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Mountainy, friendly, artsy place to live sustainably?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
We are ready to buy land on which we will build a sustainable house of some kind.

My husband is a musician and we need to be in an area that appreciates original acoustic music.

We want to be in or near mountains and forests.

We want to be within a couple of hours of a big city (health food stores, ballet lessons, etc) and close to a small town that we love, where everybody knows everybody. We want availability of local food, raw milk, etc.

We want a not too long or harsh winter, and somewhere where food grows easily. We are coming from Florida and don't want the hot, hot summers.

We like to be among artistic people. We like homeschoolers. We have 3 kids ages 7, 2,and 1.

Do you have any ideas for us, general region, or specific town? We are considering North Carolina, Northern California, Flagstaff AZ...but there are so many places we haven't been and don't even know we should be considering!
post #2 of 36
Sounds like Asheville NC!
post #3 of 36

Beacon, NY would be perfect, except for the winters!

post #4 of 36

without a doubt ...Floyd, Virginia...love it there

post #5 of 36

State College PA and the surrounding area has a lot of what you are looking for.  I would move there in a heartbeat.  The Penns Valley area especially - a strong arts and local food scene and a big conservation movement.  It seems like every other farm has a "Raw Milk" sign nailed to the side of the barn.  Coburn is a small town worth checking out.

 

Winters can be snowy but not brutal.

post #6 of 36

I'm gonna throw out Tennesse. Knoxville has a lot of good stores. Berea, Ky would be great too. If you want raw milk and live in the Southeastern Ky region, you can get it in Lexington KY.

post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
We are now considering the Portland area of Oregon (maybe near McMinnville) and the Boulder CO area. It's so hard to know how all the rain in OR would effect us. We've never been to either state. Looks like Boulder is more breathtakingly scenic, but I get the impression that Oregon is more full of people who are naturally into preservation and conservation. I know it won't have the 4 seasons we were looking for exactly, but I love everything I read about it! I get the idea that Boulder will be more conventional crunchy people, with all the big box stores, etc, and that doesn't appeal to me as much. I think we will need to visit both to see. I also want to see how close the mountains are around Portland.

Flloyd and Ashville sound perfect but we realized that there aren't Scientology churches close enough to either place and we want to be near our church.

We drove through Tennessee and the geography just wasn't our item. And we'd like somewhere cooler, too. PA and NY are probably too much winter for us...

Thanks for all the ideas. I would welcome any further thoughts. I am also wondering if I am too worried about winter. But if I decide we can live somewhere with more winter, that opens up too many possibilities and then how will I ever choose? Anyone want to talk to me about how you stay active with kids during snowy (or rainy) winters? How do you deal with a shorter growing season?

Thanks!
post #8 of 36

A lot of the places you're thinking about are pretty expensive.  Too bad you don't want long, cold winters; otherwise, upstate NY or Vermont could be good choices. If you want mountains and forests, but not cold winters or hot summers, it sounds like the Pacific Northwest might be your best bet, but land's not cheap in the Portland or Seattle areas (and I'm sure it's worse in northern California.)  The rain may not be a big deal to you.  I quickly got used to it when I lived in western Washington.  For one thing, there's very little rain during the summer.  July, August,and September are absolutely beautiful and not at all rainy.  It is definitely rainy in the winter, but it doesn't tend to rain very hard.  It's just on and off drizzle, so it doesn't necessarily keep you from going outside.

 

I live in a place with a long, snowy winter now, and it's fine, though it might not be so much fun if we didn't like winter sports.  We love skiing and ice skating, and the kids love playing in the snow.  We have a nice sledding hill in our yard.  We love having different seasons where we can do different things - there's something to look forward to in every season.  It would be nice to have a longer growing season, but it's not too bad here.  You just need to start some things inside and pick varieties that don't take too long to mature.  (And accept that you just can't have some things, like a peach tree.)

post #9 of 36

I agree....sounds like Asheville, although COL is high, IMO. PLaces like Black mountain, Hendersonville, and Brevard are all within 30 minutes, have their own health food stores and co-ops, have good hsing communities and schools, and have significantly lower COL in general. We live in Hendersonville now, but are in the process of moving to Brevard. There is a music center there, as well as a nice college with a music school. Lots and lot of opportunites for gigs at local places.

post #10 of 36

Be aware that both the Portland, OR area and the Boulder, CO area are spendy. It's hard to live sustainably here due to land prices--everything else is pretty fantastic provided you really enjoy rain.

post #11 of 36

You might really like some northern California towns. Some places that come to mind are towns along Hwy. 299 between Eureka and Redding. Grass Valley area off Hwy. 80, anywhere along Hwy 49 foothills you can still find affordable land.  If you get inland a bit its not so foggy all summer and lots of mountains and forests. Summers can be warm,but dry heat. Only thing is no big city's close by... but the small tows up there have what you are looking for. Also lots of places still affordable if you look. 

