CNN has released their annual list of the best small towns in America. Two Virginia towns are on the list, Vienna at number 3 and Leesburg is ranked 35th.
CNN said this about their list of the best small towns, “America’s top 50 small towns are not only thriving economically, they’ve also got all you could want in a place to raise a family: plenty of green space, good schools, and a strong sense of community.” Having spent 25 years in Vienna, as well as this afternoon, I am a bit puzzled by this ranking. Traffic is terrible, really terrible, even in the dog days of August when so many people are out of town. Main roads and back roads are backed up for many hours a day. Housing is VERY expensive, and I’m not seeing ‘plenty of green space’. Yes, there are town parks, but they aren’t big. Schools are good, particularly Madison high school and Thoreau Middle. People in Vienna love Thoreau and Madison. Elementary schools in the town vary, some are excellent, some are not. The town is not quite ‘walkable’ although there are sidewalks in much of the town. There is a subway, if you can get there early enough to find a parking space and if you don’t mind standing up most of the way home and paying a high price for the privilege. If you choose to drive into DC from Vienna, expect to spend hours in traffic. Only one town of the 50 has housing prices higher than Vienna.
The entire list of America’s best small towns is here. along with town populations and median home prices.