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#1 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are thinking about relocating from Maryland to California sometime later this year, but we're not sure what part of the state would be best for us. So here are the things we're looking for in a place--although I'm not sure if all of this exists in one place (in fact I'd be amazed if that were the case!)

- IT jobs, particularly network security and Linux jobs.
- Warm, as warm as possible! Don't mind the heat.
- Green and lush--not in the desert.
- Access to outdoorsy stuff--hiking, swimming. Ocean a plus but would choose mountains over ocean if we can only have one.
- Not too urban--affordable housing (HA, right?!) with 1-2 acre plots.
- Fast Internet.
- Farmers markets, organic food co-ops, etc.
- Homebirth midwives.
- Active AP community.
- Art galleries.

Any thoughts? I know it's a tall order. Is there a place that even has most of these things? Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 05:49 PM
 
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Hi there! Native Californian here, considering a move to Baltimore ironically.

 

So Berkeley is an awesome place. Has, quite literally, everything you desire except for the cheap housing. 

IME, you will have a hard time finding a place with all of the great things, like farmers markets, galleries, homebirth midwifes*, etc. 

Unless you are in one of the urban areas, such as the Bay Area, the coast line (farther south, central coast too), San Diego, and Los Angeles area.

We once lived in the North Bay, Petaluma to be exact and I loved it. Not as pricey as the direct bay area, but had every wonderful amenity. Seriously, great weather, nice people, small town feel but urban types, local produce, midwifes, etc.

We would be there now if my DH didn't work where he does. 

 

Anyways, CA is so big and I have never traveled north of Ft Bragg so I couldn't say how the Humboldt area is. It is a beautiful state with a lot of gems, but my is it expensive. 

 

Where are you guys considering?


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#3 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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Scope out the Santa Cruz mountains. Close to Silicon Valley for jobs but cheaper housing with larger plots. Close to San Jose and Santa Cruz for all the other stuff.
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#4 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been looking in the San Diego area mostly, but it's looking too urban/expensive for us, as most of the houses we could afford barely even have a yard greensad.gif and at the very least we require a decent-sized, private back yard as we have a big dog and need a veggie garden. I know what you mean about all the good stuff being in the cities!

Now will definitely look more seriously into Berkeley--thanks so much for the suggestion!
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#5 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@ChamomileGirl Thanks! We are looking there too. It's a question of DH finding the right job without having to commute 2 hours/day. It's hard doing the search from the east coast!
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#6 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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Oh I bet it is so hard! San Diego is so beautiful and fun, and probably quite a huge change from Maryland!

Can you start small and get bigger? Honestly, we have so many friends (Berkeley area, San Diego, SF) who all live in the smallest space possible in order to live in a really cool city. 

I second the Santa Cruz idea!


 "Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high,  Still I'll rise." ~ Maya Angelou
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#7 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 10:38 PM
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Check out the greater Sacramento area.  I have no idea what the scene is for IT jobs, but it has a lot of the other things you mention.  Not necessarily right in Sacramento (which is okay as cities go, I prefer the country), but all the surrounding areas, including up into the Sierra foothills, from Placerville north to Grass Valley, and valley communities like Chico and Davis.  Real estate prices in the whole area are way down, but probably still more expensive than in a lot of other states.  It's an organic/local food paradise around here, quite a few midwives, larger lots with decent amenities like fast internet aren't hard to find, spring/summer/fall are very warm (often quite hot), winter is generally mild and wet, tons of outdoorsy stuff, equidistant between ocean and mountains.  Art galleries - um, Sac has a few, and smaller surrounding cities have some, but it doesn't compare to the more megalopolis-like Bay Area in that regard.  Air quality in the summer can get a bit icky, but not nearly as bad as LA or the cities in the southern part of the Central Valley.

 

Even the non-desert areas of CA don't get regular summer rain (except for occasionally in the far north), so "green and lush" isn't really how I would describe it.  This area (meaning the northern half of the state, except the far northeast which is high desert) has so many trees and they all stay green, but the ground cover in wild, non-irrigated areas mostly goes brown in summer, it's not like east coast kind of green - way greener than the southern part of the state though.  The green comes back when the rain starts, usually in Nov.

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#8 of 37 Old 03-08-2011, 11:37 PM
 
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Well, the South Bay area (Santa Clara, Cupertino, etc.) has the IT industry (aka Silicon Valley), but you've got to remember there were tens of thousands of layoff in the last few years, and there are still far more IT workers with work histories in the area who'd likely be hired first.  I've got a lot of friends on the east coast who considered moving here until they realize how slim IT jobs really are.

 

Before you pick a location, scout the jobs and see what the market is.  There's no point in moving here if you can't find enough job openings.

