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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

The narrow-gauge Durango & Silverton train steams through history above the Animas River. (Photo by Scott DW Smith.)
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11. Brattleboro, VT

Brattleboro, VT
(SuperStock / Alamy)
Nestled in southern Vermont, the riverside town of Brattleboro is a common rest stop for travelers driving up Interstate 91 from Massachusetts. Once you’ve strolled through the downtown historic district, lined with galleries, antiques shops, theaters and dance studios, it might be hard to get back in the car. Brattleboro takes pride in its reputation as a hidden artistic haven. On the first Friday of every month, local artists, galleries and museums exhibit new work and put on performances as part of the traditional Gallery Walk. Even if you don’t plan it, your visit will likely coincide with at least one of the many annual festivals in town: there’s the Womens’ Film Festival in March, the summer Brattleboro Literary Festival, and the Brattleboro Music Center’s Northern Roots Festival in January, which celebrates Northern music. In the unlikely event of boredom, take a day trip to nearby Naulakha, the estate of Rudyard Kipling, who once wrote of “a desire to be back on Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont, U.S.A., and hear the sody water fizzing in the drugstore...and get a bottle of lager in the basement of Brooks House and hear the doctor tell fish yarns.” -- Aviva Shen

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