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Looking to move somewhere with trees, rivers, nature

KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
edited June 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
In the United States.

I've been trying to research as best I can but there are so many places that it's almost impossible to figure out where to even look. I'm trying to find something with trees, rivers, lakes, etc - I lived in Utah for a short time and some parts of that are very similar to what I'm hoping for, but the Mormon aspect makes it a no go.

I'm OK with snow as long as it isn't too crazy. I'd prefer a pretty big city nearby so getting a job would be somewhat easy eventually. I don't want a place that has issues with crazy storms like hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc, so I'm guessing most of the east is out.

This leaves me believing that the only real option is potentially Colorado? I visited the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and the trees and scenery there were beautiful but the weather and people are not something I enjoyed. I'm guessing I'd like to stay somewhere in the west. I also am not interested in a place with high crime or a "ghetto" neighborhood. I'm from Southern California so if anyone is familiar a place like Hemet or El Cajon or whatever is definitely not on my radar.

I considered Oregon or Washington but I'm not sure if they're too expensive, if anyone has any insight on areas there if they may fit some of this criteria that'd be awesome.

I have a pretty good disability retirement income that is fixed so I'm trying to find some place affordable. I'd like to buy a home if it's possible but my budget would be around $180k tops and while I could find some amazing homes in Phoenix at that price range, I haven't had much luck in Colorado, so if my "dream" area isn't affordable to own yet I am OK with renting until I get a job rolling again and increase my income so I can pay for a better home.

If anyone has any info on Colorado or, more specifically, the Colorado Springs area vs Denver or any other nice towns to live there, that'd be great too.

Karrmer on
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Chico, California or Portland, Oregon are my first recommendations.

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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Lake Tahoe, though it gets some good snow

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I haven't lived in a lot of places, but I moved from Iowa, where I was raised, to North Carolina a few years ago. It's lovely here. The Greensboro/Winston-Salem area is full of adult trees, I think the Yadkin river is nearby, and the cost of living seems relatively low. Plus the climate is wonderful. Sure, there's a bit of southern summer heat, but the winters are very mild, and spring seems to start early and stay late.

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    GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I can recommend Portland Oregon pretty heartily. The cost of living is not that outrageous (and certain things, like electricity bills, are very low), and it has exactly what you're looking for. All kinds of rivers, very old forests, very naturey. We even have our own mountain (Mt. Hood), which great skiing.

    We get snow here, but it's only a couple of days a year, and a lot of times it doesn't reach the valley floor, only sticking up in the hills. The only real natural disaster you have to worry about is volcanoes and earth quakes, and both are pretty rare (much more rare than a hurricane or flood). Summers here are amazing. It never really gets blisteringly hot, and cools off greatly at night. Summers are mild enough to go outside and do all your outdoor activities and not be incredibly hot like you would be in the south.

    You're not going to find a lot of homes for $180k around here though, at least not in the city. Perhaps across the river in Vancouver. Land is just too expensive here for there to be a ton of cheap houses to buy. Taking a quick glance, it seems like the median home price here is in the 250-280k range.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    I feel kind of good about the economy in general when I come on Penny Arcade and find a bunch of threads about buying a home.

    Virginia's not nearly as humid as Georgia (don't get me wrong, it's still humid). You could probably find something around $180K around Roanoke or maybe some of the counties outlying the Richmond metro area.

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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    Flagstaff, arizona.

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    UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    Trees, nature, water and reasonably priced housing? Sounds like you should check out living near the Great Lakes

    Eastern Wisconsin is beautiful, as is the northern half of MI's lower peninsula and all of the upper, maybe also northwestern NY state? I mean, you're going to get a shitload of snow in all of those places, but you could easily get a $180k house

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Here's another vote for Portland, OR. Great "little-big" city. Close to Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco. Low cost of living. LOTS going on.

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    KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Lots of good options there. I'll probably look into Portland area more, but from what I remember I think it seemed to just rain a bit too much for my tastes, but I definitely didn't do any major research into it. I've been road tripping around to check areas out so I think I'll have to hit up the Pacific Northwest next and look at it for myself. Lake Tahoe is beautiful and my grandfather used to live there but I don't know if I can afford it.

    Just looked at Phoenix, and checked out Flagstaff - beautiful place, may consider it, but seems like a bit too small of a town for me. I'll check out Virginia and North Carolina but I'm a little frightened of the tornado/hurricane issues, Greensboro I just looked at and it looks like it gets occasional large tornadoes causing a lot of death/damage.

