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Where in the continental US do I want to live if I want:

--Low cost of living (I know this is subjective, let's say that I want to be able to get 2500sqft house $350k in a neighborhood that isn't sketchy)

--All four seasons (or within a days drive to snow in winter)

--Big enough city to rate a Costco and similar stores but not a huge place, so I guess a bigger small city to mid-size

--Not totally flat and featureless

--I want to have backyard chickens, so chickens should not be outlawed

 

Does this  🦄  place exist?

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7 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Where in the continental US do I want to live if I want:

--Low cost of living (I know this is subjective, let's say that I want to be able to get 2500sqft house $350k in a neighborhood that isn't sketchy)

--All four seasons (or within a days drive to snow in winter)

--Big enough city to rate a Costco and similar stores but not a huge place, so I guess a bigger small city to mid-size

--Not totally flat and featureless

--I want to have backyard chickens, so chickens should not be outlawed

 

Does this  🦄  place exist?

Yes it does exist.  It's called SW Ohio.  Or perhaps Indiana but that's more "flat and featureless."

 

1. There's no way I would pay $350k for a 2500 sq ft house here.  Well I suppose unless it was on like a very large plot of land.

2. All 4 seasons here-less than a week ago, we had snow, today, it was in the low 70s.

3. I live within walking distance of Costco

4. Not a far drive to not flat and featureless places.  Although......I am afraid of heights and flat is my friend so..........this one is probably subjective.  But the Miami valley means it's exactly that...a river valley.  Lots of rivers and and water features and such.

5.  Although my actual neighborhood outlaws backyard chickens, I can literally drive 5 to 10 minutes to a place that allows it.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Yes it does exist.  It's called SW Ohio.  Or perhaps Indiana but that's more "flat and featureless."

 

1. There's no way I would pay $350k for a 2500 sq ft house here.  Well I suppose unless it was on like a very large plot of land.

2. All 4 seasons here-less than a week ago, we had snow, today, it was in the low 70s.

3. I live within walking distance of Costco

4. Not a far drive to not flat and featureless places.  Although......I am afraid of heights and flat is my friend so..........this one is probably subjective.  But the Miami valley means it's exactly that...a river valley.  Lots of rivers and and water features and such.

5.  Although my actual neighborhood outlaws backyard chickens, I can literally drive 5 to 10 minutes to a place that allows it.  

 

 

Yes, move to SW Ohio with happysmileylady, ArcticMama, and me!  Is your dh military?  There's a big base here for support.  It's really a nice area for families.  I'm so happy we moved here from northern VA!

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Sonora area in California.

Costco is about half an hour away in Modesto.  Sierra Nevada evergreen forests are about half an hour up in the mountains.  Gold rush era state park is just 3-4 miles north.  Yosemite Valley is maybe two hours away.   There is actually topography in town, and as you go east into the Sierra it gets downright serious and also gorgeous.  The Pacific Crest Trail is in cruising range.

Climate works for ranching and orchards, although the more tender fruit trees won’t make through the winter every year without some help.  I’m not sure about the rules around chickens, but there are so many cattle spreads in the area that I can’t imagine it would be a problem.  

It’s hot in the summer.  I’d want a place with a passive solar design and AC.  Well, no, actually I want one of the old Victorians which I would restore to its former beauty and then happily swelter in, with a period-era fainting couch handy.  There are four seasons for sure, and yet it’s not ever really humid.  When it’s cold, it’s not THAT cold.  Like, 20s and 30s in the winter for periods of time, with a little snow in town but more of it up the hill 15 miles—kind of an abrupt snow line most of the time.  There is a downhill ski area about 50 minutes east.  The local schools sometimes have skiing field trips as part of snow days.  That way the kids who can get to school can hop or stay on the school bus to go skiing, and the ones who can’t get to school get to stay home and play in the snow.

There are some great homeschooling groups in the area, and there is a junior college just up the road.  Also, the JC offers naturalist type outdoor ed classes up at Baker Station, in the mountains at about 6500 feet that look great.  The famous salt water lake Mono Lake is on the other side of the Sierra Nevada, and they have excellent mini-courses there as well.  

For 350K you could have a pretty good sized house with some land if you went just a little out of town or maybe to Jamestown, just down the road.  I would suggest avoiding Tuolumne City—it’s going to improve one day, I hope, but it’s awfully dreary in the meantime.  

