts & Conference Center or stop at the National Big Horn Sheep Interpretive Center and the Dubois Museum for a bit of local lure. Ask the locals for directions to the Petroglyphs, or to their favorite fishing hole, hiking destination, or wildlife viewing spot. Visit Dubois the second weekend in August and you can attend the Never Sweat Needler's Quilt Show as well as the Firemen's Buffalo Barbeque, complete with all the fixings! Any Friday night during the summer you can experience a genuine rodeo at the local arena. Dubois is worth a stop on your journey, but talk to the locals and you'll find that you could easily spend a week there and enjoy the Yellowstone Ecosystem without the crowds of the Park. Warning — it's addictive - you might end up wanting to live in this town of just over one thousand people!

Posted by cookie429 on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 5:14:30 PM
Why is Caldwell, KS called the "Border Queen?" Back in the 1800s, this vibrant cowtown was the first stop north of Indian Territory where a cowboy could get a cold drink and a hot woman. Today, residents celebrate Caldwell's colorful history of gundowns on Main Street, Chisholm Trail riding, and the Cherokee Strip land rush. Caldwellites have festivals, museums, reenactments, a restored Opera House, and town markers that bring the town's rich history to life, and they love to share their history with visitors. Don't let Caldwell's small population fool you — this town of around 1,000 people has a business district that rivals towns many times its size. You can see for yourself at For visitors, we recommend staying at Elsie Mae's Bed and Breakfast or just asking the locals for a recommendation. (Tell the townspeople that you are a visitor, and someone might even invite you to bunk up for free.) Make sure to stop in at Bella's Boutique for upscale jewelry, clothes, and home furnishings at affordable prices—items you won't find anywhere else. Then walk across the street to find attractive floral designs, gifts, and souvenirs at Flowers Plus. If you get hungry, you can eat a chicken-fried steak or a good ol' cowboy hamburger at the Hitchin' Post, or perhaps dine at Steve's Pizza or the Red Barn. Before you tuck yourself in at night, make sure to glance to the heavens — you'll see starts that will rock your world. Not a season goes by in Caldwell without a celebration. In the summer, see 4H-ers and FFA-ers (not familiar...? Google 'em!) boast their prize-winning pigs, cattle, cakes, photos, rockets, and more in the Sumner County Fair. A few months later, go to Octoberfest for local shopping (, a Chili cookoff, and a community-wide garage sale. See sparkling floats at night on Main Street at the Lighted Christmas Parade or witness live reenactments of Bible stories around town through the biannual Luminaries. In the spring, take your children to find dozens of free goodies at KanOkla's Easter Egg Hunt. Then on Labor Day, see classic beauties at the Border Queen Cruisers Car Show. And don't forget, of course, the historical celebration tributes. Ask a local about the Talking Tombstones, the Opry House, or the Chisholm Trail Days. If you are you a hunter wanting to bag a deer, a"greenie" looking for a place to farm organic goods, or perhaps a seasoned businessperson ready to retire in a quaint locale.. Caldwell can't be missed. This small town offers something for everybody. With a rich story, a strong community, and a down-home atmosphere, you are sure to be missing a real treat if you miss out on Caldwell.

Posted by SwitzCntyTourism on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 4:10:10 PM
Located along the Ohio River Scenic Byway and within an hour of Cincinnati, OH and Louisville, KY, Vevay, (locals pronounce it Vee-vee) IN is American's Coolest Small Town! The "Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in America" the town was settled by Swiss immigrants and is now called home by nearly 1900 residents. Rolling hills, scenic vistas and delightful distractions await. Be a romantic outing, boating, fishing or golfing, outdoor activities along the Ohio River are a favorite pastime. For artists and crafts people, immeasurable talent spans the town. "First Friday" events sponsored by Vevay Main Street attract patrons from the tri-state for gallery openings, arts and crafts demonstrations, free carriage rides and late night shopping and dining. Catch a presentation at the Historic Hoosier Theater in downtown during The "Shows of Second Saturday". From a comedy acts to talent shows or a tri-state musical group, there's entertainment abound for whatever strikes your fancy. When hunger strikes, visit Vevay's most popular restaurants including Roxanno's for their Friday afternoon pizza buffet and area-famous bread sticks. Don't forget desserts or sweet potato fries from G.G's Grill. To mingle first-hand with the locals, AJs Diner is THE place for not only for breakfast and lunch, but to hear the latest town "lies" and gossip. Vevay is all about wine so don't miss the Ridge Winery Tasting Room just mere minutes from downtown. Stop in and sample a free daily tasting of local wines and a magnificent view from the riverside deck. Not only has the town recently celebrated its second century of winemaking in the county, it pays homage to its roots every August during its Swiss Wine Festival. One of "Indiana's Top 10 Festivals", thousands attend the annual event. Now in its 38th year, the event will take place in 2009 on Aug. 27-30. The celebration includes an abundance of activities along with the "Wine Tent", showcasing more than 100 varieties of Indiana wine. Whatever your pleasure, you'll find it in America's Coolest Town--Vevay, IN!

Posted by KimCham on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 12:53:29 PM
I would like to nominate my coolest small town, Milford Oh. Our town is tucked in between the beautiful Little Miami River and the 275 interchange, making us convenient to get to. We are surrounded by outdoor activities from the Little Miami bike Trail that boast 78 miles of paved trail, 2 launch sites for canoeing, kayaking and flyfishing, an urban walking trail system as well as many parks nestled in the different neighborhoods. Enthusiast of these activities can purchase new supplies at our 2 local outfitter stores and our local bike shop. Our historic district offers specialty gift, zany and unique toy, jewelry, rustic furniture and antique stores as well as 2 art galleries. We have an upscale wine restaurant that offers wine and beer tastings, modern tapas bar/restaurant with live music, cafe, gourmet deli, coffee shop where he roast his own beans and a family restaurant. This year I was able to do 80% of my Christmas shopping in town, which saved me time, gas and I did it walking so calories too. We also have many services, hair salons, reflexology, banks, massage therapist, financial planners. Our community comes together for many festivals Frontier Days in June, Junction Trail Festival that celebrates and brings awareness to the over 22,000 miles of Long Distance Hiking, Cycling and Paddling Trails that converge in Milford, Buskerfest and Hometown Holidays Thanksgviing weekend. The first friday night every month our shops are open later Mar-Dec offering specials and entertainment. Our neighborhoods are eclectic in design from turn of the century, victorian, Sears 1920's bungalows, post world war 2 and new construction Single family, apts, townhomes and senior housing makes a growing and diverse community with strong roots. Our town mascot would have to be our Town Crier Bill Knepp. Milford actually hosted a Town Crier convention last year where Town Criers from all over the world "cried" our streets. Milford is also home to Promont House which was once home of Ohio Governor Pattison and is now a historical museum, gift shop and our historical society. Every spring they host Daffodil Days celebrating the return of the thousand of daffodils plantings around our town with a day filled with family fun. We are a small town with big opportunities. Drop by and visit us when you have a chance.

Posted by bvoss on Monday, January 05, 2009 2:11:44 PM
I would like to nominate Delafield, Wisconsin located in the heart of Lake Country. Delafield and the surrounding villages of Nashotah, Chenequa and Hartland make up one of the nicest places I've ever lived or visited. Delafield is quaint, has Williamsburg-style buildings, unique shops, delicious restaurants and more. They host an annual Art Show, have a Veteran's Walking Path with historical notes and has very parades. It's a tourist destination with coach buses bringing in visitors from neighboring states. Lapham Peak State Park is just down the road which offers lit cross-country skiing and the lakes offer swimming, boating and a great public beach at Nagawaukee County Park. The quality of life in this area is hard to beat. The nearby Arrowhead School System is outstanding and its an easy commute to Milwaukee.

