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Looking to Relocate ... Ideas?

Messages
10,389
Location
vancouver, canada
You could always come to northern New England. You'll be surrounded by impressive snowy peaks, as you attempt to traverse the sidewalks after the plow trucks have some through. You may think the winters intimidating, but there are many mechanisms and compensations for it. Believe me, there is nothing quite so warming as the smug feeling you get when hearing people from other parts of the country speak of 25 degrees F as "cold," or as though a foot-and-a-half of snow were something worth remarking on. We are, of course, known for our many outdoor activities, and even in the deep freeze of February you can rent a small, mobile shack and go out to the nearest frozen lake for a spot of ice drinking. Fishing. Ice fishing, that's what I said the first time.
And lest you think we are just a winter wonderland, let me dissuade you. In the summer, the climate here can reach near-tropical levels of humidity. Perhaps, as a Californian, you fear you may miss something like a good drought. We have them! And they are all the more remarkable to contemplate when you recall the 63 straight days of gray sogginess you endured in March and April.
Peace and quiet you will find in abundance. We were way ahead of the COVID curve in curtailing the hustle and bustle of public life. You will find yourself untroubled by the din and clamor of any kind of public transportation worthy of the name, or the sharp, unpleasant aural poke of people pronouncing the letter 'r' distinctly.
Our lack of diversity may lead you to believe that the residents here are, shall we say, less than cosmopolitan in their outlook. In truth, they can be quite worldly. People who have barely ever seen an ethnic minority can have a roster of opinions about them.
And don't forget the arts! You will never find yourself wanting for pictures of lighthouses and fishing boats. I myself haven't wanted to look at another one since I was about twelve.
There are many places here, within a comfortable distance of the frightfully expensive coastal towns, that are ideal for settling down into and waiting for death.
Not quite New England but my bro lives in Quebec City and we would spend Christmas with him and family when the boys were young.. It was ALWAYS minus some big number, with his street a canyon created by snow drift walls . When the boys wanted to play outside it was a 45 minute ordeal to dress them well enough so they didn't die. On the plane ride back to Vancouver I always asked my wife..."How the hell do people do it and more importantly WHY?"
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,047
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
The Northern New England mindset accepts that more bad things will happen in your life than good things -- how else could we have lived with the Red Sox for so long -- so foul, cold weather tends to just be taken in stride with a "colddanuf fah ya?" comment, if anything. As Nobert notes, the hot, humid, insect-ridden, monoxide-choked summers tend to be a lot harder to bear. The one good thing that can be said about 2020 is that there was, in general, far less of that than usual.

All that said, I specifically DON'T encourage people to move to the Maine coast -- the current mass migration of people from Covid states is already worsening the very real and very serious problem of gentrification along the southern-Maine half of Route 1. Up the County is fine, but be warned that "amenities" will be few and far between, -- unless you like watching potato diggers in action, or want to know what it's like to be licked by a moose.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
But Chicago is home, problems and all. Cannnot recommended it for relocale though.

Just prior to Covid kick-in and all, I stepped off the 06.20 Rock Island, started walking toward the
east passenger exit, and I heard three rifle rounds fired, report sounded east, close.
The Metra police officer standing at my right side looked at me. He said rifle fire.
I responded, sounds like a Kalishnikov or SKS, haven't heard that since I was a kid.
He replied the same and smiled. Then, we started herding everyone to the lobby.
Some were running back. I called the office, be an hour late. Forty minutes, Chicago Police
cleared the incident. I decided to grab some breakfast, and to hell with the stack on my desk.

I dearly love Chicago, but the toddlin' town has some real problems.:(
 

Nobert

Practically Family
Messages
832
Location
In the Maine Woods
Not quite New England but my bro lives in Quebec City and we would spend Christmas with him and family when the boys were young.. It was ALWAYS minus some big number, with his street a canyon created by snow drift walls . When the boys wanted to play outside it was a 45 minute ordeal to dress them well enough so they didn't die. On the plane ride back to Vancouver I always asked my wife..."How the hell do people do it and more importantly WHY?"

