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Old 03-26-2011, 05:40 AM
Status: "OK, winter can end any day now! ;)" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Back in Defo....WI
3,251 posts, read 4,235,599 times
Reputation: 1585

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I'd agree about the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls area; been thru there plenty with work and it is a nice "compromise" to get you enough to cover daily living needs while the 1-1.5 hrs to Minneapolis for big city events/shopping ( Mall of America )/airports/sports/etc.
And maybe 1.5 hrs south to the Wi Dells for any number of water parks/touristy things to do.

I myself have never been to Montana but yrs ago had friends who moved there. They must have been up in the mountains as when snow came they were stuck unless they used their snowmobile to get into town. And note there are no mountains in WI to compare to... just "ski hills" and bluffs.
I'd say only on rare years will snow in the central WI area get over 100" +/-, again it's the cold temps that usually can be harder to deal with when they pass thru. But those fall drives thru that area are beautiful
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Eau Claire, WI
37 posts, read 36,435 times
Reputation: 47
Hey! Eau Claire is awesome.

Currently, we are poised on the precipice of spring. One day it will be 50 degrees out and the next day, we get 4" of snow. When it's 50, we all run around, grill out, get out the motorcycles, and run to the home improvement stores. Then it snows and we sulk a little.

Yes, I think we've got friendly folks here. Eau Claire is close enough to the Cities for a day trip (I may be going to the Mall of America in a week or so) and close enough to the Dells that you might want to try that, too.

The weather has its extremes here. Learning how to drive in snow is so much more than getting a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Your kids will love it. When we finally break out of winter, it's like everyone is on holiday.

You might try this site for some fun stuff to do and to get a feel for it.

We're a little small town, a little big city -- with better parking.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Midwest
157 posts, read 269,185 times
Reputation: 81
Osceola, WI located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin and is just an hour from Mpls/St. Paul where there's lots of work. There are approximately 2,000 people on this little border town with character and sits on the edge of the St. Croix River and the beautiful bluffs. There are 2 ski resorts in Dresser and Taylors Falls (a tourist town) just 5 & 10 miles away (if you want to call them ski resorts) remember, we don't have mountains here so the little bumps we call hills are still fun to ski when it's not 10 below. We have tons and tons of lakes and if you like to fish or hunt, you'll be in your glory. The vegetable garden and chickens will be no problem here. There are a lot of dairy farms, some horse farms, and a whole lot of God's country to enjoy. Although I live in Elk River, MN just 57 miles away, my 80 year old mother still lives on the farm in Dresser, WI and we still ride horses! Take a look at the pretty waterfall right in downtown Osceola.
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.vil.osceola.wi.us/vertical/Sites/%257B24FBBBDA-8EB7-46DD-A8EF-2F17BA7E9362%257D/uploads/%257BC81290F2-1787-44A4-85D9-D32EF6C25C6A%257D.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.vil.osceola.wi.us/index.asp%3FType%3DB_BASIC%26SEC%3D%257B5D7FEC62-F4A1-41CC-8EDC-3C21BB4EA533%257D&usg=__hpj9QJm08CnhcI4QAmAmq-e7L_s=&h=800&w=1200&sz=457&hl=en&start=5&zoom=1&tb nid=1y3Ayj647CbEeM:&tbnh=100&tbnw=150&ei=tbySTZKID 8bFgAephIga&prev=/images%3Fq%3DOsceola,%2BWI%2Bbluffs%26um%3D1%26hl% 3Den%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLL_en%26biw%3D1003%26bih%3D 497%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:37 PM
 
72 posts, read 114,142 times
Reputation: 38
I grew up in WI and lived there until just a few months ago. If you are looking for small twin/rural but with access to a city I would try Dane county and the surrounding area. Try towns like New Glarus, Mt Horeb, Waunakee or, ironically, Oregon. They are pretty affordable and you should have no trouble whatsoever getting a large yard that would suit gardening and maybe some chickens.

I have only spent a little time in Portland, but I would say that Madison (nearest large city) shares a similar culture. Plus, Madison has great things for families to do and the University of WI. It's also consistently rated among the best places to live in the US.

Another city to consider is Stevens Point. It's not too large, and has a great socially and environmentally aware community. Check out the Energy Fair in Amherst if you're around in June.

