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Unread 10-28-2006, 12:27 AM
 
Location: New South Wales, Australia
13 posts, read 69,636 times
Reputation: 14
Question Info on living in West Texas and Amarillo?

My husband and I are both certified TX teachers (8-12 History, ESL, ELA) and are moving back to Texas after a year in Australia. We've lived in the DFW area but are looking to settle in a different part of Texas. I posted in the Austin forum but we're also looking at West-NW Texas.

Here's what we're looking for:
1. relatively low crime
2. reasonable cost of living (having lived in DFW area, I understand the property taxes)
3. medium sized town to small city, or within <40 miles of one
4. decent house at reasonable price ($100-115K)
5. outside activities (hiking, bike trails etc) - or at least within reasonable driving distance.
6. proximity to a good bookstore and a decent coffee shop (this is one of my optional wishes of course..it's not a deal breaker)

Note on Lubbock: I checked out the housing - looks great and reasonably priced. Then I looked at the salary schedule for Lubbock ISD...starting at $32,000 - that seems to be really low - is this because there isn't as much competition as in DFW/Houston/SA etc? Or is it because the cost of living in Lubbock is equally low?

Thanks!
Melissa

Last edited by MelNSW; 10-28-2006 at 01:27 AM.. Reason: lubbock info
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Unread 10-29-2006, 02:13 AM
 
830 posts, read 3,250,902 times
Reputation: 455
MelNSW, You might look into the small city of Canyon,Texas just south of Amarillo. You can be in Amarillo within 20 minutes. It costs very little to live there. It has a university and great schools. It has low crime and is a nice place to live plus the Palo Duro Canyon is very scenic. You can Google Canyon, TX for more info.

About Australia, did you like living there? Any pros or cons to it? I notice NSW in your name. I take it that it means Melbourne, New South Wales? How is Melbourne? Sydney? Others cities of Perth? Brisbane? Any favorites cities? I am just curious. Do they have a lot of dangerous snakes? Someone told me that it is covered up with them, or it that exaggerated? Thank you!
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Unread 10-29-2006, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod, MA
109 posts, read 256,268 times
Reputation: 90
Default I second Crackerjack's suggestion

MelNSW,

Crackerjack beat me to it! I totally agree with his Canyon, Texas referral. I spent some time in the area last summer, and it's a very, interesting little town. The land in the immediate area is very flat and agricultural, but it soon drops away to very dramatic and scenic canyon country. Every summer for the past three years, I've spent a couple of weeks traveling around Texas, and my absolute favorite thing was spending some time in a stone cabin on the edge of the Palo Duro-the second largest canyon in the US. Heaven! I fell in love with the Palo Duro. These cabins in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park are wonderful and very private. You have seemingly the entire Canyon all to yourself. If you come to this area, it would be a good way to soak in the atmosphere. Since you've been in Australia for a year, the extremely high summer temperatures (104 degrees while we were there) and occasional scorpion and tarantula- we saw one of each!- probably wouldn't bother you. There is also the Lake Meredith area not far to the north for water recreation, and the Caprock Canyons State Park to the southeast. The Caprock Canyons has a lengthy mountain biking and hiking trail system which I'd love to check out.
I don't live in Texas, so I am not certain, but I have read that the Amarillo and Canyon school systems are excellent. Cost of living is a bit lower than other parts of Texas, so salaries are correspondingly lower. As far as book stores in Amarillo and Canyon, there are a few, including one great used book store in Amarillo which specializes in rare books and Texas and Southwestern history. It's called the One More Time bookstore. Check out the funky Marshall Coffee Company in Amarillo for atmosphere (they have a website, too), or Feldman's Wrong Way diner in Canyon. Can you tell I love this area? It's the real, authentic Texas. I'm sure there are many other great places that the friendly locals can tell you about.
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Unread 10-29-2006, 07:12 PM
 
Location: New South Wales, Australia
13 posts, read 69,636 times
Reputation: 14
Default Thanks for the great tips..

Crackerjack and Farouche,
Thanks for the tips on Canyon. You both sound like it's very near and dear to your hearts! I've driven through Amarillo on my way to NM and CO before but never had the time to investigate the Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock. I'll have to do some research on that area. You're right, the heat probably wouldn't bother me - I like the dry heat of the desert and mountains.

As far as Australia, I'm in Newcastle, which is about 2 1/2 hours north of Sydney. We have gorgeous beaches, the Hunter Wine Valley to our west and interesting wetlands and sights in between. I really have enjoyed living here, but it's time to move back to the States and put down some roots for the first time in 15 years.

There are several different kinds of poisonous snakes here but it's just one of those things where you pay attention to your surroundings and don't stick your hands into a pile of brush. It's kind of like Texas where some people think that there is a rattlesnake nest under every house and a six-barrel revolver in every hip pocket. I've done quite a bit of bush-walking since I've been here and the only snake in the wild that I've come across was a red-bellied black snake in the wetlands. I think noticing that the snake was more scared of me than I was of him (they don't lie in wait for human prey ) really helped me get over my nervousness and helped me enjoy my surroundings.

If you're interested in seeing some pictures of the surrounding area, I think my profile has my webpage listed.
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Unread 10-30-2006, 06:19 AM
 
830 posts, read 3,250,902 times
Reputation: 455
Thanks MelNSW, for the Aussie info! I have always wanted to visit there. It is so different from the rest of the world, i.e. unusual animals, trees, flowers, ancient aborigines, everything from exotic deserts to mountains. There is even snow up in the Aussie Alps. It is a fascinating place. Thanks again! Just viewed your website. WOW, absolutely beautiful photography!

Farouche, I know Feldman's Wrong Way diner in Canyon, yes, a great diner! Like you, I love Palo Duro Canyon too. A special place!

Last edited by Crackerjack; 10-30-2006 at 06:29 AM..
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Unread 10-30-2006, 01:27 PM
 
Location: New South Wales, Australia
13 posts, read 69,636 times
Reputation: 14
Crackerjack,
One thing that is so striking about this country is that there is always something new and interesting around the corner. The people are really friendly too - I have felt a certain kinship with Aussies since I arrived here.

Whoops, forgot this was a Texas forum...maybe I should start an Aussie one. Thanks again for your help - these forums are such a great opportunity to get information on different areas of the country
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Unread 10-30-2006, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,494 posts, read 8,938,048 times
Reputation: 1251
how bout Pampa? i think that would be ideal..........
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Unread 10-30-2006, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod, MA
109 posts, read 256,268 times
Reputation: 90
Hi, Bellestaroftexas,

Pampa is a town I wanted to have a chance to check out while I was in Amarillo, and didn't have the time. I read that the architecture in that town is quite beautiful, and that the school system is fantastic. Next time I get to the Palo Duro, and I will definitely be returning, I'll give Pampa a visit.
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Unread 10-31-2006, 12:29 PM
 
Location: New South Wales, Australia
13 posts, read 69,636 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks Bellestaroftexas...I'll put that one on my list. Cool town name by the way... Wild Horse Desert... sounds very Western
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Unread 10-31-2006, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,494 posts, read 8,938,048 times
Reputation: 1251
that aint the name of the town, but what the area was once known as...now it is known as Los Desierto de los Muertos..Desert of the Dead (due to the illegals dying in the vast desolate scrub brush and ranchlands out here trying to make their way past border patrol checkpoints from Mexico, Honduras etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelNSW View Post
Thanks Bellestaroftexas...I'll put that one on my list. Cool town name by the way... Wild Horse Desert... sounds very Western
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