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So... where should I go?

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ISPIFFD posted 11/24/2013 11:13 AM

We're now officially in WINTER here even though the calendar says it's a month away still. BRRRRRR! Every year, I realize earlier and earlier how much I hate winter Really. Hate. Winter.

And I'm not really tied to this town anymore (I'm in Central PA). I feel pretty stupid because I had moved last year to be with my dad for his final year, and after that I could have moved pretty much anywhere I wanted, at least within the US. But instead, I took the path of least resistance and came back here where I've lived since college. It seemed right at the time, but like I said, without H and our son, who's grown and gone, I'm not tied here and have actually regretted moving back more than once in the past year.

So, I figure moving southward is pretty obvious. I have lived in Puerto Rico and that was way too much south -- the far other end of the heat spectrum isn't right for me either.

Realistically, VA, NC, Alabama... is it time for me to retire to (northern) Florida? The thing is, I know nothing about those places. And while my IC is forever cautioning me to do lots of visiting and checking out of places before I do anything rash, there's nothing wrong with thinking about it.

Where should I go, folks? And why? Pretend money's no object (that's not true, but makes this more fun). The only real constraint: I would need to be able to take my 4 indoor cats and one Energizer-Bunny puppy with me.

[This message edited by ISPIFFD at 11:14 AM, November 24th (Sunday)]

FaithFool posted 11/24/2013 11:19 AM

Lucky you!

I *wish* we had those warm-weather options here in Canadaland.

They should have divided everything up east-west instead of north-south IMO. (Thank goodness for the West Coast, though.)

Do some exploring. I hear the Carolinas are very nice.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 11:20 AM, November 24th (Sunday)]

cmego posted 11/24/2013 13:09 PM

I've lived in 3 of those states: currently in VA, lived in southern Florida and Raleigh area of NC.

If you hate cold weather, I'd vote for Florida. I didn't like Florida because there were waaaaaay too many bugs for my taste. Big bugs. Spiders. Snakes. They all like the warm weather too. But, almost always warm to hot. I think the housing market has stabilized.

I personally loved the Raleigh/Durham area. Four seasons of weather, fairly low cost of living, GREAT medical care, very cultured from all universities in the area, good shopping.

I also love VA Cost of living is a little higher than NC, but very artsy community, access to mountains and beaches, four seasons, beautiful area.

Dreamboat posted 11/24/2013 13:22 PM

Where does your son live? Do you think he will stay in that area? If so, then think about moving somewhere that is no more than a 1 day drive for visiting.

I have visited the beaches of AL and FL panhandle. They are BEAUTIFUL! One thing to keep in mind if you move there is that house insurance is very expensive even if you are not right on the coast. My sister lives about 60 miles from the coast and her insurance is ridiculous.

Property tax in AL is very low, but sales tax is high even on food. In FL there is reduced sales tax on food (maybe none, can't remember) and the property tax is higher than AL.

Williesmom posted 11/24/2013 15:12 PM

I'm also in Pa , and I really like northern virginia. Warm, but you still get tot see the change of seasons.

Charlotte seems nice, too.

ISPIFFD posted 11/24/2013 15:28 PM

Thanks!! Please keep the ideas coming - I'd love to hear more from people who live in warmer states about why you like or don't like your area! Williesmom, I have a good friend from high school who lives in Lovettsville,va. I visited her there back in April and loved the area. But the cost of property in that area seems very high, I'm guessing cuz of proximity to Wash DC.

So I've learned from personal experience that I can't expect a totally honest answer about area costs (like insurance or taxes) from a real estate agent because they're trying to land the sale, not scare me off. Are there any good websites for finding out what the true costs are for living in an area? Or comparing one area to another?

What about California (is it all outrageously expensive)? Since this is just an idea generating post, any suggested
places don't gave to be in the East

missherlots posted 11/25/2013 10:39 AM

Georgia is the place.

1 four seasons, not too hot, too cold. mountains to hike or visit, no tornados, no hurricanes and the beach is 4 hrs. away.

2 big city but not too big. museums, parks, restaurants, night life, a little bit for everyone. good airport, road connections to every point in the map. Good universities, etc.

3 housing is not as expensive as California or new your etc.

4 sports. falcons, hawks, braves, gladiators, great concerts in the Arenas around town with local, national and international artist.

5 becoming the new Hollywood if you are ready for acting or you are already a star.

6 I'm here to help you to find a place and show you the city before you make your mind, free or charge( lol ).

7 plenty of work opportunities.

my two cents.

