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View Poll Results: Does anything remotely resembling Utopia exisit in the United States?
Absolutely! (Please share below or in a private message.) 3 10.00%
You're kidding, right? No. 19 63.33%
Somewhere. Maybe. Hopefully. Let us all know when you find it. 6 20.00%
Other 2 6.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-26-2016, 09:06 AM
 
14 posts, read 15,185 times
Reputation: 18

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I made a similar post months ago and got fantastic feedback, so let's try it again. I work remotely, can live basically anywhere, and am on a perpetual quest for the perfect place for the long term. I welcome all suggestions based on the following requirements:

1. Safe, safe, safe, safe. Did I mention SAFE? For me, that means a City Data crime score of 250 or less (though ideally much lower).

2. Better weather than Ohio. It doesn't have to be perfect all the time. Snow can be fun. I'd just like fewer nights below zero, fewer days over 95 with relentless humidity, and fewer references to a "special weather statement." Earthquakes don't concern me (even though they should). I dislike tornadoes, direct-hit hurricanes, high winds, and wildfires. (Prayers for the Plains today, by the way.) Bonus points for beach breezes.

3. Walkable town. Dream world: library, grocery, post office, restaurants, pharmacy, hardware store, bookstore, coffeehouse, parks, bike path, and possibly even a movie theater within a half-mile walking distance of houses you'd actually like to inhabit.

4. Fitness center / rec center / YMCA type facility within 5 miles. Bonus points for swimming pool, therapy pool, and racquetball courts.

5. Houses with character. I know that's in the eye of the beholder, but row after row of matching houses devoid of charm inside and out are unappealing to me.

6. Fairly affordable. Ability to rent (up to $1500) or buy (up to $225k) a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with fireplace, garage, and porches / sunroom / etc.

7. Educated community. I'm not particularly interested in political or religious affiliations, and I don't need all my neighbors to have PhDs. I would, however, like the area to have a high graduation rate and decent bachelor's attainment. Public schools don't need to be the best in the world, but they do need to be proficient, well regarded locally, and well managed with a school board, teachers, and taxpayers who actually get along. (This is a problem where I live, and I'd like to avoid it for both my own sanity and future resale values.)

8. Less of an emphasis on children's soccer leagues. It would be nice to find an area which values academics, athletics, museums, music, nature preserves, etc. equally. I live in a region of my state which is dominated entirely by highly competitive elementary school-aged sports to the exclusion of nearly every other cultural opportunity. It's suffocating. (I don't have children, and even if I did, they would not participate in select travel teams at age 7.)

9. Low(er) instances of heroin abuse. Alcohol, cigarettes, and pot are vices which don't scare me. I live in a region which is a hotbed of heroin addiction (which replaced the pill mills which replaced the bath salts which replaced the meth labs which replaced the crack houses). 60 Minutes keeps reporting about my state. Please tell me there's somewhere in the country where hardcore drugs are less pervasive. Seriously. You haven't been scared until you've lived in a place where heroin addicts will very literally do *anything* to get the cash needed for their next fix. Suburban nurses, homecoming queens, and teachers are the junkies here now.

10. Not completely isolated from the rest of the world. Example: Boise looks nice, but it's so far by car to the nearest sizable metro. I know you can fly to Seattle in about an hour, but weekend drives are my passion. I love checking out small and large towns nearby on a whim, and that's harder to do when all neighboring cities are six hour drives.

11. Not smelly. This sounds trivial until you've lived near a paper mill or along the marshes of Northeast Florida.

12. Opportunities for single people and retirees to enjoy life without the pressure of being married. That may sound weird, but I basically mean "stuff to do which doesn't involve cougars frequenting bars." I enjoy art of all kinds, lectures, music, volunteering, etc. and look forward to being invited to do those things even though I'm single. (Here, there's sort of a stigma against people of a certain age who aren't married with children.)

