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Old 11-24-2009, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Norfolk
885 posts, read 751,469 times
Reputation: 1887

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Hubby is from Elkins (as I mentioned in another post). I'm born and raised in Norfolk, VA area. I lived in St. Louis for 12 years (in a small town near there) and am now back in Virginia. Hubby and I have been married for three years (second marriage) and we're in our 50s. Retirement is about five years away.

My whole life, I've dreamed of living in the mountains, far far away from the maddening crowds. Every chance I get, I take vacations in the mountains and visit them and I've pursued and given a disproportionate number of book signings in the little mountain towns because I'm in love with all the natural beauty that I find there.

In short, the mountains and the natural beauty are what feed my soul. When I was in the St. Louis area, I lived in a very small town and I loved it. I had a one-acre lot and that was nice. Lots of privacy and no one bothered anyone else.

As a perk of my job (author and lecturer), I've visited about 200 small towns and I've been paying attention to what I like and don't like in a town. I am enamored of Western Virginia and West Virginia.

Recently, I was in Lewisburg, WV to give a talk on Sears Homes. I was driven out to a farm that had a purported Sears House on the property. While everyone else was studying the house, here's what I was studying: The side yard. I thought it was one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen:



Hubby was raised in Elkins under straitened circumstances. Dad took off when he was three and Mom struggled to keep it all together. But Hubby went on to college, graduated from Davis and Elkins and went on to get his law degree. However, when we visit Elkins, he's happy as a clam and becomes another person. He is goofy and silly and fun when we're in Elkins. I love it.

But he tells me that I don't understand West Virginia and I won't like being so far from the city and that it's a different life and a different world and he also says that he's too "city-fied" to go back to the sticks.

I'd love to hear opinions from people who have done this and I'd love to hear the downsides of life in the hills of West Virginia. And I plan to share this with hubby, so help me out here.

Thanks.

Rose
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Western Pennsylvania
2,380 posts, read 4,471,293 times
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Rosemary,

Just a quick reply for now, since I'm at work. I'm also about 5 years from retiring, the only difference in my case is that I'm native WVian wanting to return "home".

1. Go for it. It's your dream, and you don't get many chances to live your dream.

2. I think hubby is more worried that you won't like it, it sounds like he feels like it's home to him too.

3. If it doesn't work out, nothing says you can't move again.

(We might end up almost neighbors... my SO and I have 4 acres in the southern part of Pocahontas County.)

Regards,
Snorpus
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:12 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,127 posts, read 21,557,536 times
Reputation: 4731
This is my experience via lots of people I have known in various stages of their lives through the years....

Generally you "know" when you are ready for a complete about-face change in your life, and when you can handle that change without regrets. If you constantly question the possible decision or have an inner worried feeling about it - you may not quite be ready. But people are different.

For instance, I grew up in Charleston, WV and at the age of 18 moved to Atlanta. You could not be more polar-opposite with cities. Charleston is generally laid back and a much slower pace of life all the way around. You can leave for years and come back and very little usually has changed. In Atlanta (until recently), they built the equivalent of an entire downtown Charleston just about every year somewhere in the metro area. One place had around 250,000 in the metro, Atlanta has 5.1 million. Ok, so, I DO know that one day, I'll finally burn out and want to move back to West Virginia, and actually crave the much slower paced (and in many ways higher quality) of life. However, if I tried to do it right now, the "culture shock" might work against me, and I'd go through city withdrawals, and wind up regretting the decision. One day I'll be ready - but inside, I know that I'm not quite there yet.

Now, I know a couple who are ten years older then me (abouts). They too lived in Atlanta for many years, but got over it like many do. They moved to WV to semi-retire, but they moved to the Wheeling area. They live outside the city and for most day-to-day things enjoy their property and what the town has to offer, BUT, they are only an hour or so away from Pittsburgh, and not being elderly, they can drive there whenever they need a "big city fix". So for them and others like them, you can make the transition if you carefully pick your new relocation site so that a larger metro area is within a reasonably short commute like 1-2.5 hours. Over the years I've known people who have tried variations of this stuff - some regretted their moves, others wished they had done it sooner. You have to learn to separate the desire from the reality when you make the decision, though. I love going to the beach, but I would probably get over it if I lived there full time. Make sure the place(s) you see aren't simply a fascination with seeing something new and different vs a true desire to change your life to live there full time.

So, when you're talking about the Elkins and Lewisburg areas, you'll be around 3+ hours from larger cities. If you can deal with that.... really deal with that... then you're ready. If not, you might need to pick a WV locale that's closer to the city stuff in one of the two panhandles. You could always rent a rural place here and there over a period of time to get a feel for it as well - then buy later once you're sure.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:12 AM
 
23,054 posts, read 6,279,895 times
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It doesn't sound like WV is the problem. Sounds like your husband is. Nobody here can comment on your particular situation. Cost of Living is low in WV. Housing is easy to find and affordable. The rest is up to you.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Norfolk
885 posts, read 751,469 times
Reputation: 1887
Quote:
Nobody here can comment on your particular situation.
Yes, I well understand that. I'm asking about the realities of living in a beautiful, yet somewhat culturally isolated place like the mountains of West Virginia. It looks like a beautiful place and on paper, it sounds like a wonderful idea to retire to the sticks, but I'd love to hear from folks - what's it like day in and day out?

