Thinking of moving to CO - need advice! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 11-17-2008, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey y'all,

I'm a former heavy poster w/ 2 kids in Los Angeles. We are an AP, GP family who breast-fed and CD'd. We're pretty liberal, though very tolerant, and not particularly religious. Our kids go to a public charter school and we aren't the homeschooling type.

After more than a decade in LA we think we've just about had it and are thinking of Colorado.

Please tell me where you live in CO and what you do/don't like. We are starting to gather information so we can start looking. Targeting Jan 2010 as our move time!

Thanks!!

Melina

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#2 of 21 Old 11-17-2008, 04:47 PM
 
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Hi Melina.

Well I live around Fort Collins and I love most things. The only things I don't like are things that probably wouldn't bother you. Namely not living near our family, and the hot summers. Coming from LA I'm sure winters will be more of a problem for you. They are pretty mild I think, though.

In Northern Colorado there are a ton of AP-minded folk. Not everyone, for sure, but more than most places. I think you would fit right in here.

Oh, I also don't like Ft. Collins for shopping. It's all right if you're looking for something unique and offbeat but if you just want to go get some clothes you almost have to go to Loveland. And the streets are also laid out in a really dumb way. Traveling from one side of town to the other takes way longer than it should. But there are a lot of bike paths!

Hmm. What sorts of things are you looking for specifically?

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#3 of 21 Old 11-17-2008, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Barefoot.

We're trying to figure out where to go if we move. We have family in the Denver area, but as far as we're concerned, anywhere in CO is "close" to Denver. I'm from Alaska/Northern California and my husband is from NY, so we're not afraid of snow. And it can't get much hotter in the summer than the Northern San Fernando Valley. Hell, it's hot where we live NOW. It's like 85 degrees UGH.

Where are the best schools in your opinion, and how do you define "best" is one thing I'm looking for.

What kinds of business/industries thrive in what areas?

Where am I likely to find people with similar approaches to parenting/family?

What are the "red" and "blue" areas so to speak?

That kind of thing...

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#4 of 21 Old 11-17-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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Well, hopefully some other CO moms will jump in here and help you out more. I don't know anything about schools and stuff like that. My DS is only 17 mo and we're not sure if we'll still be here when he's school-age. But like I said I think the Ft. Collins-Loveland area is great for natural parenting and so forth. As for red/blue, well it's pretty mixed where I am. We pretty much went blue for this election.

HTH.

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#5 of 21 Old 11-18-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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Where are the best schools in your opinion, and how do you define "best" is one thing I'm looking for.

Where am I likely to find people with similar approaches to parenting/family?

What are the "red" and "blue" areas so to speak?
Sounds like you'd like Boulder. Probably most liberal city in CO. Boulder is like a bubble of natural family living types. There are 4 Whole Foods in the city, plus many other natural food stores. The farmers market is incredible.

Two alternative schools that are great:
http://www.livingschool.org/ (democratic)
http://www.smwaldorf.org/ (plus there are many other waldorf schools to choose from)

Denver and surrounding areas are also liberal and CO Springs area is more conservative, in general. There are many great towns in the mountains as well, although kinda rural. I live outside Boulder up in the front range mtns, so I have the best of both city/mountain worlds, being able to choose which experience I want per day!! I love CO! I used to live in NorCal, I like the vibe of Colorado folks better, I'd say more down to Earth, IMHO.

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#6 of 21 Old 11-19-2008, 12:32 AM
 
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Sounds like you'd like Boulder. Probably most liberal city in CO. Boulder is like a bubble of natural family living types. There are 4 Whole Foods in the city, plus many other natural food stores. The farmers market is incredible.

Two alternative schools that are great:
http://www.livingschool.org/ (democratic)
http://www.smwaldorf.org/ (plus there are many other waldorf schools to choose from)
I have to agree with you, Boulder definitely. Of course I live there and my DD goes to the Living School. I would also recommend my DS's school, Eastern Sun Academy, its very special (IMO).

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#7 of 21 Old 11-19-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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I live in Colorado Springs and love living here. While the town as a whole is conservative, I live on the west side and founded the West Side Moms group which has more liberal leanings and crunchier attitudes, at the same time being very tolerable and moderate.

My sons currently attend a public Montessori school which we love, Buena Vista Elementary. At the moment, the parents are all involved in a "Save Our School" effort. If you live in Colorado Springs, I invite you to sign our online petition to save our school.

There's a large military presence in town (army and air force), the Air Force Academy, and a good amount of technical and communications companies - Agilent, MCI WorldCom, Oracle...

