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Old 01-12-2011, 02:51 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,308 times
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Hello everyone! (Pardon the noob :-P)

My husband and I are in the process of pre-planning a move in the future, and we are struggling to find an American city/town that fits our criteria. We're looking for someplace...

- medium to large in size (Nothing like New York, but then nothing as small as Duck, NC, either. Ha-ha! The people of a small town with the amenities of a big town, if that makes sense.)
- good support system for artists, artisan crafts, and/or entrepreneurs (We are looking to start a business and would like somewhere that takes pride in individualism and locally owned, independent stores)
- low cost of living (We're realistic, but still.... Someplace where two people can live comfortably for under $120-150,000 a year)
- friendly and largely safe
- pretty, with nice landscapes like mountains or forests nearby
- no open plains (We're tornado wimps)
- kind to pedestrians and cyclists (We're all for cars, but a city with pedestrianized areas or a decent amount of sidewalks would be lovely!)
- with character! (Whether through architecture, history, or a thriving arts scene)
- not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter (Four distinct seasons, if possible)
- supportive of fresh grown vegetables and healthy eating

We'd appreciate any and all suggestions. We're not drawing blanks so much as finding so many cities, we're not sure where to start. Which have you experienced as being closest to this criteria?

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,979,221 times
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Although it might be a bit cold for your tastes in the winter, I'd suggest looking into Burlington, Vermont.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:12 PM
 
Location: The City
22,341 posts, read 32,208,951 times
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Maybe New Hope PA (Close to Philly and NYC)
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:44 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Asheville NC sounds perfect for your criteria.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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All of those are great choices and would include Ithaca, New Paltz and Saugerties in Upstate NY. Perhaps Ann Arbor MI as well.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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It seems like almost every town in the East is calling itself an arts town or has an arts district or is part of an Arts Trail. They think it will lead to revitalization. There has to be at least 10 million+ artists living in the East. Throw a dart at a map and you will have found a town that supports local artists.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
964 posts, read 2,049,376 times
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Burlington VT
Asheville and Carrboro NC
maybe Athens GA, Northampton MA

All of those are left of center, very arts-friendly, a lot of creative activity in all of them, they're small enough to be personable, but not huge.

Asheville - if you need a day job; the job market there is tight. It's within a 1-4 hour drive from Atlanta, Charlotte, Greenville-Spartanburg, NC Triad, and Knoxville, so it's geographically in a rather nice location. Again Asheville is a do-not-move-here-without-a-job-firmly-locked-down kind of town, but its' arts scene is sizable enough that it's known outside of the area for it. The Black Mountain College was nearby, and though that hasn't been around since the 1950s, it is something of a celebrated (and well-documented) part of the local art history (Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Willem Dekooning, Walter Gropius, and many other luminaries taught there at some point), alongside the more obvious Appalachian heritage. The Penland School of Crafts and Warren Wilson College (modeled somewhat on the progressive educational model developed at BMC) are nearby.

Carrboro - The western edge of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill CSA, so even though it's a quirky, walkable town of about 18,000, you're at the periphery of a metro area well over a million people. There's a very strong creative community in the area. Durham is about 10 miles away, is about 225,000, and is - in parts - very heavily populated by creative folk as well. Durham is considerably less expensive than Carrboro or Chapel Hill (C.H. is the most expensive city in NC, with median home prices twice the state average), but parts of Durham (mainly East Durham) have some issues as well.

Athens is best known for it's music scene, especially in the 1980s. There's still a very, very big, if somewhat less famous music scene there, and lots of artists. It's a little over a hour east-northeast of Atlanta. I believe it's the largest city east of the Mississippi River NOT on an interstate (85 and 20 are about 25 miles out of town, in two different directions); the countryside around the city is beautiful. The artist Howard Finster lived there for years, and is something of a local hero. Magnificent downtown. It reminds me a bit of a larger (110,000 people in Athens, vs. around 78,000 in Chapel Hill/Carrboro combined) and somewhat less pretentious Chapel Hill.

There are some cities out West - Santa Fe, Sedona, Boulder, Flagstaff, some of the northern California towns - that might be worth a look. I don't know them as well, and I don't know what kind of living costs you'd run into; I would expect higher than in the East.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:37 AM
 
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$120-150K a year is a pretty good income anywhere outside NYC or SF. I'm assuming you are independantly wealthy - if you think you'll earn that from a new business right off the bat you'll need a healthy dose of reality check.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
4,036 posts, read 9,209,745 times
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Santa Fe, NM. Although I know housing is a bit pricey, I'm sure it's doable on $150,000. Or you could go smaller, and look at Taos, NM. Beautiful place. Mountains, rivers and streams, Carson National Forest. Lots of artists and galleries. Skiing in the winter, ratfting, hiking, biking, fishing in the summer. Tons of Native American history and very cool Spanish architecture.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:08 AM
 
21,220 posts, read 30,443,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidals View Post
Carrboro - The western edge of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill CSA, so even though it's a quirky, walkable town of about 18,000, you're at the periphery of a metro area well over a million people. There's a very strong creative community in the area. Durham is about 10 miles away, is about 225,000, and is - in parts - very heavily populated by creative folk as well. Durham is considerably less expensive than Carrboro or Chapel Hill (C.H. is the most expensive city in NC, with median home prices twice the state average), but parts of Durham (mainly East Durham) have some issues as well.
I second Chapel Hill/Carrboro. It's a great place to live.
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