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Readers: Our 'Best Places' are better
Forget statistics....readers write in to praise their hometowns.
July 12, 2005: 4:14 PM EDT
Should your town be considered among the best places to live?
  No way

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The grass is supposed to always be greener...but many of our readers don't seem to think so.

After evaluating the places Money Magazine and CNN/Money picked as the best places to live for 2005, dozens of readers flooded our e-mail boxes with praise for their own hometowns.

Our search began with strict quantitative screens that weighed local factors such as wages, real estate and health care. For final picks, we sent reporters into the field to get a feel for what statistics couldn't capture. See more on our methodology and our selections.

Readers, however, have their own thoughts on where the best place to live is...

A special area code..."I can't believe that not one city from the upper peninsula of Michigan was nominated. There is a saying that GODS area code is (906). That is a fact."

-- John S.

Damn Yankees..."Isn't it ironic that you don't have any southern towns in the top 25 best places to live? (The exception is Peachtree City, Ga., which is predominantly made up of transplants and not many native southerners.)

May I suggest the reason: The story was written by a Yankee with no knowledge of southern culture. As far as I am concerned, any place that doesn't serve grits and sweet tea is not a place worth living.

In the South, we don't need extra cash for toll roads, someone else to pump our gas (please, give me a break), or have our property tax be four times that of a typical Southern town.

Great BBQ on a back deck beats white-linen fine dining any day of the week...and we can do it in January."

-- Doug T.

In love with the Midwest..."You guys have missed the boat on this AGAIN! O'Fallon, Illinois is NOT LISTED!

You are invited to drop in sometime. We are only 18 miles east of downtown St. Louis.

We have (within 20 miles) eight colleges and universities, including nationally recognized Washington University ("Harvard of the Midwest") and St. Louis University.

We are near the biggest USAF base in the country and we have every major amenity, including the largest shopping area south of Chicago.

You missed it, but maybe I should be thankful."

-- Joe T.

Living here in..."I've been living in Allentown, Pa. (Lehigh Valley) for 36 years. We're originally from Philadelphia (both of us born and raised there).

I never regret leaving the big city for the small one. We have so much to offer young families: fine shopping; a symphony orchestra; the oldest band in the nation (Allentown Band); Dorney Park; a zoo; fish hatchery; ducks in parks; Crayola Crayons; a wonderful wine trail; an old farmers market; and soon to be opened DaVinci Science Center for children.

Many years ago, I received buttons saying the following: "I love Allentown," "Allentown is for lovers," and "It's hard to be humble when you're from Allentown."

I enlarged and laminated them, and they sit on my bulletin board to remind me how lucky I am to be part of this community."

-- Linda G.

Beautiful views..."Your missed one of the best things about Roanoke, Va. -- the wonderful views. Roanoke is in a valley between the Blue Ridge Mts. on the East and the Appalachian Mts. on the West.

We have wineries and a lively blue grass community. Hiking and waterfalls abound. Statistics don't tell the whole story.

We just welcomed 200 Somali refugees to our community and volunteers bent over backwards to help them find jobs and homes.

I have never been in a traffic jam here. You should see our parks."

-- Jeannette H.

Quick misses...

High culture..."I was very disappointed to see that Lawrence, Kans. was not even a contender for the best places to live. It is considered by many to be an "oasis" of intellect and culture in the state." -- A. Mason

Thankful omission..."Thank you for not including the state of Maine in your "Best Places to Live" search. We here in Maine want to keep the secret gem of the United States all to our selves." -- A.K.

Get a..."You guys have Sioux Falls, S.D. rated over Rapid City & Spearfish... you guys don't have a friggin' clue." -- Mark P.

Check it out..."How did you miss Frederick Md.? It really is a very nice small city (pop. 50-60,000) has a most interesting historic district, thriving arts, restaurants and above-average income. PLEASE LOOK IT UP , YOU MAY LIKE IT!" -- Dave D.

See the Best Places to Live  Top of page


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