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Old 08-07-2011, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Northampton, MA
102 posts, read 219,187 times
Reputation: 37

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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are considering a move to Rhode Island. I'll be finished with dental school at the end of the year, and I'm looking for a place to start practicing. She is being super awesome and willing to move with me. I'm hoping to find a place to fit us both. Rhode Island has recently popped onto my radar, especially Providence, and I'd love some feedback on whether Rhode Island would be a good fit for us and if so, which part. We've also been looking at Seattle, Raleigh, Philly, and Pittsburgh

A bit about us:
We're currently living in Buffalo, NY. I like it here during the summer, but the 6 months of cold, grey, and snow get me down. She doesn't mind it here so much but is willing to try new things. I'm going to be a dentist and she is currently a legal assistant (though she's happy working most jobs as long as there isn't too much customer service action going on). We're in our mid to upper 20s, and have no plans to have kids. We're an interracial lesbian couple and would appreciate not feeling weird/unsafe when exhibiting public displays of affection (see: hand holding, the occasional closed-mouth kiss). We're also both rather introverted and shy, but we love hanging out with our friends from time to time once we make them.

Some priorities:
1. Lack of discrimination - we'd rather not be up against too much homophobia, sexism, or racism, thanks
2. Diversity - sort of goes with the first one. We'd like an area that has diversity and isn't hugely segregated
3. Walkability - I grew up in NYC and while I don't want to move back there, I really appreciate being able to walk to restaurants and shops and such
4. Safety - coming from Buffalo, we don't exactly need the kind of place where you can leave your doors unlocked and never even think about what neighborhood you're in at 3 am, but being able to walk home alone at night with a reasonable expectation of not being mugged/raped in the majority of neighborhoods is important. Also, I have been hearing a lot about organized crime in the Providence area. Is this something to worry about? Will I have to buy "protection" for my practice?
5. Weather - I can handle some snow, but 6 months of bitter cold, snow, and grey skies gets to me. I would prefer a place that kept below freezing temperatures to a few months out of the year. The girlfriend, on the other hand, gets very uncomfortable when it's too hot (ie: above 90 during the day/ above 70 at night). Internet research seems to place Providence temperatures right between NYC and Buffalo. A little on the cold side, but seemingly doable. Also, looks like it doesn't snow 60% of the time during winter. That's cool.
6. Job availability - the initial move might involve a residency for me, but if my girlfriend can't find a job she might not be able to come with me. She has a BA in English and has held down her current secretarial job for about 4 years now. She's also done telemarketing, Subway sandwich making, and pizza making. How bad is the job market? Also, if I can't find a job once the residency ends, I won't be staying.
7. Nature - we love to hike, and the girlfriends has a real need to have trees around. I'm also quite partial to beaches during the summer. I like some surf, but I'm not a good swimmer so not too much surf haha
8. Food - good vegetarian/vegan food would be awesome. Also, I love farmers markets
9. Expense - If I make just below average for a dentist, I'll probably be able to afford up to a 325K house and a 400K dental practice. We'd prefer something 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, with a yard big enough for chickens and a garden (I'd also love a hot tub, but that's more wishful thinking), maybe a little bigger.
10. Friendly people - basically I don't want to be shunned for being an outsider. It's nice to have friends. I like a progressive/intellectual/weird crowd, my girlfriend prefers a somewhat rowdier sort (clubbing on weekends, no-bull, humorous types).
11. Art - we like museums, I love comics
12. Local businesses - it's nice to shop in non-chains

Long post... Thanks for reading! Any thoughts?

Edit: oops! forgot to mention... The girlfriend is wary of areas without freshwater lakes nearby (one of the reasons Buffalo is attractive with Lake Erie). Should the apocalypse come, she wants to have a water source. Not an absolute necessity, but it would be nice

Last edited by waxwolf; 08-07-2011 at 08:34 AM..
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:43 AM
 
11,115 posts, read 17,933,274 times
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All of your criteria (except the ocean) points to Asheville NC, in the western NC mountains. Very gay friendly, lots of opportunities for dentists. I would say anywhere within a 20 mile radius of the city of Asheville. Towns like Black Mountain, Weaverville, (not Hendersonville), Fletcher, Arden. Plenty of beautiful lakes, streams, waterfalls .... the weather is what you want, plenty of small town shopping, year round outdoor living and amenities, eclectic atmosphere etc. They do get winter, but not severe and it's mostly Dec. thru mid March that you can get snow.

check it out: www.romanticasheville.com for a pretty overview of a very lovely area. Lower cost of living will be a treat also.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Northampton, MA
102 posts, read 219,187 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
All of your criteria (except the ocean) points to Asheville NC, in the western NC mountains. Very gay friendly, lots of opportunities for dentists. I would say anywhere within a 20 mile radius of the city of Asheville. Towns like Black Mountain, Weaverville, (not Hendersonville), Fletcher, Arden. Plenty of beautiful lakes, streams, waterfalls .... the weather is what you want, plenty of small town shopping, year round outdoor living and amenities, eclectic atmosphere etc. They do get winter, but not severe and it's mostly Dec. thru mid March that you can get snow.

