Curious about Kentucky and Indiana

May 20th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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Curious about Kentucky and Indiana

Has anyone here moved that direction from No. California? I'm curious how the weather compares. I've checked the numbers, but it would mean more to hear from someone who could give a personal comparison. This is what I know: there is more rain, the winters are cooler and the humidity is higher in the summer months. What I don't know is how that feels. I've been to DC, Florida (but this was many years ago so the memories are kinda blurry), and Honolulu in July. Is the weather in Kentucky and Indiana similar to these places in the summer?

I'd also be interested in anything else you'd like to share about these states. We may take a short trip out there this summer to feel it out for ourselves, but we need a little more information to decide for sure.

This is just the beginnings of an idea to possibly relocate down the line to a place where the cost of living is more comfortable.
holly is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 10:04 PM
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Louisville, KY is a great place to live.

Summers can be warm and a little humid, but not as bad as farther south. Winters are usually fairly mild. Kentucky doesn't have the bitter cold that the northern states of MN, WS, ND and SD have. When it snows, it usually melts within days.

Not many mosquitos around Louisville.

Louisville has a lot of southern culture. It's close to the horse farm industry near Lexington.

Bardstown, Lincoln's Birthplace, Mammoth Cave are all close.

Nashville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati are all about 2 hours away.

Mountains in Eastern KY start about 2 hours away.

Great Smoky Mountain NP is 4 hours away.

KY has one of the best state park systems in the country.

The Kentucky Derby celebration in Louisville is two weeks long starting with the biggest annual firework show in the country along with one of the biggest annual single day airshows. It ends with the Kentucky Derby. A parade, steamboat race, and hot air balloon festival in between.

Many covered bridges about an hour west of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a nice visit and has the Indy 500 the end of May.

Bowling Green, KY is a nice area, half way between Louisville and Nashville.

Frankfort, KY is a nice city with a lot of tourism.

Sports, concerts, etc. are all available in Louisville or the nearby cities I mentioned above.
dusty56438 is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 05:35 AM
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My sister lives in central KY (Danville) and My daughter lives in NW Indiana (Ft Wayne) and I envy them their summers as I live in NE Texas.

Not nearly as hot and humid in the summer--very pleasant. When they come to visit us in the summer they really suffer. My sister plans her visits around missing coming in the summer. On the other hand, I love going there in summer.

A lot more snow in the winter but it doesn't usually last all that long.

Kentucky is a beautiful state. My sister has lived there all her life and never takes for granted how lucky she is.

My daughter loves living in Ft Wayne, IN. It's a nice size, a pretty town and has lots of shopping and dining options. Just a few hours from Chicago and Indianapolis.
Connie is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 05:40 AM
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I guess my first question would be, why? Now, sadly, I've yet to manage a winter out of the northern Midwest (well, I've been to New England in the winter a couple of times but that barely counts so I can't speak to that. But I went to IU for college, moving from Chicago to Bloomington and while Bloomington is a lovely college town, I can't imagine living there with no ties to IU (although I did notice it was a bit warmer, only a few degrees, in the winters than Chicago). My parents moved to northwest Indiana several years back looking for affordable housing and safer neighborhoods, and while admittedly the housing is indeed much cheaper there, the area isn't all what I'd consider all that desirable unless you are wealthy enough to afford a place right on the beach (but in the winter the winds off of the frozen lake are no treat either).

Now as far as summer goes, the weather in the Northwest part of Indiana is exactly the same as it is in Chicago (where I live), there periods of hot humid and sticky weather (and when couple with pollution it is pretty unpleasant) but for the most part, it is not as hot and humid as places like DC or Florida, and the days where the wind comes off the like can be lovely. In fact the past couple of summers have been very cool (and last august almost annoyingly so), last summer I hardly ran my A/C at all. But summers are unpredictable ranging from Augusts mornings like last year where I was wearing a sweaters, to that horrible heat wave 1995 that killed a lot of people. The southern part of Indiana is a bit hotter and more humid and much more similar to Kentucky.