Yeah, it's colder up there. When I was a baby/toddler my family lived in Montreal, and since then I've been to Carnivale in Quebec a couple of times. in addition to the latitude, you get those bracing blasts of hypothermia coming in off the St. Lawrence.

In seriousness, one place to consider might be the Pittsburgh area. One of those rust-belt towns that's been reinventing itself with reasonable success, it has the huge U.P.M.C. medical complex, plenty of nice little outlying areas and towns in the metro area (not Monroeville), and local history out the wazoo. I don't know how taxes are, but living expenses on the whole are a probably lower than SoCal.
 
Messages
10,389
Location
vancouver, canada
The Northern New England mindset accepts that more bad things will happen in your life than good things -- how else could we have lived with the Red Sox for so long -- so foul, cold weather tends to just be taken in stride with a "colddanuf fah ya?" comment, if anything. As Nobert notes, the hot, humid, insect-ridden, monoxide-choked summers tend to be a lot harder to bear. The one good thing that can be said about 2020 is that there was, in general, far less of that than usual.

All that said, I specifically DON'T encourage people to move to the Maine coast -- the current mass migration of people from Covid states is already worsening the very real and very serious problem of gentrification along the southern-Maine half of Route 1. Up the County is fine, but be warned that "amenities" will be few and far between, -- unless you like watching potato diggers in action, or want to know what it's like to be licked by a moose.
I once mentioned to my brother I should visit in summer...his reply was it was worse. He suggested we had a window of about two weeks end of June.....before humidity and before the black fly/mosquito hatch.......other than that June window winter was the better bet.
 
Messages
10,389
Location
vancouver, canada
Yeah, it's colder up there. When I was a baby/toddler my family lived in Montreal, and since then I've been to Carnivale in Quebec a couple of times. in addition to the latitude, you get those bracing blasts of hypothermia coming in off the St. Lawrence.

In seriousness, one place to consider might be the Pittsburgh area. One of those rust-belt towns that's been reinventing itself with reasonable success, it has the huge U.P.M.C. medical complex, plenty of nice little outlying areas and towns in the metro area (not Monroeville), and local history out the wazoo. I don't know how taxes are, but living expenses on the whole are a probably lower than SoCal.
When that wind blows you cannot dress enough to combat the cold
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,047
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
I once mentioned to my brother I should visit in summer...his reply was it was worse. He suggested we had a window of about two weeks end of June.....before humidity and before the black fly/mosquito hatch.......other than that June window winter was the better bet.

Yep. The mosquitoes are murderous, but the black flies are a biblical plague.
 
Messages
10,600
Location
My mother's basement
Say this much for greater Denver: the bugs don’t bug much. Too dry for ’em, I suppose. For a couple weeks in early summer there’s a gazillion moths, but they don’t bite.

That low humidity makes the hottest days almost bearable. If you can find shade, you’ll be fine. A covered deck is pretty much a necessity for hanging outside during the warmer months. That’s where I’m typically found on summer days, with my shirt unbuttoned, guzzling ice water by the gallon.
 

Cornelius

Practically Family
Messages
715
Location
Great Lakes
Not sure if OP is looking to avoid winter entirely, or what they would consider to be an onerous tax burden, but I've always enjoyed the "Driftless" area of southwest Wisconsin. The only portion of the Midwest not plowed flat by glaciers, it's a rather unique landscape filled with interesting small towns & a strong food culture centered on local farms. You have the college town of Madison for your medical, bookstore, cinema, & coffeeshop needs; the outdoor Shakespeare theatre in Frank Lloyd Wright's hometown of Spring Green, canoeing on the sand-bottom Wisconsin river, fishing everywhere, turkey & deer hunting, and none of the traffic, crime, or hassle of large cities.
 

