Thursday, May 04, 2017

Smithsonian magazine names 20 best small towns to visit in 2017

Shenandoah River in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., pop. 293
While trying to decide where to take a vacation this year, you might consider traveling to an interesting or scenic rural town, perhaps one that Smithsonian magazine included in its sixth annual list of America's Best Small Towns.

"We once again consulted geographical information company Esri to identify tiny towns chock full of local culture, history and natural beauty," Jackie Mansky reports for Smithsonian. "We then narrowed down our list to pinpoint the destinations that are especially worth making the trip to this year—whether they’re celebrating a special birthday, commemorating a famous resident or happen to be smack on the path of the 'Great American Eclipse',” which will traverse the nation on Aug. 21.

The list of 20 towns includes: Talkeetna, Alaska; Harpers Ferry, W.Va.; Rockland, Maine; Kent, Conn.; Makanda, Ill.; Grand Marais, Minn.; Ojai, Calif.; Snowmass Village, Colo.; Abilene, Kan.; Spencer, Iowa; Mineral Point, Wis.; Hana, Hawaii; Bell Buckle, Tenn.; Oakland, Md.; Zoar Village, Ohio; Rincón, Puerto Rico; De Smet, S.D.; Cheraw, S.C.; Page, Ariz.; and Hill City, S.D.

The smallest town on the list is Zoar Village, pop. 178. It was founded by German religious separatists and became "one of the longest-running communal settlements in American history," Smithsonian reports. "After its dissolution in 1898, many tenants chose to stay behind. . . . Zoar still looks like a German village from the 1800s. It has over 50 of its original historic structures and buildings, not to mention its iconic garden, which takes up two acres in the center of the town," which was recently designated as a National Historic Landmark and is celebrating its bicentennial.

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