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Old 02-08-2010, 07:01 AM   #21
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You're right, I don't suppose I would want to be somewhere it would take an ambulance half an hour to get to.
You have given me something to think about.
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The nearest major metropolitan areas are Seattle and Portland OR. It's about a 3 hour drive to Seattle and I would guess four or even a bit more to Portland.
Your point about vibrant vs quiet is a good one. I think Seattle is considered a pretty vibrant city but I take very little advantage of that aspect of living here. I'm not into fine dining, theater, live music, the arts or the club scene, and only occasionally go to a movie at the theater. Pretty much a stick-in-the-mud, is what I am. So quiet is OK by me but if vital services became unavailable that would be a problem.
I think the question you have to answer is whether or not you'll enjoy small-town living, a duel-edged sword with all its opportunities yet its inevitable in-your-business curiosity of your new neighbors.

We chose Hawaii for its weather, but we chose Oahu and our neighborhood for its schools and its proximity to services... not just hospitals but home-improvement stores, cheaper big-box/grocery retail, short driving distances, and community activities. We're near the crossroads of a few major military bases and commands, so we're easier for family & visitors to get to (which overall is a good thing). Our neighborhood is big enough that I don't feel obligated to get involved with the homeowner's board or have to be street mayor or any of that other civic stuff unless I want to.

We could enjoy similar weather amid a much cheaper and quieter lifestyle on Molokai or even Lanai, but it would be at least 2030 before any of the residents stopped calling us "malihini"...

TromboneAl recommended a book a few years back called "Small Town Bound: Your Guide to Small-Town Living, from Determining If Life in the Slower Lane Is for You, to Choosing the Perfect Place to Set Roots" by John Clayton.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:08 AM   #22
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... a duel-edged sword ...
That's what I call a cutting remark!
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:28 AM   #23
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Ah, I can see you've been to East Nowhere, NY.
I've lived in this area since 1980, and there is still that "You didn't go to high school here did you?" undercurrent. I mostly ignore it.
The majority of my closest friends are transplants also. It's just the way it is in really small towns.
Glad to know that it's not just a midwest thing. I've heard that so many times about small towns in my state too.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:34 AM   #24
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That's what I call a cutting remark!
Too much swords&sorcery fiction lately... then I decided that I kinda liked it.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:43 AM   #25
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Glad to know that it's not just a midwest thing. I've heard that so many times about small towns in my state too.
- Heck I remember the 'refugee from Minnesota' jokes in Seattle. Hardly a small town. Run into the same undercurrent here in the burbs north of Kansas City.

Didn't notice in the area I grew up(cause I lived there) - Vancouver, Kelso, Longview, Castle Rock, Long Beach, etc.

heh heh heh - still have relatives down south - in Kalama .
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:55 AM   #26
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Ah, I can see you've been to East Nowhere, NY.
I've lived in this area since 1980, and there is still that "You didn't go to high school here did you?" undercurrent. I mostly ignore it.
The majority of my closest friends are transplants also. It's just the way it is in really small towns.
I know what you mean by the "Where did you go to high school?" situations. It has been that way everywhere I have ever lived, small town or large, though it may be easier to detect in small towns. I have lived in 7 different states (8 if you consider northern and southern California as two different states, which IMO they should be) and in no one state for much longer than others. I think it was worst in Hawaii, though I graduated from high school there so I can "fake it" if I want to.

By moving to follow educational and employment opportunities, transplants sometimes have more exciting lives and better incomes. These choices can be at the expense of being considered an outsider or even a rolling stone by those who are not transplants.



Here in Louisiana, most of my friends are native to this area and not transplants (though most of my co-workers were transplants). They say that native New Orleanians are an unusually insular bunch and only friendly on the surface to transplants but that has not been my experience.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:57 AM   #27
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Remember Snuffy's hatred of " Flatland Furriners" from Lil Abner? Not very far off the truth, if it is off at all, in many places where most of the people are natives. Whether the natives be subsistance level or wealthy, they don't really see much to be gained from associating with the non-natives.

