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Old 08-24-2012, 02:01 AM
 
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Hello!

We are relocating to Minnesota in the next six months. Job offers in both St.Louis Park and Mankato.

We are a late 30's liberal and atheist couple from Texas/Kansas now living in Seattle wih our 2.5 year old son. We speak our minds when needed but are pretty low-key about our political and lifestyle leanings.

We don't wear fancy clothes or have fancy things. I don't get my nails done and our child is typically in recycled clothes but my husband is a physician...though you might not ever guess it.

Looking for a smallish cozy house below $250,000 with a yard (& hopefully a storm shelter) in a safe QUIET (it's all relative I know but right now we live in the city part of Seattle and it is too loud for me) neighborhood with old trees, older homes, good people, bookstore or library, coffee and grocery in walking/biking distance with a lovely park (not a baseball field with some monkey bars and swing) nearby.
Too much to ask?

Any ideas for places we might want to live?

We may end up in Minneapolis if another job comes up, but for now we are off to see Mankato and St. Louis Park in two weeks! If you can think of fun things to do with a tot when we visit, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thank you in advance,
Jen
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:50 AM
 
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St. Louis Park is a busy area with a lot of traffic and it is pretty "yuppie" with a lot of focus on what car you drive, etc. Mankato will have more down to earth people where your lifestyle will be more prominent. Housing choices will be much more abundant in your price range. I would even consider looking at St. Peter, MN if you take the job in Mankato. It's just 10 minutes away via 4 lane highway but it is a smaller town with a great downtown area and all of the things you would like with parks, coffee shops, etc.

Most houses here have basements although storms strong enough to need to go to the basement are not very common, but they do happen.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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I don't see St. Louis Park as yuppie at all. It has a trendy area but the whole of it is more down to earth. Keep in mind that if you work in SLP you'll be in one of the inner suburbs and don't have to live there. SLP has Westwood Hills Nature Center and it also has a lot of parks.

We don't really do storm shelters here but all homes have basements, that's what you want for a tornado.

A thought for you is the east side of Robbinsdale. It's a quick drive to SLP and right off the parkway which is great for biking, I get a lot second hand and most people I know shop at thrift stores too, people here aren't bothered by that. We are a short bike ride from both North Mississippi regional park and Theo Wirth park which are like what you're looking for. There's also the regular baseball fields and play structures nearby for when you want those. There's a lot of older homes and a cute downtown with a bakery and meat market. A coffee shop and restaurants are close. You can also ride your bike to the library (it's a small one with limited hours but they're talking of building a bigger one in the area) The grocery store is close but it's more of a drive to store and we lack a bookstore. Half Price books is in Crystal though and a lot of the nearby thrifts have large book selections.

As far as safety we have had an increase in property crime lately, people taking stuff from unlocked cars and open garages, but I do feel safe here.

I also think St. Peter would be a better fit than Mankato from what you say. I don't know much about Mankato to know if there are neighborhoods that would work for you but St. Peter likely has everything you want.

Last edited by Kebinminn; 08-24-2012 at 09:12 AM..
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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I agree with Kebinminn. I suppose it might depend on specific neighborhood, but I've always considered SLP to be on of the LEAST status-oriented suburbs -- far more liberal, laid-back, and very much not about what you drive than most places. I think it sounds like a good fit for the OP, at least if they pick one of the quieter neighborhoods. Somewhere like Minnekhada Vista could be nice; walk to the Linden Hills Co-op, but also be within walking/biking distance of the stuff along Excelsior (Trader Joe's, the Rec Center, etc.). Very kid-friendly, too. There are some very nice, relatively affordable older homes tucked in there off of 44th. You sound like you'd fit right in.

Robbinsdale is also a good suggestion. I'd also take a look at parts of Golden Valley. Not sure what houses in neighborhoods like Bryn Mawr or Victory in Minneapolis go for these days, but those are also worth a look. And not sure how if it is quiet enough for you, but you should at least give Linden Hills in Minneapolis a look; great park, walkable, wonderful children's bookstore, very close to SLP. I assume it would be difficult to find something in your price range on a quiet street, although it's possible. But again, the adjacent SLP neighborhoods could very well have everything on your list and be in your budget.

