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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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16. Key West, FL

Key West, FL
(Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy)
Key West attracts plenty of Northern tourists with its tropical breezes and beaches, but the island has long been a haven for creativity. Hippies, artists, writers and chefs have sustained a vibrant, kitschy art scene for decades. Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams both called Key West home at some point, and they left a lasting mark on the town. See a play or dance performance at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, or visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, where his cat Snowball’s six-toed descendants roam the grounds. Every July, the Hemingway Days festival celebrates the writer’s birthday and the literary arts in general, drawing acclaimed and unknown authors alike to the historic district. On the visual arts side, the Key West Art Center’s annual Old Island Days Art Festival, now in its 47th year, judges fine art from all over the country. In the past few years, outdoor sculpture has been popping up all over town as part of a public art movement helmed by Sculpture Key West, melding the natural beauty and innovative artistic spirit. -- AS

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