The Nicest Place in Rhode Island: Mary Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett
Courtesy Suzan Amoruso
As the people of this seaside town fight to save their library, the librarians go about their business, serving the community.
Recently the Narragansett town council voted to slash the facility's budget in half and put on hold plans for a much-needed new building for the 10,000 people who visit a month. The library may lose its eligibility for additional state funding, putting five full-time and 14 part-time staffers' jobs in jeopardy. The fight has gotten ugly at times, with heated arguments at town council meetings. Through it all, the librarians have stayed above the fray, continuing to smile, making the library an oasis of civility even as a battle rages around it.
"As soon as you come through that door, they make you feel like you're the most important person in the world," says local resident Suzan Amoruso, who nominated the place.
At a recent council meeting, one woman stood and gave the crowd a history lesson about the town that has been her home for more than 90 years. The library, she argued, is a reflection of Narragansett's core values kindness and civility, no matter what you're facing. Before she sat back down, she said simply, "This is who we are. We are this library."
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The Nicest Place in South Carolina: Lake Trollingwood
Courtesy Wendy Trommer
In 2018, Wendy Trommer lost her son and husband in the space of six months. It was a terrible year for her, but her second family—her neighbors—were there for her in a way that she never expected.
Five years prior, she and her family had moved from New England to Lake Trollingwood, South Carolina, a cluster of about 60 homes around a private lake at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.
"I always thought New England was friendly, but I've been here six years and I can count on one hand when someone has been rude," says Trommer. "Everyone is so helpful—it's made me a nicer person!"
Of course, like all decent folks, they supported her in her time of direst need. But, after a time, some widows can end up feeling isolated and left out. Her neighbors aren't letting that happen.
"Eight months later, and my neighbors are still there for me," she says. "Every day, if I'm out and about, people will stop and say, 'How are you doing? Do you need anything?' In New England, I had friends, but they have lives, and I would have been alone. Here, people have lives, but I'm not alone. I've never gone out so much in my life."
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The Nicest Place in South Dakota: Rapid City
They call Rapid City, South Dakota, the "City of Presidents" for good reason: It's the gateway to Mount Rushmore. The streets in this town of 68,000 nestled in the shadow of Black Hills National Forest are lined with statues of our nation's elected leaders. And in winter, something really nice happens that dwarfs the towering stone faces of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt: Walk down any street and you'll notice those statues are adorned in warm coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. This isn't some juvenile prank—it's a clothing drive.
Every winter, Rapid City civilians clothe the statues with garments the homeless can grab to stay warm. As items disappear, volunteers place more on the statues until the cold weather dissipates.
The project began in the winter of 2015 when a local knitting group teamed up with a church.
"Almost, depending on the day, the items are taken as soon as they're placed there. It is meeting a need every winter," says Darrell Shoemaker, a spokesperson for Rapid City.
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These Are the 50 Nicest Places in America, According to Our Readers, Source:https://www.rd.com/true-stories/nicest-places-america-according-to-readers/