I love our easy access to Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and inumerable hiking and biking trails. We have a fantastic mountain zoo. I enjoy running and rock climbing. In the summer we love camping. We're just an hour from Denver for fun day trips to museums and the aquarium. Our town still feels small to me.

I originally moved here from NJ in 1991. My husband's sister and parents live in town, and my parents moved here 2 years ago from NJ. My sister lives in Denver. So we are fortunate to be surrounded by family.

Hope that helps!
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#8 of 21 Old 11-19-2008, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please keep 'em coming!! All this information is SO helpful!!

Anyone in the public school system - please share your input!!!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#9 of 21 Old 11-19-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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We're in Loveland, about 50 miles north of Denver. I love it. It's smallish, with great parks, low traffic, a nice library. There is a fabulous AP group in Fort Collins, just 10 minutes from me. I'd say this area is very Ap friendly. We used to live in Fort Collins, and I didn't like it. The traffic sucked and I don't like the students at the local colleges (even though I am one....). I have heard, though I don't have personal experience, that the Poudre Valley school system is great. I also think there are a variety of charter schools in the area.
good luck with your decision!

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#10 of 21 Old 11-22-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mmgarda View Post

Anyone in the public school system - please share your input!!!
Boulder Valley School District School:

BCSIS (Waldorf inspired/arts integrated/multiple intellegencies focus school)
Horizon's K -8 (alternative charter school)
Community Montessori (public Montessori)
High Peaks (Core Knowledge focus school)

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#11 of 21 Old 11-29-2008, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the input ladies! We have family in Loveland and are planning to explore that are and Ft. Collins.

Denver mamas - where do you live? What do you love? What would you change?

Thanks, everyone. This is fast becoming a strong likelihood for us!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#12 of 21 Old 11-29-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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Denver mamas - where do you live? What do you love? What would you change?
I live in Capitol Hill, which is nearly the heart of Denver (I can see the Capitol building from my bedroom window and can easily walk there in 15 mins.) I absolutely LOVE that you can walk to so many places and there's such an variety of ethnic/natural foods, shops, etc. As I'm only expecting my first child currently, I can't give you an answer on school quality around here (we haven't started looking yet because we don't know if we'll be around here or elsewhere by the time the kid's school-age).

I'm very much a "city mouse" and couldn't imagine living somewhere where you have to drive everywhere. I guess it'd just depend on what you want, though. The people around here are very liberal (you could hear fireworks and cheering for hours after the last election was over) and very friendly. The rent is cheap-ish around here, however if you're planning on buying a house, the prices are very high.

I don't know if that helps. Let me know if you have any questions about Denver, specifically.

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#13 of 21 Old 11-29-2008, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Conchobhar - A few questions please?

Do you live in an apt. or house?

How is public transportation in Denver?

Do you any insight into Aurora, Arveda or Littleton areas?

Thank you!!!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#14 of 21 Old 12-14-2008, 06:33 AM
 
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It's been a long time since I've been on here! I'll have to see if I can find a thread I started a long time ago when thinking about the best places to live. I made a long list of everything I wanted, and people replied... Boulder came up a lot.

We moved to Fort Collins b/c my dh is in the 5-year MBA/DVM program. It's a great place. I love Boulder though!! It's close to Denver and actually has a non-toxic dentist, Dr. Koral, vegetarian and vegan and raw friendly cafes and restaurants like Sunflower. It was an Anthropologie store (my favorite). I'm sure the farmers' markets are awesome. I like the Whole Foods around town. Beautiful buildings. Old houses. Character. Hiking is fantastic. It's fabulous for people watching. I personally find the women to be very inspiring--often very fit and very healthy looking. So many of them to glow. I love the fact that so many are braless. It seems that there's a tinge more of the International feal than we get in Ft. C. The Boulders are beautiful. It's super close to Denver. Healers galore. Not too far from the airport.

Fort Collins does have a lot going for it if you feel you'd like more info. about it.
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#15 of 21 Old 12-14-2008, 07:03 AM
 
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This is the list that I made years ago. If you make a list of what you're looking for, people will tell you if the stuff on the list is available in their area...

