Encompassing 13 villages, Newton is known for its high-quality public schools, historic homes, and leafy green streets. Runners of the Boston Marathon, however, know it for something quite different: the brutal Heartbreak Hill, one of the most difficult sections of the 26.2-mile course.
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Less than 10 miles west of Boston, the so-called Garden City is an affluent, desirable commuter town with a thriving economic life of its own. Unemployment is low, and median household income is higher than $121,000 a year. Along with the town’s own municipal government, Newton’s biggest employers include Boston College and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. (Newton is also home to a few other colleges, including Lasell and Mount Ida.)
Many of Newton’s villages have their own parks and central shopping districts, and the winding streets are safe and largely quiet. Newton boasts low crime and a 96% high school graduation rate. It also has one final claim to pop-culture fame—as the namesake of the Fig Newton cookie. —Sergei Klebnikov