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Underated Little Cities

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
What little cities do you think are interesting that aren't very well known or attractive to everyone else? What are some underated smaller cities that you think will be much better off 10 years from now? Don't break out the heavy stats just your personal opinions.

My votes goes to the city of New London, CT. Its small, dense, gritty & historic. Its got a working waterfront and scenic ocean front where the Thames River meets Long Island Sound. Downtown has a lot more going on over the past few years and seems less run-down. Great historic neighborhoods, US Coast Guard Acadamy, Naval Base and submarine facility across the river. Midway (roughly) between Boston and New York.

Pfizer's new headquarters are here (even though their location is the result of some serious eminent domain). The nearby casinos are bringing more people to the area. New Acela high speed rail stops here. It does have a gritty, industrial image, especially from afar, and its got some really ugly highway commerical stuff near the highway. Its sort of a rougher, more industrial Portsmouth, NH, with lots of potential for improvement.

Hard to find good pictures.


 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
Racine, Wisconsin (great downtown and lakefront)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (nice downtown, riverfront, neighborhoods)
Duluth, Minnesota (incredible vistas from the bluffs to Lake Superior)
Quincy, Illinois (one of the prettiest small, historic cities on the Mississippi, fantastic architecture)
Dubuque, Iowa (ditto, but a little larger; great riverfront redevelopments going on)
LaCrosse, Wisconsin (ditto again)
The Quad Cities (Davenport/Bettendorf IA, Rock Island/Moline IL) (Three great downtowns, distinct ethnic neighborhoods)
Kalamazoo, Michigan (michaelskis can tell you what a great town this is)
Fargo, North Dakota (great livability overcomes the climate)
Manchester, NH (historic, great topography, riverfront, strong growth)
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
The charm of small, rustbelt cities always captures me.

Quad Cities was nice, from what little I did see.

I have always meant to visit Quincy, IL.
 
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The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Future Nice Towns

I like:

Trinidad Colorado- Nice topography close to great mountains. Also a neat lost in time atmosphere.

Globe Arizona- Talk about gritty and industrial, but this place has major character that could become something great. Close to Phoenix. Surreal setting.

Montpelier Idaho- A funky remote town that seems to be a great family type setting in the moonscape that is southeastern Idaho....

Chatanooga Ten. - Although not a small city, this city is great!

Brandon Manitoba- Hey you Canadians should join in on this one.....or maybe souris (spelling) both were great places to visit!!! Golden BC also!!
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I think the city I work for (not the one I live in) is underrated... St. Albert, AB. It has a great little downtown that is going through some serious redevelopment. It has a great urban trail system and a river parkway corridor. Really nice neighbourhoods, too... but maybe I'm biased :)

Other towns/cities I love that are often overlooked:

La Conner, Washington. It has a great little main street and waterfront, with lots of beautiful older homes. Very well preserved, with a funky, artistic feel. It's a great place to hang out for an afternoon and is located right in the midst of the Skagit tulip fields.



Lone Pine, CA. This town is near so many great outdoor activites, I couldn't even list them all. And the views from just about anywhere in town are spectacular. Nearby are natural hotsprings, amazing skiing at Mammoth Mountain and June Lake, hiking galore... the Alabama Hills, Mt. Whitney and Death Valley are all nearby. ahhhhh... I miss Lone Pine.

Ashland, Oregon. Beautiful setting, well-preserved neighbourhoods, walkable downtown and an amazing arts program. It's become a bigger tourist attraction every summer. Go in the fall when things quiet down.

Cambria, California. This used to be a tiny little bump on the road on the way to San Simeon for us. I hear it's actually turning into its own little destination now with B&Bs and stuff, which is kind of a bummer. I guess if you have a pristine little town on unspoiled beaches with beautiful Victorians dating from the 1870s, then that's what happens. :( It used to look like how I always imagined 19th-century coastal California should look. I hope it hasn't changed too drastically though since I last saw it a decade ago.




