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Occasional Contributor
We want to move to.... someplace in the United States where we will find it easy to go fishing and kayaking, we can hike mountain trails, we can swim in lakes, there are four seasons, summer heat rarely goes over 95, blue skies are just a little more common than overcast/rainy, trees and woods and preserved wild areas are abundant, plenty of opportunities exist for hunting deer/turkey/waterfowl, property taxes are not too outrageous, there's enough land we can buy 7- 20 usable wooded acres, population growth is relatively slow, population density is moderate - spaced between the kinda crowded cities and the kinda sparse country, delineations between urban and rural are clear/pronounced, towns and small cities have unique characteristics, crime rates are lower than natl avg, small business does well - strictly confined to zones away from private property, if big box stores are present it's in moderation, there are places nearby for continuing education, hospitals are well-rated, there are plenty of physicians, there are plenty of interesting day trip destinations, museums and symphony halls are within an hour's drive, a coastline is reachable within two hours, an international airport is within about three hours' drive, several grocery store chains operate in friendly competition, commercial farming is most often organic, natural disasters don't include tornadoes, AND... a person approaching middle age who is well-versed in executive level project management + database administration + software systems + information technology would have at least several avenues of opportunity. We ALSO would really like the area we next choose to line in to have a population that generally values community harmony + ecological preservation + looking to the future instead of demonstrating a selfish, self-serving, immediate gratification mindset. We're looking for civility.   :-)

If you read my last post, you'll know one reason my husband and I want to move. We feel squeezed on all sides by "progress" and "development" that hinders our own progress through life and destroys what we have enjoyed about this area. When we move I'll say, Good riddance to the illogically sprawling urbanity that carelessly knocks down majestic tall woods with ugly flat pavement and gaudy shopping and housing complexes. Adios to the long, extraordinarily hot and humid summers, too!

Being a military brat, I've lived in: northern VA (so lovely and so many great places within a day's drive but soooo crowded), El Paso (nice to drive thru but uck to stay), Sierra Vista (super place, I'm probably going to retire there and still like to visit for at least a week at a time), Salisbury (scenic and full of pear trees with shoreline everywhere but so humid and isolated), Pensacola (amazing beaches also amazing rain storms and hurricanes), and Los Alamos (majestic mountains surrounded by desert terrain and famous for deep snows). Spent a few days or more in: Keene New Hampshire (it was fall and I greatly admired area but wondered about employers), Ocean City Maryland (a nice enough spring break trip), Paducah Kentucky (so many tobacco farms there, geez), Mountain Home Arkansas (enjoyable place for camping tho overall rustic and pretty far from niceties of art and music), Albuquerque New Mexico (enjoy visiting the Desert Southwest from time to time), Napa Valley (tremendously beautiful up and down that coast and as pricey as it is attractive), Portland Oregon (such a green city with so many trails but also unfortunately so many unfortunates; I wonder what the countryside is like surrounding it and to the south), 

I'm aware of the usefulness, and limits, of city-data.com and I have tried search engines like findyourspot.com and I scan magazines for "best of..." and "top places to..." articles. I'm figuring USAA members have seen as much or more of the USA as I have and can offer insights. I welcome all your comments. And thanks for reading this far!   :-)

11 REPLIES

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I have a lot of the same concerns and likes that you do and I have found Montana has a lot if not all of what you're looking for. Give it a check out.. Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Helena, Great Falls, Kalispell, Red Lodge. So many places and things to do. Although for settling down, if you like the hiking and rivers and mountains, I would suggest Missoula or Kalispell. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at writrsblock@gmail.com..

Good luck :)
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Jullie, thank you for the suggestion. I hadn't considered Montana before it. Please write more about places and things to do. Would I have to learn to ski and drive a snowmobile to get around? :-)
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It's a world away from the world I say.. Ha ha ha you don't need skis or snowmobiles to get around.. Unless you're into that cross country type of travel.. Ha ha.. Winter is ski'ing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, sledding, hunting, fishing, seasonal activities, shopping, movies, snow hiking.. All kinds of things.. In the summer is fishing, camping, mountain exploring, glacier park, river rafting, river floating, bbq's, swimming holes, biking, visiting animal dens like baby wolves and bears.. You see wildlife everywhere.. Deer, elk, bears... The scenery is literally like something out of national geographic.. My backyard is the mountains and I can't imagine living anywhere else.. The people are friendly.. It's a throwback to traditional values and ladies are ladies and the men are cowboy gentlemen.. Family driven and oriented.. No hustle and bustle of the big city.. Nights are quiet, skies are lit with millions of stars.. This is definitely a place for people looking to relax and live a fun life without the crowds and noise of major cities.. Montana had mountainous cities, flat plain cities, baren desert like towns, ranch farming towns.. It depends on what you like.. I hope this helps.. Although I will sy one thing.. Summers rarely get above 90* except for maybe a couple days here or there.. Winters can be rough or mild.. Bet advice: get a 4X4 truck or all wheel drive car.. Especially if you plan on exploring the mountains, mud or snow.. Air so clean you can't help but drink it up everytime you take a breath.. I can direct you to the cities that fit your needs if you just let me know what you want in a city/town...
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Ignore typos.. My phone is being derpy..
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Also.. The four seasons here are very noticeable and the lakes here are phenomenal.. Not to mention more vets retire here collectively than anywhere else.. You have civil and kind people here but you also have retired, reserve and active duty here which lends to a huge understanding of military life and everything that goes with transitioning from military to civilian life.. Without the overcrowding, in your face, pushiness that sometimes comes with bigger cities or overcrowded populations...
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You can't beat the Pacific Northwest for everything you are looking for.
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I didn't read other responses so hopefully this isn't a repeat.... I grew up in the northwest and currently live in Colorado. Like you, we have been around the whole U.S.! I would suggest looking at Northern Idaho... Coeur d'alene, Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry. Bend, Oregon is another nice place.
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The picturesque descriptions of life and land west of the Rockies is motivating! My husband hasn't seen theses posts yet and I haven't read to him more than the suggestion we move to Missoula. He has said a few times recently the desire to be near a coastline is perhaps his top desire. I don't mind being near the ocean but prefer to make it a day trip instead of dealing with saltwater air all the time. I'm thinking of conditions near Galveston. Maybe the Oregon or Northeast coastline is different? I told my husband about Missoula because my sister is making plans to leave that city! She has been there five years, says she's trapped by snow November to March, says nobody will visit and she can't go because it's so far from a big airport. She complains the population isn't wealthy enough to buy the herbal remedies her business sells. None of her complaints seem like deterrents to me; I loved the area during visits; my husband's CV should put him in demand there, I think. I even have a few marketable skills Montana employers would want, lol! Keep the comments coming, pleaseM I'm ready to plan scouting trips!
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If you're going to scout cities.. I would recommend Missoula and Kalispell.. Both in beautiful mountainous regions and only a day drive to the Oregon coast...