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Old 09-04-2014, 06:43 AM   #41
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We just try to get along. As a Tar Heel, I get to claim Michael Jordan from two places!
Me too.

I do miss Chicago, and Illinois from time to time. My first taste of the world outside of the big city was in college downstate. Loved it there too.

But after I got over the "Hey, you moving to Mayberry? Why?" feeling for the South, I discovered there is more. NC has its share of problems too. But at least the state has made an effort to be diverse on many accounts. This draws business and entrepreneurs. We can enjoy ethnic foods. We can enjoy major league sports. I miss major league baseball, but discovered the minors, and we enjoy visiting the many different teams in NC and Virginia. (Road trip!)
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:55 AM   #42
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Me too.

I do miss Chicago, and Illinois from time to time. My first taste of the world outside of the big city was in college downstate. Loved it there too.

But after I got over the "Hey, you moving to Mayberry? Why?" feeling for the South, I discovered there is more. NC has its share of problems too. But at least the state has made an effort to be diverse on many accounts. This draws business and entrepreneurs. We can enjoy ethnic foods. We can enjoy major league sports. I miss major league baseball, but discovered the minors, and we enjoy visiting the many different teams in NC and Virginia. (Road trip!)

Hey, there are the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon (both nice ballparks). I hear Illinois is coming to play UNC in football next year, too!
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:17 AM   #43
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I'm spending some time in Iowa right now. The people are nice and I'm in a university town so there's lots of smart people around. But there's no diversity, the restaurants scene sucks (unless you like applebees) and god help you if you want any kind of ethnic, vegetarian or seafood.

The nearest big city is Des Moines and it feels like a ghost town. On the plus side there's no traffic. And you can get gas at Costco without waiting 20 minutes in line.


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Seafood? There's always Red Lobster

Spent 20 years in Iowa and you have the food situation exactly right.

Nearest reasonable quality opera was in Kansas City, nearest period instrument performing group in Minneapolis. I'll admit, the drives to KC and Minneapolis were pretty stress free, although 3 hours one way is a long time to spend in a car to see an opera or a concert.

But no traffic has it's advantages, one year I had a 57 mile commute - it took me 57 minutes, like clockwork.

Also on the plus side, my YEARLY season pass at a very nice golf course was under $1000. We also lived within walking distance of a grocery store, the library, parks, etc.
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Why the Midwest?
Old 09-04-2014, 09:44 AM   #44
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Why the Midwest?

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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
I'm spending some time in Iowa right now. The people are nice and I'm in a university town so there's lots of smart people around. But there's no diversity, the restaurants scene sucks (unless you like applebees) and god help you if you want any kind of ethnic, vegetarian or seafood.

The nearest big city is Des Moines and it feels like a ghost town. On the plus side there's no traffic. And you can get gas at Costco without waiting 20 minutes in line.


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No criticism in anyway, just an observation that always hits me any time it is mentioned. That being "lack of diversity" as a negative in a town. Any time I read a "Top Places to Live" article many will mention the lack of diversity as a negative for the town, despite it being a good place to live. Of course if it is an important part of an individuals decision to locate at if it is a negative. But the articles that write this as a negative always strikes me as a little presumptuous that it is bad thing for everyone, as some may prefer that, or that some could care less either way. Then again maybe I am just skewed from living in small rural towns my whole life (mostly by accident, not design) or just the only oddball that has actually thought about it.


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Old 09-04-2014, 11:02 AM   #45
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. . . although 3 hours minutes one way is a long time to spend in a car to see an opera or a concert.
Fixed it for you.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:04 AM   #46
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No criticism in anyway, just an observation that always hits me any time it is mentioned. That being "lack of diversity" as a negative in a town. Any time I read a "Top Places to Live" article many will mention the lack of diversity as a negative for the town, despite it being a good place to live. Of course if it is an important part of an individuals decision to locate at if it is a negative. But the articles that write this as a negative always strikes me as a little presumptuous that it is bad thing for everyone, as some may prefer that, or that some could care less either way. Then again maybe I am just skewed from living in small rural towns my whole life (mostly by accident, not design) or just the only oddball that has actually thought about it.


