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Old 03-06-2010, 12:54 PM
3 posts, read 4,718 times
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Hi all! My husband is considering a faculty position at UW Madison and we are trying to get a feel for what moving to Madison would be like. A bit about us - we are 30, both have PhDs, are a biracial couple, and are what would generically be called liberal in our political views. We like outdoor activities and being in nature, a variety of ethnic foods (Vietnamese, Indian, etc), cultural/arts/music events, and some low key night life (not clubbing but more like a nice relaxed bar kind of place). I grew up in New Mexico, went to college in Arizona, and have been in New England (Boston then Providence) for 10 years. My husband has lived in New England all his life. We would be moving from Providence, RI.

Are there any New England transplants that would be willing to share some of their opinions+experiences moving to Madison?

Also, I am wondering if someone can tell us about the winters compared to New England winters. According to the Wikipedia, Providence and Madison are in the same type of climate, though it looks like Madison gets colder in the winter but is cooler in summer by 5-10 degrees. How do they compare?[LEFT]
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:59 PM
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You will read some posts that will make you think Madison is as cold as Siberia, but the truth of the matter is that the climate here is similar to interior New England with much less snow.

I think the summers are more similar to interior New England as well, but all in all, a Rhode Island winter isn't exactly tropical so you won't see a huge difference, just more extreme temperatures during artic outbreaks.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:08 AM
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Default Welcome from a fellow New Englandah

I moved here from MA 2 years ago. I lived on the SO shore, near the cape. I grew up in Maine, so I was a lifer-New Englander. We also moved here for a job opportunity. On some low days, I regret that decision. And I know many who don't survive here long from the east coast... It is VERY different here in the Midwest. I love it for my kids, for sure. It has slowed their need to grow up so fast....but, the education system here is far below what I was used to in MA. And the taxes are CRAZY!!!! There is no cap, no regard for constituents. We chose a small town, which is good and bad. VERY cliquey. But, small towns throughout the country are like that. The people here are sort of welcoming, but is VERY difficult to make friends. All of my friends here are transplants to the area. On the other hand, we have a lovely piece of property, which the kids really love. And there IS a sense of security here, that I never felt in MA. If you are considering a job in Madison, consider a community right around Madison...you will find more transplants, which will be easier when it comes to finding friends.

Madison is a very small city, much different than Providence. Shopping is just so-so. You have to go to Milwaukee or Chicago for a really good mall...they have a couple of small malls in Madison that get you through, but nothing like the Malls out east! As a sidenote, I have found the medical system here only so-so, too..not awful, but there aren't a lot of docs, but then again, the population doesn't support it.

I would have to disagree with Chelito regarding the climate. Really, it is very different. Actually, RI isn't very cold in the winter...and we get MUCH more snow here than I EVER saw in MA. And the summers? NEVER get as warm here!!!!! RI and MA get downright hot. I don't even think there has been a 90 degree day here, since I moved here. This winter hasn't been awful, but the last couple have. Rhode Island NEVER gets as cold here...last year, we had more than a couple of -25 days.

Oh, and the thing I miss about NE??? SEAFOOD!!! I have actually had some flown in...and suprisingly, I miss the accent, as well.

I know it sounds like I hate it here, but I really don't. The job is going great, and my kids are very happy. I have also made a few really good friends.

Good luck with your decision making!
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:58 PM
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I'm a Wisconsin native, so I can't help ya with comparisons, but your description makes it sound like you'd fit in well in Madison.

One thing to keep in mind about winter and snowfall. Two winters ago EASILY broke the record for snowfall here, by a matter of feet. Last winter seemed like a cakewalk by comparison, but it was still #5 on record in terms of snowfall, and only about four inches short of being #2. This winter has been fairly tame. On average, Madison gets a little less total snow than Hartford, about as much as Boston, and a little more than Providence. The biggest difference is that the winters are colder and cloudier here, so the snow tends to stick around longer.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:20 AM
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Thank you all for your replies, I appreciate the different perspectives expressed here. I think every city/region has its advantages and disadvantages so our plan would be to make the most out of the opportunities and experiences available to us in Madison. Thanks again for the input - looking forward to hearing any other tips or comments you all might have.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:14 PM
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I moved from Boston (Jamaica Plain) two years ago and I'm really, really happy here! I will say that like any city, I put a lot of effort to to deciding which neighborhood I wanted to live in. I wanted to walk to almost everything, restaurants, bars, grocery store, hardware store, hair salon, the beach, etc. I found it in the Willy St neighborhood and it's great! Very similar to where I used to live in Boston, with a little less diversity, less big apartment complexes, and a much cheaper rent! If you are used to an urban walking/biking/busing lifestyle, definitely try to stay within walking distance to the Capitol, Willy St, maybe Atwood or around Regent/Monroe. We've visited the surrounding towns, like Middleton and Fitchburg, but they just feel too suburban for us, but it all depends on what you're used to! My commute is so much shorter than it used to be and honestly the buses are heavenly compared to the T, so much more reliable! The bike paths are wonderful and it is such a joy to ride my bike to work without fear of being killed by insane drivers. My opinion on the weather is more snow (though it's handled a lot better than in Boston, less snow days, less mess), and the summers are the same, hot and humid (without a seabreeze of course)!
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