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Old 12-03-2017, 01:24 PM   #21
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Baroque Music + Major League baseball = HCOL

My short list of places in the US for Baroque music with Major League Baseball

Top tier for music:
Boston
San Francisco
New York City
Chicago

2nd tier for music:
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seattle
Washington, DC

Other possibilities for music but no MLB:
Madison, WI
Bloomington, IN
Portland. OR

Obviously, not a LCOL of living place on the first two lists, although the Twin Cities are not obscene. I recognize that a niche interest requires a large number of people to provide enough support for the activity.

We actually ARE going to investigate Milwaukee because we have friends there, it has MLB, and it is close to both Chicago and Madison for additional access to music and the arts (and baseball). However, Milwaukee would definitely need to be low enough cost wise to let us spend several months in Hawaii every winter.
Not a reasonable cost of living for any of the above cities except Bloomington. The rest are substandard societies for the most part except for Bloomington & Madison, WI. And the weather and Wisconsin property taxes there are unbearable.

I still vote for outside of Atlanta or Houston for a balance of low COL, good weather and all the culture you require.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:14 PM   #22
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I have lived in Milwaukee and it is a great city with lots of things to do. NOt sure about the taxes now though.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:38 PM   #23
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Not a reasonable cost of living for any of the above cities except Bloomington. The rest are substandard societies for the most part except for Bloomington & Madison, WI. And the weather and Wisconsin property taxes there are unbearable.

I still vote for outside of Atlanta or Houston for a balance of low COL, good weather and all the culture you require.
"All the culture you require" is an interesting choice of words. My problem is that I have a very specific subset of "cultural interests" which are NOT well-addressed in the Atlanta area. (Although a quick search reveals it is not quite the wasteland that I assumed ()). As far as the other cities being "substandard", several of them would allow me to live without a car - which, for me, would make the higher taxes in, say Milwaukee, a reasonable tradeoff. A quick look at real estate there has me convinced that I could afford to pay cash for a house there with the cash that I would get out of selling here. You are absolutely right, the tax RATES are much higher, but the reality is that I would still see a HUGE decrease in my total cost of housing in moving from DC to Milwaukee. Obviously, not so for several of the other cities on my list.

@ Teacher Terry - we have friends who live in Milwaukee and have visited a few times. Our initial, somewhat limited, impression is very positive.

Some great thoughts from this and some other current threads. Given that DW and I have some priorities that are "mutually antagonistic" as she called them yesterday, DW and I are becoming increasingly convinced that the solution is to have 2 "homes" in retirement, one in a culturally rich city environment, the other in a peaceful area that is VERY warm in winter and has dark skies for astronomy. For the sake of our current discussion we are labeling these places "Milwaukee" and "Hawaii" but we are really still casting the net broadly and looking for other possibilities. Two homes would be new to us and would create a number of interesting logistical questions. But for now, we are simply looking to see if there are locations where the interests and finances would work.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:42 PM   #24
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Not a reasonable cost of living for any of the above cities except Bloomington. The rest are substandard societies for the most part except for Bloomington & Madison, WI. And the weather and Wisconsin property taxes there are unbearable.

I still vote for outside of Atlanta or Houston for a balance of low COL, good weather and all the culture you require.
I'm glad you like your area but SF Area is hardly "substandard" .... very open minded, arts, music, theater, hiking, boating, year around weather, produce (I'm a vegetarian) priced extremely low
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:52 PM   #25
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*Bonus points for anyone who can tell why DW's short list of mainland cities is limited to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis.
She likes cold winters?
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:12 PM   #26
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She likes cold winters?
Absolutely NOT. "Winters" would be in Hawaii. The definition of winter would depend on the mainland city where we spent our "summers". DW has said the winter in our old mid-Iowa home is from November 1 to April 1. Winter here in northern Virginia, according to her, is December 15 to March 1.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:47 PM   #27
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Re Dark Skys look at trans pecos Tx in particular Alpine, It is near the Mcdonald Observatory and an area where dark skies are important, gets a bit cold but does not stay long. Alpine's average high in Jan is 60 and the average low is 32 with an average of 3.2 inches of snow per year. (Admittedly it is very much in the middle of nowhere being about 120 mi north of big bend, and about 220 mi from El Paso. ) Alpine does have a state college with about 2000 students however. (Or look at Fort Davis a bit closer to the observatory) Note it is about 400 miles to San Antonio however.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:05 PM   #28
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Not a reasonable cost of living for any of the above cities except Bloomington. The rest are substandard societies for the most part except for Bloomington & Madison, WI. And the weather and Wisconsin property taxes there are unbearable.

I still vote for outside of Atlanta or Houston for a balance of low COL, good weather and all the culture you require.


