Crunchy East Coast Guide to Small Towns with "Big" Values - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 01-11-2011, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone!

My dreams are pretty sweet and simple.

I would love to walk in a small town to a Co-op grocery and library and feel nature.

To be a full on AP, ECing, No-vax, non-circ, natural birthing x2 (supported MD), waldorf-inspired unschooling w/traveling plans unschoolers,

who believes in unity in race and religions of all kinds, hope, faith and humanity, but most of all Love.

Into to knitting, crafting cloth dolls, husband is super smart and handy, into making toys,

with love of gardening, dreaming, dress up in organic clothes as our Sunday Best,

being super organic and raw (on some days or for weeks, but passions spring forth and are so unreal we keep striving for more),

buying a whole Christmas off Etsy, post poetry around the house.. Be free. Play music and laugh.

"Wabi-Sabi" very Flickr inspired Decor, Earthy, but inspired by Love, Seasonal Celebrations, kids, and Nature/being Green.

Make art like Van Gogh did on the countryside. Visit U-pic farms and farm schools. 

Drive 3-5 hours and be in such a cultural pot of inspiration and passionate people, eat at Raw food Places,

Have gay friends that are happy and feel respected. Know families of mixed ethnicities that feel the same. 

Drive 3-5 hours to go to awesome Museums, Festivals (Earthy and Organic Types), go to a Native American Sweat Lodge (maybe?), 

go on hikes, see Wild life in preserved spaces and some. Enjoy nature in many spaces and the love for nature in many homes. 

Have a bunch of friends that keep a natural balance in the home because it is "in the air" a "vibe" and so not uncommon to find a mother who limits the TV and plastic pop culture and made in China stuff. Lives Green and growing better.

Go down to a close by community stage of some kind and see some adult night life like a play, live band, or even classical music. (Trade babysitting)

Where organic parents and people are considered cool, earthy and interesting. (Not so frowned upon by a large crowd of out-spoken people please). 

Homes are 100-250k. 

 

(Freddy is 3 and Athena is 1) I am looking for all of this, when you have family on the East Coast and you love them so much you voted out the West Coast and the South of France, you need help! We are really sweet people, would give you food that we grew to you when you came over and probably make you something out of paper and give your children organic paint for a present :) 

 

Please post if you have any info - if you know about 4-5 friends like mothering types and feel like your countryside/small town is going organic, please post! Cheers! Aloha! Leslie

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Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#2 of 27 Old 01-19-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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Okay, I know you said small town, my neighborhood, West Philadelphia, is very much like a small town in terms of a lot of the values you described and sounds like what you're describing.  It's just reversed in terms of maybe 2-3 hours to beautiful, bucolic nature and camping.

 

Good luck,

jessi

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#3 of 27 Old 01-21-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Jessi! Thanks! That is okay! I think I should post about the few I have found.

 

Ithaca, NY (not small but very crunchy and very small because it is in a valley near a lake, and in a beautiful wine country. 

 

Columbia County NY is also a very interesting little county, not from here, but it is on the border of the Berkshire Mountains In Mass. Very interested in what it going on in with the "public" health care there. They have very, very beautiful country roads and many little lakes that towns almost seem to centeon. They have a lot of organic food growing there. The homes are beautiful and affordable, but I think the beauty is being preserved because all around are Mansions, like Palaces and those people are not the McMansion type.. I mean they are surrounded by 20-100 acres of land.. just beautiful. Hudson and Catskill are in the County. Very close to NYC (3 hours?) by train and then Burlington, boston, portland and CT are hours away.. just a really neat way to be close to everything but out in the country. I know their is a farm with cafe and Waldorf school (connected) but it just seems like people didn't develop and then went back to make organic farms? Just beautiful. 

 

Of course Asheville, but I can only grab hints of the small town near by, by the crunchy open minded charter schools in the smaller areas. My family is really pushing Asheville..but really.. it seems like the houses that have more snow are so much nicer and for far less. And NC is seeing a huge population boom.. or at least developing like there is one. 

 

Interested about the other less known states for crunchiness like KY, VA, and SC.. TN seems to be holding off from factory farming and they announced in Nashville (seems to be very hip) that they are going to be putting in electric car charging stations across the state since TN will be home to the Nissan Leaf (all electric car) factory.

