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Old 10-31-2019, 08:45 PM
 
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OOPS, just realized that the OP asked about winter sports on ice.

Regardless, some reservoirs are closed to winter access, period. Lake Nighthorse is one of those.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
6,820 posts, read 7,710,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazybreakfast View Post
I'd take a look at some of the following- Flagstaff, AZ; Sedona, AZ; Knoxville or Chattanooga, TN (but Knoxville may be a bit too big for what y'all are looking for). Best of luck!
Knoxville and Chattanooga are NOT mountain towns. Both are in the Tennessee valley and even though we can see the mountains we are not in them. People from other parts of the country make that mistake all the time. Gatlinburg is a mountain town, Townsend is a mountain town and even they are just at the base of the mountains. Boone and Asheville are high elevation and in the mountains. They get the cold weather and snow to prove it.....very few places in the south have a climate like they do.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:29 AM
 
15,102 posts, read 8,114,010 times
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Originally Posted by mmcgrath View Post
I'm also interested in what people think of Bellingham, WA? I realize this is not a halfway point at all, but it is close to SEA, which would be a direct flight to BOS.

For outdoors, it's a superb location though it's not quite a "mountain town". You're a bit more than an hour to Mount Baker for skiing. You're on the ocean so you have both the mountain and salt water thing. My sister has been in Vancouver since the late-1980s. You're going to have 8 months of overcast, a bit of drizzle, and above freezing temps with 3 or 4 months of glorious summer most years. For snow, you drive up to 3,000 feet. It's far more mild than Chittenden County but you'll be wearing Gore Tex quite a bit. I'm biased but I think Vancouver is the best city in North America and that's the same "a bit more than an hour" as Mount Baker.


SEATAC airport access from Bellingham is awful. You'd have to fly weekends or time it so you're driving down I-5 around noon midweek or in the evening.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
25,150 posts, read 18,653,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielj72 View Post
Knoxville and Chattanooga are NOT mountain towns. Both are in the Tennessee valley and even though we can see the mountains we are not in them. People from other parts of the country make that mistake all the time. Gatlinburg is a mountain town, Townsend is a mountain town and even they are just at the base of the mountains. Boone and Asheville are high elevation and in the mountains. They get the cold weather and snow to prove it.....very few places in the south have a climate like they do.
Completely agreed.

I'm not as familiar with Chattanooga, but it gets all these rave reviews as an outdoor city. Personally, I don't think it holds a candle to Asheville, Boone, or even Johnson City and some places in the Virginia mountains.

The NC side of the mountains are generally a lot nicer than the TN side, but Chattanooga is pretty far from both. It's also at a fairly low elevation and hotter. Knoxville and Chattanooga are both a good distance from "the mountains."

This is my stomping ground coming from JC and is much more mountainous, and cooler in summer.

https://i.ibb.co/cg1HWVc/red-pen.png
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
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Reno, NV has all that you listed. World-class skiiing just about an hour away at Lake Tahoe.

The Cost of living - mainly housing is high, however. Nothing under $1000 per month. I don't know your budget though. 1 bedrooms range from 1000 to 1200. 2 bedrooms 1200-1400 3 bedrooms 1500++. The median home price is $400K.
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,152 posts, read 1,143,747 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
For outdoors, it's a superb location though it's not quite a "mountain town". You're a bit more than an hour to Mount Baker for skiing. You're on the ocean so you have both the mountain and salt water thing. My sister has been in Vancouver since the late-1980s. You're going to have 8 months of overcast, a bit of drizzle, and above freezing temps with 3 or 4 months of glorious summer most years. For snow, you drive up to 3,000 feet. It's far more mild than Chittenden County but you'll be wearing Gore Tex quite a bit. I'm biased but I think Vancouver is the best city in North America and that's the same "a bit more than an hour" as Mount Baker.


SEATAC airport access from Bellingham is awful. You'd have to fly weekends or time it so you're driving down I-5 around noon midweek or in the evening.
Mostly accurate, but as someone living in the middle of Bellingham I do think there's a little more nuance to some of your observations.

