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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by KimCham on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 12:53:29 PM
I would like to nominate my coolest small town, Milford Oh. Our town is tucked in between the beautiful Little Miami River and the 275 interchange, making us convenient to get to. We are surrounded by outdoor activities from the Little Miami bike Trail that boast 78 miles of paved trail, 2 launch sites for canoeing, kayaking and flyfishing, an urban walking trail system as well as many parks nestled in the different neighborhoods. Enthusiast of these activities can purchase new supplies at our 2 local outfitter stores and our local bike shop. Our historic district offers specialty gift, zany and unique toy, jewelry, rustic furniture and antique stores as well as 2 art galleries. We have an upscale wine restaurant that offers wine and beer tastings, modern tapas bar/restaurant with live music, cafe, gourmet deli, coffee shop where he roast his own beans and a family restaurant. This year I was able to do 80% of my Christmas shopping in town, which saved me time, gas and I did it walking so calories too. We also have many services, hair salons, reflexology, banks, massage therapist, financial planners. Our community comes together for many festivals Frontier Days in June, Junction Trail Festival that celebrates and brings awareness to the over 22,000 miles of Long Distance Hiking, Cycling and Paddling Trails that converge in Milford, Buskerfest and Hometown Holidays Thanksgviing weekend. The first friday night every month our shops are open later Mar-Dec offering specials and entertainment. Our neighborhoods are eclectic in design from turn of the century, victorian, Sears 1920's bungalows, post world war 2 and new construction Single family, apts, townhomes and senior housing makes a growing and diverse community with strong roots. Our town mascot would have to be our Town Crier Bill Knepp. Milford actually hosted a Town Crier convention last year where Town Criers from all over the world "cried" our streets. Milford is also home to Promont House which was once home of Ohio Governor Pattison and is now a historical museum, gift shop and our historical society. Every spring they host Daffodil Days celebrating the return of the thousand of daffodils plantings around our town with a day filled with family fun. We are a small town with big opportunities. Drop by and visit us when you have a chance.

Posted by bvoss on Monday, January 05, 2009 2:11:44 PM
I would like to nominate Delafield, Wisconsin located in the heart of Lake Country. Delafield and the surrounding villages of Nashotah, Chenequa and Hartland make up one of the nicest places I've ever lived or visited. Delafield is quaint, has Williamsburg-style buildings, unique shops, delicious restaurants and more. They host an annual Art Show, have a Veteran's Walking Path with historical notes and has very parades. It's a tourist destination with coach buses bringing in visitors from neighboring states. Lapham Peak State Park is just down the road which offers lit cross-country skiing and the lakes offer swimming, boating and a great public beach at Nagawaukee County Park. The quality of life in this area is hard to beat. The nearby Arrowhead School System is outstanding and its an easy commute to Milwaukee.

Posted by philsdottir on Friday, January 02, 2009 8:41:13 PM
Mount Rainier, Maryland. Among the first of Washington DC's suburbs - nestled on the city's northeast border and originally connected by streetcar - this town is on the move! It fell on hard times for a while, and then found its voice and began to come back - and it's still coming. Voted one of the top 10 liberal towns in America by epodunk.com, it is the heart of the thriving arts scene that is the Route 1 corridor in Maryland headed into DC. Part of this scene is the art gallery that not only has exhibits but also holds shows and receptions where the community can meet the artists and even see them create in person, and the Artmosphere Cafe, brainchild of two of the artists in the Artists' Lofts who decided to marry technology and art with community outreach. Aside from healthy and tasty food - it's a rarity in this part of Maryland to find reasonable restaurants that aren't full of fried and fatty foods - they host concerts and classes. Mount Rainier boasts Glut, a vegetarian, organic co-op that's been around for decades, Joe's Movement Emporium, a community gathering and performance space (and home to the "People's Inaugural Ball" on Jan. 20 - potluck, BYOB and kid-friendly), which holds classes in everything from African dance to drumming to yoga and an "instrument petting zoo" for kids. There is a bicycle co-op, a tool shed which is like a lending library for tools, and residents are getting a corn silo for corn stoves to supply heat. There are a number of small shops and boutiques that reflect the diversity of the town which includes African American, Latino and other ethnic groups, but it's not a materialistic town. The town is not just home to visual artists, it also houses the folk duo Emma's Revolution. In many ways it is reminiscent of a small New England town, full of Sears and Craftsman houses, a rotary in the middle of town, a regional firehouse. Pocket parks exist on almost every block. There are many dog-lovers and outdoorsy types; the dry cleaner in town is even organic. There is another interesting historical slant. Apparently there was a demon possession and an exorcism that was performed in the town; this was the true event on which "the Exorcist" was based. The most special thing about the town, actually, is the people living in it. The people are connected in a way that is reminiscent of a Rockwell painting, something you don't see often these days. People are active, they care about the community and one another. Walk to the school to vote and see all your neighbors. Post on the listserve about your lost dog and an hour later the staff at Joe's calls saying that they have her. Post that your furnace has gone out in the middle of February and get a dozen offers of lending space heaters from your neighbors. The post office workers know you by name, the police pass by your house when you're on vacation to keep an eye on the place. People see a need for something - a public toilet, a corn silo, a place to house the bike co-op - and rather than talking about it or commissioning a study, people just take care of it, stepping up and doing their part. Town officials give out their home numbers and addresses. All the cool and hip stuff (which Mount Rainier also has) mean nothing if visitors don't come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling about the town and its people.

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