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Old 03-19-2009, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,402 times
Reputation: 52

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisteria View Post
Hi Everyone,

I think we need to put our preferences in terms of living conditions/weather first, though. I have noticed a theme throughout that many people do not want cold and humidity. (I concur.) That narrows down some places.
I'm a California native and have traveled extensively north through Oregon, Washington and up to British Columbia and Alaska. I don't know if I could handle a long, cold, snowy winter or hot, humid summers. Decided the only way I can find out if I want to live in a particular place is to rent a small apartment and live there for 3 to 6 months. Since I'm living simply, I don't need to drag around a lot of 'stuff' when testing a new location. I have spent time in Florida and in New Orleans (before Katrina) and know I couldn't live with that kind of humidity. I also have a big problem with most areas in Arizona and New Mexico. I want to get away from 100+ stretches of weather.

Quote:
For me, as you know, I prefer the southwest or California. I lived in Seattle, and Oregon/Washington would really propel my SAD to levels I don't want to endure. I think we also need to keep in mind cost of living in whichever place we choose to gather -- what's the point of meeting in, say, Santa Barbara, if we can't live there?
California is difficult due to high real estate costs. Yet it is a beautiful place to live -- not expensive to keep a house warm or cool in the summer. You can live and do anything outside most days of the year. I really like Oregon and Washington. The weather in the east is much different than weather in the western parts of those states. There's also a lot of 'sun' or 'banana' belts in various location that receive less rain and more sun than many other locations in those two states. Land and home prices there are quickly reaching the same as in California.

There are parts of California that are beautiful but not overly expensive. They usually are located in places that are fairly remote in the northern part of the state. Although it can get snow, the areas around Lake Shasta and Weed are beautiful. Closer to the coast is Humboldt County with the Redwoods. Eureka and Arcata land prices are comparatively reasonable.

Quote:
Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Chico, Paradise, Iowa City (I know, I know -- a lot of snow, but I'm a little curious), Asheville (although I do know someone who lives there and is from the northeast originally and still struggles with some of the racism there -- her daughter is bi-racial), Colorado -- Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins (Boulder is too expensive now). For me, the south and the Bible Belt are not places I would move to (which, unfortunately, cuts out a huge chunk of the U.S.). I am not "religious," but "spiritual." Unless, of course, there is some uniquely liberal and tolerant enclave someplace in the south that I am unaware of.
There are parts of New Mexico and Arizona at higher elevations that don't get really hot like the desert areas. I've often wanted to explore those places. I hear Sedona is wonderful. It's also tres expensive. Chico and Paradise are near me. They are very hot and dry through the summer -- many stretches of 100+ weather. The other problem is fire. A good part of Paradise was evacuated last year due to big forrest fires.

However, there are alternatives nearby. I'm attracted to the Nevada City and Grass Valley areas. They have a lot of character and expanses of land. Both have existing cohousing projects. One has an elder house project directly next to it. But there is land to be had, some without structures and some with a house and barn. It can get warm up there, but not above 100. The usually get a bit of snow for a day or two every winter. Both are closer to 'civilization' than Paradise and Chico. Nevada City and Grass Valley are very community oriented and have many people our age how try to recreate their hippy days.

Then there's always the area around Lake Tahoe -- very expensive and lots of snow. I thought a lot about Ithaca, NY because of it's distinctive character, located near a large university, and a generally left-of-center feeling. The big minus -- snow. Land there is very affordable.

Are Asheville and Durham in the same area? I was told once that there are three cities there where it's not as humid as most of the southeast. There's also universities which tend to attract people who are open to new ideas. I know I'd have a big problem living in a very conservative or religious area.

I've been to Colorado -- Denver and Fort Collins. I could handle living there, I think. There is snow and cold weather, but somehow it doesn't seem so oppressive there. It's probably like California -- anything affordable is in the outlying areas.

One way I used to identify new places I might want to live is to take those tests that give you names of towns that fit your requirements. Lots of ideas for places plus some info about them.

