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Old 02-11-2007, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Burlington, VT
483 posts, read 1,783,513 times
Reputation: 260

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Hi! The last thing I want to do is move to a new place blindly, so my husband and I are looking to take some short trips and "feel out" some places. Has anyone else here done that? Got any tips?
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,930,880 times
Reputation: 3840
I made several lists of what I thought were important considerations, like does the town/city have a good library, have one or more independent booksellers, etc.

But in the end I failed to add the invisible wants, and as a result my move turned into a penultimate relocation rather than a final destination.

Some of the pitfalls for me was not appreciating how small a small town can be outside of the East Coast; how what is familiar in food and housing makes for a sense of displacement; and how lay-back can be translated into indifference.

So, I have to start another list!
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,047 posts, read 21,677,324 times
Reputation: 5053
Oh yes, we've taken a few trips to feel out an area. We would drive around a lot at different times of the day, down all kinds of roads. We looked to see how the traffic was, how people drove, were the streets clean, were their loiterers, how many parks and libraries did we come across. We would ask people on the street, how to get somewhere, not because we needed directions, but just to see how people acted. We would stop at places (local restaurants are good, also stores, malls, and such) to people watch. We would read the local paper. The more time you can spend in the town/area, the better. Be sure to check out the very worst areas. How bad is it really? You need to know.
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
668 posts, read 2,462,395 times
Reputation: 444
We've have checked out various areas over the last few years. Some tips that worked for us:
Visit the Mall and people watch.
Go to grocery stores and compare prices, and of course, people watch
Drive by the schools (if you have school aged-children)
Check out the local parks, just to see what the general vibe there is
Go to the "worst" part of town and look around. How bad is it really?
Go to the most "upscale" part of town. How bad is it really?
Drive around during rush-hour
Visit the local library if that interests you
Buy a local paper or two
Visit local eating places
Don't be afraid to strike up conversations. I have found that most people are more than willing to share info about their town, and you might be suprised how friendly & helpfull people in general are.
Good luck
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,930,880 times
Reputation: 3840
Good list. I'll tuck it into my sleeve and add it my list. Perhaps with both, I'll find my way to Paradise

All joking aside, I don't have some of these items and like them!


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2KidsforMe View Post
We've have checked out various areas over the last few years. Some tips that worked for us:
Visit the Mall and people watch.
Go to grocery stores and compare prices, and of course, people watch
Drive by the schools (if you have school aged-children)
Check out the local parks, just to see what the general vibe there is
Go to the "worst" part of town and look around. How bad is it really?
Go to the most "upscale" part of town. How bad is it really?
Drive around during rush-hour
Visit the local library if that interests you
Buy a local paper or two
Visit local eating places
Don't be afraid to strike up conversations. I have found that most people are more than willing to share info about their town, and you might be suprised how friendly & helpfull people in general are.
Good luck
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,251 posts, read 67,427,470 times
Reputation: 15908
The best way to get a good "feel" for a particular city is to walk around in its various neighborhoods. I'm a suburbanite who is looking to relocate to an inner-city neighborhood to raise my family in the future. As such, I parked my car in various neighborhoods of Scranton and meandered around. I took photographs, took notes, paid very careful attention to detail, etc., and thanks to this careful analysis, I've now chosen a relatively small radius of city blocks in the middle of Scranton's Hill Section in which I'll reside. Christina mentioned "just driving around", but when you're behind the wheel, you're moving too quickly and are too focused in on scanning the roadway to watch out for pedestrians, other vehicles, red lights, stop signs, etc. to truly get a good "feel" for the area. If I were to have just driven through the Hill Section, it would receive negative marks from me due to the inconsistency and confusion of its alternating 2-way, 3-way, and 4-way stop signs that aren't labeled as such. Nevertheless, on foot, this thought never even crossed my mind, as the aromas of the lush landscaping around me truly relieved my stress and spoke to my inner soul "This is where you want your children to live!"

Even if you're relocating to the suburbs of a new city, I still advise that you take at least one day to park your car in a few different urban neighborhoods (including the downtown of course) to hoof around and get an appreciation of (or distaste for) the city itself, as most suburbanites inevitably can't live without the city proper for culture, nightlife, the arts, professional sports, etc.

Best of luck to you! If it worked for me in choosing an optimal neighborhood, it should work for anyone, as I have very discerning preferences.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:34 PM
 
670 posts, read 1,514,593 times
Reputation: 269
Smile Yep

Damn, great advice! You're right.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:22 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
5,378 posts, read 12,998,742 times
Reputation: 5367
When I visit a city the first place I go is to its downtown. I usually stay downtown wherever I go. I always start downtown and go exploring from there.
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