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Old 12-16-2013, 05:17 PM
 
2,158 posts, read 5,503,738 times
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Originally Posted by bchaus View Post
My husband and I just did this exact move in August 2013...We lived in Columbia Heights, DC for 2 years, then Alexandria the year before that. Its a shocker. Its a MUCH slower lifestyle and even with the outdoor options, it barely keeps up with the DC/VA area as far as outdoor activities (unless you hunt). As far as other options for the kids, there is very little and very spread out so plan to commute for EVERYTHING!! The Chicago train is not as good as the DC metro region (this is solely based on my opinion and may simply be due to the fact that Chicago is a MUCH larger city) and the further out from Chicago that you catch it the more glitches there are. My husband works in Hammond and I work in Michigan City and we are choosing the Crown Point area. It has one of the better school districts (I'm guessing because of the higher taxes), the most family friendly activities in a concentrated area, centrally located (including access to the highways) and in all looks newer, nicer, and cleaner without being jammed packed.
The public transportation in NWI is...not a good situation...overall, DC Metro is awesome (especially having subways in suburban areas like Bethesda. MetraRail in Chicago is much much much better. But until the South Shore extends south to Lowell or at least Munster/Dyer, NWI can't really offer much better transit.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:02 PM
 
4 posts, read 4,283 times
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Thanks BCHAUS!

Since you are from this area one item I get worried about looking at pictures is that the NW indiana areas are like Dundalk outside of Balitmore or other heavily industrial areas. Surprised you went closer to Chicago with you working in Michigan City. You mentioned at the end of your coment about the area being jam packaged. Is that a reference to DC/VA/MD or is that a reference to a certain area of NW Indiana? We are also looking at Valporaiso as there is a bus that goes directly into Chicago right next to the office I will be working in. Really need to see the area and hopefully will be able to get there soon with the wife to start checking areas out. Thanks and stay warm!
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:50 AM
 
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I live in Dyer, which from your original post does not sound like what you are looking for.

With 4 kids that are your kids' ages, a good school system is a must.

You probably know this from your research, but the publi transportation options are better actually as you go east rather than south.

With kids, the only real options in LAKE county are Munster, Crown Point, or the Tri-Town areas (Dyer, Schererville, St. John). Munster is more affluent, CP is growing a lot, and of the 3 tri-town communities, St. John probably has more of the new construction that you are seeking. The problem from your standpoint in any of these communities is the lack of public transporation options. From Munster or Dyer, you can get to the South Shore or Metra trains relatively easily (i.e. 15 minute drive to GET TO the train). From there, you have a relatively short train ride in. From Crown Point or St. John, you're driving a long time just to get to the train. You sound like you are used to a long commute, though, so maybe that's OK.

In Porter County, you definitely want to be looking at Chesterton and/or Valparaiso. Both nice communities with good schools. You'd probably have to give Valpo a slight edge on the school district, but there's certainly nothing wrong with Chesterton. In Chesterton, you'd be closer to the Dune Park station on the South Shore Line. With Valpo, you could still use the SS Line, but also the buses you mention. I'd be leery about the long-term viability of bus service. No matter where you go in NWI, bus service into the city has come and gone many times, so be aware of the long-term viability of those options. The Valpo bus service seems to be in good shape, but you never know with the way the funding works around here. South Shore has been around forever, so I think of it as a more stable option.

Valpo has a nice little downtown area, and they also have the University as well, which is nice for some cultural opportunities and to maybe catch a college bball game, etc. But still plenty of room to spread out if you are looking for that sort of thing.

You mentioned you like winter and snow. Much more likely to find that in Porter County as the eastern part of NWI is much more likely to experience lake effect snow than Lake County.

I wouldn't bother looking at Michigan City. Schools are no good and it's just a farther commute.
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