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Old 08-14-2008, 10:29 PM
6 posts, read 28,051 times
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I'm having a lot of trouble trying to decide on where to relocate after this year. I hope some of you can weigh in on various locations. Let me provide a little background information about myself/my family.

I am a doctor, and my wife and I have 2 small children. We currently live in Minneapolis, but are considering relocating for a new job. My entire family lives in Maryland, and my wife's family lives in Minneapolis, so we would like to be within driving distance (less than 5-6 hours) of one of them. Due to the locations of our families, we would also like to be relatively close to an airport to visit the other side.

We love many things about Minneapolis, including the fact that it is so clean, safe and modern. It also has a very educated population, great shopping, lots of cultural activities, and great natural resources (lakes). Drawbacks are it is a little bigger city than we would ideally like, winters are very cold and LONG (duh!) and we would prefer somewhere a little more socially conservative if possible (and with at least one academically-strong Christian elementary/middle/high school). However, I'm not sure if we can find a place with a good economy/cultural opportunities that is more conservative. Some places we've casually considered include Des Moines, Duluth, Chicago suburbs, Madison, Milwaukee suburbs, Charlottesville, Raleigh/Durham/Cary, Charlotte, and Greensboro/WS/High Point. Neither of us are too familiar with southern culture so we're a little concerned about whether NC would too big a cultural shock. Any opinions?
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:43 AM
5,817 posts, read 15,248,315 times
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It might be possible to go through a process of elimination, depending on how strongly you feel about those features you want in a city, as well as those you'd like to be different from Mnnpls. If you really want to escape the long, deep-freeze winters, that eliminates Duluth, Madison, and maybe Milwaukee. If you want not only shorter winters but substantially milder temperatures, you might think twice about Chicago and Des Moines as well. If you really want a place that is at least moderately conservative, Madison is probably not the best choice. I've never been to Duluth, but I hear it leans to the left as well, though maybe that mix of universities and a blue-collar community might be a different kind of leftward lean. Not sure about that last part, but a possibility to consider. On another point, I wonder about Chicago if you're saying you want a smaller metro area than the Twin Cities. In many ways, Des Moines seems to fit your criteria pretty well, but the question there would be how much less in the way of cultural amenities would you be comfortable with. I don't mean to knock Des Moines, because it's certainly not empty in the area of culture, but you're definitely looking at some downgrade from where you are now. On the other hand, you might have to expect that if you want a smaller city than where you are now, so the question of where you want to strike the balance between having a smaller city than Mnnpls. and still having cultural opportunities is something to consider.

What kind of culture shock are you concerned about if you move to the South? The answer to that question would give people an idea about which Southern cities would work best for you. There are some northern transplants in Charlotte, which might dilute some of the cultural differences. That area is funny, though. You might not experience so much culture shock right in the city of Charlotte, but the surrounding area leans well to the right and has a lot of emphasis on religion. It sounds as if that might be just what you're looking for, but then, maybe you want religion and conservatism in smaller doses than you'd find in the vicinity of Charlotte. Something to think about, at least. Also, you might ask yourselves how much smaller a city than the Twin Cities you want. Charlotte is smaller than the TC area now, but Charlotte is growing, and even now it's bigger than most of the other places you're considering.

I've never been to Charlottesville. My understanding, though, based strictly on what I've heard, is that C'ville is a bastion of old Southern culture. If that general area appeals, a couple of other small cities in the area that you might consider would be Blacksburg and Roanoke. You might look at Boone, NC, as well, though it may feel enough influence from Appalachian State to lean somewhat to the left, though I belive that Boone is not a way-left hippie/bohemian/faux-bohemian town like Asheville (which you'd definitely want to avoid like the plague if you want Christian and even moderately conservative).

Another city I might suggest, depending on how set you are on finding a metro area smaller than the Twin Cities, is Pittsburgh. Nice city that has cleaned up its act a lot since the grimy steel mill days, just a few hours from MD, and a few hours by air to Mnnpls.

Well, okay, there are a few thoughts. Good luck with your search.
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:45 PM
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Have your ever looked into Kansas City? Smaller than Mpls. by a million people, a much milder climate (I have walked the Plaza in a t-shirt in February). More conservative, but with a wide array of cultural opportunities. You wouldn't have to put up with a heavily southern culture. Plus, it is alot cheaper than Minneapolis. Drawbacks being that KCMO is much poorer, more dangerous and less educated than Mpls., but that has to be taken relatively.
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