Coupeville nominated for Best U.S. Small Town award
— Created April 14, 2021 by Kacie Jo Voeller
By Kacie Jo Voeller
Coupeville’s charm has landed the town a nomination for the TravelAwaits’ “Best of Travel Awards” in the Best U.S. Small Town category.
TravelAwaits is dedicated to providing travel advice, ideas and unique inspiration for the 50+ traveler. This year’s “Best of Travel Awards” will highlight a number of categories, and Coupeville will also be eligible in the following sections: Friendliest Small Town, Most Hallmark Movie-esque Small Town, Most Pet-Friendly Small Town, Best Place to Retire, and Most Accessible Small Town. Voting will continue through May 2, with the ability to vote once per day per category by visiting the following link: https://travelawaits.secondstreetapp.com/TravelAwaits-Best-Of-Travel-Awards-2021/.
Lynda Eccles, executive director of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, said Coupeville has plenty of unique experiences to offer, from the historic Coupeville Wharf, Island County Museum, nearby hiking trails and more.
“Coupeville is a very picturesque small town nestled in a corner of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on the edge of the pristine waters of Penn Cove,” Eccles said. “We are rich in history. from the Native Americans who first lived here, to Captain Vancouver, who discovered our Island, to the first settlers. Our historic district is made up of well maintained historic buildings which house unique shops, a wine tasting room, art gallery, deli, tavern and bakeries. Restaurants are scattered throughout the town and use a lot of local produce fresh from our farms.”
Missy Glassmaker, vice president of TravelAwaits.com, said the awards aim to help readers celebrate their favorite destinations and share trip inspiration with others.
“While no specific criteria was published with the award nominations, when creating content on TravelAwaits, we tend to consider a town with fewer than 20,000 residents ‘small,’ although we realize that a ‘small town’ is often more of a state of mind than simply just a certain population threshold,” she said. “It’s really that comfortable, warm feeling you get when you visit a town, the friendly people, the unique shops and restaurants and the safe feeling of being able to explore without the crowds.”
Eccles said Coupeville has received nominations as a top small town by other organizations over the years. However, this is the first year it has been nominated for the TravelAwaits’ awards, which are in their inaugural year.
“I first heard about this latest nomination when I received an email from Sherrye Wyatt of Island County Tourism,” Eccles said. “It was a complete surprise and of course I was delighted that we had been nominated by someone but also in these days of COVID, my feelings are mixed. Yes, we are definitely worthy of the recognition, we are a unique and exceptional small town, there are not too many in the United States that sit in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on a beautiful scenic island, but at the same time we are in the middle of a global pandemic and a part of me is reluctant to shine this bright light on us, even though we rely heavily on tourism dollars.”
Glassmaker said TravelAwaits hopes to help highlight a number of destinations in different categories and encourages voters to include both the town’s name and state to avoid confusion with other locations.
“For our inaugural year, we are encouraging our users to ‘Write-In’ their favorite locations so as to make the results more anonymous and to open up voting to additional locations beyond the initial nominations,” she said. “2020 was an interesting and difficult year – to say the very least – and we are hoping that these awards will allow people to celebrate their favorite destinations, whether near or far.”
Eccles said towns reliant on tourism have faced challenging circumstances due to the impacts of COVID-19. She said the town has restricted the promotion of Coupeville since COVID-19 began, but those visitors who have made their way to the town have been cognizant of safety guidelines. Eccles said while the town is not promoting as usual or actively pursuing recognition at this time, she and others are looking to the future and the return to more normal travel as it becomes safe to do so, and the community has come together to show resilience and support local businesses.
“In the meantime, if travelers can get inspired to plan their future trip then I don’t see the harm in promoting or educating them about the unique and interesting places offered within the U.S. or possibly a place which is close to home,” she said. “I cannot change what is already out there, we are a great small town, unique in so many ways, rich in history, scenic beauty, shops, lodging and our community as a whole, so let’s embrace it – vote for us!”
Glassmaker said she hopes the awards help support and shine a light on small towns.
“The past year reminded travelers how truly special small towns are as they searched for places to avoid the crowds,” she said. “It’s a trend we don’t see changing anytime soon. Our readers have shown a keen interest in both small towns and national parks, even prior to the pandemic. Further, many national parks and small towns allow for social distancing either because they are in remote areas or simply have fewer people, allowing a great, safe getaway that can be managed using responsible travel practices.”