check it out: www.romanticasheville.com for a pretty overview of a very lovely area. Lower cost of living will be a treat also.
I had been looking at Asheville. I guess I'm still considering it, but it's not on the top of my list. I have heard it's rather isolated - as in once you leave the city you're in "The South" and it's much less liberal. Also, my mother went there for a conference awhile ago, and while she loved the beauty of the area and little shops and such, she said she didn't see a single other black person and that made her feel uncomfortable.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:06 AM
 
604 posts, read 1,031,455 times
Reputation: 411
Rhode Island is very expensive to live in, it is very highly taxed, while still having terrible roads and infrastructure. It slaps a tax and a fee on everything it possibly can. It is ranked 50th in friendliness to business in the country. What this amounts to is, it's small business face, if you will, is abused and tattered, and dwindling. Our winters are cold, grey, and very damp. Investigate and you will see RI is a state that the population growth is stagnant. People just don't run to settle here.
Now not to say, some of the prerequisites you mentioned above RI does have, great food, great beaches, some pretty areas, and it's a fairly safe place to reside.
Look before you leap, there are lots of much more balanced states in the east, and for that matter the Country.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Florida
8,588 posts, read 14,707,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwolf View Post
I had been looking at Asheville. I guess I'm still considering it, but it's not on the top of my list. I have heard it's rather isolated - as in once you leave the city you're in "The South" and it's much less liberal. Also, my mother went there for a conference awhile ago, and while she loved the beauty of the area and little shops and such, she said she didn't see a single other black person and that made her feel uncomfortable.

I have a friend that lives in Asheville and works in the Medical Field. She is black and is only there because of her job. In fact she said there are few jobs there besides Medical. This is how she has described living there. Its a beautiful area and in many ways she likes it, but knows she could never live there permanently. She is from New York and like your mother, notices there are few black people in the area. She also finds it to be more of a tourist type place, that seems to attrack people with money or are limited in funds. Alot of crunchy granola and hippy types and affluent retirees. Not a place for someone that didn't have a job lined up, because it doesn't have much in the way of employers. She finds it rather isolated from other places, and in wintertime it can be treacherous trying to go up or down the mountains.

So she doesn't dislike Asheville for what it is, its more a case of it doesn't fit her and she is looking elsewhere.

You might want to look into Durham NC as it might fit your needs. A rather liberal area of the south. Its a huge medical area, so Im not sure if its saturated with Medical professionals.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:16 AM
 
11,115 posts, read 17,933,274 times
Reputation: 10122
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwolf View Post
I had been looking at Asheville. I guess I'm still considering it, but it's not on the top of my list. I have heard it's rather isolated - as in once you leave the city you're in "The South" and it's much less liberal. ???? Also, "my mother went there for a conference" awhile ago, and while she loved the beauty of the area and little shops and such, she said she didn't see a single other black person and that made her feel uncomfortable.
Welllll, what can I say. The Mayor of Asheville is a black woman. How do I know this? I lived in the area for 10 years, 8 of those as a Realtor. And, no. When you get "out of" Asheville, the surrounding area is "The South" and much less liberal. OK, because your mom went there for a few days for a conference, she is an expert on western NC. Sorry if she was uncomfortable; sometimes that is just plain old northern mindset. Isolated? No way, unless you live out in a very rural area or on top of or on the side of a mountain. It's not "Deliverance", and northerners need to lose that attitude. Why do you think wealthy retirees and many movie stars, professionals, celebrities, live there? either full time or part time.

You will be a heckuva lot more accdepted in the south than you will be in Little Rhody. Especially if you are a medical professional. I will tell you honestly though, many New Yorkers (the whole state) have an unwarranted and unacceptable superiority attitude, can be loud and rude, and look down on southerners. They won't make it there under any circumstances without an attitude adjustment and learning how to embrace a different culture. That goes for New Joisey too. And Floridians, because many are from NY or NJ originally and are called halfbacks.

There is a great need for dentists in the western NC area if you do your homework. It's a big country.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Northampton, MA
102 posts, read 219,187 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
Welllll, what can I say. The Mayor of Asheville is a black woman. How do I know this? I lived in the area for 10 years, 8 of those as a Realtor. And, no. When you get "out of" Asheville, the surrounding area is "The South" and much less liberal. OK, because your mom went there for a few days for a conference, she is an expert on western NC. Sorry if she was uncomfortable; sometimes that is just plain old northern mindset. Isolated? No way, unless you live out in a very rural area or on top of or on the side of a mountain. It's not "Deliverance", and northerners need to lose that attitude. Why do you think wealthy retirees and many movie stars, professionals, celebrities, live there? either full time or part time.

You will be a heckuva lot more accdepted in the south than you will be in Little Rhody. Especially if you are a medical professional. I will tell you honestly though, many New Yorkers (the whole state) have an unwarranted and unacceptable superiority attitude, can be loud and rude, and look down on southerners. They won't make it there under any circumstances without an attitude adjustment and learning how to embrace a different culture. That goes for New Joisey too. And Floridians, because many are from NY or NJ originally and are called halfbacks.

