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Old 05-28-2017, 08:47 AM
 
Location: West Mitten
9 posts, read 6,095 times
Reputation: 22

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Hi there!

We are an active, large family from West Michigan moving to the east side in the near future. We would love some direction & advice as we are not terribly familiar with the Metro Detroit area outside of major sports & concert venues. Husband will be working in both Canton & Auburn Hills. Here's some (ok, a lot of) info on our preferences:

-Relatively safe, family friendly. We're very community-oriented & want a place we can actively plug into as a couple & as a family. A lively, walkable downtown would be nice with stuff to do. Diversity appreciated.
-We're not a fan of snobs (with or without money). While to a degree it's tolerable, we want to avoid living in an area where it's a pervasive part of the culture. Pretension, judgmentalism, keeping up with the Jones' is just not who we are nor what we want for ourselves or our kids in the community or schools. A friendly, authentic place is a must as we have no friends or family in that area & we'll need to cultivate relationships. Plus I'm about as extroverted as one gets so it's a high priority since I won't be working outside of the home initially
-Safe schools with a fairly robust curriculum & extracurriculars, decent grades/test scores. Not necessarily looking for "the best of the best" or most competitive where the pressure is great & a kid has no life beyond homework. Open to private or charter schools if necessary.
-Hubster would love a community basketball league.
-Some decent restaurants.
-Commute within 45 minutes, shorter is better but being split between 2 towns makes it more challenging. Work schedule is flexible to avoid heavy traffic times.
-Trees, a yard for the kids, reasonable proximity to water, parks, trails, & nature preserves a huge bonus as we are spoiled with them here. Also a nice aquatic center and/or gym, library, farmer's market.
-Planning to initially rent, 3+ bedrooms around $2000/month preferred.

We're open to the suburbs or Detroit proper, though most threads seem to suggest the city is not a great idea for kids (Palmer Woods looks lovely but again I'm not really familiar).

This is a huge, perhaps unfeasable list but I figured I'd paint you a detailed picture to see if we can find anything close & trade off from there. TIA for your help, it's a Godsend!
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:37 AM
 
124 posts, read 108,630 times
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Ferndale seems to have everything you want except it's not near the lakes.

Maybe Keego Harbor, I guess you could also check out West Village which is in the city but that would be a further commute.
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Old 05-28-2017, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
1,786 posts, read 1,936,331 times
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Southeast Oakland County: Berkley, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, and many parts of Royal Oak. Ferndale is all of that too, but you get bad schools in Ferndale. The other towns all have good schools. Pretty much every one of those towns meets what you want. They each have their own pros and cons, but I'd say each of those towns matches what you're looking for. If you want more details on the cities let me know and I can type you a longer post when I'm on my computer
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:22 PM
 
915 posts, read 1,161,622 times
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Ferndale, Southfield, or Royal Oak would be ideal given the extreme distance between Canton and Auburn Hills.

Southfield was my halfway point when we were moving from Rochester Hills to Canton.

Is there going to be one city that he works out of more than the other? That could also influence the areas we suggest.
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
27,772 posts, read 65,673,344 times
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I would suggest you loo k in the lake communities from Walled lake to Pontiac. If you look at a map, you will see a ton of little lakes peppering the area. (Include Walled lake, do not include Pontiac.)

Novi, Lyon Township/South Lyon, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills all could work. Milford might be perfect especially right in town or near Kensington Metropark.

Another option might be to live in or near the place where your husband will work most often so he has a tiny commute on those days at the price of a longer commute on other days. Both Canton and Auburn Hills (or Waterford) are reasonably nice places.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:36 AM
 
Location: West Mitten
9 posts, read 6,095 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo-Aggie View Post
Southeast Oakland County: Berkley, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, and many parts of Royal Oak. Ferndale is all of that too, but you get bad schools in Ferndale. The other towns all have good schools. Pretty much every one of those towns meets what you want. They each have their own pros and cons, but I'd say each of those towns matches what you're looking for. If you want more details on the cities let me know and I can type you a longer post when I'm on my computer
I would appreciate that, thank you! 🖒
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:42 AM
 
Location: West Mitten
9 posts, read 6,095 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I would suggest you loo k in the lake communities from Walled lake to Pontiac. If you look at a map, you will see a ton of little lakes peppering the area. (Include Walled lake, do not include Pontiac.)

Novi, Lyon Township/South Lyon, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills all could work. Milford might be perfect especially right in town or near Kensington Metropark.

***Another option might be to live in or near the place where your husband will work most often so he has a tiny commute on those days at the price of a longer commute on other days. Both Canton and Auburn Hills (or Waterford) are reasonably nice places.*
We're considering this more & more. He'll be Canton heavy the first year, after that it's a question mark. Thanks!
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:48 AM
 
Location: West Mitten
9 posts, read 6,095 times
Reputation: 22
Thank you all for your input! We'll be visiting in the next couple weeks to check out your suggestions plus Plymouth.

