By Ben Hewitt
Population: 8,388 Median income: $51,900 (household)
The Skiing: Burke Mountain has two overriding lures. The first is its bounty of manicured tree runs that run from boundary to boundary. Of particular interest is the steep, maple and birch studded Jungle and, at the resort's eastern fringe, Dixieland, a long, sinuous run that flows rhythmically through the forest. The second is the bevy of cruisers that have helped hone the technique of countless elite-level racers. Powderhorn and Big Dipper are long and just steep enough to invite full-throttle arcing. A local favorite is East Bowl, with an undulating pitch and high-speed rollovers. Snowboarders be warned: It's a bit of a traverse to reach the top of East Bowl. Finally, the ungroomed Fox's Folly delivers the sort of fat bumps and short drops that beg for powder day romping.
Real Estate: With the Ginn Company feeding frenzy long subsided, real estate prices in the Burke region have returned to their pre-bubble (affordable) levels. The local architecture runs the gamut, but tradition suggests a cape-style farmhouse with a fireplace, metal roof, and divided light windows. As of publication, $200,000 puts you into a nicely restored 1800s home with dueling fireplaces, on a full acre, and only a few minutes from the mountain. Elsewhere, a mere $129,900 gets you a 1,500-square foot vintage cape on nearly three acres, with mountain views. And for a paltry $45,000, you can score a turn-key vacation bungalow in nearby Newark. (All properties listed at peabodysmith.com.)