The old adage of location, location, location is back in vogue. Judging from yesterday’s article in the Home section of the Boston Globe the old reliable towns have suffered the least in home prices. The truth is, there is a reason why certain towns retain a cache, yes, yes, good schools are important, but is that the only reason? When I drive around Newton, Brookline, Wellesley and Weston you see thriving town centers, ok maybe not Weston, but you see a history in these towns. Let’s talk about Newton first; Newton has a symphony orchestra, a music and ballet school an established Art Center, a phenomenal library, 4 colleges and a fabulous commute to Boston or Logan. If I decide I want to go to Boston, I just go, I can be there in 12 minutes by car or I take the Green Line. The outer suburbs; going to Boston becomes an event. Wellesley has probably the best downtown and a slew of new restaurants along with the Library, shopping…Brookline has a very involved community, different villages offering different things appealing to young and old. When I meet a new buyer I always try to get a feel for what they like, while cautioning them that you are buying more than a house you are buying a lifestyle. Many young buyers get caught up with the BIG HOUSE and BIG YARD, but that is all they have in outlying suburbs. You meet people just like yourself, upwardly mobile with good jobs who think the American dream is a bigger house and yard, but is a big house and yard all you want from where you live? No thriving downtown, no libraries, symphonies etc…why…because the towns are too new, all the money is spent getting the schools and infrastruture up to speed. I believe the most important quality a vibrant town offers is its older citizens. These are the people that fought for the libraries, the schools, the arts, even the zoning restrictions. I can’t tell you how many interesting people I have met just walking the dog. You cannot meet your neighbors if you live on a 2 acre property at the end of a cul-de-sac. You can’t walk into town and have a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop or bakery because people don’t linger at Dunkin Donuts. What makes strong communities?– the businesses in town that are second and third generation, the art and book stores that have recently opened, the hair salons, the upscale and ordinary clothing stores owned by people who live here. Many owners live here but their employees may not, but they can get here by public transportaion. And most definitley, all the retired people who don’t want to leave because it’s so comfortable here, their friends and grandchildren are here, and yes, the Museum of Fine Arts is only 12 minutes away.