Never been there, but have fallen in love from a distance. We are currently living in Monte Vista, CO, part of a very isolated, conservative, mountain valley in Southern Colorado. It is beautiful, but not for us. We would eventually love to live in the country (mountains) outside of a small town, outside of Missoula, but will likely start by moving into a house or trailer in or near Missoula.
I know Montana has very homeschooling-friendly laws (right?), and Missoula has a LLL, a UU church, gorgeous mountains, lots of hiking for me and fishing for DH, and many cultural opportunities to enhance homeschooling. We hve built this place up to be our hippie haven... The big town we want to live near, but (eventually) not in.
For those who are familiar with the area, I have some questions...
~DH is a skilled carpenter (from massive furniture to crafts and toys) and cabinet maker, who is also makes beautiful log furniture. He is an excellent construction worker, too, but prefers carpentry or a shop job. Is this a very big area of employment?
what is the employment rate like in general?
~What small towns surrounding Missoula are the best? Pretty (gotta have trees), hippie-friendly, not too expensive...
~We would be looking for something as cheap as possible, as we are going to get rid of as much as possible before moving. We would really like to live beneath our means (hard to do) in order to save up money for land later. Fixer-uppers are ideal, as DH can do a lot of improvements and we could make money on the resale. What are the chances of us finding something for $50,000 or less? 2br/1 bath ok. edited to add that a 1br/1ba for even cheaper would be fine, too, as we could add on bedrooms for value. (And we are living in one room right now, so it wouldn't be a big adjustment.) The only thing on realtor.com under $70K right now is a house in Drummond, and I don't think Drummond would suit us very well.
~If you've been to LLL or the UU church, I'd love your impressions.
~Any other words on the topic are most welcome.
We have a contract on a house here in CO right now, but if this one falls through, too (this is NOT the first), we will be looking to move in the early summer instead of in 3 years as we had previously planned. IF we can find something there.
I can't wait to learn more about Missoula from someone who knows it!