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#9 of 37 Old 03-09-2011, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great advice guys, just the kind of info I'm looking for--thanks! Must have a chat with DH!
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#10 of 37 Old 03-16-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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We are maybe moving to Lake Forest....Anyone care to share what they think of that area?? Thanks.. :) Also, does anyone know of a online moms group for that area??

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#11 of 37 Old 03-16-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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Kibba, I grew up in Southern Orange County.  My experience is that it is very conservative, politically and otherwise, and not very culturally diverse.  I'm not knocking it, the beaches are beautiful, you can't beat the shopping(including lots of cloth diaper retailers, organic foods, etc.), and great restaurants.  Not a whole lot of family activities compared with where I live now(Sacramento).  I did live in Lake Forest for a short time, one thing that was tough was that you have to drive everywhere, no walking, and unless you are a serious athlete most of Orange County is hilly/mountainous and tough to bike.  The weather is absolutely divine.

 

Radicaleel, I must echo the Sacramento suggestion.  I have lived in both Southern and Northern California and prefer Northern.  The best things about Sacramento:  lots and lots to do, including lots of live music, art shows, theater, hiking, river activities, and sooo many free family activites.  You get the perks of living in the city without all the hullaballoo.  The trees are BEAUTIFUL and plentiful, the area is flat so you can bike everywhere.  There are enough midwives to go around, I had a homebirth with two wonderful ones.  It has one of the only free standing birth centers in the area.  Short drive to Lake Tahoe and the Bay area, and a bit longer to get to Yosemite, Santa Cruz, Monterey...

 

I have lived in Orange County, San Diego, and spent a considerable amount of time in the Bay area and Santa Cruz.  Sacramento is where I chose to stay and raise my family.  As far as IT jobs... not sure sorry!

 

Oh and the weather is fabulous, nice season changes.

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#12 of 37 Old 03-16-2011, 11:55 PM
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One thing I feel compelled to add to my post above about the Sac area is a caveat - the low-lying areas of the valley are in a danger zone for flooding, on par with New Orleans (minus the hurricanes, flooding here is caused by big, wet winter storms melting snow in the mountains and overwhelming waterways) because the levees are not adequate and a lot has been built in flood plains (stupidly, IMO).  However, you can avoid that by paying attention to specific areas, as there is plenty of space above the flood plain. 


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#13 of 37 Old 03-17-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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I also live in Sacramento. I've also lived in Winters, Davis & Vacaville. I adore Davis and plan to move there as soon as we can afford to. This last year was very difficult for us financially so we moved to Sacramento because it's cheaper and there was more job availability for my wife. We are both excited to move back to Davis when we can. It is a little more expensive than Sacramento but I love the feel of the town and feel much safer there. Their farmers market is amazing and I've heard good things about their homebirth midwives.

http://www.davisfarmersmarket.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis,_California

http://www.birthstream.com/

 

My sister and her husband are moving to Santa Cruz in a few weeks so I can get info from them regarding the area if you'd like.

 

Good luck! I can't wait to hear where you decide.

 

Kymberli

 

 


Goldmoon wife to S 11/1/09 in Sacramento, CA
ttc baby #1 since 2/2010

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#14 of 37 Old 04-12-2011, 05:36 AM
 
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Think of Sonoma County.  We lived there and would move back in a heartbeat.  I don't know what the current IT scene is like, but it had some great industries before we moved away. 

 

As far as affordable is concerned, we are in the Redding area, but IT is lacking up here.  It's beautiful, and HOT (July has been known to have highs over 100 all month.) 

 

Green landscape is a tough call in CA year round, since we don't have much summer rain, but the Sonoma/Mendocino area stays greener. 

 

Good luck, and enjoy your search and subsequent move!

 

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#15 of 37 Old 04-12-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you consider affordable, but you might look at Ojai -- it is within commutable distance to Ventura and Santa Barbara, and potentially northern LA county.  Then there is also Topanga (a community in LA which you might also want to consider) -- both are on my list of my dream places to move in the next five or so years :)


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#16 of 37 Old 04-16-2011, 03:41 AM
 
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I have lived in both the southern seaboard and desert parts of SoCal and on the peninsula of San Francisco bay. I have to say that over the years SoCal has improved significantly and even though we are in tough economic times the quality of family living in the communities there has changed for the better. Currently we live between India and Palm Springs. My husband has an IT startup and the more work it seems he has, the more traveling we do. Our daughter is currently homeschooled by me, but she is missing her friends and class structure, so we will also be going back soon.
I like the valley area because there are many families and outside activities. Palm Speing has an old western/hippi chic modern vibe mixed with creative people of all ages. The farmers markets and local art festivals are filled with more than you can imagine. People who have grown up there still enjoy living there and generally good people and happy family attitudes.
NorCal for me, in most surrounding suburbs, did not seem like a very flourishing community feeling like that of SoCal towns. Crime rates are a bit higher near San Francisco. Palo Alto, Cupertino make for lovely neighborhoods. Expensive and high end communities, not too sure what it is like to live there though. Hope that helps. Now we are looking for a home coastal of San Diego county - if any of you ladies know a good family community in that area with good schools, farmer markets , good library, healthy living lifestyle and good parks in a safe neighborhood please let me know where the area is. We are exploring all SoCal options with out a pricy lifestyle attached. Take care:)
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#17 of 37 Old 05-21-2011, 07:29 PM
 
