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Old 10-02-2012, 01:53 PM   #21
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My current thought was Napa/Sonoma. Sun, water, wine, San Fran close, football.
I know I'd love Napa (though you left off the foodie aspect), and you can certainly live there (or almost anywhere) for $130K/yr. That being said, I'd also know my money would go a lot further near many other metro areas in the country, so I'd be researching other areas with lower COL - YMMV. Interesting you see OR as too liberal compared to Napa or CA in general, but there are conservatives everywhere, just harder to find in some places. I'd want to know more about how CA plans to address their fiscal imbalances before I'd relo there. Best of luck...
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:02 PM   #22
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I love Port Townsend and it has a lot of what I am looking for. Not sure the weather is good enough because it must be the same as Seattle where I am now.
I think you're jumping to conclusions there. That part of the Olympic peninsula is in what's known as the "rain shadow" and has far more sunshine than Seattle.
What Is The Olympic Rain Shadow? | F.A.Q. | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #23
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I re-read the "specifications", and the one area that keeps popping up to me is "Pinehurst Area, NC". Pinehurst has many, many early retirees, so you should be able to find peers.
I had been thinking of Chatham county, NC, like Pittsboro, close to Raleigh-Durham and Jordan Lake, but Pinehurst might be a better choice. It's been a few years since I've been through either.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #24
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I love Port Townsend and it has a lot of what I am looking for. Not sure the weather is good enough because it must be the same as Seattle where I am now.
Less rain than Seattle, courtesy of the Olympic mountains rain shadow. I've looked at that area as a possible destination. Just make sure you're not downwind of that paper mill.

http://ptleader.com/main.asp?Section...rticleID=28682
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #25
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Less rain than Seattle, courtesy of the Olympic mountains rain shadow. I've looked at that area as a possible destination. Just make sure you're not downwind of that paper mill.

Letter: Welcome to PT and its mill smell - Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader - Port Townsend, Jefferson County & Olympic Peninsula's news website - Port Townsend, WA
Less rain does not sunny make it. I lived on the Peninsula, and if I left rain in Seattle or Port Angeles, I never remember finding sun in Sequim. And remember, midwinter sun at 47+ degrees North latitude gets about 23 degrees above the horizon. It would not be sunny even if every cloud had somehow been banished.

Sunniest place in WA is Tri-Cities. And you got the Columbia which is nice, hydro races, and you may even find some radioactive rocks. But take your light meter on a winter day, and you will see that sunny has many different meanings. I can remember returning from Southern California, or Latin America. I'd exit the terminal at noon on a clear day and wonder who turned out the lights.

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Old 10-02-2012, 05:02 PM   #26
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I had been thinking of Chatham county, NC, like Pittsboro, close to Raleigh-Durham and Jordan Lake, but Pinehurst might be a better choice. It's been a few years since I've been through either.
Also not bad, although Pittsboro is suffering from urban sprawl incursion. That may be OK, because it still isn't exactly in the city yet and won't be for some time, but traffic and congestion has picked up.

Meanwhile, Jordan lake is great for boating. Nearly year round.

I thought of Pinehurst when OP mentioned charming towns. Of course, it isn't just Pinehurst proper, it is all of the Sandhills area. Outside of the village, it is very affordable, with the charming village nearby. And this should be a place if golf is on the list, there are something like 50 courses nearby.

Politics are across the spectrum in that area, but lean conservative. If you got a lib hankering, move closer to Chapel Hill/Orange county (home of John Edwards). Just a few miles away. If you have a real military conservative hankering, move closer to Ft. Bragg.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #27
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I don't have a huge experience with other cities, but for many of these, I'd throw out a suggestion for the St. Louis metro area (including a few towns across the river in IL)

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Scenario:
---House will be purchased for $600k or less
---Cute, quaint towns are nice
---House has .5 acres or bigger lot
I imagine that in 2 years, even with a modest housing recovery most of the areas of the country would still be able to easily fit the bill of a $600k house on 1/2 acre+. You could get quite a lot of that in the St. Louis area (suburbs in the West County part, especially). Although if you're looking for cute, quaint towns, you could also consider Florissant, on the North edge of St. Louis county, dating back to the late 1700s (?)...or perhaps cross the Missouri River in St. Louis to go into St. Charles, which has been growing over the past 20 years but still has some 'smaller town' feel to it.