    I'm from San Diego and while we have to deal with earthquakes and the occasional fire storm, death and severe damage is pretty rare if you aren't out in the rural areas so I've gotten a little spoiled by what is probably some of the best weather in the country. Issue of course is the cost of living here, as I definitely can't afford to buy anything and if I choose to just keep renting I feel like it'll be pointless since I don't know if I'll EVER be able to afford a home here, since 500-700k is pretty normal for anything decent

    Still looking for any info or thoughts from people that have lived in or experienced Colorado. It sounds up my alley but I'm not really sure.

    Karrmer on
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    davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Here in Laramie, WY is quite wonderful really. Once every 4 or 5 years we have a debilitating snow storm. The city is growing moderately so there are good deals to be had for housing. Only an hour to Fort Collins, CO, 2 hours to outskirts of Denver to the south. Forests and rivers to the east and west. Not much to the north haha.

    What kind of work are you looking to do? The University of Wyoming is by far the largest employer here, and if you are just looking for a job with benefits, you can definitely get one here.

    I'd also point out my childhood home of central Minnesota. Absolutely gorgeous. I don't know about job markets there though.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Karrmer wrote: »
    Lots of good options there. I'll probably look into Portland area more, but from what I remember I think it seemed to just rain a bit too much for my tastes, but I definitely didn't do any major research into it. I've been road tripping around to check areas out so I think I'll have to hit up the Pacific Northwest next and look at it for myself. Lake Tahoe is beautiful and my grandfather used to live there but I don't know if I can afford it.

    Just looked at Phoenix, and checked out Flagstaff - beautiful place, may consider it, but seems like a bit too small of a town for me. I'll check out Virginia and North Carolina but I'm a little frightened of the tornado/hurricane issues, Greensboro I just looked at and it looks like it gets occasional large tornadoes causing a lot of death/damage.

    I'm from San Diego and while we have to deal with earthquakes and the occasional fire storm, death and severe damage is pretty rare if you aren't out in the rural areas so I've gotten a little spoiled by what is probably some of the best weather in the country. Issue of course is the cost of living here, as I definitely can't afford to buy anything and if I choose to just keep renting I feel like it'll be pointless since I don't know if I'll EVER be able to afford a home here, since 500-700k is pretty normal for anything decent

    Still looking for any info or thoughts from people that have lived in or experienced Colorado. It sounds up my alley but I'm not really sure.

    It rains. A lot. But it's generally just misty. You don't get torrential downpours terribly often. Seattle rains less, but harder.

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    wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    I'd highly recommend the Asheville, NC area. It's high enough so that it doesn't get terribly hot in the summer and isn't super humid and is pleasantly snowbound in the winter. The people are very friendly and it's a fairly low crime part of the region.

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    GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    It rains here, but it's not the kind of rain most people are used to. It's much more of a light mist, that you just sort of get used to. It certainly doesn't change your life patterns, you just learn to go out and do whatever when it's misting. Heck, I don't even really carry an umbrella anymore, I just deal.

    Plus, the rain keeps it cool. The rain is part of why our summers are so mild, because we get so many overcast days.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Portland is beautiful, but you'll never see it because of all the damn rain. Also the moss. Everything is covered in a thick layer of moss. Because of said damn rain.

    Denver area is awesome, because there is nature and more sunshine than anywhere else. You'd have to live outside town to actually be near trees, though.

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    CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I grew up in Colorado Springs and currently live in Denver.

    Of the two, I prefer the Springs--it's smaller (while still being a decent-sized city), less polluted, and a little closer to the mountains. The weather is very inconsistent (like any mountain state), but tends toward being dry and sunny (although not terribly hot). We do get tornadoes and the occasional dangerous blizzard, with the latter being more rare than the former. The mountains are immediately accessible with a few minutes of driving (or walking, if you live in the Western part of the city), and there are hundreds of miles of them to get lost in if you're willing to drive further. There aren't a lot of large rivers--Colorado is a semi-arid state, for the most part, but there are lakes and smaller rivers scattered around the mountains.

    Be aware that there is a very large military presence in Colorado Springs--there's the USAFA in the North, Peterson AFB in the East, Ft. Carson to the South, Schriever AFB right next to Peterson, and the Cheyenne Mountain facility to the West. There are a lot of military personnel about and it has influenced the culture of the place--you may or may not like that. It's also a fairly religious city, although not nearly to the extent of Salt Lake City, and it's not dominated by one particular religion, either.

