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Old 10-03-2017, 11:25 PM
 
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northfield might be an option or somewhere around there. lindstrom, scandia.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:32 AM
 
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Yes, sounds like you moreso want an exurb, not a suburb.

To answer your question, depending on what part of Montana you are from, yes our winters are more harsh. I'm thinking of Missoula in particular, which still gets above freezing on average in January, so the snow you get melts quick. My answer is different if you live near the CA border obviously. In MN, it's less so about the snow (the cold makes the winter air too dry to produce a ton of snow), and moreso about the cold. It's not uncommon to have 10 days in a row below zero in a given winter. We are also less sunny than Montana. Sounds fine now, but when you have already had 3 months of winter, and you check the 10 day forecast and see sub zero temps for 10 more days (and no telling after that), it can be tough to take. As a state, we do embrace the winters well however, and that does make a difference.

Try starting your search in these places. Given these areas are separated from the metro a little more, you're budget will not be a problem in these towns. If I had one top pick, it would be Northfield. Again, I'm hoping I understood you correctly in wanting a small town just outside the metro (vs. a suburb which may or may not have more than 50K people, but will butt up to other suburbs and essentially feel like one giant never ending suburb that seems bigger than 50K people)

Northfield (college town)
Cannon Falls
Chaska
Hastings
Stillwater
Red Wing
St. Peter (college town)
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:12 AM
 
1,349 posts, read 1,549,180 times
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Chisago Lakes area is really pretty. Mississippi River southeast of Twin Cities as well ( Red Wing/Lake City).

West metro has some gorgeous areas (west of Lake Minnetonka) like St Bonifacius.

30 miles out from the core cities you'll find small communities that are close enough for access to medical/entertainment etc.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:34 AM
 
2,377 posts, read 1,721,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citykid3785 View Post
Yes, sounds like you moreso want an exurb, not a suburb.

To answer your question, depending on what part of Montana you are from, yes our winters are more harsh. I'm thinking of Missoula in particular, which still gets above freezing on average in January, so the snow you get melts quick. My answer is different if you live near the CA border obviously. In MN, it's less so about the snow (the cold makes the winter air too dry to produce a ton of snow), and moreso about the cold. It's not uncommon to have 10 days in a row below zero in a given winter. We are also less sunny than Montana. Sounds fine now, but when you have already had 3 months of winter, and you check the 10 day forecast and see sub zero temps for 10 more days (and no telling after that), it can be tough to take. As a state, we do embrace the winters well however, and that does make a difference.

Try starting your search in these places. Given these areas are separated from the metro a little more, you're budget will not be a problem in these towns. If I had one top pick, it would be Northfield. Again, I'm hoping I understood you correctly in wanting a small town just outside the metro (vs. a suburb which may or may not have more than 50K people, but will butt up to other suburbs and essentially feel like one giant never ending suburb that seems bigger than 50K people)

Northfield (college town)
Cannon Falls
Chaska
Hastings
Stillwater
Red Wing
St. Peter (college town)
Northfield would be high on my list, given what OP says she is looking to achieve. Small, two universities (Carlton and St. Olaf, both small, private schools which seem, IMO, part of the community rather than separate as happens with some colleges/cities), a really nice downtown full of local businesses that is very walkable and about 30 minutes from the southern 'burbs.

Lake Elmo was mentioned, but with the new bridge over the St. Croix opening up and the expansion of highway 36 to accommodate the increased flow of traffic coming in from western Wisconsin daily, the Lake Elmo we knew even five years ago is gone (and, man, that town is having its own little inner-battle right now over it ... those who want to stop all growth and those who want to control the growth, believing there is no way to stop it). There is already a ton of new sub-division construction going on in and surrounding Lake Elmo that was not there five years ago.

I would add Hudson (WI, but just over the river and 20-30 minutes from downtown St. Paul) to the list to consider. There are some very nice parts of Hudson and a booming, historic downtown that is full of local restaurants and shopping, again very walkable and right along the river. Also, big box shopping and chain stores/restaurants outside of the downtown.