As for tornadoes, other posts were right, you're not likely to ever be in the direct path of one. Buy a house with a basement and keep a charged flashlight and some comforting things for your kids down there just in case a warning is issued.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Upper Midwest
1,854 posts, read 1,951,521 times
Reputation: 1685
Quote:
Originally Posted by corbeblessed View Post
Thanks very much, Brian! I (wife/momma) originally came from Western Montana. Can anyone compare winters between WI and MT? I guess I emagine it is quite different, WI being a bit more aggressive winters. Gosh, these forums are great. Thanks everyone, for filling me in. My husband knows a lot about places, as he has traveled all of the US, and more. And I have been only in Oregon, and Montana, and passing through in between.
Yes. I lived in Montana 15 years.

In the heart of the mountains, I imagine it gets intense. But for the majority of Montanans, who live down in the cities and towns? It's not any harsher than a Wisconsin winter. In fact there are a couple of circumstances that can make it either better or worse, depending on your personal circumstances - chinooks and plowing.

Chinooks are warm winds that come in from the Southwestern U.S. once in a while during the winter. You'll get to know them when you feel them/smell them. It's a lukewarm air, and a chinook can melt half or more of the snow away in a day. They come in now and then, give Montanans relief from the harshness of winter, and leave a big slushy MESS! And then, of course, it snows and freezes all over again.
One Christmas, a few years back in Montana, I'll never forget it - it looked like a Christmas postcard a couple nights before Christmas and I thought, "Oh nice, we're going to have a traditional white Christmas." Then, sure enough, a chinook came in and it was a lukewarm melty mess on Christmas morning!

Then there is plowing in Montana. They really don't. If you own a truck or SUV, or even a heavier car, you're in business. It doesn't really matter, you can get out of anywhere pretty easily. Even a few years back when I owned my Pontiac Bonneville with rather heavy tires, getting in an out of places wasn't an issue of any kind. I never got stuck. But if you own a lighter-weight car like I do currently? You can be screwed. Expect to be digging yourself out a few times each winter. lol They plow the main roads if it gets really bad, but side roads and certainly alleyways? Forget about it!

I was pleasantly surprised when I came back to Wisconsin, how well my little city cares for the side roads. I'd drive by and marvel at the neat little (and some not-so-little) snowbanks and neatly plowed/shoveled driveways. Gave it a very Norman Rockwell feel. It's not just the city that takes care of it, it's the residents too. I'm not a homeowner and never have been. Maybe there's an actual requirement in Wisconsin for homeowners to keep their properties clear of snow.... I don't know. Either way, they seem to want to do it. People take a pride here in their surroundings that's above and beyond what I'm used to. And although the weather can get hairy at times (example: that big snowstorm Dec. 11 or the sheet of ice all over everything on New Year's Eve?), I'm not nearly as worried about owning a small car out here as I was in Montana. I know the roads are pretty well taken care of. In Montana, when winter rolled around, I'd start getting a little stressed, worrying about getting stuck.

There's no such requirement in Montana from residents in the wintertime. If there is, no one follows it. You'll walk by and see many side walks covered in snow or half-hazardly shoveled... if they're shoveled at all.
The landlord at my apartment complex certainly did the bare minimum. I remember having to get out my shovel and dig my way out of my parking lot MYSELF... just to ensure I didn't get stuck. I'd literally shovel a trail from my parking spot to the end of the driveway, the size of my car, just to ensure I could get out. They don't treat roads with ice out there in Montana. I think it may even be illegal, I'm not sure. They just don't use ice. They use dirt.

So those are the main differences. Overall the weather isn't much different. I would venture to say Wisconsin is a bit harsher. There's a bite to the air Montana doesn't have. It's that lake air. And we don't have chinook breaks like the Northwest does. But we ARE a little more babied in terms of how well our state cares for roadways and sidewalks in the wintertime. So that can make a huge difference too.

Overall, I find it easier to endure winter in Wisconsin, with the kind of vehicle I have. I'm not wimpy about the nippy cold. It's too much snowfall I don't like.

Last edited by MSPLove; 04-06-2011 at 03:32 PM..
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:25 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,617 times
Reputation: 13
Smile If your moving to Wisconsin.........DON"T!!!

