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Tell me all about Berea! I think I am moving there... Convince me!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
So... Expecting our third baby and re-evaluating our circumstances... We want to move someplace country yet crunchy, sustainable, and most importantly full of opportunity for young home schooled children. My DH's family lives not far from Berea, and of all the places in the world I could manage to talk him into other than his parent's hometown, I think Berea is my best bet. Do you live there? Have you visited? How crunchy friendly is Berea? How kid friendly? Is it bikable? Walkable? Does public transportation exist? I know it is small(rapidly growing, though, it would seem) but I think it would do us fine.

If you live in the Berea area, wanna make a new super crunchy friend?
post #2 of 11
I don't know much about Berea. I visited there once and liked it. It is a little, very artsy, college town. They have some great shops like the Amish store and some chocolate shops that I went to. I hear its a great place to live. I was going to school with a lady who lives there and LOVES living there. I don't know how crunchy it is, but I think Lexington is only 45 mins or so away and it's got some crunch to it. It wouldn't surprise me if Berea had its own crunch factor, though.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Miss_Nikki. I've not had any first hand reports, but everyone seems to say that it is a really wonderful place to live and that they think I would like it. Honestly, I think it is the artsy crafty theme that really draws me to the place... Looking forward to going out that way. Anyone else have anything to share? Please?
post #4 of 11
We live 15-30 minutes south of Berea (depending if we go by I-75 or the back road). We do almost all of our shopping there. If we could move anywhere in the area I think Berea would be it.
They have a FANTASTIC health food store with incredibly helpful staff especially when it comes to herbal meds and supplements. There is an older lady that works there that is a walking encyclopedia of that sort of information. They will also order anything they dont already carry for you and sell local milk and honey, things like that.
The farmers market is amazing, I buy fresh herbs there in baggies for around 1-2 dollars that the collage kids grow on campus.
They have tons of festivals, mostly art oriented, throughout the year.
The public library has a wonderful selection of activities for all ages from movie nights, poetry/coffee nights, and of course tons of special events for the kids. The selection is decent, especially for a small town, and the staff are some of the nicest people I have ever met.
The public parks are well maintained and large enough to have fun in without feeling lost.
Driving or walking around town, especially near campus, you will see plenty of people walking or riding bikes (not sure about public transportation though) and people carrying there little ones in slings, and a LOT of people have that.... "crunchy" look to them.
The only real down side is that it is a pretty small town so for a lot of things you will have to either order on line or go to Lexington to buy.
As far as homeschooling I am not sure. I have "heard" that Madison county has some pretty nice people on their board of education and they dont tend to bother the homeschoolers much. I know there has to be at least some homeschoolers in Berea because we see kiddos out and about frequently during school hours, but I dont know any personally other than the ever so brief run in at the park.
So all in all as long as you dont mind having to travel for a few things or for major amusements (zoo's, museums and such) then yes it would be a great at least partially crunchy place to live.
OH almost forgot the book store Robie and Robie's is one of the most fantastic places I have shopped for books at, I LOVE wondering around in that place and I think the employees must have read just about ever book known to man.
post #5 of 11
Oh I also forgot to add that there is an Eco Village as part of the campus that the collage students that are either married or have children live at, it is right next to one of the public parks and always looks like the people living there are having so much fun.
Our oldest plans on attending Berea Collage to study social science and we found out that the collage is very unique in that instead of just studying about such things the social science students have practical labs by working with and through out the eco village.
Don't know if any of that interest you or not, but I felt like it was one more "cool" thing to know about Berea.
Also a local environment group located in our area provides interesting opportunities to homeschoolers. Our oldest spent the day in a local cave learning about local cave systems, very cool. I think they have several activities a year. They are usually booked for "groups" but since we didn't have one I was able to get our kids tagged onto a group that had a couple of extra spots. If you move there let me know and I will give you the contact info for the organization.
post #6 of 11
Berea is super crunchy and super conservative both. I went to college there and my mom moved there after we graduated. The college is crunchy, but the townies are often conservative. The only negative is that it is a dry town, so if you want a bottle of wine for dinner you have to drive to Richmond (15 minutes or so). Of course it being a dry town, and crunchy, the hippies and college students are greener in their recreation, if you understand the hint. Berea is full of artisans and the state artisan center is there. Lexington is 45 minutes away, and you can get online and find homeschool activities and community there and in Richmond. When I first moved to Berea I thought it was horribly conservative, then the freaks started to appear out of the woodwork. It's more liberal now than when I was there.
As for the health food store, Happy Meadow (which mom loves and I call Happy Hippy), some of the prices are outrageous compared to the Coop in Lex. or online. But sometimes they will have a good price. Very helpful, though.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks SashaBreeze and Provocativa for your awesome replies! I liked all you ladies had to say... It all fit in with what I was expecting. I'm really excited about moving out that way. DH goes out there at the end of the week to start looking for work, and we'll be following him as soon as he finds a job. Sadly, we aren't having a whole lot of luck finding housing. Turns out(according to Craigslist) that just about EVERYONE wants a house in or around Berea. Cross your fingers for me!
post #8 of 11
I love Berea.
It is beautiful.
google pictures of The Pinnacles in Berea.
I used to hike there in college, at EKU.
I doula-ed a wonderful couple there last year.
The mother is a local yoga instructor, and the father is an acupuncturist.
Good folks.
Lexington is so close you can get urban, or turn the other direction on I-75, and you can go deeper into the Appalachians.
I say it is a win/win situation for ya!
Good luck and enjoy crunchy country.
post #9 of 11
I just saw this thread, and I'm not sure if you've figured out by now where you're going to be living, but I just wanted to put in my 2 cents. I grew up in Berea, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the most wonderful place in the world to grow up. There's an incredibly vibrant intergenerational folk dance scene in Berea that I grew up in the midst of (my parents are musicians). It's a wonderful, very welcoming community. My friends tended to be the kids of my parents' friends, and we would all have late-night parties together with lots of great acoustic music and dancing.
I went far away to college and brought my husband back to the area to live after college, because I wanted to be closer to berea (OK, and my family. :-). The jobs were in Lexington, so we're an hour up the road, but Berea is where my heart is. :-)
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
So, we're in Kentucky now... Farther from Berea than I hoped for the time being, but working on it. We are staying a little over an hour south of Berea with my husband's family while we look for work and housing. We've driven north(about as far as Mt. Vernon) looking at houses, and the farther north I go the prettier it seems to get. I really hope that DH finds work in Berea. DH has found temporary work down here, but I have my heart set on the Berea area.

We're having a really hard time finding housing up there... Don't really know where to look other than CL. We want something cheapish and rural... Anybody have any leads on where to look? Anyone know of an cheapish rural rentals, perhaps, within 15 minutes of Berea?

I can't wait to finally settle in here... I am liking Kentucky so far, but in our current local we are missing out on a lot of the Kentucky Appalachian flavor that
there is to be experienced. I hope to get more of that in Berea!
post #11 of 11
I love Berea! Very crunchy/hippie/artist friendly little college town. It's beautiful and peaceful. I used to spend my summers there, if I ever move back to KY that's where I would want to go.
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