The Coolest Small Towns in America 2012 list was developed via an annual contest to find the best hometown escapes in the country. Unlike more official studies of great places to call home, which are comprised of results based upon economic levels, quality schools, and crime rates, this small towns compilation is based solely on the eclectic atmosphere a municipality possesses.
Beaufort, North Carolina earned the top spot this year, based primarily on its salty spirit and Southern charm. The municipality boasts restored 17th and 18th century buildings, unique animal topiaries, incredible gumbo at the Langdon House Bed and Breakfast, and the Coastal Community Market, a thriving health food store. Undomesticated horses roaming freely along Taylors Creek where the pirate Blackbeard one sailed, is a popular spot with both tourists and locals. The Backstreet Pub is known as one of the funkiest dive bars around, offers live music and even a lending library for sailors. Beaufort has a population of 4,039 people.
What Hammondsport, New York lacks in size it makes up for in character. The second place municipality has a population of only 661 residents. The area is often referred to as the recycling capital of America and has a rich wine country history. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum boasts vintage seaplanes. The Aroma Coffee Art Gallery is known around the region for the birdhouses made out of scrap wood on display inside the business, according to Fox Business.
Weaverville, California, population 3,600, was ranked third on the grouping of awesome places to live. The municipality is home to the Joss House State Historic Park and was once a thriving Gold Rush village. The 132-year-old Weaverville Hotel is the epitome of Victorian beauty, complete with four-poster beds and clawfoot bathtubs. The 138-year-old working Chinese temple is sight to behold. Chinese immigrants who faced discrimination in other areas were welcomed in the Gold Rush town and eventually accounted for 25 percent of the overall population.
The other eclectic hometowns on noted as winners in the annual contest include Damascus, Virginia, Nashville, Indiana, Port Townsend, Washington, Cape May, New Jersey, Jerome, Arizona, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and Cooke City, Montana.