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Old 01-21-2016, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269

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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Aguilar View Post
Proof that it's all in perspective, OP.

We came out here for our scouting trip in December 2006. My wife and I were both originally from Southern California, me from the Los Angeles urban mess, and my wife from a small/isolated town in the desert were we were both living.

Thus, Denver and Colorado Springs looked green to us. Even in December. There was a thick blanket of snow for our entire trip, with bright blue skies, and comfortable high temps in the 20's for virtually the whole trip.

I was smitten the whole trip. It was the "paradise" I perceived. My wife needed a few days of convincing, mostly due to urban things she wasn't familiar with (diversity, paying for parking). She was smitten by day 3 or 4 of 7. On day 7, we did not want to leave. We packed our bags, and were here less than 6 months later, in June 2007. Been here virtually ever since (we had a work transfer/transfer-back in 2009).

Now, for what you saw. My nearly 9 years (and especially the last 6 or 7) has jaded me on this place. My wife still loves it, and I *like it*, but it's not Shangri-La for me by any stretch or definition. There is plenty to not like about this place, as there is with anywhere.

Housing: did you visit SE Aurora, Parker, Highlands Ranch, etc? These places have more cookie cutter architecture, which more decidedly would be considered modern, same for the shopping areas. They don't compare to drab old Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Thornton, SW Denver, etc. The value (per dollar) in housing has taken a big dip due to our thriving economy.

IMO, the prettiest months to visit here are May and September. It tends to rain quite a bit (relatively) in May, but everything is greened up as much as it will ever get here. Summer is a summer style of drab, greener than winter for sure, but kind of sucked/dried/burnt out. September and early October are almost postcard-like.

The draw for me was living in a big city with snow. Yes, I know there are a lot of those, but there were cultural things I was worried about many of the other ones not having at the time (I was young/naive, and had an unhealthy fear of racism before we moved here, which I ultimately did not avoid by moving here {long story}). The mountains were an afterthought for me, as I had always lived near mountains, and wasn't particularly into snow sports (still am not).

I really don't know why you didn't find more reasons to like Colorado Springs. I like it more every time I go.

-Signed, another person that Colorado is perfect for "on paper", but not necessarily in reality. On paper ($$$) I'm happy here, but emotionally/spiritually/feeling-wise, I am lacking.


P.S. Good news: there's a whole lot of the west for you left to explore.
Thank you so much for your response! I don't think we gave Colorado Springs a fair look. We really should have driven farther east into the city. We went a decent way in, but then turned around and headed out to Manitou Springs. I think we had consigned ourselves to it being a poor fit based on other factors, but it was the first place we visited, so we didn't have all of the pieces yet to make an educated observation. It might be worth a revisit.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post

There is no perfect place.
I could not agree more! Thank you so much for your response.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoodlemomCoS View Post
I've been thinking about this a bit more and I think it really does come down to perspective and expectations of a place. Someone from the desert like me thinks this place is very green, but if you are from anywhere that have decent precip, it will probably be brown to you.
Another thing is expectations of a place. When I first married my husband I was in love with all things Boston and Mass. We planned a trip out there and I was sure I would fall in love with it, heck I wanted to move there. I liked how it looked in pictures, I loved that it had major sporting event teams, the food, the American history. But when I went, it just didn't "feel" right. No matter how hard I tried. While it was beautiful, the humidity got to me (I love green but can't handle humidity well). It did have the amenities I like but I wasn't feeling the city or even burbs as my true home. I was pretty bummed out because I really wanted to like it and live there.
Once I stsrted really examining what I wanted in a place, including the reality that I just can't do humidity, I was able to narrow down better where the best place was. The harsh reality was when I excluded states with humidity, my list left got pretty small. I was always drawn to colorlado and hated leaving every time I visited. Even though I knew there were locations of greener places with more American history which I really, really wanted to love to live in. So I narrowed my searching colorado and knew I needed a place close to good hospitals for our son but a smaller city since I like and am use to that. Found the Colorado Springs forum, talked their ear off for close to a year, went on various trips there during different times and liked it each time. And now we are here. And it feels right.
My point is, I think you can find the right place. Don't love colorado just because you want to love it. Explore other places and see if their vibe gets into your blood. What about the forested areas around Berkeley? Or some place in Oregon or Washington like Olympia? Plus you can always come here to visit in the green months. I visit my sister in Florida in the winter when she is freezing there. I'm thrilled at that time because of low humidity and even when it's super cold, it feels normal to me.
I wish you the best again. Good luck.
Thank you so much! Your perspective is very interesting and enlightening. I shrugged off the dryness, but the humidity was heaven-sent when we landed in swampy Fort Lauderdale. My skin almost immediately felt better. Do you ever get used to the dryness? Although it was not a deal-breaker, I have to wonder if I could endure it long-term. I love, love history as well; but, there seems to be some opportunity for that in Colorado despite it's "youth". I have definitely considered Oregon. I haven't done a whole lot of research, but I am afraid the winter's would be much too chilly. I loved the cold of Colorado. It has seemed chillier here in Florida that it was there, with all of the whipping winds here and the cold chill.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
As a supporter of my adopted state of Colorado, I feel obliged to chime in.
I moved here from Massachusetts over 35 years ago and have now spent 52% of my life here.
I love Colorado for:
weather (4 seasons and no February slush month) and no bugs
good government
reasonable taxes

Two of the three above cannot be seen by a visitor.

Here are 2 aspects of greater Denver that I think that non-Mountain states' people just don't grasp.

1. Population size in the past.
Before the explosion of automobile ownership in the 1950s, very few people lived here. That is why we don't have nearby towns and villages with quaint commercial centers. The northeast is filled with villages every few miles because you had to live close to a shopping area. Many places also grew up around railroads.

