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Old 06-23-2015, 03:46 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,207 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi.

I want to research different towns/cities that are in a mountain area and are affordable. Cost of living is my #1 aim. Where I live now, I can never afford my own house, I can barely get a decent condo, and everything (food is a big one) is outrageously expensive. As a single person, I make 41k and it's just enough to get by. :/

By wanting a "livable" town/city, I mean it's a decent place to live in by reasonable standards, and it's not too cut off from the world. I'd love a culturally rich place, and a place with some attractions, but I understand that COL tends to increase along with local perks. I am more of a rural than a city person.

I have a wish list and I know no place will meet all of the criteria, but if a town or city just meets some, that could help me build a list of places to research and go on to visit. The other factor to this is that if/when I move, my dad, who is retiring soon, will come with me. Like me, he is mostly concerned about COL. He is worried about high property taxes and the cost of food where he lives in particular.

I have read other threads about places with low cost of living so I have a list going with locations, but if my list sparks any ideas of a place that would be a good fit for us, that would be awesome. In my search so far, I've been particularly intrigued by Chattanooga, TN, Charlottesville/Lynchburg, VA area, and NC in general.

List of wishes:

1. Housing is very reasonable - a single person with a good job can afford a modest condo or single family home. Other costs of living are below national average.
2. Not a huge city, but not too cut off from everything. Within ~20 minutes to a city or a town center which would meet all shopping needs, have a movie theater, etc. basic stuff. My dad and I are introverts who are not fussy. Within ~1 hour of doctors/hospital. Hopefully within 30 minutes to a place with jobs. A short commute is ideal. I work in finance so at least I am not in a niche profession.
3. Weather that isn't nuts. I would choose extreme heat over extreme cold at this point (I'm from the northeast and this past winter really did us in). Would also love to avoid being in tornado alley and vulnerable to other weather catastrophes. My current locale only has to deal with snow and power outages, so other stuff scares me, but I can be persuaded.
4. Trees!!! I cannot have enough trees around me and don't want to be in a barren place. I just want beautiful outdoors and the opportunity to engage in recreational activities.
5. Safety - the safer the better.
6. Health. Would like to live in a place that doesn't have any serious issues with pollution and isn't really dirty, for example. I lived in NOLA for a year and the dirt really bothered me.
7. Bearable traffic. The northeast is soooo congested. Some traffic is fine but I'd like to avoid any areas where I'd have to deal with very heavy traffic for a lengthy period of time.
8. Liberal/Conservative - I see this is a concern for many, but I'm not sure this matters all that much. We're from New England where people tend to be more withdrawn and keep to themselves, so we're at least used to that kind of atmosphere. I'm a little concerned about making a huge cultural adjustment, but it would be fine as long as there are more overall pluses than minuses in our new home.

TL/DR: Seeking any town/city in a mountain area that is pretty affordable, beautiful, safe, is in or not too far from a town or city center, and has some stuff to do.

Thanks!

Last edited by mountaingirl234; 06-23-2015 at 03:48 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Appalachian New York, Formerly Louisiana
4,100 posts, read 4,730,726 times
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Will hill country do?

If you don't mind the Alleghenies then upstate New York/Pennsylvania/northern WV and eastern Ohio would suit your visual needs.

In three out of four of them the Appalachians proper are very close by; even in state! NY has the Catskills; PA the northern blue-ridge and WV speaks for itself.

New York will also locate you close to the Adirondack mountains and the New England Appalachians; reletively speaking.

As far as lower COL and things to do consider especially the southern tier and surrounding areas of NY state. There are many hidden valley towns here within and hour's drive of a moderately sized city and almost every town here has some kind of event in the summer, including bluegrass festivals if that's up your alley.

You'll also be right next to the Finger lakes and the wine-country.

Biggest downside to NY are car related costs, tobacco prices and land taxes; however cost of living and actual home prices are well within reach here. Especially in the southern tier.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas via ATX
1,252 posts, read 1,475,639 times
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Not exactly "mountainous" but we have a lot of Ozark "mountains" around here. Booming economy, too.

Check out northwest Arkansas. It checks most of the boxes. Google images of the Boston Mountains and Buffalo River in Arkansas. Thick deciduous forests, here.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:24 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,207 times
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CookieSkoon - You've given me a lot to consider! I know nothing about NY so I'm glad you name dropped it because now I'm looking into it. I am biased to the East Coast as I do like being so close to many major cities. Just from a little googling I came across Kingston, NY which looks so lovely. Any towns specifically that you really like? I am really intrigued by PA too. On a road trip I drove through Delaware State Forest and it was probably the most gorgeous place I've ever seen.

