Thinking about your post-work home? You'll get huge bang for your buck -- plus lots of other perks -- in these towns.
Located in the heart of Maine, this New England city combines a small-town lifestyle with rich arts offerings and a multitude of al fresco activities. The traditional, old-fashioned downtown hosts several large festivals each year, including the American Folk Festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the city's waterfront along the Penobscot River.
The rest of the year, residents can catch take advantage of the arts by catching the symphony at the University of Maine's Center for the Arts or taking in a play at the Penobscot Theatre or the University of Maine's Museum of Art.
Central Maine has four distinct seasons, and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter and switch to golfing, fishing and hiking when the weather turns. Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park are about 90 minutes away, but there are 30 parks in Bangor. City Forest comprises 650 acres with five miles of biking and cross-country trails. --B.B.