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Old 02-25-2009, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Elkins, WV
374 posts, read 1,009,943 times
Reputation: 389

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Okay, I know this it TOTALLY subjective, but since I have been in Alaska almost half my life, I have no idea what it is like out there in the rest of the country. We are desperately wanting to get out of Alaska and are so unsure of where to go. I have spent HOURS looking through City-Data info/forums/real estate pages/employment pages/etc. It is getting quite exhausting! In some ways, we are kind of rootless. We have some general criteria, and I took the quiz on www.****.com but our main problem seems to be matching the things that are important for us at this time (likin the location, and finding a job). So here is what we are looking for:

1. Trees- enough on our own property to heat with wood
2. Snow in the winter- To cross-country ski, snowmachine (mobile)
3. Access to decent hunting to provide our own meat
4. Rolling hills or mountains would be nice, but is optional.
5. Affordable land and/or house with land
6. Job as a nurse.
7. Small and rural (town less than 7500) , but somewhat close access to medium-sized town (above 10,000 but less than 60,000)
8. Access to recreational activities (hiking, biking, x-country skiing, canoeing/kayaking, camping)
9. A minimum of 10 acres, preferably 20
10. Land would be okay, but house with land would be better
11. Hoping to stay under $125,000 and are willing/able to buy a fixer-upper and do some serious work. If raw land, would want to stay under $50,000 for 20-40 acres.

We are entertaining several different areas, but our main stumbling block right now is finding an area we like that also has jobs! I know part of that is the current economy, but that is our reality right now. Here are the areas we have thought about:

1. Northern/Mid Maine- Jobs available, land is inexpensive, houses with land mostly affordable, far from family, political leanings that are not as much to my husbands liking

2. Northern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin- Land is inexpensive, houses seem affordable, jobs are much harder to find. Close to family. This was or top pick, but jobs seems scarce in rural areas.

3. Western Pennsylvania- I have no information, haven't begun searching land/house prices or job availability, but area seems like a possibility.

4. Western South Dakota, parts of Wyoming, Montana- Land/houses are NOT affordable as far as I can tell- at least in the area with trees. Jobs are easier to find. These areas would be great for us geographically, politically, etc, but don't seem affordable unless we head to the plains with no trees.

5. Eastern Washington/Oregon- Same as above- jobs available , but not seeing much that is in our price range for affordability.


SO what I am hoping for is some ideas. If you know one of the areas and have any info on real estate, let me know. If you know of a different area and want to tell me about it, great! If you think an area stinks, tell me why! If you absolutely love one place on the list, tell me! You get the idea. And thanks! We are really just desperate to get out of Alaska, find a home, and dig in some roots! We want to find or build a home, and make it our own. We want to be part of a community and closer to family (all in Midwest). But since being in Alaska, we are snow bunnies! Please let me know your thoughts.......
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:21 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,091 posts, read 22,609,680 times
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Why are you so anxious to get out of Alaska? Your list of what's important to you, describes Alaska.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Elkins, WV
374 posts, read 1,009,943 times
Reputation: 389
Reasons to leave Alaska:
1. Too far from family- too much money spent on travel- I miss my family
2. I hate to fly
3. Too cut off from rest of country in terms of services, goods, etc- this directly affects costs of goods. My husband wants a machine shop- not super feasible here without spending TONS of money on shipping.
4. Land is more inexpensive in certain areas, but I have not found anywhere NEAR $1,000 an acre that has road access. Jobs are not that accessible for me as a nurse in those cheaper areas unless I live near Anchorage/Fairbanks/or rural village. I have tried all those options except Fairbanks.
5. Anchorage has gotten more crazy- traffic, crime, etc.
6. I am tired of too much sun in summer, not enough sun in winter.
7. Pay doesn't match up with cost of living.

