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Old 06-17-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago
14 posts, read 33,755 times
Reputation: 18

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My partner and I currently live in Chicago and are exploring other places to move for a variety of reasons. I've got a spreadsheet full of places to consider. I've read a bunch of other "where should I live?" threads and have added some new places from those but I'd like to know what places all you knowledgeable city-dataers would suggest in response to our criteria.

So here's what we're looking for, in no particular order:

-Some sort of vegan/vegetarian community. We're both vegan and while we don't want to only be friends with vegans, it is nice to have a supportive community.

-Somewhere that a car is not needed for everyday use. This can mean that there's good public transportation or that it's small enough to reasonably bike to various places across the city or town.

-Not a bubble town. We're not interested in living in a town or city where everyone thinks like us and has had the same experiences we've had. We're looking for a place with socio-economic and ethnic diversity. Really. Not just a place with a lot of artists or students choosing to live below the poverty line temporarily. Bonus points for significant Spanish- and/or Arabic-speaking populations.

-Somewhere not freezing. We've both lived in cold places our whole lives and I'd like to see if living somewhere warmer would improve a health problem I've had for years. That doesn't mean it needs to be super hot all the time.

-Not unmanageably far from our families. We both love our families a lot. Mine is in Syracuse, NY and his is in northwest Wisconsin. We want to be able to get to them by train or bus (not plane) fairly easily, so an Amtrak or Greyhound station nearby and a trip of less than 24 hours is pretty important. We're not interested in the west coast.

-Likely to be hiring teachers and not huge (these are connected). I love Chicago, but I can't get a teaching job here. Teachers are being cut in most schools anywhere near where I live. I am certified and fine with working in a difficult school/neighborhood. What I'm not ok with is a 2-hour commute to a school that would mean that I'd have to give up the rest of my life. I'd like to live somewhere that I could get to and from different neighborhoods with a shorter commute so I could still be involved in the other things that are important to me.


We're open to cities, small towns, and rural areas that are close to cities or towns. I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas!
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:51 PM
 
4,249 posts, read 9,740,693 times
Reputation: 3788
Wow, you got a tough list. Especially trying to square "not cold" and "24 hr by train/bus from both Syracuse and NW WI". And "likely to be hiring teachers," which means not going bust or population shrinking.

I suppose Ann Arbor, MI would be close enough to Detroit to not be a "bubble town", but it's not warm.

Maybe Lancaster, PA. A little low on the "vegan/vegetarian scene" perhaps, but at least able to get vegetables. The CITY of Lancaster Lancaster City: Moving to Lancaster has a good bit of social and economic diversity, surrounding Lancaster COUNTY is lily white and reputedly unfriendly, but they still sell produce at http://www.padutchcountry.com/member...ral_Market.asp . Lancaster is also a good Amtrak ride to Phila/NYC for connections to Upstate NY. Probably over 24 hours on the 'hound to WI though. Much balmier than Syracuse for sure.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Chicago
14 posts, read 33,755 times
Reputation: 18
I know that list is pretty tough. I guess it's more like what we'd ideally want than firm criteria. We're considering a bunch of places around Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, etc. if that helps at all.

Thanks for the suggestion of Lancaster! I'll add it to the list.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:48 PM
 
Location: San Diego
35,346 posts, read 32,293,891 times
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Except for the hiring of Teachers you pretty much spelled out San Diego. Last year I lived an entire year without driving to work, bicycle only.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:30 PM
 
4,249 posts, read 9,740,693 times
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I guess if you're considering Georgia in terms of mutual proximity (which sounds like flying to me, but oh well ), that surely opens up some of the DC rimshot areas. Martinsburg, WV is on Amtrak and its surrounding Berkeley County opened itself to sprawl during the boom so there should be some teaching openings. Of course that means the fruit crops are fast disappearing too. Fredericksburg, VA is also growing pretty fast around an old pretty historic town but less of an agricultural area - less real local produce.

Charlottesville, VA is Amtrak connected and with good restaurants and such but expensive. Staunton, VA could be a cheaper alternative. Both are right near a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the south end of Shenandoah National Park.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Chicago
14 posts, read 33,755 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks again, ki0eh! Distances that might seem like flying distances are fine with us. We don't mind long train trips but we don't want to fly anwhere that's not across an ocean.

My sister would love for us to move to Charlottesville, so we're definitely looking there and I'll for sure check out the other places.

And thanks for the suggestion, 1AngryTaxPayer. I do like San Diego and in fact considered moving there instead of Chicago 6 years ago. It's just too far from my family, though. My mother would never forgive me.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,537 posts, read 8,136,188 times
Reputation: 1624
Durham, NC might fit the bill. It gets cool in the winter, but rarely cold...nothing like you're accustomed to in Chicago.
There are plenty of vegitarians/vegans, and the food culture in Durham is awesome; it is a great place for locavores.
Depending on where you live in town, a car is not necessary, but it would be nice to have. There are no trains, only bus service, and it is not frequent enough IMO to be really good. It is a bike-friendly town and you could get to most things easily by bike - again depending on where you lived.
It is certainly a diverse town. As home to Duke Univ. & medical center and Research Triangle Park, there are a lot of folks from all over the world who work and live in Durham. The basic breakdown is about 40+% black, 40+% white, 10% Hispanic and the balance Asian, etc... That's the ethnic diversity...the socio-economic diversity is absolutely present and will be evident when you're in town.
Durham, and nearby Raleigh, are both on the main N-S rail line to DC, NY, etc... It is about 6 hours to DC where you can switch trains to either NY or Chicago. There's also a Greyhound station in town.
Durham, as part of the Triangle region, has seen a lot of growth. Until this year, teachers were being steadily added. The down economy has caused budget issues for the public school systems in the area and thus they aren't really hiring right now, however the Durham area is weathering the economy better than most so its likely that more teachers will be added again as soon as things turn around.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Chicago
14 posts, read 33,755 times
Reputation: 18
Wow! Durham looks great! A food co-op and a year-round farmer's market are things we only dream about here it Chicago.

We'd looked at Raleigh but it seemed too much of a bubble town. And Durham happens to be just an hour away from where I'll be in 3 weeks so I'll definitely visit. Thanks!
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