There are lots of different kinds of churches.  Also lots of different kinds of fiber groups—knitting, embroidery, quilting, weaving, spinning, etc..  (These are abiding interests of mine.  There are probably all kinds of great other things but I’m not up on those.).  There is a pretty big Mennonite or Amish presence, which is a bit surprising for CA but this is EASTERN CA so it’s not what you hear about.  Lots of great rivers and lakes for fishing or boating.  A fair amount of deer hunting, but not anywhere close to being like the Midwest in that regard.  

Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country are here.  Really, it’s quite remarkable.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

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Eastern Washington State or North Idaho has all of those.

We're in the Pacific Northwest but east of the Cascades, so we don't get the gray days and rain like coastal cities. 

Four seasons, sunshine, lots of mountains, lakes, beauty, and Costcos. 

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Where in the continental US do I want to live if I want:

--Low cost of living (I know this is subjective, let's say that I want to be able to get 2500sqft house $350k in a neighborhood that isn't sketchy)

--All four seasons (or within a days drive to snow in winter)

--Big enough city to rate a Costco and similar stores but not a huge place, so I guess a bigger small city to mid-size

--Not totally flat and featureless

--I want to have backyard chickens, so chickens should not be outlawed

 

Does this  🦄  place exist?

Tulsa, OK - not as flat and featureless as you would think. That part of Oklahoma is known as "Green Country." It's got more hills and is much prettier than Oklahoma City. It has a Costco and I'm sure you could find a home in that price range. 

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13 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

My family in Dayton has sent me videos the city made to promote people living there...I don't think there is a sunny day inthe entire video, lol. 

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40 minutes ago, school17777 said:

Lancaster, PA

Yes.  This is near where I grew up.  :)

It is really beautiful country with four mild seasons.

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6 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

So when you said four seasons, you meant mostly summer plus some of the other three?

No, my DH likes snow and I don't mind it being cold three to four months out of the year, but I also want a decent growing season and some heat in July. I have a friend in MN who says the greyness most of the year really affects her. Northern latitudes scare me for SAD reasons.

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8 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Tulsa, OK - not as flat and featureless as you would think. That part of Oklahoma is known as "Green Country." It's got more hills and is much prettier than Oklahoma City. It has a Costco and I'm sure you could find a home in that price range. 

Tulsa is a place we've looked at and I'm pretty fond of...I grew up going to Eufala every summer. But I'm not sure if it has enough winter for my DH. 

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1 hour ago, AFwife Claire said:

Yes, move to SW Ohio with happysmileylady, ArcticMama, and me!  Is your dh military?  There's a big base here for support.  It's really a nice area for families.  I'm so happy we moved here from northern VA!

Yes, he's retiring shortly (into a historic pandemic induced recession! YAY!) and we don't really have any ties anywhere so I'm trying to get ideas of where we might want to live. Of course a job that pays actual dollars will probably be the ultimate deciding factor. 😂

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Parts of Eastern Washington my area is pretty flat and brown.  Maybe Walla Walla, spokane, or central Washington.  Idaho would fit the bill places like Pocatello.

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13 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Yes, he's retiring shortly (into a historic pandemic induced recession! YAY!) and we don't really have any ties anywhere so I'm trying to get ideas of where we might want to live. Of course a job that pays actual dollars will probably be the ultimate deciding factor. 😂

If he is retiring military, this is really the greatest area 🙂  This place very much feels like home.  

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1 hour ago, MercyA said:

St. Joseph County in Indiana could work...other than the fact that it's pretty flat! You could look for a home on the river.

 

Do you live in St. Joseph County?  Have we discussed this before?

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5 minutes ago, angelaguptathomas said:

Western North Carolina-has it all🙂

 

I think a lot of NC, parts of GA, and Northern SC all fit that bill.   Probably a lot of  TN and KY as well.

 

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49 minutes ago, Junie said:

Yes.  This is near where I grew up.  🙂

It is really beautiful country with four mild seasons.

I’m pretty sure there’s a Costco there, otherwise, I would have said our area - no Costco in our county.

