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Old 10-12-2006, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Cape Cod, MA
109 posts, read 370,083 times
Reputation: 92

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Hello,
I am a single mother of an eleven-year-old boy (and not as young as that makes it sound like I might be) looking to start life over in a place more friendly and affordable than Massachusetts. I am an artist and will be working as a surgical tech. I love extremes of all kinds- in weather and topography.
I've been on this site, as well as the South Dakota site, and I've done a lot of research on just about every place in the US! I'm looking for an area where hiking and biking are great, and culture and diversity aren't too far away. A relatively safe area would of course be desirable as well. I love hot summers- (Yes, I know Duluth is cold,cold,cold!)- but I also love snow!
I'm interested in the Duluth area mainly in Minnesota, just about anywhere in Texas (I've spent some of the last three summers visiting all over there), the Grand Rapids and Traverse Bay area in Michigan (I've only visited Detroit ten years ago, and was not impressed) and the Black Hills area of South Dakota.
I've never been to SD, but would love to visit. The Cost-of-living comparison on Salary.com seems to surprisingly indicate that the Rapid City area might not be that less expensive than where I am.
I'm looking for any and all feedback on any of these areas, and how they might compare to Texas, so far the frontrunner in my perhaps futile quest for the most desirable place for myself and my son to live. I realize that I am posting on the Texas forum, so I may get some biased responses, but if you have been to some of these other places, and can make some comparisons, they would be much appreciated.
( So would humor!)
Thanks. I'll just sit back and wait for your learned responses. ( I hope!)
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
12,782 posts, read 28,799,811 times
Reputation: 6375
Wow - cold, cold, cold, HOT!

My mom is from North Dakota, grew up in Minn/St. Paul area, and married and moved to Texas....can't help ya on Michigan.

I have spent a somewhat significant time in Minnesota and most of my life in Texas, and it is hard to compare two extremes on an apples for apples type basis. Cold weather extreme vs. hot weather extreme is a very individual choice. Minn leans very liberal vs. the very conservative lean in Tx. I can say that families in Mn tend to be very tight, and I really think it is due to the being forced together for several months a year. In Tx, you have the option to spend almost all year outside. Although Mn is very liberal and Tx conservative, both have a strong religious base (Catholic/similar vs. Baptist/similar) that forms the basis for a lot of the politics. Taxes are very high in Mn, but the school system has a good reputation.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Texas
3,494 posts, read 12,966,293 times
Reputation: 1377
as a surgical tech, you will find lots more opportunities in Texas than anywhere else....higher pay, no state income tax, and cheap living. no doubt, pick Texas. you wont regret it.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod, MA
109 posts, read 370,083 times
Reputation: 92
Default Thanks!

Hey, Trainwreck20 and bellestaroftexas,

Thanks for your interesting replies. I am a bit confused, as I love the extremes of cold and hot. For instance, when I was in Fort Worth and Amarillo this past summer, the temps were hovering around 107 degrees, the nights were warm and balmy, and I loved it! But there's not a lot of snow around those parts to say the least, so I guess I've got to figure out what I can't do without, and what I really want the most.
I've never been to Minnesota, but have read about the Lake Superior area for some years. I love the wildness of it and the feeling that perhaps it will take longer for that area to get overpopulated, since people in general seem to disdain extreme cold more than they do intense heat.
Trainwreck20 (great name), my son's name is Austin, and my political thinking is closer to that city's than other places in Texas. Some of my favorite things about your town are the bats (of course), which I couldn't miss- (like watching the sun go down in Key West, it seems to be a city ritual and maybe not nearly as contrived)- Salt Lick BBQ and not far away in Driftwood, Hamilton Pool, a tropical oasis. I loved every place in Texas I visited, some more than others. Thanks for your thoughts. It's great that you've spent time in both Minnesota and Texas and can make some comparisons.
Bellestaroftexas (another great name!), I've read your posts elsewhere with interest. Thanks for responding to mine. Your thoughts about surgical tech jobs in Texas are helpful. You're both right about taxes. The tax situation does mean a lot to me. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond, and maybe I'll see you in Texas! I always feel right at home there.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Georgia
1,258 posts, read 2,077,802 times
Reputation: 668
Grew up in MI, lived in TX several years. Love both states, if I had no concern about job, cost of housing, etc. etc. I would choose MI, the 4 seasons, and more originality, less corporate national chain type atmospher is what would put it over TX. To me Marquette, MI, in the UP, on Lake Superior would be paradise, or maybe Grand Traverse Bay area a close second. TX, Austin would be first choice, then depending on job, income situation you can handle, maybe rural West Texas, or north in the Panhandle. Personally would avoid Houston, and San Antonio, could deal w/DFW area if I had to.
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:31 PM
 
