It's my favorite thing (among many) about the state of South Dakota.

We are home to the best small towns in the entire country.

Now, admittedly, I may be biased. After all, I grew up on a small farm just a mile outside of a small town, which was located just about a stone's throw from the South Dakota border. And having lived in South Dakota for nearly 5 decades now (and pretty much every part of the state) I've grown to not only love the small towns but have visited many of them. So I decided to invite you to the small towns of South Dakota, those great communities with under a thousand people....the friendly places that are 'Under A Grand'.

And with that, welcome to Arlington.

Like many of the smaller communities, Arlington is off the 'beaten path', and yet easy to find at the junction of Highway's 14 and 81. I first was personally introduced to Arlington almost 40 years ago when I was working at a radio station in the Volga/Brookings area (Brookings is 20 minutes or so east). I did sports play-by-play in those days and broadcast football and basketball games in Arlington.

I was looking at the city's website and in the very first line on the homepage, the folks in Arlington pretty well sum up what their town is:

There are those who believe towns like Arlington don't exist anymore-wide tree lined streets, very little crime, good schools, and just the sense of security you get from a safe place.

Yep, that's a big part of what makes Arlington one of South Dakota's best places, under a grand.

915 folks strong according to the 2010 census, more than one in ten residents is a volunteer in community development projects. Now that, my friends, is a sure sign of people who care and take pride in their community.

Oh, and you have kids? The school in Arlington has turned in the highest average ACT scores in the entire state!

But perhaps what touched me most about Arlington was the YouTube video I discovered that gave a tour of a very special place of honor in the town, the Arlington Veterans Memorial Park.

Now, Arlington may not be 'along the way' as you travel our great state. If you're one of those that sticks to the Interstate, well, you'll miss Arlington (and so many other 'Under A Grand' great places). And you'll be missing a lot.

So how about this? Somewhere in your busy days, weeks, months...take a little time and take a little drive. Stop in for a cup of coffee and some warm conversation. And meet some of the friendliest folks you'll ever find in this South Dakota community that's 'Under A Grand'.

Wikipedia Contributed To This Article


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