Homer, Alaska. This is probably one of the most unique towns I have ever been to. Located almost at the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, you are surrounded by water on three sides, with countless mountain ranges in every direction. This is the halibut fishing capital of the world, and yet has been dubbed by Utne Reader as one of the most enlightened towns in America. The scenery is unsurpassed.

You can see the town of Homer below on the waterfront.



Edit: I almost forgot. Jerome, AZ! Awesome town on the edge of a hill. Near Sedona, it can often get over-run with tourists. But it's neat, it's totally worth the hassle.

 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Let's see about my list.

Charlottesville, VA-charming, historic, beautiful setting. A lovely place

Davis, CA -awesome college town.

San Luis Obispo, CA= fantastic central coast town with great downtown, 20 minutes from the beach, beautiful cycling country.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-great midwestern University city.

Kingston, Ontario. Didn't like Toronto very much (the architectural vernacular to me is pretty ugly), so Kingston redeemed Ontario for me. Beautiful lakeside parks, college town, nice brick historic architecture. Fantastic famers' market. One of the oveliest small cities in North America.

Petaluma, CA. Despite some ugliness, a really INTERESTING city that has avoided somewhat suburban blandness. Great downtown architecture with cool shops-fe chain retailers, thank goodness. Progressive planning (needed to voercome 125 years as the "Chicken Capital" on Northern California), some cool victorians downtown. Left Coast progressive politics. Beautiful pastureland surrounds the town (although when they are applying the "biosolids," it can be a little fragrant. I like the grittiness of Petaluma!
 
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5,352
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31
Natchez, MS - I've only visited it once, but I found the sleepy town on the Mississippi River very charming with its historic districts, plantation homes, good restaurants and interesting history.




 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
I'd have to vote for Bloomington, IN. College town, lovely old houses, one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, great variety of restaurants, most of them locally-owned...when I was in high school in Indy, we'd drive down to Bloomington to hang out and shop.
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
Although I am not really one to toot my own horn on these things, my hometown of Appleton, WI is a true hidden 'gem'. Wonderfull quality of life; no 'bad' neighborhoods anywhere in the metro area; active downtown (including a second-to-none nightlife); a strong, diverse and growing economy; lots of water all over and a STUNNING downtown skyline, especially when viewed from across the highly scenic Fox River valley, make it place that I feel truly priveliged to have grown up in.

Other under-rated small places that I can think of include Wausau, Stevens Point and Fond du Lac, WI.

Mike
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Pacific Grove California. America's last home town. Beautiful setting. All the pretentious folk want to live in Carmel or Carmel Valley, leaving PG more or less unspoiled by upward mobilites.

Healdsburg CA. My new neighborhing town, 15 miles to the south. Set in the middle of vineyards. Lots of tourist dollars coming in, but those dollars have not yet squeezed out the vibrant small merchants. It reminds me of Carmel by the Sea before the vibrant shops were squeezed out by galleries, real estate offices, and home furnishings.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Wulf9 said:
Healdsburg CA. My new neighborhing town, 15 miles to the south.

[OT]What a beautiful area to live! If I moved back to Cali, I would seriously consider living up towards your area (if I could afford it!)... I worked for the City of St. Helena one summer and commuted from Davis. I never minded the commute because it was so beautiful, especially when the fog would come over the hills. You're a lucky duck for living in that area![/OT]
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Wulf9 said:
Pacific Grove California. America's last home town. Beautiful setting. All the pretentious folk want to live in Carmel or Carmel Valley, leaving PG more or less unspoiled by upward mobilites.

.

