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Best Place(s) to Live????

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I was just wondering everyone's opinions on the best place(s) to live, outside of ski towns themselves. That is, where can one live, make a decent living, and still have (relatively) easy access to the mountains on weekends?

While we currently live in the Bay Area, the cost of real estate is astromical (such that my wife and I each work, make very good salaries, and will have extreme difficulty buying a home), and I honestly do not see us buying a home anytime soon. Given that home ownership is extremely important to us, I'm wondering - where can we live, own a home, make a decent living, and still have easy access to the mountains for weekend trips?

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 28
It would be easier to provide good suggestions if you said what you guys do for a living and whether or not you have kids (or plan to have them any time soon).
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift
It would be easier to provide good suggestions if you said what you guys do for a living and whether or not you have kids (or plan to have them any time soon).
Good point. I am currently employed as a consultant (specializing in litigation- and economic-related consulting, but have many other skills as well as an MBA). My wife is currently in advertising sales, but has mentioned moving out of advertising and possibly into pharma sales. No kids as yet, but probably would look to start having kids in the next two years. THanks.
post #4 of 28
I live in Santa Rosa, and have lived in Sacramento. Since you are in the Bay area I would say if you enjoy the Tahoe area and the Sierras try either Sacramento or the suuounding area. The is a lot of work there for almost everyone and there are areas that are considerably less expensive than San Fransisco. There are even homes on the delta and down Modesto way that would be driving distance to Tahoe and Sacramento for work. Just my opinion having lived in the area since the 70's. If you would rather ski elsewhere then try Denver area.
Mark
post #5 of 28
slc
post #6 of 28
Seattle has lots of business/finance, law, and advertising activity. A great deal of biotech and health activity as well - which might be able to translate into pharma sales. Nearby ski areas range from 45 min to a few hours away.

Sadly, this year sucked for skiing. In general though, the area is a winner for skiing (alpine & nordic), kayaking (ww & touring), hiking - just about any outdoor activity. The only bad news is that the cost of housing is pretty nasty here too. Not as bad as the Bay Area, but lots of folks are not all that happy when they see the cost of a house.

Also, to be honest, Seattle has become sort of an odd place socially over time. It is universally regarded as a very polite town. However, it has started to get a reputation as a somewhat cold place in terms of meeting people. I think this is even more the case on the East Side. The Seattle Times ran an article about this a couple months ago.

Still, the town has lots of amenities - and it is tough to beat a major city where you can skip town early in the morning, ski a bunch, and, if you want, easily be home for an early dinner (or in time to pick kids up fron school). Weekday lift lines are about 15 seconds long. Weekend lift lines can be bad in Jan and early Feb.

I live on the East Side, but like the politcial climate in Seattle better. Seattle proper is as Blue as it gets. The East Side (Bellevue, Redomond, Kirkland, etc) has been Red-ish, but is drifting toward purple over time. In general, you get more house for your money on the East Side. Because of Microsoft, the commute out of Seattle is worse than commuting into downtown. Overall, traffic sucks though. Almost as bad as the Bay Area - maybe as bad. However, you are also closer to skiing. Especially on the East Side. Issaquah is about 20 minutes to Snoqualmie. You can usually get from Redmond or Woodinville to Stevens Pass in less than an hour and a half. Crystal is a couple hours or so, depending on where you live (although it always seems to take me longer). Baker is about 3 hours.

The climate is more variable than most people from other places think. Some years are very moderate in terms of rain and temp. Others can drive you nuts. Lots of snow variability as well. I knew some folks who moved up here a few years ago. Their first summer and winter were really nice. They wondered why Seattle had a bad rap for being so rainy and cold. The next fall/winter we had 90 days straight of rain. They moved back to CA. Seriously. Bad winters (or summers) you just have be be OK chasing the sun somewhere else. Or skiing
post #7 of 28
Just thought I would second the Sacramento area; Placerville to Folsom or Auburn to Roseville are ideally situated for fast access to the mountains; wine country, cultural activities, etc. Diverse growing economy, great skiing, and a moderate climate. You could do worse. Our housing only looks like a bargain if you are comming from the Bay area; otherwise expensive.
post #8 of 28
Lots of really excellent kayaking near Sacramento too.

Summers are mighty, mighty hot though. Too hot for my taste.
post #9 of 28
Are you looking to move to another big city, or do you want to settle in a smaller city that may be more family friendly? Basically in a smaller city you trade high-roller jobs and high cost of living for lower pay and lower costs. That's the way I like it, but it's not for everyone. We moved from Seattle to Bellingham in 1992 to get away from the pressures of major city living and have no regrets. In smaller cities you would probably have to take what you could get job-wise and then move into better positions as you got to know the local job market. Sounds like your skills are flexible, which is very good.