 

It really takes a local to talk about u-pic farms, co-ops and organic food though.. :) blowkiss.gif


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#4 of 27 Old 01-21-2011, 08:12 PM
 
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Have you checked out Vermont?  The Burlington area in particular just might fit the bill for you.  Vermont is a very crunchy state to begin with and Burlington is an amazingly beautiful, artsy, diverse, tolerant, eco-minded city with so much to do and see.  It's nestled right between the lake and the mountains so the nature views are fantastic, it has a fantastic pedestrian-only main street lined with independent shops, has a lot of cultural and arts events, and is very gay/lesbian friendly.  The University of Vermont does a lot of agricultural and sustainable living programs within the community.  This region is also home to many organic farms and dairies (Stonyfield Yogurt is made nearby).  I just LOVE Burlington and its surrounding little towns for its earthy, artsy atmosphere.  If I were ever going to move from NH, it would definitely be to there.

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#5 of 27 Old 01-22-2011, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ellisianda! Yes Burlington! I have heard only good things about them. It is much further north (growing season) but then again, I also remind myself that Canada is doing fine :). Since we will be taking a road trip (but focusing on only what we know, organic food places, co-ops that are in a walkable area and home prices and country roads near by) we are planning to go there. DH is so sweet. He thinks we have to see it before we decide on the mid-Atlantic and I think we need to also see it because living near by and traveling may prove to be big. Living in a large Crunchy area is nice, but I must say.. NH has a beach line and we were thinking of going there! know of any co-ops near by? NH looks very beautiful from the flickr photos! I am not as concerned about being so crunchy in the North. I mean.. have you seen this? 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/05/03/business/03metrics.graf01.ready.html

 

That is a lot of organic food! 

 

The thing about the south is I was raised in a small TN town and while I loved my classmates, their parents were really threatened by my family. My mother was Catholic but more or a new age Christian. I know I could embrace my friends back there, but the town has spoken out loudly in so many ways against diversity, I mean, like 5 years ago I read a decree a High School Principal read at a football game that spoke out against Earth Day, Gay people, safe sex..I understand she was very upset she could not pray before the game but could welcome the list above in her school.. her tone was so hand on her hip. It was just so hard up. I am not going to get into it, but I want to embrace passionate Christians in the Bible Belt, and many other passionate faiths. I am totally tolerant of others. But I feel like that respect goes both ways and finding a home in the south were I am proud to be me (many faiths and earthy ways) is sometimes agreeing that I may have to take some heat. I am not sure though. I am so optimistic! Some people on a City-data forum PMed me and told me that they were leaving fast for the West Coast because the people were down right hostile to them. This is where some violence occurred against Obama supporters after he won on a University Campus (whoa!)... I want peace love and tolerance.. I also found this strange map that concerned me.. http://www.wired.com/culture/education/magazine/17-09/st_sinmaps 

 

The thing about the wrath is I was the one sitting in the first pew of many friends churches and was totally blown away by the degree of anger the passionate preachers had. The first time it happened I went home and cried to my mother.. I was 8. I really had no idea about sin, yet I felt to guilty.. It was almost the very threat of hell and the presence of mind of devilish ways were making me want to be scared and concerned for bad things and people.. in that frame of mind I find it hard to grow love and peaceful ways. All of my friends that love me still, have moved on from that town...for many reasons though. Yeah.. the wrath, envy and pride map really struck me. I just don't want to think about so much of that. I can't start a movement right now with small children, but I can JOIN one! Put that together with the organic food map and it seems to be a clear trend that I can be more "central" in the North. 

 

I have a lot of hope for Tenn (I don't know about the other places).. They are "Volunteers" and really their hearts are huge! The "Al Gore" is not surprising to meet in other people around the state. People are very sweet. The out-spoken ones (not tolerant) seem like they speak for a vast majority, but I always wonder about that. The crimes that happen though (that I was aware of) was like this.. in our high school a white boy (rebel flag tee) stabbed a black boy (Malcolm X tee) and it really made my younger class shudder (more of the MTV generation?) Also a young man (20s) got so pissed he killed his neighbor over just being a jerk.. it is just like hostility is a strong clashing vibe and people are on both sides. I know they are loved ones and trying to reason it out, but man.. I also read about study at the University of Michigan (either in "Outliers" or "Freak-economics") done on hostility using a hallway and a fake "bump" as the test.. after the student left the short questionnaire room, the real test happened in a tight hallway.. the southerns got down right hostile almost every time...Scottish ancestry too (I am part Scot)... It also seems that the history of the good old mountain people (vs farmers) were raising live stock and had to protect them with a gun and they were very hostile about territory in those days.. 

