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Oregon, Connecticut, Colorado

Old Nov 1st, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Oregon, Connecticut, Colorado

My husband and I are native Southern Californians, looking to relocate somewhere within the states. I’ve come lurking around this forum often, reading all the opinions about great places to travel or live, but I’m ready to post, and hope that I’m not annoying the people who come here for what this site is intended for…traveling. This just seems to be a really good resource. And actually, if we come across destinations that sound appealing, we would * travel * to those places before making a move!

We would like a place that has 4 seasons, but…. short summers (don’t like the heat), not too harsh winters (love it cold, but have never lived where it snows), and if possible, not too gloomy.

We’d like to be within 1-2 hours of the coast, or at least near a large body of water, and a place where it feels like you’re living in the country, but is no more than an hour from a big city.

Unrealistic so far? Please toss out a few cities, even if they are metro (I can try and find suburbs on my own).

Thanks in advance….

Laura
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Sadly - Colorado is only with a couple hours of a coast via plane. But we're optimistic... people keep saying California is going to fall into the ocean. And then there is always the hope that global warming will raise the water levels enough to cover at least Idaho. We do have snow here but it's not like it snows in September and then doesn't melt until may. The snow comes and then melts in a day or two. The summers are absolutely wonderful and we have more sunshine than San Diego. I don't know what fields you work in but would suggest Pueblo, Colorado Springs, or Denver as good possibilities. Come spend a little time here and see what you think.

I was raised outside of Portland and can say that some people do find the gray skies gloomy. Eastern Oregon has more sun but is farther from the beach. It's also somewhat short on big career center type cities. No sales tax is a plus and car registration is extremely reasonable. I lived in Walla Walla, WA. as a small child and thought it was just grand.

I've never been to Connecticut...doesn't Kathy Lee Gifford live there?
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 06:54 AM
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I realized that I sort of just glossed over the Portland area - thinking you wouldn't be interested because of the cloudy skies. Let me just say that Portland is probably one of the prettiest cities in the world. 200+ parks, enforced green-belts on new construction, mountains, rivers, bridges etc...

I grew up in a town about 45 minutes from Portland and graduated in 1985. The quote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." was oh so applicable. Mills were closing and lay-offs were commonplace. Drugs & alcohol were all too available and I
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 07:14 AM
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I realized that I sort of just glossed over the Portland area - thinking you wouldn't be interested because of the cloudy skies. Let me just say that Portland is probably one of the prettiest cities in the world. 200+ parks, enforced green-belts on new construction, mountains, rivers, bridges etc...

I grew up in a town about 45 minutes from Portland and graduated in 1985. The quote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." was oh, so applicable. Mills were closing and lay-offs were commonplace. Drugs & alcohol were all too available and classmates were lost as a result. The schools were okay but not hopeful places. One High School lit class was dedicated to death themes in literature...ugh!! The school counselor told the kids that they would never make it in college because they were from a small town. She actively undermined my husband trying to apply for ROTC and I had to insist that she give me an application for the SAT test. She said I'd just be wasting my money. I was an honor roll student and went on to do just fine in college. My husband has a master's degree...maybe it was some weird reverse psychology on her part.

But there were so many wonderful things too...berry picking in the summer, no poisonous snakes, lazy afternoons playing in the creek, sitting by the river watching fireworks being shot from the island, catching crawdads etc. And slugs! What is not to love about slugs? Friends stayed friends for a long time. I think I could probably still cash a check at the grocery store even though I haven't lived there for 20 years. And you weren't judged by the subdivision you lived in because we really didn't have subdivisions.

And, to be honest, I loved the rain and gray sky. You never know how many shades of green are even possible until you spend time in western Oregon. The clouds act as a filter letting you see the subtle variations of color in bark, water, and plant-life.

McMinneville, OR. is not where I grew up...it always seemed ideal to me. Close to the ocean, big enough for one Target store but not big enough for two (that may have change). A good balance between forest and field.

The area between Salam & Portland seems ideal in many ways.

I hope you find a place that suits your needs.
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 07:55 AM
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AJ I looked at the demographics for McMinneville…looks good. Do you know how hot it gets in summer? I don’t completely trust the demos I find online. You spoke more of Oregon than Colorado…if given the choice would you go back to Oregon? Or did you just think it fit our criteria more? I have been to Oregon, near Portland, and it is beautiful, but I do worry about the gloom. That is why Colorado was added to our list.

