9. Simsbury, Conn.

150803_BPL_Simsbury
Rich Wagner/Courtesy of Simsbury—¬©Imagine it Framed
AT A GLANCE
Population 23,767
Median Income $115,784
Job Growth 5.4%
Median Home Price $289,813
Property Tax $7,592

Simsbury locals will tell you that premier public schools are the main draw to this quiet colonial village nestled in Connecticut’s Farmington Valley. A recent report on international education showed that students scored above average in every test category. Almost 75% of high school seniors complete at least one ­college-level course, and 93% of graduates pursue higher education.

Simsbury’s kids aren’t just book smart. They’re active in sports, the arts, and often both, says Manuela Hanshaw, co-president of Simsbury Friends for Music.

The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation named Simsbury one of the nation’s best communities for ­music education.

Many residents make the 25-minute commute to Hartford, where jobs in finance and insurance keep the town’s unemployment rate well below the national average. To unwind, they can take in a show at the impressive outdoor performing-arts center, host to artists like Willie Nelson and The Temptations, or bike on the 84-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail as it weaves through town along the Farmington River.

One downside: With all these perks, residents pay a premium in property taxes. —Michaela Ross

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