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Old 12-11-2016, 01:26 PM
 
78 posts, read 73,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
I grew up (mostly) in the Tampa Bay area, and I've lived in Western NC, Central and Western CO, and now Western Washington.

So, I think you're on the right track and can address your options, specifically. And before I start, I'd say that all three regions you mentioned would represent significant change from Florida, and would keep you interested for some time.

One thing, though- what size city are you looking for? Personally, I think it makes a big difference, especially for the quaintness/intimacy- living in the middle of the biggest city in the region may make you feel removed from the outdoorsy vibe that you're looking for.

Southern Blue Ridge-
Still presents more of a change of seasons that people from other areas imagine, though elevation plays a big part in the region, even for residential options. Living in Boone, NC for example would feel like somewhere much further north. And there are significant views, though sometimes the sheer amount of foliage means that you're less likely to see for a distance.

City-wise, there are some really good options. Chattanooga, Knoxville, Greenville, and Asheville are all nice small-to-medium sized city/metros, with good outdoor options, and all are close to, or in the mountains. There are also a lot of little mountain towns that have a lot of character, and are relatively close to the medium and larger cities in the region. From an access standpoint, it's a great region for you to go to if you're not really ready for making the move west.

Colorado/Rockies-
Most extreme climate out of your list. That's not a bad thing, but it's worth mentioning that Fall/Spring are short seasons and you really have a long winter, with snow possible-even in lower (relatively) elevations from September to May or even June. Not that it completely stops you from activity- and if you like winter activities, you have a long season. But it does limit the hiking and biking a little bit. Regarding the green, well... spring snowmelt can make everything vibrant- and things are generally greener year-round in the mountains- but overall, Colorado is a much browner, desert state than most people realize. But the lack of foliage means that views are abundant- with everything wide open and more exposed, you can see forever....

City-wise, my wife and I like medium-sized towns, and that was probably the biggest con to our long term living arrangement in CO. 80% of the population lives on the Great Plains, which isn't all that appealing in everyday life, IMHO. The other option in the state is pretty much mountain towns, which are a blast to visit and cool to live in, though we found they were a bit too small for our long-term taste. However...if you really want to live outdoor adventure, there are a lotof little places that are dreamy but very expensive locales to live- and access to activities is very easy. Back to the Front Range, traffic to the mountains can discourage you from even going sometimes, though to be fair, access to the Foothills is pretty simple- and they would be considered sizable mountains in most other parts of the country.

I'd open my possibilities up to MT and ID- where most all of the more sizable cities are more manageable and closer to the activities. Boise, Missoula, Bozeman.... are all great options.


Pacific NW-
I'm not sure why it's mostly OR on your list, I'd consider WA and even part of ID as well. The scenery is striking, and while things are grey for much of the year, the mild climate means that things west of the Cascades are very green, though access to alpine and desert climates are close. We've found that people have acclimatized, and for the most part people are every bit as active on trails as they were in CO. Speaking of CO- a lot of people very clearly move there for the outdoor activities, and identify as such. But people out this way are every bit as into it- and have even more options, they're just a little more subtle about their hobbies.

City-wise- the big ones are expensive- Portland and Seattle aren't cheap! But there are other options, and there are a lot of medium-sized or smaller options if you don't have to work in a metropolis. Places like Eugene, Corvallis, Olympia, Bend, and Bellingham are all very outdoorsy-oriented and there are still a few relatively inexpensive places to live, like Spokane or to a lesser extent Boise, that will no doubt be more cost-prohibitive over time. But their climates vary, as well. Coastal communities will have the grey, but east of the Cascades, the climate is often much more like the high desert/Rocky Mountain region.

On my FL>NC>CO>WA progression, it took until my mid-30's to make it all the way out west, but we love it and I don't see us moving back. But going all the way west is a big change. I'd visit them and try to decide how far you want to be from friends and family. But again, in general they will all be a significant departure from what you're used to, with CO feeling the most isolated, barren and remote.

