Tired of the daily grind? Find a slower-paced, stress-free life in these dream towns
The Willamette Valley has fantastic Pinot, of course, but the towns along the highway are, well, less than picturesque. McMinnville, 35 miles from Portland, is the exception. It's got that historic brick-lined main drag. Acres of farmland that feed a burgeoning farm-to-fork restaurant scene (largely spurred by Eric Bechard of Thistle and the town's first non-dive bar, Oak & Ivy). And it's the kind of progressive small town attracting 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings from Portland to Napa; where full-on houses are affordable; people post online pleas like, "Who wants to split 25 pounds of CSA carrots?"; and Saturday nights are spent swing dancing in the local ballroom. Plus, the feel is refreshingly middle class. As one local puts it, "The rich people must be hiding in their wineries."
Median home price: $170,000