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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

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

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