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1. Within a 40 minute drive to a city with sports teams, restaurants, performing arts, and concerts
2. Weather not be extreme in the winter
Between the baseball Cardinals, (lousy) Rams and the (occasionally decent) Blues, you have 3 out of the 4 major sports teams. The periodic concert (both Pop and other genres), the St. Louis symphony, as well as a few civic symphonies and college music school symphonies (both free! ).

But you'd need to clarify what you mean by "not be extreme in winter". St. Louis might get 2 or 3 snowfalls, each maybe 2". Nothing extreme at all, although once every 6 or 8 years, you might experience a 6" snowfall. For a 2-3 month period, nightly lows might be in the teens/20s, with daytime highs in the 20s/30s. It's definitely winter, but not like farther up North where your snowdrifts are taller than you.

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1. Fairly conservative people
2. Trees and forests near
5. Within 40 minute drive to an ocean or large body of water
1. Check.
2. St. Louis has quite a few county and state parks, along with some rolling hills as you head West/South out of the area. A popular thing is to drive for 30-60 minutes out to Hermann or Augusta (or South to Ste. Genevieve) to visit the 30 or so wineries. Great views at the wineries, some have a few decent vintages, spectacular to see the trees changing color in the fall. All around good times.

For water, there's the Meramec and Missouri rivers for a little recreation, or the 26,000 acre Lake Carlyle in Illinois (about 50 mins from St. Louis), and the 320 acre Creve Coeur Lake ...didn't know if these would qualify for "body of water"

The St. Louis area is a fairly large metro area with tons of things to do and see, while also offering a modest overall cost of living and not too much congestion with traffic and crowds.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:47 PM   #28
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Here's an online calculator/comparitor to help you sort through all the choices...

Find Your Spot | Find Your Spot
I'm sorry, maybe this site worked for some, but we just went through the ordeal, and it was a TOTAL waste of time. We specified average home price, and it gave us places we couldn't even afford to eat lunch in. Out of 24 suggested cities, 20 had average home prices FAR (2-4x) above our range. We told it we HATE golf, and it gives us Palm Springs - Golf Capital of the World. We told it little rain, no snow and lots of sun, and it gave us Portland OR? We said no beaches, ocean, fishing, water sports, etc. and it gave us 2 hits in HI.

I don't know how this site makes its "selections", but they seemed to have very little to do with our input, even after going through a few times and changing our answers.

Oh, well... back to square 1.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:04 PM   #29
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Less rain does not sunny make it. I lived on the Peninsula, and if I left rain in Seattle or Port Angeles, I never remember finding sun in Sequim. And remember, midwinter sun at 47+ degrees North latitude gets about 23 degrees above the horizon. It would not be sunny even if every cloud had somehow been banished

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Not to mention, Sequim is a run down and depressing little town.....
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #30
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Not to mention, Sequim is a run down and depressing little town.....
Couldn't agree more. That banana belt thing looks good on paper only.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:17 PM   #31
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Surprisingly, somewhere around Houston, TX meets the requirements.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:13 PM   #32
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...The St. Louis area is a fairly large metro area with tons of things to do and see, while also offering a modest overall cost of living and not too much congestion with traffic and crowds.
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Surprisingly, somewhere around Houston, TX meets the requirements.
Both of these are interesting suggestions that would not have come immediately to my mind. And, I have spent significant time in both metro areas.

Something not mentioned by OP but worth warning for both of these cities is the oppressive summers not just in terms of heat and humidity but also seriously bad air quality in terms of particulates, ozone, etc. This becomes a bigger issue for me with each passing year.

Personally, I find the St. Louis winters too extreme for my tastes; and, the area (within 40 minute drive) lakes do not meet my definition of large body of water. But, MooreBonds does paint an accurate picture of the area.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:44 PM   #33
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Air quality should be great near Houston, but not necessarily in Houston. OP wanted to be within 40 minutes of city, not in the city. And the weather requirement was about the winter, not the summer.

