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Old 11-10-2013, 02:10 PM
 
21 posts, read 49,308 times
Reputation: 14

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Hi, I see tons of posts like this and have read through many of them, but everyone's criteria is somewhat different. I am originally from IL, currently in Portland, OR (am here for school) and am looking to relocate somewhere in the western US. Here is my criteria:

1) Population- 20-200K. If it is only 20K, there needs to be a town around 75K or more nearby. If it is 200K, it needs to have access to country, very nearby (Boise would be a good example).
2) Little/no traffic
3) Left leaning would be nice but isn't a necessity
4) Open to natural/alternative/integrative medicine- this is my profession. The market cannot already be "saturated" though too (but I have access to these stats). Typically if there is a health food store or food co-op, the area is open to it.
5) Weather- NO endless gloom like Portland- that is top priority. I am open to some snow, but don't want a freezing climate- average high 30+ will work. Summer at least 75-80 (northern CA coast, like Eureka/Arcata would not work), but nothing 100+ (except the occasional day).
6) Great access to outdoors! Ocean within 2-3 hrs. is a huge plus, mountains (or very close access) are a must
7) Cost of living- I am not sure if this is really a factor. We own a fifth wheel trailer that we can get by with for a couple years while the business gets established. After that, we should be able to afford the area...assuming it isn't a place only Hollywood stars live.

I am open to bending my criteria as needed.

I have visited these areas as options:
Boise, ID- it is a bit too dry for my tastes, but I am not crossing it off yet. Mountains/forest are immediately to the north.
Moscow, ID- I LOVED this town, but the gloom is probably a real issue for me. I still haven't completely crossed it off.

These areas I have not visited but am reading about:
Chico, CA
Windsor/Napa/wine country- not sure about the traffic situation, among other things
Truckee, CA- the low temps at night are really cold!
Flagstaff, AZ- lots of natural medicine already here though (I also have family in Phoenix area, which is the big draw for me!)
Colorado- but have only visited Boulder for a quick trip. It is pretty dry, although there seem to be mountain towns that are green, but the population in them seems so tiny and isolated. Denver suburbs might work, like Golden, Longmont (?). I am open to suggestions.

Any other ideas? I haven't researched southern CA much at all, and I might have missed some areas in northern CA. I am thinking the south area might be dry unless it is very near the coast.

I am not at all interested in Bend, OR.

I am just not familiar with this area of the country and would LOVE help with places that I should explore and narrowing down places to actually visit.

Thanks! This is a wonderful forum!
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:17 PM
 
21 posts, read 49,308 times
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A college town would be a plus too! :-)
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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Even though it's overcrowded for it's size I would recommend Flagstaff. It is a college town with Northern Arizona University and it's also very touristy because it's the closest city with the most amenities close to the Grand Canyon. And yes it's only a 2 hour drive down the mountain to Phoenix or longer depending where in the Phoenix area you are traveling because as you know the Phoenix area is friggin HUGE geographically.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:08 PM
 
21 posts, read 49,308 times
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BuckeyeBoyDJ, I would love to be in the Flagstaff area, because of its location, size, and being close to family. My only hesitation is that I am a licensed ND. There are already 14 in Flagstaff and the population is about 65K. A "safe" number to be able to be successful is about 1 ND for every 5K people. Flagstaff already meets that and almost exceeds it. In all honestly, when I fully figure out what my business is going to look like, that all might not matter (if I can do something that is different enough to set myself aside).

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,618 posts, read 86,571,713 times
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Everybody I have ever known who is familiar with Grand Junction, Colorado, loved the place.

You'd have to consider Rapid City, South Dakota. Also, Bozeman, Montana.

Las Cruces, New Mexico, gets a lot of reputation points, and is growing fast.

20,000 is a pretty high bar. Few towns to pick from in the west that are that big.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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Thanks, jtur88, I will check into these areas. Is Grand Junction very conservative?
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Brew City
4,865 posts, read 4,131,041 times
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Some of your criteria are contradictory. You want sunshine and blue skies but you don't like an area that's too dry. Most areas west of the Rocky Mountain front will be grey and dreary and most towns east of the front will be dry. The clouds hang low until they reach the mountains then dump their moisture in order to gain enough elevation to cross them. The Continental Divide is a few miles from my house and the difference in moisture is unbelievable.

