Main Street Towns Chosen as Best Places to Live

Six Main Street towns made it through MONEY Magazine’s rigorous scrutiny of 3,570 communities with populations between 8,500 and 50,000 to determine America’s best small towns for families.

SOTW_8-26-11_LibertyMOLiberty, Missouri. Ranked No. 7 on the list, Liberty blends its historic charms and traditions with easy access to amenities associated with larger communities. Residents and visitors alike enjoy a vibrant mix of unique shops and restaurants, an abundance of recreational and cultural activities, historic sites and museums, and special events throughout the year. Area residents can take advantage of more than 500 acres of parkland, a top-rated school district, and William Jewell College, one of the top-rated liberal arts colleges in the nation. Liberty's historic downtown plays host to special events throughout the year, from parades and festivals to a weekly farmers market and monthly car cruises. Liberty made it to the top 10 this year after being listed at 29 in 2009 and 67 in 2007. The town was also listed third in Family Circle Magazine's Best Towns and Cities for Families. "We have know for a long time that Liberty is a great place to live, work, and raise a family," said Libery Mayor Greg Canuteson. "We are proud of this top 10 ranking and believe it simply reflects the outstanding people who live here."  Read more.

SOTW_8-26-11_Simsbury CTSimsbury, Connecticut. Coming in at No. 39, up from No. 57 in 2009, Simsbury is an authentic New England village, with more than 350 years of well-preserved historic buildings and heritage sites. One of four National Historic Register Districts in the city, downtown Simsbury is a nationally accredited Main Street, lined with shops, restaurants, and a two-acre museum complex. Summer activities include the Talcott Mountain Music Festival, which features concerts by the Hartford Symphony and the Simsbury Farmers Market, which serves as a community gathering place and a venue for sales of local produce. Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman called the designation "great news," saying it reaffirmed that the community's "tourism and economic development initiatives are making Simsbury a wonderful place to work, live, and visit. Making MONEY Magazine's list is only one of several honors the town has received recently. In March, the wesbiste of the PBS program, This Old House, included one of Simsbury's neighborhoods in its list of best places to buy an older home, and in 2010, the National Trust, slected Simsbury as a Dozen Distinctive Destination. Read more.

SOTW_8-26-11_ArdmorePAArdmore, Pennsylvania. Selected at No. 45, Ardmore is one of Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs. With a growing arts scene, historic downtown, and access to many colleges, Ardmore offers residents and visitors a community buzzing with cultural and business vitality. Ardmore's good showing was great news but no real surprise to residents of the town. "It's nice to be recognized nationally.... We're thrilled by it," said Christine Vilardo, executive director of the Ardmore Initiative, the community's Main Street program." Describing the town's strong cultural and economic growth, with several new businesses opening, Vilardo added, "It's a combination of everything everybody has been doing over the past several years."  Read more.

SOTW_8-26-11_NoblesvilleINNoblesville, Indiana. Ranked at No. 50, Noblesville was selected partly because of its great job opportunities and strong economy. This most recent accolade follows Noblesville's selection as one of the towns in Bert Sperling's book, Best Places to Raise a Family, and its inclusion in the top 100 of Forbes Magazine's list of America's fastest-growing suburbs. Branding itself the “Heart of It All,” Noblesville is integrating community, culture, and commerce to spread the word about the city’s distinctive character and family-friendly atmosphere. Read more.

SOTW_8-26-11_HernandoMSHernando, Mississippi. The first Mississippi town to make the list since 2009, Hernando was ranked 79. "It's confirmation of something we already knew," said City Development Director Shelly Johnstone, but "it's nice to be recognized for something that reflects the high quality of life we have here." City leaders credit Hernando’s resurgence to the 1993 master plan, which recommended historic preservation and joining the Mississippi Main Street Program. Selected as a Mississippi Main Street town in 1997, Hernando has rehabbed more than 80 percent of its picturesque town square. When the Main Street program started, said City Planning Director Bob Barker, abandoned storefronts and unattractive buildings flanked the square and other areas. City officials went to work and drafted tough ordinances to spruce up the city and preserve its older buildings. On one visit, former Mississippi Main Street Director Beverly Meng praised Hernando's efforts, calling the town "Mississippi's best kept secret." Read more.

SOTW_8-26-11_DoverNHDover, New Hampshire. A riverfront town an hour away from Boston, Dover came in at No. 90 on MONEY Magazine’s. Settled in 1623, Dover is venerable town with a young heart that attracts families and students. Many of its Colonial, Georgian, and Victorian buildings have been converted to condos and offices, and its attractions include the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. "We're proud that our community is being recognized nationally for something we have long known locally," said City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr. "Dover is a great place to live." Read more:

For more information and to view the full list of MONEY’s Best Places to Live, click here.