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OK, I have to insert my personal experience into this. I've lived and taught in small towns, university towns, and big cities. In the small towns that I have lived, the lack of diversity also reflects a lack of interest and respect for those who are different, not just in ethnicity or race, but in anyway whatsoever. If you are not willing to assimilate to the way that "they" think you should live, then you will not be accepted. In the larger, more diverse communities, there seems to be a willingness to celebrate these differences.

I moved into one small town to teach physics and the principal and school district did everything right to keep me there. But the community never accepted us. We lived there five years and never once received an invitation to join in a social activity. We hosted our Christmas Open House, invited co-workers over, everything, but were never reciprocated. When I finally left, I was told that when I was hired, a betting pool was created on how long I would last. This is how a community accepts newcomers? Why weren't we accepted? To this day I have no idea. I was white, just like everyone else in the town. But my interests weren't their interests. Perhaps because we didn't hunt, had no cable television, built an observatory in the backyard? I wish I had a clue.

Similarly, my family still lives in the community where I grew up. None of my siblings are interested in anything except those who are like them. They have no interest or respect for people with different interests, different tastes, let alone different skin color.

I am sure that there are small towns that are not full of close-minded people, but I wouldn't bet my retirement on finding one.

I realize that I have a small sample size but, in my experience, the presence of outward diversity stands as a pretty good proxy for finding people who are willing to accept and understand differences. Of course, there are communities with very diverse populations that have problems with mutual understanding, also.

Sorry if I come off bitter, but DW still refers to our five years in that community as a black hole in our life.

There are many things that I love about the Midwest, but if I went back it could only be to a university town.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:25 AM   #47
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I am sure that there are small towns that are not full of close-minded people, but I wouldn't bet my retirement on finding one.
I'm sure you realize this is an incredibly broad brush you are using. In my experience, "towns" don't accept or reject people, people accept or reject other people. And if we want to find either accepting, open-minded people or closed-minded people who believe their POV is the only one that is legitimate, we can find plenty of each in any big city--or any small town
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:43 AM   #48
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I'm sure you realize this is an incredibly broad brush you are using. In my experience, "towns" don't accept or reject people, people accept or reject other people. And if we want to find either accepting, open-minded people or closed-minded people who believe their POV is the only one that is legitimate, we can find plenty of each in any big city--or any small town
A very important difference is that when you are in an isolated town of 25,000 people, if you don't hit it with the locals you are out of luck. If you are in a big city, if you can't find some compatible people the reason is likely you, not everyone else. And as regards university communities, they are down with color, ethnicity, gender and orientation aspects, but try to get much acceptance if you are an outspoken conservative, unless it is a religious or avowedly conservative university.

It's like dating, mo' choice is better, and cities have mo' choice

Ha
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:06 PM   #49
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No criticism in anyway, just an observation that always hits me any time it is mentioned. That being "lack of diversity" as a negative in a town. Any time I read a "Top Places to Live" article many will mention the lack of diversity as a negative for the town, despite it being a good place to live. Of course if it is an important part of an individuals decision to locate at if it is a negative. But the articles that write this as a negative always strikes me as a little presumptuous that it is bad thing for everyone, as some may prefer that, or that some could care less either way. Then again maybe I am just skewed from living in small rural towns my whole life (mostly by accident, not design) or just the only oddball that has actually thought about it.
That's a very good point that you bring up. I think magazines use "lack of diversity" as a criteria because it's the PC thing to do. They would have extreme backlash if they said anything else. However, you're probably right that many people might have no preference on this or actually prefer less diverse towns.

Diversity is an issue for me because I'm a visible minority and will be no matter where I live. I don't think I've had too many problems fitting in and the wife's family have been very friendly and accepting. However, some of her relatives have made blatantly racist comments about other minorities (even though they are fairly well educated) so I can see how some might find the midwest unwelcoming.