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34 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Yes, he's retiring shortly (into a historic pandemic induced recession! YAY!) and we don't really have any ties anywhere so I'm trying to get ideas of where we might want to live. Of course a job that pays actual dollars will probably be the ultimate deciding factor. 😂

When dh left the Marines, we both said the only place we didn’t want to end up was Florida. We ended up there for 10 years! 😂

We’re now in Indiana and both actually really like it for the most part. Dh does wish there was more snow but it’s more than enough for me. I’m enjoying seeing lightning bugs again every summer.

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

West Michigan is very gray with very little sun for weeks at a time.

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2 hours ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

I think there is plenty of summer, as long as you like humidity and mosquitoes. Many winter days are bright, sunny, and cold, at least in MN and WI. I haven’t lived in MI.

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Depends on what "all four seasons" looks like to you, but Albuquerque might be worth a look. Definitely skiing in under an hour.

Editing to add that there is a military base/commissary in ABQ too, which is nice.

Edited by GoodGrief
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2 hours ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

 

We're doing a similar search, and are looking closely at southern Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Parts of Indiana and Kentucky might fight the bill for you, as well.  

Unless you are a "Yay, winter!!!!" type person, I would not recommend Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. My sister lives in Illinois, not far from the Wisconsin border and winter is long. I consider winter to be "months where snow is possible and very likely".  First snowfall is usually around Halloween and last snowfall is usually around Easter.  This year, the last snowfall was April 17.  The area isn't blanketed in snow the entire time, but snow is a possibility for that long.  I lived in the suburbs of Chicago for several years, and the winter wore on me. By February, everyone is in a bad mood because it's been grey for so long. 

 

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We loved Albuquerque, too.  It depends on whether you like humidity or not.  🙂  It's a lot easier to garden in TN where it actually rains and you can get a couple of acres if that's what you want.  On the other hand, a yard that is rock and a few drought-tolerant plants plus a tomato plant in a pot is a very low-maintenance lifestyle.  I tend to be happy wherever I land, but I enjoyed my decade in ABQ and am content here in TN.  I've lived in 10 states (one only for a summer, most for several years) and I've liked them all, so maybe I'm not the best gauge.  🙂  

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2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Tulsa, OK - not as flat and featureless as you would think. That part of Oklahoma is known as "Green Country." It's got more hills and is much prettier than Oklahoma City. It has a Costco and I'm sure you could find a home in that price range. 

I started to say Tulsa, I have been surprised by how green and hilly it is in this area.  I still miss AR but the geography here is much better than I thought it would be.  

Edited by Scarlett
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2 hours ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

Minnesota actually has quite a bit of sunny days (unlike the upper northwest states), minus November and off and on in the spring.  BUT, our winters are long.  You can expect snow anywhere from October through early May.  This week coming up is actually our first whole week of warm weather since early last fall.  Yay!!  I can finally put away my winter jacket.  (So if you don't like snow and cold weather, this is probably not the place for you.)

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58 minutes ago, Frances said:

I think there is plenty of summer, as long as you like humidity and mosquitoes. Many winter days are bright, sunny, and cold, at least in MN and WI. I haven’t lived in MI.

 

23 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Minnesota actually has quite a bit of sunny days (unlike the upper northwest states), minus November and off and on in the spring.  BUT, our winters are long.  You can expect snow anywhere from October through early May.  This week coming up is actually our first whole week of warm weather since early last fall.  Yay!!  I can finally put away my winter jacket.  (So if you don't like snow and cold weather, this is probably not the place for you.)

Yes, I would say WI is much less gloomy/grey. BUT yes, the winters are long. But they are long in some other areas too. I think you want 4 seasons, but equally distibuted - so 3 months of winter, not 6-7 months of it - which seems reasonable!

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3 hours ago, AmandaVT said:

Burlington, VT will fit your criteria. We even got a Target in VT recently!

I lived in Essex Junction, right next to Burlington, for a couple of years.  

I really enjoyed it, but I kind of forgot that spring would someday arrive, each winter.  Also the first New Year's that I was there I experienced temperatures that are colder than I could even imagine--  Minus 38 degrees.  Winters are very harsh and extremely long.  There is not a ton of snow.  The downhill skiing there is icy, not powder (Rockies) or packed powder (Sierra Nevada).  When I first arrived I asked people for tips on surviving and thriving through the winters.  Many told me that you have to take up a winter sport or you'll go nuts.  Others gave me pointers about what emergency gear to always carry in your car, which led to an abiding habit of carrying almost enough stuff to camp out in every car I have owned ever since.  

