There's something about a university town. It doesn't matter which state you're in, or whether the city is big or small. College towns make you feel cozy, relaxed, and maybe even inspired to sit in on a lecture while you're passing through (Andrew and I recently did this on our last visit to Santa Barbara, just for fun.)
Coffee shops abound, local food isn't hard to find, and literary opportunities from conferences to walking tours are available. Tour guide Caroline Mitchell received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Ann Arbor, and found her way back years later. In this Michigan town, you'll find a bookstore housed in a 19th century building, library modeled after Cambridge and Oxford universities, and a cafe with buckwheat waffles.