Posted by philsdottir on Friday, January 02, 2009 8:41:13 PM
Mount Rainier, Maryland. Among the first of Washington DC's suburbs - nestled on the city's northeast border and originally connected by streetcar - this town is on the move! It fell on hard times for a while, and then found its voice and began to come back - and it's still coming. Voted one of the top 10 liberal towns in America by, it is the heart of the thriving arts scene that is the Route 1 corridor in Maryland headed into DC. Part of this scene is the art gallery that not only has exhibits but also holds shows and receptions where the community can meet the artists and even see them create in person, and the Artmosphere Cafe, brainchild of two of the artists in the Artists' Lofts who decided to marry technology and art with community outreach. Aside from healthy and tasty food - it's a rarity in this part of Maryland to find reasonable restaurants that aren't full of fried and fatty foods - they host concerts and classes. Mount Rainier boasts Glut, a vegetarian, organic co-op that's been around for decades, Joe's Movement Emporium, a community gathering and performance space (and home to the "People's Inaugural Ball" on Jan. 20 - potluck, BYOB and kid-friendly), which holds classes in everything from African dance to drumming to yoga and an "instrument petting zoo" for kids. There is a bicycle co-op, a tool shed which is like a lending library for tools, and residents are getting a corn silo for corn stoves to supply heat. There are a number of small shops and boutiques that reflect the diversity of the town which includes African American, Latino and other ethnic groups, but it's not a materialistic town. The town is not just home to visual artists, it also houses the folk duo Emma's Revolution. In many ways it is reminiscent of a small New England town, full of Sears and Craftsman houses, a rotary in the middle of town, a regional firehouse. Pocket parks exist on almost every block. There are many dog-lovers and outdoorsy types; the dry cleaner in town is even organic. There is another interesting historical slant. Apparently there was a demon possession and an exorcism that was performed in the town; this was the true event on which "the Exorcist" was based. The most special thing about the town, actually, is the people living in it. The people are connected in a way that is reminiscent of a Rockwell painting, something you don't see often these days. People are active, they care about the community and one another. Walk to the school to vote and see all your neighbors. Post on the listserve about your lost dog and an hour later the staff at Joe's calls saying that they have her. Post that your furnace has gone out in the middle of February and get a dozen offers of lending space heaters from your neighbors. The post office workers know you by name, the police pass by your house when you're on vacation to keep an eye on the place. People see a need for something - a public toilet, a corn silo, a place to house the bike co-op - and rather than talking about it or commissioning a study, people just take care of it, stepping up and doing their part. Town officials give out their home numbers and addresses. All the cool and hip stuff (which Mount Rainier also has) mean nothing if visitors don't come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling about the town and its people.

Posted by robert9234 on Friday, January 02, 2009 3:29:05 PM
Noxon, MT. Three buildings in "downtown": two are bars, one is a general store and the first thing you observe upon entering the general store are alcholic beverages.

Posted by gojigirld on Friday, January 02, 2009 12:09:13 AM
Eureka Springs, Arkansas is the coolest, small town! Located in Nw Arkansas in the Ozark mountains, it's a secret, hidden gem. You have to go there to get it. It's a restored area of the town from the late 1800's. Just take a look at the Flat Iron building. The For restaurants, try the Oasis, located on a staircase, in a building on the National Register of Historic Places. Fresh, healthy food, even offerings for vegetarians. The place is a bit of a dive but the food makes up for the limited seating and tight quarters. Whenever we go, we always make a stop at the Oasis. It's one of our dining highlights. Gaskins Cabin, for steaks and "log cabin" ambiance. Does New York City have that? Autumn Breeze for white table cloths and fine dining. On to where the locals shop...Eureka Springs is all about shopping. The entire historic district is one giant shopping experience. From antiques to folk art to fine arts. Looking for a new piece of sculpture for your home? Get it at 83 Spring Street Gallery. Pottery hand-made right there in Eureka Springs instead of China? Yep. Looking for new leather chaps for your new bike? Need some "edge" to your small town? Try the Mardi Gras celebrations in February or the UFO conference in April. Exploring this unique, small town might leave you needing a massage. You can choose from at least 20 spas in a town of less than 3,000 residents.

Posted by JRusyniak on Thursday, January 01, 2009 10:49:02 PM
Tok, Alaska we are better than Cool! We are minus 57.

Posted by OCsurfer26 on Thursday, January 01, 2009 8:25:17 PM
Whether you are above water or under, Lahaina is paradise. Whales, rainbows and full of people who have decided to "practice aloha." While it is low key during the day, the town gets fired up at night. Along with fireworks, holidays bring craziness in the bars, and later, with people passed out on the streets. Sample some of the finest foods at the Lahaina Grille, formerly known as David Paul's. If you visit Lahaina, you can't miss the Banyan Tree which is one tree that takes up an entire block. Looking for fun? Check out Warren & Annabelle's Magic Show, An over 21 niteclub that offers a night full of laughs from Warren, the primary comedian and magician. With wonderful drinks and food, it was voted best show on Maui. If you need something to take back as souveniers or gifts, check out Maui Hands on Front Street or the local art shows under the Banyan Tree. Both locations feature unique gifts made by local artists. If traveling in the winter, you will surely see splashes in the ocean from our local mascots, the humpback whales!

Posted by marciplank on Thursday, January 01, 2009 3:33:41 PM
La Conner, WA has a population of under 900 but with several new housing developments in the works, it may get closer to the population at the turn of the 20th century. La Conner is located along the Swinomish Channel in Skagit Valley. Ideal land for farming with a world famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival every April. La Conner was once a fishing village with fish processing plants, large fishing fleet and a healthy red light district. As fishing dwindled, the town started to die and stores were boarded up. Then young, hungry artists arrived and La Conner became an artist colony for the Northwest painters. Today La Conner is proud to be the home for the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum and the Skagit County Historical Museum. Our small, walkable town has many galleries, some with resident artists. The Wood Merchant carries all hand made furniture, jewlery boxes, wall hanging and more made by northwest artists. Nell Thorn Restaurant is the finest restaurant in the valley with a loyal clientle coming from Seattle and Vancouver, BC. They serve all organic, locally grown produce, seafood, fowl and beef. The pub downstairs is cozy while upstairs is finer dining, but the food is all supurb! The local mascots are the otters that come up and play along the docks as you sit in the waterfront cafes. Hotel Planter celebrated it's 100th birthday in 2007. The totally renovated Victorian Hotel is said to be haunted from it's saloon days. Just an hour north of Seattle and 90 minutes south of Vancouver, BC, La Conner is accessible by car, Amtrak, boat, seaplane, kyack, bike or bus. La Conner is America's Coolest Small Town!

Posted by rwhitehouse on Thursday, January 01, 2009 12:53:22 PM
Rockland, Maine used to be an industrial ship building town in the Mid-Coast Maine. It has a lovely walkable downtown and art galleries, boutiques, and fine restaurants have emerged. Primo, one of the best restaurants in New Englandis located here. The waterfront is stunning and Rockland harbor features a lovely lighthouse at the end of a nearly mile-long jetty into the harbor. Boating, kayaking, hiking are all nearby.

Posted by rwhitehouse on Thursday, January 01, 2009 12:45:32 PM
Lambertville, NJ Once a run-down, blue-collar town, Lambertville has sprung to life over the last 25 years. Located on the edge of the Delaware River in western NJ, Lambertville is a sister town to New Hope, PA across the river. The now defunct Delaware Canal provides an unusual setting for great walks along the water. Lambertville features now fixed up Victorian houses, boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, B&Bs and several outstanding restaurants. Best time to visit is the fall when leaves are turning and the town is at its most scenic.