I lived in Houston for 10 years and would not define the weather there as "good" unless you like high humidity and lots of rain. But I guess it's better than snow.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:28 PM   #29
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Re Dark Skys look at trans pecos Tx in particular Alpine, It is near the Mcdonald Observatory and an area where dark skies are important, gets a bit cold but does not stay long. Alpine's average high in Jan is 60 and the average low is 32 with an average of 3.2 inches of snow per year. (Admittedly it is very much in the middle of nowhere being about 120 mi north of big bend, and about 220 mi from El Paso. ) Alpine does have a state college with about 2000 students however. (Or look at Fort Davis a bit closer to the observatory) Note it is about 400 miles to San Antonio however.
I had a friend who moved to Alpine about 15 years ago just for the dark skies. It ended his marriage. Despite both husband and wife being extreme introverts it was too much in the middle of nowhere for the relationship. Anyway, DW would argue that the winter temps are not warm enough for her.

There is a small housing development in eastern New Mexico that is not TOO far from Alpine that has an HOA whose rules are all about dark sky protection. Can't remember its name right now.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:19 PM   #30
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jjquantz, you should move to my neighborhood. I live three blocks east of Wrigley Field. The week before Christmas, we are hosting a dinner party before a Baroque music concert in a nearby church. Youíd probably like it here even more than I do ó and I love it.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:38 PM   #31
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I had a friend who moved to Alpine about 15 years ago just for the dark skies. It ended his marriage. Despite both husband and wife being extreme introverts it was too much in the middle of nowhere for the relationship. Anyway, DW would argue that the winter temps are not warm enough for her.

There is a small housing development in eastern New Mexico that is not TOO far from Alpine that has an HOA whose rules are all about dark sky protection. Can't remember its name right now.
Of course although the weather is colder in Western Wy North and South of Rock Springs you have real night skys. After all it is so desolate that there are not even power lines along the roads. Then of course there is Tucson, where there are strong ordinances to keep the Kit Peak observatory working. (light pollution ordinances a simple fix is that all light fixtures on street lights must emit no light at more than an angle of 80% from the ground)
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:48 PM   #32
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Weather is a big factor for us. Here is one person's map of pleasant weather across the 48 states:
https://kellegous.com/j/2014/02/03/pleasant-places/

The most liberal and conservative big cities chart is here. There's a pretty different vibe between places like Houston and San Francisco which is one of the reasons we moved out to California.
Chart of the Week: The most liberal and conservative big cities | Pew Research Center

You might want to check sites like Goldstar and the UC Berkeley Performing Arts calendar for chamber music options, plus this classical music site with event listings - https://www.sfcv.org/calendar.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:44 PM   #33
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Absolutely NOT. "Winters" would be in Hawaii. The definition of winter would depend on the mainland city where we spent our "summers". DW has said the winter in our old mid-Iowa home is from November 1 to April 1. Winter here in northern Virginia, according to her, is December 15 to March 1.
I see an issue here of an island house and a mainland house, the commute between each done every 6 months, probably involves a lot of stuff to be moved.
When driving as some here have done for years, its a matter of loading the trunk, but if you have to fly between houses it will be more complex or harder, or grossly expensive.

Yes you can duplicate cars, clothes, hats, etc, so what do folks move between houses each time they move ?
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:45 PM   #34
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Very hard to advise you when we canít get in your (and DWís) head. But, here are a few thoughts:

1. Confirm your location balance (ie: sounds like mainland is the primary location & HI is secondary; confirm that)
2. What about personal (family & friends) connections? Didnít see that mentioned despite the fact that itís extremely important.
3. Whatís more important; COL or logistics? IOW, do you prefer to live on the West Coast (which BTW doesnít have to be IN a major city; try 2 hrs from major CA airport) for a 4 hr flight or, do you prefer the heartland, lower COL & an 8+ hr flight?
4. How long will you do the two locations thing? Really!?!? Because, it only lasts so long. And, will you be happy with your Ďpermanentí location when the two location thing is done?
5. Fill out a schedule for your typical week (or month if thatís more instructive) in each location & see how that makes you feel. REALLY, itís quite revealing; at least it was for us.
6. One final thought: DC is NOT the center of anything...except maybe disfunction. IMO, having lived in NoVA & SoMD 6 different times in my life, itís not where anyone would ever go except for the fact that our Govt (and all associated with that) is located there.

We wish you the best & hope to read many status reports.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:08 PM   #35
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jjquantz, you should move to my neighborhood. I live three blocks east of Wrigley Field. The week before Christmas, we are hosting a dinner party before a Baroque music concert in a nearby church. Youíd probably like it here even more than I do ó and I love it.
My wife grew up on the North side. She is not real anxious to go back, but the Wrigley bug is strong. Sounds like a great neighborhood!
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:25 PM   #36
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Thanks, Huston55, for the questionnaire.

1. Confirm your location balance (ie: sounds like mainland is the primary location & HI is secondary; confirm that)

We're trying to work this out. We are thinking through 4/8, 6/6 and 8/4 month splits between mainland and Hawaii. This will be a major area of discussion after this year's trip, I am sure.