There is a great need for dentists in the western NC area if you do your homework. It's a big country.
I have done my homework. I don't want to move there, but thanks for the thought
(Edit - this was too long)
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:28 PM
 
67 posts, read 119,681 times
Reputation: 18
I lived in Seattle during the "grunge" years and was back recently. It's a gorgeous city, progressive, liberal, great infrastructure and I think somewhat affordable ...was on some list recently about lowest rent rates. The outlaying areas are well connected and probably less expensive for buying.

I'm from the Midwest and have lived in the west and in the last six years I've been in MA/ME and now thinking of a move to RI. My work keeps me here. If it weren't for that, I'd move back to the midwest where things are affordable and life is relaxed and infrastructure isn't 100s of years old. But as disgruntled as I am about the northeast sometimes, I think after 6 years I just fit in here somehow. I've always been a complainer and the northeast just fits my personality somehow. I'd be ranting and griping about the midwest if I moved back.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Northampton, MA
102 posts, read 219,187 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnt840 View Post
I lived in Seattle during the "grunge" years and was back recently. It's a gorgeous city, progressive, liberal, great infrastructure and I think somewhat affordable ...was on some list recently about lowest rent rates. The outlaying areas are well connected and probably less expensive for buying.

I'm from the Midwest and have lived in the west and in the last six years I've been in MA/ME and now thinking of a move to RI. My work keeps me here. If it weren't for that, I'd move back to the midwest where things are affordable and life is relaxed and infrastructure isn't 100s of years old. But as disgruntled as I am about the northeast sometimes, I think after 6 years I just fit in here somehow. I've always been a complainer and the northeast just fits my personality somehow. I'd be ranting and griping about the midwest if I moved back.
I always thought of Seattle as the most expensive city on my potential list. Looking at house prices online it seemed like I could get a lot more fore 300K in Providence than I could get for 400K in Seattle. Also, I haven't looked into the price of day to day things in Providence, but in Seattle it seemed around the same level as New York City, which is usually my model for super expensive.
Also, I've been hearing a lot about RI taxes, but the one's I've looked at (income, property) don't seem that much higher than most states. I do find it awkward to find tax information online, though. It sometimes feels like I'm not getting the whole picture. Am I missing something glaring for the rest of you?
Money isn't really my top priority, but if I can't have a decent expectation of standard of living as a dentist, that's a problem for me.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:51 AM
 
67 posts, read 119,681 times
Reputation: 18
I did some salary comparisons and yes, it does look like the Seattle area is more than Providence.

One thing I'd try is this Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed

Click on the "match" tab and you can find actual neighborhoods that are like one's you enjoy - the match is based on all types of socioeconomic data from the US Census.

The thing with the northeast, as you know since you're in Buffalo, is that stuff is old. Now this is just my viewpoints - just how I've experienced things here versus the midwest/west. I don't know RI/Providence that well so I'm going to use MA/Boston examples since I know this area pretty well. Infrastructure, problems with the government are rooted in old issues. If you look at the public transportation in Seattle, WA versus Boston, MA it's quite stark. In Seattle buses are 'green' many on electricity, brand new light rail system - both systems are above and under-ground with stations that are newer and built with an eye toward aesthetics, clean and kept, and practicality of the 21st century. In Boston, buses are diesel and the underground is really old, most stations in disrepair, water dripping down the walls, trash on the rails, etc.. It's part of the charm maybe of the northeast, but it can be very un-charming. To live in the 'nicer' places of the Boston like a brownstone in Back Bay or in the broader metro, like Wellesley or Lexington you are now talking in the 1M range for a modest home.

Like you know, as you go west, things are newer and the issues not are mired in the old rules. I tend to think in the west, things are more progressive, even if a lot of the areas are republican. There tends to be more of an outdoor spirit and connection with nature and making things better for the environment.

Have you considered Omaha, Nebraska? I know, I know, sounds nuts. But it's maybe worth a look. There are great things going on there, excellent economy (around 3% unemployment). This bad economy, housing bust stuff hasn't touched the place, has actually helped Omaha as more businesses are attracted to the midwest. It has some very cool/progressive people and areas (check the Dundee area and the Old Market). Great people. Healthy economy. Clean, safe, well-kept infrastructure. My mom just bought a nice 3+ bedroom in a nice, older established neighborhood (with TOP notch schools, by the way) for $160K. The area has some interesting things going on overall - Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffet headquarters, Universities (UN-Omaha has the nation's leading Afghan program - brings in lots of people from high ranks of military and the government for work there), sports stuff - baseball, hockey, college world series is held there - brand new ball park built this year, great zoo/aquarium/rainforest at the Henry Dorely zoo, Quest center, gay marriage is legal in Iowa so not all mid westerners are homophobic, good airport w some direct flights to the west/east, interesting history, clean air, good beef.... Lady Gaga loves the place, was just there visiting her boyfriend's family. Just a plug for Nebraska.

Last edited by Yac; 11-08-2011 at 06:44 AM..
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