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Old 07-03-2010, 11:21 AM
 
Location: South Fla
1,044 posts, read 1,776,552 times
Reputation: 285

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My husband and I are desperately seeking out of south florida. We have been here for 10 long years (originally from MD) and are planning to leave in the next 18-24 months. We are looking for someplace where we can live safely, affordably, and peacefully and possibly start a small family in the future. Climate is not too much of an issue, but we are hoping to be closer to our Maryland family. We are very interested in living in a rural area that still has employment opportunities relatively closeby (45-50 minute commute is fine), but we like a slow pace with not too much excitement. One aspect of the rural living that keeps popping whenever we start discussing our future plans is racism in small towns and rural areas. My husband is black (I am white) and of course if we have a child that child will be mixed race. I understand fully that there are bad apples everywhere (we know from experience) but what should we expect?
We are not really looking for a "melting pot" type of area, but we just want to feel safe and secure. I'm hopeful that there is such a place, but it seems that most opinions that we have heard and read tend to be that we would be "most comfortable" in a more urban atmosphere. Unfortunately for us that does not really match our personalites. We had been strongly considering Southwestern Virginia (closer to MD), as well as some other areas such as the Finger Lakes region of New York, New Hampshire and Maine. But we are really open to anyplace that would be a driveable distance to our family (8-10 hours).
Any honest opinons or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,946 posts, read 16,473,588 times
Reputation: 8265
Maybe think about being relatively near a largish military base. The military is generally pretty good about stamping out overt racism, and it seems like interracial couples are relatively common in that population group. And that institutional attitude does tend to get carried over into the nearby community- a base commander can and will blacklist local businesses that are shown to discriminate based on race and ban the uniformed folks under him from doing business with that organization.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:07 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,596,801 times
Reputation: 16866
I know it is on the very outermost distance you are looking for but if you have the job skills, the western side of Michigan fits your wants list to a "T". You don't mention what types of jobs you both have or are looking for, which will play a large role in finding a place.


Western Michigan has a long history of being very "blind" to race. While most places don't have a huge diversity of races, most are very accepting to the person, not their color, last name, what they drive, or their religion. IF you can do a job that is needed, I can think of no better place to live and raise a family. Laid back, friendly, rural, great beaches, etc....
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:48 PM
 
Location: South Fla
1,044 posts, read 1,776,552 times
Reputation: 285
I have never really given too much thought to Michigan, but I will definitely look into it now. Accepting the "person" regardless of what they look like is exactly what we are looking for. The googlemap directions show about 12 hour drive, so that wouldn't be so bad, it's better than what we have now. My husband is in school now and is studying biomedical technology but he has worked in the hospitality industry for years as a cook. I work in accounting/customer service/sales and have worked in the building and construction industry mainly, but my skills are pretty transferrable to most any office environment. In a few years when we start a family we would prefer to have one of us stay at home most of the time.
What is the best area of Western Michigan as far as afforability, safety and general quality of life? Also, is it very flat? We never realized how much we enjoyed the rolling hills back home until we spent a few years down here in the incredibly flat land of South Florida.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:45 AM
 
507 posts, read 779,327 times
Reputation: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLLL98 View Post
My husband and I are desperately seeking out of south florida. We have been here for 10 long years (originally from MD) and are planning to leave in the next 18-24 months. We are looking for someplace where we can live safely, affordably, and peacefully and possibly start a small family in the future. Climate is not too much of an issue, but we are hoping to be closer to our Maryland family. We are very interested in living in a rural area that still has employment opportunities relatively closeby (45-50 minute commute is fine), but we like a slow pace with not too much excitement. One aspect of the rural living that keeps popping whenever we start discussing our future plans is racism in small towns and rural areas. My husband is black (I am white) and of course if we have a child that child will be mixed race. I understand fully that there are bad apples everywhere (we know from experience) but what should we expect?
We are not really looking for a "melting pot" type of area, but we just want to feel safe and secure. I'm hopeful that there is such a place, but it seems that most opinions that we have heard and read tend to be that we would be "most comfortable" in a more urban atmosphere. Unfortunately for us that does not really match our personalites. We had been strongly considering Southwestern Virginia (closer to MD), as well as some other areas such as the Finger Lakes region of New York, New Hampshire and Maine. But we are really open to anyplace that would be a driveable distance to our family (8-10 hours).
Any honest opinons or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I've been all over this country and I would say the Finger Lakes area are the best bet.No where prettier either! Geneva area maybe?