40 posts, read 204,147 times
Reputation: 21
Hey, this is weird. I grew up in MN and lived in TX for many years. Like everybody has said Minnesota is not a cheap place to live, housing is not cheap and there are state income taxes.

Duluth, however, is a beautiful and quaint city with the beautiful Lake Superior. The streets leading to the lake downtown are so steep and get so slippery in the winter that the cars going downhill have right of way at intersections - if you are crossing those streets you stop and look up hill no matter what the signage says.

Biking and hiking will be less than 1/2 of the year but the other half of the year you can try cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Duluth is close to the boundry waters canoe area which is pristine and natural and huge.

Have you ever heard of the Big Bend area of Texas? It would be a great place for biking and hiking as well as inspirational to an artist. You would probably also like Austin - but it is not cheap. Basically biking is hard in many parts of Texas due to lack of bike lanes. (That would be more common in Minnesota and Michigan.) Texans love to drive and cars rule most cities.

I love the scenery, weather and the people in Texas a lot. There is an independent attitute and most people are pretty relaxed. There are lots of different landscapes and geographical areas in Texas. The East and the West are totally different. The Hill country is beautiful.

Hope you will visit Minnesota if you are considering moving there otherwise - just move to Texas. It is really great.
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:15 PM
 
27 posts, read 141,099 times
Reputation: 36
If ypu are in to biking & hiking...check out Holland,MI.....you can practically ride on ur bile all around the town .....Holland,MI is abt 20 miles of grand rapids,MI. Job market is bad right now but u will not have difficulty finding a job in medical field....check out www.holland.org and www.wmta.org....
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Cape Cod, MA
109 posts, read 370,083 times
Reputation: 92
Default Thanks again everyone!

