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A Pin, A Map, and A Dream

August 30, 2005 | Category: This Old House

Updated: 8/30:

OK, here's what we're researching so far based on your recommendations:
*Upstate New York
*Twin Cities (although that seems FAR off the beaten path)
*New England
*Canada (Toronto, Vancouver or Ottawa - all contingent on them letting yet another Yank in. Oh, and my company sponsoring me.)
* Oregon/Seattle - I know, different states, but probably the same scouting trip. Although CD wants it noted, for the record, that he is like a plant and needs a certain amount of sun. We have heard rumors that there is no sun in the Pacific NW of the US. This is probably a dastardly lie, right? Also, and not that anyone is counting, but I have more than 1 ex in the Seattle area.

Places on the 'probably not' list:

*RTP and NC as a whole (I have spent a LOT of time in RTP and not only can I attest to the beauty - I can attest to the heat, the traffic, the humidity and the GODAWFUL GREEN CRAP that falls from the sky every spring and sticks to everything like bird snot on crazy glue.)

* Montana (Although I LOVE Cheryl, I travelled to Butte once. Ever land in Butte? And then, you know, drive down the butte into Butte? In the snow? Ok, 'nuf said.)

*Georgia (Although, for the amount of time I have spent in the Atlanta airport they should charge me state income tax. Just too hot. And not just in August.)

*UK (I lived there in '94 and I LOVED it. I cried for 3 months after I got back to the states. But my company will not sponsor me there. And we can not afford to live there without a work visa. We can barely afford to live there WITH a work visa. Seriously, we would be squatting with my dear friends in the North, taking showers with that hand-held thing while sitting in the tub and wondering how we could afford the next pint of petrol. Or gin.)

Still taking suggestions. And now I am looking at neighborhoods....

For about two years now, we've been aware that we have an opportunity to move. Anywhere.

I telecommute, and my husband currently works for a company with locations uh... everywhere.

So even though we'll probably move to the quaint little Bedford Falls town just over the road from our current home in Pleasantville, we aren't.... sure.

Where would you move? If you were up for an adventure, and could go?

We want a good school system for Bear, but on the other hand I could homeschool. We want a place that is beautiful to feed our soul - water, hills, green. We need a somewhat nearby tech corridor. And we need snow and winter and really, as few 80+ days as possible.

Ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

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I moved to NC from Miami in 2002. What a big mistake, NC is a sorry state, and I have been in Oklahoma for like 9 months. NC sucks big time on everything, people is rude, southern hospitality my @ss, the weather is sorry, the food stinks, the traffic is horrible, pine trees everywhere, everything is expensive, and I can go on forever. I'm just waiting in getting my divorce and I'm getting the hell out of here, hopefully DC or Atlanta.

Posted by: Gus on September 11, 2005 05:42 PM

I've lived in Colorado Springs and Seattle-I loved them both. The winters could be pretty darn cold and snowy in Colorado, though (and I would suggest you remove the Twin Cities from that list if you aren't keen on cold. My Dad lived there for many years, and I am not big on places where the nose hair freezes. That is one of them.)

It's true Seattle has a lot of rain. It is also expensive. In its favor, it's one of the more liberal places I have ever lives, and I just loved it.

Posted by: Helen on August 31, 2005 01:20 PM

Based on your criteria, I would agree with whomever suggested Colorado. Personally, I was with you until you said snow and winter ... not I! :)

There is a website that asks you to answer about 50 questions, and based on your answers comes up with a list of places that you might want to move to. Darn it - I can't think of the site - maybe go to Google and try to find it? It's a great site and could help you research not only certain states, but particular cities, as well!!

Posted by: Monica C. on August 31, 2005 12:57 PM

Yes, it's hot here in Carolina. But it's also the last bastion of the South for having four distinct seasons. The traffic is relative, all dependent on where you live. It takes my husband and I each about 10 minutes to get to work. I haven't driven on I-40 for six months, and I work in RTP.

Just sayin'. It's got a lot to offer.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 31, 2005 12:46 PM

If I can be of any assistance when it comes to my area, let me know. I'd be more than happy to help.

The only complaint I have about my area is that the people are as dated as state. They are behind the times, stuck in yesteryear, and refuse to grow.

We joke that we traded arrogance for ignorance -- but it actually isn't that funny. It's painfully true.

That is my biggest complaint about living here. Good luck on your search!

Posted by: Eyes for Lies on August 31, 2005 11:30 AM

If you're looking for housing info in the twin cities - try wwwdotedinarealtydotcom - I'd be more than happy to answer any questions. Why do you think it's far off the beaten path?

Posted by: cursingmama on August 31, 2005 11:21 AM

The heat's not bad down here. Seriously, we seldom go above 80. The whole "Hotlanta" thing is just a myth to keep out undesirables.

What? No, my fingers are NOT crossed!

Oh, the other hand.

Okay, you caught me. But we do have air conditioning!

Posted by: Jim on August 31, 2005 11:15 AM

All right, then, my second choice is Wisconsin, particularly the Milwaukee area. It's gorgeous and friendly and close to Door County, which is the coolest place in the world.