earl

A-List Customer
Messages
316
Location
Kansas, USA
My wife and I have spent the past 6 years touring the western states...eschewing big cities in favour of the small town America we love so much. Two years ago I would have advised to look at smaller towns in range of Portland or Seattle but now with the homeless/political scene they approach unliveability and would no longer be on my list. Salem a bit further down the I5 might qualify or a bit further Eugene with the Uni gives it more of a cosmopolitan feel than it s size might warrant. Central Oregon is wonderful. Bend with much in its favour although there are a lot of Californians there! Coeur d'Alene is wonderful while Spokane still seems to be a working man's town and may seem too back water after LA but it does have Gonzaga U. We really like Boise and its suburbs are amongst the fastest growing regions in the US. Boise State adds a dose of culture to the small town mix. Meridian, Eagle, are two upscale suburbs of Boise. Only know West Texas and the oil patch and not a place I would choose except to work the patch. We love Montana but that likely does not qualify as even their 'big' cities are small...I think the largest, Billings is only 100,000 and Helena the capital at 60,000 or so? But it truly is big sky country with Bozeman the cultural exception now housing many Cali and CO refuges making it the one town that is not so much Montanan any longer......dog spas, designer fashion stores, high end recreational equip stores, wine boutiques give it a more Sun Valley feel than anything else. Working Montanans in the rest of the state tend to scrunch their faces at the mention of Bozeman.
Montana is beautiful, but the only time was there was in a February and air temps were -39F. Boise is much more temperate with fine mountain scenery.
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,241
Location
The Great Pacific Northwest
Lifelong and 4th generation Chicagoan who retired to the Portland Oregon area over a year ago. My wife is an Army brat who grew up in a lot of different places, and we vetted different options for retirement over the decades. She was against retiring in Illinois: I could have been happy retiring to Champaign- Urbana or some other university town, I suppose. But she loves, "the West."

I really love the ocean, mountains, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. We're not far from either Vancouver BC or Seattle, and if we want to do the Bay Area it's a good day's drive. There's a funky weirdness to Portland itself that we love: it has its own unique history and culture, and a decent public transit system. Don't believe all you've read about riots and such last summer: that was pretty much confined to a specific area. Went down there the day after the "worst" of the troubles last summer and I've seen far more boarded up windows on Michigan Boulevard after a wind storm.

No sales tax, but we have a rather hefty state income tax. Washington state, on the other hand, has no state income tax but a sales tax. Some get the idea of living in Vancouver WA and shopping in Portland: trying to cross the Columbia River during rush hour killed that idea for us. That said, some find the housing costs more reasonable in Washington state. Personally, we like the Portland and suburbs experience more to our liking than the Vancouver WA options.

I do miss the variety of fast and other foods I left behind in Chicago, but there are trade offs. Portland is the craft beer capital of America, and there are a few local ice cream brands that are superb. I can't have my Chicago hot dogs or Italian beef, and the pizza of Chicago is sorely missed. We do however get to enjoy a treat deprived of Chicagoans for decades: wonderfully greasy tacos at Jack in the Box. And there's a respectable wine region with good small vineyards in the area. In fact, No. California, Oregon, and Washington state all boast some excellent labels.

Portland Oregon isn't for everyone, but we happen to love it. I'd suggest visiting the area on a vacation for a week or so and get to know it. The winters seem cold and rainy: essentially a prolonged Chicago November on steroids. But we don't have to shovel rain.. so that's that. The Chicago winters were never a problem for me, but my wife had to have an ankle replaced a few years ago so that settled the ice and snow issue.

Personally, I could not have handled retiring to the South. I hate prolonged heat and humidity, and could not have dealt with living in an area where locals think that it's "just being friendly" to ask a total stranger where they attend church. And retiring to an area where there are lots of old retirees? No thanks: crying babies over crabby codgers ANY day of the week. We're in an area with a lot of young techie types and their families. Some very interesting and cosmopolitan neighbors.
 

