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Old 03-14-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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In your opinion-what are the best small to mid-size cosmopolitan towns with a bohemian flair? We would consider up to 4 hours away from GR but that is about as far away as we want to get. What we are looking for is a small to medium sized town/city with great schools, safe, access to a variety of restaurants (not just chains), live music, festivals, access to outdoor recreation, bookstore, movie theatre . . . . Not looking for a place filled with strip-malls and countless subdivisions. A place with an active downtown and older neighborhoods would be ideal. We have lived in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo and are not interested in heading back to either place at this stage in our lives. We love Traverse City but would love to hear others opinions. We would consider places outside of MI as well but again, not much farther than about 4 hours from GR area.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Maybe Saugatuck, Grand Haven, South Haven.......
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:52 AM
 
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Saugatuck has no regular movie theatre and barely a bookstore, so I'd say Holland or Grand Haven. Just one visit to downtown Holland will "sell" you. Stop by! Four hours from Grand Rapids can put you in three other states and one foreign country...maybe five if you're quick about it! ;-)
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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We are not opposed to leaving Michigan but would ideally like to be no more than four hours from GR. Would you say Holland is similar to Kalamazoo as far as the selection of shops, food, entertainment ?
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:23 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
We are not opposed to leaving Michigan but would ideally like to be no more than four hours from GR. Would you say Holland is similar to Kalamazoo as far as the selection of shops, food, entertainment ?
If you're a conservative driver, 4 hours encompasses the entire lower peninsula, nearly all of Chicagoland, the northern half of Indiana and most of Ohio.

It's difficult, if not impossible, to narrow that down.

Put differently. If you lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Grand Rapids was exactly 4 hours away (I've made that drive), why would you ever come to GR? If you need to come to GR frequently, why would you live on the other side of Chicago?

Can you narrow it down by explaining why you need access to GR?
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:29 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
We are not opposed to leaving Michigan but would ideally like to be no more than four hours from GR. Would you say Holland is similar to Kalamazoo as far as the selection of shops, food, entertainment ?
Depends on how you look at it.

Holland is 35 minutes from GR, and only 15 minutes from GR's largest mall. Given that, the shopping is much better in Holland than Kalamazoo.

Except that Kalamazoo is less than an hour from that same mall.

Downtown Holland is one of Michigan's finest for small shops.
Downtown Kalamazoo is not quite as nice, but I think has better restaurants (just lesser shops).
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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we want to be within 4 hours of family
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:40 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
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Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
we want to be within 4 hours of family
If you want to live within 4 hours of GR, I would look at Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago.

I would find a job in one of those areas, and then live nearby your job. Once you know where you'll be working, you'll get a better sense of the small towns surrounding your job.

If your family is in GR, then look for a job here. It's a recession, but that's the case everywhere. Cost-of-living is good, the town is nice and it's a great place to raise a family if you're into that.

If you've got no kids and you're looking to have fun, move to Chicago. You'll be within 3 hours of GR, and Amtrak has a nice route from Chicago to GR so you don't even need a car to get here.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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thanks for the suggestions but we are really not interested in living in a suburb of a huge city. Like I stated, we are looking for ideas on small to medium size towns that still have their own cosmopolitan feel without actually having to live in or near a huge city.
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in the valley
13,939 posts, read 2,432,255 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadejoe View Post
In your opinion-what are the best small to mid-size cosmopolitan towns with a bohemian flair? We would consider up to 4 hours away from GR but that is about as far away as we want to get. What we are looking for is a small to medium sized town/city with great schools, safe, access to a variety of restaurants (not just chains), live music, festivals, access to outdoor recreation, bookstore, movie theatre . . . . Not looking for a place filled with strip-malls and countless subdivisions. A place with an active downtown and older neighborhoods would be ideal. We have lived in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo and are not interested in heading back to either place at this stage in our lives. We love Traverse City but would love to hear others opinions. We would consider places outside of MI as well but again, not much farther than about 4 hours from GR area.

I would suggest St.Joseph, Stevensville, Bridgman all of which are on Lake Michigan. St.Joseph for its older appeal with the pier on Lake Michigan and Silver beach.
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