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Meet the Best Towns Council

Here are the experts who helped us name the country's most amazing places

The famous lighthouse at Portland Head rests confidently above the crashing surf in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. (Photo: Josh Whalen/TandemStock)
The famous lighthouse at Portland Head rests confidently above the crashing surf in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

This year we turned to four experts to help pick America’s best towns. Each suggested 20 of their favorites, and the ones that received at least two nominations became finalists. Who are these sage individuals? Glad you asked.

Jenn Dice is the vice president for business network and government relations at PeopleForBikes, an organization that promotes pro-bike policies and infrastructure. A cyclist herself, she has ten Leadville 100 finisher’s buckles. “I’ve been lucky to travel the country for work and have gotten to know towns that are great for biking.” She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Ron Jeffries owns Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and collaborates with breweries across the country. “I wanted my nominations to have really great food, great beer, and an opportunity to go for a run or get on a river, a lake, nor the ocean.” He lives outside Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Richard Louv is the author of nine books, including Last Child in the Woods. He cofounded the Children and Nature Network, which helps kids, families, and communities engage with nature. “All the cities have some kind of effort in place to connect kids and families to nature. I made choices through the prism of: Is this a nature-rich city?” He lives in San Diego.

Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin is a founding partner of the Avarna Group, which develops projects and policies that promote inclusion and diversity in the outdoor community. “For a lot of people, living in a place where there is a culture of outdoor elitism isn’t a positive or inclusive thing. So I was trying to think about the cultural accessibility of recreation.” She lives in Truckee, California.

From Outside Magazine, July 2017
Filed To: Best TownsNature
Lead Photo: Josh Whalen/TandemStock

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