There were definitely 4 distinct seasons.  Spring was the locals' least favorite--they called it Mud Season.  I loved it, though--the shock of the bright, new green everywhere was miraculous to me.  Summer was brief and involved astounding quantities of mosquitoes.  It's so far north that the summer days are really long.  Despite growing up in CA, my best tans were from living in VT.  Fall was really pretty for about 2-3 weeks, but then it just got old and cold--the scenery turned black once the leaves were off the trees, and didn't look nice again until the snow fell.  Plus there was quite a bit of cold rain, which felt colder to me than snow, maybe because you couldn't just brush it off.  I basically liked it all year except Novembers.  

The scenery was breathtaking.  Every chance I could, I would grab a map, get in my car, and explore.  There were areas where you would go through a beautiful hardwood tree-lined valley and a cute classic New England town, over and over, for miles.  The people were steady and really good to know.  

I have to say, I personally would not be able to live there very well as an elderly person.  I'd be afraid of falling on the ice for too much of the year, and I'd end up staying inside too much.  That's my thing, though.  I tend to have poor balance to start with, so for me it would be very hard.  

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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3 hours ago, DawnM said:

Do you live in St. Joseph County?  Have we discussed this before?

No, but I am nearby. Why? Do you live in St. Joe County? 

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1 hour ago, MercyA said:

No, but I am nearby. Why? Do you live in St. Joe County? 

 

Oh, I am getting it mixed up with the city of St. Joseph.  My dad used to work near there.  We lived about an hour away when I was a kid and he worked there.  

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13 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

You want to live with me and @AFwife Claire and @happysmileylady and the other Dayton and Cincy moms.  I live seven minutes from Costco, in a fantastic school district, with major medical and colleges, four great seasons, low traffic, and a 2100 sq foot house that would sell for about $245k right now, fully updated.

Come have Young’s icecream with us 😘

 

I want to hear more about all the good things in Ohio! It is on our short list of places to move to in 2021. 

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13 hours ago, EmseB said:

Where in the continental US do I want to live if I want:

--Low cost of living (I know this is subjective, let's say that I want to be able to get 2500sqft house $350k in a neighborhood that isn't sketchy)

--All four seasons (or within a days drive to snow in winter)

--Big enough city to rate a Costco and similar stores but not a huge place, so I guess a bigger small city to mid-size

--Not totally flat and featureless

--I want to have backyard chickens, so chickens should not be outlawed

 

Does this  🦄  place exist?

The Pocono Mountains kind of fit.

We have 4 seasons, but winter can stretch up to 6 months while the other three get shoved into 6 months.

We have 3-4,000sf homes for under $350k in non-sketchy neighborhoods. 2500sf can be found for $250k or less.

Chickens depend on specific neighborhood, but there are plenty that allow it.

They’re not giant, but we sure do have mountains!

Big box stores can be a 30-45 minute drive from some areas, less from others.

 

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10 hours ago, Danae said:

 

We get 3 months of each season in Minnesota!  It's jut that sometimes we get snow in late fall or early spring. It's sunny, though.  The reason people talk about missing the sun in winter is that the days are so much shorter.  People who work inside might miss most of the daylight hours. 

Well, ok, so technically those snowy days are not winter, but to a lot of people snow = winter, lol. (but I do agree, not gloomy in the same way from what I know)

10 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Raleigh, NC

The mountains are 3-4 hours away and the beach is 1.5 hours away.

That's where I want to go! NC has conservative people if you want that, has liberal hippies if you want that, has arts, has lots of colleges/education, has hiking, springs, creeks, greenery, gorgeous fall season, and a winter cool enough to feel like winter/Christmas but just a few days of snow so you don't have to worry about being snowed in. And no hurricanes, no blizzards, no earthquakes, etc. 

8 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

You want to live with me and @AFwife Claire and @happysmileylady and the other Dayton and Cincy moms.  I live seven minutes from Costco, in a fantastic school district, with major medical and colleges, four great seasons, low traffic, and a 2100 sq foot house that would sell for about $245k right now, fully updated.