Just a thought.

caring community sharing & helping each other
mothering groups
support networks for attachment style parents
children's playgroups & activities
community living consciously
residents who are aware
a high energy area
village living with walking & bicycling
non-toxic homes
spa lifestyle
holistic community
massage
chiropractor
healers
alternative medical practitioners
college/university nearby
libraries
bookstores
cultural activities
artists
writers
gardeners
musicians
yoga center
dancing spots
parks
walking, jogging, cycling trails
clean air
trees
pure water
organic foods readily available
locally-grown organic produce
natural vegetarian and vegan cafes
smoothie bars
tea rooms
organic clothing stores
responsible consumer shopping stores
fun & rewarding community service
a place where life is valued and enjoyed
where life is a joy, a poem and a song
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#16 of 21 Old 12-17-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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I live in Colorado Springs and love living here. While the town as a whole is conservative, I live on the west side and founded the West Side Moms group which has more liberal leanings and crunchier attitudes, at the same time being very tolerable and moderate.

My sons currently attend a public Montessori school which we love, Buena Vista Elementary. At the moment, the parents are all involved in a "Save Our School" effort. If you live in Colorado Springs, I invite you to sign our online petition to save our school.

There's a large military presence in town (army and air force), the Air Force Academy, and a good amount of technical and communications companies - Agilent, MCI WorldCom, Oracle...

I love our easy access to Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and inumerable hiking and biking trails. We have a fantastic mountain zoo. I enjoy running and rock climbing. In the summer we love camping. We're just an hour from Denver for fun day trips to museums and the aquarium. Our town still feels small to me.

I originally moved here from NJ in 1991. My husband's sister and parents live in town, and my parents moved here 2 years ago from NJ. My sister lives in Denver. So we are fortunate to be surrounded by family.

Hope that helps!
I don't want to hijack this thread or anything, but Maida (or anyone else that used to live in an "ocean" state): How has it been living in a land-locked state? My DH grew up in CA then FL and I grew up in Maine. We met in FL and are currently living in Maine but are considering a move to CO (especially since a few family members would probably follow us out there). We both love the ocean, but find we never have time to go now that we live further out in the sticks anyway. Do you miss it at all? Thanks!

HBACing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, d/s vaccinating, food and fitness-loving single mommy to two little monsters.
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#17 of 21 Old 12-23-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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A general response about the "possible negative side" of Colorado--

We lived there for a good decade and I loved it. It was a great fit for me b/c I'm not a water person, but I recall quite a few Calif mammas not adjusting well to the loss of a huge body of water and water sports. At least two families I know of moved back to Calif.

The climate in CO is semi-arid so dry skin can be a problem. When the hot summer comes it won't be lush green like other parts of the country--it turns mostly brown.

CO gets snow frequently throughout the winter and March is its wettest month so they can get a huge dumping of snow then. We've seen snow in early Sept and early June as well. Jan and Feb can get quite frigid. :

None of these things bothered me, but these are topics that I frequently heard complaints about from other transplants.

The landscape is mostly flat except for the Rocky Mtn area. Some people complain about the "prairie" topography.

Every place has positive and negative aspects. The most important thing to do is make sure you are moving towards something, not awayfrom something; otherwise you could end up moving from a place you don't like to another place you don't like.

Good luck!
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#18 of 21 Old 12-24-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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How is public transportation in Denver?

Do you any insight into Aurora, Arveda or Littleton areas?

Thank you!!!
I've been using the bus system (RTD) here for almost ten years and I'm pretty happy with it overall. The best buses are the regional ones, like the ones that go from Denver to the airport, or the ones that go from downtown Denver to Boulder, stopping at a few other park and rides on the way. Those are comfortable and on time unless there's an accident or a lot of snow. Even then, if it's during rush hour and they're running every 15 minutes, it usually means there's still a bus within 15-20 minutes. Once you get in in bad weather it will take longer, but it's really not that bad.

The local buses vary. If I'm going downtown I usually drive the 2.5 miles to the park and ride and take an express bus downtown (15 minutes) rather than taking the local to the park and ride. The local that goes past my neighborhood to that park and ride has a tendency to be just late enough that I miss my connection for the downtown bus and end up sitting there for another 25 minutes. But if I want to head north to the other park and ride and take the local, that one is reasonably on time (and there's a larger connection window). I've had pretty good luck with the downtown local buses, and that's how DD and I usually go to get to the zoo. I also sometimes connect to light rail, depending on where I'm going in Denver.

DH also takes a regional bus to work most mornings, going from Westminster to Aurora to the CU Health Sciences Center campus. He prefers the bus to driving.

(I do wish the buses ran more frequently and there were more of them, but Denver isn't as big as NYC or Chicago, yk?)