Someone already mentioned Bozeman but I think you would prefer Missoula. If you can get over the overcast skies.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:23 AM
 
21 posts, read 49,308 times
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Thanks, Vegaburn. Yes, I am learning the contradiction with the weather on this side of the country that you pointed out. In IL, where I am from, you can have green and sunshine both. Yes, it rains, but it does its job and stops, not this constant drizzle/gloom that is Portland.

It seems the Chico/Paradise CA area might be rather green. It has a ton of rainfall during the winter months, but seems to balance with sunshine as well.

Ashland, OR would be another example of both sunshine and green, but there are already so many NDs in the area (my line of work).

I am wondering if I am missing other areas in northern CA and maybe CO that might be like this (or elsewhere).

I will check into Missoula as well. Natural healthcare providers seem to flock to MT though.

Maybe I would enjoy northern ID/western MT with the help of a therapy light. It sure is beautiful! Or with snow on the ground, the gloom might not bother me. It never got to me in IL, and our winters weren't too sunny, but also not this extremely gloomy either. White snow made gloomy days seem bright.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Brew City
4,865 posts, read 4,131,041 times
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I didn't realize Montana attracted so many natural healers. I'm sure there are more in Missoula than Bozeman. Missoula is a liberal town and Bozeman is a stuck up conservative town that happens to host a state college.

Spokane, WA is bigger than you're looking for but perhaps you could check out Post Falls, ID or better yet, Coeur D'Alene, ID.

I understand what you mean. I'm originally from Ohio. I didn't realize just how overcast or gray it was all the time until I moved to Montana. We really do get a lot of sunshine but that comes with a price. We get next to no moisture.

I don't know enough about Northern California or Colorado but I would guess there are towns that would fit your criteria.

Someone mentioned Rapid City, SD. I second that.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:59 PM
 
83 posts, read 148,988 times
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Hi Mary,

I think you would enjoy Chico.

It's at a lower elevation than most of the other places on your list, so the weather would be slightly different. Places like Truckee and areas in Colorado are much higher so you would be directly affected by more severe weather conditions like snow. Chico is a relatively green area, although the past couple years we've come up drastically short of our average annual rainfall. In fact the local news was just recently reporting on the fact that the Chico area has only received maybe 1/6 of it's average which means the reservoirs are low and the fire danger is (and will be) high. Chico's well known for being a very sunny city, in fact Google just conducted one of their "Loon" experiments here in Chico because the weather is so nice most of the time. The rainy weather usually only lasts from November to March - although in recent years that's shifted a little bit because of El Niño and such.

That being said, the community itself is great. Chico is interesting in the sense that it is generally a more Progressive/Liberal population within a larger conservative population. On the whole, the Northern Sacramento Valley is very conservative since it's largely populated by farmers and ranchers. However, since Chico has a prominent university, it attracts more Progressive people so the city itself is more liberal (this makes for interesting local elections, haha).

I think this liberalism has lent itself to the diversity of Chico in terms of scenery, activities and culture. There's a big art scene here both in visual and performing arts, many local musicians perform at all sorts of venues in the evenings and on the weekends and between the university and local theater companies there is almost always a stage production happening.

With Bidwell Park there is an abundance of outdoor activities to choose from. Lower Park is a bit more tame and green, it provides nice paved walking/biking trails to go for a run or a casual walk. There's a beautiful creek that meanders through the entire length of the park called Big Chico Creek, at the One Mile Recreation Center the creek fills a large public swimming area called Sycamore Pool (basically it's a cement trough built into the creek itself with a dam at the southwest end. Also along the length of the creek there are maybe a dozen or more spots to pull off the path and have a picnic, most of these spots are creek side with picnic tables and fire pits. Some are just big enough for a family to set up at, others are large enough for a good sized gathering. In Upper Park there are rougher trails for hikers and mountain bikers to explore as well as some excellent swimming holes that many people flock to during the hot summer months.

Chico's pretty decent in size, I think the 2010 census stated it was roughly around 80,000 people. So it's large enough to offer some luxuries and features that only the larger towns have, but it's still small enough that there's a good sense of community here. There are a number of Farmer's Markets during the year, including the popular Thursday night market which goes from April until September, usually they close off part of downtown and all sorts of vendors and performers setup shop for food, shopping and entertainment. It's always had a very lively feel.

You should come check it out sometime, it's a great place. The holidays are ramping up and there are always some cool things to see around here and come spring the rolling hills will be green and the valley oaks will spring new life, I always enjoy seeing that.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!
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