In Manchester, old mills have been refurbished into small businesses, while big players such as TD Banknorth, Citizens Bank, and Elliot Hospital employ thousands. The river town claims one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation: This summer it stood at 6.8 percent, compared to the 9.7 percent national average. And the state has zero income or sales tax. You can polish your ski and board skills right in town on McIntyre Ski Area’s 170 feet of vertical before taking on the steeper White Mountain runs an hour north. In summer, canoeists recoup from paddling trips on Massabesic Lake with fresh Buds at the nearby Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
Last year, Provo-Orem—a gateway to Alta, Snowbird, and the rest of the Wasatch Mountains’ featherweight powder—added 3 percent to its employment base. Home to Brigham Young University and software giant Novell, the compact city on Utah Lake is becoming a hotbed for techies. Save up sick days for world-class trout fishing on the Provo River, a few fly-casts away.