    Dunno what else you want to know, but I can probably answer most simple questions.

    CycloneRanger on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    wmelon wrote: »
    I'd highly recommend the Asheville, NC area. It's high enough so that it doesn't get terribly hot in the summer and isn't super humid and is pleasantly snowbound in the winter. The people are very friendly and it's a fairly low crime part of the region.

    Asheville and Boone NC are great places with solid economies right now. You could do far, far worse.

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    MadpoetMadpoet Registered User regular
    I can't recommend enough that you visit Portland. Then go live somewhere livable. Portland is the most miserable place I've ever been. Lots of kitchy quirky crap, but only because the legions of artsy california rejects sits indoors all day thinking of ways to out weird each other. You can't plan anything, because there are no seasons - any given day could turn to a shitty grey mess. And when there is real weather, nobody is prepared and everything is shitty anyways.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    It rains here, but it's not the kind of rain most people are used to. It's much more of a light mist, that you just sort of get used to. It certainly doesn't change your life patterns, you just learn to go out and do whatever when it's misting. Heck, I don't even really carry an umbrella anymore, I just deal.

    note that many out of towners find the constant (like, 9 months of the year) northwestern drizzle depressing, to wit:
    You can't plan anything, because there are no seasons - any given day could turn to a shitty grey mess. And when there is real weather, nobody is prepared and everything is shitty anyways.

    sure you can, you just go out in the rain. Also, you can't beat the summers up here, once they eventually arrive (it rained today, hooray for june.)

    Anyway, finding a place where there are lots of trees without fairly abundant rainfall may be a challenge.

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    GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    Madpoet wrote: »
    I can't recommend enough that you visit Portland. Then go live somewhere livable. Portland is the most miserable place I've ever been. Lots of kitchy quirky crap, but only because the legions of artsy california rejects sits indoors all day thinking of ways to out weird each other. You can't plan anything, because there are no seasons - any given day could turn to a shitty grey mess. And when there is real weather, nobody is prepared and everything is shitty anyways.

    Funny, I plan and execute things all the time here. I went hiking weekend before last, planned it three weeks out. Had my gear setup for both rain and sun, and it rained. That sure was impossible to do though, because it was a "shitty grey mess" outside. God, I guess I should have just stayed inside and been a wierdo...which no one actually does here.

    And good luck finding a place with forests and nature where it doesn't rain, a lot. Old conifer forests especially require a ton of rain.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    Here in Laramie, WY is quite wonderful really. Once every 4 or 5 years we have a debilitating snow storm. The city is growing moderately so there are good deals to be had for housing. Only an hour to Fort Collins, CO, 2 hours to outskirts of Denver to the south. Forests and rivers to the east and west. Not much to the north haha.

    What kind of work are you looking to do? The University of Wyoming is by far the largest employer here, and if you are just looking for a job with benefits, you can definitely get one here.

    I'd also point out my childhood home of central Minnesota. Absolutely gorgeous. I don't know about job markets there though.

    hey there laramie forum dude

    I am from casper

    make sure to disclaim not to move to the rest of wyoming

    the rest of wyoming is butt, except jackson, which is 1% turf



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    davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I should have been more direct there. I really like Laramie. Jackson is okay, but western Wyoming is just too far away from any other civilization. I like the fishing on the North Platte around Casper, but really that is all. No offense.

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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    well the NEvada side of the lake is way cheaper

    shockingly Pittsburgh or morgantown WV area fit in pretty well. super cheap cost of living and all of the laurel highlands to explore

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    GihgehlsGihgehls Registered User regular
    I love love love Lake Tahoe.

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    BaconParabellumBaconParabellum Registered User regular
    Madpoet wrote: »
    I can't recommend enough that you visit Portland. Then go live somewhere livable. Portland is the most miserable place I've ever been. Lots of kitchy quirky crap, but only because the legions of artsy california rejects sits indoors all day thinking of ways to out weird each other. You can't plan anything, because there are no seasons - any given day could turn to a shitty grey mess. And when there is real weather, nobody is prepared and everything is shitty anyways.

    Haha, as an Oregonian I agree with the Portland portion. We do have pretty good seasons actually, I'm about an hour south of Portland and would recommend the area. Unless you have grass seed allergies, then you're screwed!
    It's about 1.5hrs to any sort of "nature" you want. Mountains, beach/dunes, open desert, rivers, etc.

