Middletown #18: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


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Literally named in the 18th century for its middling location, this Aquidneck town has maintained a remarkably agrarian component since its early days in the colony. Where else, really, can you pick strawberries with postcard views of Narragansett Bay? Then head to some of the best beaches in the state? In this upstart Aquidneck contender, which moved boldly up to #18 for 2012, from #24 last year.

Despite sitting next to world-famous Newport, Middletown nonetheless offers numerous charms to visitors both far-flung and local. At the perfect small-town population (just over 16,000), Middletown offers a median housing price ($306,500) considerably lower than Newport's ($375,000), and just a nudge above Portsmouth to the north ($285,000). The 2012 rankings reveal that Middletown outperforms Newport in Affordability, Education, and Safety (and Middletown moved boldly up the ladder on Safety this year, to #15). Middletown's best measure was Arts & Culture, where it ranked #9.

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Middletown by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 16,150
Median household income: $68,896
Median housing price: $306,500

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 18
Affordability ranking: 31
Education ranking: 24
Economic condition ranking: 14
Safety ranking: 15
Arts & Culture ranking: 9
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 13

History in a nutshell:

Middletown’s origins can be traced back to 1731 when various issues, aggravated by a growing population caused the Newport landowners residing in the Northern section of Newport to petition the Rhode Island General Assembly for independence. As a result, the land for Middletown was set apart in 1731 and incorporated as a town in 1743. Middletown is a prime location for industry, agriculture, and living. There is a diverse landscape made up by sand dunes, scenic beaches, and a rocky coastline. Surrounded by water on three sides, Middle town is a scenic ocean town allowing for the active practices of fishing, boating, and swimming.

Famous residents:

Nicolas Cage, former owner of "Grey Craig" mansion
Charlie Day, actor, in the TV show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
John Huston, Oscar winning film director
Obadiah Holmes, an early colonial Baptist minister, and an ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln
Edwin Booth, actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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