Almost anywhere in Western Washington is close to mountain sports and water, just like the Bay Area. Also many parts of Oregon (Bend comes to mind), Montana (Missoula), and Utah might be good. Though if you're set on a major urban center, then I would guess that SLC would fit the bill because of relatively low cost of living (at least that's my impression) and a high ski factor.
post #10 of 28
noland and his wife would not easily find work in Missoula. perhaps if he were a logger and she a waitress, then maybe it'd be clearer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pheft
Are you looking to move to another big city, or do you want to settle in a smaller city that may be more family friendly? Basically in a smaller city you trade high-roller jobs and high cost of living for lower pay and lower costs. That's the way I like it, but it's not for everyone. We moved from Seattle to Bellingham in 1992 to get away from the pressures of major city living and have no regrets. In smaller cities you would probably have to take what you could get job-wise and then move into better positions as you got to know the local job market. Sounds like your skills are flexible, which is very good.

Almost anywhere in Western Washington is close to mountain sports and water, just like the Bay Area. Also many parts of Oregon (Bend comes to mind), Montana (Missoula), and Utah might be good. Though if you're set on a major urban center, then I would guess that SLC would fit the bill because of relatively low cost of living (at least that's my impression) and a high ski factor.
post #11 of 28
http://www.findyourspot.com - It put me in any one of the mountain states out west.

(It does ask for some personal info but I put bogus stuff in and it still worked.)
post #12 of 28
I'd recommend the Seattle area, but I have an affectionate spot in my heart for Sacramento.

Seattle:

o In most years (not this year), you can ski in the morning and ww kayak in the afternoon. Hiking, biking, skiing, rock climbing, mountain climbing, and kayaking (ww and sea) are all close to the city.
o Seattle offers good restaurants, a decent art museum, and interesting concerts and lectures.
o Seattle has the best system of trails for runners that I've ever encountered.
o House prices can be steep.
o People are polite, but aloof.
o Traffic sucks.
o A good selection of jobs exists for your skills.
o In most years (this one was an exception), the dreary, dark, rainy days drive me crazy. Also, kayaking is a very cold sport here.

Sacramento (I'm no longer very familiar with Sacramento because I've lived in Seattle for the past 10 years):

o Close to skiing and ww kayaking. The Sacramento area has some of the best ww kayaking in the world! When you get a good snow year, it's great for skiing, too.
o Wonderfully sunny, hot weather. (I love heat and sun!)

Seattle's probably a better bet, but I do love Sacramento's climate.
post #13 of 28
Bozeman is looking pretty good to me. It has almost everything I want in a city. (Yeah Gonz, I'd be ok with logging. Driving a skidder would probably scare the hell out of me though.)

Of course, if you like big cities, Denver really isn't that bad of a place. I don't think they're allowing admission to anyone else from California this year though.
post #14 of 28
Reno, Nevada
post #15 of 28
Jsnoland: In my experience, climate preferences are key. As a water dweller living on the Pacific shore, I found I was adverse to drier climates, regardless of great skiing (such as eastern CA, NV, UT, CO).

After leaving the PNW, I discovered I couln't happily subsist away from moisture and green.

On the other hand, perhaps you'd welcome a change from water and embrace these drier, sunny locals.

If you prefer lush foliage and closeness to water, more likely options may be OR and WA. From there, you can easily zero in upon some of the towns and cities mentioned above.

Bend OR, is a cool town in a wild, majestic setting. Seattle is a large city rich in outdoor diversions (kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, etc.), culture and economic opportunity, but is burdened with serious traffic and congestion issues.

Bellingham, where I live, is a refuge from the mad rush of Seattle, offering similar outdoor diversions, but with less complexity, and less population density (a factor for jobs).

Re-considering one's life direction is always an exciting junture point. I wish you well with your choices.
post #16 of 28
Not so much for advice or a reccomendation but just to point something out. The Albany, NY area is at the intersection of I-87 (Manhattan to Montreal) and I-90 (Boston to Buffalo) just a couple hours from NYC and Boston as well as all the other sports stadiums and large concert places. The best of the Catskills, Adirondacks and Green, and Berkshire Mts are only an hour or two away. Summers there is Saratoga Flat track and Performing Arts Ctr. as well as all the hiking and white or flat water of the previously mentioned mts. BIG drawback is NYS taxes and stupid laws protecting smart people from themselves and stupid people from getting their darwinian deserves.
post #17 of 28
Bellingham

SLC

Denver

You may want to look at Spokane. Low low cost of living and the economy is growing. Close to Schweitzer, Mount Spokane, Silver Mountain, and a short drive to BC/ALberta, and Montana.

Seriously, you can live in the nicest part of town, send your kids to some excellent public schools, and purchase a decent house in the 200,000s.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
Jsnoland: In my experience, climate preferences are key. As a water dweller living on the Pacific shore, I found I was adverse to drier climates, regardless of great skiing (such as eastern CA, NV, UT, CO).....
This is a very good point. I'm the other way around -- water is fine, but I prefer the drier, sunnier climate.

