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Thread: Cyburbia's Best Small Towns: State by State - Nominations (Great Lakes States)

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Cyburbia's Best Small Towns: State by State - Nominations (Great Lakes States)

    Many web sites and magazines do an annual "best of" feature, so why not Cyburbia? My thought is to come up with a list of our favorite small towns. One for each state. The only criteria is population, and I will arbitrarily define a small city as under 25,000. As for the rest, maybe you like it for its layout, its amenities, its downtown, or whatever.

    This is a call for nominations. Since there are a lot of states I will break it up into regions. The next is the Great Lakes states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. I will put all of the nominations together in a survey later.

    My nominations:

    Indiana - Nashville, a small arts town in the hills and forests

    Wisconsin - Mineral Point, the state's "point of beginning" with its Cornish stone cottages and commercial buildings, also Fish Creek for the feel of a New England fishing village

    Illinois - Galena, the famous 19th century river town
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Illinois - Cairo
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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Wisconsin:
    Ephraim - The heart and soul of Door County. The shoreline of Green Bay here is amazing. It's like the town and the bay are one and the same. And there are uninterrupted views of the bay throughout most of town. Featuring quaint shops, beautiful homes, an active art scene, lots of fishing and boating, lots of trees, some of the county's best inns and motels, nearby Peninsula State Park, and Door County gems like Wilson's Ice Cream and Red Putter Golf, you just can't ask for more.

    Illinois:
    Sycamore - A classic, picturesque county seat, and what you think of when you think of the Midwest. Lines of stores and bars on State Street, beautiful, old homes throughout a fairly sizable town, and plenty of nearby amenities, being part of a communiversity. Most of its downtown is part of a Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Numerous architectural styles and buildings dating to the 1830s can be found. It even has a Natural History Museum and a theatre. It features a beautiful courthouse and numerous other public buildings. The town has an annual fall festival, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, which has drawn regional popularity, and embodies what fall in a Midwestern town is all about.
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    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    Wisconsin:
    Ephraim - The heart and soul of Door County. The shoreline of Green Bay here is amazing. It's like the town and the bay are one and the same. And there are uninterrupted views of the bay throughout most of town. Featuring quaint shops, beautiful homes, an active art scene, lots of fishing and boating, lots of trees, some of the county's best inns and motels, nearby Peninsula State Park, and Door County gems like Wilson's Ice Cream and Red Putter Golf, you just can't ask for more.

    Illinois:
    Sycamore - A classic, picturesque county seat, and what you think of when you think of the Midwest. Lines of stores and bars on State Street, beautiful, old homes throughout a fairly sizable town, and plenty of nearby amenities, being part of a communiversity. Most of its downtown is part of a Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Numerous architectural styles and buildings dating to the 1830s can be found. It even has a Natural History Museum and a theatre. It features a beautiful courthouse and numerous other public buildings. The town has an annual fall festival, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, which has drawn regional popularity, and embodies what fall in a Midwestern town is all about.
    I ended up in Sycamore last summer when on a long bike ride of the Chicagoland fringe. Lovely town.

    Some photos:






  5. #5
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Illinois: Homewood - probably the most appealing small-town suburb I have ever been to.

    Indiana: Crawfordsville - Active downtown, regional draw. The classic midwestern town, complete with random uber-small liberals arts college (even if it is men-only).

  6. #6
    I hereby nominate Madison, Indiana for the Hoosier State. Situated hard by the Ohio River, about midway between Cincinnati and Louisville, the community has some impressive historic architecture.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This Bear seconds the nomination for Madison, IN. Flew into Madison a few years ago on a biz trip and enjoyed the sights, even after being stuck in a large factory for a good portion of the first day.

    Nominating Marquette, MI, my retirement goal. The majesty of Lake Superior, so appropriately named, is overwhelming. The city is built on hills and certain portions, between Northern Michigan University and the CBD seem San Francisco inspired. Bike trails are everywhere, including an incredible trail along the shoreline. The CBD is active, no matter what the season. Why, even the Rolling Stones visited Marquette......and our own but lately "in-hiding" michaelskis bumped into them at one of the CBD's hotels. There is an active arts colony and more and more national publications and groups are forwarding prestigious awards to this great place.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquette,_Michigan

    In addition to the Wiki-link above you can see more of Marquette in the Cyburbia Gallery, in the Michigan folder.

    Other nominations for this area.....

    Petoskey, MI
    A beautiful setting on Lake Michigan, quaint CBD (with a couple really good bars ), and, on a windy day you can smell the money (from Harbor Springs, just across the bay.

    Iron Belt, WI
    Nominating this tiny place because it is stuck in my olde noggin. The main drag is loaded with company houses, all looking the same (except for a few changes). Easy to also pick-out the "boss'" house, much bigger. Mining company, I would think. Friend of mine used to be a dentist in Ironwood, MI, just a short distance east of Iron Belt.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    WI - New Glarus. Despite "Heidi Fest's" crass tourist commercialism, this burgh has some real charm and retains vestiges of its Swiss heritage in the local architecture.

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    One that I would include is Waupaca, WI:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...87891&t=k&z=14
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waupaca,_Wisconsin
    http://www.cityofwaupaca.org/

    It is a very neat small, isolated city (2000 USCensus - 5676) set in an incredibly scenic part of the state.

    Also, note that as is shown in one of the images in the Wiki article, that little city once had its own LRT line!

    Mike

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Corydon is eh, ok. Last time I weas there, they had a fair amount of sprawl and generica along the interstate and the main route to the bridge. You have to be into Indiana history to get much out of it.

    I would second Saugatuck, nice place.
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  12. #12
    Zionsville, IN - Might not be fair since it has long been a very wealthy bedroom community to Indianapolis, and it is increasingly surrounded by low-density decentralized development (most of which it has not incorporated). But it does look great.

    Defiance, OH - Maybe it's not a prize winner, but I was impressed, at least. Very well-maintained and active looking downtown.

    Greencastle, IN - Not quite as active as I'm sure they'd like it to be, but it still generally is a great looking place, and the campus of DePauw University definitely helps.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Michigan - Grand Haven

    Ohio - Athens

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