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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

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!

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