This is a story on Yahoo! Travel today that has me scratching my head:
America's Coolest Small Towns
Every now and then, you stumble upon a town that's gotten everything right—great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. These 10 spots have it all, in perfectly small doses.
Now, I'm as much a sucker for ambiance as the next person, and these towns might be interesting to visit, but I'm wondering how the residents feel about the places - especially now that Yahoo has outed them and they will perhaps be inundated with visitors (that it sounds like they don't have the infrastructure to handle).
OK, so they've got cute coffee shops and bookstores and bed-and-breakfasts, but do they have a decent school system? A well staffed police and fire department? Social services and public works? How about a library? What does it cost the residents for water and waste disposal? These kinds of services can be exorbitantly expensive for small towns, and a yearly influx of tourists may make shopkeepers happy but doesn't put much into the government's coffers.
And it's all very well if you can find a great latte, but how about buying daily essentials like groceries without being gouged. I grew up in a small town; I know about the greed that ensues when there's no competition. And are there doctors and dentists and a hospital, or do residents have to drive into the closest city for health care? Consider that when you kid's sick in the middle of the night.
All that ambiance stuff that brings in the tourism quixotically could make the places more crowded and difficult for the locals, and I would bet doesn't add a lot to their day-to-day life.