My husband's co-worker suggested we also look at Farmington/Hills & West Bloomfield. Impressions on those locations??

I'm so grateful for this forum 😁
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
1,786 posts, read 1,936,331 times
Reputation: 3554
Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeMIBeachBum View Post
I would appreciate that, thank you! ��
If I had to give my generic "what sets these apart" stereotype to the Southeastern Oakland County communities:

Berkley: It's a small town in a metro of 4.5 million people, and most people know of each other. It kind of feels like 1955 in some ways. Tends to be politically liberal with a lot of community activism and much of the activism is geared toward improving things for families with children, but there exists a substantial retiree population here as well, who simply raised their families and then stayed. Walkable downtown has restaurants, Irish pubs, pizza places, and quirky boutiques. Schools in recent years have been rated among the best in the metro.
Clawson: An even smaller town with an even smaller town feel, also contains a walkable downtown which became somewhat abandoned during the recession but has recently exploded with new restaurants and second hand stores. Also an awesome sushi counter is here. It's a bit more working-class than its neighbors, and due to this tends to be a bit more politically moderate. Schools are typically average compared to the metro, but seems to be improving.
Ferndale: Probably the "coolest" town in the state, if you ask me. It's fully of quirky restaurants, bars, and this weekend is opening a "Family Friendly Pub" that serves local beers, while having a kids menu and changing tables. It's the LGBT capital and probably the most liberal suburb in the state, but it's also welcoming to families. That being said, it's also known for having pretty terrible schools, so if you're looking for good schools you'll be driving your kids to Royal Oak or Berkley.
Huntington Woods: Situated in an almost perfect location between Downtown Royal Oak, Downtown Ferndale, and Downtown Berkley you can walk or bike to each. There's also a zoo here. Mostly it's a very upscale residential town with high incomes and older houses that have been kept in immaculate shape. Surprising lack of snobbery, given the high incomes here. Possibly my favorite town in the metro, but sadly a bit out of my price range. Kids here attend Berkley schools.
Pleasant Ridge: Is a tiny little 0.5 sq.mile subdivision that is somehow its own community. It sits between Royal Oak and Ferndale and attends Ferndale schools. Lots of very large, older, well-kept homes and a generally higher income. I don't know much about Pleasant Ridge, but I kind of lump it in as the upscale part of Ferndale.
Royal Oak: Essentially a former hipster mecca that graduated into more of a professional double-income-no-kids (DINK) mecca. I love Royal Oak and it's my favorite place to spend a Friday night. Its downtown is full of upscale restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops. It's much larger than the other towns here and when you get out of the downtown area there are a number of very suburbany, family-friendly neighborhoods. Schools are generally accepted to be high quality, and politically Royal Oak is liberal, though not quite to the extent of Ferndale. Probably the most snobby of the cities on the list, but still not snobby like you'd find in Ann Arbor, Birmingham, or the Bloomfields.

As for what sets them apart from most other communities in the metro is that so much of Metro Detroit is suburban sprawl. Huge lots, no sidewalks, anti-fence ordinances, endless strip malls, but in Southeast Oakland County you don't have that. It's all old-timey urban planning with 0.13 acre lots, sidewalks on both sides, tree-lined streets, and just that charming 1940's appeal of what Suburban America should have become. While many other inner-ring suburbs became less desirable over the century, this part of town stayed cool and desirable. You pay more per square foot than you would in places like Rochester Hills or West Bloomfield, but you get what I consider to be a better community and much easier access to Detroit for museums, sports events, concerts, etc.

Admittedly I have bias as this is where I live (Berkley), but as a metro transplant myself I wouldn't have moved here if I didn't think it was awesome.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
27,772 posts, read 65,673,344 times
Reputation: 32968
Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeMIBeachBum View Post
Thank you all for your input! We'll be visiting in the next couple weeks to check out your suggestions plus Plymouth.

My husband's co-worker suggested we also look at Farmington/Hills & West Bloomfield. Impressions on those locations??

I'm so grateful for this forum 😁
Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield both offer good schools, quality housing options, some parks and open space. Good safety. Neither have a town, but Farming Hills is adjacent to Farmington which has a cute but tiny downtown area. Farmington Hills falls into several different school Districts. Walled lake and West Bloomfield and both pretty good schools. I do not know about Farmington School district. My personal preference would be Farmington Hills. My Brother chose West Bloomfield over F.H. I think that was mostly

Why not rent in Canton for a year while you decide where to settle for good? That would give you a year to explore and check out the vibe of each area. You just have to make yourself do it right from the beginning and not get caught up int he business of life and try to do it last minute. If you are going to make a lifelong commitment to a community, a year is a reasonable amount of time to spend researching and comparing.
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