In much of the rural SE, it might be said about someone that "they are from off".

Well, if I am in a place like this, I want to be off at my first chance. Even when I and my family had at least 5-8 generations and some considerable political power, I hated it. It is interesting though to go back and realize that for many of them, I am not long gone and long forgotten, but I am Lucy's boy, or JE's boy. They also remember quite well all of my unfortunate scrapes and falls from grace.

Ha
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:07 PM   #28
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Remember Snuffy's hatred of " Flatland Furriners" from Lil Abner? Not very far off the truth, if it is off at all, in many places where most of the people are natives. Whether the natives be subsistance level or wealthy, they don't really see much to be gained from associating with the non-natives.

In much of the rural SE, it might be said about someone that "they are from off".

Well, if I am in a place like this, I want to be off at my first chance. Even when I and my family had at least 5-8 generations and some considerable political power, I hated it. It is intersting though to go back and realize that for many of them, I am not long gone and long forgotten, but I am Lucy's boy, or JE's boy. They also remember quite well all of my unfortunate scrapes and falls from grace.

Ha
And almost worse than being the "newcomer" is when you're the native and the other natives remember bigger-than-life tales of Lucy's fall from grace and JE's scrapes--it's like original sin without Adam and Eve, at least in the family and town DH grew up in.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:11 PM   #29
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I think it depends. Some areas decline to a certain extent and then stabilize. So many areas of upstate NY (Albany, Buffalo, Rochester) saw manufacturing and ag (especially dairy) slide a long way and never really recovered, but they stabilized and are reasonable places to live: decent access to healthcare, more or less stable populations, not major crime problems, etc. Other places get hit and keep spiralling downward. Detroit would be a poster-child for this sort of thing, but there are maky others. Population shrinks as people move out, services decline as the tax base erodes, the population grows older and poorer as those with youth or valuable skills depart, crime rises. This sort of place I would not want to live.

So decline is OK as long as it does not happen too far or too fast. I also would want to be careful about how much of my net worth I sank into a house in a real estate market like this.
I agree with this. I am very familiar with Buffalo... grew up in Rochester, all of my family resides in Buffalo. If the bubble never reached the area, its tough for it to burst.

One thing which keeps Buffalo economy going is tourism, and another is that portions of it are a college town. Those are things to consider.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:03 PM   #30
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This video is dated (it suggests that the city's poverty rate is 26.9%; it's currently up to 30.3%), but otherwise provides a pretty good overview:
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:08 PM   #31
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And then there is this small matter of lake effect snow and wind in Buffalo...ask any NFL athlete that has played there about the 13th man at Rich Stadium.
Hint: The 12th man is the crowd.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:19 PM   #32
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Ah, I can see you've been to East Nowhere, NY.
I've lived in this area since 1980, and there is still that "You didn't go to high school here did you?" undercurrent. I mostly ignore it.
The majority of my closest friends are transplants also. It's just the way it is in really small towns.
Quite true here in western PA, too, in the small dead or dying towns. My current group of close friends all grew up elsewhere. I live in a small city that is not so insular, and we have a goodly number of transplants. If one lived even closer to Pittsburgh in some of the neighborhoods favored by the corporate types, academics, and the like, it would be much easier to be a newbie.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:03 PM   #33
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I would not let Buffalo being economically depressed be a reason OP does or does not move to wherever she wanted in Washington state.

Of all the cities I have ever lived in, Buffalo is the one which has the most character, and its not even close. Anyone which lives in that area, or grew up in that area identifies with that area.

Most other small towns do not have a New York City sucking their tax dollars (pretty much all of NYS is taxed so heavily in part because of NYC and the infrastructure such a big city needs). I don't hear about small counties in Ohio complaining that Cincinnati is sucking their tax dollars away from local needs. I know that is true in Buffalo, Rochester and most parts of NYS.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:22 PM   #34
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Quite true here in western PA, too, in the small dead or dying towns. My current group of close friends all grew up elsewhere. I live in a small city that is not so insular, and we have a goodly number of transplants. If one lived even closer to Pittsburgh in some of the neighborhoods favored by the corporate types, academics, and the like, it would be much easier to be a newbie.
Over half my high-school crowd (Murrysville '78) is still living within an hour's drive.

