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Old 04-14-2018, 11:41 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 35,990,852 times
Reputation: 15437

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Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post
Savannah is nice but I prefer Charleston and they are similar enough that I left it off my shortlist.
I love you, pm, but I must take you (and many other posters) to task for the rather lazy and dismissive observation that these two cities are 'similar'.
Similar in that they are both 'Low Country' cities in the SE US? OK.
But consider this:
- In 1740, one was a wealthy center of commerce and a major player among the colonies; the other was a backwater.
- One is situated at the confluence of two rivers, open to a harbor and the open sea; the other was a river town, situated on a bluff and 10 miles from open sea.
- One is influenced by the willy-nilly development of medieval European villages and Caribbean colonial cities, the other by more restrained late 18th urban planning ideas that gave rise to modern Paris and London, Versailles and Washington DC (the 'Squares' of Savannah are majorly comparable to what was transpiring in London at the same time; this was not lost on General Oglethorpe).
-Socially, they were worlds apart; in the King Cotton South, Charleston was **** of the Walk; Savannah was inferior in every way. This notion still lingers to a degree, which accounts for Savannah's "We're so lucky you're here" attitude vs. Charleston's "Aren't you lucky to be here" attitude.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,331 posts, read 3,145,128 times
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I've spent a fair amount of time in Savannah because I have family there. It feels pretty laid back to me, and it's history combined with the impact of SCAD seems to give it a slightly mysterious and slightly bohemian version of southern culture. At least that is my impression. How does the vibe of Charleston compare? My relatives claim that it is more uptight but that may just be rival city smack talking.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
48,125 posts, read 38,671,367 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconographer View Post
Definitely.

I'm also thinking of medium-sized college towns like Chapel Hill, Charlottesville, Ann Arbor, Madison, Syracuse, Missoula, Northampton or Athens.

Some other small cities that IME punch above their weight:

Annapolis, MD
Frederick, MD
Chattanooga, TN
Naples, FL
Santa Fe, NM
Traverse City, MI
Savannah, GA
Des Moines, IA
Portland, ME
Spokane, WA
Lexington, KY
Greenville, SC
Columbia, SC
Tyler, TX

This is a great list - I've bolded the ones that I personally have visited and agree with, and I'll add a few more:

Asheville, NC - charming, funky, four seasons
Towns around Dayton, OH (lots of adorable towns that are close to Dayton but have a distinct feel of their own, such as Yellow Springs - and Dave Chappell just happens to live there!)
Yorktown, VA - just as pretty a place as you can find on this earth and very historical
Pine Mountain, GA (very small town but nestled conveniently just an hour south of Atlanta and 45 minutes north of Columbus, GA - so amenities are close but the town itself is very walkable and charming)
Natchitoches, LA - smaller than the OP asked for but chock full of charm and good amenities, and very walkable
Morgantown, WV (very scenic and with a booming tech job market)
Waxahatchie, TX - close but not too close to DFW, very walkable, cute, lots of locally owned businesses and restaurants
Wimberley, TX - very scenic, close to Austin and San Antonio but not IN that quagmire of traffic, artsy and funky


As for the list above, out of the bolded towns, I'd like to give an extra special shout out to Annapolis, Portland, and Tyler.

Annapolis is about as charming as you can get, and it is close to Baltimore without being IN Baltimore. I personally love that Chesapeake Bay area anyway because of the close proximity to beaches as well as big east coast metro areas and their amenities.

Portland, Maine is just awesome. It has a funky feel to it and as the capital of Maine, it has that extra layer of services that's nice. Lots of architectural charm in that small city as well.

Tyler, TX - my town, and I can heartily vouch for it. It's less than two hours to DFW and has a decent bus system and a very walkable downtown/historic area. It has amazing amenities for a small city of it's size (the city has a population of 100k or so but the metro area population is about 250k). Tons of locally owned restaurants and businesses and it has a chic feel to it due to a white collar, professional job base and it's proximity to the Dallas area. It is also a regional hub for medical services and education.


Out of this whole list, the following towns/cities probably have the lowest cost of living (not in order):

Tyler, TX
Natchitoches, LA
Pine Mountain, GA
Morgantown, WV
Chattanooga, TN
Portland, ME
Dayton, OH suburbs


The most expensive (in no order) are probably:
Annapolis, MD
Asheville, NC
Yorktown, VA
Frederick, MD

Anyway, I love this size of small city/town IF the area is close to a large metro area for the occasional foray and/or if it's especially scenic.

Good luck, OP - there is so much to choose from!
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:20 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 35,990,852 times
Reputation: 15437
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Tyler, TX - my town, and I can heartily vouch for it. It's less than two hours to DFW and has a decent bus system and a very walkable downtown/historic area. It has amazing amenities for a small city of it's size (the city has a population of 100k or so but the metro area population is about 250k). Tons of locally owned restaurants and businesses and it has a chic feel to it due to a white collar, professional job base and it's proximity to the Dallas area. It is also a regional hub for medical services and education.
Your list was spot-on, Kathryn, and I loved my visit to your hometown. It was also the hometown of my late mother's best friend Peggy, one of the most delightful people I ever met.
I guess that colors my perception of Tyler as well.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,647 posts, read 7,350,816 times
Reputation: 3753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconographer View Post
I love you, pm, but I must take you (and many other posters) to task for the rather lazy and dismissive observation that these two cities are 'similar'.
Hehe the feeling is mutual, icon!! As I typed that previous message I was thinking that someone might take it the wrong way. And I really appreciate your enlightening post because knowledge is power! But I don't think anything you said really changes my outlook for the purposes of this thread...ie, a place to spend several weeks each year. The experience is similar enough in that regard.

No offense though...I like Savannah a lot and I certainly will continue to visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewcifer View Post
My relatives claim that it is more uptight but that may just be rival city smack talking.
I'm not an expert but I can see that. Certainly it's been somewhat of their reputation. As obviously Icon will attest to

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Good luck, OP - there is so much to choose from!
Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts on this. Definitely have Asheville, Chattanooga and Annapolis as priorities to check out. And Portland, ME is already one of my favorites.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
48,125 posts, read 38,671,367 times
Reputation: 68888
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post


Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts on this. Definitely have Asheville, Chattanooga and Annapolis as priorities to check out. And Portland, ME is already one of my favorites.
Those are three very different, but very intriguing towns to check out! GOOD LUCK.
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