The other thing that bothers me about "diversity" is that it's almost always judged on the basis of race and nationality. The SF bay area is very diverse on those measures but it's hard to meet someone who isn't an engineer, research scientist, involved with tech or bioinformatics. In contrast to L.A. where I'd meet all sorts of people in different occupations (although there are a lot of wanna be actors/screenwriters/etc.)
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:09 PM   #50
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A very important difference is that when you are in an isolated town of 25,000 people, if you don't hit it with the locals you are out of luck.

One time, a group tried to hire me away. Small group, smart and friendly people.

I asked my manager about it, a great guy, full professor, I trusted him. He said if things don't work out, you're stuck. Here there are plenty of groups that would like your help. I stayed and was happy.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:22 PM   #51
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I'm sure you realize this is an incredibly broad brush you are using. In my experience, "towns" don't accept or reject people, people accept or reject other people. And if we want to find either accepting, open-minded people or closed-minded people who believe their POV is the only one that is legitimate, we can find plenty of each in any big city--or any small town
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A very important difference is that when you are in an isolated town of 25,000 people, if you don't hit it with the locals you are out of luck. If you are in a big city, if you can't find some compatible people the reason is likely you, not everyone else. And as regards university communities, they are down with color, ethnicity, gender and orientation aspects, but try to get much acceptance if you are an outspoken conservative, unless it is a religious or avowedly conservative university.

It's like dating, mo' choice is better, and cities have mo' choice

Ha
samclem, yes, I do realize that I was painting with a very broad brush and I shouldn't do that. I apologize. But, even after 20 years, there is a lot of frustration that I, apparently, need to vent. I think that Ha actually summarized my point better than I did. I was unable to find matches for my interests in my past small town experiences and have been much more successful in larger and more diverse communities. Although I have some wonderful memories from growing up in and around small towns, I will rephrase my wager, "I wouldn't bet my retirement on finding people to share my interests in a small town."

And Ha, 25,000 - that IS a big city for some people. My experiences are in towns of 5000 and less.

Also, I've met many conservatives in university towns, but Ha is right, they tend to keep their heads down to avoid confrontation.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:23 PM   #52
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A very important difference is that when you are in an isolated town of 25,000 people, if you don't hit it with the locals you are out of luck. If you are in a big city, if you can't find some compatible people the reason is likely you, not everyone else. And as regards university communities, they are down with color, ethnicity, gender and orientation aspects, but try to get much acceptance if you are an outspoken conservative, unless it is a religious or avowedly conservative university.

It's like dating, mo' choice is better, and cities have mo' choice

Ha

Isolated town of 25,000.... That would be a metropolis for me! The dating thing in a small town is tough like you said. Being particular there were only usually 2-3 that would ever catch my eye, and fortunately I was always able to break into that tiny circle of desirables. Now that I am older I am glad I have a long term GF and don't have to try. JJ, I was fortunate I never had a bad small town experience like you had. Though you remind me of an experience in my first small town that looking back was hilarious.
I had just moved into an rural town of about 2,000 for less than a week and knew no one, but people know you. A black kid about my age at the time 23 or so already knew I was a coach and wanted to know if I would open the gym up to play some hoops as he had some friends that wanted to play. Well I liked playing too at the time so we go up there and next thing you know there are 20 some blacks and one white (me) playing pickup games. Arguing, cussing, and yelling while playing and I was scared to death a melee was going to break out. It all worked out as they were all friends but I didn't know it at the time. The funny thing was it was a 95% white town, but back then people would drive 20 miles to play in an open gym. We wound up doing it every Sunday during the years I lived there.


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Old 09-04-2014, 01:39 PM   #53
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I am originally from Indianapolis. Went to college in NW-Central Indiana (as did DW). Since then, I have lived in (all coastal) Rhode Island, Japan, South Carolina, Virginia, and San Diego, CA.

I miss Indy sometimes. I suspect that is because I love the fall when the air is crisp in the morning, the leaves are turning, and it's football season. I miss a wood fire in the fireplace when it's cold and snowing outside. My parents and one of my sisters is still there. The Colts, our college team, the Pacers, and the Cubs still tug on the heartstrings and I miss being around like-minded fans. I have fun visiting.

