When Money began naming best places in 1987, Nashua was riding high on the Massachusetts Miracle - a tech boom spilling over the New Hampshire border into the sleepy former mill town. Nashua had much to offer: low taxes, proximity to Boston, a strong local economy and an easy drive to White Mountain skiing and Atlantic Ocean resorts. The late '80s tech miracle faded, of course, but Nashua bounced back and landed the No. 1 spot again in 1997.
Since then Nashua's economy has become less tech-dependent, although the sector, along with health care, still dominates higher wage jobs. The Nashua Pride, a Can-Am minor league baseball team, arrived in 1998. Housing remains affordable, and unemployment is below the national average. And even today you'll find mention of Money's ranking on relocation chat boards. On the downside, the biggest job growth lately has been in the retail and service sectors. And while the city boasts a charming downtown, the Nashua Riverwalk - a showpiece in the works for decades - still isn't finished.
Biggest development since 1997: Efforts to get a train line to Nashua, a commuter link into Boston and the high-tech corridor, are finally moving forward, with funding approved in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.