Posted by lwt502000 on Thursday, January 01, 2009 11:58:38 AM
Blowing Rock, NC

Posted by lynnwinkel on Thursday, January 01, 2009 11:31:32 AM
Highlands, NC - located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is a great location for visiting the mountains, but having the amenities of a larger city. A drivable distance from both Atlanta (21/2 hours) and Asheville, NC 11/2 hours, the town has galleries, boutiques, restaurants and inns. You won't find chain stores or restaurants here. There are a number of golf courses, hiking trails, waterfalls, and a lake for outdoor activities. It is 30 minutes from Cashiers, NC, another wonderful mountain town. You can visit or stay at the famous High Hampton Inn in Cashiers. The summer months are warm, but cool considerably in the evenings. There are theatre productions presented during summer months.

Posted by ClarenceMoore on Thursday, January 01, 2009 8:01:05 AM
Gaylord, Michigan. This is a beautiful town in north central Michigan, abounding in winter sports and excellent restaurants. Many buildings are half-timbered and the town reminds one of a Swiss or Austrian village. In addition to superb restaurants, there is a wide range of excellent shopping, with one mid-sized regional shopping center. The local people are outgoing and very friendly. An excellent place to live or retire. Hunting and fishing are plentiful, all a short drive away. The 268 inches of average annual snowfall guarantees five months of snowmobiling and makes life interesting.

Posted by castorbtlanger on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:41:27 PM
Bisbee, Az. Don't know the size, but what a hoot it is. Just recently visited for two nights, and I was completely entertained. Hippies, assorted drop-outs and some gentrified folks. It has a beautiful setting with a main drag filled with antique/used stores, craft stores a cut above "tourist" and plenty of restaurants, especially Cafe Roka which is special. One can have a gourmet dinner here while staying at a vintage trailer park...The Shady Dell. I can't recommend it enough.

Posted by kellyk on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 3:21:14 PM
I nominate Nisswa, Minnesota. Nisswa is a small little town just over 1000 people, located in beautiful northern Minnesota. This town has all the amenities you need and located in the midst of lakes and trees. All the shopping you need, from quaint little country stores to modern art galleries and clothing. Numerous restaurants make for a variety of home cooking cafe's to fine dining 8-course meals. Thousands of resorts surround this area making for something to do every season! All the winter acvities you can think of is done here, including the largest ice-fishing contest in the country. In other seasons you can do any sort of lake activity, hiking, or even enjoy one of the many spas we have here. We also have a few world famous golf courses. Besides the everyday activity, there's always some sort of extra activites going; live music, fireworks, turtle races. There is something for everyone and not a chance to get bored. Everyone should visit the beautiful lakes area. We have everything one would dream of!

Posted by paw on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:00:42 PM
Here are some great small towns New Hope, Pennsylvania Haddonfield, New Jersey Lewes, Delaware Cape May, New Jersey

Posted by torigeaumont on Monday, December 29, 2008 1:42:55 PM
The Town of Old Orchard Beach, Maine is ideally situated on the scenic coastline of Southern Maine where it offers a beautiful sandy beach and a refreshing ocean breeze to residents and tourists alike. This small town of 9,000 people flourishes as both a vibrant seaside community and a year-round tourist destination. Residents and visitors enjoy a friendly small town atmosphere, diverse cultural offerings and host of recreational opportunities. The Town of Old Orchard Beach is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary and history buffs can research Old Orchard's colorful past at the Harmon Museum. The Museum is home to the Old Orchard Beach Historical Society and houses thousands of pieces of history, including evidence of "The Great Fire of Old Orchard Beach" in 1907. The town is a bustling tourist destination during the summer months with many unique activities to enjoy. Visitors and residents enjoy town-wide festivals and open-air concerts in the newly redesigned Memorial Park, walking on the historic Pier, and just enjoying a wonderful sunny day at the beach. There are unique boutiques, quaint coffee shops, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, beautiful oceanfront lodging and exciting night life. For adrenaline seekers, there is a collection of thrill rides at Palace Playland, an amusement park located adjacent to the beach. Visitors can also "ride the bull" at Jimmy The Greeks where they offer wonderful, brick-oven pizzas and great pub fare. For a more subdued dinner, there is the famous Joseph's By The Sea where you can have an outstanding gourmet dinner. After dinner, take a walk for dessert to Dickinson's Candy for a true old-fashioned candy store where they make their own fudge and have thousands of different, hard-to-find candies. If you would rather be away from the beach and out on the water, visitors and residents can walk to Pine Point in the Town of Scarborough. This is a classic Maine fishing harbor where approximately 50 lobster boats take their mooring. You can charter a fishing boat and try your hand at some great sport-fishing in Saco Bay or even take your family tubing! The opportunities are vast. A few minutes inland of Pine Point, the Scarborough Marsh boasts the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Center where you can take guided nature walks in Maine's largest salt water marshes. The best way to experience the marsh is in a canoe. The Marsh Center has canoes to rent, and on a beautiful warm day, it is a very special trip where you can see many indigenous birds and possibly seals. If you prefer to be on land, instead of on the water, one can access All four seasons are abuzz with activity in Old Orchard Beach. In June, thousands of people gather for the 'Run For Cash' road race which is held in honor of Captain Christopher Cash, a local man who lost his life in Iraq in 2004. In September, the local fire department hosts one of the largest antique car shows in the State. The Dunegrass golf course located in the heart of Old Orchard Beach offers recreational activity throughout year, as does the Eastern Trail — a multi-use recreational trail stretching from Kittery to Casco Bay. The nearby apple orchards and farms also offer a plethora of recreational opportunities. The winter in Old Orchard Beach is peaceful and quiet. The town square lights up with a giant 60ft Christmas tree, and what better way to spend a blustery winter day than walking on the beach and then enjoying a cup of hot New England clam chowder? Old Orchard Beach is located within 20 minutes of the largest city in the state, Portland and 90 minutes from Boston, Massachusetts making it an easy get-away for tourists. While in Portland, visitors can to take the ferry to one of the islands dotting the coast and bike around! A must-do is to see Portland Head Light—the most iconic lighthouse in the state. You can also enjoy minor league hockey action with the Portland Pirates in the wintertime, or minor league baseball with the Portland Seadogs in the summertime. Like no other community in the state, Old Orchard Beach offers the quaintness and small town quality of life for which Maine is famous, in combination with the modern amenities and excitement of a resort community. Whether stopping by town for a long- weekend, a summer month, or a lifetime, Old Orchard Beach is sure to leave you with a smile on your face and a mental catalogue of pleasant memories for you to cherish.

Posted by CaptBren on Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:37:31 PM
Rockland, Maine is definitely one of America's Coolest Small Towns! Our downtown has undergone a huge transformation from being a smelly fish processing waterfront to being a hip art community. Our working harbor has, in recent years, become more of a yachting destination as sailors discover new cultural offerings and culinary opportunities. The Farnsworth Art Museum, with works by Fitz Hugh Lane and Alex Katz adding to the impressive paintings of three generations of Wyeths, is at the heart of downtown with art shops and galleries popping up all around. Our downtown movie theater was closed for a few years and reopened in 2005 after an extensive renovation. The Strand is once again alive and well and showing unique films and live stage performances at reasonable prices...sometimes even free. You can even order wine or beer in the balcony seating area! The downtown building where our local paper used to be published is now our visitor information center and the Maine Lighthouse Museum, home to the largest collection of lighthouse artifacts in the country. The waterfront boardwalk is frequented by locals walking their dogs or by visitors taking in the beauty of our large natural harbor gated by a mile long breakwater with a distinctive lighthouse at the end; the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, currently undergoing restoration and open for tours on summer weekends. There are lots of great shops, restaurants, and cozy B&B's in town.