I appreciate the info. We actually live in North Tampa right now, so your perspective is very valuable.

To answer your first question, we prefer a mid sized city. Traffic is our biggest concern with where we live right now. It's frustrating to no end. I hate driving 20 miles and it taking 50 minutes!

Greenville is one of the #1 options on our list and I think it's the perfect size city for us. It is a little further from the Mountains than we'd like and as such we will probably find a smaller city just north of there. We are the type of people who like to wake up Saturday morning and driving 20 minutes to go hiking for 2 or 3 hours, grab something to eat on the way home and then go have a nice day in the evening in the city or something. So Greenville seems to fit that bill pretty well.

That said, we don't know much about a lot of our other options and just looking at the areas, they seem magnificent. The grand views of Colorado are so enticing. And the variety of options in Oregon seems intriguing.

To answer your question as to why we aren't considering Washington - My wife is a teacher. From what we've seen transferring her teaching certificate to Wa. seems quite difficult.

Additionally, the PNW seems like it is much more expensive than the other areas, which is why it's been last on our list of considerations.

Lastly, the gray skies is a concern. Especially coming from the sunshine state. I guess we wouldn't really know how overrated or bad it is until we lived there and it was to late lol.


I've briefly looked at the Montana/Idaho options you mentioned, but quickly moved on as the cold seems even more extreme than Colorado and that worries me. We are Florida people, worried that big of a change might be to much for us.
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Old 12-11-2016, 02:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Generally if you are close enough (30-45 minutes or so) to mountains for easy access to the activities you want you are too close to have good views.
I disagree with this. Maryville TN is 30-45 minutes from the mountains and you can find some great views. It has a small downtown with activities and it is not far to Knoxville for a "Night on the Town".

Greeneville TN is even closer to the mountains and has great views - though other than a great performance center, it wouldn't have enough urban activities for the OP.

Asheville is where I think "you can't see the mountains for the hills", but then you get to Biltmore and there are jaw dropping long range views.
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:07 PM
 
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I'd suggest you consider Clemson SC with your other SE options. About the same distance to mountains as Greenville but right next to a big lake & forest. Small downtown, less traffic.


Colorado, sounds like there could be issues for you with winter, tree cover, moisture. I'd guess your best bets to be Fort Collins or Durango.


Corvallis is worth a check in Oregon, among others.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:33 AM
 
5,407 posts, read 2,816,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda1337 View Post
So I'm confused. A lot of people say Colorado is brown most of the time. But I'm looking at pictures, pouring over trip advisor photos, google images, trail images etc etc....

I see some brown. But I see tons of pictures that are green, or white with snow, or autumn colors. It seems like a really good mix and doesn't really strike me as being a desert, brown dead area.

Are all the pictures lying to me?!?
Are you really that gullible? Photos of southeastern AK--a "temperate rainforest"--in the tourist booklets ALL showed blue skies and sunshine. Does it ever get sunny there? Of course it does. Does sunny/dry/blue sky typify southeastern AK? hahahahahahahaha.

You asked elsewhere about CO, and people who have LIVED THERE for many years, through both wet years and drought years, told you straight up about what typifies CO. As the above poster said,
either get over the brown or stay east.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:32 AM
 
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If you don't want to live in brown grass or red rock, you got to either be in an older urban area that allows watering, be along a major stream or river or get in the trees.


One can overdo the longing for green or get overbummed about the reality. Even in the brown and red there are some greenish things and flowers. Usually blue sky too.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
760 posts, read 588,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda1337 View Post
So I'm confused. A lot of people say Colorado is brown most of the time. But I'm looking at pictures, pouring over trip advisor photos, google images, trail images etc etc....

I see some brown. But I see tons of pictures that are green, or white with snow, or autumn colors. It seems like a really good mix and doesn't really strike me as being a desert, brown dead area.