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#18 of 37 Old 05-24-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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I grew in up in San Diego and now live in Berkeley. While I much prefer the bay area and adore Berkeley, there were things I loved about San Diego as well. Did you consider living in a more rural part of san diego county, like Ramona or Jamul? You can get land and larger houses for much less cost while still only having a 30-45 minute commute from anything you'd want to do. Both are much closer to the mountains as well. 

 

While I love Berkeley and highly reccomend it, it is even pricier here than in San Diego and the amount of land you get is way less. We have a postage stamp yard - much smaller than I recall when I was growing up. 

 

I agree with previous posters about santa cruz area and sonoma county. I have a number of friends who've chosen to move to sonoma county. They still paid an arm and a leg but they have beautiful homes on more land and a more low key lifestyle. Both of my friends who live out there have husbands who commute to San Francisco for work. I also had coworkers in the city who lived in sonoma - so it can be done. 

 

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#19 of 37 Old 06-09-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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If you would consider working for the government.... check out the national parks in the state. Most of them have 'villages' where there are offices and corporate housing either in or near the national park but you can live wherever you want. I'm not sure what the hiring situation is but you could probably find a job at one of the NPs in the state before moving there. I would  say that Yosimite would be the best and the mountains there are so beautiful or Redwood National Park which is close to the coast, or Lassen-volcano. Okay, there are a lot of beautiful national parks in CA and the rural areas around them have a bit lower cost of living because the only jobs that arn't through the parks are at hotels and restaurants or campgrounds. I've spent more than my fair share of time in the National and State forrests throughout CA although I have never worked for them I have family members who do.

Good luck


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#20 of 37 Old 06-10-2011, 01:01 AM
 
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I live in Costa Mesa in Orange County and loooove it. But, if it's any help -- it's not what you're looking for! Our lists are different in some ways (I wanted urban, close to beach...it does have some things in your list though) but I know that knowing what would not work also helps. =)


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#21 of 37 Old 08-06-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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OP, what did you decide?  We are also investigating Santa Cruz currently, and this thread was helpful, very helpful.  Wondering where you're at in all of it now, 6 mos later?

 


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#22 of 37 Old 08-06-2011, 05:16 PM
 
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Not SF.

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#23 of 37 Old 08-09-2011, 12:12 AM
 
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I'm curious what you decided, too! I was going to reply that areas with a lot of IT jobs don't usually go hand-in-hand with affordable housing (unless you can work remotely or like a long commute). I know that's not very helpful other than perhaps more aligning expectations.

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#24 of 37 Old 10-12-2011, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here. Thanks so much for all of your helpful input! DH had been looking and looking for jobs and not finding anything, and any possibility of moving was also delayed by choice so we could have our 2nd baby (now 2 months old) with our midwife here in MD, so until now I had nothing to report.

Now it seems something is finally happening! The San Diego area is looking very likely for us! DH has an interview with a company in Rancho Bernardo next week. They are flying him out there (a good sign, right?) and the kids and I are tagging along. I'm in contact with a realtor and we're mainly looking at homes in the Valley Center area, because that's where we're finding places with a bit of land (like 1-5 acres) in our price range. It all comes down to money...so please cross your fingers for us that my DH gets a job offer and they help us with relocation! (If this falls through it's back to square one.)

Can anybody tell me about living in Valley Center--the people, the schools, the food, what's there...? If we move there I'll be looking for new like-minded friends soon! Some of the homes we're looking at have big yards for our dog to run, and lots of orange and avocado trees, which just sounds amazing to me. I'm an oil painter so I can pretty much work from anywhere, and I figure I'd find good exhibition opportunities in SD. I'm SO hopeful that this could work out for us!

I'll know a lot more after next week.
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#25 of 37 Old 10-12-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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I grew up fairly close the Valley Center but about 15 minutes south. I don't know much other than you can get more land and have a more rural feel and that it gets SO hot there. But no humidity so perhaps it won't be as bad as MD. It would be amazing to have avocado trees! My good friend's parent live there - they have a beautiful home. I'm sorry I can't help too much with food, etc. It's been years since I've lived in San Diego.  Though I do know that my favorite natural grocery (it's a local chain but family owned), called Jimbos, isn't horribly far away in Rancho Bernardo. Good luck to your DH!

