Every US State’s Best Small Town List from Far and Wide

Here’s the list.  I’m interested to hear what places I have right and wrong in the categories I placed each town based on your experiences.

(click on the link to view her picks)-

Every U.S. State’s Best Small Town

Feel free to look down the list for yourself.  I’ve quickly checked it out and there are some that left me thinking I really gotta add that to my wish list and some state’s best small towns according to this list left me saying to myself that if that was the best they had to offer that’s pretty sad.
That being said what some people are looking for may not excite me at all and vice verse.
Here’s my curation from the author Lissa with two s’s 🙄 list and the number next to it where she ranked them.

Places I’d definitely like to visit

Sedona  3
Carmel California  5
Mystic Ct  7
Florida Sanibel Island 9
Dahlonega Ga 10
Hanelei HI 11
Bar Harbor 19
Rhode Island: Bristol 39
North Carolina: Ocracoke Island 33
Oregon: Cannon Beach 37
South Carolina: Beaufort 40

The Jury is out  (I need to know more)

Kentucky- Grand rivers 17
Edgartown Massachusetts 21 Kinda surprised out of all the cool towns they picked Edgartown.  Not Newburyport, Salem or Gloucester?
New Jersey Cape May 30  looks pretty but need to see more
New Mexico Taos 31 different need to see more
Vermont: Stowe 45
Washington: Friday Harbor 47
Wyoming: Jackson 50

Yeah That’s Gonna Be a Hard Pass-

Either based on the descriptions or photos I have zero interest in visiting these joints.
Sitka her rank 2
Iowa Winterset 15
kansas abeline 16
Louisiana St Francisville 18
Maryland- Ocean City (looks like a carnival from the picture) 20
Michigan Traverse City 22
Minnesota Grand Marais 23
Missiisppi New Albany 24
Missouri Weston 25
Montana Whitefish 26
Nebraska City Nebraska 27
Nevada Genoa 28
New Hampshire Merideth 29  meh
New York Cooperstown 32
North Dakota: Garrison 34
Ohio: Marietta 35
Oklahoma: Davis 36
Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe 38
South Dakota: Spearfish 41
Tennessee: Gatlinburg 42
Texas: Marfa 43
Utah: Moab 44
Virginia: Williamsburg 46
West Virginia: Berkeley Springs 48
Wisconsin: Mineral Point 49

Winter Market Rockport

Come on by the Rockport Exchange Winter Farmers Market, Saturday, February 8th from 11a-3pm inside the old Smith Lumber building at 17 Railroad Ave. We will have a fun variety of #local #homemade #locallygrown deliciousness! #music #food #farmersmarket #halvah #produce #almondbutter #hotsauce #jam #jelly and more….
February 8, 2020
11- 03:00
17 Railroad Avenue
Rockport, MA
Hosted by

Concord Massachusetts MOTT spotlight | Little Women, Great Buildings, writing, history and hikes — plus ties to #GloucesterMA

Heading from Gloucester & Cape Ann to Concord makes for easy nature hikes and must see visits year round. Winter walks on mild days offer unobstructed views. It’s remarkable how many points of interest and preservation are within walking distance — or brief drives– from each other.

Concord Museum

 

The Concord Museum expansion, the Little Women film impact, and Carol Thistle are featured in the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Industry Update from January 2020 (MOTT). Read the full January 2020 news and stats here for inspiration. Nice to see North Shore highlighted.

“On behalf of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Happy New Year to our tourism colleagues around the world, as we embark on an exciting new year and a new decade here in Massachusetts. We are looking forward to a busy and productive year.  
In-state initiatives on our horizon include Plymouth 400, the Restaurant Promotion Commission, a new Historic Women Trailblazers of Massachusetts initiative in honor of the 100th anniversary of the right to vote for women, and a major exhibit on King Tut coming to Boston in June. On MOTT’s international front, we have trade opportunities in Germany, Japan and South Korea in the coming months, as well as two of our most important tourism conferences, DNE and IPW. In this month’s MA Spotlight, we profile Concord Museum’s Marketing & PR Director Carol Thistle, who shares details about exciting new exhibits coming up in 2020 here.” 

