Single Best Town Announced – Three Lakes, Wisconsin

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Photo source: Three Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

I’m a sucker for small, Midwestern towns. My mom grew up in the Mississippi river town of Winona, Minnesota, and I have found memories of strolling the old downtown. Makes me nostalgic for the old days — even though I was born in the 70’s.

So it comes as no surprise to me that a smaller community would be chosen as “the Single Best Town in America.”

Awhile back I shared with you a fun contest sponsored by Kraft and featured in Family Fun magazine. Americans were asked to nominate their own hometowns as “the Single Best Town in America.” While I do live in “America’s Finest City” — that’s San Diego’s moniker — my town, alas, was not one of the finalists.

Instead, these fine communities were ranked in the top ten:

1. Three Lakes, Wis. – Home to the world’s largest chain of inland lakes, its close-knit downtown features many quaint buildings and coffee shops.

2. Bell Buckle, Tenn. – From a town that was once gray and frayed to what is now a patchwork of painted awnings and appliquéd gingerbread-trimmed porches, this town is as quaint as can be.

3. Gastonia, N.C. – Gastonia’s mayor, local business and more than 1,000 volunteers united to form the Hope 4 Gaston charity to improve their community.

4. Girard, Ill. – Residents visit the popular Doc’s Soda Fountain, established in 1950s, for nickel and dime candies and handmade sodas and milk shakes.

5. Colorado Springs, Colo. – With ever-changing aspens, clear blue skies, red rocks and snow-capped mountains, this town is filled with history, culture and diversity.

6. Twinsburg, Ohio – Holding the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of multiples in the world, this town hosts the popular Twins Day Festival every year.

7. Richmond, Mich. – Good Old Days festival and parade features annual Outhouse Races, which takes months of preparation.

8. Hamburg, N.Y. – People from all over flock to the town’s annual Burger fest to enter the hamburger contest, listen to live music and join the Burger, Beds and Buns race.

9. Augusta, Ga. – Home of the Master’s Golf Tournament, this town is full of gardens, rich history and programs to help people in need.

10. Lexington, Ky. – The Horse Capital of the World has everything a horse lover would ever want: horse parks, famous races and historic race tracks.

Three Lakes was the chosen favorite, and it sounds like a great place to live or to visit. I love those Mid-western downtown areas. So comforting and quaint! And from the looks of it, there’s no shortage of fishing and water sports to enjoy. The community of Three Lakes will receive a block party, featuring the band Love and Theft. Congratulations, Three Lakes!

Disclosure: I have partnered with KRAFT Foods to help promote the “Single Best Town” in America program. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about my own hometown experiences and hosting a giveaway where the prize has been provided by KRAFT Singles. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Have you ever visited one of the finalist towns?

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  1. Oh my word!!! I went to Kindergarten in Girard, Illinois in 1979…wow! I’ll have to ask my momma if she remembers the soda fountain shop.

  2. I live maybe 45 minutes from Gastonia, NC! Didn’t realize we had such a treasure so close.:-) Although it is home to one of the best fabric stores ever! Love Mary Jo’s!

    We’ve been through Augusta and my sister-in-law and family lives in Lexington, KY. They love it there!

  3. Wow you grew up in Winona?! I used to camp there with my family all the time. I grew up a little north on the river, in Hastings, MN. I loved growing up in MN, would go back in a second.

  4. Well, I drive through Twinsburg OH all the time and I am glad it didn’t win, because there are a lot of parts that aren’t that great. I have been to Colorado Springs many time and love it there.

  5. I lived in Lexington, KY for many, many, many years. I loved it. My parents, sister and brother still live there and we visit often. If it was possible I would so raise my own children there. Glad to see it on the list.

  6. We love Wisconsin and live about a half hour away from Winona in a small Wisconsin town. Maybe we will have to take a little vacation to Three Lakes this summer although I dream of visiting California some day!

    Thanks for your blog!


  7. I worked at a camp in Three Lakes for two summers during college and it was indeed a very great place! 🙂

  8. I visited Bell Buckle, TN several times as a child! They hold an annual Moon Pie Festival, complete with the world’s largest Moon Pie baked by the local pizza joint and photo op on a giant hanging moon. One year we were even treated to a shotgun wedding for chihuahuas (with wedding dress and tuxedo, of course) ☺

  9. How fun this is – I grew up in southern Minnesota and my husband is from Winona. We both went to college in Winona. We moved to Tx in 1981 but Minnesota is still home to us – oh how I miss the beauty of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mn is full of wonderful small towns.

  10. I was actually born in Lexington, KY and lived there until I was 5. I would love to move back and raise my family there. Unfortunately, medical issues keep me from living in environments where is gets very cold. It would be nice to go back though.

  11. I live in Middle Tennessee and Bell Buckle is a favorite hang-out. From the Daffodil Days in the springtime to the RC Cola & Moon Pie Days mid-summer, it’s a bustling little town with just the right touch of downhome goodness. The people are friendly, the food is great and the downtown is thriving. There’s even an occasional train rumbling by right on cue. If you’re in town, stop by the local cafe in Bell Buckle – on Saturdays, a live radio show with bluegrass, country and Americana is broadcast from 1-3 pm.