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Old 09-27-2015, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
24 posts, read 22,778 times
Reputation: 21

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Hi all,

As the title mentions, I looking to leave my current location in Arizona. I have a spreadsheet going with quite a few states, possible cities, and different values attached to all of them (average salary, cost of living etc.) . I'm in my mid-twenties with a degree in music education, an Arizona teaching license, and five years of related work experience. I'm quite willing to branch out to different job markets with you know, all of the opportunities my specific degree will bring. All sarcasm aside, I wouldn't mind going to a different field if the opportunity arises.

These are some checkpoints I like to hit:

1. Relatively average cost living (between 10-15 points on either side of the median)
2. Green, trees, and the four seasons (Including a fair bit of constant snow in the winter)
3. Mountains/hills, trails, and camping within the area.
4. Within an hour of a major city (can fluctuate), relative to that particular state. Particularly for a music gig scene.I'd like to perform and write as well as teach.
5. Good support of education, decent teacher's salaries relative to cost of living in that state.
6. the city or town itself between 10,000 and 100,000 in population.
7. A downtown that's accessible by foot or bike with a decent nightlife.

I've been looking for about a month and narrowed it down to these states, in no particular order.

1. Minnesota
2. Massachusetts
3. New Hampshire
4. Vermont
5. Oregon
6. Washington
7. Maine
8. Rhode Island

Even if it's just a city name, I would really appreciate input on where I should look into next!
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:07 AM
 
1,586 posts, read 1,538,718 times
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Are you looking for cities within the states you've already identified, or new states? Burlington, Vermont, seems like a good choice. You don't get the major city within an hour, but Montreal is within two hours.

Sounds to me like you might like Colorado, too. Boulder?
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Old 09-28-2015, 07:56 AM
 
96 posts, read 95,257 times
Reputation: 175
I could also recommend Wisconsin. There have been statewide cuts to education recently, but local support can make up for some of that. I live in a small town in Dane County (near Madison) and local support for the arts and education seems quite high here. My daughter is in elementary school and has music class twice a week. The community seems to really support music education, band and orchestra programs in the schools. It also seems like there's a very active and diverse live music scene in Madison relative to the size of the city. I'm not as sure about other areas of Wisconsin, just because I'm a recent transplant.

I think you're on the right track, looking at New England, Pacific NW and the Upper Midwest. Lots of outdoor recreation, nice scenery, and interest in the arts. I grew up in Massachusetts, and would recommend that area as well. The only catch can be cost of living -- however, it is less expensive if you are outside the Boston area. I also lived in Seattle, and I think western WA could be good (also expensive). I have heard that public schools are cash-strapped in OR, but that's hearsay. Take a look at college towns in any of these regions for walkable areas -- though remember you might not want to be walking or biking to the grocery store in February.
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Old 09-28-2015, 09:25 AM
Status: "0-0-2 start!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,289 posts, read 15,339,626 times
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Washington and Oregon can meet #2, 3, 4 and 6.

They definitely do not meet #1.

Neither really meet #5.

Cities which meet #7 will be (much) larger than your population-range. Other cities which might work, size-wise, won't meet #4 or #7.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
24 posts, read 22,778 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgw99 View Post
I could also recommend Wisconsin. There have been statewide cuts to education recently, but local support can make up for some of that. I live in a small town in Dane County (near Madison) and local support for the arts and education seems quite high here. My daughter is in elementary school and has music class twice a week. The community seems to really support music education, band and orchestra programs in the schools. It also seems like there's a very active and diverse live music scene in Madison relative to the size of the city. I'm not as sure about other areas of Wisconsin, just because I'm a recent transplant.

I think you're on the right track, looking at New England, Pacific NW and the Upper Midwest. Lots of outdoor recreation, nice scenery, and interest in the arts. I grew up in Massachusetts, and would recommend that area as well. The only catch can be cost of living -- however, it is less expensive if you are outside the Boston area. I also lived in Seattle, and I think western WA could be good (also expensive). I have heard that public schools are cash-strapped in OR, but that's hearsay. Take a look at college towns in any of these regions for walkable areas -- though remember you might not want to be walking or biking to the grocery store in February.

I've thought about the Wisconsin area as well. I was worried about the political climate there, mostly in relation to education, as you were saying. I'm glad to hear that there is still local support for the arts and music over there. I'll absolutely check into Wisconsin. Thank you!

That's why I have so many choices in states in the New England area. I've been there multiple times, in winter and summer, and very much enjoyed the climate. I have heard that New Englanders are not a fan of transplants coming into the state. Again, could be hearsay, but please tell me what you think. I think would very much enjoy area. Maybe a smaller town within an hour of Boston.

For the Pacific NW, it's a bit expensive, but I could make it work with my salary. I'm a fairly frugal person.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
24 posts, read 22,778 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW-type-gal View Post
Washington and Oregon can meet #2, 3, 4 and 6.

They definitely do not meet #1.

Neither really meet #5.

Cities which meet #7 will be (much) larger than your population-range. Other cities which might work, size-wise, won't meet #4 or #7.


Thanks for your input! I know there will trade-offs with certain aspects. Any ideas on specific cities, even if it doesn't meet exact the criteria?
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
24 posts, read 22,778 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by boulevardofdef View Post
Are you looking for cities within the states you've already identified, or new states? Burlington, Vermont, seems like a good choice. You don't get the major city within an hour, but Montreal is within two hours.

Sounds to me like you might like Colorado, too. Boulder?
I'd preferred states that I have already chosen. I've thought so as well! I've thought about Colorado, but I'd really like to try the northern states. If all else fails, not a bad back-up plan!
Thanks for your input!
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:06 PM
 
Location: In the hot spot!
3,399 posts, read 4,798,465 times
Reputation: 3201
Being from New England I will speal from that perspective. Education has always been a priority there, hence higher taxes, but the residents (Massachusetts in particular) understand the importance and are willing to pay for it. While there is good support for the arts, in general, I have been told by friends who teach that the arts programs have suffered some cutbacks.

Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire are beautiful areas. Out of those I would think Vermont may fit some of what you're looking for. That's if you don't chose someplace in Massachusetts.
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:31 PM
 
96 posts, read 95,257 times
Reputation: 175
ComposeWhoKnows,
I wouldn't worry about not being welcome in New England. It's been a long time since I lived there, but I knew plenty of families from elsewhere. As with any region, there are some more insular places than others, but I think you'll be able to find a comfortable place to live.

Some towns that come to mind (but not sure about cost of living) -
Newburyport MA
Amherst MA
Northampton MA
Portsmouth NH
Portland ME
Burlington VT
Montpelier VT (maybe too small?)

In WA, if the Seattle area is too expensive, you might check out Bellingham
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:28 PM
Status: "0-0-2 start!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,289 posts, read 15,339,626 times
Reputation: 9463
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComposeWhoKnows View Post
Thanks for your input! I know there will trade-offs with certain aspects. Any ideas on specific cities, even if it doesn't meet exact the criteria?
In Oregon, Portland, Salem and Eugene sort of meet your criteria. Portland has an msa of 2.2 million but it has, by far, the best city transportation + music scene. There are smaller suburbs between Portland and Salem that might work - McMinnville, Silverton, Canby.

You can also live over the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, WA for less money and "commute" into Portland's nightlife - at one point WA had the superior school system, but I am not at all sure that is true now. While Vancouver, Wa has a downtown, it is only sort of a downtown, most of the "city" is actually suburb.

Washington is an all sales-tax (and B&O tax) state, Oregon is an all-income-tax state, so there are strong trade-offs depending on your income and consumption level.
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