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Old 11-16-2015, 03:46 PM
 
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Our family is trying to settle down in what will hopefully be our last move for a long time. We're looking for something definitely in the Midwest and have honed in on a couple areas, specifically the driftless area of Wisconsin (maybe Madison or la Crosse as well) or Bloomington Indiana. We're looking for a place that has a somewhat vibrant local economy, somewhat of a crunchy feel, a thriving farmers market, decent nearby outdoor recreation ... And affordability. We were looking at upper Michigan, but it didn't seem affordable enough. We've always seemed to end up in scenic mountain towns and we're quite tired of the associated price tag. Any pros or cons for either area? I know Wisconsin has pretty high taxes, for example, but it's still more affordable than other places we've lived.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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SW Wisconsin will be more scenic than Bloomington. Madison is a great place to live, has a vibrant local economy, is crunchy, and arguably the best independent farmer's market in the country, but it will probably also probably be out of your price range if you think the UP is too expensive. You may want to check into some surrounding towns outside of Madison, if price is an issue. Housing is pretty inexpensive in the corridor south of Madison through Janesville, Beloit, and into Rockford. Maybe some smaller towns like Mt. Horeb or Oregon may be more in line with the price you might want.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Midwest
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Oh...SW Wisconsin without any doubt is the better option in my opinion. If the Driftless Area really interests you, you could also look into northeastern Iowa. That might be the cheapest option, but I am not sure how it would fit with the other criteria.
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:22 PM
 
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Bloomington will be affordable compared to Wisconsin. But do you really want to live in southern Indiana? To be sure, there's a big university there, but unless you're 18-21, that might not matter too much.

It'd hard to find good place, isn't it?
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:27 PM
 
Location: IN
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Look outside of Madison for better priced housing. A good job market, good quality of life, better than many other areas of the US.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:11 PM
 
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thanks. The up is probably also pricey because wages are a little lower, but I bet wages for my husband's field (carpentry) are higher in Madison. Not sure about Bloomington. The advantages of Indiana would be family. They'd be quite close, but of course that's a more personal decision I had no idea the driftless was that much prettier than southern Indiana.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:04 PM
 
Location: IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happynomad2 View Post
thanks. The up is probably also pricey because wages are a little lower, but I bet wages for my husband's field (carpentry) are higher in Madison. Not sure about Bloomington. The advantages of Indiana would be family. They'd be quite close, but of course that's a more personal decision I had no idea the driftless was that much prettier than southern Indiana.
You also have Sauk County (Sauk City, Prairie du Sac) nearby just north of Madison that has Devils Lake and other hiking and camping with nice mixed forest of deciduous and pine trees. The Northwoods of WI is about a four hour drive from Madison, so not too far- straight up interstate 39, continuing on 51.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:02 PM
 
Location: The Pacific Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happynomad2 View Post
Our family is trying to settle down in what will hopefully be our last move for a long time. We're looking for something definitely in the Midwest and have honed in on a couple areas, specifically the driftless area of Wisconsin (maybe Madison or la Crosse as well) or Bloomington Indiana. We're looking for a place that has a somewhat vibrant local economy, somewhat of a crunchy feel, a thriving farmers market, decent nearby outdoor recreation ... And affordability. We were looking at upper Michigan, but it didn't seem affordable enough. We've always seemed to end up in scenic mountain towns and we're quite tired of the associated price tag. Any pros or cons for either area? I know Wisconsin has pretty high taxes, for example, but it's still more affordable than other places we've lived.
I don't dislike Wisconsin but you would absolutely be able to find what you're looking for in Bloomington without paying an arm and a leg for it. Bloomington and environs are quite liberal and the economy is good. IU is a huge university and there is most definitely a "crunchy" feel, with many local farmers' markets, co-ops, etc. Bloomington is in the scenic part of Indiana, you also have Brown County nearby which is a popular destination in the vast Hoosier National Forest, which would meet your recreational opportunities requirement. While you can't go wrong with either locale, I think Bloomington would absolutely meet your criteria without the price tag that a place like Madison would come with, especially with the associated taxes. Winters are also much more bearable in Bloomington though you still get four distinct seasons.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:53 PM
 
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Madison is a very nice area, but it is not cheap. No one really lives "in Madison" except college kids. Most residents live in Suburbs like Middleton.

There used to be a joke: "If you take a taxi in Madison, odds are the driver has a PhD" or something like that.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
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Originally Posted by John7777 View Post
Bloomington will be affordable compared to Wisconsin. But do you really want to live in southern Indiana? To be sure, there's a big university there, but unless you're 18-21, that might not matter too much.

It'd hard to find good place, isn't it?
It's obvious most people here aren't familiar with Bloomington. Madison is a great town, don't get me wrong, but Bloomington is very comparable to Madison and Ann Arbor. It's a progressive oasis in an otherwise very conservative state.
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