Its entirely up to you to move hear to Wisconsin but if your looking for a place to raise your kids like you said, To teach them and not to have them somewhere as people walk all over them well my friends.....It's Not Hear. It has turned out lately too..Eat or Be Eatin by our local controling Government. Yes at first my Husband and I agreed with the workers Struggle but alot of us have seen the "Real True Colors" in our People hear (Service Unions) and the Extreme Violence Potential displayed at and around our Capital says it all.......MOVE!!! I know Its our own Choice to move but its alittle more than that when we as nieghbors(and I'm not going to say just where) but we have an entire nieghborhood that is going to be moving and its spreading in Thought for our childrens Safety and Education here around and in Waukesha and with friends and Family in and Around Madison. Good luck and be Safe but before it all implodes on the Unions and they are left with the local demise of thee local scraps (Economy) you may want to reconsider. We are all part of some movement but this is getting too scary for the Kids. We are going to North Texas it is Beautiful and even more job opportunities and realestate is opening up like the old days in some Northern counties around the Red River and Lake Texoma, Grayson County area. Good Luck and Best Wishes
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:02 AM
 
18 posts, read 29,377 times
Reputation: 12
I too would like to cast my vote for Eau Claire. Compared to the other cities you mentioned, Eau Claire is much safer, closer to more amenities (eg. Minneapolis area) and generally speaking just a more all-round, pleasant community in which to walk and spend time. FYI, I give this opinion as someone who has never lived in any of those communities, though had to visit each of them multiple times for work/travel. If I had to move to the northwest part of the state, Eau Claire would be pretty much my only choice.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
328 posts, read 302,504 times
Reputation: 425
you'll have to be outside the big city to really connect with people....I've lived in Madison my entire life, and not a single one of my friends are from here...They're from the burbs, or small towns...Seems like in the big city, thats just an expression by the way, people dont have the time of day for you, they want your business and you've try to engage in anymore than the reason you're there, they avoid you. And people often wonder why I enjoy the county so much....
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Alaska 2001-2008
437 posts, read 412,955 times
Reputation: 415
My vote is to stay in the PNW. Here's why:

I grew up in Eau Claire then lived to the north of there in Bloomer, Sarona and Rice Lake then left and lived in Alaska for 7 years. Visited and spent time in the PNW often. Now I'm back in NW Wisconsin, unfortunately.

It is very very conservative here. VERY. People are friendly. To your face. Then that is as far as it goes. They stick to themselves and it's hard to make friends. Culturally diverse? Nope, not gonna happen in the NW part of the state. The only culture you'll find here is:

Guzzling beer
Killing deer
Watching football
Milking cows

Wisconsin rates #1 with the most alcohol consumption. So be prepared to find many bars everywhere you go with many drunk drivers. See this thread:
Wisconsin is No. 1 drunkest state in the country. See CBS News online

It is flat as a pancake here. If you are used to seeing the mountains and you love them, you will miss that here. I hike and snowshoe, very few people here do that. Instead they are in the local bar. Of course, in the college towns you'll see the younger people biking but your average family, nope, doesn't happen. I've not found any hiking trails per se, just a few very poorly marked trails out in the Blue Hills (close to Rice Lake) that I use. Around WI they tend to use old railroad beds for hiking trails. How boring is that? Flat and straight and going nowhere.

Hot weather and tornado's? Sure there are, don't let anyone fool you on that. Last summer was the worst. It was very hot and humid. June and July we had so many bad storms go through. For 3 weeks straight we had the sirens going off every afternoon/evening due to the bad storms. So, yeah, it happens. Our forecast for today is, "Showers and thunderstorms likely. Thunderstorms could be strong and possibly severe during the afternoon hours. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. High 73F. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 mph.". So there ya go and it's only the middle of April.

But if you have to more here I'd vote for Eau Claire. It has everything you need and isn't so huge like Minneapolis/St. Paul in MN, or Milwaukee/Madison. It's around 98,000 people according to google. Has a nice college and a tech school. Good shopping, a nice park, small airport, great restaurants and is enough of a centralized location to get to many other places easily. And it's only 2 hours or so away from MSP International Airport.