Come have Young’s icecream with us 😘

See, I'd want to move there except for the cloudy/gloomy thing. I'm serious in that the promotional video for Dayton had not a single sunny day in it! DH's cousins are actually not there right now, they moved to Boston for a few years for a contract, but still own real estate there, and his aunt/uncles are not too far away in Fremont, and they are fantastic people.  I think my late husband's extended family are still in the Dayton area as well, and my dad's family are from Ohio, so I probably have relatives I don't even know of there, lol. 

7 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

It’s such a good balance, I really love it.  Especially in this corner it’s green and somewhat hilly and temperate.  

No offense, but I'm going to take the word "temperate" with a grain of salt from someone named "Arctic" Mama, lol. 

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Following because me/my kids are always talking about where we can all move. We want somewhere similar to do this that encourages a lot of outdoor/family activities so we can have a healthier overall lifestyle (Louisiana is just too dang hot to do much outdoors other than swim or be on a boat for 4-5 months out of the year).

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14 hours ago, EmseB said:

Okay, I worry about Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota for grayness and long winters and not very much summer. Is that not a concern I should have?

West Michigan is very gray with very little sun for weeks at a time.   Last year we had like 5 days out of the month that we saw the sun (sunny or partly sunny days)    Farther east there is more sun but closer to Lake Michigan we are very lacking in sunlight.

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35 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Hey now, I came from San Diego!

Really though, it’s not gray most of the year by any stretch.  It gets hazy when it’s humid and it does have a solid rainy season into winter and at the end of spring here, but I’d say 70% of the days are partly cloudy or sunny, which is definitely temperate and pretty.  It’s less gray than Juneau or Seattle for sure 🙂

The vast majority of people don’t get SAD in the Midwest, I think you’re just super sensitive to it 😁

Truth, lol. 

I already am thinking if my new vitamins don't work, I'll be on wellbutrin next winter. (back on the expensive bariatric ones...SAD started around the same time I switched to cheaper ones...just realized recently the correlation) 

And to be fair, maybe the video producers just filmed it all on one day, lol. But you'd think they would have realized!

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15 hours ago, EmseB said:

Where in the continental US do I want to live if I want:

--Low cost of living (I know this is subjective, let's say that I want to be able to get 2500sqft house $350k in a neighborhood that isn't sketchy)

--All four seasons (or within a days drive to snow in winter)

--Big enough city to rate a Costco and similar stores but not a huge place, so I guess a bigger small city to mid-size

--Not totally flat and featureless

--I want to have backyard chickens, so chickens should not be outlawed

 

Does this  🦄  place exist?

Eastern Washington has some areas that would fit.  Snow in the winter, hot in the summer.  Multiple places you can buy a decent house for $350K, and those cities have costcos.

Moses Lake (they have a really nice water park), Tri-cities, Spokane/Post Falls

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15 hours ago, ClemsonDana said:

East TN has all of that - we've been very happy here.  

So does middle Tennessee. Near Nashville is good, clarksville is nice too. We live on the northwest side of Nashville and you can definitely get a really nice place for your budget, op.

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

 

That's where I want to go! NC has conservative people if you want that, has liberal hippies if you want that, has arts, has lots of colleges/education, has hiking, springs, creeks, greenery, gorgeous fall season, and a winter cool enough to feel like winter/Christmas but just a few days of snow so you don't have to worry about being snowed in. And no hurricanes, no blizzards, no earthquakes, etc. 

 

That's why we picked it-that and it's a tech city with a low COL in hardiness zone 7 where you can grow soooo many things. 

The city planning is ridiculously reactive instead of proactive.  Get this, they still build new streets that are only one lane each way, you know, like back when people drove horses and buggies, so the traffic is awful and many locals still don't grasp why, but my husband works from home, so it doesn't impact us much.

We're in the greater Raleigh area, about 30 min. from downtown Raleigh and 45 from the airport (assuming it's not rush hour, if it is those numbers double) in an area where you can choose a neighborhood like mine with 43 suburban houses  on 1-3 acres for gardening and raising chickens, surrounded by woods,  so it feels like the country, or properties across the street from our suburban neighborhood entrance that are rural properties where they have cattle, equine rescues, or working farms. It's 10-15 minutes to our city's downtown, 10 minutes to a great NY pizza place, and 10-15 minutes to fast food restaurants. That really works for us. Our adult married kids like it too and opted to move to the same general area.

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