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Old 04-12-2018, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,087 posts, read 1,068,704 times
Reputation: 1933

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Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post
Ok ok I believe you! Haha, I definitely need to visit. Seems like AVL is super popular from these responses.







Population requirement wasn't strict, nor was it referring to "city" limits but MSA or Urban area if you prefer. I would have included Honolulu since it meets my "not strict" parameters, but I figured that was kinda obvious/cheating. Few people would not want a second home in HNL lol.



Interesting that you've actually already done this research haha. Yeah we are different cause I definitely want the big city most of the time, but something a bit less is nice from time to time. Yeah Santa Fe, Eugene and Bend have also intrigued me from a distance. Does Bellingham have a nice downtown?

I like Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill although I tend to clump them into larger MSAs/CSAs, which may be a mistake.

Definitely also have had many of the other cities mentioned on my "radar" as very pleasant, nice places to live. But the thing is, eg places like Des Moines, Chattanooga, Greenville, Fayetteville...although they seem perfectly nice overall, I feel like what I'm going for is sort of a destination, capture your imagination, type of locale. Some kind of top-tier natural setting (ocean, major lakes, mountains, etc) or world-class history/architecture/events. And those places don't really strike me in that way. What do you think? Am I mistaken?
I think we're on the same page, to a large degree. The thing for me is that I work by remote but needed to be within two hours of a major metro, if possible... so it ruled out where we moved to in Western CO (3.5 hours, weather and passes occasionally prohibiting travel, etc.) and it also ruled out Bend, which faces the same challenges but has a CO mountain-y vibe, and a prettier setting than most cities on the Front Range.

So, after a lot of deliberation (and some tax considerations) Bellingham was a good choice- and we were able to buy a small house that has Walkscore bike and walk ratings over 80, several grocery stores and breweries in easy walking distance, all kinds of trails, etc. But, like many of the cities on my list, there is a shortage of supply and high demand for housing because people really want to live in the types of cities we're talking about.

It's hard to explain Bellingham's downtown. Again, it reminds me of AVL 20 years ago in that it's full of independent shops, lively restaurants and breweries (like Bend and Asheville and to a lesser degree, other cities on the list, Bham is filled with microbreweries- current count 12+ with new ones on the way). The formerly industrial waterfront is now being completely transformed into parks and mixed-use development. The city has an industrial past, so it has a bit of the urban feeling of a bigger city, gives off a mini-Seattle or maybe even more likely a mini-Portland vibe. And the sizable Western Washington U. keeps it lively. And it has some features that give it an urban- and less suburban- flavor than places I've lived in FL, NC, and CO didn't have.

One unusual aspect of Bellingham- apart from the open views of the San Juan Islands- is the second downtown we have with Historic Fairhaven. Three miles south of downtown and connected by trails and roads, Fairhaven is an adorable neighborhood that was a small town in the 1890's and eventually absorbed by Bellingham. It's like a little mountain/coastal town and popular with tourists, especially those from Vancouver, BC and Seattle, which are connected by numerous buses and the Amtrak Cascades line several times daily. Put it this way, when my friend brought his family from Dallas, their jaws dropped at the town and the natural setting, as we're the only place where the Cascades touch the sea. The scenery is world-class- awesome biking, hiking, kayaking, skiing (Mt. Baker is just over an hour, as is North Cascades NP.) Here's a video that illustrates some of the beauty nearby: [vimeo]195260295[/vimeo]
https://vimeo.com/195260295. Sorry to rant, people from town are hesitant to get the word out but we lucked out and loved this place.

But.....we're a long way from FL. In the SE, again the NC mountains around Asheville are a great option; I also think that other places like Greenville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Charlottesville, and even Roanoke may be nice places to have some urban amenities in pretty natural settings and an escape from the big city. They may not be top-tier destinations, but they may impress so don't completely rule them out until you visit. There are quite a few more out there, as others have mentioned, that may work for you!
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,236 posts, read 24,407,950 times
Reputation: 13004
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurnInTheMil View Post
I’d say so far, Estes Park, CO is still my favorite place I’ve ever been.
You mean this place?







Pics #3 and #4 were from an ATV ride that took us to Allenspark (Boulder County). We've gone there for my wife's birthday two of the last four years.

I do enjoy going there, but I don't think I'd enjoy living there.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I myself already have Spokane, WA picked out as my place of this size (216K proper, 640K metro). We lived there briefly several years ago, and have made it a new habit to spend at least a week there every year. I love the weather, the landscape/scenery, the people, how cheap/modest it is, and has enough to do to keep me occupied. Over the next couple of years, I'm going to try to get us to spend even more time there when our son isn't in school. We will likely be there for the duration once we get some business/personal things sorted out for good.

