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Courtesy of Hillsborough—Xact Studios LLC
Population 39,192
Median Income $110,435
Job Growth 8%
Median Home Price $311,500
Property Tax $8,453

In crowded New Jersey—the most densely populated state in the country—Hillsborough is a bucolic haven. In large part, that's because the residents have worked very hard to keep it that way. Laws have protected one-third of town land from development, and much of what's been preserved is stunning. There’s the 4,000-acre Sourland Mountains Preserve, with its challenging trails for hiking and off-road biking as well as horseback riding and bouldering. At the 2,700-acre Duke Farms, once the estate of tobacco heiress Doris Duke, outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, cross-country ski, and bird watch. Duke Farms also has a community garden where county residents can plant their own flowers and vegetables (after taking a mandatory organic gardening course) and an educational center where visitors learn about conservation practices for their homes.

Not particularly outdoorsy? Philadelphia and New York City are each about an hour away (by car or train) and less than 30 minutes from Princeton, home to the Princeton University Art Museum, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Opera New Jersey. A bypass for highway US-206 that runs through Hillsborough will be completed in 2017. The town will turn old Rt. 206 into a pedestrian-friendly town center that will bring shops, restaurants and housing to its Main Street.

Hillsborough schools are highly ranked in the state. Its middle school has an engineering design program, part of the school’s effort to enhance its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum. Every student from 5th grade through 12th receives a laptop, and the high school offer 20 AP courses.—Donna Rosato

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