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Old 07-08-2017, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Michigan
12 posts, read 13,853 times
Reputation: 13

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Hi everyone!

This is my very first post in this forum, but I have been searching advice that others have posted on these forums for a very long time. Sorry for the lengthy this post. My husband and I both grew up and lived in mid-Michigan for over 20 years before moving to the Tampa Bay area in Florida. We lived in Florida for just over 3 years before moving back to Michigan. While we enjoyed living in Florida, we realized that we would prefer to vacation there as the heat was just too much for us to handle. We missed being closer to our family as well.

I love Michigan a lot--scenery, beaches, people, UP, familiarity--but I suffer greatly from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and have trouble tolerating freezing temperatures. Once Spring and Summer came, I felt like I was in paradise. While I would absolutely stay in Michigan for good if it were warm/mild throughout the year, I'm thinking we will thrive better in a state with milder Winters. It makes me sad at the thought of leaving Michigan and family again. However, there is so much more to explore and experience in other states. I can't help but think that there just may be another state out that that is similar to Michigan, but without similar Winters.

So here's the thing, I will be applying to various graduate programs for School Counseling by the end of this year (2017) and my husband and I were thinking this would give us the opportunity to explore another area during my graduate program before settling down in our careers and purchasing our first home. We've narrowed our choices down to University of Georgia in Athens, Old Dominion University in Virginia Beach, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, or just staying in Michigan and applying to WMU--despite the Winters.

Here are a few things about us that may help:
We love the beach, lakes, boating, hiking, amusement/water parks
Safe areas
We are in our mid/late-twenties
Not into the party scene
Ideal date night would be a movie and dinner--or going to the beach/lake
I am terrified of alligators
We love Summer, Fall, Spring--in that order-and mild winters
Sunshine for more than half of the year would be ideal
Would prefer to be somewhere that isn't completely flat
Someplace with similar scenery to Lake Michigan or the UP in Michigan would be awesome!
Husband will be in Nursing and I will be a School Counselor
Would prefer an area where we won't be sitting in traffic for too long

Thank you all for your help in advance and if you have any suggestions for areas other than the places I have named, feel free to mention them!
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:01 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL -> ATL
4,578 posts, read 3,845,884 times
Reputation: 3744
Athens would be great. Athens is in the hilly piedmont region and you have the southern portions of the Appalachians and Blue Ridge just over an hour to the north. I've never heard of gators this far north. There are some snakes to worry about but you'll likely never have a problem.
Plenty of lakes and rivers around. Lake Lanier about an hour away, Hartwell about an hour away. Oconee probably even closer.
Winters are about 20 degrees cooler than Tampa and we can get cold and dreary, BUT, I find it far better than the awfulness I experienced the last two winters (and "springs") in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Summers can be bad but they won't be as bad or as long as Tampa.
Athens has a nice little downtown and is a quintessential college town. I know you don't care for the nightlife but it still provides things to do.
Athens/Clarke County can get sketchy but Oconee County/Watkinsville is adjacent and is the premier middle class area for the Athens metro.
You won't be that close to the beach, however. Not a day drive, you'd want to stay for a night or two to get your money's worth.

If Athens doesn't have what you need as a metro, just head on over to Atlanta. In half an hour you'll find yourself in metro Atlanta with the city proper being another 30+ minutes.
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Michigan
12 posts, read 13,853 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sedimenjerry View Post
Athens would be great. Athens is in the hilly piedmont region and you have the southern portions of the Appalachians and Blue Ridge just over an hour to the north. I've never heard of gators this far north. There are some snakes to worry about but you'll likely never have a problem.
Plenty of lakes and rivers around. Lake Lanier about an hour away, Hartwell about an hour away. Oconee probably even closer.
Winters are about 20 degrees cooler than Tampa and we can get cold and dreary, BUT, I find it far better than the awfulness I experienced the last two winters (and "springs") in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Summers can be bad but they won't be as bad or as long as Tampa.
Athens has a nice little downtown and is a quintessential college town. I know you don't care for the nightlife but it still provides things to do.
Athens/Clarke County can get sketchy but Oconee County/Watkinsville is adjacent and is the premier middle class area for the Athens metro.
You won't be that close to the beach, however. Not a day drive, you'd want to stay for a night or two to get your money's worth.