Quote:
And, think of national magazines that we writers can collaborate on an article (or I'll just take it on, if no one wants to collaborate) to which we can submit articles. I do have the new edition of "The Writer's Market" at home.
Are you a writer? I'm a retired journalist -- lots of writing, photography, editing, and web pages.


Cheers!
Marganne

P.S. I live in Sacramento now but have lived in Placerville and Auburn.

 
Old 03-19-2009, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,402 times
Reputation: 52
Default Cohousing isn't only course

Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
PS: Marganne, the costs I'm referring to in cohousing communities is less to do with interior details. In NE, these communities are not within towns, they are out n the country, and the units and monthly fees are way out of my price range. They are attracting, obviously, a wealthier clientele. I don't know how they will fare financially over the long term. If I had that kind of money though, I would have many easy choices open to me. I'm looking for something that maybe doesn't exist...independence, caring people around me, and shared resources such as gardens, transportation, etc. Surely there's something out there that provides these, but not necessarily the typical cohousing that takes so much "processing" time and consensus, etc. I'm not putting this down, just don't feel it's my style...but that said, if you have specific communities in mind, I'd love to know about them...
Many cohousing projects are within towns. Some actually purchase an existing property and remodel it. Yes, they are too expensive for me. But they don't have to be expensive. People are used to having a certain size and style and will pay for that. If a group of people got together and set limits on expenses and stuck to those limits, it wouldn't be expensive. One thing I don't like about mobile home parks is that they have monthly maintenance fees. It's an expense I do not control, so it puts mobile homes way down on my priority list. In cohousing, participate in the project and help decide the monthly fee. If it's not within your budget, then don't stay with the project. I've found that the fees vary widely.

I think the trick to cohousing which creates the need for consensus building is due to shared ownership of the common house. Communities can be built anywhere, in any neighborhood. It's a little difficult to get everyone to buy homes located on the same street and block. Also you don't have the benefits that help you live simply -- all the stuff that fits in the common house. Just like in any neighborhood, if a person decides not to participate in consensus building, they don't have to attend the meetings or converse with anyone else in the community. But people generally join because they want to get to know their neighbors.

To find out more about cohousing, go to this link. There are many pictures and many styles.

P.S. You don't have to live in cohousing to be a happy small house homeowner.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,390,042 times
Reputation: 16283
Quote:
Originally Posted by anomoly View Post
Turning the idea of a retreat into an actual retreat takes planning, so here's the 1st order of business to think about:

1. Dates: What's the earliest you could realistically attend a gathering?
Right now, I will say anytime - I am going to start "looking" for a fun type job to help replenish the coffers but I'm just saying that now in the event I suddenly land a job and am unable to come.

2. Location: How far could, and would, you realistically travel, by car, plane, bus, etc.?
I am looking at CO or TN so NM, CO, TN,etc... would be good. I doubt I will end up in NM but I am interested in seeing it - I could change my mind. I'm open though, I doubt we will all end up in the same spot but this sounds interestig regardless!!. I will likely come by car. I also have 2 dogs and since boarding around here is about $40.00 per day for 2, I will want to bring them. (They are well behaved and I need the company on such a long drive) This will mean a motel that allows dogs.

3. Preferred Location: Where would you most like to meet for a retreat? (State, region, city, climate, etc.)

CO, TN, NM - mild winters - 4 mild seasons are the best. If TN - Knoxville. I'd be OK with IA City - it's close but I know I won't be retiring there.

4. Retreat facilities: Does anyone have a space that could be used for a retreat, or accomodate visitors?

I very possibly will be having my cousin, her husband & 2 kids & her father here off and on this summer (more economy fall-out) so I can't offer my place AND I'm in MN - anyone interested in retiring here? Didn't think so.

5. Lodging: What accomodations would you consider? For example, Las Vegas has lots of cheap rooms and flights right now. Would that be an affordable or practical alternative to someone 'hosting' the retreat?

I keep hearing that hotels/motels are much cheaper now (economy). LV doesn't interest me - at all. Again, I need a motel that allows dogs.


My guess is that only a small group of us will actually attend, with all the financial problems right now. But, since the idea has been resurrected, please share your thoughts on the 'practicality' of a retreat within the next 3 or 4 months.
Would you realistically be interested, and financially able, to attend a retreat or meetup this summer, or as late as September?