My criteria doesn't really match OP's. I've come to like areas that are more modest/unpopular, on the cheaper side, in places with trees/water, and with weather I can tolerate. I like older homes. Job availability/etc is not a concern for me, but being near poker rooms, an airport, and having some pro/minor sports are pluses.

I also have my eye on the Midwest pretty hard. We're taking a trip from St. Louis to Cincinnati next month (via Springfield, IL and then going south to follow the Ohio River the rest of the way), and I'm excited to do this trip because this particular region appeals to me for mostly unknown reasons. The Metro-East suburbs of St. Louis (Belleville/etc) I've had my eye on as a possible personal SHTF location, much of Southern IL seems interesting as heck to me (again, I don't know why), and Cincinnati/Northern KY has a weird appeal to me as well. Keep in mind, I've never been to any of these places, but this trip should at least validate/invalidate these thoughts.

Keeping with the Midwest theme, I really enjoyed Toledo on a recent visit. It really isn't doing anything to attract anybody, or fix its problems though (which IMO is fine). I am pretty interested in other cities of this size in NE, IA, KS, MO, IL, IN, OH, MI, WI, KY, etc., but haven't been to many of them yet.

Other cities that I like of this size (that I do know) include Fresno, Bakersfield (I've lived in Kern County before; we have a lot of family nearby and would fit in again immediately), Colorado Springs, Modesto, Eugene, and Medford.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,962,789 times
Reputation: 3502
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
In that case Ithaca NY would fit as well.

Also, what about an area like Watertown NY that fits the population criteria? Things are a bit more limited in Watertown itself(has art council, more urban, etc.), but the area has smaller communities like Clayton, Alexandria Bay and Cape Vincent in the 1000 Islands Region and Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario in the micro area that offer walkability, events, restaurants, art amenities/venues, etc. Iím asking in regards to similar areas as well.
Yeah, I hadn't thought about it for this but I suppose Ithaca could fit. I'm not too knowledgeable but I know it's a charming place with lots of amenities and decent diversity. If its natural setting is awe-inspiring then I'll have to seriously consider it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
In that case, I suppose your list would be limited to the likes of Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, Santa Fe, Burlington, etc. Others that haven't been mentioned are San Luis Obispo, CA, Marquette, MI, and Troy, NY.
Yes that could be limiting. I was hoping to be a bit selective with this, at least for me personally. For the thread I'm fine with everything being open to discussion.

Does Burlington belong in this group? What is its calling card? Does it offer great food too? Same with SLO, Marquette and Troy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
One unusual aspect of Bellingham- apart from the open views of the San Juan Islands- is the second downtown we have with Historic Fairhaven. Three miles south of downtown and connected by trails and roads, Fairhaven is an adorable neighborhood that was a small town in the 1890's and eventually absorbed by Bellingham. It's like a little mountain/coastal town and popular with tourists, especially those from Vancouver, BC and Seattle, which are connected by numerous buses and the Amtrak Cascades line several times daily. Put it this way, when my friend brought his family from Dallas, their jaws dropped at the town and the natural setting, as we're the only place where the Cascades touch the sea. The scenery is world-class- awesome biking, hiking, kayaking, skiing (Mt. Baker is just over an hour, as is North Cascades NP.) Here's a video that illustrates some of the beauty nearby: [vimeo]195260295[/vimeo]
[vimeo]195260295[/vimeo]
https://vimeo.com/195260295. Sorry to rant, people from town are hesitant to get the word out but we lucked out and loved this place.

But.....we're a long way from FL. In the SE, again the NC mountains around Asheville are a great option; I also think that other places like Greenville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Charlottesville, and even Roanoke may be nice places to have some urban amenities in pretty natural settings and an escape from the big city. They may not be top-tier destinations, but they may impress so don't completely rule them out until you visit. There are quite a few more out there, as others have mentioned, that may work for you!
Thanks for sharing!! I'm definitely intrigued by Fairhaven. And nice video too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Count David View Post
My criteria doesn't really match OP's. I've come to like areas that are more modest/unpopular, on the cheaper side, in places with trees/water, and with weather I can tolerate. I like older homes. Job availability/etc is not a concern for me, but being near poker rooms, an airport, and having some pro/minor sports are pluses.
No worries. I was kinda torn in creating this thread whether to position it more for myself and my needs or whether it was just an open discussion for all preferences. I ended up doing both cause I'm happy to see the entire conversation, but I'd also like some suggestions for me specifically too. And thanks for mentioning Spokane!
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:13 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,550 posts, read 3,653,233 times
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I have a timeshare that I always traded off for different places --Charleston, Ashville, beach, wherever. If I was going to buy a place 100k population is too big. I'd also want a smaller place accessible for weekend getaways. I live near Albuquerque and know people with 2nd homes in Taos, which would be okay. I might consider some nearby mountain community (Angel Fire or Red River area). Another option would be Flagstaff...a little more distant.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:45 AM
 
