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10 Best Towns for Families: 2009

In our yearly roundup of perfect places to call home, we give high marks to these communities for their affordable housing, good neighbors, green space, and A+ schools.

By Seema Nayyar

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Indian Trail, North Carolina
Dan Schallenkamp
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Indian Trail, North Carolina

Population: 24,956
Median Income: $67,169
Median Home Price: $175,500
Households with Children: 46%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Great Schools Rating: 8

When Peggy and Mitchell Covington moved here from New Jersey, they wanted "a healthy balance between work, play, and family and we found it," says Mitchell, 45. They bought a spacious four-bedroom and cut their property taxes in half. Driving to his job as a bank recruiter in Charlotte takes Mitchell only 30 minutes, while Peggy, 45, works in town as a secretary.

And their kids are thriving. Kelsey, 16, models part-time; 13-year-old Taylor is a cheerleader; Hannah, 12, plays flute in the middle-school band; and Zachary, 10, is on the baseball, basketball, and football teams. Equally important, the Covingtons have a diverse circle of friends. "As an interracial couple, we were concerned we'd run into prejudice, but it's been the opposite," says Peggy. Nearly half of Indian Trail residents have moved here in the last five years. "Our neighborhood is a mix of Chinese, South Asian, Korean, and Brazilian families," says Peggy. "We've got tolerance and old-fashioned Southern hospitality a win-win situation."

Gold Star: After-school classes include sign language, gardening, and a Twilight books fan club. Taylor, who belongs to Beta Club, a group of honors students who perform community service, started a family tradition last Christmas by rallying siblings and friends to stuff stockings for needy kids.

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