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Forbes includes Anna Maria on ‘prettiest towns’ list

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

A similar photo of the Anna Maria City Pier is featured online at Forbes.com — “In Pictures: America’s Prettiest Towns.” Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

The newest discovery of Anna Maria Island is by the business magazine Forbes, a biweekly that features articles on finance, industry, investing and marketing topics — and lists. The magazine capitalizes on the popularity of its lists, including the Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans, and others, highest-paid stars, billionaires and more. The motto of Forbes is “The Capitalist Tool.”

The online edition, Forbes.com, recently introduced a pictorial feature on “America’s Prettiest Towns,” and a stock photo of the Anna Maria City Pier, along with an article by contributor John Giuffo. He calls Anna Maria one of the “prettiest little cities in America.”

He said he went looking for “towns seemingly custom-designed for soaking in the sights, with charming main streets, a variety of activities and beautiful vistas. Whether it’s the fresh air, authenticity or lack of skyscrapers, these enchanting locales deserve a spot on your travel to-do list.”

To create his Forbes list of America’s most picturesque towns, he “called on travel experts from Frommer’s, National Geographic, Fodor’s, and Midwest Living magazine,” all of whom shared their selections of America’s prettiest towns.

He admits “prettiest” is subjective, and it would fit many other towns not listed, but the chosen towns, he says, “would not only stand out in a beauty pageant, but also provide great options for your next getaway.”

Giuffo says Anna Maria is a Gulf of Mexico beach town that has “managed to avoid the sort of overdevelopment that plagues similar areas nearby.”

Anna Maria “retains a certain small-town coastal Florida charm. With a high proportion of residences being second homes or vacation homes, Anna Maria tends to be much quieter as well,” the story continues.

He says Anna Maria is well-known to Europeans, but “nine out of 10 Floridians don’t even know where it is. It seems like Floridians have been the last to find out.”

Anna Maria was listed third among 15 cities after New Iberia, La., and Camden, Maine.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said she “appreciated the accolades.

“Hopefully, what we are doing in Anna Maria is worthy of being praised as a pretty little city,” she added.

SueLynn said, however, that Floridians, especially those in the Tampa Bay area, know where the city is. “We have been discovered by Floridians, and we are going to preserve our character as the article described,” she said.

The city is in the midst of preparing a paid parking plan to either deter or accommodate visitors and provide relief to residents.

Giuffo concludes his introduction with New England’s Edgartown, saying, “Small town perfection like this comes at a price though — both financially and in terms of traffic when President Obama is in town for family vacations. Yes, even presidents pine for small-town escapes.

Visit Forbes.com and search “America’s prettiest towns” to view the pictorial.

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