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Old 11-10-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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My boyfriend and I are in our mid twenties and currently live in Massachusetts. We like the change in seasons and the landscape here and I spend a lot of time hiking in the White Mountains. I hiked all of the 4000-footers and am working on doing them all in winter so the cold doesn't bother me. It is very expensive to live in MA with the cost of housing, taxes, etc.

We're looking to move somewhere that we'd have access to outdoor activities, farmers markets, and not have to spend too much time in the car if we want to go to a restaurant or have a night out. Being a teacher (my boyfriend is a medical writer, but would ideally like to get into book publishing) I have a tighter budget. Is there any towns in Colorado that you can get a house with a decent amount of land and be close to the amenities listed above?

We've also talked about Montana, the mountains of North Carolina (Asheville is expensive, but in that region), and Oregon.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:18 PM
 
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Part of it depends on what field you teach, and what level. Social studies? 100+ applicants for one position. I heard of some elementary positions field 200+ applications. My friend got an art teacher position in Denver and beat out 90 applicants.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:49 PM
 
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Sounds like the best thing would be to start applying for jobs and then narrow down from there. Teaching jobs don't seem to be that easy to come by in Colorado. It's doubtful that on a teachers salary and budget you'll be finding a house in the mountains with plenty of land. Colorado is not like New England with a relatively compact area and a decent population density. Almost all people in Colorado live on the prairie or in the desert clustered in a few cities and these metro areas are where the jobs usually are. Almost all of the population of Colorado lives on 5% of the land in a urban or suburban environment.

It's a whole different way of life. I would visit first and spend time traveling around and if you like that apply for jobs and see what you get offered and then go from there.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:33 AM
 
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How many times do we have to see this same thing posted? Same answer, for about the hundredth time. Teaching jobs are not easy to get, especially in rural Colorado. In most smaller communities, they are one of the more stable and higher-paying jobs available. Once people have them, they don't let them go. Even at that, in most of the mountain towns, a teaching job will not provide an adequate living income. Period. Those areas may see a little more job turnover, but there is a reason. People are going broke trying to support themselves by teaching.

Then there is Colorado's fiscal mess. Colorado's constitutionally restrictive taxation and spending provisions are going to slowly strangle primary, secondary, and higher education in the state. The boom days of few years ago sort of hid that, but the now-entrenched economic doldrums are going to bring it to the forefront. So, for teachers and educations, things are going to get worse, not better.

Oh, and if not wanting to spend time in the car is a criteria, then Colorado and the whole Rocky Mountain West is OUT for you. Have you looked at a map? Everything here involves driving--and lots of it. Some Colorado counties are bigger than some New England states. Las Animas County, Colorado's largest county in square miles, for example, is roughly four times the size of Rhode Island. The entire country of Switzerland is about 15% of the physical size of Colorado. Massachusetts is 10,555 sq. miles, about 100 sq. miles bigger than Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Get my point? The whole Rocky Mountain West, as others noted, is a completely different lifestyle than the East. Some Easterners can adapt, but many, if not most, can't.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:47 AM
 
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I think it's easier to have "an outdoor life" in Massachusetts/New England than Colorado if working as a teacher or living life as the OP described. Yes, there are not granite white-topped peaks nearby (if only there were...) but west and north of Boston, density thins out *a lot*. I noticed this flying from Philadelphia to Manchester, NH- hardly any lights down there after Boston up to Manchester. I personally am not crazy about hiking in New England- just up and down, not really walking, but there are plenty of woodsy areas, and then there's upstate NY not far from western Mass. Vermont. Again, not dramatic like the West, but plenty of space.
As Jazz and others point out, there's a reason there are such wide open spaces out West- people don't live there because they can't, or if they do and manage to, there's a ton of driving for everything.

Hence, I fly to Colorado/Utah once a year for the spaces (and the horseback riding) and make a living in Massachusetts, along with the cultural/restaurant/etc. offerings. Believe me, I've wrestled with wanting to live out West for the geography and outdoors and have accepted that it basically wouldn't work, even in retirement- still the driving and the medical access in older age. I realize that people do live out there! and find ways to make it work for them, but with compromises that I don't think OP recognizes.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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I don't think most Easterners can really grasp what it's like to live in the rural Rocky Mountain West. brightdog is one who has. I wonder how many Easterners would be willing to do these things:

When I had a specialized medical problem, the closest place I could go for treatment was Denver--for awhile as often as once a week for several months. It was 570 mile round trip--5 hrs. driving time each way. Driving was the only alternative--flying was unaffordable and train travel wasn't practical (on either end of the trip). Lots of rural Coloradans (and all of the Rocky Mountain West) find themselves in that situation. The ones who haven't probably will sooner or later.

