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Old 12-04-2011, 09:27 PM
 
23 posts, read 43,989 times
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Hello everyone,

My wife and I are seriously contemplating moving to Colorado Springs from Northern Virginia. As for jobs we will be making about the same financially (Maybe a little less) with much lower expenses on average. We are most interested in hearing from those who have made a similar move and your perspective.

Things we like about Virginia: Strong history, many beach destinations, rolling hills close by, wineries, green, beautiful fall/spring, close proximity to D.C, day trips to other major cities, schools, the many small towns nearby, the whole Northern Virginia area just seems so clean, Incomes are very good-strong economy, lots of healthy eating selections (whole foods is everywhere)

Things that we tend to dislike (but we manage): People (NOT ALL) seem very eccentric and very career focused (Career is important but balance between work, family, and outdoors adventure are my objectives), people seem stressed fairly often, traffic is very challenging (I mean very), summers compete with southern Florida, average home price (4bdrm. 3 bath, 1/4 acre) seems to be around 500,000 and still may require some additional workmanship, customer service seems to lack here.

What we are looking to achieve: Better quality of life to raise our children, "live and let live attitude"- everyone is interested in what I do for income , as always a friendly welcoming environment, hiking (wife hates hiking/camping in Virginia due to bugs and humidity), camping, mtn.biking, great snow skiing, wineries, shows/events, sense of fitness/health, boating with scenery, interesting small day trips, gorgeous mountain views, clean air/water (we like to be outside).

Thanks in advance for your help, this has been a very challenging decision, so I look to those who have made a similar move and again your thoughts.
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:14 PM
 
727 posts, read 1,135,011 times
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Several posters are from the same area you are now, including Mike from Back East, TeryTee and Pheteroi, so weight in guys. A year ago, my wife and I moved from Fredericksburg VA, though most of our 28 years in VA were in the Alexandria area. We spent five years searching for the right retirement (pre-retirement, as it turned out) location. We spent our vacations visiting communities in CA, AZ, OR, NM, WA and CO. We wanted to get away from the stifling summer heat and humidity, the horrendous traffic and, not the least, the mosquitos. Both of us having grown up in the West, that's where we wanted to be. We narrowed our search down to CO and OR (Beaverton and Eugene), finally settling on CO, and CS, in particular, for the drier weather. Other than losing the traffic, humidity, and bugs, we wanted a medium sized city near a big city, a college town for the cultural activities, a lower cost of living (particularly home prices), and the mountains (if we couldn't have the beach). COS met our priorities virtually to a "T". The area is politically and socially conservative, which was a concern to us, as we're not, but we've found it to be very welcoming and definitely live and let live. All the outdoor activities you listed are available here, very nearby, in abundance. It's recently been rated as one of the country's healthiest cities. I think you'll find that the housing prices here are far more reasonable than NoVa, as is the cost of living in general. Though you can easily spend a half million and up, you don't have to. As schools were not a concern to us, other posters will have to weigh in on the best school districts and the general state of public school education in the area. I'd recommend a visit or two to the area before committing. Hook up with a local real estate agent (PM me and I'll give you contact info for the folks we used) and they'll be able to provide you info via a private web site (most can do that, I believe). Basically, it's a computer program that's personalized with your priorities, such as size, #bdrms, price range, preferred location, etc.) and they'll start sending you info that's updated regularly. Our realtors did that for us for three years, while we were narrowing our location choices and trying to get our house sold. Once we sold our house, because we already knew the neighborhood we wanted and had been reviewing available properties on line, we were able to fly into town, seal a deal and get the house inspected, within four days. About as painless as it could be. We've been here a year now, and love it. I think we made the right decision for our needs. From what you describe, I think you'd be very happy as well. But, definitely visit first, and consider renting for a while til you learn the area (we had the advantage of having friends in town who helped us narrow down the neighborhoods), so we were able to buy with a fairly high level of confidence.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:58 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
18,886 posts, read 8,867,123 times
Reputation: 18290
Quote:
Originally Posted by utter9989 View Post
Hello everyone,

My wife and I are seriously contemplating moving to Colorado Springs from Northern Virginia. As for jobs we will be making about the same financially (Maybe a little less) with much lower expenses on average. We are most interested in hearing from those who have made a similar move and your perspective.