Rock Climber - I'm glad you replied, Fayetteville is one town I am very interested in. I never even considered Arkansas until I started seeing how beautiful and affordable it is when I began looking up low cost small cities. How do you like the culture in Arkansas? I don't know if that's a loaded question - I guess my one worry about Arkansas is adjusting to the way of life there, in case the people/lifestyle is drastically different. But I'm looking for something different anyway.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas via ATX
1,252 posts, read 1,475,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountaingirl234 View Post

Rock Climber - I'm glad you replied, Fayetteville is one town I am very interested in. I never even considered Arkansas until I started seeing how beautiful and affordable it is when I began looking up low cost small cities. How do you like the culture in Arkansas? I don't know if that's a loaded question - I guess my one worry about Arkansas is adjusting to the way of life there, in case the people/lifestyle is drastically different. But I'm looking for something different anyway.
I don't find the culture here to be much different than Texas in most ways. Maybe a little more reserved or polite. Texans can be pretty outspoken.

It is southern, but not Southern, in the deep South way. Lots of new stuff here, lots of transplants in general, and really easy access to some great outdoors. Good BBQ! Our metro is home to 3 Fortune 500 companies and a major public university. There is an abundance of culture here for a metro this size. Lots of different people, attitudes, outlooks. In general, a very "positive vibe".

What type of "culture" is it that you fear you would find here?
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:08 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,207 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Climber View Post
I don't find the culture here to be much different than Texas in most ways. Maybe a little more reserved or polite. Texans can be pretty outspoken.

It is southern, but not Southern, in the deep South way. Lots of new stuff here, lots of transplants in general, and really easy access to some great outdoors. Good BBQ! Our metro is home to 3 Fortune 500 companies and a major public university. There is an abundance of culture here for a metro this size. Lots of different people, attitudes, outlooks. In general, a very "positive vibe".

What type of "culture" is it that you fear you would find here?
That does sound great. By culture, I am hoping to get a feel for it because I don't know much about Arkansas' personality. Generally I have heard it's conservative, and there's more religion down South (which is fine - it's just different than what I am used to). It was a shock when I was in NOLA to see how much slower things moved and how sociable total strangers were. Just little things like that can give you major culture shock, but I have liked everything I've heard about the city so far.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Appalachian New York, Formerly Louisiana
4,100 posts, read 4,730,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountaingirl234 View Post
CookieSkoon - You've given me a lot to consider! I know nothing about NY so I'm glad you name dropped it because now I'm looking into it. I am biased to the East Coast as I do like being so close to many major cities. Just from a little googling I came across Kingston, NY which looks so lovely. Any towns specifically that you really like? I am really intrigued by PA too. On a road trip I drove through Delaware State Forest and it was probably the most gorgeous place I've ever seen.
Well I am from the Watkins Glen/Montour area of Schuyler county so I can recommend this as it is beautiful with everything from low rolling hills to more dramatic cliff-sides and arching peaks. Both towns offer a lot of to-do and local culture as well as being within fair driving distance of Elmira, Corning, and Ithaca.

From here you can go south or east for mountains; west for more hills; and north for rolling plains! Whatever you want to see that day.

I'd say any town in the southern half of Tompkins county could suit you as well.

Also there is Oneonta out east which is nice but admittedly more isolated.

Addison and Canisteo are also great.

For Pennsylvania I personally love Renovo, Williamsport or the Tioga area.

I think about anywhere in the "twin tiers" would work for you. Just beware of fracking issues that have taken place in PA and are threatening NY.

As to down south around the Ozarks far-eastern Oklahoma is also very nice with scenery.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:32 PM
 
Location: 304
5,093 posts, read 6,856,581 times
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Charleston, WV is very affordable and right in the mountains with beautiful scenery. There is plenty to do around as well, and is extremely over looked in terms of culture. It is an under-rated city and metro, and unfortunately people often associate it with negative images and poor quality of life.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,081 posts, read 12,461,714 times
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Affordable. That leave Colorado out. I too would recommend Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
5,654 posts, read 3,640,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscross309 View Post
Charleston, WV is very affordable and right in the mountains with beautiful scenery. There is plenty to do around as well, and is extremely over looked in terms of culture. It is an under-rated city and metro, and unfortunately people often associate it with negative images and poor quality of life.
Charleston is what came to my mind as well. I agree, it's definitely underrated. Or, another possibility is Morgantown, WV. It's the home of West Virginia University, so it has the cultural amenities that one would expect in a college town. It's also about 90 minutes from Pittsburgh for your big(ger) city fix.

Another place to consider is Cumberland, MD. It's the home of its region's main hospital and also has a mall with a movie theater nearby. Just up the road is Frostburg, another college town. The only area in which you might have trouble is employment; the economy there is not as good as it could be.

Finally, I would check out Roanoke, VA as well. I'm not as familiar with this city, but from the few times I've been there, I believe it would meet at least most of your needs.

The scenery in all of the places I've named (and Charleston too) is quite nice. You've got mountains, and you've got plenty of trees.
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