 

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#26 of 37 Old 10-12-2011, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan Princess View Post

I grew in up in San Diego and now live in Berkeley. While I much prefer the bay area and adore Berkeley, there were things I loved about San Diego as well. Did you consider living in a more rural part of san diego county, like Ramona or Jamul? You can get land and larger houses for much less cost while still only having a 30-45 minute commute from anything you'd want to do. Both are much closer to the mountains as well. 

 


This is what we'll probably end up doing! At least for a year or two to see if it works out...Our goal right now is just to make it to the west coast. Wish us luck!
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#27 of 37 Old 10-12-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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Didn't read the full post before I chimed in! orngbiggrin.gif

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#28 of 37 Old 10-16-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Oops!  Didn't see you'd settled on San Diego area (love it there too!). 

 

Will leave my Sacramento raving up in case it is helpful to anyone else....

.........

 

I'll second those who are saying Sacramento area.  I've lived there off and on throughout my life and I really feel like it's one of the better kept secrets in CA.  It's incredibly affordable to live there--my husband and I bought a house and our mortgage is a third of what we pay in rent for our apartment in SF (we moved here temporarily for me to finish grad school). 

 

The food & farming community is wonderful--great farmers markets, CSAs, local farms.  It's really one of the best places in the country in that regard.

 

I've worked with most of the midwives in the area and they are all fantastic.  Sacramento also has great schools--public waldorfs, a social justice high school, etc, etc.  Lots of free things for families to do too. 

 

Downtown/midtown Sacramento has plenty to keep most people busy.  There is a busy Second Saturday art walk each month, a decent amount of live music, GREAT and not too expensive restaurants...I actually really miss it living in SF.  I feel like it's just enough that you always have something to do (and can actually afford to do it), but not so much that you are overwhelmed or out a ton of $$

 

Neighborhoods I would look into include:

Central Sacramento:  midtown, curtis park, land park, north oak park/med center, tahoe park, east sacramento

Suburbs: Carmichael and Fair Oaks are both cute in areas

 

Davis is also a really cute college town, but has a little bit less going on in terms of entertainment and is slightly less affordable.

 

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#29 of 37 Old 10-17-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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I live in central San Diego, near downtown. Generally speaking, once you get out of the city area it tends to get pretty conservative, but I'm sure you can find like minded souls anywhere- but how many, I don't know. Valley Center is really beautiful. Our CSA farm is up there, as well as a few other farms I have visited, so I've been there a fair amount, but never to town- not even sure if there is one, actually. But there are big lots, gorgeous scrub oaks, rolling hills, etc. You will have your hands full keeping your property fire safe, though. Get a goat! It does get hot, but it's true that it is dry heat so compared to back East I still think it's better (I grew up partially in Buffalo).

Occasionally there are big lots in an area called Encanto, just a few minutes east of downtown. Parts of the area are quite lovely and you wouldn't know you are in the city, other parts are not so nice. I know some people who just bought 2 acres there, so it's possible, and you would be just a few minutes away from the more liberal, crunchy, central city area.

I would strongly recommend renting for a little while and getting used to the area before you buy. If you buy in the country and decide you hate the area it may take quite a long time to sell. You probably will not have much trouble renting even with your dog, it's a pretty pet friendly city.

I bet you will love CA, it is really fun to live here! Even though I am not crazy about San Diego in some ways and would love to live in NorCal, just the fact that we get to hop in the car every summer and camp up and down the state seeing the most amazing and diverse natural places makes it worth while to me! And the weather is really, really nice here.

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#30 of 37 Old 10-23-2011, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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katroshka--could you share info about your CSA? What's the farm, what do you get & for how much?

We're back in MD now from our initial check-it-out trip and DH's interview. He has a verbal offer and will probably have it in writing within the week, along with some relocation help! joy.gif We will most likely make it out there in the next month or two.

I am so freakin excited I can't stand it! I was blown away by the beauty of the mountains in Valley Center and the Escondido outskirts. And the weather--omg!

Are there any crunchy mamas out there reading this who are in the San Diego area? After a little research I found some awesome-looking meetup groups but they're mostly farther north in Temecula valley.

Any and all resources would be welcome for someone moving to the area, and anyone is welcome to post here or pm me. Moms groups, ped & dentist & vet reccs, anything at all about artist communities, galleries, etc. in the area, best places to hike, fun stuff to do with toddlers...

I'm 30, a professional artist, have a 2-year-old boy and newborn girl, am a health nut and all-around crunchy hippie type (although that's always relative, but I tend to fit in with hippies.) orngbiggrin.gif We are active and love the outdoors. DH is a techie genius and it's thanks to him landing this job that we'll be able to move to this beautiful place.

LOL, I know that sounds like a personal ad but seriously, I want some new contacts in the area--we are coming from 3000 miles away and starting fresh! Reach out to me people!
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