Also, for $600K, one could have several homes in/near Houston.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #34
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Not to mention, Sequim is a run down and depressing little town.....
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Couldn't agree more. That banana belt thing looks good on paper only.

Ha
Agreed. DW and I visited the Olympic peninsula about 10 yrs ago, and visited several of the towns there. Sequim just doesn't have anything to attract you; there's no "there" there. However, Port Townsend (also in the rain shadow) is a different story. It was nice, kinda arty and funky and right on Puget Sound. It definitely has possibilities.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:13 PM   #35
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Sunshine is important (8 out of 10), being in Seattle, anything will be an improvement. I wouldn't need all that Denver, San Diego, and Florida offer, but it's a big plus.

I will be living on $130k/year

I prefer an ocean, but lake would be fine also. If it's a lake, I would want it within 15-20 minutes.

Oregon does not have enough sun, is way too liberal and grungy, and Seattle is by far a better choice but probably not good enough. I would prefer an NFL team, but would consider a powerhouse college program.

My current thought was Napa/Sonoma. Sun, water, wine, San Fran close, football.
Colorado Springs? Close to Denver (Broncos, Nuggets), good hiking/recreation, young, and Ultra-conservative. No ocean, obviously, but a lot of good river water, including kayaking and freestone. Lots of sunshine, despite the cold. Add 20 degrees to the measured temps, given the dryness of air.

We have a cabin an hour and a half away, and we're liberals, but you should be at home in Colorado Springs, to state it mildly.
I fly fish and a freestone river is 15 miles away and Monarch and skiing is an hour and 15 minutes away. Paradise for us,but granddad built his own cabin on the Western slope below Aspen, so I love Colorado and the Rockies. I'm very prejudiced, so take it in mind. 16 hour drive from Houston, so we can only make 5 times a year. You might not be able to tolerate the winters, but compared to your complaint about lack of sunshine, I think you might like it; lots of sunshine.

I would go there for several vacations in all seasons, however. And you should like to ski, I think, although the hiking potentials are incredible on the whole Front Range.
Again, I love the mountains; if you're thinking of Florida you may not. There are a lot of lakes within a 1-2 hour drive, however.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:12 AM   #36
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Check out my "small town in the big city" - we have our own lake: http://www.candysdirt.com/neighborhoods/lakewood/
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:50 AM   #37
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Also, for $600K, one could have several homes in/near Houston.
But you could not afford the RE Taxes.

Oh! And the countries best kept secret. St. Augustine Beach, Florida. But you do not really want to be here, it is too nice and full of old folk like me . A little humid in the summer but not as bad as South Florida and not as built up and crowded as the West Coast of FLA. Only 4 story buildings allowed here. Go to DayTona, Tampa, Sarasota, FT. Meyers, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Etc. and you cannot see the ocean for high rises. I looked recently and visited most major cities in Florida. Not a Patch on "Old" St. Auggie. Great Beaches and fishing. We came here by accident and never left.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:23 PM   #38
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But you could not afford the RE Taxes.

Oh! And the countries best kept secret. St. Augustine Beach, Florida. But you do not really want to be here, it is too nice and full of old folk like me . A little humid in the summer but not as bad as South Florida and not as built up and crowded as the West Coast of FLA. Only 4 story buildings allowed here. Go to DayTona, Tampa, Sarasota, FT. Meyers, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Etc. and you cannot see the ocean for high rises. I looked recently and visited most major cities in Florida. Not a Patch on "Old" St. Auggie. Great Beaches and fishing. We came here by accident and never left.
Is there a fishing pier? A fishing pier is the best thing going for a retiree with plenty time and limited money.

Ha
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:33 PM   #39
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Is there a fishing pier? A fishing pier is the best thing going for a retiree with plenty time and limited money.

Ha
Yup a few, and a lot of other places to fish too.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #40
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Yup a few, and a lot of other places to fish too.
Thanks.

Ha
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