PROCTOR, Vt. – Maybe Flushing, Mich., has the home town advantage, or at least the home town's name advantage, but a local museum's restroom is vying with it for all the marbles.
The Vermont Marble Museum is one of five finalists in the sixth annual contest to be declared as hosting America's Best Restroom.
It's fitting that a museum devoted to the local marble quarrying industry would feature what contest sponsor Cintas, a Cincinnati-based company that supplies and maintains corporate restrooms, calls restrooms "made entirely of marble."
Marble restrooms aren't all that uncommon, but Cintas says it also was impressed with the "bright flowers and lace curtains to soften the smooth lines."
The competition is stiff.
There's Fandangles, an upscale restaurant in Flushing, Mich., where the rest rooms are art galleries with curtains billowing over the stalls.
Fairfield, Ohio, is offering up Jungle Jim's International Market, where an entrance that looks like a portable toilet opens onto "a jungle-themed, modern restroom," Cintas says.
The Mix Lounge at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas offers restrooms with "sleek black walls, breathtaking stall views, contemporary sinks."
Then there are the nautical-themed restrooms of Catch 31, a restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va.
Vermont Marble co-owner Martin Hemm said he views "the bathroom as a kind of business card. It's just a commercial bathroom, but we figured if we make it nice, people will remember they enjoyed their private time there."
Kate McCullough, a survey editor for Cintas, said the company had "hundreds of nominations" on its Web site. Now it is inviting the site's visitors to choose from the five finalists. Voting continues through July 31, with the winner to be chosen in August.