Considering lately: Savannah, Georgia (if a safe neighborhood away from the paper mills exists); Poulsbo, Washington; smaller towns near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Considered but crossed off: California coast (too expensive unless I'm missing something); Gulf Coast (love the flavor, can't handle the hurricanes and tornadoes); Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia (both appealing, but I'm not a great mountain driver which limits those weekend trips); Bozeman, Montana (expensive and super windy); Boise, Idaho (remote); all of Arizona (long story); all of Texas (long story); Alaska and Hawaii (too remote); most of Ohio (it has its charms, but they've finally worn off).

I know this list sounds demanding, and it is! If I'm going to invest somewhere and stay the rest of my life which is the goal, I should be picky. And yes, of course, I'll visit a place for several weeks before even thinking about making a commitment. I can be flexible on the requirements, but wanted to put everything out there in case such a place actually exists. A little help, please?
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:45 AM
 
226 posts, read 167,890 times
Reputation: 409
I live in Eugene, Oregon, which qualifies in most categories. It would fail on affordability and crime. You might consider it remote, it's 2 hours to Portland. People complain about the rain, but to me that is a tiny price to pay for the natural beauty and amenities.

Walkability is variable, of course. But it's a compact town, so even when I have to drive, nothing is far. I can walk to several useful places.

I love that you don't have kids but you care that kids' sports don't reign supreme. I agree with you. Kids obviously play sports here, but they aren't the center of the universe like where I used to live.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:18 AM
 
3,611 posts, read 1,535,953 times
Reputation: 3039
I voted no because I think most people in this day and age have totally unrealistic expectations about most things in their lives, including where they live. No places is perfect in every way. "Utopia" is in the movies and TV shows, not reality. There are many wonderful areas in the U.S. and some are better than others to varying degrees. But you just have to find what place fits the closest to what you're looking for in life and know that even THAT place is going to have its warts. Otherwise, you'll have a lifetime of looking for that "perfect" place that doesn't exist, never enjoying the things you have right in front of you. Sorry for the spill, I'm finished, lol.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Reno, NV
1,553 posts, read 717,117 times
Reputation: 2008
The concept of a utopia is incompatible with how our brains work. We'll never be totally satisfied; everything gets boring eventually and there's always greener grass somewhere else.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Reno, NV
1,553 posts, read 717,117 times
Reputation: 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadichabit View Post
I made a similar post months ago and got fantastic feedback, so let's try it again. I work remotely, can live basically anywhere, and am on a perpetual quest for the perfect place for the long term. I welcome all suggestions based on the following requirements:

1. Safe, safe, safe, safe. Did I mention SAFE? For me, that means a City Data crime score of 250 or less (though ideally much lower).

2. Better weather than Ohio. It doesn't have to be perfect all the time. Snow can be fun. I'd just like fewer nights below zero, fewer days over 95 with relentless humidity, and fewer references to a "special weather statement." Earthquakes don't concern me (even though they should). I dislike tornadoes, direct-hit hurricanes, high winds, and wildfires. (Prayers for the Plains today, by the way.) Bonus points for beach breezes.

3. Walkable town. Dream world: library, grocery, post office, restaurants, pharmacy, hardware store, bookstore, coffeehouse, parks, bike path, and possibly even a movie theater within a half-mile walking distance of houses you'd actually like to inhabit.

4. Fitness center / rec center / YMCA type facility within 5 miles. Bonus points for swimming pool, therapy pool, and racquetball courts.

5. Houses with character. I know that's in the eye of the beholder, but row after row of matching houses devoid of charm inside and out are unappealing to me.

6. Fairly affordable. Ability to rent (up to $1500) or buy (up to $225k) a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with fireplace, garage, and porches / sunroom / etc.

7. Educated community. I'm not particularly interested in political or religious affiliations, and I don't need all my neighbors to have PhDs. I would, however, like the area to have a high graduation rate and decent bachelor's attainment. Public schools don't need to be the best in the world, but they do need to be proficient, well regarded locally, and well managed with a school board, teachers, and taxpayers who actually get along. (This is a problem where I live, and I'd like to avoid it for both my own sanity and future resale values.)