Indianapolis is somewhere in the middle, but as a city I found it to be somewhat of a disappointment, it is far to spread out and very chain/strip mall oriented which I found a bit disconcerting when I was trying get to what I was hoping was a 'real city' when I lived in Bloomington. That being said, a lot people love Indianapolis given its recent population growth, so clearly there is something there attracting people (even if I have yet to figure out exactly what it is).
Vittrad is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 06:24 AM
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I have to reply to this post! I grew up in Northern Indiana - graduated from Purdue (w. lafayette) and lived in Indy for 8 years before moving to MI.

"The winters are cooler" - they are horrible! To start, the winters begin around November - the sky is gray until March and it gets down-right frigid! I'm talking about below 0 windchill is possible anyday throughout Dec/Jan & Feb. It makes for a great Christmas, but after that you can only stand so much slush, freezing rain, and bundling up from the cold on a daily basis.

I will admit, the spring and summers are not bad ~ unless you get one of those horrible humid summers - which most people are willing to put up with compared to the winter that is just around the corner. The most humid weather usually occurs around July, which is the time most people get a chance to go on vaca and get a way a bit. I think KY is prettier, and the weather is much better than Indiana in the winter - they do get ice storms though - but it depends on what you want. Indy is a GREAT town - but it is spread out, which is what people love - you are close to EXCELLENT eating, shopping, there is a lot of entertainment in the city, BUT you can live in the outskirts and have a gorgeous home at a reasonable price on LAND - not a postage stamp lot. The rural areas that surround Indy are very nice.

I do live in MI now, on a lake, which has spoiled me immensely. I wouldn't recommend living here however, unless you want to put up with the winters - basically the same as Indiana.

Unfortunately, Indiana is land locked - not a lot of water - and you find some you pay a huge price for it. KY has more lakes and water than Indiana.

My girlfriend that grew up in Indiana now lives in San Clemente and when visiting home she comments on how beautiful it is - she loves the open-ness of the rural areas, but she also has stated that she could never live here again because of the winters.

Just my opinion - but I am within 8 years of retiring and can't wait to spend a winter out of the snow - so take it for what it's worth and Good Luck!
cfntmpn is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 07:24 AM
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Hi Holly! I've been living in Indianapolis for ten years. When I was fresh out of college, I lived for a year in Palo Alto. What I remembered was that it rained nearly every day in March! Here in Indiana, March can be a similarly nasty month, too. Except that we get rain and snow. The humidity is not so fearful as DC's, but it does get really hot. Two years ago we were in Miami in July, and its temperature was the same as Indianapolis'! (Go figure) The falls are beautiful here with the crisp air and colorful leaves. Spring can be precarious--sometimes it arrives early and other years it seems the cold winters drag on well through April. We don't get an excessive amount of snow, however, so I won't complain (my driveway is very long...) All in all, Indiana weather isn't bad.

What I like about Indianapolis is that even though it's a large city, it still holds onto its small town charm. There are so many amenities here--we have theatre, the symphony, art galleries, a thriving restaurant scene, etc. It's a comfortable, wonderful city to live in.

If you are considering a trip out here in the summer, why don't you come to our Indianapolis Fodors Get Together? June 18, Saturday at noon. We'll be having Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio represented! The post talking about the GT is on the Europe forum.
mermaid_ is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Thanks for the great replies. I was ready to top this thread this morning, thinking it would be too far down since I originally posted it last night for anyone to pay attention to it today. I was pleasantly surprised to get such great information when I woke up. Fodorites are so great!

It sounds like the very southern part of Indiana (maybe near Madison, which has been mentioned on this forum before as a beautiful town) or somewhere in Kentucky would be better suited for us. I read that Kentucky is supposed to be a good choice, from a retirement standpoint, because of their low property tax - and no income tax. The weather near Louisville sounds just right for me. I love the idea of no mosquitoes! I'm just wondering if the weather would suit my husband.