Just off-the-top thoughts.
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:50 AM
 
5,659 posts, read 3,306,574 times
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Afton is a nice area.
Has some nice natural scenery, rolling hills

Safe
Afton State park is gorgeous
Doesn't take to long to get on Highway 94 , a major highway.

If you ski, there is skiing in Afton
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL- For NOW
776 posts, read 981,773 times
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If you want to live in a burb of the TC. Then look into Apple Valley, Rosemount parts of Burnsville or Lakeville. All the amenities you will need and friendly. Affordable homes, Beautiful landscape, close to many lakes. And easy to get into the cities. Not congested either. THe area is growing south so you wont have to deal with too much expansion if you look more into the north lakeville and apple valley areas. We just left Apple Valley for Tampa FL and I personally wish we would have stayed in MN

If you are looking for a cool little city of your own , then Stillwater and Hudson WI Come to mind. Red Wing is o but starting to get out a ways. River Falls WI is another nice town.

Housing is pretty affordable in all those areas. Stillwater will be your most expensive option, but worth it in my opinion.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:35 AM
 
878 posts, read 1,109,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minntoaz View Post
Chaska has newer homes and is further out too. My grandparents just bought a new place over there and I was impressed with the area. Pretty far out but it sounds like that's what you want.
Chaska is still a suburb (though not a first ring suburb) and it would be challenging to get a new build single family home for under $375K-$400K unless it's totally stripped down, and then you *might* be able to get something for $350 (but not less, if at all). Chaska is also approximately 22K people (though the Chaska/Chan/Carver/Victoria area have a total population of approximately 50K, so it might work). I do also love that there's an actual downtown in Chaska (and easy access to 212 to larger areas/more shopping and eating destinations, as well as the proximity to Excelsior/Lake Minnetonka)

Maybe a touch further out would work (i.e. Cologne, New Young America, Buffalo, Hutchinson, etc)-- though I'm not certain whether they have new builds and/or what their price points are (but you would definitely have access to some restaurants, doctors, banks, etc in town (or a nearby town), albeit they're smaller (in population) than what the OP is looking for.

I would also think that areas near Rogers/Elk River might work well (again, not 100% on the pricing, but I know it's lower than many)-- or even towns/suburbs near Mankato and Rochester (or St Cloud or Duluth) likely are even more affordable and still have easy access to shops/restaurants, etc.

When visiting Duluth/Superior, I was amazed at what some of the adorable houses in town were listed for (often under $150K) for super cute, older (seemingly well maintained, too!) homes-- with access to Lake Superior, tons of activities for families and kids, educational opportunities (thanks to UM-D, St Scholastica, etc) as well as a large variety of shops and restaurants. That might be an area worth looking into, especially if you're used to a winter climate.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:30 AM
 
Location: Seattle
155 posts, read 132,437 times
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You may want to narrow your criteria down so we can speculate a good fit better... However, there are some towns off the bat worth checking out to feel it out. It is highly recommended to visit around the area to see what you like.

Within 30 minutes - 1 hour of Minneapolis/St. Paul - these towns are fairly populated, and are sort of dangerously close to the cities to the point where they have some exurban tendencies, but are far away enough where they aren't surrounded by other suburbs and still have the historic old town/small town feels:
River towns: Stillwater, Hastings, Hudson (WI), Newport, Red Wing (more old river town/less suburby, the furthest from the cities on this list, and a good one to check out)
Lake towns: Forest Lake, Waconia, Buffalo

Just a few to check out for starters.

If jobs and schools don't matter though, you could potentially not be limited to a town in close proximity to the cities. You could check out some other parts of the state such as Brainerd or Duluth. I know, Duluth is about 90,000 people, but most of the town doesn't feel like a big city and you very well could fall in love with it, especially from a Montana background (it's very outdoorsy, tons of state parks nearby). Definitely check Duluth out, and come visit some of the mentioned cities in general before you're ready to pack up.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:59 AM
 
3,767 posts, read 8,415,081 times
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The two variables that will make it difficult is new housing (15 years) in your price range. If you are flexible on one of those, your options will increase significantly. In my experience, the housing stock in the twin cities area is older and the newer stock is usually priced higher than your target point.
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