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Old 08-30-2014, 01:11 AM
 
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Yet another thread about relocating. My husband and I have three young boys. We want to move to MN to raise them in a safer place with great schools. I would like an area with larger lots, woodsy, and hilly (if that exists). Winona doesn't have the great schools we are looking for. I've checked out Stillwater, Mahtomedi, Woodbury, Eagan and Wayzata/Minnetonka. Our budget will be $350k-$450k. Which is the reason I haven't mentioned Edina...I know we can't get what we want house or lot-wise there. I don't want to get too far from the cities. I'm hoping no more than 20 miles in any direction. Though we have also considered the Rochester area however it appears the schools aren't as good as around the cities. I am also concerned about my little California boys being traumatized by the winters. My husband grew up in ND and assures me they will adapt and learn to love it since they are so little (4, 6 and 7). Any input anyone can give would be greatly appreciated
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:24 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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search Washington County (Forest Lake, Scandia, Hugo...) acreage
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Old 08-30-2014, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
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Mahtomedi and Lake Elmo in the eastern suburbs offer acreage in your budget and either would be a good choice. Woodbury is also nice although you won't find as many larger lots as neighboring Lake Elmo.

Wayzata/Minnetonka are very nice towns with good schools, but they are expensive and as older suburbs, many areas don't offer large lots.

Eagan is a good suggestion for schools (you'd want to stay in the areas served by District 196, one of the best districts in the state) and proximity to the cities (only about 20 minutes to either Minneapolis or St. Paul), but although the lot sizes are decent, there really aren't many that offer an abundance of acreage (although such options do exist).

If you're willing to expand your search slightly beyond 20 miles from the core cities, you might want to also consider Credit River Township which is just over the border from Lakeville and Savage. The town has many large (an acre or more) lots and is only about 30 minutes from the cities in non-rush hour. Farmington or Hastings would be other options in the south/southeast metro to explore - they are about 25-30 miles from either downtown.

As far as winters, I think your kids will love them - children often embrace winter better than adults since they don't have to worry about commuting on icy roads, etc. I'm betting they will enjoy building snowmen, having snowball fights, etc, especially if they've never been previously exposed to snow.

Last edited by Rhody2Mn; 08-30-2014 at 07:55 AM..
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:48 AM
 
Location: where they made the word player hater
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It seems like most of the suburban lots are larger in general and since the TC metro sits at the convergence of 3 biomes the landscape actually varies depending on where you locate. We live in the NW metro and are pretty convenient to DT Minneapolis. We are within a mile from the Mississippi river and are essentially on the edge of a prairie meeting the woods.

It sounds like you want a hillier and wooded landscape so the SE metro seems to offer the best here. Once you get east of the Mississippi it seems that the hills and bluffs increase. Places like Apple Valley and Hastings seem to offer this. I am not an expert on that side of town but that may be a good place to look.

Your budget should offer you a nice home as well. In my opinion even the lower performing schools here are pretty good compared to some other states. I recently saw some ranking (can't recall the source) that put Minnesota schools 6th or 8th nationally up with the likes of Massachusetts and Virginia. The public school system is pretty good here.

The weather is a mixed bag. The Winters are that rough. We have lived here 12 years and coming from Colorado (born in western SD) they linger here and you don't get much melt-off until Spring. That said if you dress appropriately and plan a vacation you should survive just fine. Coming from the west you will probably find the Summers more humid than you are used to but not as consistently hot either. I have heard the description of the Summers here as hot and humid but considering that the average July high temp is 83 (with an average of 13 days above 90/year) I don't feel that is an accurate description. Unlike the southeastern US which seem to have muggy Summers for a good 5-6 months the TC metro seems to get muggy bursts with couple of days to a week of sticky heat that gets pushed out by Canadian air that pushes the dew points back down to the comfortable range. Repeat cycle. I actually think the TC has some of the best Summer weather in the US.

Overall the people are nice but it seems that making true friends can be more difficult than other places. It seems like most people are really family focused and with all the activities it can be difficult to find time to get together.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:07 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry about the kids adjusting to winters. They'll either love them or they won't, but they'll learn to deal with it like everyone else. My son spent his first three winters in California and he was thrilled for his first Minnesota winter, especially sledding and building snow forts.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:11 AM
 
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I'm a native MN but moved to CA for school and later a career. We retuned to Minnesota for the same reasons you have expressed, and in the same price point.

Not sure where you would be moving from but to put my comments into context, we were in LA County.

When we first moved, we were very attracted to the wooded lots that (when compared to CA) had huge homes and public school systems that had low student to teacher ratios. For a number of years we lived further out from the Twin Cities - we tried two third tier suburban areas similar to where previous posters mentioned you should look . While doing so, we found these areas to be prejudiced to our "strange California ways". The schools also were "less awesome" than I had hoped and the cultural engagement opportunities I wanted to provide my children with were very limited. A few others who have transplanted here from various parts of the country have expressed similar experiences.