Although I hear winters there are a bitch. Could you have a beach vacation home? :)

Posted by: Lucinda on August 31, 2005 10:16 AM

I'm a Portland, OR resident and can offer you a wealth of information should you want it.

For starters, we have amazing Rogue River blue cheese and a plethora of mushrooms here. Not to mention Oregon Country beef, provided by a consortium of ranchers who commit to certain practices.

And while I'm shamelessly dangling assets, you can usually get all of those things at our own local fast food chain, Burgerville - along with real ice cream/real fruit seasonal milkshakes. (It's either blackberry or huckleberry on tap now...)

We've other redeeming qualities as well, promise!

Posted by: Betsy on August 31, 2005 09:09 AM

I tried posting this the other day but it wouldn't let me: How about Madison? (; I'm enjoying it so far. It's got everything you want, not to mention ME. hehe!

Posted by: Anna on August 31, 2005 07:57 AM

Ah, I see you've already vetoed Canada, for very sensible reason, but if I had my choice, I'd move back to Vancouver because that's where I'm from and it's gorgeous and vibrant and wonderful and I regret leaving it every single day. You couldn't get in as a "skilled worker"?

Aside from British Columbia, my vote goes to Oregon or Washington State. The Pacific Northwest is fabulous.

What fun to even have the option of moving!

Posted by: christina on August 31, 2005 06:45 AM

I'll join Lisa in recommending Seattle. It has the best combination of water/hills/green that I've seen, and is close to snow when you want it. Great neighborhoods, very kid-friendly.

Good luck figuring it all out.

Posted by: Kimberly on August 31, 2005 03:03 AM

My vote is Twin Cities, Toronto and then Denver. Listen to your heart and it will tell you where to go.

Posted by: azalea on August 30, 2005 08:51 PM

NC is HELL in the Summer. NC is a love/hate relationship for me. I repeat do not come here. I have been here for 5 years from Upstate NY. I'm waiting for something to bottom out to return back to NY. I hate the heat. Riding solo isn't as great as it seems. I miss my family.

Write a list of what your looking for. I know I suffer from depression and would love to change everything about me if I could. Especially the fact I migrated to NC and have a decent job. I wish I would have stayed in NY. I miss the snow but not six months of it. 14-15 days a month I hate NC, the other half I love it. I hate the traffic in the metro city, the extensive congestion, the hight housing prices for a small lot of grass and a mini house. THen your neighbors are within reach from every room in the subdivision because they are so mini. Sorry to be a downer. Today, I HATE Nc.

Good LUck.
Another Jennifer

Posted by: another jennifer on August 30, 2005 07:24 PM

We moved to North Carolina five years ago and I love it. Beaches of the Outerbanks to the east, Asheville and the mountains to the west, RTP smack center. It's gorgeous here, greener than any other CITY I've ever visited. And jobs are everywhere. The thing I love most, though, is the small town feel. It all depends on where in the Triangle you choose to hang your hat.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 30, 2005 06:38 PM

The UK - i agree with Helen :)

Ace schooling, free health care, if you stay long enough a crack at a european passport, what more could you want for Bear?!

Seriously though, good luck with the decision making.

abs x

Posted by: abs on August 30, 2005 05:23 PM

Hmmm, I live in a suburb of Boston, and while my suburb is expensive there are TONS right outside of the 95 belt (which coincidentally is the second largest tech corridor outside of silicon valley) that are very reasonable.

I say Massachusetts! Plus, we are very very liberal. Here are the pluses- very liberal, very accepting, best schools in the nation (ranked #1), very safe (houses safest city in the country), and we are nice! Nice is good!

I am from California (San Francisco) and find the liberally goodness to be very welcoming and lovely, so if CD feels that way also, you might want to consider. Oh, and we have snow and lots of lovely nature. We do have very expensive areas but lots of beautiful areas that aren't so expensive. I am happy to talk more about it if you want!

Posted by: halloweenlover on August 30, 2005 12:51 PM

Here are a few links that I used to select our new area...hopefully you'll find them useful and fun!




(I had to throw in that last link - it is the Denver cam so you can check out our beautiful weather!!) ;-)

Posted by: Jill on August 30, 2005 12:26 PM

Where would I move by myself? DC
Where would I move with kids? Upstate NY, northern CA or Seattle.

Posted by: Polichick on August 30, 2005 10:26 AM

Look at Wisconsin--Madison or Milwaukee area. Then Minnesota--outside the Twin Cities, or even Rochester. Finally, depending on how much you want to get away from it all, how about Michigan's Upper Pennisula (da U.P., as they say)? Homeschooling is easy in Wisconsin, and I believe also in Michigan and Minnesota. But, good school systems, including in the rural areas.

Posted by: cc on August 30, 2005 08:41 AM

We have hamburgers with bleu cheese here, baby. Or at least Angus does, I eat the tofu version.

And it's only a two hour flight to CD's home territory.

And there's loads of us with the flat vowels living here, and we aren't unpopular (you get a bit of ribbing now and then but only once did I get it in an unkind way, and he was a jerk anyway.)

