An Iowa city that markets itself as the "jewel of the prairie" has finished third out of 10 finalists in an online poll conducted by a popular travel website.
Poweshiek Iowa Development executive director Bill Menner nominated Grinnell several months ago for Budget-Travel-dot-com’s search for America’s "coolest small towns."
Menner says Grinnell tourism officials will now add the "cool small town" recognition to their marketing materials.
Grinnell was featured on national television Wednesday when the CBS Early Show featured a segment on the top 10 coolest small towns in America.
Menner says Early Show co-host Terry Smith is a Central College graduate and he stated, "I know that town. It’s just up the road from Pella and there are lots of smart people there."
The CBS program also featured video of the Grinnell College campus, the Sullivan Bank building and downtown Grinnell. Menner says Budget Travel judges originally included Grinnell in the contest because they felt the town, located just off Interstate-80, met the "coolness" criteria.
"They wanted to emphasize the fact that a cool small town has more art gallaries than country stores," Menner said. "It’s not about country kitch, it’s about arts and culture." In addition to the national T.V. exposure, Grinnell will get more attention this Fall – when Budget Travel magazine will include a feature on America’s coolest small towns in the October issue.
The top two vote-getters in the online poll, finishing ahead of Grinnell, were Owego, New York and Rockland, Maine.