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The greatest places to live in the West 2011
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The greatest places to live in the West 2011
Logan

FARMINGTON, N.M.

POPULATION: 48,389

LAND STARTS AT: $40,000 per acre

AVG. HOME PRICE: $215,000

Why enjoy just one state when you can enjoy four? That’s Farmington, the largest town and cultural center of the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Vacationers struggle with how to cram nearby attractions—such as Angel Peak and Shiprock Pinnacle (N.M.), Monument Valley (Ariz.), Sand Island Campground (Utah), and Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.)—into their itinerary. Much of the area is covered by the Navajo Nation, and Native American culture runs deep here, including the dramatic Aztec Ruins National Monument to the east. Those who live here rave about the temperate climate (nearly 300 days of sunshine a year) and the myriad outdoor activities, like visits to the B-Square Ranch. There are ample business and educational opportunities in Farmington, and with its low cost-of-living, you can do more with less in this scenic and historic place.

Annual events:

AZTEC UFO SYMPOSIUM, March (aztecufo.com)

SAN JUAN RIVER BALLOON RALLY, June (bloomfieldnm.info)

FREEDOM DAYS CELEBRATION, Fourth of July week (farmingtonnm.org)

CONNIE MACK WORLD SERIES, August (fntn.org)

NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION SHIPROCK FAIR, October (928-656-3280)

LOGAN, UTAH

POPULATION: 49,500

LAND STARTS AT: $50,000 per acre

AVG. HOME PRICE: $174,900

A rich agricultural history and fertile bottomland makes this part of Utah the “land of milk and honey.” Spend a day touring Logan’s delicious food factories, True Blue Aggie Cheese & Aggie Ice Cream and Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread. And learn about the legacy of the 19th-century mountain men and the Old West at the America West Heritage Center and in Historic Downtown Logan. This outdoorsman’s paradise is regarded as a prime place to retire young.

Annual events:

OLD EPHRAIM’S MOUNTAIN MAN RENDEZVOUS, Memorial Day weekend (435-245-3778)

SUMMERFEST ARTS FAIRE, June (logansummerfest.com)

FESTIVALS OF THE AMERICAN WEST, summer months (awhc.org)

LOTOJA (the longest one-day cycling event in North America), September (lotojaclassic.com)

TOMBSTONE, ARIZ.

POPULATION: 1,600

LAND STARTS AT: $20,000 per acre

AVG. HOME PRICE: $149,900

Walk where Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Johnny Ringo and other legends set foot 130 years ago. The “Town Too Tough to Die” almost did after the mining industry crashed in the 1930s, leaving the area with just 150 residents. But thorough restoration efforts since revitalized this authentic slice of the Old West, and it’s now home to 1,500 residents, an 1880s-style hotel, with plans for a sparkling new convention center in the works. Be sure to visit Boothill Cemetary and Helldorado Town.

Annual events:

TOMBSTONE OLD WEST FOUNDERS DAYS, April (tombstoneweb.com)

WYATT EARP DAYS, May (wyattearpdays.com)

TOMBSTONE VIGILANTE DAYS, August (tombstonevigilantes.com)

RENDEZVOUS OF GUNFIGHTERS, September (tombstonewildbunch.com)

HELLDORADO DAYS, October (tombstonehelldoradodays.com)

CEDAR CITY, UTAH

POPULATION: 28,000

LAND STARTS AT: $2,500 per acre

AVG. HOME PRICE: $150,000

Adventures await in Cedar City. That’s because three national parks (including Bryce and Zion), three national monuments, and one national recreational area surround the area. Hiking and canyoneering top the list for outdoor types, while history buffs can head downtown to experience an old-fashioned soda at Bulloch Drug Store. Cedar City is home to several excellent festivals, including the world-famous Utah Shakespearean Festival held every summer.

Annual events:

UTAH SUMMER GAMES, June (utahsummergames.org)

50TH UTAH SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL, June-September (bard.org)

IRON COUNTY FAIR, September (ironcountyfair.net)

CEDAR LIVESTOCK HERITAGE FESTIVAL, October (cedarlivestockfest.com)

The greatest places to live in the West