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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! I already asked a bunch of questions to Boston area mamas, but since Boston looks so expensive, I thought I would ask mamas here some questions!

My daughter's soontobestepmom (wedding on 7/3/10) is interviewing for a job at Philips Exeter Academy on Monday. If she does get the job, we are all looking at the possibility of moving out there. Both households (my husband and I as well as dd's dad and his fiance) are all very active in my daughter's life and we want to remain in the same area as eachother until she graduates high school. We are in Chicago now and initially thought (for my husband and I) the city may be the best option, as he is a university employee currently and will probably be seeking the same if we end up moving out east.

Is the area pretty liberal? Any diverse neighborhoods nearby? Can a family get by with one car do you think? (We are currently and have always been carless here, but realize that is probably not an option.) Is there affordable public transportation to Boston if one or both of us worked there, or do you think the commute is unreasonable? Is there mixed income housing? (I have seen two bedrooms in the 1000-1200 per month range, hoping they would be decent.)

Is there any kind of art community? LGBT community? (Husband is artist and playwright and loves to connect with other artists...and I just personally and politically lean towards LGBT and feminist communities.) Is it easy to find work inside these communities or do most people go elsewhere?

Thanks for any advice you may have. I have been doing quite a bit of online research but I feel like talking to people who actually live in a place is so much more valuable.
 

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It's so amazing that your family is so connected-- very very cool. I live on the Dover side of Durham, so I don't know Exeter that well other than the coffee places, and the Chocolaterie
But for what it's worth, here are my thoughts...

If you are to move to NH, the Seacoast area (Exeter/Portsmouth/Durham etc) is one of the more liberal places to be. That said, most of New England in fairly conservative. If you're looking for the LBGT community,it's absolutely here and strong...but you have to look. As you probably know, volunteering is a great way to get in the loop, and we have a super United Way that can hook you up. UNH is another great resource. Diversity. Hmmm....what's that?
Even with UNH (in Durham) the area is overwhelmingly vanilla. Exeter's only about 45 minutes from Boston though, so diversity, the arts, and all the fun stuff IS available.

The transportation issue... I will try not to rant.
The train does run right through Exeter to Boston and the ride is beautiful-- but it's expensive. We have friends who commute and their companies defray some of the cost. That's really it for public transport. The COAST bus route is lacking. We're a 1 car family, and my husband rides his bike to work... we get lots of questions and incredulous shaking of heads. Many many people live in the Exeter area and commute to Boston though-- it's very doable. You'll need at least one car.

I feel like we do have some amazing artists around. Portsmouth/Portland/Boston pull some awesome people to this area as a whole. We have the Seacoast Rep and Music Hall in Portsmouth. There are a few artists colonies around-- in Portsmouth, and also Rollinsford, (in the amazing old Mill) and a community is slowly starting in Dover at One Washington. Carrie Tyler who is a co-owner of Dover Yoga and Tricycle Dance Company might be a good person to contact. www.doveryoga.com She also runs a Burlesque Dance Show which I believe has a good Lesbian presence.

In the immediate area, for work, A Safe Place, Seacoast Response, SASS, and the Feminist Health Center are good places to start. With the economy, jobs are tight. Again The United Way of the Greater Seacoast may be helpful.

I hope I'm being fair. If anyone else reads this and has a different take on something, please call me on it. This area has some excellent perks you didn't ask about, like local food. We have an active community of small farmers. Beauty. New England is gorgeous, even if you're not necessarily an outdoorsy person. Respect for trail-blazers. If you can't find what you want here, you can always try to create it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, this is awesome information! One of the first things I did during my research was to go to yelp and check out all the businesses around the areas, just to make sure I could get my seitan and other vegetarian foods so I feel very confident and optimistic regarding my dietary needs! The rest of my crew eats meat, so I think they are covered as well.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I am alright with the lack of diversity regarding ethnicities. My daughter will have spent her first 11 years in an incredibly diverse environment and I feel like NH has alot of incredible things to offer that we just don't have access to here in Chicago.

My husband is Colombian and his name is very "ethnic" (for lack of a better word,) and we worry if we would experience discrimination based on this. Anyone want to comment on what they think about this? We have experienced discrimination here such as him calling regarding an apt. rental and them telling him it is not available, me calling on the same rental after and the person offering to set up a showing, or the renter asking him about his last five years of job history before even telling him details about the place.

DD's dad and his fiance are in Exeter as we speak, so far they say it is like a little paradise and they are feeling really optimistic about the job prospect, we shall see what happens.

Do mamas from MDC ever get together? Or are there some good alternative-minded mom's groups? Maybe I would try to start one if not!
 

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Oh man--I'm sorry you've encountered such short-sighted people. Discrimination sucks, but unfortunately it's everywhere. I'd like to think that this area is more tolerant... but I don't know. The seacoast region is generally pretty open.

LLL is active here-- Exeter has a group... I go to LLL Dover and I love all those mamas! Blue Moon (the natural food store) is a great place to meet like-minded folks. They host neat events. I don't know of any mdc members getting together... but that would be cool. If you end up out here, let me know!
 

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I figured I would post on this thread and also post a similar response on another thread that is asking about the same questions.

I live in Kingston, which is next to Exeter. I LOVE the area. A LOT. I don't think we could live with one car. That said DH and I both work and can't commute together, although we both commute closer to Boston (different work scheduales). There is a train from Exeter to Boston, although it is expensive (the Downeaster). You can commute to Haverhill and pick up the commuter rail, or take the bus from Newburyport, both are cheaper. Exeter does have an art community, although I think it is smallish. There is very little diversity here, in my opinion. I grew up a town away and we had three black kids in school, none in my grade and yet everyone knew their names
And all the asian kids were adopted
Thats just how it was. I don't think it has changed drastically either in the last 10yrs. That said, I don't think it would be uncomfortable living here, but then again I am as white as they come so I don't think I would really know. I wouldn't have a problem with some diversity!

I would say look into Newburyport, Massachusetts. Based on your preferences that you described. I like Kingston because I want a big yard with land. If I wanted more 'community' I would definately move to Newburyport. They have a big arts community, many theater groups (The Firehouse Center for the performing arts, The Screening Room, Theater in the Open @ Maudslay Park), they have an organic food store - The Natural Grocer http://www.thenaturalgrocer.net/contact.htm and a really nice down town. In Newburyport I think you could get away with one car. They also have great resturants and you CAN find housing in your price range. I have a friend who found a nice half a house, within walking distance of town center, three bedrooms and pays about $1200. So it IS possible, just a matter of timing and effort
Newburyport is also about 1/2hr from Exeter (Not far for driving standards around here)

If you have any questions I didn't answer, feel free to ask away.
 
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