If Athens doesn't have what you need as a metro, just head on over to Atlanta. In half an hour you'll find yourself in metro Atlanta with the city proper being another 30+ minutes.
Thanks, sedimenjerry, for your advice! I definitely could handle a Winter with temps 20 degrees cooler than Tampa. I have heard that Lake Lanier is very nice and great for boating. We'd love to be close to it so we can enjoy it more often if we end up moving to Georgia. We've been to Gwinnett County--Dacula and Lawrenceville--and found those areas to be nice. We did, however, just visit for the weekend. We will be taking a vacation there to visit friends at some point this year. We'd also consider looking into Braselton, Sugar Hill or Suwanee. Do you have any opinions on those cities in particular? I understand that there are regular job postings for school counselors in those areas. Thank you again for the help!
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:22 PM
 
3,653 posts, read 1,770,081 times
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Gwinnett is probably one of the best counties to work in GA for your profession and Suwanee is nice but quite far from what I remember from Athens. Are you planning on doing online classes or perhaps hybrid classes?
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Michigan
12 posts, read 13,853 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamerD View Post
Gwinnett is probably one of the best counties to work in GA for your profession and Suwanee is nice but quite far from what I remember from Athens. Are you planning on doing online classes or perhaps hybrid classes?
Hi DreamerD! I too think that Gwinnett County would be the best area for school counseling. I would have to live in Athens for the first year, at least, of my program. UGA partners with Athens and Metro Atlanta school districts for the internship portion, which occurs during the second year, so I may have the opportunity to move to Metro Atlanta at that point. Once I finish my program, we will then be able to purchase a home near the school I will be working at--in Gwinnett County, hopefully. Fortunately for my husband, he will be in the nursing profession and will have more options for work in the area
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,517 posts, read 3,800,259 times
Reputation: 3779
Georgia is a very warm weather state, but, even in the summer, it's often tolerable by most people's standards, because clouds roll in and out all year, and temps go up and down. Last couple of days here it's been really nice, between the storms.

Atlanta area is a couple of degrees cooler year round than Athens, because of the higher elevation. With that said, they're very similar, and Athens has been known to get a few inches of snow in the winter occasionally, when cold air systems push down from the western Carolinas.

But winter anywhere in the southeast is going to be an absolute cakewalk compared to Michigan. You'll definitely love winter.

Virginia is on the border really, between the southeast and northeast winters. Charlottesville will often be well above freezing in the daytime in January, but you'll usually see about 15" of snow spread out across the winter. Whereas north GA averages 2" or 3" snow a year, and most years recently just basically flurries.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:39 PM
 
1,032 posts, read 629,395 times
Reputation: 656
Good luck! I grew up in mid-michigan too, but moved to ATL in '96. I would never move back (hate winter too) but love to visit MI in the summertime.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:18 AM
 
3,653 posts, read 1,770,081 times
Reputation: 2833
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachMaples91 View Post
Hi DreamerD! I too think that Gwinnett County would be the best area for school counseling. I would have to live in Athens for the first year, at least, of my program. UGA partners with Athens and Metro Atlanta school districts for the internship portion, which occurs during the second year, so I may have the opportunity to move to Metro Atlanta at that point. Once I finish my program, we will then be able to purchase a home near the school I will be working at--in Gwinnett County, hopefully. Fortunately for my husband, he will be in the nursing profession and will have more options for work in the area

Sweet. Sounds like a plan. Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:46 AM
 
3,882 posts, read 9,152,365 times
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Athens is a lot like Ann Arbor, only smaller.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:17 AM
 
2,263 posts, read 2,067,565 times
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Pros: Better economy, very mild winters, affordable (not as affordable as Michigan), ATL and Athens have a lot of things to do.

Cons: It's hot and humid in ATL in the summer. It's not as bad as Florida, but it's close. ATL is more "Go Go" and fast paced compared to Michigan. Traffic.

You might like Denver. It's more Mid West like, has milder winter than Michigan, and has a good economy. The downside is it's not very affordable, dry, and isolated from the rest of the US. Just a thought.
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