Posted by samba on Friday, December 26, 2008 10:04:39 PM
Although it's my second home, Sanibel Island, Florida has got to make this list. With less than 7,000 full time residents, this little resort Island in SW Florida sits on the Gulf of Mexico with almost 3/4 of the Island devoted to nature. In a day of swimming, walking, boating and biking, one can see dolphins, Roseate Spoonbill, armadillo, bobcats, alligators, and a large variety of palms, flowering bushes and trees. It's a tropical heaven that attracts visitors from around the world for the great shelling on its beaches and outstanding bird watching all over the Island. In addition to the beaches and nature, there are many good restaurants and lovely little shops. The island also hosts a nice variety of cultural events. It doesn't get any better than this given Sanibel's dedication to conserving nature and its ability to provide so many amenities. The shift in Sanibel's resident population is due to the shift in the way we now live. Once an island reserved for those full timers no longer in the work force, Sanibel is now growing its full time resident population to include the many younger families now able to "work" remotely. As a result of the emergence of a cyber work world and the growing popularity of home schooling (though Sanibel does have a very nice public school) many young families looking for that perfect small town existence have found it on Sanibel Island. These young moms and dads, much like the older moms and dads, are an interesting crowd. By and large, the folks who live on the Island are bright, curious, well educated and well travelled, and the island cuture reflects that in the choices of entertainment, restaurants and shops. 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? The Thisltle Lodge on Sanibel is one of many nice restaurants that could "pull it off" in NYC for its lovely meal presentations and good, professional service. 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? Chicos began its existence on Sanibel Island. There are 2 Chicos on the Island and though Chicos is a chain, the merchandise on Sanibel is unique. You will not find these clothes in other stores. 3. Is there a local mascot? With all those real critters running around, who needs one? 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? The folklore of Black Caesar, said to have been a former Haitian slave who escaped during the Haitian Revolution to become a pirate is an interesting story. According to folklore, Black Caesar came to the Gulf of Mexico during the War of 1812 to avoid interference from the British. In the Gulf he became friends with Gasparilla,another pirate from Spain, who allowed him to set up on Sanibel Island. Eventually the old Spaniard discovered Caesar had been stealing from him and chased him off, but not before Caesar's loot had been buried. So maybe there is buried treasure on Sanibel? 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? Ellington's Jazz Bar and Restaurant is definitely cool for a little tropical island. In addition, the outdoor cafe at The Green Flash overlooking the water as well as the cafe at Jerry's Supermarket and Amy's (Over Easy) cafe are all places that the hip and trendy--- as well as the non hip and non trendy---- can be comfortable in.

Posted by tracyboehl on Friday, December 26, 2008 7:56:36 PM
Fayetteville, West Virginia is actually the coolest small town in America. As you drive into the town, it even says that on the welcome sign. I have frequented this town for many outdoor adventures, such as rock climbing, camping, white water rafting, hiking, and mountain biking, which are found in the surrounding landscape. It is also known for bird watching. There are many festivals that drawn in visitors, including Bridge day, when people congregate along the longest steel arch bridge in the Western hemisphere. Cathedral cafe is always busy when we make a visit, with locals and tourists alike. With creative breakfast dishes (like the sweet potato pancakes) and fulfilling drinks, we always make time for a visit. I also like Pies and Pints that makes a delicious Grape Pizza. I have even tried to mimic this pizza at home. There are even placees to shop, like Gallery - Studio B, which features local artists. After many visits, I have found that I am now looking for work in Fayetteville and hope to live there or buy a vacation home. I believe it is meant to be in the top 10 "coolest" small towns in America.

Posted by meb on Friday, December 26, 2008 1:23:25 PM
Port Austin, MI has a population of 800 permenant residents and balloons to about 3,000 in the summer. It is located 125 miles north of Detroit at the tip of the Thumb of Michigan. It's at the center of the 93 miles of Lake Huron shoreline that Huron County enjoys in a rich farming community considered to be one of "Michigan's best kept secrets". What makes the town really special is the weekly Saturday"Farmers Market" May through October. Check out ( for the latest dining, lodging, camping and fishing. We have several gourmet restaurants that put many found in the metro area to shame but at much more reasonable prices. The Lake Street Emporuim offers a wonderful pecan waffle for breakfast and sandwichs and salads for lunch large enough to share. Lake Street has the added bonus of being a great gift shop as well to keep you occupied while your food is being prepared. The Bank and the Farm Restaurants are open for dinner for fine dining during the summer months. The Farm's menu changes with whatever is in season. The "Thumb Arts Guild" (TAG) presents art shows throughout the season concluding with the Labor Day weekend "Art in the Park" The "Port Austin Community Players" have 5-6 shows scheduled through the entire year in the old movie theatre beautifully converted into a playhouse. There's kayak and bicycle rentals and two state parks nearby as well as private campgrounds in the area. A marina for launching your boat or making arrangements for your fishing charter. The Farmers Market is truly one of the top five in the country. It offers something for everyone from a social event to some where to buy ingredients for a complete meal. Fresh or frozen fish, strawberries from a farm within 4 miles of the market to brown eggs from a nearby farm. Naturally fresh fruits and vegetables in season and baked goods and preserves. Hand made games and clothing can be purchased too. It has become the social outing of the week for most locals from many miles around, it is truly a "cool town atomsphere" at this "Farmers Market" Entertainment is provided most Saturdays as well. Just Google "Port Austin" and check out the Huron County Web Cam to see even more photos, remeber this is winter in Michigan.

Posted by johnlshea on Friday, December 26, 2008 12:42:25 PM
Without a doubt, the most friendly small town in the continental US is Leadville, CO. When we were last there, everyone from the waiter to the construction worker building new sidewalks stopped us to ask if we could use directions or any other help. (Maybe we looked particularly helpless that day!) Leadville is an unbelievably engaging place, in our estimation, in addition to having an interesting history and a drop0dead0gorgeous location! John & Kim Shea Holland MI

Posted by swang on Friday, December 26, 2008 12:32:00 PM
Jamestown, RI Population around 6,000 year-round residents, significantly more in the summer months. Located in Narragansett Bay opposite Newport, RI and connected by bridges to the mainland on the West and to Aquidneck Island on the East. Several wonderful state parks with dramatic waterviews across the bay and a nonhectic beach resort with only one flashing light in town, wonderful for bike riders and walkers. 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? Yes, Tratoria Simpatico the best al fresco or outdoor dining in Rhode Island and The Bay Voyage home of the best Sunday Brunch in Rhode Island. 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? There are several small but nice gift shops, unique and boating oriented goods are available at Conanicut Marine Store. A handblown glass studio is present next to the island's windmill which dates back to the 1700's. An excellent gourmet and wine store called Grapes and Gourmet. 3. Is there a local mascot? not that I know of, unless you count the bright yellow large SUV labeled for the island's ice cream store Spinnaker's Cafe frequently spotted around town or at the town beach. 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? One of the largest original landowners on the island was the family of famed traitor Benedict Arnold. 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? I'd say the 1700's era windmill, free concerts every sunday night in the summer on the town green, a fantastic fireworks show at the beach July 4, the remnants of Revolutionary War and World War II era forts, a neat in town coffee shop breakfast restaurant called Slice of Heaven Bakery, the largest bike race in RI and perhaps all of New England every Columbus Day, to name a few plus the restaurants noted above.

Posted by cersonsky on Friday, December 26, 2008 11:20:15 AM
Ouray, CO Hard to get to, but worth it. North of the exclusive Telluride, and at the north valley base of the Million Dollar highway. Not of the faint hearted, surrounded by majestic peaks like nowhere else in the continant. Not expensive to visit, and lots of amazing vistas, day trips, hiking, jeep trails, and mountain wonders. 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? Not really, quaint and general store, great sweet rolls. 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? Several small shops on Main street. 3. Is there a local mascot? If there is, it would be the mountain goat. 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? Probably the Methanfedamine bust that included the local constibulary. 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? This old mining town is a destination for the tourist that is not afraid to leave the beaten track. Over the mountain from Silverton, and the narrow guage RR to Durango. The town is definately cool, (both literally and figuratively).

