Author Topic: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?  (Read 4235 times)

Simple Abundant Living

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I could use some advice. My DH has been offered a job located in the Southeast. He would be managing a sales team for a large tech company and we could pick where we lived, within some parameters. It could be in southern VA, NC, SC, FL, or GA. It would be helpful to be in a mid-large city to cut down on his travel.

Just for background, we are currently living in UT, making good money and near family.  DH has a low stress job 5 miles from our house and he's home every night. We love UT 3 seasons out of the year- winter is something we just tolerate. However; we love the mountains, hiking, biking, and the outdoor lifestyle. We have four kids still home and school quality is important. Our kids love their schools here and have good friends, so a move isn't an easy thought for them. So the reasons to go are 1) to advance DH's career and 2) possibility of a lot more money 3) adventure- we always like to think we are still up for it! DH considers he has about 15 more years of work (he's not into FIRE, so this is how long he wants to work). He is ambitious, but puts family happiness and time with family above his career goals. That being said, he couldn't just keep doing what he's doing for 15 years and be happy about it.

Possible cities:
-Raleigh/Durham, NC
-Jacksonville, Orlando, ?...FL
-Atlanta may make sense from a travel perspective, but I'm kind of meh about it.
-Would Richmond, VA be considered "southern VA"?
-Anywhere else we should consider?

I think if I narrowed into a certain city, I could really decide if this is a good idea for us. My favorite city in the South that I've been to is Charleston, SC. I love the history, architecture, vibe, beaches. Unfortunately, it's not a good pick for this job because every thing would have to be a commute. It's not out of the question, it would just be harder to justify. Does anyone have any advice about these cities? Are we nuts to consider leaving our comfort zone? Thanks in advance for your advice!


catdoc1

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 02:35:26 AM »
I feel your pain, but considering how important family is to you, I'd truly give this a good squinty-eyed look. We moved to the West when we didn't have children, young and adventurous professionals without no intention of starting a family, 2400 miles away from home. Living so far away was fun and adventurous, until we had kids. Now we own a business (not easy to walk away from), and I truly regret being so far from family. We've missed a lot - holidays, birthdays, showers, picnics - and now that our mothers are in their mid-70s and not doing well, we're feeling that absence even more. Factor in the cost of air travel for your entire family in making your decision, because it's quite pricey and time consuming to fly home - pet sitter, airport parking, hotel, meals out, rental car, and plane tickets. Give it some real thought. Is there other opportunity for your husband in UT?

llabruce4

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 05:22:53 AM »
I have lived in coastal SC all my life ( basically Charleston for most of it) and I love it here.  Since that may not be the best option, but you like the history, architecture, and attitude of Charleston, Raleigh may be a good place to look.  It has really grown and like Charleston, most people who move there don't want to leave.  Plus it has a few more opportunities than Charleston has for work.

Dee18

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 05:38:17 AM »
I moved to the southeast years ago for a tenured professor position.  I still do not see myself as "Southern."  But I did not fully comprehend that a child raised in the South would be Southern, despite spending summers up north, etc.  Realize that if you move to the South and stay there 5 years or more, some of your children may feel that is where they belong.  Also, check airnow.gov for air pollution records before choosing a city.  Many of the Southeast cities have serious pollution more than 6 months a year. If you do decide to move, my vote would be for North Carolina.

ken

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 05:46:17 AM »
Our family with 4 children is adventurous too but this does not sound like the right opportunity. Your children are doing well in good schools and you enjoy the surroundings where you are. I have lived in several cities in the southeast including Charleston. It is an awesome city but as you said, less practical. Keep in mind it may be beautiful to visit but schools are not uniformly great.

If the relatively conservative culture of Utah is something you are ok with, you may find the more liberal leaning attitudes in the research triangle area don't fit as well for your family.

Maybe there are other adventures that you can grab onto that will be less disruptive to what you describe as a great family lifestyle. Good luck.


pbkmaine

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 05:54:19 AM »
If you decide to move to Florida, you will need to research schools carefully - there is quite a mix. The heat and humidity in summer also takes a while to get used to. We moved to an area north of Orlando six months ago and love it. Since you are from Utah, are you LDS? If you are, you might want to network through your church. There is nothing like a church network for good intel on great areas for relocation.

Rural

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 06:28:15 AM »
Also consider terrain. If you're used to mountains, you may not be comfortable on coastal plains or Piedmont. NC might be the best choice in that regard.


But I'm not sure I see the advantage to your family. Compare cost of living before you decide that "more money" is a factor.

SMCx3

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 07:09:09 AM »
I have grown up in the southeast, but have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit throughout the country experiencing different lifestyles.  To break this down not knowing your family here are some thoughts which hopefully help. Be confident with the flexibility being provided you will be able to find good schools, good people, and an enjoyable lifestyle based on what the southeast has to offer.