Back then the college choices were either Penn State... or the state pen.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:14 PM   #35
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Over half my high-school crowd (Murrysville '78) is still living within an hour's drive.

Back then the college choices were either Penn State... or the state pen.
Murrysville, eh? I used to live there myself up until 7 years ago!
Franklin Regional is an excellent school district.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #36
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And then there is this small matter of lake effect snow and wind in Buffalo...ask any NFL athlete that has played there about the 13th man at Rich Stadium.
Hint: The 12th man is the crowd.

Pretty much the same deal in Cleveland. I have spent enough years in that purgatory climate to know it was enough, so when it comes time to relocate it will not be to that part of the country.

I think the insularity of small towns argues strongly for a college town as a relocation destination. If it does not get loved to death in the interim, I think I have one that would suit me (Fort Collins), but will be looking for others over time.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #37
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Gainesville is a nice college town . It has more a New England feel than a Florida feel and it has lots of activities in a mild climate .
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:35 PM   #38
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Gainesville is a nice college town . It has more a New England feel than a Florida feel and it has lots of activities in a mild climate .
<shudder> Florida. Really not for me in so many ways. But I do need to scout out more college towns.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:03 PM   #39
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Ah, I can see you've been to East Nowhere, NY.
I've lived in this area since 1980, and there is still that "You didn't go to high school here did you?" undercurrent. I mostly ignore it.
The majority of my closest friends are transplants also. It's just the way it is in really small towns.
Dead on! Same here. There's the cowboy clique, the we went to high school here clique and the stay at home because my husband has a great job mom clique. We have tons of transplants here and they really drove up the housing market. Not people like me so much bu the rich retirees from California who sold their small homes for a million bucks and came here and bought mini ranches for cash.

We've found that if you aren't pretentious and are friendly most will accept you. It helps that i grew up in Nevada. Being a native, and more importantly not from California, is important to them. Accepted, doesn't mean embraced though. Were still kind of that nice couple that moved here 8 years ago.

The real problem isn't the cliques, even big cities have them, it the lack of opportunities. In a bigger city you're likely to find someone that shares your hobbies, values, idea of fun, etc. In a small town, the supply of likely candidates is much smaller. If it is a rural area, like where we live, you also don't have 40 neighbors close by. We have 8 houses on our three mile long street. The odds are pretty stacked against us.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:20 AM   #40
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I think the question you have to answer is whether or not you'll enjoy small-town living, a duel-edged sword with all its opportunities yet its inevitable in-your-business curiosity of your new neighbors. (snip)
That is just what I don't know, never having lived in a small town in my life except while I was in college, and college towns are probably atypical anyway. I have been thinking recently about taking a sabbatical right before I retire, to have time to clean up my house to put on the market, look around for a place in the new location etc etc. Looks like I better think real seriously about doing that and actually move there and try it on for size. I'd have to get a job down there, which I haven't been planning on. If worse comes to worse and I liked living in a small town even less than working, I could go back to my j*b. The thing is, none of the reasons I want to move there have anything to do with the "small-towniness" of the place. It's the climate and the housing prices and being able to pursue my hobby without being in violation of the zoning code.

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TromboneAl recommended a book a few years back called "Small Town Bound: Your Guide to Small-Town Living, from Determining If Life in the Slower Lane Is for You, to Choosing the Perfect Place to Set Roots" by John Clayton.
Amazon has it in two different editions—the 1996 is under $5 used, the 2001 is over $30 used. I wonder why the price difference? The local library doesn't have that book, but did have another one on the topic. So far I am flunking their "you'd like living in a small town" quiz. The problem is, I don't have a "plan B". There's no way I can afford to stay in Seattle after retirement, because my house isn't paid for yet. I don't think I could swing it even if I sold the house and became a permanent renter (not that I would consider that anyway). Now I'm getting all bummed out.
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