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Dnalre Mar 17th, 2014 06:57 AM

Moving to the US. But where?
My wife and I are looking to move to the U.S. for a year. Work and visas are not an issue, but where to live is. After some busy years in big European cities, we want to move out of any metropole and rather be in a suburb or a smaller town for a year of slow(er) pace and recreation. We're in our 30's, no kids, can work from home and are looking to rent a small detached house.

We've got a few criterias:
- Safe 24/7 and low crime rate
- Not too expensive for a 1-2 bedroom house (app. 1800$/month)
- Needs to be east of Missouri, preferable max. 2 hour drive from sea/lake
- Not too cold (min. 40ºF) and snowy during winter
- Not too hot (max. 90ºF (app.)) and humid during summer
- Including, warming community (we're non-religious)
- Maximum 2 hour drive from a larger city (200.000 ++)
- Possibility of get a hold of good, organic (local) whole food

... we've considered North- and South-Carolina, as well as Georgia, but crime rating and the fact that some people say some communities are not very including and open to "foreigners"/non-southern, different religions and diversity is troubling us. We consider our self as forward thinking, accepting and open-minded people and would like to be in a community with (more or less) the same values. Other places we've considered are Louisiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. But we're a bit lost, hence this post.

So ... Anyone with suggestions, good tips or word of advise? :)


cdnyul Mar 17th, 2014 07:19 AM

Well, if you really are accepting and open minded, you should fit in anywhere.

Try St.Louis.


emalloy Mar 17th, 2014 07:27 AM

Look for a community with a university in the areas you are considering. There will be people who are more accepting of diversity.

Dukey1 Mar 17th, 2014 07:28 AM

And learn to drive really fast if you wan t to get to the ocean from there.

The problem you may have is finding a place that isn't hot AND humid in the summer and is still within two hours' drive of the ocean (sorry, but I like lakes, too, but they are NOT the same as being on an ocean beach).

Somebody will come up with someplace they just KNOW you will love and that fits all the criteria.

thursdaysd Mar 17th, 2014 07:29 AM

Well, if it wasn't for the hot-and-humid I would suggest the Research Triangle area, where I currently live. Very safe (aside from a few easy to avoid areas), and plenty of foreigners around. However, if you are east of the Mississippi you are going to have problems with humidity pretty much everywhere. I am tired of the summers here, but if I stay in the US I will be moving west.

Dnalre Mar 17th, 2014 07:30 AM

Being open minded and accepting doesn't mean we want to live in a community that's the opposite.

And as I mentioned, we're looking to move to a small(er) area. St.Louis is way too big of a city. Thanks though.

Dnalre Mar 17th, 2014 07:32 AM

Emmaloy, Dukey 1 and thursdaysd: Thanks! :-)
I'll look into that.

Brian_in_Charlotte Mar 17th, 2014 07:45 AM

I think your 40 - 90 degree band will be the hardest thing to achieve. If you can move outside of that, I'd consider Chattanooga, TN or Asheville, NC. They're both more than 2 hours to the ocean, but there should be lakes nearby.

indyhiker Mar 17th, 2014 08:04 AM

Out of curiosity for those in the area, what is Richmond, VA like? My guess is that it's not as liberal as the OP would like, but I keep hearing nice things about the community as a whole.

It seems to me that finding like minded people is often a matter of seeking them out. At least in the South and the Midwest (where I live), they're not going to just land on your doorstep. My community is pretty conservative as a whole, but with some effort, I've found a suffcient number of people who generally share my values and politics. And if they don't, we have enough other common ground to ignore those differences. Same with religion.

Dukey1 Mar 17th, 2014 08:25 AM

Janet, time for you to answer the Richmond question where they know all about humidity and heat.

nytraveler Mar 17th, 2014 08:34 AM

I think your temp zone is going to be the problem. Most places at all north have temps below 40 in winter and those at all south will have temps in the 90s in summer (even many northern places will have that).

I would think there may be places in the Pacific northwest that you might have a chance of the weather you want - have no idea of specific towns.

As for Richmond - summers will be way too hot to qualify.

In terms of people being accepting of differences - we don't want to get into politics - but I would look carefully for the deep blue spots on the map.

mclaurie Mar 17th, 2014 08:52 AM

Ackislander Mar 17th, 2014 09:08 AM

Well, I am in Richmond at the moment, looking out the window at the heavy snow falling, ironic because my wife and I come here to get away from the rigors of the northern winter!

We started coming here because our son and his family moved here for work, and we wanted to see our grandchildren. This is a very common story. Our condo building is full of people from New England and particularly from Fairfield County, Connecticut, Westchester, and Manhattan.