Number one decide if you and your family enjoy activities centered around hiking, biking, white water rafting, Fall Festivals, enjoying the change of seasons, bluegrass music, fried apple pies, wine country.  If this is the case you will definitely enjoy living North GA, NC, Eastern TN. 

Number two decide if your family would enjoy, the beach, surfing, boating, fresh water and deep sea fishing, tourist attractions, giving up the change of seasons for the most part, no more snow, are not bothered by high humidity 10 months of the year.  Florida is a very diverse state with so much culture.  It is a one of a kind lifestyle that no other state provides.  Orlando or Tampa are both great cities.  Not to big, but growing like crazy.  A ton going on, year round sports for the kids, work all week then kick your feet up at the beach for a family picnic on the weekends. If you enjoy the water. move to Florida.

A key decision considering the new job.

I currently live 45 minutes north of Atlanta.  I grew up in Florida and still have family living in central FL.  I never thought Atlanta would be my choice, but I absolutely love this area.  If your husband is going to be in and out of airports Atlanta is a great location because everything is a direct flight with Delta being based in Atlanta.  The city offers everything you could imagine including, Broadway Shows, fantastic food, nightlife, professional sports, great people, awesome medical, and schools.  The city is the center of the southeast.  With this being said, yes traffic is horrible.  You do get used to this after time, but it will be a major adjustment.  For my family living close to the mountains, but only a couple of hours to the beach, a great climate with change of seasons, this is a great location.

Here are the cities I would live in if Atlanta was not home today.  Charlotte is a great city!  Hip, great lifestyle, home of Nascar (you will understand if you live in Charlotte), nice airport, great size town.  Jacksonville, FL would be my choice if I moved back to Florida.  No state income tax, not as many toll roads, not as much humidity compared to Orlando, Tampa, Miami.  The beach is wonderful, but the water is not near as pretty if you lived further south. Jacksonville is like living in South Georgia, a little more of a small town feel being a medium size city.

If you decide on the mountain lifestyle also look into Chattanooga, Asheville, and Raleigh.  These cities are big enough to be hubbed in the southeast for work, but small on scale.  Each of these cities have great character, small town feel, and unique lifestyles.  People that live I theses towns always want to come back after they move elsewhere. Chatanooga is the old little town which is coming back to life.  Great downtown area, easy in and out airport, not to far from Atlanta for a day trip.  Asheville in the heart of the Smokies, great art scene, small town feel, plenty to do, but not as convenient in regards to work for your husband (location).  Raleigh, young, energetic, great schools, technology, provides a wonderful place to raise a family.

To close, you will experience a big change in your lifestyle.  You will not replace the big sky, huge mountains, western desert if you relocate.  You will enjoy what the southeast has to offer once you get settled! 

NICE!

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 07:31:36 AM »
I'm a world and US traveler since I was young (Dad's job and now my job) and I have some opinions on this. I'll give you a list of Southern cities I think would be amazing. I've spent time in all of these places (except Boone), including living in/near many:

- Raleigh, NC
- Boone, NC (you said you like mountains. Not the Rockies, obviously.)
- Knoxville, TN
- Savannah, GA
- Charleston, SC
- FL Panhandle (although consider this carefully, it is highly tourist in the Spring/Summer)
- Tampa, FL (Lots of military, retirees, tourists, and students. I do not consider this a "Southern" city.)
- Miami, FL (Not at all Southern, culturally. I find the summer heat there to be far more tolerable than the rest of FL/GA/SC/etc)
- Biloxi, MS (everyone laughs at me for this one, but I love it. Probably not preferred for families, though.)

If you MADE me reduce this list to just a few, I'd keep Raleigh, Savannah, and Charleston. All hold career opportunities for you in the event that you want to go back to work, particularly Raleigh and Charleston. However, many people forget that Savannah is a big port, industrial, and cultural center. It is also not cold in the winter and the summers are slightly milder due to coastal proximity. Raleigh has a ton of universities and research so your DH should be able to look at other options if he wants/needs.

Hopefully that helped.

MandalayVA

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 07:35:04 AM »
Richmond is roughly 70 miles north of the North Carolina border and is referred to as being in "south central Virginia."

You don't mention if you've always lived in the west.  If you have, moving to the southeast is going to be a BIG shock in terms of geography, weather and people.  It would be the same for someone moving from the southeast to the west who's always lived in the southeast.  It's one thing to visit, another thing entirely to live somewhere else.