 

Can you tell I want to love the bible belt? I do! That is where 3 out of 4 of my mom/sisters are! I am totally going to go back to tour and just pray that I am a magnet for peace and totally clear my mind! I am also planning on being vibrantly crunchy to attract my crowd on my trip! 

 

 

Is any one around there and wants to say " we are loving and tolerant of people with many faiths and organicness?" Please? :)


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#6 of 27 Old 01-24-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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I've heard a lot of good things about Vermont.

 

As for Nashville, I lived there for a year and a half and it was absolutely miserable. About as far from hip as you can get, and definitely not open-minded and inclusive whatsoever...I did not find the GLBT community respected there at all, neighbors pestered us to go to church with them (I'm atheist), and my son is mixed and ex-H is black/Spanish and we were on the receiving end of racist remarks. I met one family who was awesome through a UU church...outside of that, I met up with local mom groups and discussions were pretty anti-AP and topics like how GLBT people should be banned form teaching jobs came up, lots of things along those lines...so that ended quickly as I felt extremely uncomfortable. I had heard a lot of really positive things about Nashville and instead spent the time there feeling very isolated and alien.

 

I'm happy back home in Maryland now and absolutely loving it. We live a little north of Baltimore and we have a great music/nightlife/arts scene, museums and galleries, lots of GLBT friends (area is very friendly), lots of people from all over the place, close to DC for events/places of interest there, short drives to Philly and NYC...hiking is close by, camping isn't much further away, and I just discovered a really awesome, big, active group of people into organic/local foods and everything related to that that you can imagine. There's a big homeschooling population around here, plus Waldorf and Montessori schools in the area. Health food stores, ethnic groceries/restaurants...I knew a woman who went to sweat lodges in West Virginia, there are green festivals in the spring, art fairs in the spring and fall... I just discovered a Free School downtown and we're going to a DIY/herbal medicine class there this week... Obviously I have a lot of good things to say about where we live. I absolutely love it here and can't imagine living anywhere else (other than the west coast...and even if we went there, it would be temporary. This is Home).

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#7 of 27 Old 01-24-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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I've heard good things about Keene, NH in terms of charm, crunchiness, and affordability. Maybe that's a place to check out. (says the californian living in switzerland who has never set foot in the state of new hampshire! Haha) innocent.gif
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#8 of 27 Old 01-25-2011, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Pariah and Calynde, Thank you! 

 

Pariah Maryland sounds amazing! I am so glad you found home again! I am pretty bummed about the news on Nashville, though not surprised and not surprised you went there thinking otherwise. The clash seems to happen even in my own brain.. a few of the most intolerant people in my school moved to Nashville and whoa, one of them is hardcore and surprisingly, her twin is just the opposite type! She moved to KY (we lost touch). I also have a dear friend that lives there who writes poetry and she writes some very cool stuff, but angry. Anger is important for ones journey and I know it is important to control many of the many land take overs that happen here (in Hawaii). It is not anything that should or can go away anywhere where an injustice occurs.. but I have a lot of diverse venues here that are heavily supported by so many people... sounds exactly like MD. It is vibrant and I feel so inspired by their love (aloha) for life and diversity.. Really a whole very peaceful and tolerant outlook.


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#9 of 27 Old 02-27-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bump? We are leaving really soon and these research days (?!) not sure how often it will be... We are flying into LA picking up the car and eating a ton at raw food places.. using eatwellguide.org to find foodie places and sustainable folks.. looking into crunchy fests.. maybe going the Austin, TX route and then going on to East Coast..

 

Anyone else got something for me? You can PM too if you don't wanna blab your "Rainbow Tribe" little small town co-living... I get that.. I won't tell anyone..  I know the signs of when to use "Happy place in Maine" etc.. When you find a gold pot at the end of the rainbow, would you map it out on the internet? Not likely!  


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#10 of 27 Old 03-03-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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I have lived in NH (even Keene, which I think would not be crunchy enough for your liking), Hawaii and the west coast.  I second those who said Burlington, Vermont.  Belfast, ME is also a cute sort of crunchy town, with a small downtown with library and coop.  Less than a 2 hr drive from Freeport and Portland.  Also, plenty of beautiful nature around you.  Good luck.

