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Old 01-21-2016, 10:34 AM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,875 posts, read 9,619,939 times
Reputation: 4942


There have been some great, very informative posts in this thread, especially Dave Barnes and TCHP. A lot of people from the east ask the same questions over and over, so perhaps these informative posts could be a sticky.

What think you, admins?

Last edited by Dreaming of Hawaii; 01-21-2016 at 10:35 AM.. Reason: Typos
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:38 AM
Location: USA
1,024 posts, read 788,272 times
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Originally Posted by David Aguilar View Post
I've only not been near mountains (within sight) a few times in my life, on trips to Upstate NY, the Great Plains states, Toronto, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc, and none of those trips were longer than a week. I never felt like "man, these places suck because they don't have mountains", in fact, I don't recall ever even thinking about mountains during any of those trips.
No, you don't think about it. I never did, not until they were gone for much longer periods of time.

I don't think everyone will feel the way I do, however. I know that others report having the same experiences as I have had, so I don't think I'm alone.

Now, an extended period of time may be different, but then again, it might not (for me).
Yeah, I can't say how it would be for someone else. I would warn them, that it might happen. But you can't say for sure that it would or wouldn't.

The Midwest has an almost magical appeal to me (I don't know, can't explain it), so I could possibly adjust if I ever wanted to, I'd at least be willing to give it a shot.
That might tip in your favor, towards being able to adjust to no mountains.

There is one thing that frustrates me, I must confess. When others who don't have the same experiences or perspectives, attempt to pretend like they understand anyway—I think we see that a lot on many areas of City-Data. If the lack of something (or the presence of something) doesn't bother them, then if it bothers someone else, then that other person is just being too "rigid," and finding things not to like.

That's why threads like this one are helpful. What is "too dry" for one person is "just right" for someone else. What is beautiful to one is not beautiful at all to someone else. What someone is crazy about, another person can't stand. I think we need to hear it all.
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:36 AM
1,822 posts, read 1,390,553 times
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Shelly(bug) - I'm glad you got out here first-hand to look around and see things for yourself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what would be many pictures and images?

Coming from a more lush part of the country too, I see many of the same things you saw. And it's bad enough that the housing is so expensive, but bland houses crammed together doesn't help any. Jobs suck here too (both with availability and pay). That's been the biggest disappointment for me, with cost of living and overpriced/ugly homes #2.

Colorado can be a tempting place, and look "good on paper" too, as you mentioned. Visiting/vacation mode is quite different from daily living and trying to make it work here. There seems to be a lot of PR online designed to make CO look perfect. After over 3 years here though, I'll say that it hasn't lived up to my family's expectations on many fronts. There are some good qualities here, but they are all in the "luxury" and nice-to-have column, and not in the "necessity" column. I don't think the sacrifices that people talk about make up for the drawbacks. Natives and long-timers won't get what I'm trying to convey, because everything will be "normal" and there's no reason to look closely at how things are done.

CO - based on what I've seen and experienced - is best for the rich, kids out of colleges with great degrees and a blank slate (no significant roots and location/scenery to compare to), those with family here, or those coming from extreme environments (far northern US with merciless winters, etc.) That still leaves out quite a lot of people. There are other negatives too, such as not widening I-25 north of Longmont, ridiculously high vehicle registration with the money not going anywhere apparent, rude northerners, etc.

There, I said it. Unusually open and to-the-point for a change. I'm sure some will throw stones at what I've said. If you like it here though, great! I'm happy for you. It's nice to be happy with where one lives, and feel at home and connected. I can't wait to get back to my roots and re-experience that as well. We can all be thankful for the variety that makes up America, and that we do have lots of choices and options.

Last edited by Sunderpig2; 01-21-2016 at 01:01 PM..
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:41 AM
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You didn't like Boulder and apparently Golden either. You say you loved Louisville and Fort Collins. Go for one of those or does being nonplussed by the region out weigh the impressions of these locales? I guess you didn't get to Evergreen. I'd think about it or the other two or move on from the CO front range to perhaps Vail, Durango (there are green spots, modern spots, modern, green spots and shopping and mountains) or another state. Maybe look at Issaquah, WA or Lake Oswego, OR (also green, clean, modern spots with shopping near big employment centers and mountains).

