Thinking about your post-work home? You'll get huge bang for your buck -- plus lots of other perks -- in these towns.
Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, this Denver suburb attracts hikers keen to take on the peaks. But Lakewood residents don't need to go far to find outdoor adventure. Parks, trails and open space make up about a quarter of the town's acreage. The summit of the 6,800-foot Green Mountain is located in William Frederick Hayden Park, which with 2,400 acres of open space is only the second largest park in Lakewood. The biggest is Bear Creek Lake Park, offering mountain biking and horseback riding along with sailing in its 2,500-some acres.
Retirees enjoy a range of art and culture opportunities, from outdoor theater and music performances at the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Amphitheater to indoor performances and art classes at the Lakewood Cultural Center. Annual festivals include the Lawn Chairs & Lemonade social; the Chile Harvest Festival; and Cider Days.
Homes in Lakewood range from one- and two-bedroom condos to ranches with sufficient property to keep horses. Denver-based St. Anthony Hospital has plans to open a new medical campus in Lakewood by 2010. Construction has begun on light rail service connecting Lakewood to Denver. --B.B.