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Old 08-01-2018, 01:40 PM
 
Location: On the road
920 posts, read 420,421 times
Reputation: 2405

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Hello Wisconsin folks

I'm looking at putting my name in the hat for a job within my company that may be essential for a career change I need to make. The facility is located in Mauston, but from reading some of the threads on here, it doesn't sound like such a pleasant place to live. So, I would consider commuting from nearby towns as well. Madison is just a bit too far to commute everyday (looks like over an hour in good traffic), although we would prefer to live there.

I was looking at Wis Dells, Tomah, and Portage as options. Problem is that I have very limited experience in this region - I've only done the amusement parks in the Dells, plus skiing at Devil's Head and Cascade - no clue about any of the towns themselves. My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's, and we're fairly active (outdoor activities, local festivities, etc.) and want to make friends with folks like us. We also enjoy the bar scene - dancing, live music, etc. We love places with nice, walkable downtowns that have plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, etc. We do not plan on having kids, so schools aren't a concern. She works retail, so I'm sure she could get a job somewhere in the area. We wouldn't be living in the area for a long period of time, as we eventually want to move to the mountains out west. Our time in WI would just be long enough to get more marketable experience in the field I want (2-4 years). Therefore, we most likely will just rent, preferably under $1500/month. We don't need a lot of space; however I'd really want a garage.

Climate-wise, we can deal with having the harsher winter compared to NC.

Also, and this may or may not be an issue, we're an interracial couple (I'm black, she's white). Is that a problem in this region? We don't care about the occasional disapproving look, but we really don't want to deal with anything that escalates beyond that.

Simply put, I'm wondering would this be the right place for us to spend a few years? How likely would it be for us to make like-minded, outgoing friends? Or is this more of a homebody region (aside from the tourists)? If it is a good fit for us, which of the town options I mentioned above would be the best choice? As much as I want this career change, we also have to consider our happiness outside of work.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by BrianGC; 08-01-2018 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 08-01-2018, 01:53 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,186 posts, read 27,962,872 times
Reputation: 35450
That's a tough place to work and commute. Yeah, Madison is too far, unfortunately, as that would be by far the best. No to Tomah. I don't know Portage.


You may want to look at Baraboo which is next to the Dells. I've spent a fair amount of time in Reedsburg as a good friend lives there, but would lean no on that. Sauk City is prob too far as well. La Crosse def is. Hard no on Black River Falls too.


Mauston is just a tough location.
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Old 08-01-2018, 02:02 PM
 
Location: WI
3,893 posts, read 9,328,377 times
Reputation: 2380
Hi OP, yeah I'd agree to check out Baraboo; or even the Lake Delton/Dells area. While the Dells is obviously a tourist mecca esp in summer, it can be busy year round. There are some options for music, a decent # of restaurants and an improving outlet mall. Baraboo does have its little town square with shops as well.
The biggest attractions to me of those areas are the outdoor options. Some great parks for plenty of things to do, between Devil's Lake state park, Mirror Lake, etc.
There's a nice winery on the north edge of the Dells as well.

Madison can be had for better shopping options, but you definitely wouldn't want that transit on a daily basis. Remember winter here can double travel time.

Portage? Ahh i'd pass on that, same for driving to Tomah.

And keep in mind all these areas except Madison are smaller towns/cities so none will have what Madison may offer or what you're used to in NC. That's where little days trips can come in handy here.


Best thing to consider? Take a few days up here checking it out. To be honest if you know this is just a 2-4 year stay, i can think of far worse places than the Dells area to live lol.
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Old 08-01-2018, 02:14 PM
 
4,022 posts, read 2,738,585 times
Reputation: 3118
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianGC View Post
Hello Wisconsin folks

I'm looking at putting my name in the hat for a job within my company that may be essential for a career change I need to make. The facility is located in Mauston, but from reading some of the threads on here, it doesn't sound like such a pleasant place to live. So, I would consider commuting from nearby towns as well. Madison is just a bit too far to commute everyday (looks like over an hour in good traffic), although we would prefer to live there.

I was looking at Wis Dells, Tomah, and Portage as options. Problem is that I have very limited experience in this region - I've only done the amusement parks in the Dells, plus skiing at Devil's Head and Cascade - no clue about any of the towns themselves. My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's, and we're fairly active (outdoor activities, local festivities, etc.) and want to make friends with folks like us. We also enjoy the bar scene - dancing, live music, etc. We love places with nice, walkable downtowns that have plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, etc. We do not plan on having kids, so schools aren't a concern. She works retail, so I'm sure she could get a job somewhere in the area. We wouldn't be living in the area for a long period of time, as we eventually want to move to the mountains out west. Our time in WI would just be long enough to get more marketable experience in the field I want (2-4 years). Therefore, we most likely will just rent, preferably under $1500/month. We don't need a lot of space; however I'd really want a garage.

Climate-wise, we can deal with having the harsher winter compared to NC.

