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Old 02-06-2016, 12:58 PM
3 posts, read 8,418 times
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I have a job offer in Santa Fe and may relocate there from Hawaii with my young son (6) and husband. We are educated, politically engaged/liberal and outdoorsy types. We've vacationed in Santa Fe a number of times but now we are trying to figure out if this is a good place to LIVE and raise a family.

Maui is overly laid-back and anti-intellectual, which is a problem that has seeped into every aspect of our lives (careers and education for our son). We don't want to move to another similar place.

Housing prices and quality are much more appealing in Santa Fe than what Hawaii has to offer, but I know little about the schools. What are the best elementary schools? Is this a good place to raise kids? Hawaii's school system is totally broken (lack of teacher talent + massive bureaucracy). I would love insight from parents on Santa Fe schools. One school that seems to be near most houses we are looking at on Trulia is called Atalaya. Any thoughts on this one? I read that they have viola classes as part of the school day. This, for instance, would never happen in Maui.

As far as neighborhoods, we don't want to spend more than $750k, don't necessarily want a giant house and want it to feed into a great school. Walkability would be cool. Unless we live like hobbits it looks like we are priced out of the Historic Eastside and Canyon Rd. I would love a neighborhood with lots of kids running around.

Also- my husband is an attorney who will start his own practice there...always a leap-of-faith. Anyone familiar with the legal scene?

Mahalo in advance! (That means "thank you" in Hawaiian)

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Old 02-08-2016, 03:45 PM
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Reputation: 16
I don't live in SF, but am relocating there within the next few months. I have worked in Santa Fe and Los Alamos for a few years so I do spend a lot of time up there. I've spent most of my adult life in Albuquerque.

New Mexico is also overly laid-back and anti intellectual as a whole. Santa Fe is less anti-intellectual than many other parts of the state. I grew up on the eastern seaboard and spent a few years after college in Germany, so my perspective is from an uber productive environment. The pace in Santa Fe is S L O W. I'm just being honest, but people are never in a hurry.

In New Mexico, Santa Fe has the reputation of being ruined by snobby white money coming in from other places. This might offend people, but it's what I have heard consistently over the years from people who have strong roots there. The history of colonization in New Mexico is still a raw wound for many people, particularly up north.

So, that's the ugly. Here is the thing though, I love Santa Fe and northern New Mexico. If you like skiing, camping, hiking, etc... I would argue that we have it better than Colorado because you aren't dealing with crowds here and it wont cost you a grand to go skiing for a weekend with the family. People here are mostly of the "live and let live" mentality. I don't think I have any Anglo friends here (I'm white) and my friends are everything from Home Health Aides and secretaries to Attorneys and PhD's. I wasn't exposed to that much diversity living in DC for example, because everyone there is highly educated and has super stressful jobs. It is not that way here and I feel the quality of people is more genuine because of it. People aren't trying to "network" with you, they really just want to know how your family is doing...

Since Santa Fe is the capital and an artists mecca, there is more opportunity in Santa Fe for fostering your children's interests. Santa Fe is very politically liberal. The combination of these two things means more money for more programs. So, is it a good place to raise kids? I guess it depends what your priorities are. If you're looking at stats for the state as a whole, then no. If you want to have a low-stress lifestyle and raise your kids in a diverse and outdoor friendly environment, then yes.

If you have a budget of 750K your kids will be in a good school district, although there may or may not be many other kids around. Atalaya is a good school. The pricier neighborhoods tend to be filled with DINK couples or retired folk. Not all, but many.

