KEESEVILLE — Some of the region’s leading thinkers gathered in a drafty
stone mill along the Ausable River last week to ponder a fundamental

How to unpack the secrets of successful communities?

Why are some downtowns bustling, while others are lined with empty
storefronts? What makes some communities a nexus of the local food
movement? And how, exactly, did a remote town along the Canadian border
transform a decrepit industrial waterfront into a boutique hotel?

Answer: It varies.