We considered looking further south because my husband loves sunny days, but aren't sure we could handle that much humidity. When it rains in Kentucky, say in May, does it usually rain a while and then clear up or does it generally stay gray and rainy all day? I know there are different types of rainy days, I just don't know what they are like back there and the numbers don't explain that.

To answer your question, vittrad, I just started looking into the possibility of retiring outside of CA because my husband will retire many years before me. I would like to retire at a younger age to be able to spend more time with him, but that is hard to do in CA (we are both teachers).
holly is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Mermaid - I got your post after I posted. Unfortunately, we can't make it out for your GTG. School here doesn't let out until June 17th and I'm taking off for Hawaii with my sons on the 21st. We are planning another getaway to the Pacific Northwest for the beginning of July, so we wouldn't get out your way until near the end of that month. Anyway, I think visiting in July will give us a good idea of what the humidity is like relative to other places we've visited.

The falls out your way sound wonderful! As far as spring goes, ours are usually really nice but this year we may not get much of one. It has been endlessly raining, it seems, and that is not good if you are a teacher. You wouldn't believe how may times the administration calls for inside recess when it isn't even raining, but the ground is wet or it is just drizzling out. That translates into staying in with my class when they haven't gotten a chance to run off some of their endless energy - not good, even when you have a fabulous bunch of kids like I do this year. We had a true spring-like day yesterday, but today it is supposed to reach the 90's. It looks like we may go straight into summer this year. Anyway, the idea of a cooler summer someday than the ones we get where we live sounds pretty appealing to me!
holly is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 09:47 AM
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As far as I know, Kentucky has a state income tax, as high as 6%. You might want to check the tax rates if that's a consideration.

Otherwise, the biggest changes you'd notice would be the seasons and the people.

KY & IN have massive seasonal changes. It's HOT in the summer (in KY particularly) and COLD in the winter. Kentucky gets both ice storms and tornados (IN gets fewer ice storms, but plenty of tornados as well).

The people are very different from what I'm sure you're used to in Northern California. I'll let you figure that one out yourself, however.
Gekko is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Hi Holly - I live in Cincinnati which is right across the river from KY and very close to Southern Indiana as well (I've actually worked in KY for years). Personally, I would take KY over IN any day. Indianapolis is a nice city, but I find the state of KY as a whole vastly under-rated in terms of natural beauty. Louisville and Lexington are both nice cities (I hope you like college basketball!). KY has great state parks, the horse farms and horse racing/breeding tradtion in general can be fascinating, and you can't forget bourbon!!

Regarding the weather, every once in a while we get a day or two of solid rain, but that is rare rather than the norm. Often we'll have mornings of rain then a beautiful sunny afternoon - the weather around here is quite tempramental (dh is in the car wash business so I'm very weather sensitive!). I think it's great weather as I like the change of seasons but without too many extremes. I don't suppose I need to mention the benefit of the cost of living in these parts compared to California (plus there is a lot of rural land not far from the cities in KY if that's what you like).

Good luck in your quest and keep us all posted!!
snowrooster is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 12:04 PM
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I guess the grass always looks greener... I grew up in Ohio and have lived in an Indy suburb for 18 yrs and am trying to get out of the midwest now that my kids are nearly out of the house.

I'm speaking in generalizations but there is rarely any sun from January through March so I make weekend jaunts to AZ, FL, and CA as often as possible. There is usually an ice or snow storm in mid-March. Two years ago we were out of school (I'm a teacher too) on March 26 due to an ice storm.

People are overwhelmingly Republican and conservative with only "pockets" of other views in cities and college towns. In my neighborhood (and town) everyone feels safe when everyone else is exactly like them in dress, thought, and action which I find sooooo boring after all these years.

I'm getting ready to buy real estate in AZ for short winter/spring getaways and someone on Fodors gave me good advice- try to spend time there in the worst possible season of the year for as long as possible to get a feel for what's in store.

amwosu is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 12:33 PM
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I've lived in Kentucky pretty much my entire life, so I feel something like an expert when I speak about this beautiful state!