EngProf

Practically Family
Messages
597
Ten years or more ago I would have suggested Nashville (as one person did in a one-word recommendation earlier).
At that time it was *exactly* as you described - low taxes, reasonable home prices, good medical facilities (multiple large hospitals and a Top-10 Med School (Vanderbilt)), low traffic, good airport, no income tax, and a reasonable climate once you get used to it. It is hot and humid for a few months, but once you get acclimated you just say, "Hot and humid today - so what. - that's why they invented air conditioning."
Average January temp is 47 degrees so the winters in general are not too bad.
You may remember that line from "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" - "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, greenest State in the land of the free..." I doubt that the Hollywood song writers really knew that was true, but I can show you a point within 5 miles of the center of Nashville where you can still see nothing but hills and green trees all the way to the horizon.

Now the bad news - In the last decade or so we have had a terrible influx of people escaping California and points West and North. These people sell their previous homes for $1,000,000 and then buy houses here for $500,000 that previously sold for $250,000.
This drives all people of normal means out of the housing market. For those of us who already have houses, the inflated housing market drives our property taxes radically upward.
To be specific, one of the local TV stations tracks the changes in Nashville and just reported that of the most recent homes in Nashville that sold for more than $1,000,000, 8 out of 10 were sold to people from out of State.
Most of the general "positives" that I mentioned are still true except for the traffic - it's FAR worse now than it was, but is probably still better than California.
Politically/socially it is indistinguishable from San Francisco. I have thought about getting up a petition to re-name the city as "East San Francisco" (sort of "truth-in-advertising"). It's a long way to the East, but the reality of it still applies.
We have tourists by the ton - but you can avoid those by never going downtown. If there was ever a location that fits Yogi's statement that "No one ever goes there anymore, it's too crowded.", downtown Nashville is it - for the locals.

And don't worry about being asked what church you go to, that doesn't really happen.

As a born-here Nashvillian, I tend to agree with the server's comments about Bozeman, Montana as applied to Nashville.

"I asked the young server for her thumbnail of Montana cities.....Butte: working man's town, hard working, hard drinking town. Missoula: where the hippies live. Bozeman: where the Cali refuges hang out, destroy the property market, sip lattes, and expensive wine.....in their rush to escape Cali they have replicated it in miniature in Bozeman.....and she said it all with such disdain."

Considering it all, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place than here (Nashville), with the disclaimer that you'd be getting in at the end of the great Nashville land-rush.
Any residual general hostility from the locals about the degraded housing, traffic, and taxes situations won't really affect you from a personal standpoint.
It's a matter of relativity, things are worse for us who have lived here long-term, but would probably be better for you.
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a cell: Cancer
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a city: Nashville
 
Messages
10,389
Location
vancouver, canada
Lifelong and 4th generation Chicagoan who retired to the Portland Oregon area over a year ago. My wife is an Army brat who grew up in a lot of different places, and we vetted different options for retirement over the decades. She was against retiring in Illinois: I could have been happy retiring to Champaign- Urbana or some other university town, I suppose. But she loves, "the West."

I really love the ocean, mountains, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. We're not far from either Vancouver BC or Seattle, and if we want to do the Bay Area it's a good day's drive. There's a funky weirdness to Portland itself that we love: it has its own unique history and culture, and a decent public transit system. Don't believe all you've read about riots and such last summer: that was pretty much confined to a specific area. Went down there the day after the "worst" of the troubles last summer and I've seen far more boarded up windows on Michigan Boulevard after a wind storm.

No sales tax, but we have a rather hefty state income tax. Washington state, on the other hand, has no state income tax but a sales tax. Some get the idea of living in Vancouver WA and shopping in Portland: trying to cross the Columbia River during rush hour killed that idea for us. That said, some find the housing costs more reasonable in Washington state. Personally, we like the Portland and suburbs experience more to our liking than the Vancouver WA options.

I do miss the variety of fast and other foods I left behind in Chicago, but there are trade offs. Portland is the craft beer capital of America, and there are a few local ice cream brands that are superb. I can't have my Chicago hot dogs or Italian beef, and the pizza of Chicago is sorely missed. We do however get to enjoy a treat deprived of Chicagoans for decades: wonderfully greasy tacos at Jack in the Box. And there's a respectable wine region with good small vineyards in the area. In fact, No. California, Oregon, and Washington state all boast some excellent labels.

