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Old 12-06-2012, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Florida (soon to be Montana)
6 posts, read 102,823 times
Reputation: 12

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
Usually, the only people that have trouble fitting in are those that come and ignore what the locals have to say, or how things are done, and try to force people to conform to what the newby believes is the "true" path to happiness according to them which usually involves more regulation or closing down access roads or a myriad of other things that fall under the catagory, "We did it this way back in XXXXXX and it was so much better than the way you unenlightend hicks do it".
I agree with you 100%. Having moved quite a bit in various parts of the country I have found that to be true everywhere. Definitely not wanting to try to change MT to be more like FL or anyplace else. If I wanted that I'd stay here. Thank you for the advise and info.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:35 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,644 posts, read 8,917,608 times
Reputation: 10898
Quote:
Originally Posted by WinterPearl View Post
I appreciate your feedback. We're not concerned with the cost of living aspect or finding employment though, as my husband will continue with his current work, which he does from a home office, and thus can live anywhere. As for me, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and will be for the foreseeable future. From what we've seen of real estate in the Flathead Valley it looks to be less expensive than the area we currently live, so that should work in our favor financially.

I agree with you though, it will be a huge adjustment compared to FL. I love snow and the winter season, and have never been much of a summer person. Personally, I even find our winters here in FL to be uncomfortable warm. I've previously lived in MT, Alaska, and the upper peninsula of MI, so I do know a bit about winter. In the UP we got about 200in. of snow/year.

If I may ask, in what ways is Western MT not welcoming of outsiders? Openly hostile, or just unfriendly? To be honest, I'd feel like a bit of an "outsider" anywhere I could live, as I've lived in 5 states during my lifetime, and don't consider any to truly be "home". I'm a native Montanan, though I only lived there for my first 6 years of life. Would that make any difference in my being considered an "outsider"?
While I was not born in Montana, I lived there from the time I was 10 until I was 26. Since I moved to western Montana from a different part of the state I did not have a problem with being accepted by my coworkers. When I said I was looking at moving to Wyoming they acted like I had renounced my US citizenship and moved to the Middle East, even though I was moving here because I would make twice as much money and wanted to live in a similar state. However, I would not want to be from outside of Montana and live in that part of the state. The locals complain endlessly about how Californians and people from "back east" are destroying their "way of life" and it got so tiresome. While I will agree that the cost of living has gotten horrendous and much of it has been due to all of the summer homes with people wanting their cabin in the woods, it is not the only source of problems in the state. While I do understand that it can get annoying when someone says "this is how we did it back home," the least a person can do is listen, they might actually have some good ideas. Instead, it seems that most of the people take it personally.

This is just what I experience and think about that part of the state. It sounds like you're intelligent and doing your homework. I'm sure I'm going to offend plenty of people here with these statements, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm doing the natives a favor by convincing people not to move there.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,519 posts, read 7,746,797 times
Reputation: 13242
I grew up in Hungry Horse in the '50s. the longest I will spend in that town now is to get some groceries and gas. It has changed THAT MUCH over the years.
I went to school in Columbia Falls, and in later years worked at the Aluminum Plant and purchased two houses in town.
While it is not my wish to rain on your parade, there is no way I would ever go back there to live. I simply can't stand the place anymore (except for camping, and my favorite campground is now PAVED! What's with THAT??)
I never realized just how cloudy and grey the place is until I moved to places that actually have sunny days in the winter!
By the way, seems to me the Californians are mostly in Kalispell. Whitefish has Canadians.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:40 PM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,088 posts, read 1,588,101 times
Reputation: 1969
If I had my choice of places to live in the Flathead Valley I would rather be on either the west or the east sides next to the mountains. The central portion of the valley is being paved over way too fast and filling up with subdivisions and strip malls with chain stores and restaurants. I think all the old mint farms are gone for the most part. Ranching is pretty much a thing of the past in the Flathead now too.
The Flathead Valley has been "Californicated" ! We got out of there several years back and live on the rez now in the Little Bitterroot River Valley. The "People Cancer" hasn't spread down here yet.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:47 PM
 
