Centralia, IL is a little over an hour away from St. Louis in Missouri. This means getting decent access to the big city's benefits, ranging from big private sector industry to bedrock government work, including military contracting.
The best areas in Centralia are around the middle of town near Noleman Street, then over at Fairview Park. You can get everything from Mexican food, Italian food, great coffee that goes beyond basic grinds, amazing burger joints, and fast food that isn't a total traffic trap.
Living in Centralia delivers an old-timey downtown appeal with great architecture, but with the spark of innovation as the town transforms itself in a more modern vista. It's slow, but gradual growth that will only continue to impress.
If you want a touch of nature, head over to Centralia Foundation Park. The grass and trees are just part of the spectacle; the nearby reservoir brings life to more than just our drinking supply. There's a nice trail that heads towards the reservoir, and a patch of forest on the edge of the lake.