2. What about personal (family & friends) connections? Didnít see that mentioned despite the fact that itís extremely important.

Making friends has sometimes been a struggle for us. Our social life tends to revolve around our activities. Golf, choir, astronomy club, fellow music performers. So, to a certain extent, if these activities are available connections will happen. On the family side, DD#1 lives near us right now - giving that up would be tough but the likelihood of her relocating is high enough that we can't count on her always being here if we stay in the area. DD#2 is in Denver. Our current thoughts are that we would route our relocation travel through Denver and see them twice a year, more than we do now. Plus DD#2 LOVES Hawaii, she would likely visit occasionally, especially for her Christmas break.


3. Whatís more important; COL or logistics? IOW, do you prefer to live on the West Coast (which BTW doesnít have to be IN a major city; try 2 hrs from major CA airport) for a 4 hr flight or, do you prefer the heartland, lower COL & an 8+ hr flight?

Right now I would say COL, plus see above about routing through Denver.

4. How long will you do the two locations thing? Really!?!? Because, it only lasts so long. And, will you be happy with your Ďpermanentí location when the two location thing is done?

DW and I discussed this over breakfast yesterday. It's entirely possible that the Hawaii part could be a couple of years and done. It almost certainly wouldn't last more than 10 years or so (when we are both 70ish). However, there are folks who live out their allotted span in Hawaii,
so you never know.


5. Fill out a schedule for your typical week (or month if thatís more instructive) in each location & see how that makes you feel. REALLY, itís quite revealing; at least it was for us.

Great idea! Easy for me, right now, tougher for DW since she's still working and doesn't have a good feel for what retirement is like.I'll give this some thought and discuss with DW.

6. One final thought: DC is NOT the center of anything...except maybe disfunction. IMO, having lived in NoVA & SoMD 6 different times in my life, itís not where anyone would ever go except for the fact that our Govt (and all associated with that) is located there.

I certainly didn't say it was, but it provides wonderful access to all the cultural activities up and down the East Coast and we have come as close to putting down roots here as we have anywhere else we have lived.

We wish you the best & hope to read many status reports.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:35 PM   #37
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I see an issue here of an island house and a mainland house, the commute between each done every 6 months, probably involves a lot of stuff to be moved.
When driving as some here have done for years, its a matter of loading the trunk, but if you have to fly between houses it will be more complex or harder, or grossly expensive.

Yes you can duplicate cars, clothes, hats, etc, so what do folks move between houses each time they move ?
Yeah, we are thinking this through. We are definitely trying to think of how it could be done with minimal movement of stuff - just moving a couple of flutes and the laptop would be the ideal. Wardrobes might be enough different that it wouldn't even be necessary to pack a suitcase. The single largest logistical thing would be storage of the keyboard instruments and telescopes, but I think that this would allow us to thin the herd a bit and just go with one harpsichord and one telescope at each location. If we get to the point of being really serious, we will discuss with our musical friends the possibility of storing with them, finding musicians who would like to have an instrument for 6 months, etc. On the mainland site, especially if that is the place where are spending the shorter amount of time, we could look for a location that allows us to live without a car like several of my younger friends now do. Carshare, mass transit and Uber are viable possibilities in many metro areas.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:54 PM   #38
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Recently I added Kenosah, WI to my list of possible retirement locations. It is one hour to O'hare and there is a Metra station downtown, so easy access to the big city. I've looked at a few condos on Zillow with lake views and been pleasantly surprised by the prices. The HOA fees, on the other hand, were pretty high.

Not sure if Kenosha meets your music and astronomy requirements, but I thought I'd throw it out there. Your wife could save money by going to Milwaukee to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field North!
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:28 PM   #39
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Recently I added Kenosah, WI to my list of possible retirement locations. It is one hour to O'hare and there is a Metra station downtown, so easy access to the big city. I've looked at a few condos on Zillow with lake views and been pleasantly surprised by the prices. The HOA fees, on the other hand, were pretty high.

Not sure if Kenosha meets your music and astronomy requirements, but I thought I'd throw it out there. Your wife could save money by going to Milwaukee to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field North!
That whole area just south of Milwaukee is definitely on the initial list and for exactly the reasons that you mention. Property tax rates are also high, but the cost of real estate is so much lower that the property tax that I would pay would decrease. I'll take a look and talk to DW.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:10 PM   #40
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Life long dc resident here. Not involved in politics and neither are my family and friends. The poster who dissed dc doesn’t get what imho is the number one criteria.

Your tribe

Lots of considerations that are of various importance to ones needs. But as humans
We all have some need for emotional connections to people. This is best accomplished when you live near those people.

Your two locations idea is a great one. I would encourage a winter seasonal rental perhaps multiple years in the same or different locations. You may find a 3-4 month stint outside dc each year gives you just what you are looking for. And renting reduces the financial risk
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