Concord Museum expansion Little Women Concord Mass Carol Thistle featured in Mass Office of Travel & Tourism Industry Update Jan 2020 (MOTT)

Massachusetts Mass Film Map Little Women

Mass Film map Little Women

“…we are so excited about the Little Women film and we have already seen an increase in visitation to Concord because of it. Louisa May Alcott’s copper tea kettle that she used as a nurse during the Civil War is showcased in the Museum. Louisa almost died during the endeavor and was inspired to write her first published work, Hospital Sketches, which helped launch her remarkable and prolific career as one of America’s favorite writers.” – excerpt from Carol Thistle interview for MOTT spotlight Jan 2020

On exhibit at the Concord Museum through June 7, 2020 Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

Special events featured here– save the dates!

Concord Museum save the date

The $13 million capital campaign supported construction of the new Anna and Neil Rasmussen Education Center, which opened in fall 2018. What are some of the educational features? With this state-of-the-art Center, we host Forums on women’s suffrage, the abolition movement, revolutionary history, decorative arts and other topics connected to our collection. Since the opening of the Rasmussen Education Center, the Museum has served 14,000+ students through a variety of curriculum-based educational programs. Kids can explore the world of Henry David Thoreau, cook over an open hearth, and learn about Native culture through archaeology and so much more. In 2019, the Paul Revere’s Fund provided free bus transportation to the Museum and underwrote all program fees for nearly 4,000 students from Lowell, Lawrence, and Everett.”

One of the greatest joys in my marketing and public relations career has been promoting so many incredible destinations in our state. Massachusetts has so much to offer local, national and international visitors with its natural beauty, seacoast and of course its history.  In the past 25 years, through branding campaigns and strategic marketing, I have promoted some of Boston’s key icons, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Boston Harbor Islands and the Museum of Science – as well as the cities of Gloucester and Salem.  For the past 3 ½ years, I have been the Marketing Director for the Concord Museum as it has undergone an exciting $13 million dollar capital campaign, expansion and renovation. I’m also currently serving on the Board of the Concord’s Chamber of Commerce as well as the Advisory Board for both Discover Concord and the Town of Concord’s new Tourism initiative.” – excerpt from Carol Thistle interview for MOTT spotlight Jan 2020

Plan ahead because there’s so much in close proximity. It’s easy to park at one of these sites and walk to the others.

Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Concord, Mass. Emerson’s home of 50 years is situated across from the Concord Museum and a two minute walk from Alcott’s family home. The house belonged to his wife, Ellen Tucker who died of TB at twenty in 1831, just two years into their young marriage. Emerson supported Thoreau, Alcott’s father (Bronson Alcott) and Hawthorne because of spousal inheritance. He married Lydian in 1835 in Plymouth, Mass. They raised a family in the Concord home.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Emerson itemized “Gloucester” in his pocket journal entries because he came here for work and pleasure: as a  Gloucester Lyceum invited speaker; with friends, most notably a famous walk here with Thoreau; visited Rockport in August 1855 and Pigeon Cove with family in 1856 (where he is remembered as the Inn in Rockport Mass most famous guest). Art fans aside: his ancestor, Thomas Emerson, built Arthur Wesley Dow’s house in Ipswich!

 

Lousia May Alcott home of Little Women Orchard House

Founded in 1912 (!), the museum is the long time family home where Alcott wrote and set Little Women website  Ralph Waldo Emerson backed her father’s work. Thoreau was her schoolteacher.

“When she was about seven her father enrolled her in a school taught by Thoreau, then 23. Thoreau often took his students out of the classroom into the woods. He  taught them about birds and flowers, gathering lichens, showing them a fox den and deer tracks, feeding a chipmunk from his hand.

Sometimes he took the children on his boat, the Musketaquid, and gave them lessons as they floated down the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. As they passed the battlefield where the American Revolution started, he explained how the farmers had defended themselves against the redcoats. Louisa recorded her vivid memories of those field trips in Moods.” excerpt New England Historical Society

Gloucester – Concord connections: Alcott stayed on Rocky Neck when she visited Gloucester.

 

Walden Pond

Concord, Mass. Don’t forget that Walden Pond is right here, too! Hike to the site of the Henry David Thoreau cabin which he built on Emerson’s land and stayed 2-2-2 (as in two years, two months, two days) over  1845-47.

