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CHRISTOPHER MUTHER

The friendliest town in Massachusetts is somewhere over the rainbow flag

A new survey from Expedia finds that Provincetown is one of the 20 friendliest towns in the country. Could it really be?

C'mon, get happy. An Expedia survey named Provincetown as one of the friendliest towns in the country.
C'mon, get happy. An Expedia survey named Provincetown as one of the friendliest towns in the country.adobe stock; globe staff photo illustration/Adam - stock.adobe.com

Perhaps the biggest surprise from a new Expedia survey ranking the friendliest towns in the country isn’t that Provincetown made the top 10, it’s that any town in Massachusetts made the list. People from the Bay State don’t enjoy a stellar reputation for being warm and congenial. In 2019, another survey ranked Massachusetts as one of the least friendly states in the country.

Maybe the Provincetown nod is a first step toward changing perceptions about Massachusetts and eventually residents here will no longer be called Masshol … oh wait, I don’t think I’m allowed to finish typing that word in a family newspaper.

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Back to the study at hand. The Expedia survey came up with its list of the 20 friendliest towns in the United States based on the percentage of positive reviews a municipality received from travelers between January 2019 and December 2020, zeroing in on words such as “friendly” and “amiable.” The science here isn’t exactly New England Journal of Medicine worthy, but if the survey helps quash our state’s hostile reputation, then I’m completely on board.

Provincetown was the only Massachusetts town that made the list, but Maine showed up three times with Kennebunkport (No. 7), Ogunquit (No. 9), and Bar Harbor (No. 16). Hawaii made the list four times, but people in Hawaii live in a tropical paradise, so they have every reason to be friendly. Let’s see how friendly they are after trying to find post-blizzard parking in South Boston.

Another interesting tidbit is that two of the towns in the top 10, Provincetown and Ogunquit, are widely known for their welcoming attitudes toward LGBTQ travelers and their large gay and lesbian populations. Does this mean that LGBTQ folks are friendlier than their heterosexual counterparts? It looks as if Expedia needs to start putting together another survey looking at this difference. Meanwhile, all of my gay friends are bitter queens, so I’m wondering if there’s another Provincetown in the United States.

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Most of the places that made the list are smaller cities or towns, but there’s one anomaly: New York City was ranked the 14th friendliest city in the country. I have nothing against New York, but I’m calling poppycock on this ranking. If New York is friendlier than Minneapolis (didn’t rank) or Palm Springs (also didn’t make the cut), then I’m taking the rest of the list with a grain of kosher salt. Readers, what say you?

Downtown Whitefish, Mont.
Downtown Whitefish, Mont. Brian Schott

The Expedia list of the friendliest towns in the United States

1. Whitefish, Mont.

2. Sister Bay, Wis.

3. Manitou Springs, Colo.

4. Easton, Md.

5. Lihue, Hawaii

6. Sierra Vista, Ariz.

7. Kennebunkport, Maine

8. Chincoteague, Va.

9. Ogunquit, Maine

10. Provincetown

11. Carolina Beach, N.C.

12. Kahului, Hawaii

13. Alamogordo, N.M.

14. Manhattan

15. Kapaʻa, Hawaii

16. Bar Harbor, Maine

17. Grants Pass, Ore.

18. Deadwood, S.D.

19. Hilo, Hawaii

20. Aspen, Colo.

The town of Kennebunkport, Maine, offers free masks in a downtown mailbox.
The town of Kennebunkport, Maine, offers free masks in a downtown mailbox.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.