Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

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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 Oc

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