Monday, November 1, 2010

The Appeal of Small Town Travel

I'm a city girl, always have been, and always will be (given job, relationship and financial status). And while I may not want to live in a smaller town, I am not opposed to visiting them. In fact, they can be a nice escape from the whirlwind of city life. As I was reading through GQ Magazine--yes, I'm broadening my horizons--I came across an article in their travel section about what makes small towns so great to visit. They also profiled a few small towns around the US that have some noteworthy characteristics and attractions for tourists to enjoy. After reading through the article, I got to thinking about what makes a small town special, and what it really boils down to is the overall feel.

Small towns have a homey, welcoming quality to them that is difficult to find in big cities. The sheer size makes large cities seem commercial and flashy, while small towns provide a more personal, intimate environment. And while there may be more to see and do in a city, there is plenty to keep a person busy in smaller towns. And sometimes the less there is to do, the better. I mean, the idea behind a vacation is to relax, right?

Some of the towns mentioned in the article included Charleston, South Carolina; Portland, Maine; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have never been to any of these locations, but I have written about Charleston for my freelance travel writing job. I know that I was interested in visiting after researching it for that article, but after hearing more about it, I want to go even more now. Apart from the world-class dining and elite accommodations, it is also incredibly easy to get around the city via bicycle or walking. You can see practically everything in one day, but why would you want to? It's a better idea to stretch things out and dedicate one day to a single attraction, simplifying the whole vacation and allowing you to really absorb everything Charleston has to offer.

Portland and Santa Fe also seemed to have many of the same appealing factors: good food, nice hotels, interesting attractions, all wrapped up in a convenient package. There are plenty of other small towns worth mentioning, including Providence, Rhode Island; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Little Rock, Arkansas. I know there are a lot more that I'm not mentioning, and even more that I don't know anything about. So tell me about some that you know of, or perhaps your own home town. I'd love to hear about places I should visit.

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