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Old 03-05-2011, 07:56 PM
39 posts, read 55,594 times
Reputation: 26


Hello - My husband & I are currently residing in the Raleigh, NC area & are originally from NJ. We’ve also lived in the Pacific NW (Eugene, OR) & have to say that the Raleigh area has been by far our least favorite. Seems to just be a bad fit in a number of ways- climate, culture, etc. I feel as if we’ve been drifting from location to location in order to find a good “fit” only to be disappointed in one way or another. Eugene, for example, taught both of us the true meaning of SAD, with 9 months of continuous rain. Other than that, it was beautiful with interesting people (more or less accepting of us but a bit spacey and too liberal). Raleigh/Durham, on the other hand, seems to be a very bad match for our personalities. We’re agnostic, introverted 30-somethings that lean towards libertarianism, very much into a holistic, organic lifestyle but not interested in the liberal ideology that seems to go hand-in-hand with this. I personally find the folks around here to a little too close-minded for my taste and the climate is not to my liking. The winter lacks any significant snowfall & the summer is unbearably hot & humid with bugs galore. Putting my bitching aside, here is what we desire in our next location (in order of importance). Please advise, based on your first-hand experience, whether Colorado (Denver or other areas) sounds like a potentially good fit:

Culture: I’d like to find a place with independent-minded individuals like ourselves whom we could develop some friendships with. We found it a bit in Eugene but once we relocated, our ‘friends’ lost touch. In Raleigh, it’s been much tougher. We’re looking for people who do not necessarily take sides politically but think for themselves. People not afraid to push the envelope in terms of speaking their mind, kind of like the NY/NJ stereotypical blunt nature. Real people, not those brainwashed by religion, politics, etc.

Employment prospects: Neither of us are pleased with our current career paths (mine is a research assistant role & my husband’s is a grader/evaluator of student papers as well as a substitute teacher) but would be grateful to find something to pay the bills until we sort out our professional aspirations. So, in other words, we’re seeking as healthy of an economy as can be expected in this current economic climate. We’d also like a small business-friendly atmosphere in case that’s the route we eventually choose to take.

Climate: Winters should ideally=snow. Summers should be warm but not unbearably hot. Would prefer 4 distinct seasons. A concern regarding CO is the intense sun as my husband burns very easily; with precautions (sunscreen, hats, etc.), do you think he could adjust? Also a bit concerned over the dryness factor since we’re from NJ, although this does sound like a definite improvement over the current humidity. Another concern somewhat related to climate is the lack of green that I’ve read about on these forums- I do place high importance on greenery and lakes, ocean, etc., but am wondering whether the beauty of the mountains could supersede all of the above. . .

Freedom: Low taxes are important to us; as I mentioned, we lean towards libertarianism. We don’t have children yet but do plan to in the near future. It’s of the utmost importance to us to have the choice of what to we do with our children- vaccinations, homeschooling, etc.; it should be our choice, whatever we decide when we reach that juncture.

Well, that’s the gist of what we’re looking for (yes, I actually could go on longer. . .). Much appreciation for any feedback. This forum has been extremely informative to us on our search for the ideal location!
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:41 PM
8,317 posts, read 25,139,426 times
Reputation: 9066
Based on what you've posted, Colorado is not for you. Contrary to popular belief, where most people live in Colorado, the metro areas and other lower elevation valleys, are not high snowfall areas--and snow does not generally stay on the ground for very long. For much of the land area of the state, brown is the predominant color from late fall to late spring. Though they lack humidity, the lowland areas of Colorado can get quite hot--high 90's to low 100's usually occur at least some each summer in most lower elevation areas.

Colorado's economy is fundamentally unbalanced, with a heavy reliance on real estate speculation, recreation, and government. That served it well during the last 20 years of "bubble economy," but it is not a good economic model going forward. Colorado's local and state government are also facing a funding crisis for public services that is going to be both severe and protracted. A recent study indicated that Colorado government would remain essentially bankrupt even if the economy boomed again. That is going to have a disastrous effect on education and public services within just a few years--that crisis is already beginning. Taxes are a mixed big in Colorado. Residential property tax rates are among the lowest in the nation; combined state and local sales taxes are among some of the highest, income and fuel taxes are middling, vehicle registration fees are fairly high. For people in business, commercial property taxes are fairly high, and for those businesses that sell at retail, Colorado's sales tax system is the most complex and byzantine for business people to collect and administer in the country.