Posted by stargazer on Thursday, December 25, 2008 11:26:22 PM
SILVERTON, Oregon - quaint and charming old lumber town founded in 1854, suburb of the capitol city of Salem, home to the world class Oregon Garden and Resort which includes the Gordon House, open to the public and the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oregon, 20 specialty gardens and the 400 year old Signature Oak. Unique relationship between the gardens and the town - wetlands benefit from the town's excess reclaimed water. Silverton is also known as the 'mural city', which include Norman Rockwell's 'Four Freedoms'. The Silverton Mural Society ensures that these murals are well maintained. Drive from the interstate through the beautiful oak and agricultural farmland of the Willamette Valley for the wacky annual Homer Davenport Days customized couch races down main street. Davenport is the local famous person, a 19th century political cartoonist and writer and part of today's celebration is the international political cartoon contest. Silver Creek runs through town and a pedestrian walkway over the creek is a recent addition, adjacent to the city park, home of the annual art festival. There are many local artisans; the Silverton Art Association has monthly exhibits of county artists and the galleries carry their work. The town has numerous small shops - antiques (The Red Bench in particular), consigned clothes, a quilter, galleries, jewelers, florists, one shop in particular The Stone Buddha is quite unique. Silverton is the gateway to Oregon's largest state park, Silver Falls, with 10 waterfalls and abundant outdoor activities. Close by is Cooley's Gardens, established in the 1920's, and the largest producer of bearded Iris in the world; the annual display is breathtaking. Also nearby is the old Bavarian community of Mt. Angel, home of Oregon's largest folk festival, the annual Oktoberfest in September. Mt. Angel Abbey was founded in 1883 by the Benedictines on a hill above town and includes a renowned library as well as beautiful grounds with a fantastic view. The Gallon House covered bridge spans Abiqua Creek. Last but not least, Silverton has the first transgender mayor in the country. Stu Rasmussen/Carla Fong can be seen strolling through town in high heels and fancy dress. Apparently he is quite well respected. Mayor Rasmussen is a native and owns the historic Palace Theatre on the corner of Water Street. This may be as avant-garde as the town gets. My experience with Silverton is as the occasional visitor from Portland, but I make a point of stopping when I can. The murals transport me back to the 50's and the small logging town I grew up in. O'Briens on Water Street is a friendly, good eatery, especially for breakfast. If you like architecture, just enjoying the early 20th century bungalows on Water Street is a simple pleasure. There are also Italianate style homes to admire - I always think of lumber barons when I see them. The surrounding countryside is home to lavendar farms, hops growers, flocks of sheep and lots of horses, strawberry and cane fields; half of the pleasure is in getting there.

Posted by surf on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:50:39 PM
LONG BEACH ISLAND -- Comprised of six independent municipalities* totaling less than 7,000 residentsamong them, this 20 mile long island is off the coast of New Jersey in Ocean County. Traveling Route 72, less than two hours by car from the metropolitan areas of NY and Philadelphia, you'll drive to this island and be 4 miles at sea and always within walking distrance of water on a sliver of sand ranging 4-6 blocks wide. It is dotted with art galleries, antique shops and fine dining places. "Off the Hook" serves the freshest, gourmet take-out seafood (her dad owns/runs one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in NJ). Restaurants range from Voodoo Steak House with its Kobe beef to the Chicken and the Egg where college students are found amid artwork featuring dripping eggs instead of Salvador Dali watches and Rubenesque reclining hens. At the northern tip is the red and white Barnegat Lighthouse, recently relit after 6 decades of darkness. A 1/4 mile walkway into the ocean amidst one of the national major flyways is a great spot for watching waterfowl and wintering seals. You can catch the view from the top at the bottom via camcorders, in the interpretative center, so there's no need to climb it. At its southern end if the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge where people are banned from the summer beach so the piping plovers can mate. In between are unique, boutique shops, including one nestled in the belly of the reconstructed tallship, the Lucy Evelyn. Next door is even more shopping and eateries in Bay Village. Friday mornings register with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to take a behind the scenes dock tour of the commercial fishing fleet at Viking Village. You might catch the local movie star in port - the Lindsay L, which was the Hannah Bodin in George Clooney's movie, "The Perfect Storm." The Surflight Theatre, a professional theatre, offers Broadway musicals and live shows for children throughout the summer and concerts and dramas are headliners the rest of the year. Children enjoy the Victorian Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Its casino arcade features prizes from chachkas to Llardo figurines. Adjacent is the Thundering Surf Waterpark and the adventure putt-putt Settler's Landing miniature gold with its signs telling the history of the area at each hole. The sheltered bay formed by the barrier island is a great water play land and home to charter boat tours, crabbing, parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, boating, and water skiing. The ocean provides deep sea fishing, surfing and the newest sport - kite surfing. There are 3 museums: Barnegat Light Museum which houses a first order,1000 Fresnel lens, a pound fishing display and a visiting captain who drops in to relate stories of the sea, the NJ Museum of Boating which has a room dedicated to the sinking of the Andrea Doria and a large collection of paraphernalia from the deep and the LBI Museum which tells the history of the island. Special events abound, including a fall 18 mile run dedicated to the Munich athletes and ChowderFest which draws thousands to vote for the best white and red chowder and where cupholders have become an art form. Outdoor conerts and Victorian walking tours are held weekly. Architecture is dynamic, unique and available for summer rental. More than "houses," they frequently are called "sandcastles by the sea." Across the bay is the Tuckerton Seaport, a nautical, maritime village featuring decoy carving, boat building and folk crafts -- and where you can paint your own flattie, a two-dimensional decoy. Or you can ignore all this, take your beach chair and umbrella to the shore and watch waves lap at your toes all day for entertainment. *Although visitors freely move among the six towns, never knowing more than that they have visited Long Beach Island (LBI), the municipalities officially are Barengat Light, Harvey Cedars, Surf City, Ship Bottom and Beach Haven. In an odd situation, the sixth municipality, Long Beach Township, is interspersed among the other five in a confusion of neighborhood names such as Beach Haven Garden, Brant Beach and Loveladies. While the name Long Beach Island is not to be found among the state's 566 municipalities, LBI has what many municipalities do not -- its own official flag, which is diagonally divided into triangles of blue and white with a seagull spread across it.

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.

Posted by lincolnamphitheatre on Monday, December 22, 2008 2:28 PM
Lincoln City, Indiana. How cool is it to live in Lincoln's boyhood town?! Abraham Lincoln lived in what is now Lincoln City, Indiana, for fourteen formative years - from age 7 to 21. Lincoln City is a small town, but is home to several Abraham Lincoln attractions which include Lincoln Amphitheatre, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Lincoln State Park, and Buffalo Run Farm. Lincoln Amphitheatre is a covered, outdoor theatre. The world premiere of LINCOLN, a new theatrical experience, will take place at this theatre under the stars during the summer of 2009. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial features a visitors center, living historical farm and the grave site of Lincoln's beloved mother, Nancy Hanks. Just across the highway from the national memorial, Lincoln State Park is a beautiful state park dedicated to Lincoln's mother. Buffalo Run is a farm and small grill that offers buffalo burgers, along with tours of their legendary Lincoln cabin and blab school. During 2009 we will join the nation in the celebration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. Visit us and learn even more about the man many consider to be our greatest U.S. president and how his Indiana roots helped shape his character. I can't think of a better town!