Free health care (it's quite good, actually). Good schools. Fantastic shopping. And ain't nothing wrong with the almighty pouind, seeing as it's nearly a 2-1 in the US, which means when you visit home, it's like one giant 50% off sale year-round.


Posted by: Helen on August 30, 2005 08:12 AM

Seattle. I'm a native Californian (southern), went to college in Milwaukee. Our life changed dramatically when we moved here. House, baby, I went from working 60+ hours a week to working 20. No humidity. 40 minutes outside of downtown is almost like country. The traffic is worse than the weather. Join me.

Posted by: lisa on August 30, 2005 12:43 AM

Missoula, Montana baby. That's where it's at.

Posted by: Cheryl on August 29, 2005 07:35 PM

I must agree wtih notdonnareed about the Denver area. Husband and I were just commenting that our quality of life has increased tenfold since moving here from the Bay Area. There is zero humidity. It's a beautiful thing! We haven't encountered anyone rude yet either in our 8 weeks here. The school system scores very high in the South Metro area. The tech center is mere minutes away. The skies are blue and gorgeous and we absolutely love it here. We feel so lucky to have made such a good choice! At the very least you should check it out over a weekend. That's what we did and we were hooked immediately!

Posted by: jill on August 29, 2005 06:58 PM

Athens, Georgia

Cheap, beautiful, friendly, progressive, home of a major university and all its guest speakers/programs/etc., one hour from Atlanta, great schools, yummy restaurants, cool bars, awesome music scene, great small town feel, amazing history, quaint-yet-happening downtown--- PARADISE.

Posted by: Lucinda on August 29, 2005 05:44 PM

We looked at Canada - Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa. The problem is me - I am an American, and Canada is of the daft opinion that they have enough of us there, thank you. CD and Bear, in a heartbeat and I can tag along - as a dependant.

We're continuing to look Northward - CD's comfort level with raising a child in the USA is always a bit iffy. It's no slam, he loves America and has worked and paid taxes here and served this country in thanks any way he could. But he is a social and political liberal, and so you can imagine....

And I actually could happily live in the UK again or Canada. I think.

I'd miss my friends. And hamburgers withe blue cheese and mushrooms.

Posted by: Elizabeth on August 29, 2005 04:54 PM

Naturally I think you should move up here. But since there would be no work (I imagine) for either of you, I would reccomend Calgary. It's gorgeous, and so near the mountains. You could live on the outskirts, and have the best of all worlds. Lots of snow. Wonderful schools. Great zoo. And of course, the health care system....

Posted by: Tammy/averagemom on August 29, 2005 03:44 PM

I live in the Twin Cities like Suzanne and would certainly say its a great place to live. If I was picking for myself ...I'd pick Duluth/Two Harbors/Grand Marais or anything along the north shore in a heart beat. The only reason we haven't done it is because the kids are so far along in school and we don't want to up root them. Once they're out of school...we're up there as fast as we can.

Posted by: cursingmama on August 29, 2005 03:39 PM

I have to second what RP said-I love the Pacific Northwest, and a part of me thinks-should I ever return, something about the Northeast (Vermont, NH, Maine)appeals.

Posted by: Helen on August 29, 2005 02:50 PM

I was thinking about Oregon a while back. Also, I thought about Vermont or New Hampshire. Might be nice to be within striking distance of the ocean.

Posted by: RP on August 29, 2005 01:06 PM

You should check out this area. We are wonderfully positioned between three cities -- all of which offer us something. We have low crime, a slow-pace of life, beauty -- and yet the city life is only a train-ride away (75 mins). Drive 30 miles and you find Fortune 500 companies. What more could you ask for?

I wouldn't go back even if someone offered me $1M in cash. No joke.

Posted by: Eyes for Lies on August 29, 2005 12:24 PM

I'd love to advocate for our Nation's capital but honestly? There's traffic, it can get hot, it snows, housing prices are sky-high. But I really do like it here. In spite of all that crap.

Posted by: Chris on August 29, 2005 12:05 PM

Come on over to the Twin Cities! Very little traffic, you could live in a quaint suburb like Hopkins or the more pricey Edina is always lovely. Or you can live in NorthEast Minneapolis which is becoming a very nice neighborhood. You could live right on a lake and have only a 15 minute commute to downtown. School districts are AMAZING! and opportunities abound. Winters are very much like you experience now in CHI-town. Many huge companies are here, 3M, Medtronic, etc etc.

Beautiful homes for sale all over my neighborhood if your lookin.

Plus, you'd get the added bonus of living by me :D

Posted by: suzanne on August 29, 2005 11:23 AM

You should check out a suburb or town near Denver. The cost of housing here is much cheaper than most major cities, and it's incredibly beautiful. They have two tech centers on either side of the city. We love it here. Also, the weather? Is fantastic. When we went to the park yesterday, it was 91 degrees, but the heat index was 78. I didn't even know that was possible. I've also lost about ten pounds since we moved here. There's just something about this place that makes you feel like eating healthy. And the people are uniformly nice. Even the repair people are clean and courteous. We seriously haven't encountered a rude or angry person in the month that we've been here. We plan to stay here forever.

Posted by: notdonnareed on August 29, 2005 11:08 AM