Great Barrington, Taos top best small towns list

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TAOS, N.M. (AP) -- Great Barrington, Mass., and Taos, N.M., top a list of "20 Best Small Towns in America" in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

Great Barrington, long a favorite summer and fall getaway destination for vacationers, has a population of just 6,800 but boasts the sophistication of a larger city, with great food, arts, and plenty of hipsters. It's also surrounded by natural beauty, with lakes, woods and the nearby Berkshire Mountains.

The magazine says the charm of Taos centers around tourists and other outdoor enthusiasts packing the plaza of the old adobe town, along with its many galleries and museums steeped in a deep Hispanic and Native American past. The small mountain hamlet is located in northern New Mexico.

The list was developed by the geographic information systems company Esri, which searched towns with populations less than 25,000 for high concentration of museums, historical sites and other cultural attractions.

Also on the list are Red Bank, N.J.; Mill Valley, Calif.; Gig Harbor, Wash.; Durango, Colo.; Butler, Pa.; Marfa, Texas; Naples, Fla.; Staunton, Va.; Brattleboro, Vt.; Princeton, N.J.; Brunswick, Maine; Siloam Springs, Ark.; Menomonie, Wis.; Key West, Fla.; Laguna Beach, Calif.; Ashland, Ore.; Beckley City, W.Va., and Oxford, Miss.

Details at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/The-20-Best-Small-Towns-in-America.html