Posted by Goddess58 on Monday, December 22, 2008 1:24 PM
Truckee is the coolest mountain town in California! There are several world class ski resorts within driving distance, many fine restaurants (due to our proximity to San Francisco), and quite a few eclectic shops in the old downtown section. We can boast 2 great wine bars; a new "green", small, somewhat luxurious, architecturally interesting and innovative hotel, and a community that is vested in making the whole town go "green". In the summer, not only is Lake Tahoe (the jewel of the Sierra Nevada's) only 15 minutes away, but Donner Lake in Truckee is strikingly beautiful, too. We are surrounded by wilderness, so the hiking and mountain biking is fantastic. One of my favorite things to do is to hike to a waterfall somewhere nearby and jump into the pool to cool off after a hot, summer afternoon hike! And don't forget the famous Donner Party pioneer group that lost many lives in an early snowstorm of 1846 as they tried to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains to get to Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.

Posted by luckykiwi on Monday, December 22, 2008 1:11 PM
Cambria, California is a great town to spend a week. Located mid-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean is at your doorstep! There are wineries, vineyards, restaurants, winebars, community theatre, art galleries, and just up the road is Hearst Castle! Our weather is superb - cool in the summer and cool in the winter. The average temperature is about 67 with approximately 5 degrees fluctuation between summer and winter. There are a lot of outdoor activities: surfing, biking, beachcombing. Think an inexpensive Napa!

Posted by bookloverz on Monday, December 22, 2008 11:49 AM
Princess Anne Maryland is my pick for America's Coolest Small Town and is becoming a top place to visit or retire for urbane big city dwellers, including several artists and writers, from NY, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New England. It has a trendy main street with boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and art galleries. It has a wonderful library, three bed and breakfasts, including a literary themed inn, and a nearby university with lots of cultural events. Princess Anne is a truly diverse town with an equal blend of old and young, black and white, American and immigrant population. Like its feminine name, the main street businesses, shops are nearly all owned by women. It boasts an incredible number of historic homes, most lovingly restored and open for tours on the annual Olde Princess Anne Days festival. The park in town is on a river tributary and features a farmer's market during the warmer months and in the Fall. There are three rivers to boat or kayak down, a bird lover's paradise of wet savannahs, as well as the nearby Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and Assateague, where the wild horses roam free. Slow pace, no traffic, mild winters, what more could one want?

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!

Posted by stlydr on Monday, December 22, 2008 7:48 AM
St. Joseph, Michigan. Cool Eateries. Cool Beaches. Cool Shopping. Free Bicycle Rentals, a Farmer's Market, Art Fairs, Wineries...The list goes on and on. We spend one or two weekends there each year!

Posted by smistybot on Sunday, December 21, 2008 10:01 PM
Santa Claus, Indiana (population is around 2,200). This has to be the greatest place on earth. The post office receives thousands of letters to Santa from all over the world each year. A group of volunteers known as "Santa's Elves" ensures each child receives a reply from Santa Claus; this tradition has been around since at least 1914. The whole town is themed with Santa Claus and Christmas. It's themed from the street names to some attractions like Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus Museum, Holiday Foods (grocery store), and best of all Holiday World. Yes this small little town has the cleanest and funnest theme park ever. Holiday World is a small little park that lets you celebrate every holiday. You can have fun in Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Fourth of July. In Holiday World you get free soda and sunscreen its wonderful. In Santa Claus you get to have the joy of Christmas year round. Everyone should visit.

Posted by mademoisellemermaid on Sunday, December 21, 2008 4:52 PM
Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa is the number one small town I have on my "must see" list! With a population of just over 220 (and growing), what is so special about it?? Well, for starters, it is the first ALL ORGANIC city in the USA... non-organic food is banned, and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used within the city limits. Vedic City's founders say that the town was established with the purpose of "creating a natural center for perfect health and world peace." And its residents gather to practice Transcendental Meditation daily. You can take tours of the town, stay in a Vedic Hotel, try ayurveda, and enjoy local organic food!

Posted by Mollyb on Sunday, December 21, 2008 10:43 AM
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 The best restaurants in the world such as Little Tibet

Posted by tulsau on Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:52 PM
Ogunquit, ME This is a great town. You have the art galleries, the beach, the restaurants, and the boutiques. I love this town and it really doesn't get much better than this. It is small and quaint but still has the big city feel when it comes to dining. The bed and breakfasts are fabulous too. It is just a great place. I highly recommend it. Oh.. and the local candy store is to die for!!!

Posted by alandrus on Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:07 PM
Helen, Georgia (pop. 400) is a town I visited a lot while my family lived in Lawrenceville, GA (near Atlanta). It's a recreated alpine village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. It consists of restaurants, shops, hiking (there are waterfalls near by), lodging, and more. the first time I went, I thought it was going to be cheesy like the Wisconsin Dells, but the area is really pretty so I got over the fact that it was a themed town very quickly. The Chattahoochee river cuts down the middle of the town so you can eat at a restaurant on the river, like the Troll Tavern, and observe hundreds of people tubing down the Chattahoochee. Helen is fun to visit in the summer, for Oktoberfest, or during Christmas. I'm really not sure about the quality of life here, but I do know that it's definitely a hidden "attraction" in Georgia and it's a beautiful area. If Helen doesn't fit the bill for your "coolest small towns," it should be put in a feature about hidden attractions or themed towns (in which you could include the Dells)--could be a funny feature.,_GA

Posted by patsy1992 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 6:46 PM
St. Croix, WI. pop.1200 it doesn't look like much but it has some hidden treasures, not to mention its beautiful scenery and hiking trails. It is starting to have a great artsy feel. having a over look with a gorgeous statue by local artists. the overlook has music every weekend. during the summer it has the amature pyscoligist convention, that brings in local and not so local musicians, poets and dancers (such as the scananavian belly dancers). It is also the home to two art galleries. One packed full of every type of art and the other simple potter shop where the man spins his wheel right in the shop. St. Croix also has a theater that puts on many plays and act thoughout the year. There is alittle co-op with bulk foods and local veggies. The best part of this town is the under ground music venue, Planet Supply. It is awesome. It is located under the post office, it hosts musicans all around the country, and only costs $5 for entry into the dark, dusty room, with old couches everywhere. and if your tired of the music you can go out back to the fire pit. But before you go there get a bit to eat a the Red Brick Grill. it has great burgers and sweet potatoe fries. Also a large selection of wine and beer. It is a pretty great little town.

Posted by jzb on Saturday, December 20, 2008 4:56 PM
Islamorada in the Florida Keys is known as the Sportfishng Capital of the World. Water sports -- such as offshore, reef and flats fishing, or diving and snorkeling, as well as tennis, swimming, bicycling, running and fun at the beach or in the sun comprise nearly every resident's main reason for being here. Casual, friendly and nearly crime-free, the worries are few. The 7,000 local residents appreciate visitors who are a mainstay of the economy. From an organic coffee bar named the Midway Cafe to successful local wildlife artists such as Tim Borski and Pasta Pantaleo to unique shops such as Ichthyology, there is never a dull moment for those who choose to get involved, and yet there are plenty of relaxing moments for those who believe in the five o'clock somewhere mantra. Palm trees, clean, clear water, tropical colors, an impressive ecosystem and perfect weather make Islamorada tough to beat. About 75 minutes south of Miami, it's a world away in attitude.

Posted by ADB1925 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 4:31 PM
Williamstown MA.

