Big cities often receive a lot of media attention, whether that attention is related to the good (the people, the diversity, the entertainment venues) or the bad (the crime, the pollution, the expensive properties). There are many reasons to live in a big city, but what gets talked about less are all the positives of living in a small town.
Recently, CNN Money came out with a list of the best places to live that focused on America’s best small towns. Although the list includes an incredible fifty unique towns, we are going to highlight the top seven. If you are considering moving away from a big city or even if you have always preferred living in small towns, check out this list. If you’re looking for a permanent move or simply a vacation spot, one of these locations might just be your ideal future home.
1. Sharon, Massachusetts
Sharon came in tops on CNN’s list. Despite the fact that the small town only has a population of 17,944, it is a very diverse place to live. The people of Sharon enjoy small-town living while being surrounded by several large metropolitan areas, including Boston (which is roughly thirty minutes away); Providence, Rhode Island (also only half an hour away); and the Route 128 corridor, which goes around Boston. Residents of Sharon can enjoy short commutes (depending on the traffic) to relatively abundant jobs in nearby areas and also enjoy all the entertainment that Boston and Providence offer without living right in the cities themselves. The town also boasts numerous interests for nature watchers, because 40 percent remains open space, and it also has the beautiful Lake Massapoag.
2. Louisville, Colorado
When most people think of Louisville, they think of Louisville, Kentucky, famous for great college football and basketball, as well as horse racing. However, the much smaller Colorado city boasts safety and good schools, as well as a rising housing market. The town is about twenty minutes from Boulder and thirty minutes from Denver, so the 18,924 residents can enjoy small-town living near two big cities. Louisville is another great destination for nature buffs because of all the beauty and wide-open space. These attractions make the small town of Louisville, founded in 1878, a great place to live.
3. Vienna, Virginia
You don’t have to travel to Austria to see a picturesque Vienna. Vienna, Virginia, is a small town that offers a beautiful home to 16,285 residents. Vienna offers a 45-mile bike path and park, and is less than an hour away from Washington, D.C. Vienna is a very expensive place to live, but it can be a beautiful place to visit, if you prefer. You can read more about it here, including about the Vienna Family Fishing Rodeo coming up in just a few weeks.
4. Chanhassen, Minnesota
Chanhassen is only slightly bigger than the towns mentioned previously and has a population of 23,685. Chanhassen is a classic example of a town coming back to life: the housing market is improving, jobs are steady, and updating technology at local schools is a current priority. The town also includes ninety miles of trails and thirty-four parks. In 2007, Chanhassen received an award for being one of the top ten towns in which to raise a family, according to Circle Magazine. The town has also made CNN Money’s top list four separate times.
5. Sherwood, Oregon
Sherwood is about thirty minutes outside of Portland and has a population of 18,736. The town includes great schools and affordable homes. It has fun events like Music on the Green, which is a concert series geared toward families and takes place in the summer. Last winter, the Metro Council awarded $5.1 million in regional flexible funds to the city for the design and construction of the Cedar Greek Greenway Trail, as well, so the city is prioritizing nature in addition to great schools.
6. Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
Berkeley Heights is in an ideal location: The small town of 13,345 is close to the bustle of New York City, is close to pharmaceutical makers and jobs, and is home to the U.S. headquarters of Alcatel-Lucent. Like many of the locations on the list, the town offers many recreational activities but also boasts a lot of fun and highly rated restaurants, which you often miss out on when living in a small town. On the down side, although the town has many restaurants, it lacks the main retailers that many vacationers or permanent residents would like. Still, considering its proximity to Boston, that may not be a deal breaker for everyone.
7. Mason, Ohio
There are 31,761 residents in Mason, making it sound almost like a big city compared to the other towns on this list. However, Mason still maintains small-charm town despite being the largest city in Warren County. Golf is a big deal in Mason, and the city also includes an amusement park, historical society, and several other community events. Mason is close to Dayton and Cincinnati, which makes it very convenient. The Mason City School District also usually ranks in Ohio’s Academic Top Ten.
Hopefully these towns and small cities have given you a good idea of just how charming they can be. CNN Money’s annual ranking features fourty-three other small towns if you are interested, including towns in multiple different states.
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