3,955 posts, read 3,487,388 times
Reputation: 6331
Traverse City deserves a 2nd mention here. Definitely have those natural "wow" amenities where it sits on the bay and about 20 minutes from the lakeshore dunes.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:05 AM
 
56,531 posts, read 80,824,285 times
Reputation: 12482
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post
Yeah, I hadn't thought about it for this but I suppose Ithaca could fit. I'm not too knowledgeable but I know it's a charming place with lots of amenities and decent diversity. If its natural setting is awe-inspiring then I'll have to seriously consider it.



Yes that could be limiting. I was hoping to be a bit selective with this, at least for me personally. For the thread I'm fine with everything being open to discussion.

Does Burlington belong in this group? What is its calling card? Does it offer great food too? Same with SLO, Marquette and Troy.



Thanks for sharing!! I'm definitely intrigued by Fairhaven. And nice video too!



No worries. I was kinda torn in creating this thread whether to position it more for myself and my needs or whether it was just an open discussion for all preferences. I ended up doing both cause I'm happy to see the entire conversation, but I'd also like some suggestions for me specifically too. And thanks for mentioning Spokane!
In terms of Ithaca, it is right on Cayuga Lake and it is known for its gorges/waterfalls/parks. Visit Ithaca, NY - Official Site for Ithaca and Tompkins County
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:58 AM
 
29,888 posts, read 27,333,728 times
Reputation: 18435
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post
Does Burlington belong in this group? What is its calling card? Does it offer great food too? Same with SLO, Marquette and Troy.
If I gave you all the answers, where's the fun in that?

But seriously, do a bit of research and I think you'll see why I named those places. Here are some links to get you started:

Burlington: http://www.vermont.org/experiences/burlington
San Luis Obispo: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/t...is-obispo.html
Marquette: https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-dest...e-Michigan-USA
Troy: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-york/enjoy-troy-ny/

Last edited by Mutiny77; 04-13-2018 at 07:26 AM..
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:25 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,045 posts, read 35,003,509 times
Reputation: 15172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
If I gave you all the answers, where's the fun in that?

But seriously, do a bit of research and I think you'll see why I named those places.
I'll back Mutiny up on this, particularly on the Michigan cities that he cited. There are some real undiscovered gems in that state (ie I mentioned Traverse City earlier; visiting it was a WTF moment for me); one of the best vacays we ever had was meandering up through western LP and on to UP by car.
The whole 'Pure Michigan' thing is no hype!
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:30 AM
 
56,531 posts, read 80,824,285 times
Reputation: 12482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconographer View Post
I'll back Mutiny up on this, particularly on the Michigan cities that he cited. There are some real undiscovered gems in that state (ie I mentioned Traverse City earlier; visiting it was a WTF moment for me); one of the best vacays we ever had was meandering up through western LP and on to UP by car.
The whole 'Pure Michigan' thing is no hype!
I'll add another one that is in a metro that fits the population criteria and that is St. Joseph. Visitors Guide - City of St. Joseph, Michigan
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,962,789 times
Reputation: 3502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
If I gave you all the answers, where's the fun in that?

But seriously, do a bit of research and I think you'll see why I named those places. Here are some links to get you started:

Burlington: Burlington Vermont | Vermont.org
San Luis Obispo: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/t...is-obispo.html
Marquette: https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-dest...e-Michigan-USA
Troy: Troy Is New York's Most Overlooked City That You Must Visit
Haha true and of course I will research on my own. It is fun! But honestly any place can have an online presence that makes it look AMAZING. I like CD for the personal vouches....like this one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconographer View Post
I'll back Mutiny up on this, particularly on the Michigan cities that he cited. There are some real undiscovered gems in that state (ie I mentioned Traverse City earlier; visiting it was a WTF moment for me); one of the best vacays we ever had was meandering up through western LP and on to UP by car.
The whole 'Pure Michigan' thing is no hype!
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