Politically, Colorado has always been a conundrum. It has generally been fiscally conservative and socially moderate. It claims to be pro-limited government, but government is one of the hugest employers in the state. Colorado was the first state, under a Republican Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature, to legalize abortion back in the 1960's. Contrary to the reputation of Colorado Springs being a hotbed of the religious right, for the most part Colorado is very "secular"--possibly a throwback to its heritage of ranching and mining. In many areas, especially rural Colorado, it is a hard working, hard drinking, blunt-talking society. Colorado's metro areas are just suburban blobs full of people from someplace else, increasingly with no local character of their own--a "strip mall" society.

The resort areas tend to be fairly liberal--full of trust-funders and wealthy ne'er do wells more than willing to try to impose their "vision" upon the few locals who remain in the community. I consider none of the resort areas a healthy place to raise children--they are fundamentally socially unbalanced between spoiled affluent people and an underclass of worker bees--a lot of them immigrants (legal and otherwise) just trying to scrape by. Such towns masquerade as American small towns, but they are really just a "cartoon" version of a small town--sort of like a Disneyland version of a small town, superficially cute, but not "real."

By the way, before the flaming starts, contrary to many of the posters on this forum, I've a native Coloradan, I've lived in Colorado for over a half-century total (in numerous locales), and I've visited, and/or done business in literally just about every community over 250 people in this state--all 64 counties worth.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:55 PM
20,344 posts, read 37,861,657 times
Reputation: 18144
Actually, Manitou Springs on the flank of Pikes Peak, just a 10 minute drive from downtown COLO SPGS, sounds like a perfect place for AstralSkier. I'd have said Boulder, but both it's housing prices and taxes are a bit high and the vibe there is a bit too rigid and conformist on the left side. But IMO, Manitou has the right mix of light-heartedness and a live and let live attitude. Yes, a bit touristy at times, but great food and conviviality within a short walk. Take a look at it, use our search tool within the COLO SPGS forum with the word Manitou. Well worth a visit.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:17 PM
Location: Denver, CO
5,607 posts, read 20,216,635 times
Reputation: 5311
Just an idea, have you ever considered Minneapolis? Other than mountains, I think it describes what you're looking for pretty well.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:42 PM
2,780 posts, read 3,479,637 times
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Within Colorado, Mike's suggestion of Manitou Springs is probably worth investigating for yourself for the pluses and minuses on your priorities. But as the other posts suggest there may be other candidate cities outside of Colorado that could be equal or better overall for your priorities, unless you decide that the Colorado Rockies are essential.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:11 AM
Location: Western, Colorado
1,600 posts, read 2,684,255 times
Reputation: 937
Although Jazzlover's info is pretty accurate, if you do a search of his posts, you'll see a trend in his tone and attitude towards people moving to Colorado.

Sounds like CO might fit you well. We're similar to you guys and are considering New Hampshire ( mostly to get closer to family on LI ). Look into the Free State Project there.

Both states have excellent homeschooling cummunities.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:04 AM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,298,504 times
Reputation: 6816
Have you considered New Hampshire? Not sure how strong the economy is within the state itself right now but it's reasonably close to a major job center, Boston, if you live in the Southern part. New Englanders are very independent minded (remember, "Live Free or Die" is the slogan on their license plates). Has plenty of snow in the winter and is very pleasant during the summer. Lots more water there than in CO with many beautiful lakes. I'd also recommend Vermont but it's more liberal and not close enough to large numbers of jobs.

Oops - just noticed Moto said basically the same thing.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:44 AM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,047 posts, read 98,981,287 times
Reputation: 31537
It depends on what's a deal-breaker for you. If it's the snow, as they say in Jersey, "fuggeddaboudit"! What Jazzlover says about the snow is true. The only place where the snow stays on the ground for long is in the mountains, and there are not a lot of job opportunities there unless your career path is leading you towards ski-bum/tablewaiting, etc.

If it's "In your face" type people, again, forget about it. Colorado leans libertarian, but with the exception of a few individuals, people are very much "mind your own business".

You'll find plenty of home schoolers and anti-immunization people here.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:47 AM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,298,504 times
Reputation: 6816
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
You'll find plenty of home schoolers and anti-immunization people here.
I'm sure your public health service there is thrilled.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:28 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,047 posts, read 98,981,287 times
Reputation: 31537
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I'm sure your public health service there is thrilled.
Oh, it's a challenge. Friends of mine who are nurses are always sending me articles about the high rates of pertussis (whooping cough) in Colorado, particularly Boulder County.
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