What we like is the arts and music scene near VCU, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (free and has great programs and an excellent collection) and various historical and cultural organizations and museums. And our granddaughters.

Everyone loves the neighborhoods of Richmond. According to Canadian friends, it is a lot like Toronto. There are locavore restaurants within walking distance of almost everywhere in the Fan, Carytown, Museum District, MacArhur Boulevard, and on and on.

We live within easy walking distance of a neighborhood called Grove and Libbie, and we have a choice of four places to eat or the Libbie Market with a real butcher and groceries and prepared foods or the sub and sandwich shops or Starbucks around the corner. Within walking distance, we can buy high end clothes or oriental rugs, take music lessons, go to the movies. There is a Saturday farmer's market at St Stephen's church where we can buy artisanal sausages and cheeses even in the winter and produce soon. And we are less than half a mile from our granddaughters.

Younger people like kayaking and canoeing on the James, running in the parks, visiting the Botanical Gardens, drinking beer at brewpubs, etc. On Friday nights in warmer weather, the food trucks converge at a brewery, and we take our granddaughters. We drink Hardywood, they drink lemonade. We all eat Korean tacos. Richmond is the headquarters for Peter Chang, whom most people believe is the best Szechuan chef in the United States and perhaps the best Chinese chef of all.

Richmond is racially and culturally diverse, though there are fewer East Asians than I am used to in Boston. Many, many synagogues, a big Islamic cultural center, every flavor of Christianity, including various Orthodox churches. My son used to live around the corner from a fundamentalist Christian Church. In the next block was a fundamentalist Jewish institution, Young Israel. The Society of Friends was about two blocks from that.

Neighborhoods in the city tend -- this is an impression not based on actual data -- to be stratified by income as much as by race, though there are certainly historic patterns of residence by race. "Out in the county" (there are several) it is less diverse, more suburban, and much more car oriented.

What stinks? The impression of the city from I-95 and I-64. Parts of the old downtown that still look like East Berlin. The whole far west development centering around Short Pump. We go out there about once a month to Trader Joe's. There is a Whole Foods also, but I don't shop at Whole Foods. But this area is a developer's idea of paradise: move into one of our condos and shop until you drop.

It is two hours from the beach, two hours from the mountains, and two hours by train from Washington, DC. JetBlue flies direct to Boston and New York.

Winters are mild except this year, spring and fall are long, flowers are beautiful, and summers, sadly, are hot and humid. We leave around Mother's Day.

JanetKMR Mar 17th, 2014 09:20 AM

Richmond doesn't meet the size or weather criteria. We get snow and we get heat. As an Agnostic and liberal, I find it is more accepting than North Carolina was when I lived there. It's also my hometown and I adore it.

However, if you can let go of the "two hours by the water" criteria, I'd recommend Blacksburg, VA, home of Virginia Tech. It's a lovely and diverse community with low cost of living and very nice people. It does get cold though.

Anyplace that fits your winter/summmer/water requirements will not meet the cost of living requirements.

janisj Mar 17th, 2014 09:20 AM

Great info ackislander . . .

OK -- I am MUCH more familiar w/ areas on the West Coast . . . But my impression (from visits, friends, ex in-laws, etc) is finding <i>anyplace</i> east of Missouri that has both mild winters AND mild/non-humid summers is next to impossible? Right?

HappyTrvlr Mar 17th, 2014 09:29 AM

To get away from humidity, you need to head west of MO, to tne western, i.e drier, states.The recommendation of being near a university or college is a very good one. I don't have a specific recommendation but having grown up and lived in humidity, I understand your wanting to avoid it.

indyhiker Mar 17th, 2014 09:45 AM

Thanks for illuminating me as to Richmond. I'll keep all that in my back pocket for future reference. It sounds like a nice place.

tuckerdc Mar 17th, 2014 09:53 AM

Kind of obvious...if you give up the weather parameters (and sounds like not much other than San Diego would fit them, and that's west), then your options broaden. And why not experience some infamous weather while you're here? Here's a notion...door county Wisconsin, peninsula smack on Lake Michigan (and waters of Green Bay).....beautiful surroundings, pretty great weather 7 months of the year,and about 3 hours from college town/state capital of Madison and the city of Milwaukee which has quite a lot to offer. Just something to throw in the mix. Your rental range...not too difficult to find something.

tomfuller Mar 17th, 2014 10:46 AM

I noticed that you put Louisiana on your list. How about someplace between Baton Rouge and New Orleans?
You can learn to live with the humidity in the summer.

starrs Mar 17th, 2014 11:21 AM

Savannah, Charleston or Asheville.

They don't meet all your criteria but based on what you are asking for I think they are your best fits.

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