First of all, we do have four distinct seasons, however, the changes are not quite as extreme as some other posters may have made them sound. Winters are relatively mild. The school district where I teach only missed two days of school for snow this year, and I live in the mountains. Daytime highs in the winter are generally in the 40's with lows rarely dropping below the 20's. That's not to say there won't be a few days/nights, when it's colder, but if the windchill even drops to single digits the weathercasters go crazy with excitement, because it's not very common. Ice storms are not a huge problem here. Lexington did get hit by a big ice storm a few years ago, but that was a rare occurence. Ice storms generally hit a little further south and east of us. We do have snow, but usually not more than 2-3 inches at a time, and in the past few years, we haven't even seen that. Winter can be gloomy, but we're usually rewarded with a week or two of unseasonably warm weather in February, before spring begins to really appear in March. Spring is an absolutely breathtaking time, especially in the mountains. The skies turn robin's egg blue, the temps warm into the 60's, and the dogwoods and redbud begin to bloom like crazy. Summers are warm, but not unbearable. Highs are usually in the low to mid-80's. Humidity can be high, but it's not as bad as in Florida or Georgia. Fall is probably tied with spring for beauty, as all the leaves turn colors, the humidity drops, but temps usually stay in the 70's, through mid-October.

Kentucky does have fairly low property tax rates and the cost of living here is pretty low, compared to other areas of the country, but we do have an income tax and a state sales tax. The sales tax is applied to everything except food items and is 6%. The income tax rate varies, depending on your income, just like the federal income tax does. Also, Kentucky teachers may not be paid the highest in the nation, but we do have a good retirement system, in comparison to the surrounding states.

My sister lives in Indianapolis, so I am in southern Indiana several times a year. While I have grown to enjoy that area, I must say that I think Kentucky is a much more beautiful state and that the people here are friendlier. (Not that I'm prejudiced or anything!)

Hope this helps a little!
BetsyinKY is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 12:40 PM
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I guess it all depends on perspective - my parents grew up in Boston and still scoff at what people around here consider a "snow storm."

The midwest is definitely more conservative, but if you look hard enough you can find suburbs full of diversity (often the same suburbs with the better school systems). I chose to live in a suburb that is highly diverse ethnically, religious, and politically so I promise it can be found. Granted you don't have to look hard to find this in California, I'm just saying it does exist here as well.

Also, keep in mind that the weather in Lexington can be quite different from that in Ohio or Indiana. I have a friend who lives in Lexington and commutes to Northern KY for work - we'll have inches of snow and she'll have nothing in Lexington.
snowrooster is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 04:05 PM
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I grew up in central KY and live in Louisville, and I love my state, too. However, I do feel I have to tell you that (whisper) we do have mosquitoes. If Dusty doesn't, it must be becaise they all hang out in my yard and they love me.
carolyn is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 05:36 PM
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You should definitely visit Indiana and Kentucky--they are both very interesting places. I was so entranced by Louisville that I considered living there until I learn they sometime experience severe winters. So I stayed in Seattle.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Carolyn - There are relatively few mosquitos in Kentucky. I'm a Minnesota native. There are some fierce mosquitos there.

It seems like the mosquitos meet you at the state line if you drive in to MN or are their to greet you at the airport if you fly in.
dusty56438 is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Well, you certainly have all given me something to think about. I have to admit that I didn't know what you meant about the people, Gekko, until it was later posted that the region is generally pretty conservative (at least I think that is what you meant). I actually live in a very conservative area of California myself - yes, they do exist!. I can't let myself get too caught up in politics or I'd go crazy since I was brought up one way and married someone quite the opposite. Family gatherings can be quite entertaining, or not, depending on how you look at it.

