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Vote Now: Grand Marais in the running for "Best Coastal Small Town"

Jun 03, 2020 07:32AM ● By Editor
Photo courtesy of Michael Harthan / Explore Minnesota

From USA Today and the Ashland Press - June 2, 2020

Vote for Grand Marais - Best Coastal Small Town

Situated at the end of Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive, the town of Grand Marais charms with its art galleries, quirky restaurants, local shops and diverse lodging. While there's plenty to do in town (it's home to one of the nation's best art colonies), this harbor village also serves as a gateway to outdoor adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

In 2019, Bayfield Wisconsin finished in the Top Ten, while Grand Marais didn't make the list.  CURRENTLY GRAND MARAIS IS NUMBER 7 ON THE LIST OF VOTES; LET'S MOVE IT UP!

To vote for Grand Marais, follow this link:

 Here are last year's winners.

2019 Winner: Sandusky Ohio winner sits on the shores of Lake Erie

Move over L.A., Miami and Honolulu! Our 10 winners for Best Coastal Small Town – each with a population of fewer than 25,000 people as of the last census – offer uncrowded, unpretentious and affordable seaside fun in small packages.

  • Bayfield

The top 10 winners in the category Best Coastal Small Town are as follows:

  1. Sandusky, Ohio
  2. Rockport, Texas
  3. Chincoteague, Virginia
  4. Georgetown, South Carolina
  5. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
  6. Gulf Shores, Alabama
  7. Southport, North Carolina
  8. St. Simons Island, Georgia
  9. Saugatuck, Michigan
  10. Bayfield, Wisconsin

From the Ashland Daily Press - June 2, 2020

Bayfield finished in the top 10 in 10Best USA Today’s Best Coastal Small Town in America competition last year, and fresh off a 10th-place finish in Travel Wisconsin’s Fish Fry Faceoff last month, the community is eager to prove it can rise in the ranks.

“Top 10 is awesome, but it’s not good enough,” said Paige Rautio, Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau marketing director. “We know we’re better than that.”

Expert travel writers and journalists nominated 20 cities in the U.S. to vie for the title, and Bayfield nabbed the only nomination for Wisconsin. With no other state city in the running, Travel Wisconsin is hoping to get the entire Badger State backing the Bayfield Peninsula berg, Rautio said.

“Bayfield is extremely proud to be nominated for this nationwide, prestigious award,” David Eades, Bayfield Chamber executive director, said in a news release. “Once visitors experience Bayfield, they realize it’s a special city unlike any other.”

Matt Goudreau, whose photograph highlighting the city’s fall foliage represents the city on the 10Best website, pledged his support, saying the city is “absolutely stunning” and he hopes it wins.

Bayfield, nestled against hills rising up from Lake Superior and laying claim as the gateway to the Apostle Islands, is up against some stiff competition, including Grand Marais, Minn. But when competition opened Monday, it swiftly rose to the top spot. Since then standings have been changing, so it’s important to get out and vote online at

Votes can be cast once a day until polls close at 11 a.m. June 29. The winner, which will be designated as Readers’ Choice and receive a badge of recognition, will be announced July 10.



Marla Cimini

Marla is an award-winning writer with a passion for travel, music, surfing and culinary adventures! An avid globetrotter and professional storyteller, she has covered topics that include wild Tahitian getaways; Sicilian wine trails, delectable Hawaiian food trends and luxury beachfront resorts. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including USA Today and many others. Marla is co-author of the book, A Century of Hospitality, a historical exploration of US hotels. 


Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows is a writer and a linguist. She and her husband, the writer James Fallows, continue crisscrossing the country in their small plane, reporting on the reinvention of small towns. Their national best-selling book on the project, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, was published in May, 2018. They are currently in production with HBO on a documentary based on the book. Deb has written extensively on language, culture, travel and China for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times and The Washington Monthly. Her 2010 book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, is based on her 3-year experience living and working in China.


Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson spends 350 nights a year in hotels searching for the latest and greatest in the travel industry. Her writing and photographs have appeared in print, online, and on the radio for outlets including Forbes, National Geographic Traveler, Departures, Four Seasons Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, NPR, Saveur, Departures, Rhapsody, Hemispheres, American Way, Private Air, and Serious Eats. She graduated as valedictorian from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a fellowship to attend the 2017 Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Champagne, dark chocolate and gelato are her biggest weaknesses.


Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman is a travel and food writer who has visited more than 50 countries. Always up for an adventure, Eric is constantly searching for new and inspiring experiences, with a keen interest in luxury travel and urban exploration. Memorable experiences have run the gamut from discussing the future of food with Ferran Adrià to sharing a stage with Coldplay.


Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez is a food and travel writer/photographer whose adventures have taken her from tiny islands (Isle of Man, Lanai) to mega-cities like Mexico City and Hong Kong. A former vegetarian, Gerrish has grown to appreciate carnivorous fare through sampling the best meats in the world, including smoked pork jowl in Thailand and whole hog barbecue in South Carolina. Gerrish is always looking for products and services to make her travels easier and more efficient.


Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors of the Western U.S. She spends her time hiking, camping, biking and kayaking in the mountains around her home, and snorkeling and boating in Lake Tahoe. Christina loves to visit the neighboring states of California, Oregon, Utah and Arizona but has traveled around the world including to Japan, Fiji, Turkey and Ecuador.   When she's not traveling or living outdoors, Christina is a graphic and web designer, writer and blogger. 


Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best,, Aol, Matador, Vacay, Travel+Escape and other large sites as well as print magazines including Dreamscapes (The Globe and Mail) and Frommer's Budget Travel. Her travel photos have appeared in the video, "A New York Minute" on the Smithsonian website and Brand USA. She has received an editorial award from Parenting Publications of America and a nomination from "See America".


Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon have a love of travel. But they also have a passion for food. So, it’s not surprising that they have combined the two into a career of culinary travel writing for more than 25 years. With foodie features on lots of tasty topics in publications like Plate, South Carolina Living,, Cruise Travel, TrailBlazer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, various in-flights, and many AAA magazines, the Seldons know a thing or two about iconic foods, dishes, restaurants, and foodie festivals. Follow along on their adventures at @seldonink.    


Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and Naples guidebook (Countryman Press) is in its sixth edition. She was contributing editor for Caribbean Travel & Life for 12 years and has written guidebooks on the Bahamas. A veteran travel writer, Chelle has published thousands of articles for Miami Herald, USA TODAY, Latitudes; has written/contributed to a dozen guidebooks, and produces travel shows for the local PBS station.


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