'What Is Special About My Town': Burlington, Asbury Park, Macon

By James Fallows

Continuing our series in which readers advise our travels, here are testimonials on behalf of Burlington, VT, Asbury Park, NJ, and Macon, GA.

The image above is a screenshot of the interactive map you will find on our Geoblog. Green dots represent the cities discussed today; blue dots are previously featured cities, and red dots illustrate the hundreds of other suggestions from readers. 

Burlington, Vermont (2010 population: 42,417)

Tracking the transformation of the craft beer industry over the past decade, Burlington now has a strong line-up of local breweries, including Fiddlehead Brewing, Switchback Brewery, Zero Gravity Brewing, Magic Hat, not to mention its proximity to the Alchemist Brewery, Hill Farmstead Brewery (who make what I think is the best beer in the world), and Lawson's Finest Liquids. Add to this its picturesque setting on Lake Champlain and strong liberal/left heritage (Bernie Sanders was once the mayor) and you get a wonderful place to live and work. I'm writing this message from Beijing, but I'm getting on a plane in a few hours to head back to Vermont. My lungs can't wait. 
 
Asbury Park, New Jersey (2010 population: 16,116)
A small, but very diverse city, rich in history, on the Jersey Shore, less than 50 miles from NY and 100 from Philadelphia. Economic growth stunted by decades of political corruption, race issues. Recent renaissance brought about by influx of a more affluent gay community and enrichment of arts and culture.
 
Macon, Georgia (2010 population: 155,369)
It's a beautifully historic small town in Georgia with issues of economic transition, downtown regentrification, and preservation of green space. An interesting, educational (seat of 2 historic colleges), and somewhat progressive southern place to be. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/what-is-special-about-my-town-burlington-asbury-park-macon/279535/