Ten years after I left, turns out my home town is one of the top ten places to live.

7. Milton, Mass.


Population: 25,700
Typical single-family home: $440,000
Estimated property taxes: $5,900
Pros: Close to Boston; borders conservation land
Cons: Traffic, little commercial activity

A former actress who appeared on Seinfeld, Carissa Steefel has traded in her Hollywood dreams to raise a family in Milton. “We’re not going anywhere,” she says. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just eight miles south of the heart of Boston, Milton borders the Blue Hills Reservation, a 7,000-acre park with hiking, swimming and skiing. “It’s almost rural, but you have easy access to the city,” says Jonathan Pincus, a physician and father who works in Boston.

Indeed, proximity to the city is what brings — and keeps — Milton residents where they are. Its loyal citizens do age, but even then they don’t move. Fuller Village, a senior-housing development, is the town’s single biggest taxpayer. In part that’s because there are few businesses contributing to the tax base. East Milton Square is the town’s Main Street, with coffee shops, a pizza place and a small grocery store. What’s missing, most agree, is a destination eatery. “Everybody wants a restaurant but not in their backyard,” says Kathleen Kechejian, a mother of two who last year opened Glory Daze, a consignment boutique. During the summer the big gathering place is the city swimming pool, built by a local family and open to any resident who pays the $75 annual dues.

Milton boasts a diverse population, with minorities making up 30%. And its schools, which rank among the state’s top 20, offer an unusual French-immersion option. All six schools have recently been rebuilt, and the library is now expanding. Such projects require voters to approve special tax assessments. But “those decisions reflect what’s important to the residents,” says Inger Kwaku, a mother of four. “That’s why I love it here.