Colorado meets all of your criteria except affordable. Housing sucks right now, glad I got my house before it shot up to ridiculous levels.
Asheville, or the burbs around it, really might be to your taste. North Carolina is a loathsome hellhole in general, but you can almost forget about all that living in the beautiful hippy dippy bubble of Asheville 90% of the time.
That place is HELLA crunchy granola yoga lady and beardy flannel craft beer snob territory, though, so it’s definitely not perfect.
I’ll echo Pacific Northwest. It’s lovely and not too expensive unless you live close to downtown. No real winter, it just gets down to 40F at the lowest and rains a lot. There are the fires, though.
You’ll pardon me if this comes across as pedantic, but if you’re seriously considering the PNW, you need to understand something - it doesn’t rain as much as advertised. On average, Boston gets more rain annually than Seattle. That said, wintertime is gray and dreary and you aren’t going to see a lot of sun. And days are short. So if you’re season disaffective, or just really need sunlight, that’s going to be something you want to consider.
On the other hand, summertime? Fucking glorious.
I have family in Portland, and they say it pretty much rains every day in the winter. Not pouring rain, just a drizzle and grey, like you say.
Also summer tends to come with smoke, and not only from a BBQ.
Portland’s a slightly different climate - it’s a little bit inland from the coast and because of it gets warmer in summer and colder in winter. May trap more rainclouds in the winter also, I don’t know. But while Seattle gets its share of rain, it’s not a daily thing.
The whole smoke thing is not an every year thing, but it was bad last summer - mainly because of huge fires in BC, eastern WA, and California. There was no escaping it.
I probably wouldn’t expect the fires to get better. Unless you run out of trees, I guess.
Funny story. I went to a festival there a few years ago and a topless lesbian representing an LGBT rights -something- walked up to the same table to get a drink. She said, “man it’s beautiful out today.” Verbally I said, “yeah.” Inside I said, “this sums up Asheville pretty well.” It’s kooky but it’s where I am from originally. I have no idea how it came to be in the sea of the Southern states.
I grew up across the mountains in the Pigeon Forge area. All the “cool” kids moved to Asheville at some point and worked at breweries or head shops.
Cool as in hipstery post skate punk types; the preppy cool kids all became stay at home moms selling essential oils married to car dealership dudes.
I’d recommend Monmouth, OR where they have Western Oregon University. Small town about 1.5 hrs outside of Portland, lots of acreage around. Independence is right next door, which is a bit bigger and Salem is only 25 min away.
I never think about the crime rate at all, which could again say more about me than the city. But I don’t really hear other people talking about it either. I’ve only ever lived in Greenville and the suburbs of Columbia SC, so I don’t really have any personal experiences to compare with.
I feel like anywhere that’s worth going within Greenville—anywhere you’d want to walk around on a Saturday afternoon—you could also comfortably walk through to get back to your car after the bars closed that night.
There are poorer neighborhoods in and around town, and more of them than most affluent city-dwellers care to be aware of. Gentrification is a concern as Greenville continues to develop, and there are a couple odd schisms where something like an old mill that’s been converted into a hip brewery anchoring a small retail/dining plaza is situated right up against run down old neighborhoods that were there long before Greenville was “cool”. But most places I can think of that I wouldn’t want to walk around by myself at night aren’t places that it would make any sense to walk around unless you lived there anyway.
I have no idea how the crime indexes actually work either, I’ve never spent much time thinking about them, so I’m not sure if there are other factors that would skew them one way or the other.
tl;dr - I feel safe, but I’m no expert.
The overall region is basically known as Southern Oregon, also known as not Eugene, not Salem, not Portland and not Eastern Oregon. It’s also easy access to Northern California, and for the Californian’s out there, when I say Northern California, I am not referencing San Fran. A drive to the coast, which you seemed to like, is only a few hours away depending on which part you go to. That was a popular destination when the smoke came in.
I went to a conference once at UC Davis and enjoyed the town, it has a nice vibe. Otherwise, you could come to Australia? All the hot weather you could want (and then some).
Nesrie, I didn’t know you lived there. Apparently my girlfriend is set to receive her mothers land there, a few acres near Eugene. If that comes about I may ping you for more information. Neither of us has any clue what it’s near or if worth exploring for a future move.
You’re welcome to ping me although I am several hours south of Eugene. Eugene is a different valley, nice area though. I lived there for a little while but it’s been a long time. I think it’s grown quite a bit since then.
@robc04, home value is likely going to be a limiting factor for most of the places which fit the rest of your goals. While I understand you’re looking to get out of the Upper Midwest, have you considered the … Lower Midwest? For instance, there are some great neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh area with relatively inexpensive housing, great schools, lots of big hills (which people sometimes call mountains, but are laughable compared to the Rockies or the Cascades), tons of rivers (and bridges), and the weather doesn’t get too cold nor too warm. While the area still feels quite suburban and there’s a downtown, you never get that “big city” feel anywhere. Maybe a 4 hour drive to the East Coast, if that’s important.
Note - I don’t live there, but I’ve visited often.
I have seriously considered the something in the Oregon/Washington state area down the road, but without being there every town in Washington state ends up sounding like a suburb of Seattle.
It’s confusing to us poor outsiders, and the weather seems to vary wildly depending on where exactly in said states you end up.
I’ll probably have to just take a trip there in a few years and have a look about myself.
I can only really speak to Portland, which feels like a small town that punches way above its weight on food. And hipsters.
We’ve lived in Nebraska for a while. We’ve also lived outside Philly (not midwest but much closer to Pitt.). PA was OK. Nebraska…meh, don’t think I’d want to go back.