True, but given that the CHEAPEST single-family house on realtor.com (a 685 square foot beauty) was $525,000.... :-}

I like Healdsburg, myself. Great bicycling country, fantastic town square.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
DecaturHawk said:
Racine, Wisconsin (great downtown and lakefront)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (nice downtown, riverfront, neighborhoods)
Duluth, Minnesota (incredible vistas from the bluffs to Lake Superior)
Quincy, Illinois (one of the prettiest small, historic cities on the Mississippi, fantastic architecture)
Dubuque, Iowa (ditto, but a little larger; great riverfront redevelopments going on)
LaCrosse, Wisconsin (ditto again)
The Quad Cities (Davenport/Bettendorf IA, Rock Island/Moline IL) (Three great downtowns, distinct ethnic neighborhoods)
Kalamazoo, Michigan (michaelskis can tell you what a great town this is)
Fargo, North Dakota (great livability overcomes the climate)
Manchester, NH (historic, great topography, riverfront, strong growth)

Great list, I have been to many of those places. I would also add Marquette Michigan. It is exciting, interactive, pedestrian friendly (in the summer) and has an urban feel in the downtown district, but a short walk and it is complete nature.

Also for more info on k-zoo click here!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Super Amputee Cat said:
Natchez, Mississippi

Ah, but Natchez was settled by....rich people. :(

But, since they were slaveowning farmers with taste instead of "yuppies," we can admirem their legacy :)
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I would say Missoula Montana is one of my favorite small cities. It is a college town, so you get all of the great restaurants, etc that go along with that. It was kind of like Madison, WI.

Other great small cities...

Bayfield, Wisconsin - you feel like you are in some eastern coastal town, not in northern Wisconsin.

Duluth Minnesota - (previously mentioned). Duluth gets lumped in with Superior, WI, which is a pretty crappy City, but the two are polar opposites.
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
Repo Man said:
I would say Missoula Montana is one of my favorite small cities. It is a college town, so you get all of the great restaurants, etc that go along with that. It was kind of like Madison, WI.

Other great small cities...

Bayfield, Wisconsin - you feel like you are in some eastern coastal town, not in northern Wisconsin.

Duluth Minnesota - (previously mentioned). Duluth gets lumped in with Superior, WI, which is a pretty crappy City, but the two are polar opposites.

I agree that Bayfield is a neat, interesting place. Don't forget their somewhat unique seasonal 'Ice Road' to Madeline Island. All of WI 13 north of US 2 is a NEAT drive, too. Well worth a day or overnight trip for anyone within range.

I'm still amazed at how MnDOT was able to thread I-35 through the northeast end of downtown Duluth, past the Fitger brewery, and make it fit in.

Mike
 

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
mgk920 said:
I agree that Bayfield is a neat, interesting place. Don't forget their somewhat unique seasonal 'Ice Road' to Madeline Island. All of WI 13 north of US 2 is a NEAT drive, too. Well worth a day or overnight trip for anyone within range.

I'm still amazed at how MnDOT was able to thread I-35 through the northeast end of downtown Duluth, past the Fitger brewery, and make it fit in.

Mike

Duluth is OK, but it's ridiculously isolated and actually tips into the unbearably cold range of temps. (I'm from the twin cities, so I understand the cold)

here's my top list (yeah, they're cities and towns, but so what):
1. Missoula, MT
2. New Haven, CT
3. Portsmouth, NH
4. Dubois, WY
5. New Paltz, NY
6. Hayward, WI
7. Gunnison, CO
8. Panguitch, UT

I could probably go on for a while. I won't.
 

jestes

Cyburbian
Messages
230
Points
9
Natchez, Mississippi

Having lived in Natchez for the better part of six years I have to respectfully disagree. While Natchez certainly has the potential to become a great small city it must first grow out of the "us versus them" mentality. The town is just entirely too cliqueish (sp?). As a new resident, the first question that I was usually asked when meeting someone was, "Are you a native?". Or to rephrase, "Did you great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great (well, you get the idea) grandfather live here, settle here, discover the land that is now Natchez. While there are areas of Natchez that are very beautiful with a lot of history and culture, there are also areas that are so completely run down and neglected that it is shameful. Natchez will never be "great" until it outgrows the idea that you have to "be" someone to contribute to the development and greatness of the city.

