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'A pretty cool little town'

Quaint, quiet and surrounded by both history and wineries, Jacksonville is named one of the top 10 "Coolest Small Towns in America" in the October 2009 issue of Arthur Frommer's "Budget Travel" magazine.

Jacksonville, with its population of 2,750, was one of 10 towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 selected by the editors of the magazine as the coolest places to be seen.

Other towns include Cayucos, Calif.; Lexington, Va.; Tubac, Ariz.; Breaux Bridge, La.; Wallace, Idaho; Saugerties, N.Y.; Mount Vernon, Iowa; Rockland, Maine and Whitefish, Mont.

In order to be considered the coolest, a town had to produce a good cup of coffee, serve excellent food, have more art galleries than country stores, have more people than cows and have people who leave for the big city and realize they've made a mistake and want to go home, said Yanina Erman, account manager for Workhouse Publicity in New York.

"Budget Travel" editors published the readers' vote in the spring and then chose from towns they had collectively visited for the list published in the October issue.

"It's beautiful. It's well-cared for," said Terri Gieg, who is on the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce board. "It's one of the towns you can still walk around in."

On page 65 of the October issue, author Jason Cohen describes Jacksonville as "a refuge from the tourist whirl of Napa."

With 17 wineries in the surrounding Applegate Valley, Jacksonville is a popular venue for people seeking a glass or a bottle of local wine.

"We are the gateway to the Applegate wine country," said Gieg.

The magazine highlighted Quady North tasting room, South Stage Cellars, The Garden Bistro, the McCully House Inn & Cottages and Jacksonville Mercantile as Jacksonville attractions worth seeing.

"Jacksonville has a lot of things going on in town, and there is a natural tourist population every summer, and as a winery starting out, we thought this location would be advantageous for us," said Herb Quady, owner of Quady North, which has a tasting room in Jacksonville and a vineyard in the Applegate.

Quady and his family moved to Jacksonville in 2004, started the business in 2006 and opened the tasting room last spring. He said he thinks the magazine's selection was based on a combination of Jacksonville's "art, food, wine, nature and community."

"I think if you go around the country and see a lot of little towns, Jacksonville is a pretty cool little town," he said.

Since its birth in the early 1850s as a mining town, Jacksonville has blossomed into a cultural and commercial attraction in Southern Oregon. In 1966, the town was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Gieg said some of Jacksonville's most popular features are its lodging, historical buildings, wonderful places to eat "a la Jacksonville Inn and others," the shopping and "just the way people are treated."

"That is a nationally distributed magazine and certainly people will take notice of this when they're deciding where they're going to stop on a trip through Oregon ... and we may get some coverage from other publications that will certainly give Jacksonville a boost," Quady said.

"We know how we feel about it, but it's nice hearing someone else tell you your baby is beautiful," said Gieg.

Reach intern Teresa Thomas at 776-4464 or at intern1@mailtribune.com.

Angie O’Connor, left, takes a picture of 8-month-old Odin Cermak riding on a horse statue with the help of his mother, Chelsie, in Jacksonville. All were visiting from Bruneau, Idaho. - Jim Craven