Many people move to Colorado from, say, the East or South, where there are actually trees and rivers, and are shocked at first. Most of them adapt to the tradeoff pretty quickly and never want to leave. Some can't stand the dry and clear and often brownish surroundings, and they leave. It seems PNW folks tend to go back more than Easterners and Southerners. (That's obviously a very scientific survey I've taken!)

Denver has its issues -- but I love it. It certainly isn't the most cosmopolitan of cities, but it is a city and a state capital and has a major airport, etc. Traffic can be a bear, but there are ways around it, and there is a large extension to the public light rail system being built right now. Or just don't live too far from work, or ever get onto I-25. (It's under construction right now; it will get better. So they say.)

Traffic to and from the mountains on the weekends can be really bad, but there are also ways around that. Leave at 6 am on Saturday morning instead of 6:30. Eat dinner up there and then drive home, instead of coming at 3 with everyone else. Or spend the night and drive back early Monday morning.

Housing isn't cheap compared to a lot of places, but it is a steal compared to the Bay Area or many other places on either coast.

If you like pro sports, Denver is very supportive of its hometown teams. If you prefer college sports, not so much. If politics are a big deal, Denver is pretty conservative compared with many other cities. Denver itself normally elects Democrats (rarely liberal ones), but the surrounding areas -- suburbs and ranching lands -- are typical "flyover country." Boulder is, of course, an exception to this rule.

To echo what others said, it really depends on the other things that are important to you. Good luck. I've lived on both coasts, and enjoyed my time there, but this is home to me.
post #19 of 28
There are so many really great places to live and work in the mountain States. It really depends on what your looking for and what you are willing to give up.
Salk Lake City and Park City offer great skiing and all other outdoor activities. The Mormon thing is way over stated and not a big deal at all. On the down side this area does not have the wages of other places like Ca and Denver area. Houseing is not all that expensive compared to Bay area, Park City is even less then what you will find in Bay Area houseing. Ogden UT would be cheaper then Saly Lake / Park City and seems to be working hard to change from a seedy rundown place to a rather family friendly and nice place to live.
Santa Fe NM is a city that I really like great weather most of the year close to skiing and a great place for the arts. I have also looked into Durango CO and around the boise ID area. Good luck with your search. Moving from Ca to the mountains is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
post #20 of 28
Just finished another morning of powder. Ran through the drive in Thai place and had lunch while an otter played outside my window. It is sunny and the flowers are up in town but it is dumping 25 minutes up the road. Bend has a lot going for it now, a four year branch of OSU, nine months of skiing (12 if you want to hike or drive over to Hood) and year round biking, and prices are still not California ridiculous. The fact that much of the country has figured that out is causing some rapid changes, but it deserves a look.
post #21 of 28
Boise, Idaho.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by asp125
http://www.findyourspot.com - It put me in any one of the mountain states out west.

(It does ask for some personal info but I put bogus stuff in and it still worked.)
Ha! I just tried that and it gave me Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Durango, Bozeman...

Fortunately, it didn't give me where I live now. Last thing we need is more people "discovering" this place.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
Ha! I just tried that and it gave me Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Durango, Bozeman...

Fortunately, it didn't give me where I live now. Last thing we need is more people "discovering" this place.
Wow...when I did it, I got Colorado Springs. Uncanny...

Of course, that's because I lied and said I'm currently living in California. There's obviously a conspiracy to fill our state with Californians.
post #24 of 28
UNF...ING Believable. I honestly answered everything including smaller gov't, less services and less taxes, and besides Alaska and Maine I get Saranac Lake, NY and Windham, NY and Glens Falls, NY??? I want AWAY from NY!!! FLAWED?????
post #25 of 28
No, part of the conspiracy to keep New Yawkers right where they are.
post #26 of 28
Now waitaminute. Look at my bio and you will notice it reads UPstate NY, NOT NewYawk NewYawk so beyootiful they had to name it twice.
post #27 of 28
I believe that Park City, Utah may be on of the best communities on the Planet Earth!



And I don't even live there.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog
Bend has a lot going for it now, ... The fact that much of the country has figured that out is causing some rapid changes, but it deserves a look.
Bend is described this way a lot on here, and elsewhere "great place, but too many people are finding out about it...".

About eight years ago (+/-), all the lists of 'great towns with an outdoor lifestyle' almost always included Bend, (such as those you'd find in Outside Magazine, or the two skiing mags, etc.). It makes you wonder if, back then, there was some coordinated marketing effort by the local chamber of commerce behind that -- not that the area didn't deserve making the lists -- trying to grow the community. Maybe they were too good at spreading the word.

I was in Portland a lot in 1998 (on business trips, i.e., not from the prespective of a resident), and whenever you started a conversation with a local outdoor type, the conversation would go like this: Me: This is a great town for outdoor recreation. Them: Yes, (blah blah blah)... but I want to move to Bend.
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