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#11 of 27 Old 03-03-2011, 06:24 PM
 
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We have an amazing, close-knit tribe of AP families in and around Providence, RI.  We're about 40 minutes from the beautiful beaches in Narragansett, Newport, and Westerly.  There's a reggae festival in Charlestown every year.  Providence is known as "The Creative Capital," with unlimited opportunities for cultural enrichment, a local food movement, CSA, farmer's markets, and alternative food co-op called Urban Greens in the west end.  Come on up and visit!


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#12 of 27 Old 03-13-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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I'm a fan of Brattleboro, VT myself. I don't live there, but I visit often. They have a fabulous co-op, plenty of culture and great places to eat, to boot! I loved wearing my babe around the city (unlike Bennington, VT, where I was the only one).

 

And Oh MY GODS, the farmer's market is AWESOME.

 

If my Dh or I ever found a job up there, we would move in a heartbeat.

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#13 of 27 Old 03-17-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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check out athens, ga


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#14 of 27 Old 03-17-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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I've heard awesome things about Asheville. Might be worth a trip to look around.
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#15 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your support and info! We are on the road now in Little Rock headed east. So far Oklahoma City has been surprisingly cool but pricy... will update soon to add a little, but mostly about playgrounds. Not at all the trip I was expecting in the way of time with toddlers, I mean what they will allow and crave. We need to get to grandma's house pronto, but not too fast, if you get the picture. 


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#16 of 27 Old 03-25-2011, 01:16 AM
 
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I love either Brattleboro VT or Keene NH. They're actually really close to each other. We're thinking about moving that way ourselves after I have this baby in April. I've been looking for a progressive small town to call home:)

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#17 of 27 Old 03-27-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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I'm hearing lots about NH and VT, and being in a crunchier section of CT, i think i may have to check out these areas for comparison.

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#18 of 27 Old 04-24-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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I'll second Keene. There's a huge crunchy/organic/outdoorsy population there. There is also a Waldorf school (preschool through high). My boy and I attend a Waldorf/pikkler inspired playgroup at a place there called Sophia's Hearth and we love it. Other places to check are Peterborough NH, and I can't believe no one has suggested yet, but Northampton Ma. I'll also second Brattleboro and Burlington VT
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#19 of 27 Old 05-03-2011, 10:20 PM
 
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We've planned to live in the Asheville area later on, but it's looking like we'll be stationed in Winnipeg, Manitoba for at least 6 years, plus the amount of time it takes to immigrate DH into the states. I lived in Greenville SC before and while it's an amazing city, it's still very conservative Bible Belt - too much for us to settle on for later.

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#20 of 27 Old 05-06-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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I'm curious as well! Have you decided?

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#21 of 27 Old 05-28-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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I would also check out Shepherdstown, WV :) It's about 20 minutes from Maryland/VA


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#22 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 08:41 PM
 
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We're (hopefully) moving to Brattleboro this month! My husband put in for a transfer so as long as it gets approved but we think it will. We started looking at apartments there and coming from the Boston area I can tell you that rentals and house prices are REALLY affordable. Any town that can support 5 + independent book stores is my kind of place!

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#23 of 27 Old 08-14-2011, 06:03 PM
 
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Yah, have you decided yet??


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#24 of 27 Old 08-25-2011, 04:08 PM
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Hi everyone! 

 

We have a new feature that allows forum members to create "clubs" of their own that have many of the same benefits of a forum, including multiple threads, a member's list, and group messaging. All tribes are invited to switch from the one-long-thread here in FYT to the new Social Groups. You can read more about it hereLet me know if you have any questions but please post to that thread so I can keep everything in one place. smile.gif

 


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#25 of 27 Old 08-25-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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If it's not too late, Northampton, MA, yes!  We don't live there, but it's pretty darned crunchy, and I love going for visits.  And you mentioned the NH coast - Portsmouth isn't a bad option either.  Just wanted to mention - East coast towns with the qualities you mention often have this issue of really lacking ethnic/racial diversity.  Northampton is definitely a VERY white middle/upper class zone.  We had friends who just moved their family from Northampton (which they LOVED for many of the values you're looking for) to Somerville (just north of Boston).  They thought they'd be heartbroken, but have found the diversity of being back in the city really refreshing. 

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#26 of 27 Old 09-16-2011, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So... we went all the way up to Peterborough, NH and some in Hudson Valley, NY.. all around, but pretty quickly it felt like. I think I could mention more places that felt so wrong more than right. 

