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.
It's easy to time a trip to northern Maine. "We only got two seasons up here," the attendant at the gas station in Kingfield will tell you. "July and winter." Kingfield, some 95 miles northwest of Portland, is home to Sugarloaf/USA ski resort, but its reputation as the most authentic ski town east of the Rockies obscures its summer assets: an 18-hole golf course (rated one of the country's best public courses by Golf Digest), an extensive network of mountain-biking trails, and the aptly named Dead River, a canoeist's dream. Plus temperatures, thankfully, in the 70s.
What to Do for Fun: Play Sugarloaf's Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course; mountain bike its singletrack and dirt-road trails ($35 per day for bike rentals from Sugarloaf); or hire one of Sugarloaf's guides for a Moose Cruise – you've got a 99-percent chance of seeing one.
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