8. Less of an emphasis on children's soccer leagues. It would be nice to find an area which values academics, athletics, museums, music, nature preserves, etc. equally. I live in a region of my state which is dominated entirely by highly competitive elementary school-aged sports to the exclusion of nearly every other cultural opportunity. It's suffocating. (I don't have children, and even if I did, they would not participate in select travel teams at age 7.)

9. Low(er) instances of heroin abuse. Alcohol, cigarettes, and pot are vices which don't scare me. I live in a region which is a hotbed of heroin addiction (which replaced the pill mills which replaced the bath salts which replaced the meth labs which replaced the crack houses). 60 Minutes keeps reporting about my state. Please tell me there's somewhere in the country where hardcore drugs are less pervasive. Seriously. You haven't been scared until you've lived in a place where heroin addicts will very literally do *anything* to get the cash needed for their next fix. Suburban nurses, homecoming queens, and teachers are the junkies here now.

10. Not completely isolated from the rest of the world. Example: Boise looks nice, but it's so far by car to the nearest sizable metro. I know you can fly to Seattle in about an hour, but weekend drives are my passion. I love checking out small and large towns nearby on a whim, and that's harder to do when all neighboring cities are six hour drives.

11. Not smelly. This sounds trivial until you've lived near a paper mill or along the marshes of Northeast Florida.

12. Opportunities for single people and retirees to enjoy life without the pressure of being married. That may sound weird, but I basically mean "stuff to do which doesn't involve cougars frequenting bars." I enjoy art of all kinds, lectures, music, volunteering, etc. and look forward to being invited to do those things even though I'm single. (Here, there's sort of a stigma against people of a certain age who aren't married with children.)

Considering lately: Savannah, Georgia (if a safe neighborhood away from the paper mills exists); Poulsbo, Washington; smaller towns near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Considered but crossed off: California coast (too expensive unless I'm missing something); Gulf Coast (love the flavor, can't handle the hurricanes and tornadoes); Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia (both appealing, but I'm not a great mountain driver which limits those weekend trips); Bozeman, Montana (expensive and super windy); Boise, Idaho (remote); all of Arizona (long story); all of Texas (long story); Alaska and Hawaii (too remote); most of Ohio (it has its charms, but they've finally worn off).

I know this list sounds demanding, and it is! If I'm going to invest somewhere and stay the rest of my life which is the goal, I should be picky. And yes, of course, I'll visit a place for several weeks before even thinking about making a commitment. I can be flexible on the requirements, but wanted to put everything out there in case such a place actually exists. A little help, please?
Have you considered the Portland area, Metairie LA (strikes me as safer than New Orleans proper), or like... Delaware or the Baltimore suburbs, maybe?
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
5,616 posts, read 3,946,923 times
Reputation: 7917
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadichabit View Post
I made a similar post months ago and got fantastic feedback, so let's try it again. I work remotely, can live basically anywhere, and am on a perpetual quest for the perfect place for the long term. I welcome all suggestions based on the following requirements:

1. Safe, safe, safe, safe. Did I mention SAFE? For me, that means a City Data crime score of 250 or less (though ideally much lower).

2. Better weather than Ohio. It doesn't have to be perfect all the time. Snow can be fun. I'd just like fewer nights below zero, fewer days over 95 with relentless humidity, and fewer references to a "special weather statement." Earthquakes don't concern me (even though they should). I dislike tornadoes, direct-hit hurricanes, high winds, and wildfires. (Prayers for the Plains today, by the way.) Bonus points for beach breezes.

3. Walkable town. Dream world: library, grocery, post office, restaurants, pharmacy, hardware store, bookstore, coffeehouse, parks, bike path, and possibly even a movie theater within a half-mile walking distance of houses you'd actually like to inhabit.

