VR named among nation's 'friendliest small towns' by travel website

Villa Rica was among 15 U.S. cities selected as the nation’s “friendliest small towns” by travelawaits.com.

Villa Rica has been named one of the nation’s friendliest small towns by a national travel website.

The City of Gold was among the 15 cities selected by readers of TravelAwaits.com, which focuses on travelers over age 50 who are looking to explore destinations across the country and around the world.

This is the first year TravelAwaits has conducted such a poll, according to Laura Ray, who wrote the article for the online publication, which has more than six million page views per month.

Villa Rica shares the honor with 14 other towns, scattered from the Pacific Coast through Kansas and New York state.

The “Friendliest Small Town” category was part of a reader’s survey that also included “Best Beaches” and “Best National Parks.”

The small town listing is under the website’s “destinations” category, which examines various cities and countries around the world and how those locales might cater to those who are near retirement and have disposable income for travel.

The winner of the website’s friendliest small town title was Skagway, Alaska, a town that has only 900 year-round residents, but which sees millions of visitors each year as a major port for cruise ships

Other cities in the category were:

Lindsborg, Kansas; La Conner, Washington; Warwick, New York; Ponchatoula, Louisiana; Hammondsport, New York; Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Boothbay Harbor, Maine; Abilene, Kansas; Coupeville, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Pacific Grove, California; and Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.

The entry on Villa Rica describes the town as an “off-the-beaten track destination” that “makes for an ideal weekend getaway.”

But the article also notes some nearby attractions that are more associated with Douglas County than Villa Rica, notably the Douglas County Museum of History and Art and Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Ray said that because the publication is focused on tourism, the listings include nearby tourist destinations.

However, the article does make note of the Pine Mountain Gold Museum on the Douglas County side of Villa Rica and the events that take place there. The article also invites visitors to sample the fried barbecue egg rolls at Evans Barbeque, and Uncorked on Main.

In last week’s City Happenings newsletter, Mayor Gil McDougal thanked the city’s tourism manager, Sharon Dupont, for her efforts in helping Villa Rica receive such nationwide notice.