Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

From a Main Street lined with life-size trolls carved out of tree trunks to its rich Norwegian influence, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin truly lives up to its name as the Troll Capital of the World. The community of 7,000 is located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, and locals say it's the kind of place where people wave and honk hello, even to strangers.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Melissa Theisen says that troll love in Mount Horeb began when a store in town started displaying imported Norwegian troll figurines outside of the store. Truck drivers passing by would radio to the other drivers and say, "I saw your mother and sister on the side of the road!" She says the town actually began to embrace the figurines. Today, there are 17 troll carvings throughout the town, troll merchandise in many of the stores and a main road was even nicknamed ''The Trollway."

Mount Horeb's original settlers were Scandinavian, and Theisen says that history is kept alive in banners and buildings detailing the area's roots.

Many of today's residents and visitors enjoy world-class biking along the 39-mile Military Ridge State Trail, which runs through the heart of Mount Horeb and offers scenic views of the town. Adventure enthusiasts also have close access to Tyrol Basin, which offers some of the Midwest's best skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

Whether it's because of the area's small-town charm or it's unique traditions, more than 200,000 tourists visit Mount Horeb each year, and the town has no plans to slow down its growth.

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