2 posts, read 7,503 times
Reputation: 11
Default yes, Bigfork

Just wanted to add that Bigfork indeed could be just the place. Close to Flathead Lake, and thus benefits from the lake's warming effect. Essentially surrounded by mountains, so it has relatively mild winters and not so much wind as in the center of the State's wide open spaces. I, too, made 2 winter visits and one early spring visit to be sure I could cope with the weather. My RE agent explained (when I asked about the climate) that it was more or less "Seattle" weather, 3 days later and 10 deg cooler. Seems to average about 15-24 deg F and the skiing at the top of Big Mountain is marvelous for its calm (low wind) climate. I find the winters just lovely, not too cold at all. And, Bigfork has an excellent public school system and lots of fun culture year round. Beautiful and a bit less pricey than Whitefish. Yes, we have gray days and moisture, helping to keep it greener in spring/summer but it feels more like a "winter wonderland" especially if you are fortunate enough to work from home and not have to commute. At 3,000 ft elev, it isn't exactly "high" altitude but very fresh air (not counting very occasional forest fire smoke that can blow in). VERY friendly folk, respectful and welcoming.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:25 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,039 times
Reputation: 30
We moved to Kalispell 5 yrs ago from SE Wyoming. Prior to WY we lived in West Texas for 11 years. We lived in small to medium size towns that were generally Christian and politically moderate to conservative and we made close friends quickly every time we moved...until we moved to the Flathead for my husband's job. We nearly bolted and would have had the housing market crash not forced us to stay. I strongly echo WyoEagle about N W MT being closed to outsiders. His/her pro/cons list is spot on. For example, some folks LOVE Whitefish, and superficially I understand why. With all the transplants and visitors it's more socially vibrant and has a lot going on for families as well as nightlife. But I grew up in a tourist economy and I would not want to raise my kids in one, personally. WF is a small community with extreme differences between the haves and have nots and is very image conscious. I have friends with kids there and although the farmers market and parks are pretty and well maintained, they have expressed their concern over trying to counteract the local obsession with their kids having the right mountain bike, ski gear, outerwear, shoes, etc. WF wants to be Steamboat. For some that is understandably a dream place to live, for me no thank you.
So then you move out to the more reality-based economies like Kalispell and C Falls and you run into very polite but very closed communities. For most people I think it's just a matter of having family and friends and busy lives and not really having "room" for new people in their lives. Having a church community will likely make it much easier for anyone moving here. There is a very large homeschooling community with a website you can probably Google. I do not homeschool but am friends with quite a few. My more secular and less fundamentalist Christian friends do not use the homeschooling group a lot except as a source of info for state regulation/curricula requirements. My friends who have a more conservative religious worldview use it more.
For a smaller but significant portion of the community a revulsion and fear of people other than those that fit their idea of acceptable is very strong. Dozens of in-your-face billboards and giant truck magnets exclaim the 10 Commandments in case you forgot them in the 5 minutes since you last saw them. White supremacists at Stormfront.org advertise the Flathead across the nation as a place for other white supremacists to move (my daughter's preschool teacher first thought she was imagining things when her new neighbor took off his shirt and revealed swastika tattoos on his torso). I've seen bumper stickers saying "don't re-nig in 2012" and folks at a local bar wearing "white power" or "African lyin'" t shirts, which should be considered questionable regardless of political affiliation but around here it's a way to show that you are a "true" American and is quite acceptable. My husband commutes to/from work in Kalispell year round on his bike and regularly gets run off the road, deliberately passed and then cut off, and called "******". The height of this abuse occurred when he was stopped alongside a truck at a red light in downtown K and did not refrain from replying when he was heckled; when the light turned green he was run up on the sidewalk into a business entryway by the truck and 2 men got out and punched him, leaving him unconscious with a broken jaw. Drunk driving and gambling are normal activities. Racists, petty criminals and political or religious zealots exist everywhere, but for such a small community NW MT has more than it's quota. I have friends of very diverse opinions but all agree on one thing and all have a personal story to illustrate - the police are way too blasť about crime in Kalispell.