I’d love to know about the areas in Connecticut that get the least amount of snow, and what those areas are like in summer. Long summers? Humid? I could handle the humidity if the summer only lasted 3 months, unlike the 5 months summer seems to last where we live (Temecula, CA)
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 09:14 AM
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SoCal--I live in the Portland area. McMinnville does get warmer than downtown Portland, but only by a couple degrees. I have also lived in SE Connecticut. The summers are more humid than here, but then again most places are. It was never miserable though, and I am a heat wimp. The winters were not too bad either. A few snowstorms, but not all that often. We really enjoyed our time there.
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Considering you live in California, you can't go wrong exploring Oregon. Most of the cities and towns on I-5 are less than a two-hour drive from the coast.
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 09:32 AM
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I grew up in CT and have lived in Boston for 7 years.
New England, as you probably know, get slammed in both the summer and winter.
In fact, here in Boston, we just had over an inch of snow this past Saturday! Of course, it all melted come Sunday morning when it reached 65degrees.
The past 2 winters, we have had huge snowstorms. I think last year we had 3 feet in one weekend, and then another foot the following weekend.
Summers - this one was kind of brutal. I felt like it was one of the hottest and most humid summers that I could remember.
While we technically do have a spring and fall, they are getting shorter, IMO. It feels like lately, the temps change so quickly and spring and fall temps only last a couple weeks at best.
Besides the weather, CT is a great place to live. You are close to the beaches of RI, close to Boston and New York for citylife, and within reasonable driving distance to the mountains in VT.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 09:47 AM
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My in-laws live in McMinnville and find it very agreeable. The climate is fine, even on warm days it cools off at night. They don't find it gloomy, but of course, it's not going to be as sunny year round as southern California. They like living in the wine country only an hour or so from the coast and about the same distance from their favorite bits of Portland--plus it has its own little downtown area with some nice cafes, restaurants, shops, etc..
Prices in McMinnville are still reasonable by metro PNW I-5 corridor standards, but I expect that to start changing soon.
www.windermere.com and www.johnlscott.com are your two best bets for online real estate scouting.
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 09:48 AM
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LOL, ajcolorado: "I've never been to Connecticut...doesn't Kathy Lee Gifford live there?" Hmm, don't know about her specifically: would that be a positive or a negative?

I do live in CT, and there are certainly a number of famous folks who live here also. Paul Newman for one...

For SoCal, a few thoughts about CT. We moved here from England 30 years ago, and like it very much. We live in north central CT, area called the Farmington Valley.

We love the fact that there are "real" seasons; right now, the leaves are showing as much color as they will this year (not a great year for fall foliage). As I look out of the window, I see trees clad in gold, flame, burgundy: sky is blue, and it's a lovely day.

Winter is different almost every year: sometimes quite a lot of snow, sometimes very little. Coming from England's grey damp winters, we really appreciated the crisp cold snowy days here. Bad part of winter is the occasional ice storm: pretty to look at, but ugly if you have to drive somewhere. Summer is really mid-June to early Sept, and you may get a spell of humid weather then: they rarely last more than a few days (three days over 90 counts as a CT heatwave). Well, except for the past summer, which was hotter more often, for longer. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons.

CT is midway between Boston and NY, so visits to either city are easy (<2 hours to drive). It's also an easy drive to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. Terrain varies from the hilly Berkshire foothills in the NW corner to the ocean and Long Island Sound. Property is probably cheaper than SoCal, and the western part of the state is where prices are highest, especially Fairfield County (known as the Gold Coast to those of us who live upstate ;-)). Many commute from there to work in NYC. CT has lots of history, small towns, good people.

You don't say if you will be job hunting for the move.. that would no doubt be a big factor in your decision. If you're not retired, what is your field?
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Old Nov 1st, 2005, 08:56 PM
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Choosing between Oregon and Colorado is really a choice between two good things. Colorado has really nice people. It is beautiful, although in a very different way than Oregon - much drier climate. There are always things to see and do here and the weather is great. There aren't alot of bugs - fleas and mosquitoes aren't really issues here in Colorado Springs. The schools are good. Colorado Springs has 3 Air Force and 1 Army base, which means that there are a lot of well-travelled, interesting people. And it probably isn't really true but because Colorado is central, it seems like the rest of the world is alot more accessible. Somehow it seems easier to get to Europe, Disneyworld, or Texas from Colorado.

Boulder is pretty but expensive. Denver is vast. Pueblo is quirky. I really like to visit Pueblo.

You might look at the Scappoose/St. Helens area of Oregon. Oregon City is another possibility. Battle Ground, WA. isn't far from Portland, actually. Hood River is probably farther than you want to be but it is absolutely gorgeous.





