Haven't we all felt the urge at least once in our lives to pack up, make reservations for one last magnificent meatless meal at our favorite urban haunt, gather our friends and family to witness the great melodramatic flair with which we are able to deliver our goodbyes, then move on down the road to cleaner skies and greener pastures?
Together with the VN team, I searched high and low, visiting cities and towns across North America, interviewing friends, veg business owners, environmental advocates, veg parents, and animal lovers to see just how veg (and how friendly) their hometowns really are. If you, like me, love dreaming of the wide-open possibilities and limitless potential a positive change of environment might bring to your future, tap in to your sense of adventure, and dream on!
1. Asheville, North Carolina
Don't let the "Keep Asheville Weird" and "Don't Move Here!" bumper stickers deter you. Asheville was named "happiest city in America" by Self Magazine.
2. Ashland, Oregon
Ashland has one of the largest raw-food communities per capita in America, largely due to the presence of Victoria Boutenko, raw-food pioneer, author, and educator.
3. Athens, Georgia
You can live a compassionate, healthy, and environmentally sound lifestyle in gorgeous Athens, soaking in the music and steeping in the green scene.
4. Boulder, Colorado
If you dream of a high-energy, active, and outdoorsy mountain Mecca with a laid-back, friendly atmosphere, gorgeous weather and a reputation for free thought and social awareness, head to Boulder.
5. Ithaca, New York
Surrounded by 150 waterfalls in the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes region of central New York State, lies Ithaca, a place Utne once dubbed "America's Most Enlightened City."
6. Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii
Waterfalls, double rainbows, tropical fruit, beaches, waves, rivers, mountains, craters, bamboo forests, birds and flowers: you'll find it all here in Kapaa.
7. Lawrence, Kansas
If you're on the lookout for a progressive Midwest place with a college-town liberal philosophy and an eclectic personality heavy on the arts, Lawrence is your little blue oasis.
8. Nelson, British Columbia
Situated in the lush Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is surrounded by backcountry hot springs, and set against the edge of sparkling Kootenay Lake.
9. Northampton, Massachusetts
The presence of the esteemed Smith College and a relatively large LGBT community helps fire up a liberal, youthful town spirit.
10. Portland, Maine
Portland's international food culture and agriculture traditions are celebrated at its large year-round indoor public market. Local organic farmers sell vast varieties of produce direct from their field.
11. Santa Cruz, California
It's been said that there are more artists, historians, musicians, writers, alternative healers, and people who've broken from convention here than almost anywhere else on the planet.
12. Whitehorse, Yukon
Whitehorse, capital of Canada's Yukon Territory, and far from any premium farmlands or big-city conveniences, is an unexpected veg-mecca populated by free-spirited individuals.