Just look at the data below.

Population
Florida - 1950: 2.8M (Winter Park, FL had 8250 people in 1950)
Colorado - 1950: 1.3M (Castle Rock, CO had 741 people in 1950 and Littleton had 3378)

2. Water (or lack of).
We (living on the prairie) just don't have much. It rains 1/3 as much as most of the east coast. This means that trees only exist outside of riparian zones because Man planted them and watered them (for their entire lives). We have to bring water from far away.
We don't have surface water. Our rivers are a few feet wide. Compare the Platte to the Connecticut. Most Northeasterners would call the Platte a stream, not a river.
We don't have sub-surface water. Just look at the disappearing aquifers in Douglas County.
Water Law is a foreign concept to anyone living within proximity to the Appalachians.

Just look at the data below.

Water
Precipitation
Orlando - average annual rainfall in Orlando is 50.6 in
Denver - Average precipitation 14.3 in
Surface (aka lakes, ponds, swamps)
Orlando - myriad
Denver - close to zero

P.S.
I think it completely non-sensical to compare any part of greater Denver to Saint Augustine (established in 1565) or to NYC (Manhattan has 1.6 million living 33 sq miles)
Excellent statistics to help bring some perspective. Thank you! I only mentioned Saint Augustine to make note that I am not solely searching out ultra-modern architecture. I appreciate a variety, so don't necessarily want to live in an ultra-modern home. In regard to NYC, it is the only large city, aside from Miami I have ever visited, so I think I thought Denver would be more "city-like" in relation to what I know. It was an eye-opener to me, regardless of how populated each city is, that downtown Denver was not full of people, walking, eating, shopping, etc.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
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).
We loved Golden. That is why we booked out hotel in this area. I just didn't love Golden's rental prices for very dated apartments and homes. I really wanted to visit Evergreen. A few of my acquaintances live there now and seem to love it. I am definitely open to other areas. My only impressions were of the main Front Range areas I visited. I did not travel far south or to western CO, nor any of the mountain areas (although it doesn't seem reasonable for us to live in these areas in regard to work, etc.). I will most definitely check out the areas you mentioned. I am trying to keep the dream alive .
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunderpig2 View Post
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.
I think I definitely would have looked at it with a different perspective if we were vacationing. I am so glad we made the trip all about really trying to picture ourselves in these communities and still loving it when we are waking up at 5am to fight traffic to get to work. It's a big move to make. I am sorely disappointed and feel a little lost as I get overzealous once my mind is set on something. I am so thankful for all of the reality checks City-Data's people have dealt along the way. So much makes sense now!
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,651 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by mic111 View Post
Shelly,
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!
Wonderful points! I suppose it really is another consideration that the weather can get a lot worse. Could I really tolerate it? I don't know. I thought I wouldn't mind the brown as long as there were beautiful mountain views, but one doesn't really know how he/she will feel until they live the experience. I so wish we had more time. I really wanted to visit Red Rocks! I honestly wanted to spend the whole time doing some outdoor activity, but we had to stay focused. I guess I don't want to give up the dream of living near the mountains if I haven't explored every option. I know three days is a very limited time and I am hoping City-Data folks will turn our attention to an area that might better fit our needs. We don't need perfection, but I know for sure we didn't find a place in which we could see ourselves living. And you're right, we can't force that belonging. Maybe I have too specific of expectations? Maybe no place will meet them and I have to prioritize. I have no idea! I have never left my home town in all of my 40 years aside from travel (sigh). I hope we find our next adventure! Thanks so much for your input!
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
603 posts, read 732,358 times
Reputation: 998
Have you thought about the Idaho panhandle (Coeur d'Alene, Sandpoint, Hayden etc)? You get the mountains, hiking, beautiful lakes and it's very green and although not humid like Florida, it is more humid than Colorado so you don't have to carry chapstick in your pocket 24/7


Coeur d'Alene is 33 miles to Spokane WA if you need a bigger city fix from time to time. Summers are glorious, winters get a good amount of snow and are pretty cloudy (which is why the area is so lush) but if you can handle that, you would have your combination of mountains, hiking, camping, boating and green landscapes.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,227 posts, read 24,312,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shellybug View Post
Wonderful points! I suppose it really is another consideration that the weather can get a lot worse. Could I really tolerate it? I don't know. I thought I wouldn't mind the brown as long as there were beautiful mountain views, but one doesn't really know how he/she will feel until they live the experience. I so wish we had more time. I really wanted to visit Red Rocks! I honestly wanted to spend the whole time doing some outdoor activity, but we had to stay focused. I guess I don't want to give up the dream of living near the mountains if I haven't explored every option. I know three days is a very limited time and I am hoping City-Data folks will turn our attention to an area that might better fit our needs. We don't need perfection, but I know for sure we didn't find a place in which we could see ourselves living. And you're right, we can't force that belonging. Maybe I have too specific of expectations? Maybe no place will meet them and I have to prioritize. I have no idea! I have never left my home town in all of my 40 years aside from travel (sigh). I hope we find our next adventure! Thanks so much for your input!
Virtually all western cities are near some sort of mountains. Maybe these ones weren't for you.

Knowing a little more about what exactly you're looking for in your prospective place to live would help us narrow it down a bit more I think.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:33 PM
 
3,794 posts, read 3,984,910 times
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If you didn't like what your money could buy in Golden, unfortunately it will be worse in 6 months and again a year after that and no better and maybe worse in Evergreen. Colorado Springs might be a $100-$200 cheaper per month on average, but maybe not much cheaper for comparable rental housing / neighborhoods. You'll have to search to check it out. Cheaper to buy, yes, for now; however, there is probably going to be more upward pressure as an increasing stream of folks turn to CS as the alternative to Denver metro or places north.
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