Last edited by NW Crow; 01-21-2016 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:56 AM
Location: USA
1,024 posts, read 788,272 times
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Originally Posted by Sunderpig2 View Post
It's nice to be happy with where one lives, and feel at home and connected. I can't wait to get back to my roots and re-experience that as well. We can all be thankful for the variety that makes up America.
It really is great to be happy where you are, feel at home and feel connected. I wish that for everyone, no matter where they live.

My visits to Colorado left me with that "feeling," but I realize that it was a superficial impression, and who can say if it would hold up?

But, I can say with certainty that I have been in places where I never felt at home, not when I visited, not when I stayed for longer durations, and I know how that feels. I didn't get that vibe at all from Colorado, so I assume that it would be a step up (compared to a place where I never felt any "belonging" at all).
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:20 PM
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Good job! You did an excellent job capturing your observations. Sometimes a visit like this gives one a "there is no place like home" moment, a la Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I think your running into one of the problems retirees run into when they are looking for somewhere like Shangri La to retire to.

Noted as excellent: Weather and views. You were lucky in your dates. This could easily have come out on the bottom of your list if you had encountered a blizzard, arctic freeze or dates where you couldn't see the mountains because of the pollution.

The good: Driving in the snow. Again, lucky with the dates. Could have just had a giant snowfall and been sliding all over the road.

Not so great: Housing from the 60s and 70s. Denver was a big oil boom town up to the 80s. Then it crashed, real estate fell like a stone, crime in many areas was high in the 90s (it was maxing out for the whole country) so people did not put money into their homes as they were underwater from when they initially bought them. It is only recently with our real estate boom that the old late 1800s till '70s stock of homes are being renovated as the neighborhoods gentrify. If buyers were abandoning this stock all the close in neighborhoods would be junk. But people are embracing this stock of homes, pouring big dollars into them with scrape and builds as well as renovations. As a result the neighborhoods are coming around. I would say that in general the people in Colorado are less status conscious regarding their home, the newness, the shininess of it etc. than people from other areas that care more about that sort of thing. That is probably why we have such vibrant old neighborhoods.

Brown: In general the brown does not subside during the summer. There are often a few weeks of green in the spring when we get rain but once the heat of summer hits everything browns up again. Last year was an exception. Every now and then we get rains that keep some semblance of green. But that is not the norm. If you see green on the front range in the summer it is usually because it is being artificially watered. In addition because we are so high and our atmosphere is so thin the colors here are more washed out than what you will see at sea level. This may have been the reason for your overwhelming feeling of drabness.

People not out: There are places where people tend to be out, like running up and down the stairs at Red Rocks, the bike paths downtown, Wash Park etc. But the beauty of the place is that there are so many trails, parks and opportunities for recreation that you can go easily find solitude on many of the neighborhood trails and in the parks. Also since you were in a car you wouldn't necessarily seen the trail system. Most people don't walk along the roadways.

Boulder: Honestly on paper Boulder and I are perfect. In person I can't stand the place. I always get harassed by the bums on Pearl Street Mall. Everyone is in a hurry. The traffic is terrible. They are all so in to fitness that it is a bit oppressive.

Denver as a city: Denver is a very small city. To see people walking about you likely needed to be at Larimer Square, 16th St. Mall or Union Station at the right time of day. It sounds like you saw the financial district or maybe over by the performing arts center/convention center. As far as the housing around downtown it pretty much converts to what looks like suburbs right away. Most of it was built up in horse and buggy time as well as street cars. Everything was platted as residential neighborhoods of the time. It is one of the things people like most about Denver, that you get these great old time residential neighborhoods right next to downtown.

Finding a reason to love CO: Not a good idea. You either love it or you don't. I think you should refocus your search onto other areas. Use this as a opportunity to take note of the things you don't like.

Good luck with your search!

Last edited by mic111; 01-21-2016 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:27 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
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Originally Posted by bluescreen73 View Post
If you're not big into the brownness of the Front Range I'm afraid you'll really dislike the Grand Valley. Grand Junction is high desert. Shades of brown and orange are prevalent there year-round. On top of that jobs are hard to come by.