Having said all of that here are my votes:
Madison, Mississippi
Lafayette, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Fairhope, Alabama
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Hattiesburg and Petal, Mississippi if we can ever learn to control our sprawl mentality.
Point Clear, Alabama
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
New Smyrna Beach FL. Say "laid-back". Miles of beach, a downtown with funky little shops and little bungalows/beach houses, a great doggy park (really big, it'll take you 30 min. to traverse the boardwalk to the ocean with Rover pulling you along) right on the Atlantic, beachside restaurants/bars. My local beach, by the way, I'm there every Sunday in the summer. Not the place to go if you want a great nightlife. Ah, relaxation...
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
BKM said:
True, but given that the CHEAPEST single-family house on realtor.com (a 685 square foot beauty) was $525,000.... :-}

I like Healdsburg, myself. Great bicycling country, fantastic town square.

Pacific Grove Real Estate must be seen in the context of its surroundings. First, many people have lived there a long time and prefer to remain rather than cashing in on the housing windfall. Second, surrounding areas are even more expensive (Carmel, Carmel Valley, some of Monterey), so house owning locals who want to move to PG can sell and "trade straight across or down" to Pacific Grove. Finally, a lot of the houses are still rented at affordable monthly rents to long-term residents. It's the combination of Victorian cottages, spectacular public Bay frontage, and long-term residents that makes it a nice town.

Healdburg is a breath of fresh air. However, locals are starting to complain that there isn't any place left in town to buy normal cost things. All customers are tourists. Many very nice "local" stores are being forced out by high rents. That's a sad progression.
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
I second the "charlottesville, VA" and "Missoula, MT" votes...

I'd also have to add Bozeman, MT as a great small town- fantastic community of people, incredible outdoor amenities, and a heck of a "community conversation" about the future.

I think that Red Lodge, MT, and Salida, Colorado get my vote as two of my favorite tiny towns in the West.

I'd also like to put a plug in for my town- Laramie, WY. So many people blow through it on the interstate that they don't realize what a little gem it is. Potlucks every tuesday night at a different person's house, sunday evening art flicks at the old theater, groomed skate-skiing trails 10 miles away, a gritty and authentic downtown that's still kickin'- I'm gonna miss this place when I hit the road in a month.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I have to put in a good word for The Queen City of the Rockies -- Helena, Montana. A small but largely historic downtown, many fine Victorian houses (due to Helena's mining boom), mixed use neighborhoods, walking trails that take you from town to open space in the mountains, well-ordered neighborhoods (the city planning department is very good), good infrastructure planning and good cooperation between the city and the county on public improvement projects.

It is a nice place to live and work. I wasn't born here, but I consider it my hometown.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
vaughan said:
I second the "charlottesville, VA" and "Missoula, MT" votes...

I'd also have to add Bozeman, MT as a great small town- fantastic community of people, incredible outdoor amenities, and a heck of a "community conversation" about the future.

I completely agree with you on Missoula and Bozeman (especially Bozeman with it's proximity to Yellowstone), but I have to respectfully disagree with Charlottesville. Every year Charlottesville makes just about every list of best cities in America. So while it is a great, albeit kind of snotty, town, I would say it's hardly underated.

One small city that I haven't visited but keep hearing good things about is Charleston, West Virginia.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Wulf9 said:
Pacific Grove Real Estate must be seen in the context of its surroundings. First, many people have lived there a long time and prefer to remain rather than cashing in on the housing windfall. Second, surrounding areas are even more expensive (Carmel, Carmel Valley, some of Monterey), so house owning locals who want to move to PG can sell and "trade straight across or down" to Pacific Grove. Finally, a lot of the houses are still rented at affordable monthly rents to long-term residents. It's the combination of Victorian cottages, spectacular public Bay frontage, and long-term residents that makes it a nice town.