Things we like about Virginia: Strong history, many beach destinations, rolling hills close by, wineries, green, beautiful fall/spring, close proximity to D.C, day trips to other major cities, schools, the many small towns nearby, the whole Northern Virginia area just seems so clean, Incomes are very good-strong economy, lots of healthy eating selections (whole foods is everywhere)

Things that we tend to dislike (but we manage): People (NOT ALL) seem very eccentric and very career focused (Career is important but balance between work, family, and outdoors adventure are my objectives), people seem stressed fairly often, traffic is very challenging (I mean very), summers compete with southern Florida, average home price (4bdrm. 3 bath, 1/4 acre) seems to be around 500,000 and still may require some additional workmanship, customer service seems to lack here.

What we are looking to achieve: Better quality of life to raise our children, "live and let live attitude"- everyone is interested in what I do for income , as always a friendly welcoming environment, hiking (wife hates hiking/camping in Virginia due to bugs and humidity), camping, mtn.biking, great snow skiing, wineries, shows/events, sense of fitness/health, boating with scenery, interesting small day trips, gorgeous mountain views, clean air/water (we like to be outside).

Thanks in advance for your help, this has been a very challenging decision, so I look to those who have made a similar move and again your thoughts.
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
Yup, another northern-Virginian here.

I'm a history lover, also. And as I began exploring Colorado last spring and summer, I found it's quite historical, as well...albeit later. Out on the eastern high Plains there's the history of the Indians -versus- the Army and the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. In the mountains there's the history of the gold and silver rushes.

Well, no beaches, but the mountains more than make up for that.

I found spring and fall here to be quite nice, and summer to be downright beautiful. And I think winter here is nicer because it's not so cloudy and depressing all the time.

We're fairly close to Denver, and there's lots to do up there, although Denver can't match our nation's capital for things to do. And you're somewhat centrally located for trips to the Dakotas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. Shopping possibilities in the COS are a bit more limited than northern Virginia, but we have Whole Foods here, also. Shopping for ethnic food items can be tough sometimes.

People seem more relaxed and friendlier out here. Traffic is lots easier, although can get tough up in Denver.

I actually think it is more "live and let live attitude" out here. For example, the religion thing about COS is often brought up, but that seems to sort of mix in with that "live and let live attitude", and is therefore more relaxed than Virginia. Lots of hiking opportunities in the region, but here you worry more about meeting up with a rattler...although I haven't had the pleasure...yet...and you do have to think about mountain lions and bears. For example, I was going to do a short hike alone up around Monument one day, but when I got there the area was posted for mountain lions. Show/events...well, you'll probably have to go to Denver for that.

I moved from northern Virginia after retirement to Thailand for a couple of years, and then came to COS. I love it. No, it's not perfect, but no place is. On balance things are very good here. In some ways I might like Boulder better...but more wintery there. I think you'll really like the "small city" environment of COS.

We D.C. area folks out here ought to get together sometime.


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Old 12-05-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
641 posts, read 1,954,356 times
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Yup!..as Carrera mentioned, I'm another NoVa "immigrant." In fact, I also lived in Fair Oaks area, just behind the gov center, for about 10 yrs.

I intentionally made that move from DC strictly for quality of life reasons. I love it here and am glad I made the decision to live here.

I was truly burned out with a high stress job that required a high degree of travel, often on lil' notice, (traveling communications tech for Secretary of Defense). The non-stop traffic, the extemely high cost of living, the heat and humidity, and the general sense of isolation amongst the throngs of people in the DC area, just got to me after a while. I was really living the rat race...lived and died by my cell phone and pager....was always on the beltway, was in a suit and tie everyday...and was always stressed about getting from point A to point B in enough time.

It's a total change here. My $1200 rent in VA now covers my mortgage on a 4bdrm house instead of a small apartment.

My job is much more mundane these days, but it pays well enough, the benefits are good, I wear jeans to work everyday, and I'm home by about 4:30pm....my daily commute in each direction is 15 mins as opposed to 1.5-2hrs.

