It's pretty much fact that every Gilmore Girls fan has fantasized about living in Stars Hollow at least one time (or 20). As a teen super-fan growing up in rural Connecticut, I consistently asked myself why my own town couldn't step it up and host a dance-a-thon or open a diner owned by a grouchy but good-hearted guy in a backwards baseball cap (and if his hot, brooding nephew moved to town and fell in love with me, so be it).
Stars Hollow, which boasted no less than 12 stores devoted entirely to peddling porcelain unicorns, would be an especially fun place to live or visit on Small Business Saturday. If porcelain unicorns aren't your cup of tea, no need to worry. There's Chinese food to be eaten at a pancake house, an independent bookshop to browse, and an antique shop with stellar customer service. Just don't forget to book your reservation at the Dragonfly Inn.
When I map out my route of which Stars Hollow establishments to visit during my weekend trip (yes, I realize Stars Hollow is fictional, but please don't rain on my parade), I'm forced to prioritize. Here is a definitive ranking of Stars Hollow's businesses I would like visit, then steal and bring to my own hometown.
11. Doose's Market
Even my small town had a grocery store, so I'm not clamoring to visit Taylor's market. Rory had her first kiss there, but Dean was her most annoying suitor (in my humble opinion), so I'm not giving Doose's any extra points for that scene.
10. Gypsy's Garage
No offense, Gypsy (I really do think you were one of the funniest side characters!), but hanging out at a mechanic shop isn't really my jam. I'd prefer to spend my money at an independent bookstore and, lucky for me, Stars Hollow has one of those.
9. Weston's Bakery
I'm sure Weston's food is fine, but their staff didn't understand Lorelai's desperate cries for caffeine. Sorry Fran, but no one can compete with Luke's.
8. Kim's Antiques
Mrs. Kim's shop didn't have the most welcoming customer service in Stars Hollow, but she offered an impressive array of antique goods that would be fun for an afternoon of browsing. Just remember: you break, you buy, so tread carefully.
7. Taylor's Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe
Old fashioned soda drinks? Ice cream? Count me in for a visit! The downside to the Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe? If you dare to violate a random town ordinance, Taylor will have your head on a platter in a second.
6. Al's Pancake World
We never actually met Al, but he had the best Chinese food in town (in addition to many other international cuisines). It was Lorelai and Rory's favorite place to get take-out and, as world champion eaters, I trust their judgement.
5. Sophie's Music
Sophie (aka Carole King, the artist behind the Gilmore Girls theme song) may have been a bit of a curmudgeon on the surface, but she gave Lane the opportunity to finally join a band by providing a practice space. That's the kind of small town customer service you probably wouldn't find at your mall's Guitar Center.
4. The Independence Inn
The Independence Inn is what brought Lorelai and Rory to Stars Hollow when Mia, the owner, gave Lorelai a job as a maid and let mother and daughter live in the tool shed. The inn wasn't just an attraction for tourists: the residents of Stars Hollow came together there to enjoy events like the Bracebridge Dinner.
3. Stars Hollow Books
Unsurprisingly, Stars Hollow Books was one of Rory's favorite spots in town. She got a summer job there, but it ended up costing her a lot: a cautionary tale of what happens when an avid reader works at a bookstore.
2. The Dragonfly Inn
Lorelai and Sookie dreamed of opening their own inn for years and one of the best moments of the series was when their hard work paid off and their dream came true. The Dragonfly had charming interior decor, beautiful grounds, and delicious meals cooked by everyone's favorite fictional chef. And who could forget that Luke and Lorelai shared their first kiss at the Dragonfly's grand opening?
1. Luke's Diner
Luke's was Lorelai and Rory's second home throughout the series and they probably would have gone hungry if it weren't for the diner (their kitchen cabinets were stocked with Pop-Tarts and not much else). Although Luke was horrified by mother and daughter's penchant for the unhealthiest foods possible and their ability to down obscene amounts of caffeine, he was always there to serve up Santa burgers, chocolate chip pancakes, and massive mugs of coffee.
It's fitting that the Gilmore Girls pilot opened at Luke's and the finale concluded there, because it was hands-down the best establishment in Stars Hollow.
Images: The CW (10); Gourmet Gilmores/Tumblr