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I'd imagine that prices in and around Aberdeen are probably getting much higher due to the influx of military personel who work at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and surrounding, but I don't know that for sure. However, the growth of Harford and Cecil Counties due to the BRAC (Base realignment and closure) may bode well for capenter work for your girlfriend. You might look at Havre De Grace, also.
I haven't lived in Salisbury since '07 but I never had any problems there, despite living for some time on the "bad" side of town. I left because I got laid off and I was growing tired of the town and seeing the same people day after day.
Work, even "****" jobs, as you call them, can be hard to come by in the non-metro areas.
It's tough to look at a map and decide where to move - you've really got to get a feel for all of these different places. Luckily, we're a pretty small state so you can check out all of these places over the course of only a few days.
Newenglander: Funny you are coming from Mass to Md as my husband may have us moving to outside of Boston b/c of his job. I've never lived outside of MD so it's a scary thought.
Salisbury wise, I lived there for 4 years b/c I attended college. I never had an issue with crime, you just have to live in the right area and be aware of your surroundings. A friend of mine lives in Delmar, MD which is RIGHT on the edge of DE and MD but just outside of S'bury, and he rents a townhome and loves it.
Frederick County, MD may be a place to look. People here are pretty laid back and it's not as expensive as DC, but yet you are only 40 min away...if you drive during non rush hour times :-)
If you want a small town, check out Middletown, Urbana, Mt. Airy all in Frederick County. I think the closer you are to the *big city* the more tolerant people will be but I haven't heard of any kinds of issues towards gay/lesbian etc couples.
I grew up in Massachusetts, 20 mins north of Boston and I've been living in rural, western Maine for the past four years. My girlfriend and I are looking to relocate. We are sick of the snowstorms and endless winters in New England (especially the mountains of Maine) and the high cost of living in the rest of New England.
Initially, we were looking at North Carolina (specifically Asheville/Chapel Hill/Durham area). However, as with the rest of the south, North Carolina has DOMA or something like it enacted into state law. We're a gay couple, and although we aren't looking for areas that cater specifically to GLBTQ individuals (like Provincetown or JP in Mass), we don't want to move to a place that won't recognize gay marriage for practical purposes (hospital visitation, etc).
So! This has led us to Maryland, the only state on the east coast outside of New England that satisfies this requirement. I realize that gay marriage isn't legal, but it's my understanding that Maryland will recognize marriages performed elsewhere (including other states like Massachusetts). I've been researching a little bit and Annapolis sounds really nice, but I don't know much about it. I was also interested in Salisbury (though I heard there's high crime?), Berlin and Easton. Obviously, we're planning on visiting these places before making any decisions, but I wanted to collect some more information to decide if a visit is worth our time/money.
I don't really care where we end up in Maryland, but I'd just like to find a small city/large town where we can rent an affordable (under 1k/month would be lovely) house (not a freaky, Stepford apartment complex) with our dog and three cats where we won’t be the token homos. Is that too much to ask?
Check out Frederick. I just moved here from Boulder, CO and I simply love it here. The people are normal, easy to talk to and I am about as liberal as you can get. Great downtown, an hour from both D.C. and Baltimore.
I'm originally a New Englander who has been living in the Montgomery County suburbs of DC for a long time. I feel you might be going to another extreme from Maine and should indeed research it carefully before deciding. I am personally not happy here. I can't blame that totally on this area but I find myself missing NE quite a bit, e.g., access to open natural beauty is relatively close. The main issues for me are the congestion, high cost of living (including RE and taxes), fast pace, and lot of type A/workaholics/self-styled VIP types whcih can translate into obnoxious behavior on and off road. This is in the DC area anyway. I would say that diversity around here is not an issue though. I would also research "BRAC" (military) in MD before you decide. Aberdeen is one of the BRAC sites, which are going to see a huge influx of workers, affecting housing, traffic, etc. Frederick is an interesting idea as long as you would not have to commute daily into a job in DC, the highway (270) for doing that is hellish. Don't know about the homophobia Q up there, a nickname for the town used to be "Fredneck," but it has probably transformed quite a bit including from many people moving up there from DC area.
Don't listen to HandsUpThumbsDown...crime is out of control
I'm heavily involved in the lcoal school system as a High School Principal in Salisbury, and for what you've described that you are looking for, it is not here. HandsUpThumbsDown's assesment is , in my opinion, just flat out wrong. I have access to data that the average person does not, inteact frequently with the police, and see first hand the ugly side and have to tell you that recent FBI crime statistics do not reflect favorably on this area. I would have left much sooner, but have only 2 years to retirment. Once I do retire, I won't be staying around here. As for crime being misrepresented, I can tell you for a fact that there has been a weapon involved, violent crime the last 41 days in a row, and I can also tell you that this is not reported by the local news. As for you and your partner, this area is depressed and culturally deficient, and reflects a serious lack of sophistocation. To say that you will be treated poorly is an understatement (sadly) and most gay/lesbian couples are treated with a juvenile tone by most of the locals. Those who are transplants are far more caring and understanding. Business ventures are failing right and left, and two large supermarket chains have closed their stores, along with many mom and pop places. The area has pretty much been devistated by the economy, and I do not see any real hope of recovery. So, there you have it, a dangerous area, with very unfriendly folks and a ruined economy run by small minds - I would RUN from the area!
Give a look around Prince George's County ... Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Mt. Rainier probably will be at the top of your price range for housing, but are nice places close in to DC and all it offers. Hyattsville, to me at least, feels like a small town that happens to be an old suburb of a big city.
I would skip Salisbury and try Chestertown or Easton, if you're still interested in the Eastern Shore. Yes, the shore is more conservative, but also has a 'to each his (or her) own' quality. For the most part you will be left alone.
I have a friend who happens to be gay and living on Kent Island with her partner and children. She is very happy from what I can tell.
The shore is beautiful, open and yes, very rural, but also very charming. I wouldn't write it off without checking it out first. The proximity to the bay and ocean are a huge appeal for someone who wants a slower pace, but is still only and hour or two from major cities.
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