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Old 04-23-2013, 02:02 PM
 
8 posts, read 15,483 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi All,

We're debating between relocation choices w/i CO and I'd love some input from the Forum.

We're a family of 4 from the DC area, w/ a 12 year old son and an 18 year old daughter who has put off her initial college plans to join us in CO. Her goal is to be full-time enrolled in one of the universities within a year or two.

We love the outdoors, good food, good music, and are liberal leaning to moderate in our political views (though our friends span the gamut from conservative right to liberal left). In fact, most of our liberal views have to do w/ social issues such as marriage equality and a woman's right to govern her own body.

We have no religious affiliation and work from home (so commuting is not an issue). We'd like a friendly neighborhood for our son where he can be active in sports (basketball, flag football) and make friends quickly. We'd also like to be close to good local restaurants, music venues and grocery stores. We need a 4 - 5+ bedroom home w/ 3,500 sq feet or more for $380 - $500K. If we find a home that can accommodate my mother-in-law (w/ a finished, walk-out basement outfitted w/ living/bed/bath area) we'll go up to $500K (maybe a little more if it's totally right).

We were initially looking into Fort Collins. The vibrancy of the town, proximity to hiking/biking trails and parks, good schools, progressive, family friendly nature of the area seems like a great fit. Plus, it would be great for our daughter to be close to the community college and CoState. But there's VERY little on the market right now meeting our criteria. And the majority of the neighborhoods seem to have small lots with few trees compared to what we're used to here in Northern Virginia (that's a duh-statement, I know). Ideally, we'd love at least .35 acres with some privacy trees so we can watch the birds and let our dogs romp. I'm a little worried the idea of the Fort Collins community might not match up with what we're actually looking for in a home.

Then a really nice C-D poster mentioned Cheyenne Mountain as a great option, close to outdoors, with great schools. I'd initially ruled out CoSprings b/c I've read and heard it's big church territory. I wouldn't want our kids to feel excluded or isolated being the only kids not in the church (nor would we want to be pressured to join). But I'm hearing now that Cheyenne Mountain is not concentrated with a large church population and is actually liberal-leaning to moderate on the whole. Can anyone add to this? What about dining/shopping/traffic/quality of life? What do people DO around there? The homes and neighborhoods I'm finding look absolutely beautiful, nestled in foothills with plenty of trees and nice sized lots. Just based on what I'm seeing of the landscape (LOVE Google Streetview for this), it "feels" more like what we're looking for. But I can't see the "character" of the area.

In addition, we stumbled upon Woodland Park. Looks absolutely idyllic, but much more remote. I'd read that it can be tough to be a newcomer to the area. And I'm not sure how convenient it could possibly be to groceries, schools, restaurants. Am I wrong about that?

I'd love to hear perspectives on all these areas and where DC-transplants might find a home. City-Data forums have been so helpful to us so far! I'm hoping you all can help me narrow down our choices. I've got a trip schedule very soon but I have very little time so the more information I can get, the better I can plan my itinerary.

Thanks so much!!
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,943 posts, read 7,306,479 times
Reputation: 1709
Cheyenne mountain is not a town, it's a mountain lol. It's also district 12 within Colorado Springs, the best actually.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:05 PM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,943 posts, read 7,306,479 times
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And I'm so frickin tired of everyone thinking were ankle deep in bible thumpers here, it's just not the case.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:17 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,403 posts, read 39,741,140 times
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The west of USA is a whole lot different in their IMPOSITION of religion. It is NOT an issue west of Bible belt (Miss. River). Live and let live. We appreciate you, you appreciate our choices, no battle necessary, not ostracizing / social shunning / bias...

All above choices are reasonable, BUT consider the commute from Woodland Park for daughter to college. Quality of life might be worth it, if you want less people and closer to recreation.

I prefer the Springs to Ft Collins (Grew up near there), just due to accessibility of recreation and generally less 'population pressure' on resources. I prefer the southern Co Mtns, and less crowds. But... more parts of Co Springs are 'run-down' due to big city status and transient military residents. This has vastly improved as a whole, and Co Springs has grown a lot in the last 20 yrs.

Try them all for a week or so. Stay (house) with locals and enjoy the research. There are 'family' opportunities for Hospitality Homes. I have been using them World Wide for 25+ yrs, and found guest homes very helpful in learning about regions and cultures and activities.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 04-23-2013 at 08:39 PM..
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:22 AM
 
8 posts, read 15,483 times
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Lol. Sorry ryanek9freak! Definitely not trying to generalize or categorize or make assumptions about the population. I'm just trying to filter through the chatter I hear and read about the area. This is why I need the intel from locals on the ground.

You're right, I shouldn't be calling Cheyenne Mountain a town! It's the district I'm using to filter my searches. I'll be more specific next time.

StealthRabbit, that's an excellent suggestion. I wish I had more time during visits but it's just not possible for me to get away from work for long stretches at a time. I had definitely thought about our daughter's commute from Woodland Park, it does seem far. It's an important point, though she'll only be living with us for a year, maybe two. The neighborhoods in the Cheyenne Mountain are appealing from what I see that I don't think we'd have to go to a place like Woodland Park to be close to the outdoors.

I'm very curious though about what people do for recreation (other than outdoor sports) and dining around there. How far do you have to drive to get to a good restaurant or grocery store with some ethnic spices and fresh herbs (we love to cook).
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:31 AM
 
863 posts, read 1,310,651 times
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I'm pretty excited about something coming up in the Ivywild neighborhood, which is in that whole area-ish. Local brewery bought the 100 year old school that closed across the street and is expanding the brewery, making a bakery, a specialty sausage area... I think the restaurant the Blue Star may have stuff involved as well.