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    MadpoetMadpoet Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Madpoet wrote: »
    I can't recommend enough that you visit Portland. Then go live somewhere livable. Portland is the most miserable place I've ever been. Lots of kitchy quirky crap, but only because the legions of artsy california rejects sits indoors all day thinking of ways to out weird each other. You can't plan anything, because there are no seasons - any given day could turn to a shitty grey mess. And when there is real weather, nobody is prepared and everything is shitty anyways.

    Funny, I plan and execute things all the time here. I went hiking weekend before last, planned it three weeks out. Had my gear setup for both rain and sun, and it rained. That sure was impossible to do though, because it was a "shitty grey mess" outside. God, I guess I should have just stayed inside and been a wierdo...which no one actually does here.

    And good luck finding a place with forests and nature where it doesn't rain, a lot. Old conifer forests especially require a ton of rain.

    I've lived here almost 30 years now. If you can dig that anything you do could get rained on, any time, no matter what it looks like outside - sure, it's a pretty place. A lot going for it. But it takes a special type of crazy to thrive here that not everyone can pull off. If I could go back in time and shoot whoever convinced my dad to move here, I totally would. Except it probably was my dad himself, he's one of the crazies.

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    skeldareskeldare Gresham, ORRegistered User regular
    People who claim that Portland has no seasons has obviously not spent much time there.

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    AtaxrxesAtaxrxes Hellnation Cursed EarthRegistered User regular
    North Central Washington might fit what you are looking for. I'm pretty sure you could find a pretty decent house for $180k and you have so many options available to you for outdoor recreation I'm not even going to try and cover it. Check out what you can expect from the area here: cascadeloop.com/index.php?page_id=1 I live in Wenatchee, which is about 2.5 hours from Seattle.

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    BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    Springfield, Mass might work. It's a lot cheaper than Boston but still a respectably sized city. Amherst is nicer, but also pretty tiny. They're both right next to the Berkshires, which are probably the nicest stretch of the Appalachians.

    For more nature, you'll want to head farther north. The largest metro area in Northern New England is around Manchester, NH, while Portland seems really nice if you don't mind Maine weather (pro-tip: stay near the water, which modulates the temperatures).

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    OK, we need some base information first:
    1. What is the minimum size of city you want?
    2. Do you like seasons? Seriously, can you handle snow (you're from socal, so not "hey there's snow on the ground in mammoth" but more "I have to shovel and drive in this crap"
    3. How many days of rain/snow are you ok with a year?

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    KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    1. I don't really know, maybe 50-100k? My goal is to finish school and get a teaching degree and find a job as a teacher, but I understand the job market there isn't fantastic, and if I move to a smaller town that will likely make it much harder. I've always had an easy time finding quality work so I'd *hope* I could find a good job wherever but I do have the retirement to fall back on if I can't find anything right away. Again, obviously the smaller the city the smaller the job market.

    2. I'm OK with the snow, I lived in Utah for a few years while going to college and got used to shoveling snow out from under my vehicle so I could get to work and all that jazz. I'd still prefer a more mild winter, but snow isn't going to necessarily destroy anything. One issue with snow is I have a Dodge Challenger as my only current vehicle so the whole RWD sports car thing can kinda land lock me. This isn't as big of an issue since I don't have to really work in order to make a solid income.

    3. I'd prefer as much sunlight as possible, but rain and snow are also nice to have. I enjoy having seasons, and am getting a bit tired of the endless sunshine in San Diego. At the same time, I also got very USED to the endless sunshine so I'd like to keep a good bright summer and maybe mix in some winter in there. Probably not into the endless rain of Portland, but a Colorado winter seems fine.

    I am also looking into Coeur D'alene - it looks beautiful, I just don't know how the job market is and I have heard rumors that it can be pretty racist. This can be an issue since my girlfriend is half black, and she has told me she is against the idea of Couer D'alene because of the racism she has heard about. If anyone has any clue of how that area is (or Spokane since I guess they're kinda the same?) that'd be nice. Northern Washington/Idaho in general look really nice.

    I guess my ideal world of having this house with a big yard surrounded by forests with water nearby and ALSO living close to a big city probably doesn't really exist, at least not without spending huge money. So now I have to debate whether I'm willing to go farther from the cities to get that more nature-y house, and I probably am, so if anyone has any insight on even small towns that'd be cool too.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Cœur d'Alene is TINY, though it is really beautiful. The "racism" your girlfriend is talking about is just lingering rumors of neo-Nazi compounds set up in the Idaho wilderness. You're also near absolutely nothing. I mean, there's Spokane, but it's pretty small as well. Seattle is about 5-6 hours away, Portland even farther.

