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Old 10-14-2013, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
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The lakes and rivers are generally clean, clean enough to eat the fish out of (the DNR publishes data on safe consumption of fish based on the body of water.) Most all of the lakes are clean enough to swim in, and are monitored for bacteria, at least on the high traffic ones. With the exception of a couple of lakes, closures are rare, which would generally mean that the bacteria levels are low enough not to be of issue.

I always felt very safe in most of the city. Much like any large city, there are bad areas, notably North Minneapolis as well as parts of South Minneapolis bordering and east of 35W, although Longfellow is quite nice.

The winters will be less difficult than you're used to, but colder. Snow that comes in December, more or less stays til spring. From a driving perspective, it will be easier than what you're used to.

A couple of years ago, a tornado hit North Minneapolis, and as it was a heavily populated area, it made news nationally. It is not generally a concern for residents. They do happen, but rarely enough that most people don't worry about it. A quick search turns up 9 deaths in 15 years, so its about as likely as dying from a lightning strike.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
The lakes and rivers are generally clean, clean enough to eat the fish out of (the DNR publishes data on safe consumption of fish based on the body of water.) Most all of the lakes are clean enough to swim in, and are monitored for bacteria, at least on the high traffic ones. With the exception of a couple of lakes, closures are rare, which would generally mean that the bacteria levels are low enough not to be of issue.

I always felt very safe in most of the city. Much like any large city, there are bad areas, notably North Minneapolis as well as parts of South Minneapolis bordering and east of 35W, although Longfellow is quite nice.

The winters will be less difficult than you're used to, but colder. Snow that comes in December, more or less stays til spring. From a driving perspective, it will be easier than what you're used to.

A couple of years ago, a tornado hit North Minneapolis, and as it was a heavily populated area, it made news nationally. It is not generally a concern for residents. They do happen, but rarely enough that most people don't worry about it. A quick search turns up 9 deaths in 15 years, so its about as likely as dying from a lightning strike.
3 of those deaths I know happened in one family in the Hugo Tornado so that makes the odds even smaller really
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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Yea...I don't know if people are reading the right reports regarding MN water quality...
Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to update their list of impaired waters every two years. Minnesota is one-fifth of the way through surveying its nearly 12,000 lakes and nearly 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. So far, researchers say, about 40 percent of Minnesota's waters are impaired

Not that should stop you from moving to MN. We swim, fish etc. in water all the way from Fairmont to L.O.W. and we haven't gotten sick.....
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:56 PM
 
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I grew up around Lake Erie, swam in Lake Erie - the lakes here are much cleaner. Also much smaller, it took many years before I could call them lakes since I was so used to the Great Lakes. That said, having so much water that's essentially an extension of the parks system is a really wonderful addition.

The winters are very cold. Yes, the winds off of Lake Erie are chilling, but I never experienced bone chilling cold on a regular basis until I moved here. However, the snow is nothing compared to what you're used to. No lake effect to regularly blanket the area. What does fall will be here until spring, but it's more likely to be a regular dusting. And folks here are awful winter drivers, so be prepared. However, winters are sunnier and in general people seem to embrace it with a slightly better attitude. And the three other seasons are fantastic.

Crime is relative as is one's sense of safety. In general, this is a safe community although there are some neighborhoods that struggle with livability issues. Most of the violent crimes that occur are not random incidents. I think with some common sense you would be just fine.

My questions to you would be - what part of the Twin Cities are you really looking at? Are you really thinking Mpls, which is a very residential city but much larger than Erie. Or are you interested in one of the surrounding communities? The metro area is pretty large, I'm sure you can find an area that is safe, livable and meets your other needs.

One last thing to consider - travel in and out of MSP airport can be a challenge. Will you need to travel back to PA with regularity? I suggest pricing the tickets and looking into what that would entail. Direct flights to Buffalo can range from $250 to close to $1k, the layovers through Chicago or Detroit are often affected by weather and the drive is well over a day. There may be another communitiy where driving would be a more realistic option, which gives you more flexibility with travel.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:03 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies everyone, you've all been a huge help.

I should say that we're not looking to be in the city itself, but rather find a nice outer area: probably a place that's a blend of suburban and rural/country. We'd like to be about, say, about 20-30-ish miles outside of the city.

What is a really nice community to live in?

Also, where are some good nearby places to go out and play in the forest? I really want to get out into nature and do some hiking and camping. I know in Pennsylvania you're never far from the woods. Is it different in Minnesota? It seems a bit more prairie to me. To be honest, this is one of my biggest concerns. I really love being around lots of trees.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:14 AM
 
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Northern MN is similar to PA, more pine trees but a lot of dense forests. SW and far NW MN are very much prairie. Anywhere along the rivers would be good places to start, Stillwater, Hastings, etc. Where will you be working though. We want to get you on the right side of the city for your commute.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
Northern MN is similar to PA, more pine trees but a lot of dense forests. SW and far NW MN are very much prairie. Anywhere along the rivers would be good places to start, Stillwater, Hastings, etc. Where will you be working though. We want to get you on the right side of the city for your commute.
Hey golfgal, I work from home, so commuting distance isn't a consideration.

