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Old 01-02-2012, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Kalaheo, HI
33 posts, read 67,746 times
Reputation: 15

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And yet another post about where to settle down...

Please help me with some ideas! I'm from a college town (Athens, OH) and so I can't imagine living in either a big city or in a town without a decent-sized college.. but I also don't really want to live in the midwest anymore (cold winters without mountains for snowboarding really sucks). I'm more drawn to the western states with lots of outdoor adventuring.... especially mountains and lakes (for hiking, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, etc). Ideal population between 10-200,000 although probably between 30-80,000 sounds best. Would love a place with a diverse population (in terms of religion, ethnicity, politics, etc.). I'm really into the local food movement and am a foodie in general.. so many different types of restaurants and farmer's markets are a big plus (has to have some decent non-chain coffee shops that stay open in the evenings!). I don't know what my future career will be but I do know that I won't make a lot of money.. maybe I'll become an academic adviser, guidance counselor, dietitian, teacher... or something in that realm. I'll probably earn $30-65,000 so I don't think that I'd be able to survive in a really expensive place. I'd love to have a good sense of community and be surrounded by friendly, open-minded, outdoorsy people. Also love artsy places with good culture. Relatively safe would be nice.. and a good place to raise a family. Sort of close to a major airport would be helpful.. so I can get back to Ohio occasionally. I'm undecided on weather.. I definitely like sunny days and milder temperatures (sunny and 65-70 is pretty perfect).. I currently live in Hawaii and am loving the lack of extreme hot/cold.. but I also love mountains and snowboarding.. so I'll leave that one open. I might not be my happiest if it is cloudy/rainy all day every day. Walkability/bikability/public transport wouldn't hurt.

Some of the places that have interested me so far are Flagstaff AZ, Boulder and Fort Collins CO, Missoula and Bozeman MT, Moscow ID, Pullman WA, Eugene and Corvallis OR, Salt Lake City UT, Burlington VT, Portland ME... have also heard some good things about Fayetteville AR. I know there are some great college towns in the midwest and southeast (Madison WI and Athens GA for examples) but unless they have some INCREDIBLE outdoor options I'm probably not THAT interested (if the outdoor options are similar to my hometown there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to leave). Some of the towns/cities that I have mentioned are decently expensive, maybe a bit colder than I'd like, and somewhat lacking in terms of diversity.. which is why I'm looking for more ideas or more input on the current ones. In terms of outdoor options, Utah sounds like an amazing place.. but I'm pretty liberal and not religious.. any ideas for me? NM seems cool too.. maybe if Santa Fe had a bigger college I'd want to go there.. I haven't seriously looked anywhere in CA due to property costs.. so if there are any places that aren't too expensive that I should take a look at let me know. I know of some cool college areas in Canada but they mostly seem too cold.. am I wrong about that?

Brief Summary:
cool/unique college town
most drawn to western states
full of outdoor opportunities
good sense of community
good local food scene
open-minded, friendly people
diversity
lower cost of living or higher wages in the educational fields
30-80,000 people... or 10-200,000 if it's an awesome place
low-ish crime (especially violent crime)

Ideas?? Thanks for reading at least!!!!
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
1,309 posts, read 2,352,926 times
Reputation: 1196
Is this just you, or do you have a partner/kids? Flagstaff and Boulder have extremely high COL, so that might be tough for you on the lower-end of your projected salary. Fort Collins is more affordable but still not particularly cheap, and none of those places are notably diverse, outside of the diversity that comes from having a university nearby.

Moscow and Pullman are both very isolated. You won't be anywhere near a major airport. Looking at all your criteria I think you'd love it in Corvallis or Eugene, biggest downside might be lack of sunshine. Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:37 AM
 
56,546 posts, read 80,847,919 times
Reputation: 12490
If you like Burlington VT, a very similar and much affordable option is Ithaca NY. Except for the lack of mountains and the weather aspect, it is perfect. It is full of art galleries, has a good foodie scene(inc. a vegetarian/vegan scene), a ballet company, nightlife and is generally safe. Visitor Info | Visit Ithaca

Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Cornell University

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Official Website of Ithaca, NY

Ithaca City School District - Home

Things to Do in Ithaca, NY - Attractions, Activities, What to Do in Ithaca - Uptake.com

Buttermilk Falls State Park - NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Robert H. Treman State Park - NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Taughannock Falls, Ulysses, NY

Southern Tier Jobs

Another NY community that may work is Plattsburgh. It is across Lake Champlain from Burlington and is an hour south of Montreal and is very close to the Adirondack Mountains. Communities in the Adirondacks such as Lake Placid and Saranac Lake might be places you would like to visit. There is some things in terms of the arts in Plattsburgh as well.