What kind of law does your husband practice?
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:50 PM
Location: Santa Fe, NM
974 posts, read 2,342,554 times
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The area around the Atalaya school zone (aka Museum Hill and/or St. John's area) has many beautiful and higher-than-average priced homes. The public elementary and middle schools in the general area are quite good, and there are also a couple of private schools (Rio Grande Elementary and Santa Fe Prep). You might have a problem finding homes in that area for under your price point.
For a neighborhood that has lots of kids around and is in the highest rated school district, look in the South Capital/Wood-Gormley school district. You shouldn't have any problem finding a home well within your budget in that neighborhood. The inventory is quite low now. One advantage of this neighborhood is it's walkability score (particularly in its northern sector closer to the plaza).
And, last but not least there's Eldorado, with lots of kids, highly rated elementary and middle schools and home prices also well within your budget.

There seems to be a healthy number of attorneys - both in individual and group practices. I don't know if your husband has an area of specialization, but he might look (and probably already has) at which specialties might be under-represented.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:10 AM
101 posts, read 503,382 times
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We lived in Eldorado for 8 years, but after having our kids decided it was time to leave New Mexico. Eldorado has very good elementary and junior high, and a great family community. But once you get out of that for high school things change. My nephew is now at Santa Fe high, moving from El Dorado Community School. He has not found it very welcoming, and is not happy there. The anti-intellectual attitude does affect a lot of the public schools. There are some excellent private schools, but they are very costly here.

My wife and I are both well educated professionals, and I work as a consultant and expert witness, so I know the legal field fairly well. There is lots of potential here, but there is also a lot of "old boys club" attitude in that and other professions. It is very difficult to break in, and even after being there for years your husband is likely to be viewed as an outsider. It's difficult, but can be very rewarding. It took me a couple of years to break in, but I made far more money and had a more successful business there than anywhere else that I've been. Unfortunately, the issue of education and lifestyle for kids made it too difficult to stay there.

In Santa Fe there are some things for the kids to do, but not too much. There is more in Albuquerque, but kids around here are mostly expected to play by themselves out in the desert.

We really enjoyed living in Santa Fe, and there is lots of great stuff for adults. For kids though, I would not recommend it.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:18 PM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,663 posts, read 3,699,016 times
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No I would not say Santa Fe is generally anti-intellectual, at least not compared to Maui. Statistics from the Census Bureau bear the out.

In Maui 25% of the population 25 and over has a bachelor's degree or higher. In Santa Fe the figure is 44%.

In Maui 8% has a graduate or professional degree. In Santa Fe 22% has a graduate or professional degree.

On the flip side, in Maui 9.4% of residents 25 and over lack a high school diploma. In Santa fe 10.9% lack a diploma, however this difference is not statistically significant.
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:22 PM
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,790,902 times
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I wouldn't say Santa Fe is anti-intellectual. There are several 4-year colleges in town, two research institutes, and the proximity of Los Alamos National Lab means science lectures and other programs in town sponsored by the lab. There's a science exploratorium in Los Alamos that's great for kids. There are quite a few published authors living in town quietly pursuing their craft, scads of artists and activities relating to the arts, and quite a few scientists and engineers, again--due to Los Alamos. There are a couple of good elementary schools, but by highschool, some parents put their kids in private schools. I think Santa Fe is a great place to raise kids. There's an audubon center on one edge of town, with hiking trails through the national forest. Many museums, many arts centers. The city runs recreation centers with swimming pools and sports facilities.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:29 AM
Location: Manitou Springs, CO
13 posts, read 29,725 times
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Don't leave Hawaii.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:28 PM
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,790,902 times
Reputation: 116077
Originally Posted by refractedillusions View Post
Don't leave Hawaii.
Some people get tired of living on a tiny island chain out in the middle of the vast Pacific, far away from anything but more water and small islands.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:14 PM
100 posts, read 284,175 times
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I do not live in Santa Fe. I live in Los Alamos and while LA has a VERY intellectual culture, it laser beam focused on math, science, and engineering. I have also heard negatives about living here when you don't work for the Lab, such as no social opportunities. I think Los Alamos is fantastic but I also work at the Lab. One can create social opportunities but you have to try.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:43 AM
17 posts, read 22,512 times
Reputation: 15
did you end up moving to Santa fe? What do you think?
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