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Old 11-04-2012, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Neenah, WI
23 posts, read 38,871 times
Reputation: 14

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We need help finding a new place to call home. I’ve been searching these forums for a while, and comparing data on a number of cities around the country, but really sometimes it’s just nice to hear other people's thoughts, experiences, and intuition. I appreciate any advice or ideas you might have after reading this. Thanks!

We currently live in the Fox Cities area in Wisconsin (near Green Bay) and we are done with it. We love the outdoors and want our little kiddos to grow up outside, and it really feels like we’re locked indoors most of the year here. Half the year is bitter sub-zero cold, and half the year is disgusting hot & humid with swarming of mosquitoes. We’re just DONE with it.

So here’s what we’re looking for:

Climate & Weather:
• Moderate temperatures year-round are preferred, but that’s just a dream, I know.
• Summer heat is ok, but hot & humid is not. (ok, I really do prefer it below 90 though.)
• Some snow is ok, but buried and sub-zero is not.
• No snow sounds nice, but I’d rather have some snow than blistering summer heat.
• We really thought the Portland area was going to be the answer, but after visiting, we realized that we can’t do the long grey soggy winters either. Amazingly beautiful and fun area. Just too soggy. We need some sun I guess.
• No (or very few) mosquitos! When we lived in Madison we had to wear rain jackets to take the dog outside! Lame.

City & Culture:
• We like being able to get outdoors for hiking, biking, camping, etc., but we do want to be near the amenities of a medium-sized city; good grocery, good hospitals, cool downtown, fun community events, markets, etc.
• However, we are not big-city people, so probably looking around 75k–250k population? If a bigger city, we’d find something smaller nearby. Needs to have it’s own walk/bikeable downtown and personality though. Can’t do the sprawling suburbs and strip malls.
• I work in marketing and design, so the local economy has to be moving fairly well to support that, whether I land at an agency or in-house.
• Water. Need to be near some kind of water (lakes, rivers, etc) Good for the soul.
• We live simply, but we’re also single income, so cost-of-living will be a factor too. My wife is a full-time-mom and we plan to keep it that way. Family is number one and more important than big houses or fancy cars.

I realize that perfect probably doesn’t exist (and even if it does, I doubt we could afford it!) but I’d like to get closer to happy than we are now. Just trying to dial it in.

We do have a few cities in mind, but I’d like to hear some unbiased thoughts before sharing ours. Looking forward to hearing what you think! Thanks for any and all ideas!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:14 AM
 
21,228 posts, read 30,452,593 times
Reputation: 19701
You might want to consider Roanoke, Virginia. It fits pretty much all of your criteria and is beginning to really take off in terms of diversification and growth.

Roanoke, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Things to do in Roanoke | Golf | Mill Mountain Zoo | Blue Ridge Parkway
Doing Business Downtown | Office Space | Downtown Roanoke, VA
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Currently living in Reddit
5,655 posts, read 5,710,350 times
Reputation: 7280
Before I read down to the post above, I was also thinking Virgina. Maybe not Roanoke, but VA nonetheless. Much as I've grown accustomed to Pittsburgh after living in New England area most of my life, winters, while not unreasonably cold, are grey, gloomy and damp. I spent a couple of years in Alexandria and hey, there was sun in February (wouldn't necessarily recommend there though for traffic and cost). But maybe the Richmond area or somewhere just west of Hampton Roads - far enough away from NoVA where CoL is more reasonable. It's a lovely state, can't find too much fault with it. As long as you're not too far inland, there's access to pretty much everything you want.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:09 AM
 
56,780 posts, read 81,126,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
You might want to consider Roanoke, Virginia. It fits pretty much all of your criteria and is beginning to really take off in terms of diversification and growth.

Roanoke, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Things to do in Roanoke | Golf | Mill Mountain Zoo | Blue Ridge Parkway
Doing Business Downtown | Office Space | Downtown Roanoke, VA
I was thinking of that general area as well, with maybe Blacksburg and Harrisonburg being options. Both are college towns. So, that will allow for things to do in a smaller package. Morgantown WV may work for the same reasons. Same with Charlottesville VA. Johnson City TN may also work.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,343,644 times
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Good suggestions on VA. Try looking at Staunton, VA, even though it's a bit smaller than you listed (very walkable, lots of cultural amenities, cooler than Richmond and eastern VA, Sherando Lake is beautiful). Also, check-out Ashville, NC. It's another walkable, beautiful city.

Both places are in the mountains, so lots of outdoor hiking, biking, camping, etc.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Neenah, WI
23 posts, read 38,871 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks for the input so far! I would not have considered that area much (just not familiar). What about the humidity and bugs? The biggest thing we're trying to escape is high-humidity and mosquitoes. They just ruin my summers. Because of this, I've really only been looking west of the Mississippi, but that may be completely uninformed logic.

Also probably worth mentioning, we have a very "to each their own" attitude, but would also want to feel accepted wherever we land. We aren't intensely liberal, but we definitely lean left of center socially and equal rights are important to us.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:01 AM
 
21,228 posts, read 30,452,593 times
Reputation: 19701
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshAirKids View Post
Thanks for the input so far! I would not have considered that area much (just not familiar). What about the humidity and bugs? The biggest thing we're trying to escape is high-humidity and mosquitoes. They just ruin my summers. Because of this, I've really only been looking west of the Mississippi, but that may be completely uninformed logic.

Also probably worth mentioning, we have a very "to each their own" attitude, but would also want to feel accepted wherever we land. We aren't intensely liberal, but we definitely lean left of center socially and equal rights are important to us.
Higher elevations in the east don't have the screeching high humidity of lower elevations, particularly those near areas near large bodies of waters or low-lying swampy areas. Many residents of the East Coast escape to the NC/VA mountains in the summer to get away from the humidity. In terms of mosquitoes no area below 6000 feet or so is free of them as far as I know. They're not especially bad in the VA mountains as far as I've experienced. Given your more liberal bend I would move you a bit northward to Charlottesville which fits the rest of your criteria quite well too.


Live Where You Love: Charlottesville, Virginia - YouTube
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Detroit
983 posts, read 1,431,894 times
Reputation: 1065
I know you said you wouldn't prefer a big city, but I'd recommend checking around the Denver/Colorado Springs area. It is not humid and its winters are more mild than in Wisconsin. Plus it's hard to beat the Rockies for stuff outdoors.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Neenah, WI
23 posts, read 38,871 times
Reputation: 14
Kyle, thanks, I will look more into these areas!

RC01, we have actually been looking at Colorado. Fort Collins is actually looking pretty spot-on for us. COL is probably a bit higher than we're used to, but I hear nothing but good things about the weather/beauty. Also looked a bit at Bend, OR.

Interested if Colorado might be the place. Or any milder-winter Northwest areas or any milder-summer Southwest areas.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Neenah, WI
23 posts, read 38,871 times
Reputation: 14
What about other cities like Fort Collins or Bend? Maybe Missoula? Or what about Boise? Utah? Spokane? Yakima? Anyone have any thoughts on cities like these as they relate to our situation? Thanks.

It's hard hunting for utopia. But life is too short to live somewhere just because it's where you were born.
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