These 11 Small Towns Are About to Get a Whole Lot Bigger

In popularity, that is.

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Courtesy of Erin and Ben Napier

We love small towns, which is why we're always so thrilled to see them thrive—whether they're newcomers to the spotlight or old cities getting some much-needed love from engaged citizens. Here's a list of small towns in America that are currently being revitalized or experiencing a surge in popularity this year.

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1 Pawhuska, Oklahoma

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Population: 3,666

People are flocking to this Southern spot for one major reason: Resident Ree Drummond, better known as the Pioneer Woman, renovated and reopened the town's historical mercantile in October 2016, and since then, guests have been lining up outside the new restaurant and retail space (a jaw-dropping 6,000-to 15,000 visitors per day!). We only expect those numbers to grow in 2017, as the tourism continues to breathe life into this rural area. "This is our home, and anything we do here we want it to benefit Pawhuska," Drummond said to . "We also believe in '' itself as a concept, because it has a little bit of everything for everybody."

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2 Laurel, Mississippi
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Courtesy of Erin and Ben Napier

Population:18,978

You're about to learn all about Laurel, thanks to these two. Meet Erin and Ben Napier, the stars of the new HGTV show,Home Town, set in (and all about) their small Southern town. Start following them on and on right now—and get ready to fall in love with the quaint town of Laurel when the series premieres on March 21.

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3 Greenville, South Carolina
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Population: 61,397

just named this Southern city one of the hottest places to visit this year, calling it "the next Charleston," and we couldn't agree more. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town boasts trendy new restaurants like Sean Brock's  and a  location.

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4 Tishomingo, Oklahoma

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Population: 3,068 

In January, Blake Shelton announced he would be teaming up with Ryman Hospitality Properties and the Grand Ole Opry to open a bar, restaurant, retail shop, and live music venue in both Nashville and (surprise!) the small city of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Before he purchased the property from ex-wife Miranda Lambert, the building housed Lambert's Pink Pistol boutique. The new business will be named, "Old Red," after Shelton's hit song "Ol' Red", and it's sure to put this Johnston County town on the map for good.

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5 Earlham, Iowa

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Population: 1,408 

It may not look like much now, but this teeny tiny Iowa town is about to surprise you. A wealthy donor and enthusiastic, loyal residents have , beginning with a $2.1 million social hub consisting of a restaurant, events center, and more. Plus, Earlham is home to Iowa's first-ever organic sheep ranch and an , and its proximity to Des Moines makes it a convenient place to settle down (Money just ranked West Des Moines as one of America's best places to live in 2016).

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6 Leiper's Fork, Tennessee
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Cederic Angeles

Population: 650

A century ago, Leiper's Fork was a bustling place because it was a stop on the Middle Tennessee Railroad. That all changed in 1927, when the trains stopped. But a recent revitalization has restored the community to its former glory. Proof: It was recently voted one of the cutest small towns in America by our Facebook followers.

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7 Washington Depot, Connecticut

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Population: 3,578 

Where the Gilmore Girls lead, fans will follow. And the recent Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, is the reason for Washington Depot's resurgence in popularity. The town on which Stars Hollow is based even held a Gilmore Girls Fan Festival last year. Though not exactly like the town in the show, there is a charming inn (Mayflower Grace), Hickory Stick bookstore, and for coffee, Marty's Café.

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8 Rhinebeck, NY
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Population: 7,548

In this charming Hudson Valley town, you'll find (pictured), but there are other exciting draws, too: The , for one, and the Ikaroo Fair, held this year on June 2-4.

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9 Eureka Springs, Arkansas
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Population: 2,095

The 1879 town looks as if it's been frozen in time: It's still filled with perfectly preserved Victorian architecture, and it even has a trolley system and horse-drawn carriages. voted it one of the seven best small small towns to visit and it's also become a .

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10 Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
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Linda Hartong + TalesFromCarmel.com

Population: 3,842

Carmel-by-the-Sea has made headlines recently for its storybook cottage-esque homes, , and —all reasons we expect it to explode in popularity this year.

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11 Charlottesville, Virginia
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Population: 44,349

Charlottesville was just voted one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the country by the . That's a pretty great reason to draw attention back to the town, which features buildings designed by Thomas Jefferson.

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