There have been several articles in the New York Times over the last week describing how many traditional vacation and arts towns, such as Vail, CO and other fortunate small towns are able to capitalize on their assets, flourishing while others struggle.
Second Homes Remake the West's Resorts describes the evolving demographics of Vail and the new economic realities being borne out of the growth of these types of towns.
Meanwhile, Going for Play and Finding a Second Home describes the growth of Ashland, Oregon, which is mirrored in the recent growth of towns like Lenox, MA and Taos, NM.
It's interesting how the search for leisure is itself such an engine for urban growth--and also interesting to see how different towns are specializing in different pursuits, so that the now old-fashioned golf communities of Florida and Arizona are being joined by places like Ashland and Northampton, MA that provide opportunities for culture and continuing education--or even just proximity to the culture of college life. The old paradigm of urban growth being tied to abundant jobs is joined by one defined by the pursuit of leisure and lifestyle.
Even the post a couple of weeks back about Viroqua, WI is defined by this trend...