Discover the New Learn more

Home & Garden

Most Popular


Best Places to Live

Five More Cities for the Simple Life

Our top five cities aren't the only great possibilities for simple living. Here are five more great spots.

Northampton, Massachusetts

Built around Smith College, the prestigious and historic women's school, Northampton is just down the road from Amherst and its co-ed college, in one of the most densely academic regions in the country. But it would be wrong to dismiss it as just another snooty New England college town—the surrounding rural area keeps Northampton fresh and folksy. And the scenery, in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, is spectacular, including the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and nearby Mount Tom State Reservation, an excellent place to watch migrating hawks and falcons. The town itself—just a couple hours' drive from Boston and New York City—is full of quirky little restaurants, unexpected boutiques, as well as Smith's impressive art museum and botanical garden. And, yes, its lefty label is well deserved: almost 70 percent of its voters are registered Democrats.

  • Vibe: Liberal enclave with rural roots
  • Population: 28,411
  • Median housing price: $251,900
  • Average number of sunny days: 189


2009 Best Places to Life the Simple Life

Northampton, Massachusetts — Andre Jenny/Alamy

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits HomeServe

Members can protect their homes with comprehensive repair plans from HomeServe.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% on Petplan pet insurance premiums when purchasing a policy online.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points