Posted by mermaid on Saturday, December 20, 2008 2:57 PM
Rockport, MA is a beautiful little seaside village about an hour north of Boston with about 7-8,000 people. There is a local commuter rail that many take on a daily basis into Boston to work, and day trippers from Boston will take to get out of the city and visit Rockport in the summer to go to the beach, walk around and explore. Rockport is an artist and lobersting town. Don't think we have an offical mascot, but it would be the lobster or the twin lighthouses on Thatcher Island. Motif # 1 is a beautiful red fish shack sitting on the edge of the harbor, that has been painted and photographed around the world. There is a month long music festival in the summer, and they are now building an incredible art/music center expected to become reknowed on the northshore. There is an area downtown, called Bear Skin Neck, with galleries, shops, gifts, crafts, etc. Artists say that Rockport has a "quality of light" that draws them to the town. An unsual site in town would be the paper house, that someone buillt as a hobby years ago, with everything made out of paper!!! There is also a house referred to as the "witch house", and the rumor is that a Salem, MA witch who was pregnant was brought to Rockport to escape her hanging!!! There is a state park, called Halibut State Park on the ocean's edge. Rockport has their annual small town 4th of July parade and followed by a concert at the gazebo, followed by a huge bonfire on the beach. The Rockport Art Association has been putting on a live torchlit outdoor reenactment of the Nativity, for over 60years, with some of the same family members still taking part with live animals. Rockport has been the location for numerous movies over the eyars; including "Mermaid" with Cher, "Love Letters" "Proposal: with Sandra Bullock that has not been released yet, and currently filming "Hatteras Hotel". lAt times, Rockport seems a little like you are stepping back in time, or at least for awhile, and takes you out of the crazy world we are living in. Check out their website: We are known as "the other cape", Cape Ann, and definitely not Cape Cod.

Posted by agenda9 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 11:27 AM
With a population of 862, Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii has got to be one of America's coolest towns. First off, it's pretty much off the beaten tourist pack. The "downtown" area is just a block long with colorful buildings and wooden sidewalks. There are several great restaurants, but our favorite has to be Ningh's which serves some of the best Thai food we've had anywhere. There are cute little boutiques such as Jungle Love or the Malama Market. But for the best things check out the local farmers market where you can buy anything from Kava to local handicrafts. Nature abounds in the area and it's great for hiking and sightseeing. A very special place is Kalani Oceanside Retreat. We call it summer camp for grownups. Don't go for Hyatt style accomodations, do go for the food, yoga, body work, and wonderful ohana community. Local folklore? The area is rich in Hawaiian spirt.

Posted by rthomp on Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:45 AM
portsmouth nh -strawbeer bank-good sea food-uss albercore sub-mall-

Posted by whaley39 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:34 AM
Edenton NC is the earliest capital of the Carolinas, immersed in history, pop. around 5,500. Often called the "prettiest town in the south," Edenton has superior B and B's, restaurants, art galleries, and in the summer is a baseball mecca. In historic Hicks Field (from the 40s and 50s) college players from around the country come to battle in the Coastal Plain League as the Edenton Steamers. It is a boat building center and has sailing, golf, fishing and tennis for recreation. The newly expanded Shepard-Pruden Library is a gem. Edenton has the oldest Courthouse in the state and the oldest frame house in the Carolinas, from the 1700s. So what if the namesake (Gov. Eden) was a buddy of the infamous Blackbeard? That's history, too. Edenton is simply a great town!

Posted by hrii2zo on Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:16 AM
Look no further! Harrodsburg, Kentucky, popluation 8,165, is the best kept secret in all of America. We are located in central Kentucky just outside of Lexington, Kentucky. Harrodsburg is the first pernmanent settlement west of the Alleghenie Mountains. Founded by James Harrod in 1774 and YES, Daniel Boone slept here! We have Old Fort Harrod State Park which James Harrod built before Boonesboro was founded. We also have the log cabin where President Lincoln's parents were married. Beaumont Inn a former all girls college, now an Inn with lodging and fine dining. In the spring of 2009, Eddie Montgomery of Country Music fame, Montgomery/Gentry is building a multi million dollar Restuartant and Complex which will have dining and live entertainment. In the county we have Shakertown, which also has fine dining and lodging. The shakers were a cult that did not believe in men and women should do anything together. They had separate staircases, doors, etc. However they did leave a beautiful legacy of food and furniture. In 2010 the new (state of the art) Kentucky Agruiculture Center is being built.

Posted by HI king on Saturday, December 20, 2008 9:28 AM
Los Olivos CA Small, quaint, trendy dining for anyplace , much of town is Wine tasting shops, Locale for movie SIDEWAYS. Very country, yet 2 hours from LA CA area Santa Barbara CA Wine Region. 101 W to 154 North. Best time to visit: Sept-Nov. Very rustic, modern, quaint, rural. Great for dating, NOT for big families.

Posted by PatFrishkoff on Saturday, December 20, 2008 9:13 AM
Yachats, Oregon. Population about 600. A lovely little town on the Oregon coast, with a magnificent ocean view that varies from the inlet to the Yachats River, to rocks where mussels grow and the waves crash, to the start of the 804 trail with its long stretches of virtually people-free beaches and serene vistas. The town has great little shops, such as Green Salmon (organic coffee and a strawberry, marscapone and homebread brunch), a new seafood stop, and gift shops that are high quality and worth the visit. Though it's only 90 miles from our home in Eugene, it feels like a million miles of serenity. Plus, the little lilbrary next door gets the newest books and doesn't assess fines. Visitors can access wireless from its 3 computers or its parking lot. Hippies, yuppies, and seniors live together in harmony, join together to meditate at the little Log Church, and create the wackiest Fourth of July parade I've ever seen.

Posted by owenshugard on Saturday, December 20, 2008 8:42 AM
Natchez MS Positioned on the highest point of the Mississippi river and seats of Spanish and English govts. Natches has the largest number of antebellum homes in the U.S.There have been alot of new artists moving here after Katrina and they have brought a new feeling of promise and togetherness.Please check out Natchez's web site for upcoming events. Thank you, Owen Shugard

Posted by jillcobb15 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 1:53 AM
This is pretty easy to do. I live in Jacksonville, Oregon, population 2100. In the early years, 1860's, it was a gold rush town with multiple miners coming to seek their fortunes. It is situated in the Rogue Valley between two mountain ranges and adjacent to an inactive volcano. When the gold ran out,(some, including me are still searching for it) agriculture took over. For many years, the pear crop was the main industry. (Home of Harry and Davids) Now, in addition to pears, vinyards are present everywhere boasting the same climate as France. In the spring the hills just glow with the pink blossoms of the trees, creating a wonderful site. In Jacksonville, we have an area called the Woodlands. It has been preserved for hiking and nature loving and is a real joy for everyone. Our town is a national historic landmark as it has been preserved in it's original state. The historical core consists of several blocks of houses and buildings from the l800s in their original state. All the citizens work together to keep the town as plain and simple as it was in the l800s. But this is not without efforts from the citizens because when people come to Jacksonville, they want to stay. We still have our city meetings in the old town hall. Some of the meetings attract more people than the building can hold, but that doesn't seem to deter interested parties. We have many organizations in Jacksonville whose main emphasis is the preservation of Jacksonville and building community relationships. We have a Christmas parade every year and a Pioneer Day celebration in the summer. We have a pioneer cemetery that is cared for by volunteers. Each year for several days we have tours of the cemetery with relatives of the decedents dressing in historical dress and telling about their ancestors. I just wish that I was more articulate to describe our city but when you are so emotionally involved, it is difficult to do. I moved there by default over ten years ago, which is a long story. All I can say is the town grew on me very quickly and it is my place in this world.

Posted by BeamerRed on Friday, December 19, 2008 10:24 PM
Baker City, Oregon Baker City is a historical city located on the Oregon Trail. Gold brought many miners to the area . Many of the early homes and businesses were built with gold money resulting in great establishments that have been restored, like the Geiser Grand Hotel which has a noted female ghost. Baker sits at the foot of the Elkhorns, a dramatic moutain range. To the Northeast you see the Eagle Cap Wilderness area of the Wallowa Mountains. The Carnegie Library is now the Crossroads Art Gallery,an outstanding exhibit area. Recently a salt lick art exhibit was held with many submissions. Barley Brown, a microbrewery, serves some of the best beers with great food. Late summer, Shriners from all over head to Baker City to sponser an All-Star Football game for small school players to benefit Shiner Hostipal for Children. Baker is close to the Anthony Lake Ski Area which is reputed to have the best dry snow skiing in the United States.

