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Old 04-13-2011, 04:16 AM
 
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I mean, cities that have survived white flight and urban sprawl, that Main St is still vibrant, with small business (mom and pop stores, diners) and free of chain stores. Where there is still life downtown, etc. Where can you find them?
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:08 AM
 
Location: 304
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My town! Clendenin, WV

Main Street-check
Mom/pop stores- check
corner hardware store- check
diner- check
local pharmacy that also owns hardware- check
town clock- check
Dairy Queen- check
place for retired old men to eat and talk about nothing- check and check

I think I covered it!!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Saugatuck, Michigan!

The $4.49-a-Gallon Vacation to Saugatuck, Mich. - NYTimes.com
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
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Colfax, WA
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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For PA/NJ, check out:
Explore Classic Towns | Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia

I'm not sure you'll find a place completely free of chain stores but most of the towns on that website have a main street and "downtown" with lots of small businesses.

You may also find towns of interest at: Towns and Villages
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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Plenty of small cities in Upstate NY. I'm thinking of Saratoga Springs, Plattsburgh, Ithaca, Cortland, Corning, Auburn, Geneva and Oswego, among others.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
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Lafayette, La. Urban sprawl has manage to stay away from the central and downtown area of the city. (thank God) Unfortunately, its picking up on the South side. But it is an up and coming town that is growing in population and the economy is very decent.

The atmosphere is still a laid back culture where everything is not so fast-paced. And if your into festivals, there is plenty of them year round.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:16 PM
 
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West Chester, PA... maybe my favorite area in the Mid-Atlantic
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:01 AM
 
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Thanks, but most of those towns are pretty small, I am looking for some 30-50,000 cities that haven't suffered from the suburbia madness.
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:16 AM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
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Asheville NC (city 80,000, MSA around 300,000) and Athens GA (city 110,000)

Both do have some sprawl and strip mall stuff around the outskirts of towns. But both have very strong downtowns with a lot of very successful local businesses, and a very distinct, vibrant local culture.

In Asheville, it's partially a local mindset, but also a function of geography - the topography outside of the city limits is extremely rugged in places, so there's a lot of unbuildable land.

In Athens - Athens is one of the largest cities E of the Mississippi River that is not directly on an interstate, and that seems to sit pretty well with the local population - it's a city that has grown slowly and steadily, in a very healthy fashion without being on an interstate, and the countryside outside of town is gorgeous. The huge indie music and arts scene during the 1980s definitely set a course for how the town would develop - and local charm was/is a big part of that vision.
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