With its dramatic gated estates and manicured gardens, Ross would make a perfect setting for a posh Hollywood movie. As one of the first towns in California to regulate tree cutting and with strict regulations on building, Ross has managed to retain its natural beauty, with tree-lined streets and several serene lakes accessed by public trails. A perfect balance of charm and sophistication, it's an idyllic setting for both the Lagunitas Country Club as well as the Marin Art and Garden Center, a popular venue for weddings. The downtown, while offering just a handful of the essential amenities, is postcard perfect.

And speaking of postcards, there is no mail delivery to most homes in Ross. Instead, residents pick up their mail at the downtown post office, which serves as a gathering place for the locals and is reportedly the place to pick up the latest gossip, as well. Of course, this level of upscale living-complete with a public K-8 school that's ranked among the top 1 percent in the country-doesn't come cheap. But if your budget allows and you're looking for privacy, timeless appeal, and room to spread out, Ross should be high on your list.

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