6 Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of, 2011 Edition

Check out the six sustainable communities that shine in our fifth annual spotlight. 

February/March 2011Fredericksburg Texas 

By Joe Hart  

When the time came to research towns for our annual expedition to “great places you’ve never heard of,” we started by asking MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ Facebook friends. In a matter of days, we received suggestions from more than 200 people eager to share the positive aspects of their hometowns and favorite locales. We intentionally left some great places off our list, such as Eugene, Ore., and Asheville, N.C., that are already well-known as high-quality, sustainable communities. Instead, we talked to folks who live in lesser-known (at least outside their region) towns that are nevertheless impressively fun, affordable and liveable. 

The resulting towns and cities stand out for their commitment to culture, community and sustainability. The past several years have brought challenges to every corner of the country, yet in good times or in bad, strong communities such as these thrive on values that come without a price tag: civic pride, a strong sense of place and hope for the future.

Elgin, Illinois