WHAT IS A 'DESIRABLE' SMALL TOWN?
How do we describe the ambiance or personality of the towns on this website? The adjectives historic, small, quaint, charming, romantic come to mind. Or we could employ the phrases “a step back in time”, “picture postcard” or “small town Americana at its best”. Many have historic districts, attractive store fronts on Main Street, antique shops, art stores or other boutiques, Victorian homes, bed and breakfast lodging. Because of their distinctive quality, numerous towns on our website have been Hollywood film locations.
As you enter these towns, they should pass the following emotional tests:
1. Does this town remind you of a Currier and Ives print?
2. Do you think to yourself “I can’t wait to tell my friends about this place”?
3. Do you wonder if there is enough capacity in your camera?
4. Is this place similar to the town where your grandmother was raised?
5. Could this be the great retirement location I've been searching for?
6. Wouldn't this be a safe, wholesome place to raise children?
The following criteria are used to earn our approval:
- Distinctive Architecture
- Part of the downtown has been designated a state or national historic district
- Numerous commercial and residential properties recognized by the National Register of Historic Places
- An abundance of stone or brick buildings in downtown
- Pedestrian/bicyclist friendly. Wide sidewalks with frequently-spaced shaded benches
- Bike or walking path
- County seat with historic courthouse
- Visitors Center
- Lampposts along the main thoroughfare
- Large fountains in green spaces
- Luxurious tree and flower landscaping
- Art galleries, antique stores, and specialty boutiques
- College or university in or near the town
- Bed-and-breakfast lodging, usually in Victorian or Bungalow-style housing
- Gourmet coffee shops and bakery
- Ice cream parlor and confectionery shops
- Drug store with vintage soda counter
- Historic opera house offering live performances
- Free summertime concerts in the park
- Clock towers with chimes
- Brick/cobblestone sidewalks or streets
- A river or canal flows through the downtown
- Proximate to a lake or ocean
- Clean, easily accessible public restrooms
- Wooden picket or wrought iron fences
- Wrought iron railings on upper-story balconies
- Unusual scenery nearby
- Vintage train station with antique locomotive,caboose and passenger cars offering excursion rides.
- Iron or covered bridges
- Tourist trolley buses and horse-drawn carriages
- Abundant and decorative trash receptacles
- Kiosks containing downtown map and directory
- Historic markers along downtown streets
- Old service station with antique vehicles