Charming homes in the best small towns

8 places to live off the beaten path

Imagine living in a small town with all its charm and history, but still remaining within reach of a vibrant city.

At your retreat, you'd be able to get away from it all, and yet you wouldn't be too far off the beaten path that you'd miss out on what metropolitan areas have to offer.

We used Smithsonian Magazine's 2014 list of the best small towns to visit as a starting point to find some great homes for sale in eight communities, each with a population of about 14,000 or less.

Amenities vary, but there's one thing these homes all share: They're all located in places that fit the description of quaint.

Each home we found is for sale at or near that town's median price, which ranges from $115,000 in central Kentucky to $540,000 in California's wine country.

That comes out to a monthly payment of about $455 to $2,092, assuming a 20% down payment and today's average mortgage rates.

Of course, architecture helps make a home interesting. So let's start with a house in the town in which Frank Lloyd Wright built his estate.

By Mitch Strohm Contributing Editor