Just because a suburb didn't make our top 10 this year doesn't mean it's not a good place to live. We spoke to families from two such suburbs for an idea of what life is like there.
There's more to Highland Heights than shiny new homes and a stellar golf course. Take the Gould home on Colony Drive, for instance. Three children were raised in this modest, three-bedroom ranch. Their pictures are still on the piano they used to play in the living room, including the ones from the dances where both daughters were crowned homecoming queen. All three children excelled at sports: swimming, track and cross-country.
The decor hasn't changed much since they moved on, two to Miami University of Ohio and one to Lyndhurst. Their plaques and medals still hang on the bedroom walls. Mickey and Minnie Mouse still welcome them home on weekends (Kathy, their mother, is a Disney enthusiast).
Without city swim meets to time and softball teams to coach, John and Kathy thought they would have more free time. But no. Kathy, a kindergarten teacher, runs a sports camp in the summer and helps organize Happy Days, the city's three-day celebration. John, who owns an alarm company, runs a golf league.
Why they moved here: The Mayfield schools. "Almost everyone moves here for the schools," Kathy observes.
Biggest benefit for families: The wide array of activities. "Our kids did all kinds of things through the city: swim, tennis, baseball, softball," says Kathy.
Thing you wouldn't expect: The tight-knit nature of the community. "We sometimes have 70 people at our house for Christmas Eve."
Favorite story about city politicians: Kathy ran into a former mayor at Highland Heights Community Park and suggested an idea for a summer children's program. When the schedule came out, Kathy's suggestion was on it.
Something they would change about the community, if they could: Nothing. "Things work well in our community," John says. "Garbage pickup works well. Buses pick kids up at their driveway. ... You expect things to be done well and they are."