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Mt. Airy, 3 local towns on 'Best Places' lists

Several local towns and a Philadelphia neighborhood got kudos in the Money magazine's annual round-up of "Best Places to Live."

Several local towns and a Philadelphia neighborhood got kudos in the Money magazine's annual round-up of "Best Places to Live."

Chester County's West Goshen is No. 10 on the main list, which this year focuses on "small towns," with 10,000 to 50,000 people. No surprise there, since West Goshen made the Top 25 on the last two "small towns" lists, in 2011 and 2009.

"West Goshen Township has a lush, suburban feel, with quiet, tree-shaded residential areas, lovely parks, and a full slate of community activities," Money summed up.

Horsham was No. 34 this year, off a little from No. 31 in 2011, while Ardmore, No. 45 in 2011, failed to made this year's Top 50.

No. 1 was "one-time summer resort" Sharon, Mass.

Camden County's Haddonfield, oddly, was No. 16 -- the highest-ranked area town -- on the list of "best places for the rich and single." Money acknowledges it's a dry town, but somehow ignores that it's a quiet, family-oriented suburb with large homes and yards, where two incomes are almost essential to pay the stiff real estate taxes. No wonder only about 10.3 percent of residents are 20 to 34 years old, according to the U.S Census.

Haddonfield was probably ineligible for the main list, because Money excludes places where average income is double the state average or higher.

This year, perhaps to compensate for omitting large cities from "best places" lists for a half-dozen years, Money also names the "best neighborhoods" for the nation's the 10 biggest burgs.

Mount Airy, which won out for Philly, "pairs a racially and religiously diverse population with a neighborhood packed with historic homes and leafy streets. ... Plus the area is just a 10-minute walk from Fairmount Park, where residents can hike and picnic," Money says. A note about housing prices suggests why pricier Chestnut Hill wasn't picked.

Abington (No. 47 last year) and Bensalem (85) made last year's list of overall best places because it focused on "small cities," with 50,000 to 300,000 residents.

Lower Merion finished fifth in 2012 among "high-earning towns," but no local town was ranked among the 25 "top-earning towns" this year. Maybe size mattered in this category, too.

Other local towns previously mentioned but ignored in the last three years are Moorestown (No. 1 among "Great American Towns" in 2005), Nether Providence (No. 9 in 2007), Cherry Hill (No. 57 in 2006) and Washington Township, Gloucester County (No. 58 in 2008).

Note that any town with fewer than 8,500 residents (the previous small-town cutoff) wouldn't have qualified for this year's list -- or any list in the last half-dozen years.

No truly big cities have gotten a shot since 2006, when Colorado Springs was named best big city, despite having only about 370,000 people.

For more, see Money/CNN's "Best Places to Live."

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or