Well, everything has context, but $525,000 is a cold, hard number. As these older homes change hands, the social progression, while not as extreme as Carmel, will be there. True, for old time residents, it may indeed be a modest place, but for newcomers... I am somewhat giving you a hard time, anyway :)

Healdburg is a breath of fresh air. However, locals are starting to complain that there isn't any place left in town to buy normal cost things. All customers are tourists. Many very nice "local" stores are being forced out by high rents. That's a sad progression.

True. But, somehow the tackiness quotient I see in Sonoma is not as dominant in Healdsburg yet. For one thing, I would argue that 90s architecture and design is better than the 60s and 70s stuff that mars some of the square in downtown Sonoma (That cheese store building is ugly!) Sonoma doesn't have that cool evening passeo either.

Like I told a fellow resident, Vacaville (my residence) may not have nearly the amenities of Sonoma, Healdsburgh, or even now downtown Napa City, but our downtown is for Vacaville residents, not tourists. I really, really like that. I don't have a lot of love for the "Mass Tourism Industry."

I don't know what the answer is. Despite the theme of this thread, Americans build so many throwaway towns that, to paraphrase Kunstler, "Are not worth caring about" that "special" places become TOO desirable and thus too expensive. That's the nice thing about the Midwestern towns mentioned-they are not subject to the same price pressures that we see out here.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
What the top and bottom population limits for a "small" city?

Allentown
Easton, PA

Asbury Park/Ocean Grove
Cape May
Millville
Hoboken, NJ

New Castle, DE

Annapolis, MD

Charlottesville, VA

Asheville
Boone
Greeneville
Wilmington, NC

Charleston
Greenville
Columbia, SC

Chattanooga
Knoxville, TN
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
More Towns

Charleston West Virginia was a great place to visit years ago. Harpers Ferry West Virginia is another American Gem.
How about Burkettsville Maryland, Home of the Blair Whitch? What a great place. It used to be better when DEVA lifewear was there. Also Waterford Virginia is a singular place (History Oozes from every building)
Anyone been to Elko Nevada? Talk about Remote!
How about Hanksville Utah, another of my favorite remote towns...
Buffalo South Dakota?
 
Messages
124
Points
6
The One said:
Also Waterford Virginia is a singular place (History Oozes from every building)

Yeah you're right, Waterford is very interesting and hidden.

Newport, RI is a little touristy, but I lived there for a while and thought it was a very unique city - On an island, tons of history, the mansions, beautiful harbor, rocky coastline.

Portland, ME is way up there for me too, as well as Annapolis, MD
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
jestes said:
Having said all of that here are my votes:
Lafayette, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Hattiesburg and Petal, Mississippi if we can ever learn to control our sprawl mentality.

These all get my vote as well. I love Lafayette and nearby Henderson (best Cajun food anywhere but your mamma's kitchen)

I spent most of my formative years in Covington, which is still a great town, despite the way St. Tammany Parish has changed in the last decade.

Spent many a nice summer day in Bay St. Louis.

Hattiesburg was my home for five years while at USM.

My memories of Petal aren't so nice. My one foray into town ended up with a friend and I getting pulled over by the cops and arrested for possession of pot (fortunately a misdemeanor).

The One said:
Anyone been to Elko Nevada? Talk about Remote!

The One, what were you doing in Elko? Only reasons to be there is if you work in the mines or visit "the ladies" downtown ;-)
 

Hceux

Cyburbian
Messages
1,028
Points
22
BKM said:
Kingston, Ontario. Didn't like Toronto very much (the architectural vernacular to me is pretty ugly), so Kingston redeemed Ontario for me. Beautiful lakeside parks, college town, nice brick historic architecture. Fantastic famers' market. One of the oveliest small cities in North America.

Ugh. I don't know if I would ever nominate Kingston as being one of the loveliest small cities in North America. If it is, then I'm doomed to be very disappointed with much of North America!