I sleep like a baby...seriously! The stress of my career and lifestyle used to keep me up constantly...and I didn't know how bad it was until I got here. Now....when I'm not at work, I'm not at work. In DC, the job is much more of a 24hr thing for many, including me.

When I'm out and about, it's not unusual to run into someone I know from somewhere, and I dig it. It feels like home. In the summer, the clear, bright, sunny days always puts a goofy grin on my face. After living in the DC area for so long, I forgot that the sky is actually supposed to be vivid blue and not hazy all the time. No Red Ozone alerts here.

It's not a perfect town. We have our share of problems....whacko's, crime, bad weather at times, the food kinda' sucks, not as much cultural diversity perhaps, a lil' dull for some, but overall, I wouldn't go back unless I had no other options. I dig the simplicity. Are there things about NoVa that I miss? definitely, but no place is perfect.

Like Carrera mentioned, take a trip out this way, come spring time, and get a feel for the place. That's the best thing to do. Good luck to you.

Last edited by Terytee; 12-05-2011 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:25 AM
 
20,304 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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My input completes the Four Horsemen of the NOVA apocalypse. Ditto all that was said before. As soon as we retired we escaped Chantilly (Brookfield, on Rte 50 just west of Greenbriar) and headed for here. No regrets and no combat commuting here. Had another inch of white powder snow overnight, temp is +4F at this time but the air is dry so it's not the piercing cold of the east.

LOTS to choose from here in the way of housing, you'd be surprised how affordable the homes are here. Use realtor.com or ppar.com and enter the parameters of your current home in Fair Oaks and see what the equivalent would go for here. Search them with zip code 80920 for Briargate / Pine Creek (near where I am) if you want new/newish style of homes. Use zip code 80907 for the Old North End Neighborhood (ONEN) where Carrera is, down near Colorado College in the prettiest part of the city where there are many older homes with great character. There are other great areas around town, and a lot to pick from.

Tons of info on here in prior threads which can be found easily with our very good search tools and if you don't see the info you're looking for, just ask.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
641 posts, read 1,954,356 times
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Four Horsemen of the NOVA Apocalypse....luv it!
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:51 AM
 
727 posts, read 1,135,011 times
Reputation: 766
One more thing. I just had the opportunity to meet Colorado's best known nature photographer, John Fielder. I purchased one of his books, John Fielder's Best of Colorado. It's organized into the top 165 scenic places in the state, and is beautifully photographed. A wealth of information for each place, including maps, hiking/camping, mountain biking, golf, scenic drives, etc. etc. etc. Can't wait til spring to start exploring. You might want to pick up a copy just to inspire you, if nothing else. You can probably order through Amazon or at johnfielder.com.
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:12 PM
 
23 posts, read 43,989 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you all so very much for your shared knowledge. Terytee, you're right on it My wife and I are living right behind the gov't center next to coastal flats as well, and we're pay $1925.00 for a 985 sqft apartment with no garage, but nice conveniences).
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Colorado
9,734 posts, read 6,269,187 times
Reputation: 17549
I second my appreciation of the "Four Horsemen of the NOVA Apocalypse" Mike that was hilarious. Just hearing about all of these former NOVA people living in CoS makes me feel at home and I'm not even there yet. lol

We should seriously all do coffee or something sometime. I haven't lived there for a while but I think VA will always have a place in my heart...

Oh hey, with regard to beaches, would you guys say that if one were inclined to road tripping (which I am) one might make it to Southern Cali to a nice beach if determined to do so? Living up here in WA I really miss beaches, because ours are a nightmare. Cold, windy, even the seagulls are more ghetto looking than the East Coast where I grew up going to the Outer Banks every year...anybody ever vacation in CA? Is it universally too expensive? Thoughts?
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:26 PM
 
20,304 posts, read 37,790,850 times
Reputation: 18081
Quote:
Originally Posted by utter9989 View Post
Thank you all so very much for your shared knowledge. Terytee, you're right on it My wife and I are living right behind the gov't center next to coastal flats as well, and we're pay $1925.00 for a 985 sqft apartment with no garage, but nice conveniences).
That kind of money will rent you a spacious single family home here of about 2000 sq ft, with 2-car, etc.
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