4. Fitness center / rec center / YMCA type facility within 5 miles. Bonus points for swimming pool, therapy pool, and racquetball courts.

5. Houses with character. I know that's in the eye of the beholder, but row after row of matching houses devoid of charm inside and out are unappealing to me.

6. Fairly affordable. Ability to rent (up to $1500) or buy (up to $225k) a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with fireplace, garage, and porches / sunroom / etc.

7. Educated community. I'm not particularly interested in political or religious affiliations, and I don't need all my neighbors to have PhDs. I would, however, like the area to have a high graduation rate and decent bachelor's attainment. Public schools don't need to be the best in the world, but they do need to be proficient, well regarded locally, and well managed with a school board, teachers, and taxpayers who actually get along. (This is a problem where I live, and I'd like to avoid it for both my own sanity and future resale values.)

8. Less of an emphasis on children's soccer leagues. It would be nice to find an area which values academics, athletics, museums, music, nature preserves, etc. equally. I live in a region of my state which is dominated entirely by highly competitive elementary school-aged sports to the exclusion of nearly every other cultural opportunity. It's suffocating. (I don't have children, and even if I did, they would not participate in select travel teams at age 7.)

9. Low(er) instances of heroin abuse. Alcohol, cigarettes, and pot are vices which don't scare me. I live in a region which is a hotbed of heroin addiction (which replaced the pill mills which replaced the bath salts which replaced the meth labs which replaced the crack houses). 60 Minutes keeps reporting about my state. Please tell me there's somewhere in the country where hardcore drugs are less pervasive. Seriously. You haven't been scared until you've lived in a place where heroin addicts will very literally do *anything* to get the cash needed for their next fix. Suburban nurses, homecoming queens, and teachers are the junkies here now.

10. Not completely isolated from the rest of the world. Example: Boise looks nice, but it's so far by car to the nearest sizable metro. I know you can fly to Seattle in about an hour, but weekend drives are my passion. I love checking out small and large towns nearby on a whim, and that's harder to do when all neighboring cities are six hour drives.

11. Not smelly. This sounds trivial until you've lived near a paper mill or along the marshes of Northeast Florida.

12. Opportunities for single people and retirees to enjoy life without the pressure of being married. That may sound weird, but I basically mean "stuff to do which doesn't involve cougars frequenting bars." I enjoy art of all kinds, lectures, music, volunteering, etc. and look forward to being invited to do those things even though I'm single. (Here, there's sort of a stigma against people of a certain age who aren't married with children.)

Considering lately: Savannah, Georgia (if a safe neighborhood away from the paper mills exists); Poulsbo, Washington; smaller towns near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Considered but crossed off: California coast (too expensive unless I'm missing something); Gulf Coast (love the flavor, can't handle the hurricanes and tornadoes); Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia (both appealing, but I'm not a great mountain driver which limits those weekend trips); Bozeman, Montana (expensive and super windy); Boise, Idaho (remote); all of Arizona (long story); all of Texas (long story); Alaska and Hawaii (too remote); most of Ohio (it has its charms, but they've finally worn off).

I know this list sounds demanding, and it is! If I'm going to invest somewhere and stay the rest of my life which is the goal, I should be picky. And yes, of course, I'll visit a place for several weeks before even thinking about making a commitment. I can be flexible on the requirements, but wanted to put everything out there in case such a place actually exists. A little help, please?
The area I used to live in Scottsdale, AZ fit your description perfectly. We were in the general area of Shea and Scottsdale Road corridor. You might not find a house to rent in that price range, but there are lots of nice apartments and condos for rent in that area. Its supremely safe, has all the stuff you want within walking distance, and is sunny 95% of the year. In fact, outside of Yuma, AZ, Phoenix is the sunniest place on earth. No big quakes, no tornadoes, no snow, no humidity (spare a few days during monsoon season), etc. You will have EXTREME temps in summer from mid-May until early October, then it gets absolutely perfect out, and half the country seemingly comes to PHX to spend the winter. If you dislike heat and humidity, which it sounds like you do, youll be absolutely miserable in Savannah. Its a verifiable steambath down there. Its gross, trust me.

