Golden is my answer. It is where I live now. The reason I picked it is because I want a high paying city job but I want to live in a small town. Those two don't really go together so I came up with a compromise. The front range is crowded but Golden has a small town feel and is right next to the mountains and it is on Clear Creek. It is not a small town, though. There is not really such a thing on the front range unless you commute a long way to work.
I lived in Bouder for about 8 years off and on but got tired of the city. Also, I partied so much while I was in college in Boulder that every time I went somewhere I had visions of puking on this or that or getting arrested here or there or getting my teeth knocked out by that club hockey player at a house party, or, etc. That place is nuts with traffic and houses one on top of the other. It has an urban feel. They saved a lot of open space around town by piling everything up in the middle but I won't live there again. It is as expensive as hell, too.