Many times during my working career, I've had to to attend meetings in Denver or the Front Range on a regular basis. Same deal as with the medical travel. Multi-hundred mile round trips--and horrible weather and road conditions were not an excuse. If you had to be at the meeting, you went. When I lived in Wyoming, it was nothing for me to have to make business trips around the state where I would put 1,500-2,000 miles or more on a vehicle in a 5-day week. Up there, a trip to a meeting of 250 miles one-way was considered an acceptable distance for a single-day trip--up and back on the same day.

Of course, one is often doing all that driving and standing the expense for it on salaries that are considerably below what one can make elsewhere--less even than in Colorado's metro areas.

Things that people take for granted back East can be "iffy" in the rural Rocky Mountain West--even simple things like reliable cell service, close emergency medical services (or even basic medical services), anything beyond basic shopping (when having a Wal-mart is a big deal, you know the basic shopping ain't great).

How about going to a resort town in the mountains and realizing that no one staying there is from rural Colorado because few rural Coloradans could actually afford to stay there? Same with the fancy restaurants.

Or how about having to work away from home for weeks/months at a time when the local job market dries up and there simply aren't more than one or two jobs in your line of work in the community--and you don't have one of them? (Been there, done that, too--and so have most rural Coloradans at one point or another.)

Or how about knowing that no matter how good a job you have in rural Colorado, you realize that your kids have almost no chance of staying there once they grow up? They have to leave to find work, no matter how much they love it where they grew up.

Yeah, those pretty mountains are a nice backdrop, but even they can't overshadow reality. You PAY to live in Colorado--maybe in money, maybe in foregone opportunities, maybe in less "amenities"--but you pay. Simple as that.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Betwixt and Between
463 posts, read 978,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allison_88 View Post
My boyfriend and I are in our mid twenties and currently live in Massachusetts. We like the change in seasons and the landscape here and I spend a lot of time hiking in the White Mountains. I hiked all of the 4000-footers and am working on doing them all in winter so the cold doesn't bother me. It is very expensive to live in MA with the cost of housing, taxes, etc.

We're looking to move somewhere that we'd have access to outdoor activities, farmers markets, and not have to spend too much time in the car if we want to go to a restaurant or have a night out. Being a teacher (my boyfriend is a medical writer, but would ideally like to get into book publishing) I have a tighter budget. Is there any towns in Colorado that you can get a house with a decent amount of land and be close to the amenities listed above?

We've also talked about Montana, the mountains of North Carolina (Asheville is expensive, but in that region), and Oregon.
Not on a teachers budget. Or even a teacher+med writer. At least, not now. Prices are coming down and 3a and 3b passed in many (most) districts so educational hiring may pick up:

Denver's 3A and 3B: Vote "yes" for schools - The Denver Post

Be vary careful and make sure you do your homework if you decide to come anyway. It's a tough place to live. Wonderful place to visit but living here will require sacrifice.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:41 PM
 
3,794 posts, read 3,984,910 times
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How much land do you want / need and how much can you pay? What size town to you prefer to be near? The more specifics you give, the better the chance that you get targeted feedback.

For some people a choice of a few dozen local restaurants in which 5-10 are independent and a few are interesting might be enough; for others they want a choice of "top quality" ethnic restaurants in many cuisines and would be disappointed in anything less.

A "night out" can mean hanging at a brewpub with a local band or going to performances only found in cities of 500,000 or more.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:14 PM
 
863 posts, read 1,309,860 times
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Another comment about teaching: once, on a lark, I looked at teaching positions around the state, specifically looking for jobs in one of my fields (French, HA! Try finding that in rural Colorado. I'll try to stop laughing at my naiveté. Just give me a few minutes.). In the small communities, you will not be considered unless you teach multiple subjects. Ouray School District has about 15 teachers in their high school. Some of their teachers teach science/math combined, and they have one social studies teacher.

Those communities are very small, and the schools are small, necessitating few teachers. I also agree with Jazz about the state of education. I've often told my husband that as a teacher, and someone planning to go to grad school, and having two children, we live in the wrong state, to be so dependent on education.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Betwixt and Between
463 posts, read 978,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyt00 View Post
(French, HA! Try finding that in rural Colorado. I'll try to stop laughing at my naiveté. Just give me a few minutes.). .

Very funny! Especially if you live here!
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