Aug 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Best Towns are Smaller

Money Magazine is back at it again, listing the 10 best places to live in the country.  Many are really surprises as they are quite small compared to many larger ones.  Number ONE is Louisville, not KY but CO.  After that Milton, MA; Solon, OH; Leesburg, VA; and Papillion, NE. The list can be seen at Best Places to Live by CNN Money.

Let’s look at Louisville

This sunny, lively mountain town is safe (crime rates are among the lowest in Colorado) and easy for seniors to navigate. Lots of good jobs in tech, telecom, aerospace, clean energy, and health care can be found right in Louisville, and more are on their way. And there’s world-class mountain biking, hiking, and skiing in the nearby Rockies. Real estate prices have barely budged since 2005, yet a typical three-bedroom house here still runs less than a comparable one in nearby Boulder. Its schools consistently rank among the top three academically in the Denver area.

And Milton, MA, with only 27,000 happy campers

Milton is just minutes from the jobs and culture of Boston but feels in places like a country getaway. Tree-lined streets are dotted with historic homes. Single-family home prices have remained essentially unchanged since the market’s peak in 2005. One major reason for this stability is the outstanding school system, which boasts six brand-new buildings and offers such rich opportunities as a French immersion program that begins in elementary school.

And Solon, OH, is right behind

Solon is a small town with a large tax base: Major employers include Nestle, L’Oreal, and industrial equipment maker Swagelok. Solon punches above its weight in other areas too. Health care? The world-renowned Clevelend Clinic has a family health center here. Culture? Solon has its own philharmonic orchestra. Schools? Solon was the highest-achieving district in Ohio last year. And the student body is diverse: 11% of residents are black, 10% Asian.

I blogged Leesburg earlier

Leesburg, which snuggles up to the Virginia-Maryland border, offers proximity to plenty of good jobs not just in government but also in defense contracting, consulting, and technology. True, commutes can be abysmal. But residents say that the tradeoff to live in this pretty town, which has seen more history than a Ken Burns film, is worth it. Many antebellum red-brick buildings still stand, now filled with restaurants and art galleries. On the negative side, there are some run-down neighborhoods.

And #5 was Papillion, NE

Nebraska, sexy? You’d better believe it. With agriculture booming, towns here are showing employment and housing-market strength that’s the envy of the coasts. Papillion is no exception; its economy benefits from a broad base of industries, including health care and transportation, in nearby Omaha. In June, energy company Black Hills Corp moved its local headquarters–and 130 jobs–here. There are also excellent schools, a five-month-old AAA baseball stadium, a new retail and restaurant complex, and loads of green space.

So seniors, as you mark your map as you venture across the US, do make it a point to stop in and see why these towns (note they are not called Cities) make the Best Places listing. While CNN Money has a nice listing, do check out Sperling’s BestPlaces and compare as they have selected just ten best places to live. Another listing is the Best Places to Retire and for seniors that’s pretty important too. Business Week lists America’s 60 Best Cities period.  Market Watch puts Austin #1 and Grand Rapids, MI #2.  Austin is an exciting city and the U of Texas is there too with those Longhorns.  So I just could not stop there… let’s check out the entire world with Forbes as the quality of life makes people in these cities love where they reside. So as you journey round the world, make up your own list and decide for yourself.  Bon Voyage and Bonne Chance. That’s an old retired French teacher speaking now.    jeb

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