BKM, you're correct that the very downtown part of Kingston if fortunate to have its lakeside parks, nice historic architecture, and farmer's market. I must also give the city some credits for its downtown core that hasn't been too "suburbanized" with one of those typical downtown malls anchored with department stores (which doesn't exist). It has very few ubiquitous chain names such as Gap, Starbucks (which just opened last month), and McDonald's as the rest of the core is made up of independent retail stores and restaurants. The close proximity of Queen's University, the Royal Military College, and the Sydenham Ward area consisting of mostly old red brick and limestone homes are nice too.

However, I must say that the rest of Kingston is pretty much terrible - I'm being polite here! The population here is very polarized. It's polarized between a small high-income population who are somehow linked to the post-secondary institutions and governmental services and a large population of low-income who seems to be visibly dominate the city so badly. Inadequate street grids and public transit system (which is financially supported by the post-secondary students' financial contribution through mandatory student fees), terrible suburban growth and development, small-town mentality and its overriding presence, high proportion of homeless people, high number of correctional services (i.e. jails, prisons, etc), and more are all morbid reminders of how I do not want to ever call Kingston my home after I'm done with my university studies here. Thankfully, there is just one more year for me to live here and then I'm out of here for good. At least I hope so!

Please give me some hope that there are plenty of other nice small town communities. I'd trade Kingston, Ontario, for Belleville, Ontario, anytime!

I'd also give my props up to these communities:

- Portland, Maine: I know it's a bit large to be a small city)
- Brockville, Ontario
- Chester, England: a magnificent town that has preserved its Roman ruins without doing the entire she-bang over its historic roots
- Medicine Hat, Alberta: I really liked what I saw from my bus ride through there. It is located in a nice valley with a wide river running through it. Nice looking homes there.
- Cobourg, Ontario: Over the last 15 years, it has been greatly improving.
- Cambridge, Ontario: oozes with small town amenities, old architecture, and friendliness
- Burlington, Vermont: I can't believe I almost forgot about that city. Its physical location by Lake Champlain, its islands, and the nearby mountains mixed with a good downtown core, youthful population, and small town amenities are what I admire about this city.
 

presOhio

Member
Messages
3
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0
Gotta take a stab at this... "small" cities are where its at... personality with room to breathe.

Some personal favorites:

- Kalamazoo, MI

OK, so its my native town, but since I moved away at age 2, that doesn't count. K-Zoo is an underated mid-size community, with a decent downtown (including a rare surviving Louis Sullivan facade), some amazing historic neighborhoods, an excellent liberal arts school, a large state university, a very strong arts scene for a community its size, a good location (weekends to Chicago are easy) --- and, to boot, it just has a nice "feel" to it.

- Dubuque, Iowa

Agree with the comments made before. Dubuque has had a rough couple of decades, particularly in downtown, but recent civic iniatiatives (like the opening of a former pedestrian-only Main Street) and some dynamic riverfront development have really worked to its advantage.

- Glens Falls, NY

Glens Falls is a slightly less "urbane" version of Saratoga Springs, its much heralded neighbor to the south. A beautiful downtown, great parks, a classy local art museum, minor league sports and access to the Adirondacks make this place a real gem in the rough.

- Madison, IN

Ah, Madison... there's only one. The "Williamsburg of the Midwest" is a Disneyland for adults, with block after block of "knock your socks off" 19th-century architecture... and the Ohio River to boot. The "new Madison," locally known as the "Hilltop," actually is hidden from downtown and neighborhoods, and requires a good 4 to 5 miles ride to reach.

- Galena, IL

Yeah, its touristy... but it sure is cute. The poster child city for brick Italianate architecture.

- Salt Lake City, UT

"Small?" Well, actually, while it has an urban air, when you get out into the neighborhoods surrounding downtown it feels like a small Midwestern city.

- Portsmouth, NH

Wow, what a place. History, great food, lots to do.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Sometimes I hesitate to name names. There are some towns that are NOT on this list.