Now, having said all this, why are we still here? It is climatically and recreationally amazing. (WF, CFalls, and WGlacier are grayer in the winter than Kalispell.) Compared to my first 23 years in Wisconsin summers here are less hot and humid, winters are warmer and less windy, and there is usually great snow in the mountains for Nordic and alpine skiing. Glacier NP, the National Forests, lakes and rivers, Canadian Rockies with their National Parks, the Yaak, the Mission Mt's, northern lights, etc etc etc it's many lifetimes of excursions and we take our kids out into the wilds as much as we can. Like most all kids with parents who are engaged in their lives, they will do well wherever we live and we use the shortcomings of our communities as learning experiences. On the flip side of harboring a high number of trolls, reactionaries, and racists, the Flathead also attracts a high number of great educators and medical professionals because the landscape and lifestyle make up for lower pay than an urban area. We may end up transferring someday for my husband's job, but for now we've decided to stay and be the positive change that the Flathead needs, and by that I don't mean political or cultural imposition but rather tolerance, smiles and a desire to have a healthy and supportive community for all.

May your move be a successful one and welcome to MT.

Last edited by peaser; 07-29-2013 at 02:46 AM.. Reason: Poor grammar in previous post made meaning of sentence confusing.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:15 PM
 
12 posts, read 16,708 times
Reputation: 20
Sorry to hear about that Peaser. I take it the [Mod cut] Are you or your husband black?
I've dealt with some of that almost everywhere I've lived but never to that extent.
Whitefish definitely isn't where I would want to live. Looking to go more rural north of polson and south of kali.

Last edited by ElkHunter; 08-01-2013 at 06:20 PM.. Reason: You're not going to use that word either.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:36 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,039 times
Reputation: 30
No, we are white. But it seems to me it's ok to let your racism show around here for all to see; I guess having lived around the country and being raised on the Golden Rule the acceptance of racist attitudes here is quite evident to us even being white. Sometimes I wonder how much of it is just so much hot air because the community is so homogeneous and it feels ok to fly tribalistic ideas but if actually facing a black person the coward would take over. I've also considered the upside to people feeling so comfortable showing their bigotry in plain view: you know what you're dealing with!

For some reason bike commuting and "suspicious" sexual orientation are both infuriating and linked in the minds of many people around here so my husband gets called "******" a lot while riding his bike (not sure if that's an ok word in this forum? I *** it in my last post but it was confusing). Considering my husband is straight and still the object of such anger just for riding a bike I wonder what "out" gay men/women have to deal with. There was an article in the NYTimes 2 days ago (http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/08/25...anted=all&_r=0) that was pleasantly surprised at Montana's openness.

After 5 years he and I still discuss what has made this community so provincial and angry relative to other communities. The lack of a 4 year college? The shift from resource extraction to tourism as an economic driver? To be fair, I have experienced other parts of the country for shorter durations of 4 months each (NE Washington and Northern Wisconsin) that are similarly reactive and fearful, although they all see themselves as proactive and standing their ground against the wider "unAmerican" world. I'd love to hear what an anthropologist would see in all of these communities.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:33 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,644 posts, read 8,917,608 times
Reputation: 10898
Peaser, these are his pros and cons lists. Sorry that you have had this experience in northwest Montana. I'm surprised you've still stayed in town with those experiences. Mine was bad but since I came from Montana I wasn't discriminated against. I just didn't care for the attitude.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Evart, Mi
2 posts, read 6,599 times
Reputation: 10
where would be a a safe but cheaper place to live? We are looking for more of a farm type setting as we raise goats and horses. I dont worry so much about racism or any of that. I am not racist and I dont let others influence my beliefs. Where we live now and have lived before have many cons compared to pros. I live for my family and I dont care what people think of me. I would like a friendly place to live but in this day and age people seem to have too many opinions of people they really dont know. I just want decent job availability and livable weather and surroundings. Is there such a place in montana? Every site I have gone too and each post is so different. Some say how great Montana is and some say its not a place to live. I would like to find a place I can rent that allows horses and goats or a cheap place to buy that I can have my animals. I am a farmer and would love to continue to be for as long as my health allows. Montana has always been a place I have wanted to move and We plan on moving in the next year with any luck. We were looking to move to W/NW Montana. Thanks in advance for any input.
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