Magazines still feature “The 10 Best Places to Live” articles, but I quit reading them several years ago when Money magazine named the Provo/Orem, Utah area top spot in the country. This was when Geneva Steel was belching out enough sulfur-laded fumes to color the snow on the mountains yellow, and the EPA mandated additives to gasoline sold in Utah County in an attempt to reduce the choking smog filling the valley each winter.
George and I have only lived in a half-dozen different spots since our marriage, so I can’t compile a list of ten best spots. But we both agree that our favorite place was Cedar City, Utah—clean air, moderate climate, red mountains, the Shakespearean Festival, and the university. Everything except a lot of jobs—but perfect for retirees. CC has fewer cultural events to choose from than Salt Lake City, but all events were available within a five minute drive or a 20 minute walk from our house—and the prices were affordable.
Diversity is one of the best things about Cedar City. Interesting people from out of state move to CC for its proximity to skiing, national parks, and theater. I found yoga classes, a meditation group, and a book group with members eager to read and discuss thought-provoking books. All this in a town of 25,000.
Our least favorite place? For weather, Casper, Wyoming wins hands down although the people were wonderful. Ellensburg, Washington was a beautiful little college town, but a poor fit for my 16-year-old brother who spent his adolescence with us. Belonging to neither a farm family nor a college prof, David spent a lonely year.
Currently, we live in bucolic Bountiful, Utah—a community the size of CC, but with dirty air and far less diversity—unless you count wildlife. A raccoon shares a tree in our backyard with gray squirrels, and white-tailed deer routinely stroll the neighborhood. Bountiful also has a great Indian restaurant and is only 20 minutes from downtown SLC. Only Cedar City could be better.