All Over the Map: USA

The most enlightened town in every state


| May-June 1997


Once upon a time, Americans seeking an enlightened place headed straight for Paris or Greenwich Village, San Francisco or Kathmandu. But recently the American landscape became more diverse: Seattle, for example, has emerged as a vital music capital, Vermont as a stronghold of progressive politics, Boulder as a center for Eastern religion. Now it’s possible to find innovative, culturally advanced towns all across the continent. 

Alabama ~ Birmingham: A notorious racist past, now being mended by organizations like the Civil Rights Institute and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Alaska ~ Homer: Home of National Public Radio commentator Tom Bodette, numerous artists, many environmentalists, a lot of fishermen, some fundamentalists—all friendly to one another.

Arizona ~ Bisbee: Six thousand people and six coffeehouses. Think Aspen or Sedona 30 years ago.

Arkansas ~ Fayetteville: Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and a Danish-style ecovillage in the works. Go figure.

California ~ Arcata