First of all, Mount Baker isn't where the mountains begin. I agree it may not be thought of as a "mountain town" -and again, the much larger, glaciated jagged peaks of the North Cascades are another 20+ miles east- but by most people's standards (especially east coasters) they're right here. I can be hiking on a mountain in 15 minutes, all three lakes in town- Whatcom, Padden, and Samish are surrounded by varying sizes of ridges, and many of my friends on the south or east side of town can access bike and hiking trails directly out of their neighborhoods.

The eight months of overcast is also a bit of a generalization. For example, we had a rainy September but there are always a number of dry spells (we're in the middle of a several week long sunny stretch now), and the forecasts don't really explain that many cloudy days end with brilliant sunsets (we're often beneficiaries of minor Olympic/San Juan rain shadow effects, especially close to Bellingham Bay) or that most days are fine to get out on trails- drizzle here and there definitely doesn't stop people from getting out. When we moved from CO, lack of sunshine was my wife's primary hesitation and it hasn't been an issue. What's more noticeable at this latitude is lack of light/shortness of days. Don't get me wrong, it's very typical PNW (west of Cascades) weather, but for many people it's quite tolerable, and OP's partner is from OR, so depending on where they're from it's probably not unusual.

Finally, airport access is again relative, especially to the other options listed by the OP. Boone and Asheville are all 2+ hours from a major airport (CLT), 3-4 to RDU, and involve significant mountain sections and traffic. It's even worse with anywhere in Western CO but on a larger and frequently more disruptive scale. When we lived in Western CO, the logistics of flight arrangements were a nightmare.... I'm not a big Seattle traffic fan, but from here it's a straight shot on I-5 to Sea-Tac, and there are other options, especially now that Paine Field Terminal is open. Still, for the 8-10 times I fly per year (probably 5+ to the east coast), I usually take the airport shuttle to Seattle and non-stop flights- many of which are mid-day or redeyes anyways. In any case it's better than many mountain town destinations (though, as you mentioned, there are exceptions like SLC). For the sake of this thread, I'd also add that towns relatively close to Reno, Boise, and Spokane may be options worth looking into. All three have great scenery nearby, are decent-sized cities, and have airports that are significant steps up from most small mountain towns.

Sorry, not to be nitpicky with your observations. It's certainly the NW corner of the continental US and feels "out there". But it's not nearly as inconvenient-and the weather isn't nearly as depressing as it's often made out to be. It's not for everyone, though I'd argue that's probably not a bad thing....Anyway, after living in big(ger) cities, tiny mountain towns, and large town/small cities, I think that one of the bigger determinants for OC is what sized place and feel they're looking for. There's a huge difference between, say, Salida and Asheville or Bellingham- especially for year-round living vs. vacation.

Last edited by bartonizer; 11-01-2019 at 02:05 PM..
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:54 PM
 
Location: East Tennessee and Atlanta
4,261 posts, read 9,055,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielj72 View Post
Knoxville and Chattanooga are NOT mountain towns. Both are in the Tennessee valley and even though we can see the mountains we are not in them. People from other parts of the country make that mistake all the time. Gatlinburg is a mountain town, Townsend is a mountain town and even they are just at the base of the mountains. Boone and Asheville are high elevation and in the mountains. They get the cold weather and snow to prove it.....very few places in the south have a climate like they do.
Yep, so true! Although Chattanooga is a valley and surrounded by stunning peaks and cliffs, it is a city surrounded by close mountains. Knoxville is a city surrounded by rolling hills, and in the distance towards the smokies, actual mountains.

A common misconception from folks unaware.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:00 PM
 
Location: East Tennessee and Atlanta
4,261 posts, read 9,055,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post

I'm not as familiar with Chattanooga, but it gets all these rave reviews as an outdoor city. Personally, I don't think it holds a candle to Asheville, Boone, or even Johnson City and some places in the Virginia mountains.
Chattanooga has a ton of activities outdoors within super close proximity of downtown--hang-gliding, river rafting, rappelling, rock climbing, zip lines, mountain biking, mountain hikes, parks, river walks, fishing, hunting, camping, etc.

https://www.chattanoogafun.com/things-to-do/outdoor/

It is head and shoulders above Johnson City. JC has a lot close to it as well, but Chattanooga not only has this within 30 minutes of the city (or less) but has a dynamic, relatively vibrant, historic, and tourism-focused downtown. JC's downtown, as we all know, leaves a lot to be desired until the city gets its head screwed on straight and develops it.