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    ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Springfield, Mass might work. It's a lot cheaper than Boston but still a respectably sized city. Amherst is nicer, but also pretty tiny. They're both right next to the Berkshires, which are probably the nicest stretch of the Appalachians.

    For more nature, you'll want to head farther north. The largest metro area in Northern New England is around Manchester, NH, while Portland seems really nice if you don't mind Maine weather (pro-tip: stay near the water, which modulates the temperatures).

    Manchester also has the benefit of only being about 1-2 hours (depending on traffic) from Boston.

    Here in Vermont we're not much farther, we have trees and rivers, Lake Champlain is really beautiful, there's plenty of nature (take the bird feeders down unless you like bear). The snow might be a problem if you have a weak back and a hatred of snow tires though. ;-)

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    JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    The southern half of MI's lower peninsula isn't that bad, either. It sounds like you'd want to stay away from places like Detroit and Jackson and the like, but in the southwest corner of the state, we've got a lot to offer. Lots of nature- forests, freshwater lakes, plenty of stuff to do out in both of them- and we're near some middle-sized cities (Kalamazoo and Battle Creek).

    The weather's seasonal- it takes a bit to warm up here, but there's something to be said for being able to swim in a lake at three a.m. when it's warmer than the air is. Winter can be kind of harsh sometimes (lots of snow, ice, late frosts), but we've got ski slopes, snowmobile trails- lots of stuff to do. We also get some amazing pictures (search google for some pictures of the South Haven lighthouse during winter when it's covered by ice from frozen lakewater... it's a thing of beauty.

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    KrubixCubeKrubixCube JapanRegistered User regular
    I'm from Boulder, Colorado. Lots of nature there if you like trees and mountains and whatnot. Also lots of hippies, but if you can deal with that...

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    sacreandprofanesacreandprofane Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    1) Corvallis, Oregon is nice. It has what you're looking for and it's not very expensive. It's also not too far from Portland. I guess the downsides would be (A) it rains often and (B) it's a small town, but a cozy one. I like going through there to see family, eat good home-grown food, relax, read, and enjoy the great outdoors.

    2) Denver/Highlands Ranch and Boulder in CO might be good for you too, for the reasons described above. Awesome skiing at Vail, Copper, and Winter Park, of course.

    sacreandprofane on
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    FreiFrei A French Prometheus Unbound DeadwoodRegistered User regular
    Look into the Northwest Arkansas region. I've been all over the states and that area has some of the most crazy beautiful nature I've seen. Lots of rivers and lakes, forests, parks, and mountains (though not huge ones). The climate is also mild, it doesn't rain a lot, and the quality of living is pretty high whereas the cost of living is quite low. The NW region is also full of a ton of business and schools, so you have a good city center to go to/find work in if you need to, and none of it's far from what you're looking for.

    You're not going to find many people recommending it because no one really goes there on vacation or anything.

    Just avoid the southern part of the state, that's where the Arkansas stereotypes come from.

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    Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    While our job market isn't great, Maine is pretty great for nature seekers as well. We have snow obviously but if you stay around the Southern Maine/Portland area it's not terrible. We don't have any of the other horrible weather stuff except the occasional remnants of hurricanes that are generally downgraded before they hit us anyways. Portland itself is a neat little city and you're close enough to hit Boston on a whim if you need something a bit larger.

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I don't know if this is an option for you, but Hawaii is an extremely lush, ecologically interesting place. Last I checked (which was a few years ago, mind) housing on the largest island was actually pretty reasonably priced (things may have changed).

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    BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    While our job market isn't great, Maine is pretty great for nature seekers as well. We have snow obviously but if you stay around the Southern Maine/Portland area it's not terrible. We don't have any of the other horrible weather stuff except the occasional remnants of hurricanes that are generally downgraded before they hit us anyways. Portland itself is a neat little city and you're close enough to hit Boston on a whim if you need something a bit larger.

    And then there's the fantastic cross country skiing, which is probably the thing I envy Mainers the most for.
    xcountryskiers.jpg

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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    wmelon wrote: »
    I'd highly recommend the Asheville, NC area. It's high enough so that it doesn't get terribly hot in the summer and isn't super humid and is pleasantly snowbound in the winter. The people are very friendly and it's a fairly low crime part of the region.

    Asheville and Boone NC are great places with solid economies right now. You could do far, far worse.

    I'll second these. Plus you'll be near Grandfather Mountain!

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