By: Christine Souders
Could a small town in our area be the coolest in America?
Two area towns are among 15 finalists competing for that title, and both contenders said they deserve to be "The Coolest Small Town in America."
The contest is put on by BudgetTravel.com where people all over the U.S. can nominate and vote which small town has the goods, and Le Claire, Iowa, and Mount Carroll, Illinois are both in the running.
It's easy to see why Le Claire is on people's radar.
Not only is it home to 'Antique Archaeology, known for the popular TV show 'American Pickers,' but one of history's famous civil war heroes was born here.
"We have Buffalo Bill, and the American Pickers, and we also have the river," said Robert Wolfe, Antique Archaeology.
"There's the Ravens Grin Inn. Nobody has that,"said Char Behrens, a Mount Carroll Small Business Owner.
Ravens Grin is a haunted house in Mount Carroll, open all year round, something the locals said is another unique touch to this small town attraction.
"It compliments some of the things that are already here, like the old architecture and the history, and the layout of the town," said Jim Warfield, Ravens Grin Owner.
"It's a destination, we have it all here," said Mary Chambers, Le Claire's Razzleberries' Owner.
That may be true.
You can find anything from one-of-a-kind gifts to signature drinks, made only at the Mississippi River Distilling Company in Downtown Le Claire.
"They may have seen a brewery or winery before, but not a lot of people have seen a distillery, and we're making vodka, gin, and whiskey all out of local grain," said Ryan Burchett, Mississippi River Distilling Company.
"We take old stuff and make it into new stuff," said Laura Miller-Despain, of Mount Carroll.
In fact this old hotel is still a place to stay, and somewhere you can get your hands on some rare finds.
Each small town has its own reasons to win, but there's one thing they both have in common, 'Hometown Pride.'
And who doesn't enjoy some good old fashioned competition.
"Le Claire is America's coolest small town," said Robert Wolfe.
Mount Carroll is the coolest small town in America," said Laura Miller-Despain.
You have until midnight February 15th to vote.
Click HERE to vote!