Chattanooga is a larger city than JC, Boone or Asheville. Asheville gets to be too pricey for many people and Chattanooga is pretty family-oriented and also a reasonable cost.

Don't get me wrong, all 4 cities are incredible destinations and offer mountain access and amenities for most. But Chattanooga gets recognition for a good reason--it has a ton to do, very close by.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:07 AM
 
11 posts, read 1,211 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
Mostly accurate, but as someone living in the middle of Bellingham I do think there's a little more nuance to some of your observations.

First of all, Mount Baker isn't where the mountains begin. I agree it may not be thought of as a "mountain town" -and again, the much larger, glaciated jagged peaks of the North Cascades are another 20+ miles east- but by most people's standards (especially east coasters) they're right here. I can be hiking on a mountain in 15 minutes, all three lakes in town- Whatcom, Padden, and Samish are surrounded by varying sizes of ridges, and many of my friends on the south or east side of town can access bike and hiking trails directly out of their neighborhoods.

The eight months of overcast is also a bit of a generalization. For example, we had a rainy September but there are always a number of dry spells (we're in the middle of a several week long sunny stretch now), and the forecasts don't really explain that many cloudy days end with brilliant sunsets (we're often beneficiaries of minor Olympic/San Juan rain shadow effects, especially close to Bellingham Bay) or that most days are fine to get out on trails- drizzle here and there definitely doesn't stop people from getting out. When we moved from CO, lack of sunshine was my wife's primary hesitation and it hasn't been an issue. What's more noticeable at this latitude is lack of light/shortness of days. Don't get me wrong, it's very typical PNW (west of Cascades) weather, but for many people it's quite tolerable, and OP's partner is from OR, so depending on where they're from it's probably not unusual.

Finally, airport access is again relative, especially to the other options listed by the OP. Boone and Asheville are all 2+ hours from a major airport (CLT), 3-4 to RDU, and involve significant mountain sections and traffic. It's even worse with anywhere in Western CO but on a larger and frequently more disruptive scale. When we lived in Western CO, the logistics of flight arrangements were a nightmare.... I'm not a big Seattle traffic fan, but from here it's a straight shot on I-5 to Sea-Tac, and there are other options, especially now that Paine Field Terminal is open. Still, for the 8-10 times I fly per year (probably 5+ to the east coast), I usually take the airport shuttle to Seattle and non-stop flights- many of which are mid-day or redeyes anyways. In any case it's better than many mountain town destinations (though, as you mentioned, there are exceptions like SLC). For the sake of this thread, I'd also add that towns relatively close to Reno, Boise, and Spokane may be options worth looking into. All three have great scenery nearby, are decent-sized cities, and have airports that are significant steps up from most small mountain towns.

Sorry, not to be nitpicky with your observations. It's certainly the NW corner of the continental US and feels "out there". But it's not nearly as inconvenient-and the weather isn't nearly as depressing as it's often made out to be. It's not for everyone, though I'd argue that's probably not a bad thing....Anyway, after living in big(ger) cities, tiny mountain towns, and large town/small cities, I think that one of the bigger determinants for OC is what sized place and feel they're looking for. There's a huge difference between, say, Salida and Asheville or Bellingham- especially for year-round living vs. vacation.
I'm originally from Ashland area, which is a drier climate but lived in Eugene for a couple of years, so I am used to rainy weather. I'm not too concerned about the weather there. My partner is interested in being able to commute via motorcycle most of the year. Of course, there are rainy days here too, but then we also have 2-3 solid months of too cold/snowy weather during which he can't ride.

I'm also interested in learning more about the surrounding small towns/communities around Bellingham. We're definitely interested in purchasing property with a good amount of acreage (5+ acres) and I'm not sure we would find that in Bellingham..
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:13 AM
 
11 posts, read 1,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazybreakfast View Post
I'd take a look at some of the following- Flagstaff, AZ; Sedona, AZ; Knoxville or Chattanooga, TN (but Knoxville may be a bit too big for what y'all are looking for). Best of luck!
Chatanooga and Knoxville would be a bit too big for us, but thank you for the other suggestions!
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