Mainly, we are just tired. It is more difficult to live here, and for us, over time, there was an emotional cost to that. We love Alaska, but it just isn't what we need right now. It's weird, I never thought I would leave, and I can't really specifically describe why I want to- other than just the idea that after we came to Nome, we got broken. The darkness, the longer winters, the inaccessibility, lack of road network, thousands spent on travel, more expensive services and goods, the alcoholism, the poverty- it just wore us down. We want to live somewhere for a while that might require hard work, but not THIS hard. I want to drive to a store if I need something. I want to drive to see my family. I want to grow fruit. I want to wear shorts. I want to walk barefoot in the grass. I want to see the sun before noon in the winter. I want to see the stars in July. I want to go to an antique store and find cool stuff. I want to be able to afford to buy a house and land or build a house on land without signing my soul to the devil. I want to be able to work close to where I live, but not live in the city. Anyway, sorry for all that, that might be more info than you needed.....but that's why.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,988 times
Reputation: 9580
Nebraska.

BOY am I glad you didn't start looking last year, because everything you want is right here on the property we bought last May!

Actually, if you go toModerator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowedwhich is where we found this place and many more like it - you can put in how big a property you want, how much you are willing to pay, what region you want. Then you can sift through by state.

Nebraska is not all flat corn country. We live in the Sandhills; a huge area of rolling hills that has river bluffs and trees. The political climate is pretty much like the 1950's; as long as you are willing to work and 'drag your own saddle' the people are friendly and welcoming but not terribly intrusive. We have a lot of fun here. The pay isn't commensurate with the big cities and burbs, but the cost of living is cheap. Spring comes mid-May, with summer fast on its heels, fall starts in October, and winter comes in November. The air is dry (except in the eastern part of the state) and clean, and the water is pure and sweet. (I have lived all over and could never drink water straight from the tap - til I came here). The rivers are full of fish, and you can ice fish in the winter. Antelope, HUGE deer, and turkey abound here, along with geese and other wildlife. There are only three kinds of snakes, rattlers, greenies, and bull. I have 60 acres and have yet to meet one since May. The sun shines so brightly here, even in the winter, that the orange trees in my south window have gotten 20 new leaves apiece since Christmas!

People complain about property taxes here; but the cost of our 60 acres, old farmhouse, barns, garage, and shop is $200 more a year than our little FmHA house on a third of an acre back in the southeast. I don't see the big deal! Everything is relative...

They are constantly looking for nurses in the rural hospitals here. Most young folk want their Starbucks and their bright city lights, and I can't blame them there. But if you are looking for a rural climate, and a place to live peaceably on your own and provide your own entertainment - and like to occasionally go down to the local firehouse for a night of feasting on grassfed, homegrown, angus beef, or to the local churches' fundraisers for a night of simple fun, singing, and food, or to the local pub just to hang out and talk cattle and crops and horses, then maybe you should look at Nebraska.

Last edited by Yac; 11-08-2011 at 07:13 AM..
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Elkins, WV
374 posts, read 1,009,943 times
Reputation: 389
Does Nebraska get much snow? Thanks for your post!! We have spent many hours looking at landsofamerica, but never Nebraska. Growing up in Missouri, I only ever saw the Eastern part. Tell me more! Thanks so much. I will look into it tonight!
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,988 times
Reputation: 9580
Well, that depends on what you call - "much". This year we have had two blizzards; one in Nov and one a couple of weeks ago. The one in Nov dropped 8 inches of snow - sorta. The wind was blowing so hard we only had about 5. It really depends on where you are and what sort of year it is - last year at the beginning of March our little town (177 pop) got snowed in for 5 days; 40 miles east they only got a couple of inches. This winter we didn't need any special tires or 4WD to get around; my neighbors tell me that some years it takes them 2 hours to go seven miles between the drifts and blowing snow.

In the Sandhills the wind blows - a lot. If the sound of the wind howling around your house discomfits you, this is not the place to live! We do get 'tornado weather' but the land is so open that structures are rarely destroyed.

Go to the Nebraska pages at City-Data, and look at the pictures sticky as well as the weather sticky at the top, and you can get in on some great back-n-forth about both.

I will say that we looked at SD, ND, and NE as well as MO. One of the things that turned us away from ND was the fact that they sell mineral and water rights seperately from the property - and ND is experiencing an oil boom. In NE, when you buy the property, you buy ALL of it. Not that I want to look for oil on my land - but at least no one is going to plow up a perfectly good cattle pasture of MINE because THEY own the mineral rights.