What are the pros and cons?

There are no trick questions here. It's pretty straight-forward.

Thanks for the answers!
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:49 PM
 
526 posts, read 589,565 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryT View Post
Hubby is from Elkins (as I mentioned in another post). I'm born and raised in Norfolk, VA area. I lived in St. Louis for 12 years (in a small town near there) and am now back in Virginia. Hubby and I have been married for three years (second marriage) and we're in our 50s. Retirement is about five years away.

My whole life, I've dreamed of living in the mountains, far far away from the maddening crowds. Every chance I get, I take vacations in the mountains and visit them and I've pursued and given a disproportionate number of book signings in the little mountain towns because I'm in love with all the natural beauty that I find there.

In short, the mountains and the natural beauty are what feed my soul. When I was in the St. Louis area, I lived in a very small town and I loved it. I had a one-acre lot and that was nice. Lots of privacy and no one bothered anyone else.

As a perk of my job (author and lecturer), I've visited about 200 small towns and I've been paying attention to what I like and don't like in a town. I am enamored of Western Virginia and West Virginia.

Recently, I was in Lewisburg, WV to give a talk on Sears Homes. I was driven out to a farm that had a purported Sears House on the property. While everyone else was studying the house, here's what I was studying: The side yard. I thought it was one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen:



Hubby was raised in Elkins under straitened circumstances. Dad took off when he was three and Mom struggled to keep it all together. But Hubby went on to college, graduated from Davis and Elkins and went on to get his law degree. However, when we visit Elkins, he's happy as a clam and becomes another person. He is goofy and silly and fun when we're in Elkins. I love it.

But he tells me that I don't understand West Virginia and I won't like being so far from the city and that it's a different life and a different world and he also says that he's too "city-fied" to go back to the sticks.

I'd love to hear opinions from people who have done this and I'd love to hear the downsides of life in the hills of West Virginia. And I plan to share this with hubby, so help me out here.

Thanks.

Rose
Hi Rosemary,

I read in the Mountain Messenger you were in Lewisburg. My gg uncle had a Sears home in Lewisburg that is still standing.

If your DH has already decided he will be unhappy, then he will be.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:56 PM
 
526 posts, read 589,565 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryT View Post
Yes, I well understand that. I'm asking about the realities of living in a beautiful, yet somewhat culturally isolated place like the mountains of West Virginia. It looks like a beautiful place and on paper, it sounds like a wonderful idea to retire to the sticks, but I'd love to hear from folks - what's it like day in and day out?

What are the pros and cons?

There are no trick questions here. It's pretty straight-forward.

Thanks for the answers!
Hmm, where are you in Va? I kinda take exception to that "culturally isolated" comment. I saw Issac Stern play in Lewisburg and heard Maya Angelou speak in Charleston. I think you can find "culturally isolated" places in any state.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:35 AM
 
7 posts, read 9,483 times
Reputation: 10
Dear Rosemary,
Do it! I live in Florida now and drive 100 miles round trip to work every day in the city just so i can return home at night to the peace and beauty of the country. I too love the mountains of West Virginia and what keeps me going is the dream of moving there before i die. With all the good people who have given you advice on this forum, i just wanted to add my 2 cents. My wife and i visited Elkins and the area around Blackwater Falls, Philippi and Cathedral State Park and it is just flat-out gorgeous. I think it is one of the best kept secrets in America.

I'm also a writer/editor and the people in West Virginia are just natural-born storytellers. I think you'd love it.

All the best to you and hubby and i hope to see you there some time. My wife and i plan to sell the house next year and move up there.

TrysB
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
100 posts, read 171,391 times
Reputation: 74
We moved out here to Grafton, WV about 12 years ago. We moved from so. CA, Orange County to be exact. Pretty much polar opposites as far as the number of people/cars/congestion/crime/pollution/etc. I love it here, others miss the more urban/suburban lifestyle. I miss the "choice" of stores/movies/restaurants/hours of operation, but those are really kind of trivial things that I can put up with. My big caveat would be healthcare. I'm sorry to say; it has been my experience, that it can be difficult to find good local care if you need more than some antibiotics. Up here in the north/central part we ALWAYS head up to Morgantown for anything more serious. They are great up at Ruby Memorial or Mon General! 30 miles of narrow winding mountain roads in a snowstorm may not be fun, but it's probably safer than going to the ER at Grafton Hospital.
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:54 AM
 
246 posts, read 579,915 times
Reputation: 102
I guess for healthcare in Lewisburg you can always crawl over to the ostepath school.
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