The 6% sales tax sounds pretty good to me since we pay 7.25% in my county and 7.75% in our closest neighboring county for everything we purchase outside of food. The cost of living is really not the only consideration, but it does play a big part in our decision. I like to see different things and feel like I am gathering moss if I sit still too long. My husband, on the other hand, is very content to stay home most of the time. For that reason, the financial benefits of moving your way would be more important to him than to me.

Snowrooster and BetsyinKY, thanks for explaining the weather a bit more to me. It helps to understand that not every rainy day that is recorded in the "average amount of rainy days numbers" is dismal and lasts all day long. See, those are the kinds of things that I really need all of your expert opinions on. I have to say, though, that Gekko got me a little freaked out about the tornadoes. I Googled it and saw that although Kentucky isn't hit as frequently as other states, it had the 2nd deadliest tornado in the last 100 years, or something like that. That sounds pretty scary to me. I know people think of California as having earthquakes, but we don't really have that threat where we live. Do you really worry about tornadoes where you live?

I think you are right amwosu, about the grass being greener but the grass really won't be greener in AZ (little joke there)! I can't imagine living there. They are having extremely hot weather there today - yikes! I just really don't enjoy the desert at all, but my husband thinks it is beautiful. We are all different, that's for sure. I think it is great advice to visit and check a place out at different times of the year to get a feel of what a place is really like. I now plan to visit towards the end of July for a couple of days and I really feel I need to visit again in the winter sometime just to see and feel the diffences in the seasons.

Carolyn and Dusty - I don't know what to think about the mosquitoes. I guess I can't base a decision on that, but I really was hoping they didn't exist there!!

Thanks again for all of the replies. It has been really fun learning more about where you call home.

holly is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 06:15 AM
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I have to admit that we do have tornadoes and mosquitos here. However, the mosquitos far outnumber the tornadoes! Seriously, tornadoes do occur in the state, but they are not extremely common. They don't occur with the regularity that you see in Kansas or some of the more midwestern states. However, some parts of the state see tornadoes more often than others. The western side of the state is flatter and is closer to the "tornado alley" of the midwest, and that side of the state sees more tornadoes than the central and eastern side of the state. I live in the southeastern corner of the state and my home county has never had a tornado touchdown.

I have a feeling that the 2nd deadliest tornado you mentioned was the giant storm of 1974. When I was in elementary school my teacher showed us a movie about that tornado and it absolutely scared me to death! I had nightmares about tornados for years after that movie. Thankfully, tornadoes of that sort are very rare here. Also, with the developments in Doppler radar, meterologists can predict tornadoes before they actually touchdown, giving people plenty of time to get to safety. I wouldn't let the possible threat of tornadoes stop me from moving here.

You mentioned that you like variety and this state definitely has that going for it! Between the mountains of the east (great for hiking, camping, etc.) the gorgeous rolling hills of the Bluegrass region (horse racing), and all the lakes and rivers (fishing, watersports), it is hard to get bored, especially when you factor in cities like Lexington and Louisville for culture, shopping, and fine dining!

Anything else you need to know?
BetsyinKY is offline  
May 24th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Hii...I live in KY and have for most of my life. I'm in the more southern part of Ky though..I'm near Paducah. The great part about where I live is the lakes. I live right on the lake and I love it. It seems to be a major hotspot for transfers and retirees. There are alot of snowbirds near me. We do have alot of mosquitos least in this part. This past christmas we had a bad shut things down for a couple of days but that was it. It was the worst storm I've seen here in several years, usually we dont really get anything..maybe some ice and thats it. The weather here does change alot though. Today I have all my windows and doors open and am looking out at the lake which is beautiful. If youre interested in living by the water I would suggest you look at this part of Ky. I'm about 10minutes from 2 of the most beautiful parks in Ky. Anyway hope i helped you some.
shanan is offline  
May 24th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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"The people are very different from what I'm sure you're used to in Northern California. I'll let you figure that one out yourself, however."

No Kidding!!!
Not too hard to figure out. Lived in So Cal all my life. Everybody is different outside of Ca . Ha!
JoeSlammovitch is offline  

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