Good luck in your decisions.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Upper Midwest
1,854 posts, read 1,951,521 times
Reputation: 1685
Quote:
Originally Posted by akravenlady View Post
My vote is to stay in the PNW. Here's why:

I grew up in Eau Claire then lived to the north of there in Bloomer, Sarona and Rice Lake then left and lived in Alaska for 7 years. Visited and spent time in the PNW often. Now I'm back in NW Wisconsin, unfortunately.

It is very very conservative here. VERY. People are friendly. To your face. Then that is as far as it goes. They stick to themselves and it's hard to make friends. Culturally diverse? Nope, not gonna happen in the NW part of the state. The only culture you'll find here is:

Guzzling beer
Killing deer
Watching football
Milking cows
Disagree. I wouldn't say "very very" conservative. I just moved from Montana - a town roughly the size of Eau Claire. I don't notice anyone more uptight or conservative here than what I was used to out there. Not at all. Just friendlier. More polite.

Arts-wise, if you seek, you shall find. There's a couple theater groups right here in my little city alone. Red Barn and Northern Star. And don't forget Theater In The Woods up in Shell Lake. Badger Brew always has musicians playing. If you want to find your artistic footing, as young as a child, you can find it. And Eau Claire, the Twin Cities, and even Duluth are a hop, skip, and a jump for artistic interests as well. Oh... and two more words: Steve Beguhn.

As far as that list description, yeah you'll find those people too. But you'll find them anywhere.

Quote:
Wisconsin rates #1 with the most alcohol consumption. So be prepared to find many bars everywhere you go with many drunk drivers. See this thread:
Wisconsin is No. 1 drunkest state in the country. See CBS News online

It is flat as a pancake here. If you are used to seeing the mountains and you love them, you will miss that here. I hike and snowshoe, very few people here do that. Instead they are in the local bar. Of course, in the college towns you'll see the younger people biking but your average family, nope, doesn't happen. I've not found any hiking trails per se, just a few very poorly marked trails out in the Blue Hills (close to Rice Lake) that I use. Around WI they tend to use old railroad beds for hiking trails. How boring is that? Flat and straight and going nowhere.
It's flatter than the mountain states obviously, but flat as a pancake? Definitely beg to differ. What about from Rice Lake all the way to Duluth? It's gorgeous around the St. Croix Falls area, too. Not at all flat. Maybe the southern part of the state with more bluffs and rolling hills would be more your style. As far as hiking, my boss hikes. She likes the Pokegema Trail.
TravelWisconsin.com Travel Item - Pokegama Trail
And people in my family love to ice fish, snowmobile, and hit Christie Mountain in the wintertime.

Quote:
Hot weather and tornado's? Sure there are, don't let anyone fool you on that. Last summer was the worst. It was very hot and humid. June and July we had so many bad storms go through. For 3 weeks straight we had the sirens going off every afternoon/evening due to the bad storms. So, yeah, it happens. Our forecast for today is, "Showers and thunderstorms likely. Thunderstorms could be strong and possibly severe during the afternoon hours. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. High 73F. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 mph.". So there ya go and it's only the middle of April.
It won't necessarily repeat itself. Every year brings changes. I was living in Montana last summer and heard from relatives they had an intense thunderstorm summer. But... in comparison, our Montana summer was pretty dull. Never did get very hot. Dry and dusty as usual. Left me itchy as usual. And we had our first snow in September. Merry early Christmas. I welcome some humidity this year to moisten my skin. And oh, am I looking forward to some real green scenery that POPS. I've missed lush green and abundance of lakes so much.

Quote:
But if you have to more here I'd vote for Eau Claire. It has everything you need and isn't so huge like Minneapolis/St. Paul in MN, or Milwaukee/Madison. It's around 98,000 people according to google. Has a nice college and a tech school. Good shopping, a nice park, small airport, great restaurants and is enough of a centralized location to get to many other places easily. And it's only 2 hours or so away from MSP International Airport.
Or LaCrosse. A little smaller, but also everything you need. Only an hour or so extra to the Twin Cities. Same distance (roughly) to either the Cities OR to Madison. And it's much more hilly down there.

I definitely respect your views, but as someone who was born here and whose spirit has never left here... I thought I'd offer the counter view. People can read both views and make their own decisions (I would HOPE they'd just come here and experience these things for themselves, before trusting any heresay either way). I feel the same as you do about Wisconsin... but about a different state. lol
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