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Old 07-11-2011, 04:23 PM
10 posts, read 12,599 times
Reputation: 13


I'm new here so someone else has surely searched for something similar but I couldn't find it searching through the threads. Anyway, my family (husband, son-7, daughter-4, my sister and her husband) are considering moving away from the DFW Texas area. We don't like the area (pollution, hot weather, not enough outdoor activities, etc.) and want to try somewhere different. Here's what we're looking for: better weather (seasons would be nice); urban area with access to outdoor activities such as beautiful parks, bike trails, hiking, mountains, ocean, rivers, etc; vibrant art and museum scene; liberal state of mind; lots of options for schooling including part-time elementary/middle/high schools or strong homeschool classes/programs; affordability-we don't want to be slaves to our mortgage and want to have money to travel; decent air quality and low overall pollution; plenty of jobs with decent pay (we have bachelor degrees and will be working on masters in the next year or two); and lastly good walkability and public transportation. I know we are wanting a lot but surely we can find a place to fit in. We love the Portland area, but we worry about the amount of rain due to my husband suffering from depression. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:27 PM
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Sounds like Denver!!!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:34 PM
10 posts, read 12,599 times
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I guess I should have also specified that we want to be within a few hours of the ocean. Denver does look beautiful, though. How long does it take to get acclimated to the altitude? When I was in Albuquerque I was dragging for a week!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:57 PM
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The thing that throws it for you is close to the ocean. That pretty much limits your choice to California with all your other criteria especially weather and California real estate to purchase a home near the ocean in an urban area is very expensive.

I assume that you could live inland and go to the ocean once in a while. If that's the case, I suggest Palm Springs, though you certainly won't get your 4 seasons, however it almost never rains and the winters are even warm.

Another option is Ventura County, CA closer to the ocean in Ventura rather than closer to LA. It is still expensive, but less so by CA standards and the temperatures are very moderate all year round without much rain.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:26 PM
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Albany NY, Springfield MA, Scranton PA, Philadelphia, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA.....
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:48 PM
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 3,463,293 times
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Being that close to the ocean really is going to limit your options. If you want seasons and affordable housing, you'll probably have to look inland more.

I'm going to plug my home city of Des Moines. Four distinct seasons, none of theme too extreme. Not quite as much for outdoor activates, but there are a number of nice parks and campgrounds, and it's not too far from the Driftless area in the northeast part of The state (about a 3.5-hour drive), which has tons of stuff to do. There are a lot if bike trails around the city. Surprisingly rich art scene. DSM is becoming kind of a fun, funky place to live. Quite liberal within the city, and a very important political location, so you'll definitely see presidential candidates. High quality schools, both in and out of the city. You should check out Central Academy, a partial-day magnet high school within the DSM public school system that has a ton of homeschooled students and some of the highest test scores in the nation. Some of the most affordable housing in the country, too, as well as low unemployment. No problems with air quality or pollution. Downtown is very walkable - the city has made a point of making downtown accessible and aesthetically pleasing recently. There's a free shuttle to get around downtown and a fairly good bus system elsewhere.
It doesn't fit every single criterion, but I think you should check it out.
Denver sounds like it would also be a good fit, I just don't know as much about it.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:19 PM
Location: Arvada, CO
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Seattle or Portland if you can deal with the rain, Denver otherwise (the altitude here is very easy to acclimate to).
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:28 PM
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Well, I didn't really specify that we'd like to be within 2-3 hours of the ocean. Close enough to take day/weekend trips but we certainly know we couldn't afford to be right near it. We'd definitely like to stay out of the mid-west though and I'm not a huge fan of California although my husband is. I absolutely love Portland, but my husband suffers from depression and I really don't want to chance making it worse with all the rain. Thank you for all of the suggestions!
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:29 PM
10 posts, read 12,599 times
Reputation: 13
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Albany NY, Springfield MA, Scranton PA, Philadelphia, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA.....
Is Philadelphia more affordable than Northern Virginia? We are looking into that area (close-ish to D.C.).
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:12 PM
Location: Charlotte, NC... for now.
38 posts, read 105,697 times
Reputation: 66
Honestly, Boston sounded perfect until you mentioned cost of living. It's a home run in just about every other area except for maybe pollution and weather, but even those aren't terrible. There are commuter rail lines that run all over eastern Mass and into RI (and up to Nashua, NH sometime in the not-too-distant future), so that might help you find a more affordable house while still giving you access to the city. Some places along the north shore might suit you well, given that you'd be closer to the mountains in northern New England and don't have to give up access to the beach or transit into Boston.

Another option, which is fairly unique to Boston and New England as a whole, is the number of triple decker houses in the area. These are three-story buildings that house multiple families, and while it's not something I'd normally mention, it might be worth considering if you went in with your sister's household. In the past, it wasn't unheard of for extended families to share them, but these days you usually just see the owners living on one floor and renting out the other two. Who else can you talk into moving?

Washington has a similar argument as Boston, in that it has a lot of what you're looking for, but at a similarly high cost. It also has commuter rail lines going all over the place, but rowhouses/townhouses would be more common than triple-deckers in the immediate area. Both areas do have plenty of nice towns outside of the main city.

If you're willing to give up being near the ocean, though, I also think Denver wins hands down. Besides the obvious, it has a nice walkable downtown area, and they're building light rail lines left and right into all the major suburbs. There aren't a whole lot of cloudy days there, but that doesn't mean the weather is something to take lightly. Altitude isn't too big of a deal - take it easy the first couple of days you're there and you should be fine.

Last edited by bushpilotwannabe; 07-11-2011 at 08:20 PM..
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