“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond, published 1854. 

Combining this stop with downtown Concord underscores the scalability of his solitude and deep nature study, and how it was made possible with support from cherished family and friends. (Since it’s pretty much his back yard, no wonder he could walk home!)

Thoreau lived at 255 Main Street in downtown Concord from 1850 until his death in 1862. His former student, Louisa May Alcott, bought the historic house for her sister. She and her father lived there, too.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Walden Pond NPS Visitor Center designed by architect MaryAnn Thompson, same firm that built Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester, Mass. Thoreau came to Gloucester at least twice that we know of- in 1848 as an invited speaker by Gloucester Lyceum hosted in the town hall; and in 1854 as the penultimate stop of his north shore trek. Dogtown.

Temple Ahavat Achim Gloucester Mass. designed by Mary Ann Thompson architect. photograph ©c ryan Jun 2017
Temple Ahavat Achim Gloucester Ma designed by MaryAnn Thompson 2012 (photo July 2017)

 

Gropius House

Lincoln, Mass. (Walden Pond/Concord line). A Historic New England property, Gropius House  is a landmark Bauhaus residence now museum built in 1938, the same year as MoMa’s legendary Bauhaus exhibition. Marcel Breuer’s house 1 is down the hill.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Mass Modern trail and great buildings. Don Monell and other modern inspiration can be found on Cape Ann. The Graduate school at Harvard designed by Gropius was a TAC (The Architects Collaborative) build in 1950. TAC was founded in 1945 with the clout addition of Gropius who continued with the firm until his death in 1969. Original 7 founders were Norman Fletcher, Louis McMillen, Robert McMillan, Benjamin C. Thompson*,  Jean Fletcher, Sarah Harkness and John Harkness. Twenty years later, Monell’s Plum Cove elementary school design in 1967 in Glocuester Mass was leveraged by partnering with The Architects Collaborative. Gloucester’s Plum Cove school is a TAC build. (Wikipedia lists several commissions. The school could be added.) This early 20th century history in Concord could inspire another movie.

*Jane (Fiske McCullough) Thompson and Deb Allen were co-founding editors of Industrial Design; Thomson had worked at MoMa for Philip Johnson. She married Ben Thompson in 1969. To my knowledge, no relation to architect MaryAnn Thompson who designed the Walden Pond visitor center. 

 

The Marcel Breuer House 1 (1939) at 5 Woods End Road is essentially nestled into the Gropius hill property. Floor plans and interior photo published here are from the Marcel Breuer papers in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution collection. It was added to the National Historic Register in 1988. Minutes away conservation land was set aside thanks to 20th Century modernist architect, Quincy Adams. He served on the town’s conservation committee and donated hundreds of acres of his family’s land for green space.

Marcel Breuer house 1 lincoln mass_floorplans Smithsonian archives

Marcel Breur papers Smithsonian

Six Moon Hill

Lexington, Mass. One could drive to Six Moon Hill after stops mentioned above, on the way back to Gloucester. It’s about 15 minutes from the Gropius House. Six Moon Hill is the nick name for an enclave of neighborhood homes in Lexington, Massachusetts, designed by the modernist architects of The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC) between 1948 and 1950. (The Gropius home was already optimally sited within the Walden Pond/Thoreau orbit. I’d wager intentionally so, a poetic and multidimensional nod to the natural and built environment and how to live. This dialogue among masters across centuries is another reason I believe Maryann Thompson’s visitor center is ideal.)

“Six Moon Hill is a community of twenty-nine Mid-Century Modern houses designed by members of The Architects Collaborative (TAC), beginning in 1948… The property was purchased by the TAC architects in 1947 so they could build inexpensive homes for themselves, their growing families and their friends, and express Modernist socially progressive ideals. A corporation was formed, creating by-laws affecting future development, maintenance and communal responsibilities. The parcel was originally part of a farm, and while the land was initially used for grazing, the steeper areas had reverted to forest at the time of the purchase. Most of Moon Hill is on a ridge with rocky outcrops, wooded with oak and conifers. The impact of construction has been minimized, leaving the site as natural and undisturbed as possible” read more from the historical survey here

Art historian Simon Schama resided on Moon Hill between 1981 and 1993.

