42. Matoaca, Va.
|AT A GLANCE|
|Median Home Price||$243,700|
|Commute time||29 minutes|
In the busy Mid-Atlantic region, Matoaca is a welcome respite. In this village on the banks of the Appomattox River, a single-family home still costs around $240,000. White-steeple churches, a small supermarket and local art gallery are some of the town’s biggest attractions.
You don’t have to travel far, though, for more diversions. Virginia State University is just a few miles east. Historic Petersburg—where Gen. Ulysses S. Grant cut off Confederate supply lines, bringing an end to the Civil War—lies on the other side of the Appomattox. From here, commuters can hop on I-95 and drive north to Richmond in about 30 minutes or catch an Amtrak train to points beyond, such as Washington, D.C., a three-hour ride away.
Jobs are accessible, too. Amazon opened a fulfillment center in the area, and Niagara Bottling, the largest private-label beverage supplier in the U.S., plans to build a $95 million facility. A good education is also within reach. Kids in Matoaca attend Chesterfield County’s award-winning public schools. The system’s four-year graduation rate was 91% in 2015, and middle- and high-school students receive Chromebooks to do their studies.