Elkin was selected as a top 10 finalist for Budget Travel’s “America’s Coolest Smallest Town” competition, according to the travel website.
The town of Elkin will now be featured in a magazine showcasing the top 10 towns.
“I think it is an example of how much the residents and those who call Elkin home love their hometown and want others to know. A great job by all,” said Mayor Lestine Hutchens.
“Elkin is thrilled to be in the top 10 list for Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns in America for 2014. This process has been going on for months, and now we can enjoy our newest claim to fame, alongside last year’s award for ‘A Great Place in the Making’ for Elkin’s Main Street, from the APA-NC (American Planning Association)/NC Great Places contest in 2013,” said Elkin’s community manager, Laura Gaylord.
According to Gaylord, Elkin is becoming more appealing for families, professionals and retirees to move to. Gaylord said Elkin offers everything from great schools and a strong community appeal, to great outdoor events, trails, entertainment and the arts — all wrapped in a charming little package and located one of the most beautiful areas in North Carolina.
Two weeks ago, Elkin was trailing making the top 10.
The town of Elkin received a boost when Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital employees and Elkin City Schools both rallied their base to vote for Elkin in the online competition.
“Yes, we posted the details for the competition onto our website. Parents, teachers and students were encouraged to cast a vote for Elkin,” said Dr. Randy Bledsoe of Elkin City Schools.
“We have 800-plus employees that received an email (to vote),” said Lori B. Gwyn, director of Marketing for Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.
Budget Travel’s 15 contenders stretched from upstate New York to Hawaii. Top 10 towns do have a few things in common: populations under 10,000, beautiful locales, downtowns, community spirit, and a noteworthy food, wine, art, or music scene.
The top vote receiver for the 2014 competition was Berlin, Md., a small ocean-based town familiar to Washington, D.C. residents who frequently bolt politics seeking respite and a relaxing beach getaway. Berlin also plays host to events all year long, from the regular farmers market to bashes like the Berlin Fiddlers Convention, New Year’s fireworks, Victorian Christmas, and even bathtub races.
“Berlin is a fun town, and it helps having a large population population familiar to your town in these competitions,” said Rodney Littles, who now resides in Atlanta, Ga., but formally worked in Washington, D.C. and traveled to Berlin on select weekends. “I haven’t traveled to Elkin yet, but I am impressed it made the list and maybe next trip we’ll make a stop there. As far as I’m concerned, being on the Budget Travel list helps, even if you didn’t finish first.”
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.