Don’t miss what’s nearby!

Concord Mass. Points interest_Thoreau Walden Pond_downtown Concord_ Ralph Waldo Emerson_Louisa May Alcott_Concord Museum_Gropius_Moon Hill Road_decordova Minute Man Nat Park_Drumlin Park ©c ryan

Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm is a five minute or so drive from the Gropius house. Moon Hill Road is more like 15-20 minutes. Minute Man National Park and Decordova are here, too. There are ample and varied scenic treks to mix it up for repeat visits.

It May Indeed Go Nowhere….

Hockey for my boys, may indeed go nowhere…but, it has already gone everywhere.  Everywhere important that is.
This season alone, with two full months of hockey left to be played, between my two boys (who, mind you, are only 12 and 10) we already have 92 games in the books. We have spent 14 nights in hotel rooms…in six different states. When I got an oil change on November 7th the new sticker on my windshield told me that I should be due for the next one on April 7th. My hockey mobile made it, instead, to the end of December. If that doesn’t sum up how my weekends roll, I don’t know what does.
Lots of miles, lots of practices, lots of games, lots of scheduling, lots of dividing and conquering, lots of travel, lots of eating in the car, lots of gear, lots of money….did I mention lots of money…but, more importantly, lots of smiles, lots of lessons, growth, memories, laughs, and friendships.
I was asked the other day if I wished that my boys had never caught “the hockey bug.” I’d be lying if I tried to convince you that I’ve never complained. I have complained. Lots. The rinks are cold, the gear isn’t always as fragrant as I might like, the gas tank is always empty, sleep is often scarce…and, regrettably, I have to say “no” to a lot of life that unfolds outside of all things hockey. But, no, I don’t wish to change or cure any of it. And, dare I say, I have the bug too.
We do all of this because, obviously, we expect our boys to play at some super high level of hockey…if not the pros, right? (Insert eye roll) Ummm…no. No we don’t. That is not at all why we do this. In fact, I’m already feeling the sense of loss that will undoubtedly come crashing down when high school ends and there’s no longer a hockey schedule to adhere to or cold bleachers to sit on….because, I very much expect that there won’t be.
So, why spend this much money and such a significant part of the boys’ childhoods for something that we suspect will simply end one day? And end with very little fanfare at that. Something that may, indeed, go nowhere? Well, because, it has already gone, truly, everywhere.
Sure, my boys have a pretty impressive little collection of medals, and trophies, and awards, and titles, and championships. They also have plenty of losses and stretches when it felt like they might seriously never win again. But, you know what else they have? They have confidence, resilience, courage, strength, grit, compassion, independence, determination, drive, commitment….and much thicker skin than they would have without hockey. And then….then….there are the memories. The laughs. The stories. The good times. The silly one-liners that no one else in the world understands because they weren’t there. The friends.
There are lessons to be learned each and every time my boys take the ice….and something to hold on to from each and every game. The lessons often have to do with sportsmanship and fair play….the old “there’s no “I” in team”, “you need to work just as hard at being a good teammate as being a good player” etc. Sometimes what they learn, however, has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. Sometimes it has to do with being a friend…being strong…being forgiving…being imperfect. Sometimes it is as simple as remembering to hug their grandparents and thank them for coming to watch them skate…no matter what the scoreboard says or how drained they feel. Sometimes the lessons are out of the rink as well.  The dance of packing, unpacking, navigating hotel check-ins, tipping, and traveling as a team.  Lessons in respect to hotel and restaurant staff…lessons in communicating with teammates’ families who come to cheer, and support, and be an important part of the bigger picture.   Sometimes they fail at all of it, but…then, they learn.
Sometimes my boys play with the confidence of knowing that they’re good… knowing that they contribute each and every shift…knowing that their team is better for having them on it. Sometimes my boys play and feel defeated….even after a big win. Sometimes they leave the rink and just can’t wait to get in the car because they feel like they didn’t play well….or, maybe, they were told they could have played better. Fair enough. Sometimes they score, they give assists, they feel on top of the world. Sometimes, during a power play, they’re the ones to get called off….and sometimes, at the end of a close game, they’re the ones to sit out a shift. Sometimes they feel appreciated…sometimes they feel, well, not. Sometimes their feelings are validated, sometimes…well, they’re not. It is by no means always happy….it’s hard, and it’s awesome, and it’s painful, and it’s amazing. It builds them up ….and it knocks them down just as quickly. But, they love it…and they know it comes with both highs and lows…and they never, ever want to quit.
