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Reader Nominations for Coolest Small Towns

Posted by jzb on Saturday, December 20, 2008 4:56 PM
Islamorada in the Florida Keys is known as the Sportfishng Capital of the World. Water sports -- such as offshore, reef and flats fishing, or diving and snorkeling, as well as tennis, swimming, bicycling, running and fun at the beach or in the sun comprise nearly every resident's main reason for being here. Casual, friendly and nearly crime-free, the worries are few. The 7,000 local residents appreciate visitors who are a mainstay of the economy. From an organic coffee bar named the Midway Cafe to successful local wildlife artists such as Tim Borski and Pasta Pantaleo to unique shops such as Ichthyology, there is never a dull moment for those who choose to get involved, and yet there are plenty of relaxing moments for those who believe in the five o'clock somewhere mantra. Palm trees, clean, clear water, tropical colors, an impressive ecosystem and perfect weather make Islamorada tough to beat. About 75 minutes south of Miami, it's a world away in attitude.

Posted by ADB1925 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 4:31 PM
Williamstown MA.

Posted by mermaid on Saturday, December 20, 2008 2:57 PM
Rockport, MA is a beautiful little seaside village about an hour north of Boston with about 7-8,000 people. There is a local commuter rail that many take on a daily basis into Boston to work, and day trippers from Boston will take to get out of the city and visit Rockport in the summer to go to the beach, walk around and explore. Rockport is an artist and lobersting town. Don't think we have an offical mascot, but it would be the lobster or the twin lighthouses on Thatcher Island. Motif # 1 is a beautiful red fish shack sitting on the edge of the harbor, that has been painted and photographed around the world. There is a month long music festival in the summer, and they are now building an incredible art/music center expected to become reknowed on the northshore. There is an area downtown, called Bear Skin Neck, with galleries, shops, gifts, crafts, etc. Artists say that Rockport has a "quality of light" that draws them to the town. An unsual site in town would be the paper house, that someone buillt as a hobby years ago, with everything made out of paper!!! There is also a house referred to as the "witch house", and the rumor is that a Salem, MA witch who was pregnant was brought to Rockport to escape her hanging!!! There is a state park, called Halibut State Park on the ocean's edge. Rockport has their annual small town 4th of July parade and followed by a concert at the gazebo, followed by a huge bonfire on the beach. The Rockport Art Association has been putting on a live torchlit outdoor reenactment of the Nativity, for over 60years, with some of the same family members still taking part with live animals. Rockport has been the location for numerous movies over the eyars; including "Mermaid" with Cher, "Love Letters" "Proposal: with Sandra Bullock that has not been released yet, and currently filming "Hatteras Hotel". lAt times, Rockport seems a little like you are stepping back in time, or at least for awhile, and takes you out of the crazy world we are living in. Check out their website: www.rockportusa.com We are known as "the other cape", Cape Ann, and definitely not Cape Cod.

Posted by agenda9 on Saturday, December 20, 2008 11:27 AM
With a population of 862, Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii has got to be one of America's coolest towns. First off, it's pretty much off the beaten tourist pack. The "downtown" area is just a block long with colorful buildings and wooden sidewalks. There are several great restaurants, but our favorite has to be Ningh's which serves some of the best Thai food we've had anywhere. There are cute little boutiques such as Jungle Love or the Malama Market. But for the best things check out the local farmers market where you can buy anything from Kava to local handicrafts. Nature abounds in the area and it's great for hiking and sightseeing. A very special place is Kalani Oceanside Retreat. We call it summer camp for grownups. Don't go for Hyatt style accomodations, do go for the food, yoga, body work, and wonderful ohana community. Local folklore? The area is rich in Hawaiian spirt.

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