I personally think that the Springs doesn't have as many small restaurants as Denver mostly because it's smaller than Denver. I know that sounds obvious, but the Springs gets really put down because of that. I can easily make a list of great restaurants in town that I really adore- I really want to go back to the Tapateria in Old Colorado City because their dessert was awesome. Totally awesome.

Cheyenne Mountain school district is a great school district- very high performing. You will *typically* find bigger yards in Cheyenne Mountain. If you were to live in the north part, by all of the new construction, the yards will *typically* be smaller and you will have to drive farther to get a good variety of local, not-chain restaurants. Drive meaning, from the south to great restaurants would be 5-10 min, and from the north closer to 15-40 minutes, depending where you live. There are new houses in Cheyenne Mountain, and there are some real gems. There's an entire area off of Cresta that some people have either tried, or succeeded, in creating a historical district because of the great examples of 1960 houses. And those houses are really unique- the cool 1960s, not the not-cool ones (great description, huh)

There's a Savory Spice shop downtown, and a Penzey Spices in the south part of town. I have younger children, so we go to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo a lot. There are quite a bit of shows at the Pikes Peak Center and at the World Arena, and the Philharmonic is pretty good here as well. There are quite a bit of things to do in the Springs.

Cheyenne Mountain area is tucked up against the mountains, and there are a ton of opportunities for you to get outside. There's no shortage.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:36 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,403 posts, read 39,741,140 times
Reputation: 23431
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1cindym View Post
...I'm very curious though about what people do for recreation (other than outdoor sports) and dining around there. How far do you have to drive to get to a good restaurant or grocery store with some ethnic spices and fresh herbs (we love to cook).
Indoor recreation= arts, music, theatre, SWIMMING (I so miss my previous Colorado swimming resources), plenty of competitve swimming venues, as well as indoor shooting, or quilting (if you so desire). Dance, gymnastics, dining, cooking ...

For ethnic spices and herbs, CO is superb for Grow-your-own, yr round in an insulated Hot frame!

Something very nice about Co Springs is a very intellectual community, including retirees. (military centric, but well educated and LOTS of variety in experience.) Plenty of Scientists too (take advantage of than, very fun to learn from practicing professionals. )
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,841,818 times
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ryanek9freak wrote: And I'm so frickin tired of everyone thinking were ankle deep in bible thumpers here, it's just not the case.

I'm with you on this. I don't know how people get these silly ideas into their brains. I spent 16 years living in Virginia Beach, home of Pat Robertsons religious empire, yet no one in all those years EVER foisted their religious views upon me. That sh*t might happen in the movies and perhaps on city-data, but it's hasn't been part of my real world reality.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
603 posts, read 733,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanek9freak View Post
And I'm so frickin tired of everyone thinking were ankle deep in bible thumpers here, it's just not the case.
That one cracks me up too, I was born and raised here. I have also lived in Oregon, in Spain and in France and I have lived in Boulder (for college) Manitou Springs and different areas/neighbohoods of Colorado Springs including the supposedly "bible thumping" north part of town. My experience with any place is that if you go looking for a fight you will probably find one but mostly people just want to live and let live.

I consider myself fairly moderate. I am not religious, I am fiscally conservative, I don't like big government. I am not conservative on social issues (gay marriage, freedom of choice). I support the Second Amendment. I have never been "accosted" here by other's beliefs: religious, political or otherwise. I respect other's rights to their freedom of thought and I can say that here in Colorado Springs I have been afforded the same respect. A couple of times a year we get the occasional Jehovah's Witness ringing the bell, but I don't answer the door and they quietly go on their way.

I live in the Central part of the Springs now and it suits us better lifestyle wise but not due to any religious reasons. It's mostly because we like older homes, large lots and big trees and being able to walk or ride our bikes to farmers markets, local restaurants, the Savory Spice shop downtown (wonderful spice shop by the way) and there are lots of places to walk our dogs. As a couple in their 40's with no kids this part of town has a more vibrant vibe for us than the suburbs. It makes us feel like we live in a much smaller town when we keep to our central core

This is a good sized city and overall fairly diverse. But maybe this religous zealot reputation is not entirely a bad thing, it might help control population growth in our area and steer more people towards Fort Collins or Boulder...

Last edited by StarrySkiesAbove; 04-24-2013 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,425,154 times
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Do you have to buy right away? Moving across the country is a big change, and if you end up not liking the city you've selected, you would be stuck for a while if you purchased a home right away. My suggestion would be to check out all the places you've narrowed your search down to when you visit, and then consider renting in one of those towns for a year (or month to month if you can find that kind of lease). This will give you the opportunity to really explore your new location and make sure it's a good fit before making a big commitment (especially at your budget).

I think Fort Collins sounds like a great fit for your family based on what I know. I lived there while attending CSU and I loved that town. You might have to compromise on your home, or rent, like I suggested and see if you can find a home that really meets your criteria without settling. You can also look a little further south into Loveland. I actually have a good friend who lives there and she really loves it. Her family sounds a lot like yours as well.

I don't know as much about Co. Springs or Woodland Park in terms of living. I have spent time in both of those cities though and worked out of Woodland Park for a summer (but commuted from Fairplay). Personally, I think the weather is a bit better in Co. Springs vs. Ft. Collins, so that might be something to consider as well.
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