Then it turns to winter. Or summer.

And then I go outside in January or July and it's 75 degrees and sunny and I don't miss the setting so much, just the people.

We may move to the midwest (or Huntsville, AL) in ER, but it's going to be tough to leave our little corner of paradise here...
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:46 PM   #54
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- extra sweet sweetcorn and heirloom tomatoes straight from the garden - so fresh they are still growing when you eat them. Nirvana. Unmatched anywhere.
I've lived in Michigan, California, New jersey, Florida, Colorado, Texas, Connecticut and maybe one more state. While I'll agree that sweet corn is pretty good in the Midwest, the absolute best sweet corn I ever had was grown in southern New Jersey. That's right, not too far from Soprano country.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:29 PM   #55
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I like the Midwest - lived my whole life on the fringe of Chicago suburbia. Although the winters can be nasty, the other 3 seasons are nice. Tons of stuff to do - we can get into the heart of the city within an hour. Or we can get to the hinterlands within minutes. Traffic generally not too bad unless traveling at rush hour. Good food, medical facilities, sports, shopping. People are friendly. Easy to get to other parts of the world from here.


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Old 09-04-2014, 05:35 PM   #56
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I grew up in Brooklyn, NY.
Needless to say, my perspective on the Midwest was a bit skewed. The saying was "Anything west of the Hudson River is camping out."

But I eventually grew to like it quite a bit. Currently in southern Ohio, and Cincinnati is the closest city, which is plenty big enough.

I once knew a girl from Minot, ND, and she said that to get to real, sophisticated civilization, she often drove to Winnipeg, 5 hours. I also have a relative in northeastern Montana, and he wouldn't travel to save his life. He says he has everything he could ever want there.

So it all depends on your viewpoint. I've lived in some of the biggest cities in the world, and I only want to stay away from them and their horrible traffic and pollution. The Midwest works fine for me.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:26 PM   #57
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So it all depends on your viewpoint. I've lived in some of the biggest cities in the world, and I only want to stay away from them and their horrible traffic and pollution. The Midwest works fine for me.
As does West Virginia for us. I grew up and worked most of my life just north of Washington, D.C. DW just NW of D.C., until shortly before she met me. At age 15 some friends and I rode our bicycles to the Washington Monument, walked the stairs up and back down, then rode our bicycles home. That was an all-day excursion but could be done. And yeah, we were "ready for dinner" when we got back.

But that was in 1965. The place has changed, and in my view not for the better. Kids can't do that now, and I think they should be able to.

The politicians around there who made/allowed it to happen? When they pass on I hope the devil makes them spend eternity sitting in traffic. With full bladders.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:37 AM   #58
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At age 15 some friends and I rode our bicycles to the Washington Monument, walked the stairs up and back down, then rode our bicycles home. That was an all-day excursion but could be done. And yeah, we were "ready for dinner" when we got back.

But that was in 1965. The place has changed, and in my view not for the better. Kids can't do that now, and I think they should be able to.
Actually, riding your bike around DC might be easier now than in 1965, because of all the bike trails and such. But, I'll give you walking up and down the steps of the Washington Monument. I don't think they've let you do that in ages. There was an old railroad that wrapped around DC and went into Georgetown, that has been converted into a trail...I think it's called the "Capitol Crescent Trail" or something like that? Lots of access points to it from DC, and Maryland.

But, I'm also speaking as a 44 year old adult. If I had a 15 year old kid, I don't think I'd let him or her ride around like that, unsupervised.
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:22 PM   #59
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Brown County in Indiana is really pretty.
And a scenic and challenging area to bicycle (road or MTB). Quite a shock to anyone who thinks Indiana is all flat as a pancake
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:40 PM   #60
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Buckeye by birth, Georgian by choice. Still love the OSU Buckeyes though not to mention being a broken hearted Browns fan forever.
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