No idea about Mankato. I would definitely check it out carefully to make sure you'd be comfortable there before making the move. I remember being shocked when reading the story of a gay teen who came out there 10 years or so ago; he (and his family) faced all sorts of discrimination. Not everyone in the community was like that, of course, but I was surprised that it could be like that in a college town in the early 2000s. I have no experience with Mankato and perhaps it's very welcoming and that was a fluke and times have changed (or perhaps there are just enough decent people that i doesn't matter), but that story just stuck in my head because it was SO different than the culture you find in SW Minneapolis or St. Louis Park.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:38 PM
 
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Thank "y'all" (what do Minnesotans use for you/all?) so much for the wonderful insight. I cannot wait to visit! Never been. Was also wondering about winter activities and how others there keep physically fit during the winters? Here, nearly every day is just a bit cold (45-50) and rainy, so walks and runs and biking are still options--though not everyone enjoys it. Oh and thanks for the info about storm shelters. I am terrified of earthquakes and Seattle is due for a big one which is one reason why we are moving. Tornadoes are nit a huge worry but I am a disaster preparedness type...I am a cop's (military) daughterso not a surprise.

Hope to be in Minnesota by November! Keep the comments coming!

Jenny
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:03 PM
 
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Shoveling snow is GREAT exercise! (Seriously. It really is.) Cross-country skiing is popular, and there are a lot of places where you can rent skis and hit the trails. There are skating rinks everywhere (on lakes, on flooded park fields, plus lots of indoor rinks open year-round). Some people (if you feel like taking on a project) even put rinks in their yards. And you can still go walking (and probably running; I'm not a runner) most of winter. There are usually a few days (sometimes weeks, depends on your comfort level) where it's unbearably cold to breath in the cold air, but usually you just bundle up and go. People bike year-round, too. They plow the bike trails and everything. You need some special gear for the really cold days, but local bike shops can help you figure it out. Otherwise there's all the indoor options: gyms, swimming pools, indoor walks at malls or downtown (thanks to skyways).
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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I can't recommend cross-country skiing enough. I started a few years ago and love it. Its great for getting out alone, or with groups, and it doesn't cost a fortune to get into. I think my basic skiis+boots were ~$150 and they should last for years. Its good full-body exercise that doesn't really feel like exercise, and its beautiful to be out on the trails on a sunny day after a fresh snow.

Just make sure you get the right size and kind of skis. The first time I went I (5'7", 135 lbs) borrow skis from my father-in-law (6'2", 180lbs), which were also very old, and I was convinced skiing was completely ridiculous.

There are a handful of people who are hard-core and run/bike outside all year 'round. There are also downhill skiing places nearby. Nothing like Montana or Colorado, obviously, but good enough to get out and play.
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Lee View Post
Thank "y'all" (what do Minnesotans use for you/all?) so much for the wonderful insight. I cannot wait to visit! Never been. Was also wondering about winter activities and how others there keep physically fit during the winters? Here, nearly every day is just a bit cold (45-50) and rainy, so walks and runs and biking are still options--though not everyone enjoys it. Oh and thanks for the info about storm shelters. I am terrified of earthquakes and Seattle is due for a big one which is one reason why we are moving. Tornadoes are nit a huge worry but I am a disaster preparedness type...I am a cop's (military) daughterso not a surprise.

Hope to be in Minnesota by November! Keep the comments coming!

Jenny
I've live in the upper midwest, mostly MN but elsewhere too, for over 40 years and have never had tornado damage. At least with tornadoes you get some warning, earthquakes, none.

Most people do the same exercise routines they do in the summer, they just wear more clothing.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
106 posts, read 353,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kebinminn View Post
I also think St. Peter would be a better fit than Mankato from what you say. I don't know much about Mankato to know if there are neighborhoods that would work for you but St. Peter likely has everything you want.
I just accepted a job in Mankato and my wife and I will be moving to MN from Denver. I grew up in Minneapolis, so am familiar with MN. We like Denver, but are newly married and wanted to start somewhere new and be closer to some family when we start a family.

I am curious about why people are recommending St Peter over Mankato? Wouldn't Mankato have what they are asking for? I'd like to be closer to work and in a little larger city than St Peter.

We are looking for an older home with character that is in a nice walkable neighborhood for less than 200K (we couldn't find anything we liked in Denver for less than 250K and felt we were being pretty open to compromises). We will be in MN in a few weeks to take a look at homes and will look at St Peter too. What neighborhoods in St Peter / Mankato Area we should take a look?
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:55 AM
 
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Well congratulations on your job. We are also moving to Minnesota to be closer to family now that we have a "family"... We may see you in Mankato then! Best of luck!
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