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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by tracyboehl on Friday, December 26, 2008 7:56:36 PM
Fayetteville, West Virginia is actually the coolest small town in America. As you drive into the town, it even says that on the welcome sign. I have frequented this town for many outdoor adventures, such as rock climbing, camping, white water rafting, hiking, and mountain biking, which are found in the surrounding landscape. It is also known for bird watching. There are many festivals that drawn in visitors, including Bridge day, when people congregate along the longest steel arch bridge in the Western hemisphere. Cathedral cafe is always busy when we make a visit, with locals and tourists alike. With creative breakfast dishes (like the sweet potato pancakes) and fulfilling drinks, we always make time for a visit. I also like Pies and Pints that makes a delicious Grape Pizza. I have even tried to mimic this pizza at home. There are even placees to shop, like Gallery - Studio B, which features local artists. After many visits, I have found that I am now looking for work in Fayetteville and hope to live there or buy a vacation home. I believe it is meant to be in the top 10 "coolest" small towns in America.

Posted by meb on Friday, December 26, 2008 1:23:25 PM
Port Austin, MI has a population of 800 permenant residents and balloons to about 3,000 in the summer. It is located 125 miles north of Detroit at the tip of the Thumb of Michigan. It's at the center of the 93 miles of Lake Huron shoreline that Huron County enjoys in a rich farming community considered to be one of "Michigan's best kept secrets". What makes the town really special is the weekly Saturday"Farmers Market" May through October. Check out (www.portaustinarea.com) for the latest dining, lodging, camping and fishing. We have several gourmet restaurants that put many found in the metro area to shame but at much more reasonable prices. The Lake Street Emporuim offers a wonderful pecan waffle for breakfast and sandwichs and salads for lunch large enough to share. Lake Street has the added bonus of being a great gift shop as well to keep you occupied while your food is being prepared. The Bank and the Farm Restaurants are open for dinner for fine dining during the summer months. The Farm's menu changes with whatever is in season. The "Thumb Arts Guild" (TAG) presents art shows throughout the season concluding with the Labor Day weekend "Art in the Park" The "Port Austin Community Players" have 5-6 shows scheduled through the entire year in the old movie theatre beautifully converted into a playhouse. There's kayak and bicycle rentals and two state parks nearby as well as private campgrounds in the area. A marina for launching your boat or making arrangements for your fishing charter. The Farmers Market is truly one of the top five in the country. It offers something for everyone from a social event to some where to buy ingredients for a complete meal. Fresh or frozen fish, strawberries from a farm within 4 miles of the market to brown eggs from a nearby farm. Naturally fresh fruits and vegetables in season and baked goods and preserves. Hand made games and clothing can be purchased too. It has become the social outing of the week for most locals from many miles around, it is truly a "cool town atomsphere" at this "Farmers Market" Entertainment is provided most Saturdays as well. Just Google "Port Austin" and check out the Huron County Web Cam to see even more photos, remeber this is winter in Michigan.

Posted by johnlshea on Friday, December 26, 2008 12:42:25 PM
Without a doubt, the most friendly small town in the continental US is Leadville, CO. When we were last there, everyone from the waiter to the construction worker building new sidewalks stopped us to ask if we could use directions or any other help. (Maybe we looked particularly helpless that day!) Leadville is an unbelievably engaging place, in our estimation, in addition to having an interesting history and a drop0dead0gorgeous location! John & Kim Shea jshea@t2comm.net Holland MI

Posted by swang on Friday, December 26, 2008 12:32:00 PM
Jamestown, RI Population around 6,000 year-round residents, significantly more in the summer months. Located in Narragansett Bay opposite Newport, RI and connected by bridges to the mainland on the West and to Aquidneck Island on the East. Several wonderful state parks with dramatic waterviews across the bay and a nonhectic beach resort with only one flashing light in town, wonderful for bike riders and walkers. 1. Is there a restaurant that's so amazing it could survive in New York? Yes, Tratoria Simpatico the best al fresco or outdoor dining in Rhode Island and The Bay Voyage home of the best Sunday Brunch in Rhode Island. 2. Where do locals shop for unique clothing, furniture, art, or gifts? There are several small but nice gift shops, unique and boating oriented goods are available at Conanicut Marine Store. A handblown glass studio is present next to the island's windmill which dates back to the 1700's. An excellent gourmet and wine store called Grapes and Gourmet. 3. Is there a local mascot? not that I know of, unless you count the bright yellow large SUV labeled for the island's ice cream store Spinnaker's Cafe frequently spotted around town or at the town beach. 4. What's the weirdest piece of local folklore? One of the largest original landowners on the island was the family of famed traitor Benedict Arnold. 5. Anything else that qualifies as "cool" (i.e. organic coffee shops, wine bars, a hotel in a renovated barn or warehouse)? I'd say the 1700's era windmill, free concerts every sunday night in the summer on the town green, a fantastic fireworks show at the beach July 4, the remnants of Revolutionary War and World War II era forts, a neat in town coffee shop breakfast restaurant called Slice of Heaven Bakery, the largest bike race in RI and perhaps all of New England every Columbus Day, to name a few plus the restaurants noted above.

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