Are all the pictures lying to me?!?
Photos are very deceiving as typically people only point their cameras to the West. The mountains are about 30-40 miles from downtown, but because they are so large, they seem closer and more significant than they are. This doesn't mean that Denver is ugly...but it is very very very brown, flat, barren.

The area is somewhat green in spring when the snow melts and rain falls, but it's very short lived (maybe mid march - early May).
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,078 posts, read 2,111,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda1337 View Post
So I'm confused. A lot of people say Colorado is brown most of the time. But I'm looking at pictures, pouring over trip advisor photos, google images, trail images etc etc....

I see some brown. But I see tons of pictures that are green, or white with snow, or autumn colors. It seems like a really good mix and doesn't really strike me as being a desert, brown dead area.

Are all the pictures lying to me?!?
Yes, that is how most advertising works. Not an outright lie, but selective enough to be somewhat deceptive.

The west isn't always brown all the time, but from October to April it definitely is. Summers can be brown outside of the places that are purposely irrigated. The altitude in Colorado literally bakes everything and leaves it a shade of tan or pale green. Exception being places in the mountains where snow melt may sustain some greenery. However, it is a muted or dark green, almost black, due to coniferous tree species.

Maybe check some local televisions stations that offer cameras, or visit CDOT and check out the interstate camera system.

BTW, what constitutes ALOT of snow in your opinion? The mountains certainly get a considerable amount. The major metro areas, not so much. Overall, Colorados Front Range probably get less typical snowfall than upstate New York, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:59 PM
 
78 posts, read 73,548 times
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So given this information, outside of the PNW and their gray skies and short winters... where can you get real mountains, green scenery and not freezing cold temperatures!

It seems like that place doesn't really exist

Wyoming/Montana - to cold. Far to cold.

PNW - gray skies, short winters, lots of rain

blue ridge mountains - not real mountains, lol. They are... they are just... small.

Alaska - Cold

Northeast - Cold

Utah/Colorado - Brown

California - costs a billion dollars to live there



I get there is no perfect area... but why can't there be one perfect area?!?!? :P
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:03 PM
 
2,727 posts, read 5,146,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda1337 View Post
We want to relocate from Florida. We are outdoor enthusiasts (love hiking, biking both road and mountain, kayaking and even some white water rafting, we've done some very light climbing as well). But I am overwhelmed by the options and the pro's and con's. Here is what we are comparing...




Other areas worth considering that I haven't done a ton of research on, but I have preliminarily ruled out due to the cold winters include: Wyoming/Grand Teton/Montana/Idaho areas as well as Upstate New York and the NH/VT/Maine areas. California due to insane cost of living and my wife is scared of earthquakes!



I'm open to considering anywhere. I just can't seem to find the best of everything I want and it's driving me nuts.
Kayaking, whitewater rafting, biking = Idaho.

Idaho is going to have the most extensive "green" areas in the inland west, but you have to deal with snow and cold winters.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,086 posts, read 1,068,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda1337 View Post
So given this information, outside of the PNW and their gray skies and short winters... where can you get real mountains, green scenery and not freezing cold temperatures!

It seems like that place doesn't really exist

Wyoming/Montana - to cold. Far to cold.

PNW - gray skies, short winters, lots of rain

blue ridge mountains - not real mountains, lol. They are... they are just... small.

Alaska - Cold

Northeast - Cold

Utah/Colorado - Brown

California - costs a billion dollars to live there



I get there is no perfect area... but why can't there be one perfect area?!?!? :P
I agree that nowhere is perfect, but I think you're generalizing too much. Especially since we're talking mountains. And there's a substantial variation within the regions you've listed. There are mild and dry parts to the Northwest, there are greener parts within the Rockies, and yes- there are real mountains in the Southeast. Again, I've lived around a lot of mountains, and the 3,000'-5,000' local vertical relief on parts of the Blue Ridge and near the NC/TN line are as big as they get on the east, and on par with many mountains that you'll experience out west. Go to the top of Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Clingman's Dome, or better yet drive the Blue Ridge Parkway through NC and you'll likely be impressed!
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