Also, and this may or may not be an issue, we're an interracial couple (I'm black, she's white). Is that a problem in this region? We don't care about the occasional disapproving look, but we really don't want to deal with anything that escalates beyond that.

Simply put, I'm wondering would this be the right place for us to spend a few years? How likely would it be for us to make like-minded, outgoing friends? Or is this more of a homebody region (aside from the tourists)? If it is a good fit for us, which of the town options I mentioned above would be the best choice? As much as I want this career change, we also have to consider our happiness outside of work.

Thanks in advance.
The closest place for you to possibly check off everything on your bucket list is Dane County. Everything driving distance to Mauston would be a stretch.
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:11 PM
 
Location: WI/MN resident
464 posts, read 268,741 times
Reputation: 1096
Like others, I recommend Baraboo to facilitate your commute to work.

As for your interracial relationship, I will be blunt: WI is an extremely racist state, and I can attest to this as a POC, so you may have a hard time finding like-minded people who will accept your kind of relationship (unless you go to Milwaukee or Madison). Locals may not burn crosses on your lawn or vandalize your property with racist graffiti, but I honestly would not put that past them or any Wisconsinite, especially in small towns. WI Dells might not be that way, as the locals there are probably accustomed to interacting with ethnic tourists. I am sorry if C-D contributors (most of whom are white) disagree with me.

New Lisbon could be another option to explore.

Last edited by InnovativeAmerican; 08-01-2018 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:07 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,186 posts, read 27,962,872 times
Reputation: 35450
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnovativeAmerican View Post
Like others, I recommend Baraboo to facilitate your commute to work.

As for your interracial relationship, I will be blunt: WI is an extremely racist state, and I can attest to this as a POC, so you may have a hard time finding like-minded people who will accept your kind of relationship (unless you go to Milwaukee or Madison). Locals may not burn crosses on your lawn or vandalize your property with racist graffiti, but I honestly would not put that past them or any Wisconsinite, especially in small towns. WI Dells might not be that way, as the locals there are probably accustomed to interacting with ethnic tourists. I am sorry if C-D contributors (most of whom are white) disagree with me.

New Lisbon could be another option to explore.

I don't disagree with you at all. I traveled the entire state as part of my job when I lived there, and heard and saw some super ignorant stuff. That was in the 90s and early 00s when the politics were more sane in the state.
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:10 AM
 
Location: WI
3,893 posts, read 9,328,377 times
Reputation: 2380
Hi op. On the racial side, one thing I would consider is just the overall minority %'s in the areas you are looking into vs what you have in the Carolinas. As an example, Madison lists less than 10% of its population as black, I would venture a strong guess that as you get into the smaller communities further out that % will lower. Perhaps lower significantly.

I've lived 50+ years in Wi and to be honest except for some time in my youth in poorer sections of Milwaukee, I was not around much at all for any considered a minority (I am white). And I've had those in family or friends that just seemed to grow up with certain viewpoints of other peoples. Some get comfortable in their world and dont like change.

We lived in SC from '09-'14; and i have to say (stressing this is my .02 only) that I saw and heard less what could be considered racism down there than I've noticed up here. But we also felt there was a more general openness and friendliness down there regardless of color, vs what we've seen up here. My point there is strong views of others can swing both ways even if not justified.

We have very close friends that are a mixed race couple here (he is black, she is white), they've commented about seeing/hearing things but it was not often and after all the years of marriage they dont even worry about it. In fact they'll joke that most comments they've heard were from black women upset on them being a couple.


You can find open minded people in any zip code, same for those who are not.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:06 AM
 
4,022 posts, read 2,738,585 times
Reputation: 3118
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnovativeAmerican View Post
Like others, I recommend Baraboo to facilitate your commute to work.

As for your interracial relationship, I will be blunt: WI is an extremely racist state, and I can attest to this as a POC, so you may have a hard time finding like-minded people who will accept your kind of relationship (unless you go to Milwaukee or Madison). Locals may not burn crosses on your lawn or vandalize your property with racist graffiti, but I honestly would not put that past them or any Wisconsinite, especially in small towns. WI Dells might not be that way, as the locals there are probably accustomed to interacting with ethnic tourists. I am sorry if C-D contributors (most of whom are white) disagree with me.

New Lisbon could be another option to explore.
New Lisbon, absolutely not. Total boondocks.

Baraboo over the Dells, with a fair amount of people commuting from that part of Sauk county to the Madison area for work.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:46 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,186 posts, read 27,962,872 times
Reputation: 35450
That's the good part about Baraboo. Liveable and commutable to Mauston, and weekend or worknight commutable easy enough to Madison.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:33 AM
 
Location: WI
3,893 posts, read 9,328,377 times
Reputation: 2380
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
That's the good part about Baraboo. Liveable and commutable to Mauston, and weekend or worknight commutable easy enough to Madison.
yep though Baraboo heading north will have add'l transit time over the Dells; it isnt as "touristy" as Lake Delton/Dells will be. Of course take that with a grain of salt, considering the volume of people who go into Baraboo area for the state parks, Crane Foundation, etc but it probably does make a little better option for living.
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