While Grinnell may not be the hippest or hottest place to live, in the minds of Internet voters, it is at least one of the coolest.
Grinnell placed third with over 9,000 votes in Budget Travel Magazine’s yearly Coolest Small Towns contest. The results, drawn from internet votes for 22 reader-nominated towns with fewer than 10,000 residents, were announced on CBS’s Early Show last Wednesday.
The first two spots were won in a landslide by Owego, New York and Rockland, Maine, each receiving over 22,000 votes. Grinnell was the highest-ranked Midwestern town, followed by the Midwest wine capital of Vevay, Indiana, which garnered almost 8,000 votes. The results can be viewed at Budget Travel’s website, BudgetTravel.com.

“I think it’s cool,” said SGA President Neo Morake ’10. “There are parts of Grinnell that people don’t get to see. Altogether it’s a good town. I’m glad I put [the contest] on my Plan, that it got people to vote.”

Sierra Strassberg ’10, who grew up in Grinnell, said the results would pique the attention of students and townspeople alike. “I think it’s something a lot of people are going to be happy about it. There are a lot of people like the Chamber of Commerce who work really hard,” Strassberg said. “I’m actually impressed with it.”

Some Grinnell College students, like Mairead O’Grady ’10, think that the “coolest” part of Grinnell is the abundance of small businesses. O’Grady cited the Comeback Cafe as a uniquely Grinnellian asset. “I go to Comeback Café three or four times a week and always order the number 11,” O’Grady said. “The Comeback Café is my favorite part of Grinnell.”

Nick Johnson, a Grinnell resident who left to attend Kenyon last semester, expressed little surprise over the results. “I feel like New York and Maine usually get props for being cooler than Iowa. I wouldn’t expect to be the coolest.”

“Sure, it’s cool,” Johnson added. “But I think [Grinnell] would seem more interesting if I was passing through or visiting instead of living there.”

Emily Iwuc ’08 lived in town for nine months after graduation and moved to Minneapolis this February. In a previous interview regarding the competition, Iwuc said, “I suppose I was mistaken about Grinnell’s standing relative to other towns.”

“Rockland, that’s a pretty cool town,” Iwuc said. “There are worse places to lose to.”