If you are looking for hills, look in the central and western parts of the state. (We like mountains too but they are often too rocky to plow, and I like to grow vegies and fruits.) We live 150 miles from an interstate, and a Wal-Mart. That is just how we like it. In our county, it is often said that there are more cows than people, and it is very true - there are 6000 people in the whole county, most of them - about 2500 - in the single large town. There is a thriving artists' group in our county as well, who not only take the time to teach kids at the local schools but sell their artwork not just locally but across the country. The HS where I work allows time off school for branding and calving days; they are excused absences. The Drama Club kids go to their practice at 6 AM, after they finish their morning chores - then after team practices in the afternoon, go home and work the cattle. No time for baggy pants and gangs - these kids are all about scholarships and FFA and breaking their next cutting horse. the HS only has 130 kids - but 76 of them are in the band, 40 in the choir.

The CA people have not 'discovered' NE yet, so the prices are reasonable.

Now mind you I just moved here last May, so I am still exploring and playing. There is a group every summer that gathers at the Reservoir for a whole week just to lay in the grass and look at the stars; it's called the Star Gazer group. They have astronomers that come down from the University to teach. They have a huge St Patrick's Day celebration in March in O'Neill.

My DH is a mechanic and a woodworker, and he has found it very amenable here. I don't know of any machine shop around here, but with the farm implements around here most of the fellows have to buy new, so maybe your DH could find his niche as well.

All in all, the people we know and with whom we associate are down-to-earth, resourceful, and hardworking. The main tourist resources here are river-tubing and hunting. You can be as involved as you want - or as reclusive as you choose. But the folks are just so natural that they draw you in.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:57 AM
 
Location: In a happy place
3,784 posts, read 7,042,595 times
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Except for the hills (anyhow, large ones), NW Ohio sounds like it could have a lot of what you are looking for. The local newspaper job listings almost always have openings for nurses. That and truck drivers.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:06 AM
 
520 posts, read 2,309,761 times
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where does your family live? if you live on the east coast and they live on the west coast, or vice versa, then you're still going to have to fly or go on a cross country trip to visit them.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:58 AM
 
Location: The Woods
17,091 posts, read 22,609,680 times
Reputation: 9373
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeganAK View Post
Reasons to leave Alaska:
1. Too far from family- too much money spent on travel- I miss my family
2. I hate to fly
3. Too cut off from rest of country in terms of services, goods, etc- this directly affects costs of goods. My husband wants a machine shop- not super feasible here without spending TONS of money on shipping.
4. Land is more inexpensive in certain areas, but I have not found anywhere NEAR $1,000 an acre that has road access. Jobs are not that accessible for me as a nurse in those cheaper areas unless I live near Anchorage/Fairbanks/or rural village. I have tried all those options except Fairbanks.
5. Anchorage has gotten more crazy- traffic, crime, etc.
6. I am tired of too much sun in summer, not enough sun in winter.
7. Pay doesn't match up with cost of living.

Mainly, we are just tired. It is more difficult to live here, and for us, over time, there was an emotional cost to that. We love Alaska, but it just isn't what we need right now. It's weird, I never thought I would leave, and I can't really specifically describe why I want to- other than just the idea that after we came to Nome, we got broken. The darkness, the longer winters, the inaccessibility, lack of road network, thousands spent on travel, more expensive services and goods, the alcoholism, the poverty- it just wore us down. We want to live somewhere for a while that might require hard work, but not THIS hard. I want to drive to a store if I need something. I want to drive to see my family. I want to grow fruit. I want to wear shorts. I want to walk barefoot in the grass. I want to see the sun before noon in the winter. I want to see the stars in July. I want to go to an antique store and find cool stuff. I want to be able to afford to buy a house and land or build a house on land without signing my soul to the devil. I want to be able to work close to where I live, but not live in the city. Anyway, sorry for all that, that might be more info than you needed.....but that's why.
Well I got my land with road access for $550 an acre. Of course, it's about 150 miles by road from Fairbanks...

I'd almost suggest NH or VT but there are some serious issues with Northern New England. Mainly, high taxes, high property prices, and not many jobs to pay for the high costs. The grass may look greener on the other side of the fence but it's not necessarily so.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:09 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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It sounds like Minnesota would match your criteria.

Just keep looking for nursing openings in Minnesota.
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