The competition is heating up in the race to crown the country’s “coolest small town,” and a Northland community is in the lead.

Grand Marais held the No. 1 spot on Wednesday in Budget Travel magazine’s online contest, with about 25 percent of the vote. Chincoteague, Va., was a close second, with about 22 percent of the vote, and Hillsborough, N.C., was third with 9.6 percent. The exact number of ballots cast for each town was not available.

Voting opened last month and runs until 11:59 p.m. next Wednesday.

“I’m surprised Grand Marais took the lead as fast as it did, but I’m not that surprised,” Linda Kratt, executive director of Visit Cook County, said in a news release. “Grand Marais visitors and residents know it’s a special place.”

The winner of the contest earns “bragging rights and the top spot in an upcoming online feature and story in our tablet edition,” the magazine reported.

Find a link to vote at

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