Yes
Like I did awhile back, I can start gathering the responses into a summary.
gg
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:00 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,543,532 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhere View Post
I've been to Colorado -- Denver and Fort Collins. I could handle living there, I think. There is snow and cold weather, but somehow it doesn't seem so oppressive there. It's probably like California -- anything affordable is in the outlying areas...
Most areas of the Front Range are less expensive than most of the desirable areas of California. If you go to outlying areas, you have the problem of little or no public transportation. That is extremely important issue, especially when you get older. In addition, health care facilities are harder to find with the major hospitals and clinics are closer to a city.

I did a drive around today in my town of Arvada, Colorado. Even though I knew this, most of all the old neighborhoods had small brick ranches. There are many parks, trails and open space and yet your still near good public transit. The same can be said for many of the older towns in Colorado and some areas of the city of Denver.

I think one of the most desirable areas would be to look areas around Louisville City of Louisville Home Page Lafayette City of Lafayette - HOME in Boulder County which is east of the city of Boulder. In addition, I think Longmont City of Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado; Official Government Website is very nice town with good transportation It is less expensive; the towns have small older areas and Lafayette is where the first Co-housing community was built Nyland Cohousing | Reinventing Community in Lafayette, Colorado (6 miles east of Boulder)

I would look in the older core areas of these towns and there you can find good varied housing, walkable neighborhoods and good transportation. I would not consider areas that the run on more remote suburban developments because they lack the transportation and do not have the charm and walkable neighborhoods.

In addition, a brand new major hospital was built in Lafayette Good Samaritan Medical Center || 303.689.4000

Also, the area in in the RTD district of Denver for public transportation The Regional Transportation District Home Page You can easily get a bus to Denver or Boulder. I think it is wise to find an area with good public transportation first, and then your housing second.

If you choose to locate in Boulder County, you will have the advantages of all the venues of Boulder and Denver nearby but at the same time have the good feelings of these smaller towns. Of course, the weather is just outstanding. Also, keep in mind that Boulder County has extensive open space and parks and it is not all in the mountains
http://www.bouldercounty.org/openspa...nspace_map.pdf

When I first came to Colorado, I lived in the tiny town of Niwot, northeast of Boulder. It was surrounded by farms. Today, it is bigger but there is still substantial open country around the area.

Just my though

Livecontent
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,885,571 times
Reputation: 1525
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhere View Post
Are Asheville and Durham in the same area? I was told once that there are three cities there where it's not as humid as most of the southeast. There's also universities which tend to attract people who are open to new ideas. I know I'd have a big problem living in a very conservative or religious area.
Asheville is in the mountains in the extreme West of North Carolina. The "Research Triangle" -- Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill -- is very popular with retirees. It's in the middle eastern part of the state. It's home to Duke University, University of North Carolina and NC State. If you move there, you'd better learn to really, really love college basketball!
Don't dismiss the southeast as conservative or ultra-religious. Yes, people do care about it but they also are taught all their lives to practice common courtesy and are willing to live and let live in a way that many liberals aren't. You might be very surprised at how well you'd be treated in many small cities in the South if you come in with an open mind and are willing to be respectful of the beliefs of others.
Here in Knoxville we have the huge Baptist church complexes (a Southern Phenomena. Churches here are as much about socializing as religion.) and the Episcopal cathedrals. But we've also got some very active Seven Day Adventists, several Jewish temples, Islamic meeting places, lots of Quakers, a Greek Orthodox cathedral, a large contigent of Wiccans and Pagans and a Rationalist group that doesn't believe in religion but meets to provide the social aspect of a religion.
What's humid varies by person, I've discovered. I don't find East Tennessee bad at all, but a lot of people don't agree with me. But I lived in southern Georgia before moving here and THAT was HUMID!
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:14 PM
 
1,569 posts, read 3,084,686 times
Reputation: 924
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhere View Post
Perhaps you saw only the smaller, 150 square foot houses? My preference leans to 800 to 1,000 square feet.