20Hopeful16 posted 11/25/2013 10:51 AM

My aunt has a place in Port Charlotte FL, and my parents liked the area so much that they ended up getting a place there as well.

I've lived for a few years in the Tidewater area of VA, its pretty nice and not as expensive as the DC area.

clralb posted 11/25/2013 15:47 PM

I agree with cmego. The Raleigh/Durham area is very nice.

Florida has HUGE bugs! Way too hot in the summer too, in my opinion.

ISPIFFD posted 11/25/2013 15:58 PM

missherlots, thanks for the info and the offer! Were you thinking about a specific city in Georgia when you wrote your post? I'm not usually drawn to big cities, so I wouldn't think Atlanta would be my cup of tea, but I've heard Savannah is nice. Smaller towns would be even better, but other than those two cities, I know very little about Georgia at all. I'll check into it more - thankyou!

And thank you to everyone else. I've always wanted to move to NC for some reason I can't even explain. I think maybe my next vacation trip will be Raleigh/Durham

Other good places to consider?

cayc posted 11/25/2013 17:30 PM

When I first tripped across this site, I filled in all the criteria of what I wanted and hit submit and voila! Number one on my list was my hometown, where I was born, from which I fled at 18 because it was so horrible. Evidentally my issues at 18 were just me! Because now if I could move home, I would

StillLivin posted 11/25/2013 17:57 PM

Tampa, FL. Even though it is a big city, crime is nowhere like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, or NY.
Also, cost of living isn't sky high.
Hurricanes, for the most part, don't hit so bad there.
It is warm, lots to do. You have Busch Gardens right there, and Orlando is a short drive away.

ISPIFFD posted 11/25/2013 19:49 PM

Thanks again for more great ideas!

cayc, that site is amazing! The top 24 places it picked for me sound absolutely wonderful, and I've only read through the info for a few of them so far. Thank you very much!!!!

ISPIFFD posted 11/26/2013 11:35 AM

Just for chuckles, here are my Top 24 from the site cayc provided (not in any specific order):

Eureka Springs, AR
Heber Springs-Greers Ferry Lake, AR
Holiday Island, AR
Hot Springs, AR
Mountain Home, AR
Salisbury, MD
Cherokee Village, AR
Covington, LA
Houma, LA
Truth or Consequences, NM
Leesville, LA
Natchitoches, LA
Easton, MD
Hagerstown, MD
Hickory, NC
Paris, TN
Fredericksburg, TX
Mortanton, NC
Paradise, CA
Hopkinsville, KY
Edenton, NC
Marble Falls, TX
Opelousas, LA
Silver City, NM

I admit I still haven't read through the info provided on all of these places yet (there's a lot of info), but i've already fallen for the description of Cherokee Village, AR. I even found a house for sale there that's on a lake and has a huge fenced in yard for my dog.

The main problem is I can't seem to find any way to get there -- apparently flying into AR is not easy from Central PA It would be quicker for me to fly out to Calif!

Anyway, if I look at all of these I see a general pattern of "northern South" across AR, LA, and NC. I guess I need to do some serious traveling in the coming year to check out places -- that will be fun (I think)!

Has anyone here been to any of the places on my list?

(edited because I can't seem to type for squat this morning)

[This message edited by ISPIFFD at 11:36 AM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

missherlots posted 11/26/2013 12:04 PM

check this church, I am sure you would love it.

North Point Community Church.

I live in the John's Creek area. North of Atlanta, about 35 min drive on the hwy.

I am far enough from the big city but close enough to go if needed it.

the area I live in is nice, clean, healthy, good mix of cultures and good work opportunities, the house market went down here and the value of the houses is great for what you get.

we have a GREAT school system which brings good quality families and the adults are involve in the community.

this his not perfect but I am happy my kids are here in the school system.

I can provide more info if you so desire.

my intensions are clean and pure, Nothing else.

If you decide to come and see the city, I will drive you around for you to have a feeling of it.

other smaller cities here: Macon, Augusta, Athens, Dallas, Marietta; coastal: Brunswick and Savannah are really pretty but expose to hurricanes.

[This message edited by missherlots at 12:13 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

idkam posted 11/26/2013 16:50 PM

Me and SO are headed to Fayetteville GA, about 20 miles south of ATL....downtown Fayetteville is about a mile long, lol.... I love the area...
IWe currently live in Houston, TX ... Its too hot and forget about four seasons... Austin, TX is much beautiful but more expensive...

Good luck...

