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Old 11-16-2019, 11:21 PM
 
29 posts, read 56,948 times
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I’m Southern California born and raised but never felt like it was my forever home. We are exploring places to live. I’ve been told by midwestern friends that I seem like a midwestern person. I keep hearing about Grand Rapids. I can’t get an idea of what the vibe is. I realize saying the word vibe makes me sound like a tool, but it is what it is. Does anyone want to give me the quick and dirty rundown of what GR is all about?

A little about us: family of 5. Republican but not ultra conservative or religious (agnostic). We homeschool. My husband can work anywhere. I say the F word a lot. We love craft beer, board gaming, the outdoors (everyone except me...when they go backpacking I stay home and binge watch the Kardashians). We love the beach but any body of water will do. We long for deeper connections and are tired of the whole “who is cool” game. We need to be close to a good sized city but prefer suburbs. We long for that magical cul de sac where everyone is best friends and drinks and hangs out on the weekends and the kids run around like rugrats. Snow doesn’t scare me. We can afford comfortably up to about 600k but don’t need to spend that. Don’t want to live in an old Victorian home with walkability/live among the hipsters. Don’t need acreage (think magical cul de sac).

So, knowing a bit about us, do you think we should continue to explore Grand Rapids, and does anyone care to give me a quick breakdown/pros and cons?

Thank you all!
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
9,151 posts, read 17,793,231 times
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As with a lot of places, blue core city, more conservative suburbs. Possibly more craft beer per capita options than PDX. Lots of outdoor recreation options along the Lakeshore (which in Michigan terms, refers to the shore of a Great Lake rather than an inland lake) and once you get north of about Newaygo. Think Salt Lake City but without the mountains and with the Christian Reformed Church instead of the Mormons. The CRC folks these days tend to be concentrated in some of the western and southern burbs like Hudsonville, Jenison. Zeeland, and Byron Center.

Even though you homeschool, I'd say look in the suburban area described as the Forest Hills school district because that's the easy explanation of that area east of town. $400-500K will get you a nice house on a cul-de-sac out there, it's reasonably close to city amenities and the airport, and you get a good mix of natives and transplants. You might also look in the Rockford-Belmont area north of town- lots of inland lakes and you might find something lakefront there.
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Wyoming Michigan
57 posts, read 40,033 times
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The Grand Rapids Area is a fine area to live and explore. Many areas can achieve your cul de sac hope. Outdoor activities are plenty in all close distances including day hikes, biking and dog parks. Longer overnights hikes are all within a two to three hour drive. Manistee trail, nordhouse dunes & jordan river pathway to name a few.

$600k can buy a really nice place in many areas. I personally would not avoid any areas here. I think any city or area outside of town can achieve what you desire in terms of a nice friendly cul de sac. Many areas outside of the city are only 20 minutes into downtown Grand Rapids with most services and stores within a few miles.

I hope this helps. Need any more specific answers, feel free to reach out to me.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:45 AM
 
51 posts, read 76,507 times
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I think there are numerous areas to live in the GR area that fit your criteria. Byron Center, Kentwood and Caledonia being a few on the south edge of the city. These cities allow you to get to downtown GR in about 20-25 minutes easily. If you're willing to go out a little further, Lowell is nice too. Your price range will allow for a nice home in any of these areas. I know there are some new neighborhoods going up all the time that may interest you. Caledonia is growing quickly. A new park with pickleball courts, a bandshell and a fenced-in dog park was recently built adjacent to the library there. There is a neighborhood (Glen Valley) behind that with about 225 homes (a number of cul-de-sacs) and even though you mention homeschooling, the elementary through high school buildings are within a one mile walk. A bike path also runs through that area.


As far as pros for the GR area, lots of opportunities for education, jobs and entertainment. It is close to beaches, parks and just a couple of hours drive to the more forested areas of northern Michigan. Kalamazoo is about an hour away and Detroit about two hours away. The "Medical Mile" is a plus to the area bringing lots of top notch health care and research in that area.


As for cons, the winters can be brutal due to the effects of Lake Michigan. It can be quite windy here (year round) and the snow can be relentless at times. But if that doesn't scare you off, check out SW Michigan--it's a great place to live!
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:29 AM
 
229 posts, read 86,743 times
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How close to GR are you thinking? You might want to consider Grand Haven, Spring Lake, or even Norton Shores. It also sounds like you could hang with my BIL's family, but he lives in Cincinnati. However, developing relationships may be a challenge for families with school-age kids if you are homeschooling. Perhaps looking for area homeschooling groups can point you toward some specific neighborhoods.
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
2,218 posts, read 3,944,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan lizard View Post
How close to GR are you thinking? You might want to consider Grand Haven, Spring Lake, or even Norton Shores. It also sounds like you could hang with my BIL's family, but he lives in Cincinnati. However, developing relationships may be a challenge for families with school-age kids if you are homeschooling. Perhaps looking for area homeschooling groups can point you toward some specific neighborhoods.
That might be a little to much for a SoCalers first Michigan winter.
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Old 11-23-2019, 01:05 PM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
2,136 posts, read 2,322,577 times
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First off, you are not a tool, my dear.
"I say the F word a lot.
Come sit by me.
Don’t want to live in an old Victorian home with walkability/live among the hipsters.
This eliminates the Heritage Hill and Eastown neighborhoods, respectively.


Coming from California, you'll find your housing budget will pack a big punch here. especially in the burby-neighborhoods.
Republican but not ultra conservative or religious (agnostic).
This wild-eyed lefty thinks you'll fit in anywhere here just fine. Avoid the outlying areas of Grandville, Jenison or Byron Center, though;insular areas, in my opinion.

One thing you need to be warned about:

There's a reason it's called Sunny California.The winter sun here in West Michigan is...........elusive. Prepare yourself. Lay in a stock of melatonin,
Hope you make it to our shores! You will find a warm welcome here.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:43 AM
 
2,205 posts, read 2,951,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
Possibly more craft beer per capita options than PDX.
That's a hard no. Grand Rapids has a lot of beer, but I've never seen more craft breweries per capita than Portland.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Louisville
4,376 posts, read 4,162,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Digby Sellers View Post
That's a hard no. Grand Rapids has a lot of beer, but I've never seen more craft breweries per capita than Portland.
https://www.foodandwine.com/beer/cra...raft-breweries

You are correct, though I don't think Portland(depending on which Portland you're referring to) has quite as many per capita as your impression. Portland ME actually has the most craft breweries per 50k people.

Portland Or has 9 breweries per 50k

Grand Rapids has 7
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:42 PM
 
Location: SDL/PDX/RDU
6,302 posts, read 3,219,968 times
Reputation: 7061
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
https://www.foodandwine.com/beer/cra...raft-breweries

You are correct, though I don't think Portland(depending on which Portland you're referring to) has quite as many per capita as your impression. Portland ME actually has the most craft breweries per 50k people.

Portland Or has 9 breweries per 50k

Grand Rapids has 7
Happy you put that link up because I was going to chime in saying Asheville, NC would probably smoke Portland and GR combined.
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