City life can be an engaging whirlwind of pub nights, exhibition openings, and networking events, but it's hard not to imagine the life (and the house) you could have in the country. Rather than impulsively uprooting, we recommend pursuing rural tranquility the responsible way: by renting a home or checking into an inn in one of America's most vibrant small towns. Here are 10 hamlets that welcome refugees from cities and suburbs and offer visitors a chance to actively pursue relaxation.
Perched at the northern tip of scenic Penobscot Bay, Belfast's stately main street runs toward a calm harbor filled with big boats. The boats – motor yachts and aging wooden schooners – are thicker than ever thanks to a new marina that is bringing the town jobs and an air of prosperity. But what truly sets Belfast apart is its location just north of convenient. Though Camden is only a half-hour drive away, Belfast sees relatively few tourists and that group is so self-selecting that locals will deign to talk to them. Walk into Chase's Daily – seriously, the food is great – and you'll see farmers, fishermen, and the drop out executives who come here to raise their kids sharing pots of black coffee. This is as friendly as Maine gets.
What to Do for Fun: Belfast is a water town so a lot of activities require a boat. If you want to go whitewater rafting on the Penobscot River, head to Penobscot Adventures in nearby Millinocket. Want to go sailing? Check in at the Belfast Bay Company and climb aboard the Amity, a small, beautiful Friendship Sloop. The nightlife here is beer-centric and self-explanatory; you can always head to Front St. Pub.
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