I-70 typically isn't that bad. It's the main artery between Denver and the major ski areas. CDOT works to keep it passable all winter long. Occasionally it'll close briefly at Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel, but that's the exception.
We took a short walk around Garden of the Gods and I thought the shades of orange were absolutely beautiful! I could definitely live without the green if there were reds and oranges to create some color-warmth.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:33 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
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Originally Posted by Itz View Post
Just my two cents . It seems you had a good/great visit to Colorado and it there are MANY different things to adjust to and love or hate about it. I'm originally from Wyoming so Colorado to me is very similar - except taxes and politics.
Keep in mind that Colorado is ONLY about 100-150 years old in comparison to back east and Florida, so there aren't a lot of extremely historic areas. Those historic buildings and areas were built out of wood which have disintegrated. Mostly every neighborhood is going to be cookie cutter like.. Except REALLY expensive parts of Denver. I do want to point out - the history here is great if you enjoy that sort of thing, because Colorado is so "young" in comparison. I have spent a lot of time visiting places that were just amazing.

I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is VERY clean and very active. In fact I love that in the summer time the kids are outside playing with their parents and the neighbors have get togethers (they are very respectful in the noise level as well).

Downtown Denver I have never found "walkable" even when I worked downtown. It is very... non-vibrant as you say, unless you are into the "club/bar scene". Denver is very hyped over their sports teams - especially Football.. which I enjoy the energy of it.

The dryness... oh dear lord... stock up on lotions! The summer gets better though.

The price of homes is about supply and demand.. so it is based on that. Homes in my neighborhood are sold as soon as they are on the market. That is just the market right now. I like CoS, a lot, but it seems like the job market seems to have been on the downside for quite some time.

The brownness does subside... for a few weeks. During these few weeks I'm just in awe at how green everything is. The fall is great with the GOLD of Colorado.

If you enjoy the outdoors.. you can't beat Colorado.. No matter what, there is something to do outdoors somewhere. The bad thing is - many hiking trails turn into Congo lines. I avoid the mountains at all costs during summer holidays.

If you want to or plan on moving, I would suggest another visit to the area, to just get out and look around at different things.
Great points. Thank you so much! I love history and was looking forward to getting to know Colorado's (and the west, in general). The outdoor opportunities were truly the main draw for us. We are pulling our hair out over here in Florida with the lack of outdoor activities not related to the ocean. We love to hike and camp, but it is unbearable for much of the year here between the bugs and the humidity; and, well, there isn't anything to hike. Just a small hill here and there. Very uninteresting once you tire of water sports and the beach.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:43 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Originally Posted by DoodlemomCoS View Post
Coming from where you are (Florida), I think your observations make sense. Colorado is much more arid then I think a lot of folks realize. My sister who lives on floridas east coast but grew up in New Mexico with me thinks Colorado is dry, dry, dry. I think many people think colorado is more like Washington state with lush blue spruce and forests with green wild grasses.
Technically we live in the "forest" but I'd bet if you saw our neighborhood it would appear dry and probably not as green as your idea of colorado although we are in one of the more wooded areas.
Visiting my sister and her subdivisions, houses seem brighter there, if that makes sense. And people are always out in the neighborhoods in her place although there are a fair amount of people walking where I am.
Not every place is for everyone. If it's not working, don't force it. There are too many places to explore in our country. I hope you find your right place.
Thank you so much! I hope we find our place as well. Florida is really such a beautiful state, I wish I could appreciate all it has to offer more. When we flew into Fort Lauderdale via the gulf side, the Everglades took my breath away. I had never flown in on that side as I am always coming or going from the east coast. Wow! What a sight from up above. I so loved the Colorado weather and the lack of humidity, but it was indeed very dry!
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:47 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Originally Posted by Lost Roses View Post
Good thing you didn't permanently move here in our beautiful summertime and were then shocked by the brown winter landscape! Honestly, there is nothing here to compare to your Florida expectations, we are truly a fours season climate with all that entails. You certainly got around during your visit but I see no mention of the southern suburbs of Denver which might have suited you better, but it does sound like the reality of Colorado doesn't fit your particular dream, which does happen.
We were so convinced of it being a perfect fit that we were going to orchestrate an entire move without ever having visited. Boy, I will never take doing thorough research for granted again. I will have to look again at the southern suburbs. We tried to narrow down our search, but still cover a reasonable amount of ground. I'm still hoping there might be a perfect Colorado fit so that we can enjoy the beautiful mountains on a regular basis!
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