Charlottesville regularly makes it onto best-places lists for its scenery, culture, and history. Thomas Jefferson's father was one of its founders; James Madison and James Monroe lived here, too.
Charlottesville sits in a natural bowl between the Blue Ridge and Southwest mountains, the Rivanna River runs around the city, and a network of trails parallels the river and climbs the hills. The city has a historic district and a charming downtown pedestrian mall with theater, art galleries, shops and restaurants. Public parks and art are scattered throughout the city, which is surrounded by woods and rolling farmland.
The University of Virginia is one of the nation’s premier public institutions, and Central Grounds is a United Nations World Heritage site. There is a thriving music scene, with Charlottesville being the home town of the Dave Matthews Band, as well as the up and coming Sons of Bill and Parachute.
Schools, both public and private, are excellent. Hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, skiing, horse-back riding and fishing are all just a “stone’s throw” from the hospital.
Charlottesville is a very fit town, and there are lots of runners and bicyclers, and Charlottesville hosts one of the most challenging marathons on the Eastern Seaboard, as well as a number of sprint triathlons and shorter races. Washington DC is two hours away, and Richmond is about an hour. In short, Charlottesville is a great place to live!
Population: 42,218 (2009)
Median housing price: $382,800
Average number of sunny days: 219 per year
Healthy bragging rights: Residents are
not just the healthiest eaters on our list, they are also among the
happiest, and most likely to say they are satisfied with their