The improper Hamptonian Magazine

American Dream Town

AMERICAN DREAM TOWN WILL help make communities stronger economically, culturally, and spiritually; and stronger communities make the states, country, and, in turn, the world stronger. Community spirit and pride leads to individuals working for the good of the community, not just individually. By encouraging the feeling of community, the world becomes a better place to live. When September 11th happened, many of us were glued to our TV sets, unable to move. Every person on earth will in the future clearly remember where they were and what they were doing at that infamous moment in time. I am a marketer. Travel and tourism is my trade and that very business was, right before my eyes, gone. The way Americans and the world traveled was going to be different from then on. Within a couple of months all resorts and travel destinations within a three-hour driving distance from NY City were rediscovered and our travel friendly New Yorkers were looking for more. The ripple effect? City people all over the US were re-discovering small town America, and the small town real-estate market was on the rise. That still hasn?t changed today. My husband and I did our part, off the beaten path, trying to find that one piece of small town America where we eventually would be able to reunite the family, and we found some gems. We visited Edenton, NC, which was claiming that they are ?America?s Prettiest Little Town?. Just a little further south, the elected officials of the Town of Cheraw, SC are convinced that they are living in the ?Prettiest Town in Dixie?, ?cause someone said so. Folk musician Bob Gibson had actually never visited the little town when he penned the song ?Abilene? in 1956, but he was right on target in the town?s opinion, ?Abilene, prettiest town I?ve ever seen, folks down there don?t treat you mean, in Abilene?. The Ladies Home Journal described Woodstock, Vermont as the ?The Prettiest Small Town in America?. ?America?s Most Beautiful Village?? Well, we all know that is East Hampton, NY, as voted by National Geographic Magazine. Ahoskie, NC, which is probably the 2nd quietest town in America, had to use another term: ?Where all things go at a slower pace?! Littleton, NH was just recently named ?9th Best Small Town in America? but if you ask anyone in Littleton who gave the town the lovely by-name, no one is really sure. Any vacation and weekends off, we were on the road or in an airplane and then on the road, trying to discover small, pretty American towns with lots of history and potential to be my American Dream Town. We were looking for towns with nice neighborhoods, which I guess means friendly, intellectual and non-aggressive people. Oh, of course and with enough land so my farmer husband can grow all kinds of organic crops that I can throw into the juicer and won?t need to cook, please. Well, we finally made our way to the ?Quietest Town in America?, supposedly Columbia, NC where we got to buy lots of land at a reasonable price. By then, I had the American Dream Town concept in my head for 3 months; actually it was more the feeling. You know when you know you are about to give birth to an idea, but you don?t how and why, when or what? The first time I heard of American Idol, I knew the concept: American people would vote for their #1 American Dream Town. ?Cause taste is relative, and America?s as diverse as every one of her 50 states. I then remembered an artist who was featured a couple of years ago in Flat Iron Magazine, ?Thitz?, the bagman. I loved his style and had arranged an exhibition for him here in the Hamptons at Gurney?s Inn. Thitz ( was one of three artists who submitted their creations to be the original art featured on the American Dream Town website and eventually given to the #1 American Dream Town (the town with the most votes) as a donation for their art museum, art council, or schools. All original art will also be featured, along with the 50 leading American Dream Towns, in my book American Dream Town, USA. So what is it? The American Dream Town?s mission is to inspire Americans to celebrate their town?s heritage, take pride in their neighborhood?s appearance, and invite tourism and new residents to the area. People putting their precious little hamlet on the map will get it valuable travel and tourism exposure. Communities all over the US and the world are struggling to keep their young people in town. This is a way to help healthy communities grow, and take pride in their heritage by preserving it.
American Dream Town will help make these communities stronger economically, culturally, and spiritually; and stronger communities make the states, country, and, in turn, the world stronger. The competition between the towns increases the community spirit within the towns. Community spirit and pride leads to individuals working for the good of the community, not just individually. People attend more PTA meetings, soccer games, volunteer for community service and look after their neighbors. They start to belong. When we feel that we belong somewhere, we find ways to meet the challenges needed to improve it rather than leaving. We start businesses, create service organizations, revitalize our churches, and support our schools. By encouraging the feeling of community, the world becomes a better place to live. American Dream Town will help the towns economically as well. The PR the towns receive will increase the number of visitors to the towns and stimulate the economy, creating jobs and making it easier to live there. It also helps those who are looking for a new community more in keeping with their own lifestyle and interests to look at the American Dream Towns and possibly relocate to one that meets their needs. New people in a town bring both their talents and their checkbooks with them, and the town grows stronger from both. We had to start somewhere, so we did, where it all started for me: Montauk. The American Dream Show? (, already in its eighth year on TV, has its home at Gurney?s Inn in Montauk and airs on Hamptons TV, WVVH twice a week. And then a year ago American Dream Magazine?, an online travel and lifestyle magazine for people with time, taste and money was launched; in Montauk, too. The Montauk Chamber of Commerce, the Montauk Village Association and the Montauk Downtown Association, gladly accepted the first and only American Dream Town Award in 2003 for most pristine, patriotic and picturesque town in the US in June 2003. So how does that sound to you? I know I like it. Many people do. But some, of course, don?t. Let?s not forget, it draws a lot of attention, and lots of traffic and visitors. Channel 12, Long Island with Emmy Award winning host Doug Geed visited and reported about the first American Dream Town celebration Island-wide. WLNG Radio, a major supporter of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, announced the exact airing times on 92.1FM for everyone to watch. Since the award, the Chamber of Commerce has reported an increase of visitors of more then 50% to their website. So here we are, after hours and hours of research. The prestigious American Dream Town, USA team and advisory board (The God Squad, Dr. Forrest Church, Phil Lempert; and Lori Stokes, just to mention a few) have established a list of what we believe are the three most attractive towns in each of America?s 50 states. We tested the American Dream Town ?market? by simply calling small towns all over the US, and we were welcomed with excited gratitude. The Chambers of Commerce we spoke to were trilled. They wanted the award, the attention and us. One of the towns on the American Dream Town list for New York is historic Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island, which has just accomplished a several million-dollar investment to improve its downtown community. Settled in 1640, the town is close to six historic Long Island lighthouses, and features a wonderful Maritime Museum, the East End Seaport and Marine Foundation and the Railroad Museum of Long Island. Catch the brass ring riding Greenport?s beautiful 1920?s carousel, and have the kids visit the new skate park. So what about your town? Well, American Dream Town, USA is accepting your registration for 2005. Only three towns? submissions will be accepted for each state by entities or individuals other than our American Dream Advisory board. Each town will be given a link to its own site from the American Dream Town site. If there are less than three towns submitted for a state, the American Dream Town, USA board will sponsor up to three (3) towns of its choice per state to make-up the difference. For 2004, we are asking you to vote for one of the towns already in the running. Votes for the American Dream Town 2004 Award will be accepted until 12-31-2004 midnight EST. At this point, I would have loved to finale with ?God Bless America?, but my CEO insists that American Dream Town USA is non-denominational and non-discriminating. So instead, I?ll remind you to love your communities and remember that your town is just one in the larger international community, so treat it with love and care. To check us out, vote, make suggestions, get involved or learn more about our program, visit:
By Ingrid Lemme