The 20 Best Small Towns in America of 2012
From the Berkshires to the Cascades, we've crunched the numbers and pulled a list some of the most interesting spots around the country
- By Susan Spano and Aviva Shen
- Smithsonian magazine, May 2012
(nik wheeler / Alamy)
Reality television might try to convince you that Laguna Beach is nothing but an affluent, spoiled suburb of Los Angeles, but don’t be fooled. The Laguna Canyon, rugged coastlines and abundant wildlife inspired an influx of artists from all over the country at the turn of the 20th century, and the area soon became an art colony (the artists’ cottages are still standing in the Crystal Cove Historic District). The first art gallery was founded in 1918 and now operates as the Laguna Art Museum. In the 1960s, counterculture took hold, resulting in the Sawdust Art Festival, a summer art show that prides itself on being educational and open to artists of all levels. And with Hollywood just a few miles away, it’s no surprise that the Laguna Playhouse, founded in 1920, has seen performances from the likes of Harrison Ford. Now it hosts a wide spectrum of theater and the annual Laguna Dance Festival. -- AS
Read how these towns were selected.