I'm pretty familiar with Arvada. We lived in an apartment there for two years and liked the area. We live just north of Arvada now. The Old Town area is really nice, so DD and I sometimes go there to visit a local yarn shop and maybe to stop in at the library or other places down there. It has some nice bike/hike/jogging trails that I enjoy, and it has reasonably good access to I-70 or to Hwy 36, depending on where you're located. My sister lives two miles away from me and is in Arvada and loves her neighborhood. (I like mine too. It's not quite as nice as hers is, but I'm within walking distance Standley Lake so I'm not complaining. )

I really like Colorado. I moved here from the Chicago twelve years ago and enjoyed both living in Fort Collins and now here in the Westminster/Arvada area. Fort Collins did have a lot of traffic--I used to walk to their Old Town or the CSU campus and only took my car out to do errands.

Boulder's fun too, though I hate driving there. If I'm in Boulder, I either take the bus all the way up and then use their public transportation (which might well be the best anywhere in Colorado), or else I park on the edge of town and take the buses to get to where I'm going.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-27-2008, 12:55 AM
 
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The most important thing to do is make sure you are moving towards something, not awayfrom something; otherwise you could end up moving from a place you don't like to another place you don't like.
Yes to that! I think that was part of the problem we had with adjusting to CO. I was running from some very bad memories in Northern CA more than moving toward something in Colorado (other than it being the one place I remember being happy as a child when we lived here for a few years). Moving back to CA hasn't been viable for us, so I've tried adjusting my attitude.

I can comment on a number of the places and things mentioned, though, b/c I mostly grew up in southern CA (Ventura County as well as the valley) and have lived in Colorado Springs and btwn Loveland and Fort Collins. Not to offend the mama from Colorado Springs who posted, but I found it to be very conservative and not my type of place. There is a large Air Force Academy there, Focus on the Family (very anti-gay and conservative), and it is a pretty religious place.

Both Fort Collins and Loveland (probably more FTC) have large religious communities as well (a lot of churches) which we notice b/c we are not religious (dh is athiest), but Ft Collins also has some liberal open minded areas. Especially near the college and the north end of FTC, you'll likely find some like-minded folk. Loveland has a smaller town feel and is more homogeneous than FTC. I, personally, like Fort Collins better.

My kids have gone to school in both the Loveland (Thompson) SD and the FTC (Poudre) SD. They are both "good" districts. I do think that Thompson has, historically, not been considered as good as Poudre, but it seems to be improving. There are more schools that are lower performing in Thompson than Poudre, though. If you get to the point of really considering FTC/Lvld, let me know if you want input on any specific schools b/c I know a lot of them.

eta: Oh, I forgot to mention weather. The summers here are nowhere near as hot as LA. The winters are pretty darn cold, IMO, but it really depends on your perspective. Those people I know who've lived in the East or the midwest think that our winters are mild. The coldest place dh and I had lived prior to CO was San Francisco. Dh is pretty much freezing for 9 months of the year here, but reality is that it really is only extremely cold (like avg temp of 30F) for about 4-5 months each year. The avg is deceiving, though, b/c it may range from a low of 20F and high of 45F one day to a low of -15F and a high of 3F in the course of a two or three day period. The weather here is kind of crazy erratic.
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#20 of 21 Old 12-27-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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How is public transportation in Denver?

Do you any insight into Aurora, Arveda or Littleton areas?

Thank you!!!
I've lived in Denver for 4 years and still don't own a car. The public transportation is pretty great, and anywhere you don't want to bus is really accessible by bike. There's a lightrail that runs North/South, but you'll pay to live within walking distance to a stop (worth every penny!).

Aurora is a place to be wary of. There are great parts and 'quite the opposite' parts. I suppose that's true of anywhere but Aurora seems to have extremes like I've never seen.
Arvada is nice, a little more upscale.
Littleton I've heard nothing but great reviews. (And they have a lightrail stop!)

The best school district in the state is supposed to be Cherry Creek schools. Denver has a LOT of options for your kids, but the waiting lists can be formidable. Stanley British is definitely one to check out.

Denver is incredible. I've always found Boulder to be a little too insincere for my tastes (how environmentally concerned can you be if your whole family drives SUV's?). My in-laws live in Colorado Springs and there's a reason that Focus on the Family is there. If you agree with that crowd, it's a great town. If you don't agree with them, head up the I-25 corridor. Your call. (well, obviously)

Good luck!

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#21 of 21 Old 12-29-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Just want to add that I am in Boulder, and I can not imagine a better place to live. Everyone here is so friendly, liberal, interesting. There is so much for children to do and the schools are all great. The mothers here are very supportive. And I think the weather is great. Always sunny. Snowboarding nearby. Tons of outdoor activities and Boulder is just stunning to look at. Just my two cents
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