We eventfully sold our big house with bluffs and wooded views to buy an older house in a first tier suburb that is heavily treed. We have felt much more welcomed - there is a greater population of transplants so we are more accepted. The schools are larger teacher to student ratios but are better funded with more options in and after school.

20 miles out of the Twin Cities can deliver you to areas with limited recreation / culture. Although we were used to driving 7 miles in 1 hour in Los Angeles, we were always located near a museum, a great park, entertainment, decent grocery stores, etc. Going half an hour away from Twin Cities, you will be hard pressed to find any of that.

For what it's worth, these are the things I've learned:

School is as good as you and your family make it.
Just like CA, MN has No child left behind, drug dealers, and bad teachers in their school systems too.
You and your family need to live where there will be positive experiences both in and out of school.
Your kids will adjust.
MN is not as affordable as it seems but the career opportunities are (mostly) better than CA.
While the cities are culturally diverse, there is still a lot of "MN Nice" that prevents a transplant from feeling fully accepted.

On a final note, we are planning to return to CA after the kids graduate high school or if there is a great job offer, which ever comes first. My kids are hoping for that job offer.....
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Middle Earth
952 posts, read 1,062,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
search Washington County (Forest Lake, Scandia, Hugo...) acreage
Agree on this. These areas are closer to Stillwater and are more "woodsy" especially Scandia, but you won't have any neighbors for miles (if you don't like that).

I'm actually the reverse opposite of the OP; I want to move back to CA. Maybe we can switch places.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:14 PM
 
878 posts, read 1,109,537 times
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As much as I love big lots, woods and views, but, as others have mentioned, those niceties oftentimes comes with the 'cost' of a larger commute, less access to cultural events and sometimes (but not always) a more small town mentality which is likely less accepting of transplants.

My experience and exposure to MN is extremely limited (as I just moved from FL in June-- also with three kids in tow, all of whom-- at least for now-- are SUPER excited for winter, but as they've never experienced true cold, I'm concerned at how well they'll acclimate), but I would agree that it might make sense, both socially and educationally, to consider the closer in suburbs which have a lot of MN transplants. Yes, you'll give up acreage but you might find that the other factors have a bigger impact on your day-to-day happiness-- plus, you can visit lakes, hills, etc whenever you want-- or even rent a cabin for a few weeks each summer to get your fill, if need be.

PS Anecdotally, a good 50%, if not more, of the people that I've met over the summer through my son's hockey program had relocated here from California (most of them happen to live in Minnetonka or Victoria, for what it's worth)
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:04 PM
 
2,375 posts, read 1,720,415 times
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FWIW, there is a development going in on the west side of Keats Ave north of Hudson which butts up against Lake Elmo Park Reserve on the SW side of the park.

This *might* be of interest, as it would be within five or so minutes of I-94 and 15 minutes from St. Paul.

But is would also be a quick bike ride (and much quicker drive) into Lake Elmo Park Reserve itself, which has hiking, swimming, ski trails, camping, etc. and plenty of wooded areas.

This is farmland being converted to a residential development, houses just starting and roads are not poured yet. These won't be big lots (by Minnesota standards, but will be compared to lots I recall from Woodland Hills and Montrose when I lived in L.A. county) or even wooded lots, but another development (with an HOA, no doubt).

And that location would be ten minutes from shopping in Woodbury along I-94 and restaurants (mostly chains in Woodbury, admittedly, though there some within a 20 minute drive toward and into St. Paul). I think it would be School District 622, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale.

Being ten minutes from 3M corporate HQ, I would guess there will be 3M folks there, and a good chance of other transplants from out-of-state because of that.

If one of you has to commute into St. Paul, it would be a decent commute. Going into downtown MPLS by care during rush hour might stretch to 40 minutes in good weather, though.
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:50 PM
 
5,280 posts, read 13,496,792 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKMaddox View Post
Yet another thread about relocating. My husband and I have three young boys. We want to move to MN to raise them in a safer place with great schools. I would like an area with larger lots, woodsy, and hilly (if that exists). Winona doesn't have the great schools we are looking for. I've checked out Stillwater, Mahtomedi, Woodbury, Eagan and Wayzata/Minnetonka. Our budget will be $350k-$450k. Which is the reason I haven't mentioned Edina...I know we can't get what we want house or lot-wise there. I don't want to get too far from the cities. I'm hoping no more than 20 miles in any direction. Though we have also considered the Rochester area however it appears the schools aren't as good as around the cities. I am also concerned about my little California boys being traumatized by the winters. My husband grew up in ND and assures me they will adapt and learn to love it since they are so little (4, 6 and 7). Any input anyone can give would be greatly appreciated
Only adults get traumatized by the winters.
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