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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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19. Beckley City, WV

Beckley City, WV
(Andre Jenny / Alamy)
Life in Beckley, like much of the Appalachian area, has always revolved around the coal industry. Take a tour of the coal seams under the city at the Exhibition Coal Mine, renovated in 2008 to give visitors a look into the life of a coal miner and the history of the region. There’s plenty of activity aboveground, too, most of it happening at Tamarack, West Virginia’s enormous arts center off the Beckley exit on the West Virginia Turnpike. Tamarack doubles as market and arts center: local artisans give demos and sell their textiles, jewelry and pottery, and the Tamarack theater hosts live music, theater, dance and lectures. Summer brings a full cultural schedule: Theater West Virginia can be found performing most nights at Beckley’s outdoor theater, and the Appalachian Festival takes over the town for three days of distinctly Appalachian arts, crafts, music and food. -- AS

Editor's note: This entry original referred to this small town as Beckley City, West Virginia. We regret the error.>/em>

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