The biggest problem I have with existing homes is they often need a lot of big repairs or remodels. They aren't energy efficient. I can't afford to purchase one of these older homes, then have enough money to pay for repairs. Living on a fixed income, I know if a big repair popped up, I couldn't afford to fix it. That happens more often with older homes, unless you have the resources to fix things when you move in.

If/when I buy/build a small house, I'll still have a lot of money left over to make it more comfortable or perhaps buy those solar panels to cut down on use of electricity.

(Gee! have I thought a lot about this or what? LOL)

Cheers!
Marganne
I also love older homes for their character but I've been there....and hate working on them. I've lived in several and I don't necessarily think they are built any better than new homes--probably a similar ratio as today. Granted brick and stone are nice but they exist only in certain areas and tend to be out of my price range. One I lived in was an old Victorian type farmhouse in PA with a four feet wide stone foundation. It was stone under the stucco on the first floor and frame on the next two floors--3,000 sq ft. and gorgeous--wood floors, beveled glass, open staircase with a curved bannister. It was a huge energy sucker too. I heard the furnace went after I moved out and they had drainage problems. Whew. Most of the old homes in my price range are very run down. That one was a deal but way too big for retirement and too expensive to maintain. My kids bought older homes in PA and are fixing them up. Ugh. My daughter's pretty much ripped the inside out because there was NO insulation. My son is handy so he finished the stone farmhouse but I don't think there's even a way to insulate it without losing too much interior space. Beautiful on the outside and has character but cold and drafty.

My new home is small (1,100 sq ft.) and energy efficient and has solar hot water. I haven't paid over $100 for gas and electric this winter and that was without the solar. Last month after getting the solar working I paid $75 for gas and electric. Most of the winter it was broke (builder is fixing because I'm under warranty for the first year) so next winter will be the real test.

I think the only way to get a really well built home is build it yourself and know what you're doing. I'm not about to tackle that--it might fall down with the spring winds! Huff, puff.... and I'd rather be throwing pots.

When I read what everyone wants I think I have as perfect a retirement home and place as I can get--got the small yard--close to town and buses--room for my hobbies--nice neighbors--colleges--social and cultural activities--I just need to figure out how I'm going to pay for it. I don't expect to retire until 70 so maybe by then I can refinance to get the mortgage down or find the right person to share it and pay it off faster or a combination of the two.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,885,571 times
Reputation: 1525
Berea, KY, might be a good place for a retreat. It's in Southeast KY, just off I-75.
It's the home of Berea College and the folk art and craft capital of Kentucky.
It's a neat little town. The College was founded to give young adults in Appalachia a college education. No tuition is charged but they are expected to work at various jobs and crafts. It teaches traditional crafts and keeps those alive and a lot of craftspeople came to teach and now live there. I seriously considered moving there for a while.
Berea
The college has created an ecovillage for some of the students. It's an interesting plan.
Berea College - SENS - Ecovillage
The college runs Boone Tavern that's just been restored.
Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,390,042 times
Reputation: 16283
Well, Knox.... - you may be settled but you are certainly welcomed to join us. The fun part will be meeting all the CDers we've been communicating with for so long.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,390,042 times
Reputation: 16283
Default Thanks Livecontent....

Great info and links are always helpful. I've been talking about returning to CO since I left in '94. I was only in Denver (what is now called Centennial) for 2 years but really loved everything about it. I worked so much in those 2 years that I never made it to so many towns/areas of CO - I swore I'd make up for it someday - perhaps now is the time.

A friend from Denver once commented that she would never live in the northern areas of Denver/Boulder due to the crazy traffic and conjestion. That one comment stuck - what's your response to that?
 
Old 03-19-2009, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,969,510 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancingearth View Post
I
When I read what everyone wants I think I have as perfect a retirement home and place as I can get--got the small yard--close to town and buses--room for my hobbies--nice neighbors--colleges--social and cultural activities--I just need to figure out how I'm going to pay for it. I don't expect to retire until 70 so maybe by then I can refinance to get the mortgage down or find the right person to share it and pay it off faster or a combination of the two.
Dancingearth, do you mind my asking what state you are in, and what you pay annually for property taxes?
Thanks...
NEG
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