Posted by bbarfod on Friday, December 19, 2008 9:33 PM
I nominate Baraboo, Wisconsin. It's right on the river. It has a town square, complete with cannon. It's the home of the Ringling Bros circus with two live performances per summer day and a fun hands-on museum. At its outskirts it has the Baraboo Candy Factory which makes Cow Pies candy which is delicious. It is close to Devil's Lake, a picnic and camping area. Devil's Lake has its own diving school, Little Devils. The region around Devil's Lake attracts archaeologists from around the United States. The glaciers stopped in Baraboo -- years ago. The people are friendly. On the town square is "The Al Ringling Theater" which is a restored opera-movie house where the annual dance recitals are held. Next door is Corner Drug Store which has a functioning soda fountain and also dispenses prescriptions from the back area. It is the county seat for all the farms around there! It's wonderful with its restored Victorian mansions right on the main street of Ringling Bros. street.There is a Cornerstone Art Gallery with an art fair every year. There's a neon light museum. Theater Arts are alive in Baraboo. Every child and adult seems to be involved with theatrics. The Circus Ringmaster is the organist at the Presbyterian Church. There are three florists in this small town. It's also the only town under 10, 000 with two elephants as part of the population. You can live in the town but be less than 5 miles to a farm or an apple orchard called Sky High with a real Grandmother who makes Grandmas' Apple Pies. The Village Booksmith is a fantastic used book store with its own little community of events such as evening reading, author birthday celebrations, and poetry readings. Looking for your own butcher? There's also a stand-alone butcher shop. Plus around the town square, there's a farmers' market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Devils Head is the nearby ski resort - in flat Wisconsin it is the only one. It's the only place where you can run away and join the circus -- without leaving home!

Posted by szeglin on Friday, December 19, 2008 8:45 PM
I'd like to nominate Kanab, Utah. We visited this past summer and loved it. We ate at the Rocking V Cafe one evening--they had the best tomato-basil bisque I have ever eaten! The best part is that this is a restaurant/art gallery! Nedra's Too was a lunch stop for awesome Tex-Mex. This town is in the middle of western country. Many western movies were filmed here, and the stars passed through Kanab. Even though the heydey of the western film is long past, Kanab has made its mark in movies more recently. The Kanab Cowboys T-shirt made an appearance in Napoleon Dynamite. Kanab is also home to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the country's largest. The sanctuary houses all kinds of animals, from cats and dogs to horses, birds, and beyond. The National Geographic Channel's DogTown series is filmed here. The best part for outdoorsy types like me is that Kanab is very close to both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is not an unreasonable distance away, either!

Posted by Barbara Patty on Friday, December 19, 2008 8:35 PM
I do not live in Mt. View, AR. But I have been there and have driven through it as a scenic route from a work assignment in that region. It has a variety of interests: a stunning Blanchard Springs Caverns, the Ozark Folk Center which has everything from herbs to music, wonderful B

Posted by aslex on Friday, December 19, 2008 7:38 PM
I would like to recommend Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. Rabbit Hash might be the only town (big or small) where the mayor is a dog. Yes, he beat Travis the Cat the last election. The town knows where it fits into this hectic world and draws people who want to get away from the trials of everyday life. People come there by accident and later choose to stay. Others come to visit in order to feel the fun of being in a place that really isn't too stuck on itself. They know what it means to have a sense of humor about themselves and they take pride in their unique ability to do just that. Rabbit Hash has been found by major organizations like MSNBC so the secret's getting out. Come on down and see for yourself. You can get directions by going to and clicking on the "How to Git Here" link on the left-hand side of any page.

Posted by Suzhb on Friday, December 19, 2008 5:11 PM

Posted by taxi on Friday, December 19, 2008 3:57 PM
I would like to nominate Rigby, Idaho, population 3,312 this is up 7.8% from 2000. The surrounding area has grown even more. Rigby is the county seat of Jefferson County Idaho. Rigby is a bedroom community to Idaho Falls to the south and Rexburg to the north. Rigby also has it's own newspaper, "The Jefferson County Star." Commerce: Rigby boasts a very nice grocery store, Broulims a regional chain that competes very well against the large chains. Rigby recently built a new county courthouse. Rigby boasts the "Old Sugar Mill" an old mill that has been converted into an arts and crafts boutique. This is a wonderful place to purchase items from local artists and crafts people. The building has been artfully renovated and is a delightful place to shop. Another unique shop in Rigby is "The Golden Egg of Idaho." A shop that caters to artisans that create Faberge style eggs. They are the largest distributor of egg findings in the U.S. Rigby has 4 fast food restaurants, 6 sit down restaurants, and several bars. A restaurant just north of town is regionally famous, named "Big Jud's" their specialty is a dinner plate sized hamburger. People in this area drive 20 miles or more to eat at Big Jud's. Industries include, potato processing warehouses (those famous Idaho potatoes), a snowmobile clothing manufacturer, and a wide variety of other businesses. Fame: Rigby's claim to fame is that Philo T. Farnsworth grew up here, and he invented television. He first diagrammed the technology on a blackboard at the high school. Recreation: Less than a mile north of town is a small lake that is very popular during the summer months. Just 80 miles from Yellowstone Park, and 70 miles from Jackson Wyoming, recreational opportunities abound. Rigby boasts an 18 hole golf course, an amusement park, and a couple of other smaller golf courses. Rigby is close to Idaho's Snake River, and many bountiful fishing streams. Kelly Canyon Ski Resort, Heise Hot Springs Resort, and the Mountain River Ranch are only 15 minutes away. Every 4th of July Rigby is home to "The Celebration of Liberty" a multiple day extravaganza that includes a children's parade, plays, concerts, fireworks and festivals to celebrate the birth of our nation. In June, another community wide celebration "Stampede Days" includes breakfast, a parade, and 3 day rodeo. Education; Rigby is 15 miles from the largest university in Idaho. Several grade schools, a couple of junior high's and the Rigby Trojans High School provide education for the youth of Rigby. Full of hardworking citizens who care about their community, Rigby exemplifies small town America.

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.

Posted by cyclist10968 on Friday, December 19, 2008 12:51 PM
We nominate Piermont, N.Y., our home town of about 3,000 people. We moved here about four years ago and love it! It is located about 20 minutes by car north of the George Washington Bridge and 35 minutes from midtown Manhattan. It doesn't have a supermarket, gas station or drug store but it has many restaurants, avant garde art galleries and gift stores. Until recently we didn't have a bank or ATM and there was a "liquidity crisis" every Sunday afternoon. It is on the West Bank of the Hudson River and faces the only fjord on the East Coast below Maine. Of course it has a marina, waterfront restaurants and many riverfront homes. The town was called "Last Stop USA" because it was a dimembarkment point for many soldiers during World War II and there are monuments to that event. It is a mecca for outdoor sports, especially bicycling as every weekend finds dozens of cyclists` ariving from new York City through the nearby scenic hills and sipping coffee at Bunbury's coffee shop or an Italian combo sandwich at Canzano's deli. It also has a network of marked walking and hiking trails going in every direction, 2 swimming pools, a rowing club, tennis courts, a bocci area and nearby cross country skiing trails and golf courses. In addition to have a cycling mountain, it has a culinary pyramid and at its pinnacle sits Xaviar's, which has received Zagat's highest ratings. Adjacent to it is the acclaimed Freelance Wine Bar. Other outstanding dining and drinking venues in all price ranges are Cafe Portofino, Sidewalk Bistro, Slattery's and Pasta Amore. It has an excellent bird sanctuary and Tallman Mountain State Park. There is an outdoor farmer's market, and our town offers frequent festivals, parades and special events. Being a "cool small town" it attracts visitors from all over the metropolitan area and elsewhere. Celebrity sightings are frequent occurences as luminaries from the media, performing arts, business and government spheres either reside or are frequent visitors.