With that being said, Richmond is a pretty cool place to live.  Lots of history, two hours to either the mountains, the beach or DC, good museums, excellent foodie scene, and a decent airport.  However, since you have a family I wouldn't suggest living in the actual city of Richmond as its public schools aren't that great.  Your best bet is to live in Chesterfield County, southwest of the city (we lived there before we moved into the city).  The public schools are excellent and the cost of living is low. 

As for other cities, Atlanta is just WAY too sprawling for my taste.  Charlotte is a good city, as is the area known as the Research Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill NC).  If forced to live in Florida I'd choose the Orlando area.     

 

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 03:34:10 PM »
Thanks for all the great thoughts and replies! Really, I appreciate it!

To understand my situation better, I thought I would just give a little more info. We are native to UT- but have lived in the Cincinnati area for about 7 years. So I do have a small understanding of humidity and living away from family. We loved it there and still have many friends there. My older kids still think of it as ďhomeĒ.

We are LDS, and as such, we have an instant community pretty much anywhere we might land. Instant friends, support, churchÖ itís a nice benefit and one that makes it easier to pick up and move. We are not as conservative as many in UT. Think more Harry Reid than Mitt Romney, LOL. ;) So a more liberal environment would be welcome to us.

Other concerns are that I have been preparing to go to PA school. There are more schools to choose from in the southeast than in UT (currently one that is accredited, one pending). On the other hand, it may be more difficult to go to school with my husband doing some overnight travel and my kids trying to settle in a new area. I could find a different career path to go on. Iím interested in a lot of things, but medicine has been my focus for the past 16 years (since my son was born). I donít HAVE to work financially, but I love learning and like helping people.

Leaving family would definitely be hard. Both our parents are in the mid-late 70ís, so we worry about that. There are plenty here that could take care of any issues that arise, but we enjoy being close (two hour drive) to them and having them in our kidís lives. When we moved back, I purposely moved back 3 miles away from my sister and 10 miles from my brother. The sad thing is, 9 years later, we donít do pretty much anything together outside of big family get-togethers like Thanksgiving or 4th of July. The sibling I do the most with lives 2 hours away, so we get together, but not often.

This offer comes right after another job that we were pursuing fell through. We were looking at a job in the UK, but the timeline with visas, etc. did not line up with when they needed the position filled. Everyone was excited about a foreign adventure, but thatís not going to happen now. My 16 year old ds says he only wants to move if it is to another country. ;) I donít know if thatís just the let-down talking.

Anyway, thanks for all the advice. Iím really studying it and taking it under consideration.

NICE!

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 11:43:49 PM »
I'll second the fact that Richmond isn't bad, but I'd put anything from my list on there above it.

I'll also add that since you are LDS I actually don't think you will have a huge cultural difference with Southerners. HOWEVER, many very conservative Christians are openly hostile to Mormons. I'm sure you're already aware of this, but since you've lived in Utah for awhile you've been sheltered to a certain degree. Luckily, as you said, one of the biggest strengths of LDS is the community support structure - it is very much like the early Christian Church 2k years ago in that respect.

Aside:
Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are pretty damn close from my viewpoint, if you actual look at their records and not their labels or rhetoric (and especially if you add Romney's add into the equation to fully paint Mitt's picture). Both are pretty center-right. Mitt was a big banker and seems out of touch, while Harry is a corrupt long-standing Senator with a fiefdom in Nevada for his family & chosen sons. He almost lost to a quite ridiculous nobody as sitting Majority Leader. That's pretty sad. I don't know if I'd actively prefer one over the other.

Our two party system really causes people to have strange views about people who are very close in reality (not saying this is you).

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2014, 08:53:42 AM »
We are really zeroing in on Raleigh, NC. It seems to have a lot going for it, lots of Universities (PA programs for me to apply for), quality of living, schools, moderate climate, LDS community and temple. Does anyone have any advice specific to this area? Thanks.

MandalayVA

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Re: From the Mountain West to the SouthEast. Should we move and where?!?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2014, 01:12:45 PM »
We are really zeroing in on Raleigh, NC. It seems to have a lot going for it, lots of Universities (PA programs for me to apply for), quality of living, schools, moderate climate, LDS community and temple. Does anyone have any advice specific to this area? Thanks.

Hope you're not scared of thunderstorms because you'll see some pretty intense ones in the spring.  Tornadoes are not uncommon, either, and you'll get the occasional whack from a hurricane.  Weather aside, it's a very nice city.  Mr. Mandalay and I considered Raleigh when we were looking to get out of Kentucky where we were living at the time.  Since we were poor, however, his dad had to help us move and one of his conditions for helping us was he wouldn't pay for us moving anywhere else other than Virginia (Mr. Mandalay is from Virginia Beach and most of his family is still there), which is how we ended up in Richmond.