They have, indeed, made friends…and, do you know what? So have I. They have learned to trust, to cheer, to support, and to truly love their teammates. And, do you what? So have I.
If you’re lucky enough to land on teams such as those that we have, you soon have a community unlike any other. It may start with casual conversation at the rink, slowly getting to know each other, soon…maybe “friending” each other on social media. Much like being a new student at a new school…or a new employee at a new job…you start to meet others. You start to ebb and flow in a more consistent rhythm….coming together soon in a circle that gets closer….and tighter. Soon you start recognizing siblings, and grandparents, and aunts + uncles. Soon, most likely, you learn what people do for work, how they take their coffee, and what they drink on a Saturday night. When the blanket is left on the bleachers….you find that you know who it belongs to and maybe even how long they’ve had it. Soon you’re not just getting to know the other families…you actually know the other families…and, honestly, it feels like you’ve known them forever.
The kids become closer…they start seeing each other outside of the rink….and so, happily, do the grown-ups. If you’re lucky enough to land on teams such as those that we have, you’re in for quite a ride. Tournament weekends feel like college all over again and you laugh so much that you cry. You might soon discover that you drink things you never thought you’d drink, you stay up later than you have in years, and each and every game your kids play feels like the Stanley Cup. Hysterical group texts are often the closest thing to a book you’ve read all season and inside jokes make you spontaneously laugh mid-week…at the most inconvenient times.
You complain about the traveling and the hotel bills, but you feel a sense of loss when the foreseen schedule doesn’t involve nights away. You’re a hockey parent. The kids love each other…but, they sometimes get on each other’s nerves. You love the coaches, but sometimes you feel like things aren’t fair. The coaches love coaching….but sometimes they’re frustrated and expect more. You’re a hockey team.
Hockey, for my boys, has already gone, truly, everywhere. Yes, sure, geographically, we have gone lots of places… but, that’s not what I mean. More importantly, it has seeped into their little beings and has been the backbone for who they have become…and are certainly still becoming. It has, without a doubt, shaped them and defined their childhoods and our family dynamic. It has built family bonds and routine and, of course, memories. It has filled the basement with equipment, baskets with precious team shirts, bookshelves with souvenirs, albums with photos, and our lives with something we all love.  Hockey, years from now, will be something that my boys hopefully play in an over-thirty league with some good buddies late on Sunday nights. It may indeed go nowhere other than that but, I assure you, it has already given everything and gone everywhere…everywhere important that is.
Thank you to all who have brought this joy, this camaraderie, this craziness, and this sport into our lives.  Thank you to the coaches, volunteers, teammates, friends, and families.  Thank you to Cape Ann Youth Hockey and the North Shore Coyotes Hockey Club! We’re so thankful for you all.
Squirt 1 Team
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Orda-CANAM-CANAM Hockey 1980 Rink-id242423188_withBorder
North Shore Coyotes Hockey Club: U14 Bantams

 

Hale St. Tavern

We had a great dinner at the Hale St. Tavern last weekend. It was very busy with college hockey fans and parents. Several families were having dinner as well so it’s family friendly. Danielle from Gloucester was our server (wonderful job). My burger was excellent and Jim enjoyed his fish sandwich. The Tavern will be closing as of Feb 3 for renovations that are expected to take 2weeks. I am looking forward to a return trip, perhaps with friends.

First Responders, Claim Your $500. Discount On Solar Installation, Roofing or Window Replacements from Cazeault Solar & Home!

Cape Ann Home

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It’s Cazeault Solar & Home!  “Best Of The North Shore Magazine”
The Readers of “BONS” magazine awarded us Number #1 for Solar and Home.
We are thrilled that you voted for us and we wanted to say a sincere Thank You to you.
We also wanted to tell our dedicated staff that, “You…

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