Nature_Girl posted 11/26/2013 20:56 PM

San Diego
Santa Cruz
Santa Barbara
San Clemente


Fireball72 posted 11/26/2013 21:26 PM

I can only speak to the Maryland locations.

Salisbury and Easton are on what is commonly termed "the Eastern Shore" here - Salisbury is a little closer to the beach, about 20 minutes away, while Easton is a bit up the road, maybe 45 minutes away from Ocean City. Easton is very small and you'll need to drive a good distance to reach anything other than your local mall. Salisbury is a little larger, but not much. The advantages to living there is that you're very close to Delaware, which has no sales tax - many Marylanders who live in those areas drive to Delaware for their purchases to take advantage of that. Their weather is about on par with the rest of the state, though they tend to have a BIG problem with fog and rain there (more so than other areas). Not much to worry about as far as natural disasters - you're more vulnerable to hurricanes the closer you get to the beaches, but they RARELY come inland. We have maybe one goodish sized hurricane every few years, no more than that, and it's rare that it does much damage. Hurricane Sandy blew through here and it was pretty much nil - we were lucky. We've had one earthquake that I can remember (2 years ago) and we were all shocked, that's how little it happens. Nothing else. Pretty safe climate. It gets surprisingly HOT here in summer, though, and humid too since we're on the water.

Hagerstown, on the other hand, couldn't be more different. It's near the mountains (Appalachia) and it's a LOT colder in the wintertime. I mean, a LOT colder. Where the rest of the state might be in the 30s at night in the winter, H'town tends to be 10 to 15 degrees colder. Much more chance for snow, too. Hagerstown is about as large as Salisbury - some things around there, but not much, it's not on par with a large city. They do have lovely outlet stores there, though

I'm not sure I'd pick Maryland to retire to - be warned, the cost of living here is quite high (because most Federal workers live here, thanks to DC's proximity) and the taxes are INSANE. We call the governor here Martin Owe'Malley for a reason.

Housing prices here are about on par with the rest of the country - all three towns have reasonable prices, but also do not have a lot of employment opportunities in those particular areas - most drive to Baltimore, Frederick or Ocean City for jobs (depending on which town we're talking about). You can probably get a decent 2 bedroom house for under 150K if you look in the right areas.

None of these towns have a whole lot of crime. That's all in Baltimore or the DC suburbs. School systems in these areas are okay, not the best but certainly not the worst. I'd put Hagerstown's school system a little above the other two, if that's important to you. Salisbury does have the University of Maryland Eastern Shore there, if you're looking for higher education (Maryland DOES have great colleges, I can say that much for them).

Basically, if you like mountains, snow, skiing and outdoors: Hagerstown.

If you like ocean, beaches, water activities, etc.: Salisbury, Easton would be a second choice.

Also, you could try places like:
St. Michael's. BEAUTIFUL area, right on the water, near Easton.
Cumberland. West of Hagerstown, a smallish city nestled right in the mountains. Beautiful scenery.
Chestertown. On the eastern side of the bay, but higher up than Easton. Very historical!
Cambridge. A little below Easton, but larger and has more "opportunities".

Hope this helps.

[This message edited by Fireball72 at 9:38 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

ISPIFFD posted 11/27/2013 08:45 AM

Continued thanks to everyone posting here and PMing me. The information you all are providing is fantastic!!!!

I figure if I have a goal of finding a place before next winter, that gives me some time to visit places and see what I can see. I'm not interested in winter anything (skiing, snow, etc), but I also know that TX overall and Fla are probably too hot. My sister lives in Austin, TX, and while I enjoy visiting her there, it never struck me as a place I'd like to live. So I'm still thinking AR, MO, NC, VA -- very generally.

More thoughts and personal experiences very welcome!!!

welcome14 posted 11/27/2013 09:11 AM

I live not too far from Paris, Tn, about an hour. The weather is fairly good here, too dang hot in the summer, and 21 degrees today, but neither lasts too long, luckily. The prices of land and houses are very good, and you have easy access to Land Between the Lakes, which is a huge wildlife area. If you are into hunting and fishing, there ya go. I am originally from Atlanta, so home is only four and a half hours away, Nashville is an hour from me, two from Paris. It is a smallish town, and if you like southern men, Tennessee is for you. There are also beautiful mountains here, as well on the Tennessee plateau, and Gatlinburg is very pretty this time of year. I ended up raising my daughter here, and it is a good, safe place to do that. Even though I am a city girl, I find that I enjoy Bass Tournament fishing. Odd...

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