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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 10:13 AM
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When researching Connecticut, we zeroed in on Madison. Home prices seem to be about the same or less than where we are now and come with a bit of land. In California, it would be impossible for us to afford an area where you could be more than 5 feet from any neighbors.

So many things about parts of New England appeal to us, especially it’s scenic beauty, history, and so many areas with a low population and low crime rate to name a few. We are trying to be realistic about living in the snow though. So really how often does the snow get to be a problem, to where you are stuck inside? I get the feeling that people who speak negatively about New England winters just don’t like the low temps that last so long, not that the snow is a nuisance. . If we’re talking about a few snowstorms a year and cold that lasts in to spring, I feel I could live with that…we prefer the cold.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 10:23 AM
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I'd like to add just a few comments.

ajcolorado mentioned Pueblo in Colorado. I'd stick to the Springs, Denver or Ft. Collins area. Also, winter weather is beautiful in Colorado compared to the East coast. We'll get a snow storm and it will be melted in a few days with beautiful blue skies to follow. The East stays gloomy in the winter in my opinion. I can't comment on Oregon because I've never spent time there. For a beach break you can hop on a short flight to the West coast - it's really not bad.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Yale There must be some nice lake areas in Colorado, right? Ft. Collins looks nice. A friend of ours mentioned Steamboat Springs. It looks like it's a little farther from a big city than I'd like to be, but if everything else was great....
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Northwestern Ct. gets significantly more snow than does the more southerly portions of the state near Long Island Sound. You mentioned Madison. It is a beautiful town directly on the Sound and a bit more than an hour to NY City by either car or train. It is up and coming as a commutable town for people who work in NY. Therefore, the prices are up and coming also...don't bother looking at much of anything under 500k.
If not going to New York daily, look at Essex or Old Lyme, among the prettiest and most desirable towns on or near the shoreline. Also, quite expensive.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:13 PM
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The weather in CT can be harsh. In terms of snow, it typically doesn't snow so much that you can't go out, but more like you don't want to go out. The roads get very dangerous. The summer is tough to deal with also, very humid, July and August can be nearly unbearable. My wife grew up in FL and after 10 years here, still hates winters in CT. I think driving is the worst part, not so much the temp.

We're thinking about retiring to SoCal, not quite ready yet, otherwise I'd consider a trade!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 09:37 PM
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There are some nice lakes in Colorado...one near Dillon, Grand Lake, Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Turquoise lake...just to mention a few. Then there are some lakes that seem like a gravel pit with water in them.

I probably wouldn't recommend Steamboat Springs - just because you said that you don't want too much snow. That's a ski resort area & that means long-term snow.

Ft. Collins is a great city.
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Yes, ajcolorado mentioned some nice lakes in Colorado. Steamboat is wonderful, but a ski town - they get a ton of snow. You can live in/near Denver, get the snow, and see it melted away within a few days.

Some nice suburbs of Denver to look at are Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Parker, Lone Tree, Centennial and Broomfield (which is closer to Boulder).
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Old Nov 4th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Hi SoCal
Well, as you can see, there's not a lot of agreement here about weather! In our part of CT, near the MA border, snow can sometimes be an inconvenience or a nuisance -- but I have flexibility with my job so I can work at home if I don't want to commute. And it's only a 15-minute commute anyway... Very rarely, the company will close for a snow day (a rare treat!) We light the fire, make soup, have a cosy day -- the weather forecasts let you know what's coming, and we plan accordingly. And in February, we head south for a couple of weeks of warm sun. Summer has hot spells, but nothing like the southeast part of the country -- if we need it, we turn on the a/c.

If you are looking at the CT shore (a great idea, I think) you will find summers are cooler (ocean breeze) and winter storms that are snow up north may just rain on you. For us, the occasional summer heat or winter storm are part of the fabric of living here. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires? Unlikely and very very rare.

The CT shoreline has many lovely small towns -- property prices are rising, but will probably seem reasonable compared to SoCal prices! Essex, Old Lyme, Stonington, Guilford, Madison: all good options. I'd live there if I could afford it!

As Mark Twain famously said, if you don't like the weather in New England, wait a minute! You have a tough decision to make, and I wish you the best with it. We love living in CT, that'w why we have lived here for 30 years...
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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SB Trvlr Thank you for your comments…you don’t sugar coat it, but you aren’t negative either.

I fully realize that being happy with a certain type of climate depends on the individual. The idea of cozying up with hot chocolate by the fire and reading sounds great to me.

We have kids, so I am a little concerned about how we’d keep them occupied. I have a feeling they would love to play in the snow.
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