So what about the landscape around the twin cities? Is that sort of in-between prairie and forest?
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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Based on your last post, I can make some good suggestions, but i agree that it would be helpful to know which part of the metro you'll be working in. It makes a huge difference, because the Twin Cities are sprawled out over 7 counties. When you say "20 to 30 miles from the city", that could put you anywhere from Stillwater to Chaska, and they're about 60 miles apart.

But from what you've said so far, I'm really leaning hard toward the northeastern suburbs - Lake Elmo, Woodbury, maybe White Bear Lake; or even Stillwater, on the St. Croix River and Wisconsin border. Your last post, where you emphasized being near the forest, is what stands out to me, because I'm exactly the same way. I lived in that part of the metro for 8 years, and I used to joke to people that I didn't live in a house - I lived outdoors, and just went inside every night to sleep for a few hours. I lived in an outdoorsman's paradise.

See, you're right about the Twin Cities being mostly prairie, but what most people who don't live there don't realize is that this is deceptive. It's true that the Cities are primarily situated in a prairie zone, but one of the unique things about the area is that it is right at the convergence point of 3 distinct vegetation zones - the western tallgrass prairie, which in one form or another stretches from about the Minnesota River all the way to the Rocky Mountains; the eastern deciduous forest, which runs from the same boundary all the way to the Appalachians; and the northern mixed forest, which begins in the northern suburbs and stretches into Canada, where it transitions into the boreal forest that goes all the way to the arctic circle. You say you like to play in the woods? Don't bother loading your TV onto the truck, because if you move to the Twin Cities, you won't ever need it again. Except maybe to check the weather channel every now and then.

If you're living in the northeastern suburbs, you are right on the edge of the North Woods. I was 2 hours from the North Shore of Lake Superior and a half dozen state parks, 2 1/2 from the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin (with hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails), and minutes away from miles of hiking trails in Afton State Park in Afton or Interstate State Park in Taylor's Falls. If you live in the northeastern burbs, you're not near the woods - you're in the woods. I suggest you give that area some serious consideration, if it's convenient to where you'll be working.

But you know, even if you wind up living in a different part of the metro, you're still going to be in a great area, because there isn't another major metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere that has the Twin Cities' commitment to parks and recreation. There really is no wrong choice in that regard - there are just some choices that might be better than others.

Edit: Oh, I just saw your last post. Definitely the northeastern suburbs, and I'd be looking a lot at Stillwater and Afton. Less than a half hour from downtown St. Paul, but you don't feel like you're even on the same planet as a major city. I worked from home for many years too, and the worst part of living in that area was trying to concentrate on a deadline while looking out the window at the woods. Quiet, very safe areas, small towns where neighbors know each other's cars and wave to you when they see you pull into the grocery store.... it's the best part of the Twin Cities, in my opinion.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Green Guy View Post
Hey golfgal, I work from home, so commuting distance isn't a consideration.

So what about the landscape around the twin cities? Is that sort of in-between prairie and forest?
That makes it easier...yes, I'd say the metro is in between. Some areas are wooded and hilly, others are flat farmlandish.

The area around MN that is most like PA is really down by LaCrosse, Wisconsin..but that's 2 hours from the metro. I'd look along the St. Croix to start. Depending on how small of a town you want, you might really like the Marine on the St. Croix area. It's like a small New England town stuck in the woods. It's not a large town, not sure of the actual population but maybe 5000 people???

Stillwater is a lot like Carlisle, PA, but not as big and no college in town, but similar downtown area, lots of older Victorian homes, etc. It's a river town so you have the woods around the river and the core of town is well treed. Hastings is similar to Stillwater, not as well kept up, nor as busy as Stillwater but it's less expensive than Stillwater. You might even want to consider Red Wing, again, along the river, lots of rolling hills like central PA.

Greensburg, PA reminds me a lot of Duluth, similar architecture, built along hills, etc. but Greensburg lacks a great lake Duluth is 2 hours north and not a bad option actually if that is of interest. You would really be in the thick forests in MN up there.

Hope that gives you some ideas. I spent several days in PA last fall and just loved it. It's much more wooded overall than MN but very similar in many ways too.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
10,142 posts, read 7,616,031 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Guy View Post
Hey golfgal, I work from home, so commuting distance isn't a consideration.

So what about the landscape around the twin cities? Is that sort of in-between prairie and forest?
Around Minneapolis itself is more prairie type landscape, but it has a really good mix. If you drive southeast an hour and a half or less, your in bluff country on the river. Within an hour and a half north/northeast, your in the real northwoods. Within an hour and a half west/southwest more prairies and grassland. I loved it, purely from a hunting perspective, that I could drive and hunt both Grouse and Pheasant (two totally different landscapes.)
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