Lots in Oregon too, I would go check places out.. so many options there! 

Even northern Washington state comes to mind... again inland a bit and the weather is way nicer. 

post #12 of 36
Boulder, CO is one of the most expensive places in CO to live. There are many smaller towns in the area that will fit your needs that are cheaper, but CO in general is not a cheap place to live. I would try one of the cost of living calculaters on the Internet to check out some of the towns you like vs what you are used to.
post #13 of 36

Check out Idlewild in Southern California! We visited it twice. It is a really nice place, pretty friendly but quirky and has a nice arts community.
 

post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adasmommy View Post

PA and NY are probably too much winter for us...

Thanks for all the ideas. I would welcome any further thoughts. I am also wondering if I am too worried about winter. But if I decide we can live somewhere with more winter, that opens up too many possibilities and then how will I ever choose? Anyone want to talk to me about how you stay active with kids during snowy (or rainy) winters? How do you deal with a shorter growing season?
Thanks!

 

PA has 3 months of "winter" were it might snow - December, January and February.  Not that it won't snow in November or March but based on my 30 years of living here, snow is sort of limited to those three months and even then, the frequency and amounts vary greatly.  This last winter was almost snow free, a great disappointment to us!  We like to ski (downhill), snow shoe, and sledding and just generally play outside.  Our favorite family weekend activity is to build a campfire and cook out while playing in the snow.

 

I don't garden but people in my family do.  They use cold frames and many people have small greenhouses (or hoop houses) for starting plants.

post #15 of 36
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adasmommy View Post

PA and NY are probably too much winter for us...

Thanks for all the ideas. I would welcome any further thoughts. I am also wondering if I am too worried about winter. But if I decide we can live somewhere with more winter, that opens up too many possibilities and then how will I ever choose? Anyone want to talk to me about how you stay active with kids during snowy (or rainy) winters? How do you deal with a shorter growing season?
Thanks!

 

PA has 3 months of "winter" were it might snow - December, January and February.  Not that it won't snow in November or March but based on my 30 years of living here, snow is sort of limited to those three months and even then, the frequency and amounts vary greatly.  This last winter was almost snow free, a great disappointment to us!  We like to ski (downhill), snow shoe, and sledding and just generally play outside.  Our favorite family weekend activity is to build a campfire and cook out while playing in the snow.

 

 

 

we live in PA and looking to move out within the next two years (2 reasons!)---all I can say is FRACKING & water! 

 

do your homework!

post #16 of 36

hello,

I am just a lurker but,

I recently lived in Warren County PA.  Mountains! tons of national forrest! Alleghany River and reservior- I knew a few living off the grid quite well.  The cost of living is so low.  Plenty of fishing and hunting.  Lots of dairies and organic farms- including meat- around. I went right to the dairy barn to get my milk.  Close to Erie PA, Buffalo NY, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  So much to do.  The lakes freeze over and people ice fish.  Sledding, cross country skiing, winter walks in the woods, a great YMCA, I know it had a few top 10 designations- cleanest rivers- or pristine living area- etc- Canning is quite active in the area with people growing big summer gardens and canning fruit, veggies, meat and fish for the winter.  I also knew someone who sun dried and dehydrated a lot of things. 

 

good luck

post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the ideas.  We were just in Black Mountain NC, and loved it, but it's missing just one of our criteria so we're crossing it off the list.  We LOVE Northern California, and were in Grass Valley recently but my husband's parents refuse to relocate to California for economic reasons (I think they're making too much of it) and we are hopeful that they will eventually join us...so we are trying to forget about N Calif.

 

You guys are totally talking me into Winter.  We do want snow, but I was thinking of Winter as long and dreary, and I'm beginning to realize that most of the US is going to have winters that are not as awful as I thought...so that opens up a lot more possibilities!  I'm going to check out PA, NY, VT and NH.

 

Affordable land will be important to us. 

 

Thank you again, and I'll welcome any further thoughts :)

post #18 of 36

PA is not really homeschool friendly.  PA is a red state. (and they seem to use every last bit of that red crayon up there).  If you are going to homeschool please check out the states homeschool laws before moving.

This is one of the best resources I've found

 

http://www.hslda.org/laws/    click on the state you want and the homeschool laws will be there.

post #19 of 36

What didn't you find in Black Mountain, if I may ask? :)

post #20 of 36

I'll put a word in for New Hampshire! great state that often gets over looked I think :) If you look into it keep to the northern part- best area by far and is the best for mountains and hills, the central region is OK too but the north is the most untouched and "woodsy". not sure about land prices but I think you might find it a more affordable state overall compared to other parts of the country.

Only drawback is no major city close by, but I don't think of that as a drawback b/c I like being as far away from that madness as possible!

Good luck where ever you end up :)

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