Portland Oregon isn't for everyone, but we happen to love it. I'd suggest visiting the area on a vacation for a week or so and get to know it. The winters seem cold and rainy: essentially a prolonged Chicago November on steroids. But we don't have to shovel rain.. so that's that. The Chicago winters were never a problem for me, but my wife had to have an ankle replaced a few years ago so that settled the ice and snow issue.

Personally, I could not have handled retiring to the South. I hate prolonged heat and humidity, and could not have dealt with living in an area where locals think that it's "just being friendly" to ask a total stranger where they attend church. And retiring to an area where there are lots of old retirees? No thanks: crying babies over crabby codgers ANY day of the week. We're in an area with a lot of young techie types and their families. Some very interesting and cosmopolitan neighbors.
We love McMinnville.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
Considering it all, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place than here (Nashville)...

It's a matter of relativity, things are worse for us who have lived here long-term...
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a cell: Cancer
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a city: Nashville

Any cellular mitosis Clarksville way? Or, perhaps meiosis with inflated realty tax?
Nashville, Printer's Alley anyway, always a glorious time. Seriously though, inflated property tax
without concomitant real estate development, or, censure not limited to improved land is a
matter for the ballot box and municipal and community legal action.

Long term residents should not be penalized for population influx and attendant cost.
Gentrification charges should be limited to those causative element.
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,126
Location
Nebraska
The Northern New England mindset accepts that more bad things will happen in your life than good things -- how else could we have lived with the Red Sox for so long -- so foul, cold weather tends to just be taken in stride with a "colddanuf fah ya?" comment, if anything. As Nobert notes, the hot, humid, insect-ridden, monoxide-choked summers tend to be a lot harder to bear. The one good thing that can be said about 2020 is that there was, in general, far less of that than usual.

All that said, I specifically DON'T encourage people to move to the Maine coast -- the current mass migration of people from Covid states is already worsening the very real and very serious problem of gentrification along the southern-Maine half of Route 1. Up the County is fine, but be warned that "amenities" will be few and far between, -- unless you like watching potato diggers in action, or want to know what it's like to be licked by a moose.
Wait. You mean it's NOT a good idea to move to Maine to continue my novelist career AND solve local crimes a la Jessica Fletcher?!? ;)
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,157
Location
Los Angeles
That bookstore wouldn’t happen to be in Sultan, would it?

It's not that sort of store. On-line only. It's in an old machine shop east of Issaquah.

Nashville

In seriousness, one place to consider might be the Pittsburgh area. One of those rust-belt towns that's been reinventing itself with reasonable success, it has the huge U.P.M.C. medical complex, plenty of nice little outlying areas and towns in the metro area (not Monroeville), and local history out the wazoo. I don't know how taxes are, but living expenses on the whole are a probably lower than SoCal.

I used to take PA quite seriously, especially the eastern part where you are fairly close to NYC where I do a good deal of business. With NYC circling the toilet and no assurance that my contacts will stay there it's off the list for the time being.

Not sure if OP is looking to avoid winter entirely, or what they would consider to be an onerous tax burden, but I've always enjoyed the "Driftless" area of southwest Wisconsin. The only portion of the Midwest not plowed flat by glaciers, it's a rather unique landscape filled with interesting small towns & a strong food culture centered on local farms.

I wouldn't consider living there but you've said a number of things that make me want to visit! Very interesting.

Ten years or more ago I would have suggested Nashville.
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a cell: Cancer
Uncontrolled growth without limits in a city: Nashville

The Nashville area is on the list but I have to get back and see the sort of stuff you are talking about. I think I'd probably locate close but outside the city. I've friends in Lebanon. I really would like to continue to live in a place that is centered around entertainment. I've worked in the recording business on and off for many years so there's a lot of touchstones in Nashville. If Covid is under control I'm going to try to get out this summer and see how I feel about the humidity. I lived in Northern Australia for awhile and had no problem but there's a difference between coastal humidity and inland humidity.

This is all really great input!
 

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