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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

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.

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