Who doesn't love a good main street or vibrant downtown area?

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When I lived in PA, I spent a few years in Phoenixville which is a town that has a fantastic downtown area; bars, restaurants, entertainment, tons of trails, and a very historic movie theatre.

A few years later I lived in State College PA, home of Penn State University.

Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash
Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash

Again, a great downtown area; with tons of community-oriented activities, a vibrant music scene, and of course all the fun that comes with a college town.

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New Jersey is also home to some tremendous main streets and downtowns!

The other week I was driving through Brielle and Sea Girt and fell in love with all the houses and the quaint downtown area.

Well, there's one town in New Jersey whose main street is so fantastic, it may be voted the best in America!

 The Great American Main Street Award

This organization strives to recognize great downtown areas throughout the country, since 1995 one hundred towns have won the award.

Each year, Main Street America recognizes exceptional Main Street communities whose successes serve as a model for comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization with the Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) ~Great American Main Street Award

Last year, there were three winners; Laramie Wyoming, Hammond Louisiana, and Biddeford Maine.

What Towns Are In The Running For The 2023 Great American Main Street Award?

There are several towns that are now in the running for the GAMSA this year, and before we get to New Jersey, let's take a look at a few of the other towns in the running.

Sykesville Maryland

According to GAMSA, this town was named the coolest small town in 2016 and features modern amenities downtown mixed in with a classic downtown storefront.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Orlando Florida

Known as the 'artsy city' according to GAMSA, Orlando is home to a ton of custom murals and also boasts a strong small business district.

So what town in New Jersey is in the running this year?

It's a town that allocates grants to small businesses to improve storefronts in the downtown area.

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It's also a town that organizes many 'shop local Saturday' events to support mom-and-pop shops.

Any guesses?

Last hint; the phrase "Shop Small, Shop Local" is painted over many of the bridges and railroad crosses in town.

Metuchen New Jersey Is In The Running For The Great American Main Street Award

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Congratulations to Metuchen New Jersey for being a semi-finalist in the 2021 Great American Downtown Contest.

These all look like great towns to discover, so be sure to check out the GAMSA website and plan a road trip!

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