Hello,
Thanks for all of your input.
InGA, I think I would love the Marquette area as well. It looks very wild and beautiful (and uncrowded) up in the UP. I, too, wonder if the economy would be OK, even with a job in the healthcare fields. I've heard mixed reports about the job situation in that area. I'm interested in the Grand Traverse Bay area as well. Is the water really all those shades of blue and green? The photographs are amazing! I have friends in the Detroit area, but I've never been to north Michigan. I think I would like it there. It's great you can make Michigan/Texas comparisons.
Rural West Texas is the only part of Texas I haven't been to yet. I think I'd really love it there as well.
Marla Nesbett, thanks for the comments about Minnesota, and comparisons to life in Texas. The proximity to wilderness that you mention is one of the things that I love about the idea of living in Duluth.As much as I love the snow, I don't know if the cool summers and frigid winters would get to me after awhile. I've read that you get used to it after about a year. Also, from what you and others have said, the economy might not be too great.
You're right, there is an independent attitude in Texas.That's one of the things that I love about Texas. Everywhere I went, there was a sense of freedom and relaxation (except in Dallas!) -so different from Cape Cod, where I live. There's a reserve here that gets a little tiring.
Another thing that you mentioned- the variety of geographical areas- is also another aspect of Texas that I found fascinating. As I mentioned above, I haven't been to the Big Bend yet, and think I would love it there. So far my favorite geographical area has been the Palo Duro Canyon. Unbelievable! If you ever get the chance, it's an amazing experience to rent one of the three stone cabins (mine was the Charles Goodnight) on the rim of the canyon, and have the entire place seemingly to yourself as the sun goes down over the Palo Duro. Sit on the rooftop, have a beer, and look at the stars as the breeze kicks in after a swelteringly-hot afternoon in the desert! I even saw a 4-inch tarantula that popped out of its hidey-hole on our pathway, and a scorpion in front of our door. Where else can you do that, I ask you?
Texas is hard not to like. If anyone wishes to respond- does Michigan or Minnesota have an independent attitude as well, or is that a Texas thing?
Oh, I almost forgot- your story about driving down the hill in Duluth scared the hell out of me! Does it really get that bad? I would have thought they would have the plowing thing down, but maybe the expense is really prohibitive, considering the amount of snow.
Abhimulamalla,
Thanks for your input about Holland. I've read some good things about the area, and went to your site. Thank you. It looks like a great area as well.
Well, once again, everyone thanks for your valuable insights. It sounds like all these places are nice in different ways. I'll figure it all out eventually, and let you know when I do. Good luck to you all!
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Old 10-22-2006, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Georgia
1,258 posts, read 2,077,802 times
Reputation: 668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farouche View Post
Hello,
Thanks for all of your input.
InGA, I think I would love the Marquette area as well. It looks very wild and beautiful (and uncrowded) up in the UP. I, too, wonder if the economy would be OK, even with a job in the healthcare fields. I've heard mixed reports about the job situation in that area. I'm interested in the Grand Traverse Bay area as well. Is the water really all those shades of blue and green? The photographs are amazing! I have friends in the Detroit area, but I've never been to north Michigan. I think I would like it there. It's great you can make Michigan/Texas comparisons.
Rural West Texas is the only part of Texas I haven't been to yet. I think I'd really love it there as well.
Well if finding a job, being TOO far out/rural is a concern, then I would say West Texas would probably be worse than northern/UP MI. Although kinda isolated up there, not nearly as much as West Texas. East Texas is nice, but it has more old southern feel to it, pretty religious, covered w/corporate chain garbage, blacks on this side of town, whites on this side, so don't know if you would like that. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, pretty typical, bland big cities, subdivision after subdivision, all look the same, Wal-Marts, Applebees, are all you will find outside of very few areas. North TX/pandhandle is really nice, lots of praire, old cowboy feel to it, but once again, rural, probably not many jobs. Austin, now Austin, is just awesome, I love that city more than any other city I've ever visited. BUT, I haven't been there in almost 10yrs, I've heard it has changed a lot, and not necessarily for the better.

I also work in the medical field, and when I got out of school I was trying to find a job in MI. It seemed as if out of all the states I looked in MI seemed to be the best in the medical field. Consistency in the pay, usually the highest paying, best benefits, nicest facilities, etc. You have to realize, although you hear all the time how MI is going down the tubes, losing jobs, etc., THANKS TO THE AMERICAN CAR COMPANIES that did so much for MI and America for so many years...their employees always had the top health care so MI still has an excellent medical care system. It's one of those things you don't realize until you go somewhere else. So you should do pretty well in the medical field in MI. I've also heard the same about MN, specifically Rochester and Minneapolis areas. As a matter of fact I was offered a job in Minneapolis when I finished school, but turned it down.

Judging by what states you listed, I get the impression you have no problem w/and maybe prefer cold weather. That's what ultimately has made my decision where to settle down. As much as we loved and sometimes miss TX, it really comes down to TX doesn't have the 4 seasons, MI, MN, and ND all have that. We miss that too much to plan on moving back to TX. TX was great, but we still always missed the northern winters, the beautiful falls, etc. It's hard to completely leave that, unless you're someone that truely just prefers hot weather and doesn't care at all for cold weather.
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Old 10-22-2006, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Georgia
1,258 posts, read 2,077,802 times
Reputation: 668
I also noticed you mentioned Detroit...Health care field is really good around there and Flint area. Don't know if you would consider that, personally I think Detroit is a great city, though most people would disagree. I think my order of choices for major cities would be 1. Detroit, 2. Austin, 3. Minneapolis.

Don't know anything about any MN or SD cities. Grand Rapids, MI is a really great city, personally just not my type of city, but believe me nothing is wrong w/it, I have family that live there, they love it.
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