Editorial: Our towns
Through some unknown mechanism, Mathews County was nominated last year as one of America’s Coolest Small Towns by Budgettravel.com.
The word got out, people could vote online once a day, and Mathews made it to the 15 finalists; and, even more cool, got enough votes to qualify as the nation’s fifth coolest small town.
This is great news for the county’s tourism push, and a tribute to people in Mathews—and their friends elsewhere—who voted with their hearts to gain this recognition.
So it is a disappointment, for both Mathews and for Gloucester which was also omitted, that the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s recent list of “22 Virginia Small Towns You’re Going To Love” included neither. The list did include Kilmarnock.
(And thanks to faithful reader Jay Black for giving us this tip.)
Both counties, as their economic bases have changed, have invested great effort into rebuilding Main Street (done and most attractive in Gloucester, a work just starting in Mathews) and tempting tourists to give us a visit.
Gloucester has a tourism director and visitor center in its county budget, and a meals tax to pay for it. Great assistance comes through the Main Street Preservation Trust. Mathews does its work in cooperation with the Mathews County Visitor and Information Center and Mathews Main Street Committee. Both visitor centers are accredited by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Both counties have come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years to find ways to attract visitors and to keep them coming back; and yet on the state level, these efforts are not recognized.
In spite of lacking the official mark of greatness, we consider our hometowns cool places to work, to shop and to visit. They are getting better all the time.
And with the welcome dawn of spring today, we prepare for a year of attractions to come. Residents and visitors alike can plan visit and enjoy the Gloucester Daffodil Show, Gloucester Daffodil Festival, Gloucester Garden Tour, Tour de Chesapeake, Gwynn’s Island Festival, Mathews Market Days, Guinea Jubilee, Gloucester Wine Festival … and the list will go on.
All are welcome here in our cool small towns.