9. Darien, CT
Darien, CT
Population: 20,049
Median family income: $227,195
Median home price: $1,253,800

Exclusivity is the name of the game in this Connecticut town, pronounced "Dairy Ann" by locals in the know. The elite meet at three country clubs, a yacht club, a hunt club, a beach club and an exceptional assortment of other invitation-only groups.

For those who wouldn't join a club that would accept them as a member, there's lots more to do: lavish gardens, Long Island Sound vistas and the town's Five Mile River reverie. Waterfront estate homes in Darien will cost you well above $10 million. Even modest three-bedroom colonials on quarter-acre lots can break seven figures in this highly sought-after community.

See complete data and interactive map for Darien

Last updated August 15 2011: 2:49 PM ET
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

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