MT: Since Red Lodge has been listed, it is one of my favs, for sure. Bozeman not so much - it has changed way too fast and my attitude is affected doing planning in Gallatin County. Missoula has more grit to it than Bozeman, but a grey winter.

CO: Gunnison also has a long winter and local politics are marred by the friction between up (Crested Butte) and down (Gunnison) valley. Still, it has lost less character than some other CO towns, like Durango, and has definite possibilities. An up and coming place in CO seems to be Cortez and its environs. Paonia needs (judging by the last election) at least 38 more progressive folks to move in.

THE MIDDLE: I just visited Quincy for the first time, and I agree that it has real potential. I think that Chadron and Valentine, NE are real sleepers, with good small town fabric to build on in the unique Sand Hills ecosystem. But it will be a while. I also find Rapid City, SD to be a pleasant stop in my travels.

VT: Having just landed in the Burlington, VT area I can say a) it is a great place, but b) it has already gotten very expensive! Real estate here is barely one notch down from a western resort town.

ID: I am a fan of Twin Falls, ID - it is too far from the mountains for many folks, but it has a good spirit. Idaho Falls and Pocatello also have easily overlooked assets. I do not recommend the Sun Valley area - ugly local politics. McCall retains some of its character.

UT: I still love Moab. It seems to have borne the changes better than most western resorts.

NJ: Millville? Really? I'll have to take a harder look next time we visit the kinfolk there.

There is still a serious dark side in some of the small places (Hanksville would be one example, Dubois would be another). I don't know about Elko's dark side, but highly recommend a stop at Bil Toki, the Basque restaurant for those who eat meat.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Lee Nellis said:
UT: I still love Moab. It seems to have borne the changes better than most western resorts.

I remember Moab from when it was a cow town and had little more than the old hotels "where John Wayne slept." The last twenty years have resulted in a very long, unattractive commercial strip. It is a shame that they did not think through where uses should locate before they lost the chance to create a more compact tourist destination. Now it is solely built around the car. Moab may be in a beautiful location, but it has lost its chance to be a beautiful city.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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Moderator
Messages
9,961
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41
Mine have all been mentioned by others....

Manchester, NH

Portsmouth, NH

Portland, ME

Burlington, VT
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I have to confess that one of the reasons I like Moab, is that you can't make it beautiful (although you can have very amenable places within it). So many other resorts are oriented only to the "beautiful people."
 

The One

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Messages
8,289
Points
30
Elko Bound

otterpop said:
These all get my vote as well. I love Lafayette and nearby Henderson (best Cajun food anywhere but your mamma's kitchen)

I spent most of my formative years in Covington, which is still a great town, despite the way St. Tammany Parish has changed in the last decade.

Spent many a nice summer day in Bay St. Louis.

Hattiesburg was my home for five years while at USM.

My memories of Petal aren't so nice. My one foray into town ended up with a friend and I getting pulled over by the cops and arrested for possession of pot (fortunately a misdemeanor).



The One, what were you doing in Elko? Only reasons to be there is if you work in the mines or visit "the ladies" downtown ;-)

Ha ha ha....I haven't been to Elko in 18 years :) I speak only of the towns geographical location.... :)

Other honorable mentions:
Vernal Utah- Utah's unsung remote town....Dinosaur/Flaming Gorge Canyon
Gateway Colorado - The Gateway BLM recreation area is one of the coolest places on EARTH.... Endless Round Boulders the size of mansions laying on top of the valley floor with Golden and Bald Eagles everywhere.....
Pinedale Wyoming- If you just want to walk away from it all.....
 

cololi

Cyburbian
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Cooke City, MT: Although it calls itself a city, this small town is hardly one. A small town located on the NE corner of Yellowstone, at the base of the Beartooths. Any place where the local restaurants sell off their entire inventory before winter is a good place. Even in winter.

