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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

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.

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