The following article, “America’s Quirkiest Towns”, is the 2nd part of Huffington Posts’ ‘The Blog’ article posted by Katrina Brown Hunt, taken from Travel+Leisure Sept. 3, 2014.
America’s Quirkiest Towns (PHOTOS)
Paul Stone loves the colorful locals he sees on Boulder, Colorado’s downtown plaza, the no-cars-allowed Pearl Street Mall… That double-jointed blend is probably why the Colorado mountain town also made the top 20 for quirky locals, according to Travel + Leisure readers…
No. 8 Charlottesville, VA
Thomas Jefferson certainly had his share of eccentricities, and his old stomping ground has carried on the tradition. The hometown school, UVA (which helped the town rank well for its techy factor), was the alma mater of Edgar Allen Poe, and his dorm room is still preserved behind glass (and no, there doesn’t seem to be a beating heart underneath the floorboards). The town also got high marks for its barbecue—such as the brisket and ribs at Buttz BBQ—but you might see even more local eccentrics at Holy Cow, a vegan restaurant that does a barbecue version of the mythic jackalope (in this case, jackfruit).
No. 9 Bloomington, IN
No one knows exactly where the termHoosiers came from, but these proud Indianans embrace the idea of being a little unpredictable. After all, the midwestern town has been a hotbed for Tibetan Buddhists for decades. You can stroll the gardens at the Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Buddhist Monastery, or explore the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, established by the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother. To eat like a Tibetan, try the steamed-dumpling momos at Anyetsang’s Little Tibet. And to see why the college town also excelled in beer, check out Upland Brewing Company, popular for its patio, live music, and fabulous sour lambics.
No. 10 Sonoma, CA
Readers love this wine country town because it hasn’t gotten too posh: you’ll still find historic sites, such as General Vallejo’s house from the 1850s, along with contemporary local eccentrics such as the Dancing Jogging Lady, who has her ownFacebook fan page. Sonoma also ranked in the top 10 for its adobe town square—lined with a dozen-plus wine-tasting rooms—as well as its coffee. A good place to hang with the locals is The Epicurean Connection, a café right off Sonoma Plaza that offers local wine, cheese-making classes, and goat-milk lattes.
No. 11 Burlington, VT
This town on Lake Champlain gave the world the ultimate quirky college band (Phish) as well as Ben & Jerry’s, which started here in a former gas station—and no doubt helped Burlington rank highly in the survey for ice cream. It also scored well for cool souvenirs—like the locally made maple syrups and stuffed Hugg-a-Planets at thePeace and Justice Store—and wine, such as the bottles from East Shore Vineyard. For something quirkier, check out the tasting room for Citizen Cider, which features artisan alcoholic ciders including the AmeriCran, made with fermented cranberries.
No. 12 Lewisburg, WV
Any town that names its own performance space Carnegie Hall has confidence, and indeed this Greenbrier County town also scored well in the survey for civic pride. The mountain town’s Civil War past—1862’s Battle of Lewisburg, which the Union won—delivered big points in the history category, and it also ranked highly for historic inns like the General Lewis, which is filled with antiques, Civil War–era tools, and a resident ghost. Come in autumn to join the Zombie 5K, which invites runners to zombie-fy themselves and chase others for motivation. Lewisburg also impressed readers with less-threatening festivities like April’s Chocolate Festival.
No. 13 Tiburon, CA
Once a rowdy railroad town, this Marin County community evolved into an upscale enclave for San Francisco transplants. But walk along its main street and you can explore Ark Row, comprising stores built out of old houseboats. To lounge with the locals—and get great views of the skyline, Angel Island, and Alcatraz—go to the deck ofSam’s Anchor Café, once a hangout for bootleggers (you can still see its escape-route trap door, leading to the water below).
Hope you all enjoyed your armchair travel time with us and have a great weekend ~ we hope you’ll visit again next Friday for the last 7 Quirkiest Towns in America.
Have a great weekend!