Afton, WY gret setting, close enough to Jackson Hole to make a day trip, without all of the tourist impacts. No real main street, but a good western cowboy town.

Steamboat Springs, CO A great little town with a good old school main street.

Kamas and Oakley, UT Anyone who has been to the Uintah's has been through one of these towns.
 
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Here's a couple of southern underrated little cities:

Sarasota, FL
This waterfront city is under going on of the largest downtown development booms in state od Florida, despite having only 50,000 residents.

Macon, GA
Although the local economy isn't much to brag about, because of its historical layout and size, its CBD has the potential to be just as special as Savannah's if the right planner came along and new how to market it.

Lakeland, FL
This bedroom community between Tampa & Orlando has a good collection of older mature neighborhoods within walking distance of the CBD lttered with urban lakes, jogging paths, and a college designed by Frank Llyod Wright. Unfortunately, its run by an ultra-conservatist mindset, that results in city leaders outlawing bars, game rooms, and implementing height restrictions, for no logical reason, instead of coming up with ways to take advantage of its natural features. With all of that said, its still a beautiful place over looked by many.
 

BKM

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Hceux said:
Ugh. I don't know if I would ever nominate Kingston as being one of the loveliest small cities in North America. If it is, then I'm doomed to be very disappointed with much of North America!...I must say that the rest of Kingston is pretty much terrible - I'm being polite here! The population here is very polarized. It's polarized between a small high-income population who are somehow linked to the post-secondary institutions and governmental services and a large population of low-income who seems to be visibly dominate the city so badly. Please give me some hope that there are plenty of other nice small town communities. I'd trade Kingston, Ontario, for Belleville, Ontario, anytime! .

Wow. It HAS been a very long time (10+ years) and I was a tourist who stuck to the central area pretty much, so that explains my liking for Kingston. Surprisingly, I didn't like what I saw of Belleville or Brockton very much. I would agree about Burlington, but geez those winters would kill me.

Sarasota, FL
This waterfront city is under going on of the largest downtown development booms in state od Florida, despite having only 50,000 residents.

having done my long-ago college internship in the ugliest metropolitan area in the State (Pinellas county-ugh, and Tampa didn't appeal to me very much, either) Sarasota was a very nice change of pace. Loved the Florida version of Mediterranean revival.

(I understand Saint Petersburg has actually done a lot downtown, but I recently read that Clearwater voters turned down a downtown revitalization program. Do the Scientologists still run downtown Clearwater?)
 

Cirrus

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The three big(ish) cities of Western Maryland: Frederick, Hagerstown and Cumberland.

Cheyenne, WY
 
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Some of these are towns, but oh well:
New Glarus, WI - Go for the beer and polka, stay for the deep fried cheese curds
Rochester, NY - Yeah - very sad about Kodak, et al, but a beautiful city and slowly emerging downtown. Go Redwings!
Greenville, SC - Excellent dining and nightlife - great events downtown.
 

Kiltie

Member
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Prescott, AZ - it has it all - small town historic feel, great outdoor rec opportunities, and great climate!
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
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Kiltie said:
Prescott, AZ - it has it all - small town historic feel, great outdoor rec opportunities, and great climate!

One of my best friends just bought the eco house there. I barely remember Prescott from the times I passed through on the way to Jerome/Sedona/Grand Canyon, but I recall it as being a nice little town.
 

Howard Roark

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Columbus Indiana is one of the coolest little towns on earth. In my opinion, the modern aarchitecture blends seemlessly with the traditional 19th and early 20th century built stock, easily walkable with a delight around every turn, also last time I was there I found a good bar that was filled with Hoosier Cardinal fans.
 
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I tend to like larger cities best. My small city list includes:

Lawrence, KS A great university town. My 1/2 alma mater.
Annapolis, MD - Where I do begin? However, it's prone to severe flooding as Hurricane Isabel proved last fall.
Ithaca, NY - I liked the town itself, especially it's topography. However, I didn't like the surrounding area.
 
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