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A rural town with a friendly feel

What it's like:

A country community by the Erie Canal, Pendleton is a mix of residential and agricultural areas located in central Niagara County. Though the town of about 6,200 residents does not have much of a commercial or retail area, its proximity to Lockport and Amherst provides shopping and dining opportunities for its residents.

What makes it unique:

While some residents joke that there are more cows than people in the town, most agree that its friendly residents are what make the town unique, saying it's the kind of place where "everyone seems to know everybody."

Places to go:

The annual Fourth of July celebration. Pendleton Town Park. Fred's Pizza and Subs. The Pendleton Historical Society and its annual train show, held every Christmas. The Log Cabin Cookie Sale. Events at Starpoint Central School, including the book exchange, art show and book fair. The bike rodeo. Fishing and boating, including the Pendleton Lions Club Fishing Derby.

A person you should know:

Melissa Flanagan has lived most of her life in Pendleton. Married and the mother of two boys, the stay-at-home mom is also a full-time student working toward a communications degree, co-president of the PTA and co-town historian.

>Q: What sparked your interest in the town's history?

A: I've always been interested in history. My father was, too. When I moved back here I was looking for things to do, things to join. I read an article about the town historian, who is now my co-historian. It was so interesting to me I decided to attend a meeting of the historical society, and they encouraged me to apply to be the historian.

>Q: You've lived in Pendleton most of your life. Have you noticed any changes over the years?

A: I definitely noticed there are a lot more people here now. They've had to expand the school to accommodate the families living in the area. There are also a lot more housing developments popping up.

>Q: You sound like a busy person. What do you do for fun or relaxation?

A: I read a lot. I love to escape with a book. My family taught me how to read at 4 because they were tired of reading to me. They taught me how to read, and I haven't stopped since.