Scottsdale also has one of the nation's best nightlife scenes, with free trolleys that run to that area all throughout the day. Throw in gorgeous nearby mountains that you can hike and bike until youre blue in the face, and you have a winner!
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:42 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,270 posts, read 19,566,600 times
Reputation: 13047
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadichabit View Post
6. Fairly affordable. Ability to rent (up to $1500) or buy (up to $225k) a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with fireplace, garage, and porches / sunroom / etc.
You need to scratch this requirement off of your list.

There are plenty of places in the U.S. which meet the rest of your criteria, but they are more expensive to live in than what you're looking for.
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:24 PM
 
56,674 posts, read 80,995,527 times
Reputation: 12530
If you don't mind the winter, Ithaca NY would fit a lot of this. This may be a matter of what is most important to you and loosening up some of the criteria.
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:42 PM
 
14 posts, read 15,185 times
Reputation: 18
CD wins again for helpful ideas. Keep them coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
If you don't mind the winter, Ithaca NY would fit a lot of this. This may be a matter of what is most important to you and loosening up some of the criteria.
Thank you for the idea, but Ithaca has way too much snow! I'm thinking more like DelMarVa, Carolinas, etc. in that regard. Enough to feel like you get a taste of winter but not 24" in one month!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
You need to scratch this requirement off of your list.

There are plenty of places in the U.S. which meet the rest of your criteria, but they are more expensive to live in than what you're looking for.
Understood, and I can budge a little for the right place. I'm hoping for a creative solution, though. Like a less expensive town near a bigger, more popular community. There are microclimates, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG CATS View Post
The area I used to live in Scottsdale, AZ fit your description perfectly. ... You will have EXTREME temps in summer from mid-May until early October, then it gets absolutely perfect . . .
Thank you for the suggestion, but Phoenix/Scottsdale are out for personal reasons and because six straight months of extreme heat (90+) won't work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimidBlueBars View Post
Have you considered the Portland area, Metairie LA (strikes me as safer than New Orleans proper), or like... Delaware or the Baltimore suburbs, maybe?
Delaware sounds best weather-wise from your list. I'll take a peek!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimidBlueBars View Post
The concept of a utopia is incompatible with how our brains work. We'll never be totally satisfied; everything gets boring eventually and there's always greener grass somewhere else.
Agreed. I have plenty of pursuits to get my mind off the possibility of even better places, though. I would just like to minimize some of the glaring issues Ohio presents, settle somewhere which suits me better overall, bloom where I'm planted, and then block City Data from my browser! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bees46 View Post
I live in Eugene, Oregon, which qualifies in most categories. It would fail on affordability and crime. You might consider it remote, it's 2 hours to Portland. People complain about the rain, but to me that is a tiny price to pay for the natural beauty and amenities.

Walkability is variable, of course. But it's a compact town, so even when I have to drive, nothing is far. I can walk to several useful places.

I love that you don't have kids but you care that kids' sports don't reign supreme. I agree with you. Kids obviously play sports here, but they aren't the center of the universe like where I used to live.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I need to prioritize safety, so the crime and fires are worrisome. I hear you on everything else, though.
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Old 04-26-2016, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
5,616 posts, read 3,946,923 times
Reputation: 7917
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadichabit View Post

Thank you for the suggestion, but Phoenix/Scottsdale are out for personal reasons and because six straight months of extreme heat (90+) won't work.



You said you wanted summers w/o "relentless humidity", which is why I recommended PHX. When its 95 in PHX, it feels much cooler than it really is. I dont think you realize just how different it feels with 5% humidity and a 20-degree dew point. Its not till it hits 105 that it feels pretty hot, and even then its not sticky air, its bone dry.
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