Smithsonian names Brunswick one of America’s ‘Best Small Towns’

Posted April 17, 2012, at 1:12 p.m.

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Smithsonian Magazine has named Brunswick one of America’s “20 Best Small Towns” in its May 2012 edition.

In the publication’s rankings, Brunswick comes in at No. 13, preceded on the list by No. 12 Princeton, N.J., and followed by No. 14 Siloam Springs, Ark.

Smithsonian’s Aviva Shen wrote that “Brunswick is more than just a small fishing town some 25 miles north of Portland,” touting the town’s art scene and, in particular, Bowdoin College’s Museum of Art. Brunswick has a population of approximately 20,000 people.

“Harriet Beecher Stowe penned ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in a house now owned by the college,” Shen wrote. “The town’s artistic sensibility isn’t just historical; it’s revived every year with the Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival, which awards prizes to the best local artists and craftspeople, and with ongoing performances at the well-regarded theaters Maine State Music Theatre and the community-based nonprofit Theater Project. Plus, there’s always activity at Frontier, a renovated mill space downtown that dishes up locally grown organic food with a side of cinema, live music, theater and local art.”

Great Barrington, Mass., tops the Smithsonian Magazine’s list at No. 1. The only other New England town included is Brattleboro, Vt., at No. 11.

According to the magazine, towns were chosen by using the geographic information systems company Esri to find “high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities” in municipalities with populations smaller than 25,000.

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