 

It happened pretty fast to get this place, one day, one viewing, and we took it out of traveling despair. I was so fried. It is so not an RV to travel around in a car. I prayed on my hands and knees and I am soooooo sure God answered. I am not sure how long this will last, but Front Royal, Va. And it is so strange how it came about. I have not met the HSing group yet. I have actually been traveling still to meet up with family but I think the time has come to start seriously trying to schedule our life. I am ready for some major changes and it all really has to do with the power within us and maybe getting the daily news from mom bloggers. I also had to cloth my tropical family, whee.. I mean this wasn't small on our budget. 

 

We have a very sweet 3 bd, 1 bath, on 5 acres with a view of forest...walk to the river, a pond with a boat (free from sweet neighbor) and I walk to yoga because she teaches from home across the street. The library is not my best of all time, but it is *super* nice and has many nature sided books, and a kind of huge and friendly play area :). The grocery is not so high but not so cheap, still I can't reason traveling further with gas but may do a shipment, they are enough organic, and a little health food store fills in all the rest next store (I buy oatmeal there and some other grains). The town has a farmer's market twice a week with reasonable people that happen to live down the street from me. The flea markets, haven't been but... there is like 5 right here, 4 thrift stores I do go to and two are boutique types that have super great deals or an auction...tons of little antique places.. this little main street has a great local/organic cook but I haven't been forthright with the family I love (yoga teacher) to go yet for babysitting.. and the bar (maybe a few) has live music... and a coffee shop.. A nicely built playground with a wooden one more fantastical behind it, next to a stream and with a fountain...

 

Now.. I am not sure about how lucky I am because I have heard a few numbers, but.. it is $500 with utilities!!!! The taxes are super reasonable, like $1700 range.. I think... yeah, maybe.. not high like $3k or anything near $10k NY..  The housing costs are not clear. Somethings are a deal and others we have driven by are a complete let down with a huge price tag because of the location of the property. There is 40 acres for sale for $250k that is mentally out of place for us without a home, and also out of our price range, but mostly, not something we want to think about right now.. we want to just be!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

DC is very close, but not too close.. The blue Ridge mountains are here and we go up to this park to watch the sunset there.. It is surrounded by these towns that I sometimes wonder if famous people vacation there because you are driving along and then suddenly all the buildings and houses get off the top beautiful in the colonial historic way but you have *never* heard about before...well maybe I have never...it just seems so quiet there are spectacularly kept up with gardens and era homes.... I didn't get cellular is what I mean. 

 

So here I am, 7 hours from NY family, 7 hours from my family down south and close by 3 of my really great friends on the east coast that are in and around DC and also DH's close friend in MD... It is a very unplanned situation... we just needed a home and I stormed off with kids and left my DH.. in my own raging fit of not being the mother and health giver I wanted to be and so sad I am so stressed.. I got a call from him saying, "you wanna look at this place today or in the morning?" I said sure.. we drove an 1.5 hrs and meet our super sweet landlord, made a deal about upkeep and got the key! I am still thanking God for the moment.. It had been on CL for like 5 min when DH called and Landlord's week of replies for a vacation rental was huge... so we got lucky :). 

 

I am most amazed by the people here. I meet a gramma on the playground from Hawaii and she said many negative things about the people and the schools "trashy" ...it happens.. people cuss out their kids and some kids did some messed up things to wildlife when we were near by.. but another crowd called people because of it... and people just seem really great... there are indie people, churchy people, don't care people, but mostly sweet people that are open to who you are. I went to a party the other day ( I have been to 2) and one crowd was nice..the food wasn't healthy but maybe party food? The people here seem like once you find that AP mama you will keep her very close and make each other happy, but still love a lot of people in between. I am not sure what is happening next.. I need calm. My sister and Mom are already eying the place for relocation.. I am not really sure why... and then I am not really sure what is going to be better. I see at least 2 deer daily and Freddy is working on a pet squirrel and the bear cubs were spied drinking from the kiddie pool. I feel a strange sense of heaven that I never knew I wanted in a home before.. the walking thing is competing with the stars too... I actually saw the milky way!

 

Cool towns up along the east coast are so true! NH over VT due to expense, but Maine we haven't seen and they don't have billboards. I am not sure about winter for so long... I want to visit more places... I don't think I can until spring though... I need to work on so many other things :). DH and trying to find our new dream and so many things about our day is getting noticed before location now.. not a road I want to carry a long time so this post will get revisited again. 


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#27 of 27 Old 12-09-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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This is an older tread but northampton Mass. And the surrounding Hilltowns are where it's at! Come visit!

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