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Old 04-21-2017, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Telecommutes from Northern AZ
1,164 posts, read 1,378,913 times
Reputation: 1638

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Ok, I've lived before in Michigan (South East Detroit Metro) so I know roughly what to expect. My wife just landed a job in Grand Rapids so we are pondering moving back.

Any Arizona Expats out there that have opinions on Grand Rapids? I spent some time there a week ago and to be honest I could not tell if I liked it or not. On paper it looks good...but driving through the area I didn't feel any attachment to it. Don't get me wrong I liked the area...just not sure if it is for me (let the battle between my wife and I begin).

If you have lived in the South West and currently live in the Grand Rapids metro area what do you think? Just trying to gather some more data. I worry after spending another 5 years or so in Northern Arizona I will miss the wide open spaces, the pines, and significantly less hash Winters even though I think I know what to expect (just like Detroit area just with more snow).

Getting cold feet a little bit. Help tip the scales one way or the other for me Obviously I'm taking in multiple inputs before pulling the trigger to move, but any insight you have would be helpful. My wife wants the job but it isn't the only job in her field out there. My job can float us for the time being so we can be a little choosy.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:58 PM
 
4,195 posts, read 3,869,222 times
Reputation: 7023
So I spent 6 years in Phoenix, I graduated from ASU. Granted Phoenix might as well be another world from Flagstaff and anything else in Northern Arizona. Nonetheless there were a few things that I had to adjust to when I moved to Grand Rapids. Originally I am from SE Michigan so I thought when I moved here i'd be used to it....I wasn't. Everyones experience is different, if you provide some details about what you love and don't like it might be easier to give you insight. I moved back in the winter of 09 during the great recession(horrible timing). At that point what struck me was how run down the freeway infrastructure and built environment was. Everything in Arizona is new and not subject to the harsh winters that wear them down quicker. Since then i've obviously become a huge GR homer.

What I love is the character of the city, how dynamic it is, and how much it keeps changing and getting better. I also think the summers here are magical between the Lakeshore communities and the north country. The friends I have made play a huge part in it too. I never fully bought into the vapid nature of Phoenix (different from northern AZ id assume) but I still enjoyed my time there.

Bottom line is this, whenever you switch worlds there is anxiety and an adjustment period. Especially when you're talking about such different places. Grand Rapids itself is but 45-1hr from wide open spaces as Northern Michigan really isn't much more populated than Northern AZ. You will lose sweeping dramatic SW mountain vistas in Michigan. You will gain something completely different. Your attitude and determination will dictate whether this is a place you can thrive in, or if you will hate it. If you could press with more specific questions I might be able to give more detailed insight.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:08 PM
 
124 posts, read 109,097 times
Reputation: 163
Michigan's lush forests and foliage alone make the state much more beautiful than dry, arid Arizona.

The tree blossoms are incredible.

You also have the incredible beaches on lake Michigan's west coast.
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:50 AM
 
Location: Telecommutes from Northern AZ
1,164 posts, read 1,378,913 times
Reputation: 1638
Quote:
Originally Posted by newengland17 View Post
Michigan's lush forests and foliage alone make the state much more beautiful than dry, arid Arizona.

The tree blossoms are incredible.

You also have the incredible beaches on lake Michigan's west coast.
Remember not all of Arizona is cactus desert. I'm about a mile from pine forested mountains where I'm at currently in AZ. We get snow. My wife agrees with you though, even where we are at she says it is too dry and desert like. She wants green green green. And more snow (I don't mind the snow just the cold). I do like some of Michigan's lakes and beaches.

If we move I'll make the best of it and try to see the good. Nothing like sunsets in AZ and warm nights traveling through canyons with silent black mountains flanking you on either side with a canopy of stars overhead. I will miss that.

Trading one magic for another I guess.

Sell me on more of what is magical, for lack of a better term, about Grand Rapids. What makes it unique. Near the lake I get. Cool events in the town I get. Cool architecture and vibe I get. What else?
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,782,674 times
Reputation: 3843
Quote:
Originally Posted by infocyde View Post
Ok, I've lived before in Michigan (South East Detroit Metro) so I know roughly what to expect. My wife just landed a job in Grand Rapids so we are pondering moving back.

Any Arizona Expats out there that have opinions on Grand Rapids? I spent some time there a week ago and to be honest I could not tell if I liked it or not. On paper it looks good...but driving through the area I didn't feel any attachment to it. Don't get me wrong I liked the area...just not sure if it is for me (let the battle between my wife and I begin).

If you have lived in the South West and currently live in the Grand Rapids metro area what do you think? Just trying to gather some more data. I worry after spending another 5 years or so in Northern Arizona I will miss the wide open spaces, the pines, and significantly less hash Winters even though I think I know what to expect (just like Detroit area just with more snow).

Getting cold feet a little bit. Help tip the scales one way or the other for me Obviously I'm taking in multiple inputs before pulling the trigger to move, but any insight you have would be helpful. My wife wants the job but it isn't the only job in her field out there. My job can float us for the time being so we can be a little choosy.
What parts of Grand Rapids did you check out? The metro area is pretty sprawling and the Northeast and Eastern side of the metro feels a lot different than the Western side (although they both have their pluses).

If you like wide open spaces, you should maybe check out areas like Allendale, West of 56th. It gets pretty wide open and not as forested and the sunsets out there are breathtaking (I work out in that area). 15 minutes to Lake Michigan too.
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:58 PM
 
Location: SDL/PDX/RDU
5,463 posts, read 2,882,257 times
Reputation: 6153
OP, if you do move, keep some cash in the budget for a sturdy snowblower and a good down parka. I moved from GR to AZ about a year or so ago and don't miss it for a nanosecond.

YMMV
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:11 AM
 
1,137 posts, read 624,482 times
Reputation: 4406
Quote:
Originally Posted by infocyde View Post
Remember not all of Arizona is cactus desert. I'm about a mile from pine forested mountains where I'm at currently in AZ. We get snow. My wife agrees with you though, even where we are at she says it is too dry and desert like. She wants green green green. And more snow (I don't mind the snow just the cold). I do like some of Michigan's lakes and beaches.

If we move I'll make the best of it and try to see the good. Nothing like sunsets in AZ and warm nights traveling through canyons with silent black mountains flanking you on either side with a canopy of stars overhead. I will miss that.

Trading one magic for another I guess.

Sell me on more of what is magical, for lack of a better term, about Grand Rapids. What makes it unique. Near the lake I get. Cool events in the town I get. Cool architecture and vibe I get. What else?
I've lived all over the US and everything has its good and bad.I love Michigan, decided to retire here. Go to my web (click on my name) to see what exploring this great state uncovered for DW and I...
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