I had a serious black GF 30 yrs ago when I was in the Army and still have nightmares about how we were treated.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:07 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,596,801 times
Reputation: 16866
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLLL98 View Post
I have never really given too much thought to Michigan, but I will definitely look into it now. Accepting the "person" regardless of what they look like is exactly what we are looking for. The googlemap directions show about 12 hour drive, so that wouldn't be so bad, it's better than what we have now. My husband is in school now and is studying biomedical technology but he has worked in the hospitality industry for years as a cook. I work in accounting/customer service/sales and have worked in the building and construction industry mainly, but my skills are pretty transferrable to most any office environment. In a few years when we start a family we would prefer to have one of us stay at home most of the time.
What is the best area of Western Michigan as far as afforability, safety and general quality of life? Also, is it very flat? We never realized how much we enjoyed the rolling hills back home until we spent a few years down here in the incredibly flat land of South Florida.
Most of west Michigan is very affordable, and while we don't have mountains or huge hills, it is nowhere near as flat as Florida. Check out my website (http://bydand.smugmug.com/Photography - broken link) for some photos of the Western Michigan area. Biomedical? You might want to look around the Grand Rapids area. They have a huge expansion in the medical fields in Grand Rapids and it has been growing for some time now. New research facilities, new Hospitals, Cancer treatment, Heart centers, etc... check out "Medical Mile". While I hate Wiki, this is quite accurate.

There are a multitude of small towns and cities in the West Michigan area and most are VERY safe. Quality of Life is very high and one place that is ranked high in every aspect is Holland, MI. They just received the 2nd place spot in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. ABC News story.

Michigan has a mixed history when it comes to race relations with the west side being fairly consistent in their acceptance of others. Way back when it was illegal to elect a Black person to public office, west Michigan towns were ignoring that and electing whoever fit the job best regardless of color. Look up Covert, MI for an example.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Perry South, Pittsburgh, PA
146 posts, read 246,736 times
Reputation: 164
I like Pittsburgh. There are rural, farmland areas within decent commuting distance of the city (although some of them are VERY poor) and a lot of cultural events here but it's not overwhelming. I'd recommend areas north of the city. East of us is mountainous and in parts seems very lonely; I've never been south of the city.

The Finger Lakes region is home to a lot of yuppie vacationers who own lakeside homes for no other reason than Status, but I gather that the smaller, more permanent communities there are friendly and it's certainly a gorgeous area!

From what Bydand says, Michigan may be your ticket, though! He's certainly making ME want to pack up and move (again!). :P
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:30 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,689,142 times
Reputation: 8170
Drawback of western Michigan is too darn much of that snow called " lake affect"
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:44 AM
 
Location: Perry South, Pittsburgh, PA
475 posts, read 457,785 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faerunner View Post
I like Pittsburgh. There are rural, farmland areas within decent commuting distance of the city (although some of them are VERY poor) and a lot of cultural events here but it's not overwhelming. I'd recommend areas north of the city. East of us is mountainous and in parts seems very lonely; I've never been south of the city.

The Finger Lakes region is home to a lot of yuppie vacationers who own lakeside homes for no other reason than Status, but I gather that the smaller, more permanent communities there are friendly and it's certainly a gorgeous area!

From what Bydand says, Michigan may be your ticket, though! He's certainly making ME want to pack up and move (again!). :P
You stay right where you are.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Travelers Rest SC
745 posts, read 1,997,320 times
Reputation: 503
I don't know if the OP is still watching this, but we got a surprise in rural SC. We bought property outside Greenville SC, which in itself is a rather cosmopolitan city for the deep South. Our property is in a rural area, and we were surprised to meet our neighbors, a mixed couple. He's black; she's white, and there the nicest folks you ever want to meet. They've lived there 33 years, and said they've never had a problem! I would have thought that area would have had 'Jim Crow' written all over it, but evidently not. I was concerned about racism moving to the rural South, but was pleased to see that at least in our adopted neighborhood, it's obviously not an issue.

There are a couple things we never knew about Greenville; it's very close to the Blue Ridge mountains. Our property has a great mountain view. It's also relatively undiscovered compared to western NC, which keeps the prices down. It's also a fairly decent 4 season climate, with a touch of snow once in a while, which is a novelty, and a reasonable length summer compared to where we live in FL. Fall and spring are long and beautiful. We can't wait to get started on our place up there!
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