City of Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh (city), New York - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SUNY Plattsburgh
Clinton Community College

Welcome to Plattsburgh New York

Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce

Lake Champlain Transportation

Go Adirondack -Home Page - The Adirondack Coast - Lake Champlain - New York
Lake Champlain Region

Plattsburgh City School District
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:03 AM
 
268 posts, read 316,434 times
Reputation: 107
This might not fit your criteria but I would recommend Pittsburgh, PA, particularly the neighborhoods near Carnegie Mellon Univ. and Univ. of Pittsburgh. The city may be too big (300,000+ residents) and winters are horrible and depressing (cloud-cover for days on end), but it definitely fits low cost of living and having everything right in front of you. I'd check out Shadyside and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods if you're interested in Pittsburgh. You're not too far from the Great Lakes, Allegheny Mountains, and other nearby state parks. Great place to be in spring, summer, and fall.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:38 PM
 
97 posts, read 376,232 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by csmochilera View Post
Some of the places that have interested me so far are Flagstaff AZ, Boulder and Fort Collins CO, Missoula and Bozeman MT, Moscow ID, Pullman WA, Eugene and Corvallis OR, Salt Lake City UT, Burlington VT, Portland ME...
No place is perfect. The weather in Vermont, Maine and Oregon might not suit you. The lack of water (lakes, principally) in a Fort Collins or Montana might be a problem. Cost of living could be an issue in Boulder and Flagstaff.

I assume you are familiar (since you're close) with Chapel Hill/Durham, or Charlottesville?

I know nothing about Pullman Washington, though it seems to hit some of your criteria pretty well. A little small, maybe, at 30,000 people.

I know some people that live in Arkansas, and they seem to like it a lot... but not sure I'd move there - just still have that Arkansas stigma (which is unfair) in my head.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:20 PM
 
5,549 posts, read 6,977,728 times
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Marquette or Traverse City, Michigan.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Kalaheo, HI
33 posts, read 67,746 times
Reputation: 15
Default thanks

Thanks a lot for the info so far. I'll check in to some of the recommendations. To answer some of the questions... I don't have kids.. I do have a boyfriend but we haven't decided yet whether he would come with me or not whenever I decide to leave Hawaii. If he does, he likes really small towns and more diversity (he's half Japanese and feels out of place around only white people).. I also speak Spanish and would love to be around a bigger Spanish-speaking population.. but as you can see, many of the places that I seem to be interested in aren't that big on diversity (sadly).

I'm kind of hoping to find a few places that i'm interested in living that have a grad program for me (of course I'm not positive which program I want to do anyway) and apply to grad school in them all. Hopefully wherever I end up I'll be happy enough to stay for a while and work after school. I never took Ithaca or Chapel Hill seriously because I can't imagine getting into those schools to study. Unless I change my mind about what I want to study, neither Corvallis or Eugene has a program for me... I hope I answered all the questions...
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:23 AM
 
97 posts, read 376,232 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by csmochilera View Post
If he does, he likes really small towns and more diversity (he's half Japanese and feels out of place around only white people).. I also speak Spanish and would love to be around a bigger Spanish-speaking population.. but as you can see, many of the places that I seem to be interested in aren't that big on diversity (sadly).
Tuscon? I live in Austin, which hits a lot of what you like, besides being too hot occasionally and way too big (it feels small to me, but I come from a city of 5 million people). Same with Albuquerque.

I think you've identified most of the college towns that could be a fit. And a quick google search, or look at the map, might find the few that you're missing. They all seem to have pluses and minuses.

I'd still look hard at Fort Collins, CO. It seems like the best fit. Western city, plenty of outdoor opportunities, solid 4 season weather with lots of sun, good sense of community and open minded-friendly people. It doesn't have a GREAT food scene, but has a solid focus on local foods. The biggest drawback is probably lack of diversity. It's 80% white... though hispanic and asian are the next biggest groups.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Kalaheo, HI
33 posts, read 67,746 times
Reputation: 15
Jay- Thanks for your input. I hadn't really looked into Tucson yet.. maybe I will. I traveled through not too long ago and liked it... I guess I was just thinking it's too far from the mountains. I lived in Austin for a little while and I loved it... I just don't think I'd actually want to settle down there. I hadn't realized how big Albuquerque was until I researched it a few days ago.. was sad that it's so big! That's why I wish Santa Fe had a bigger university.... Ya, Fort Collins does seem like a pretty good choice... If they have a program for me I'll probably apply no matter what.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:48 PM
 
56,546 posts, read 80,847,919 times
Reputation: 12490
With Ithaca, you have 2 private 4 year schools and a community college, but SUNY-Cortland is about 20 minutes down the road: SUNY Cortland: Seize the Moment, Feel the Momentum
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