Editor's note April 2021

Recreation News editor Ellen and copy editor Sean in their small town home of Bellefonte, Pa./Michael T. Davis Photography

Since our Recreation News readership reaches pretty far and wide, it’s not likely that I’ve crossed paths with you in person. But if I have, you might know that I have a bit of an obsession with small towns.

I’ve lived in small towns my whole life. I grew up in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, steeped in railroad history. After college, I stayed for a while in small town Indiana, Pennsylvania, a popular destination for our Recreation News readers. And now I’ve landed (hopefully for a long while!) in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, a community in the heart of Happy Valley. It’s a place where I am in awe every single day of historic architecture, nearby recreation opportunities and more.

As a small town lover, 2020 broke my heart. While the pandemic affected literally everyone in the world, it seemed to hit small towns especially hard — these communities where residents are likely to know the names of all of those that suffered from COVID-19, where the small businesses had to fight to survive. Tourism plays an essential role in the economy of small towns, with many offering seasonal or year-round opportunities to all kinds of travel enthusiasts.

So when the time came to start to plan for 2021 — when myself and the rest of the Recreation News team really had no idea what the future would hold as far as travel limitations and business closures — I knew that one of the small ways that we could make an impact was by featuring towns across the Mid-Atlantic that are loved by residents and visitors alike. That, when the time came for travel to become a normal part of life again, we would be able to showcase some of the favorite spots that our readers hold near and dear to their hearts. That’s how the first ever Top 10 Small Towns to Visit in the Mid-Atlantic series came to be.

This month, find the results of thousands of votes cast by those that love to travel to the communities named; as well as those that call each of these unique places home. My hope is that these features inspire you to make future travel plans to stay at small inns, support local businesses and enjoy everything that small town life has to offer.

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