Author Topic: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?  (Read 5654 times)

Conjou

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Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« on: November 16, 2015, 06:20:24 PM »
I found the forum link discussing the virtues of various places in the PNW, so I am really looking for insight on Vermont and Colorado or other states to consider as I think through my options. My situation and desires are as follows:

Credential requirements for job are changing such that I will be cut loose from my job at the end of spring 2017. This is okay since I am well practiced in the virtues of mustachianism and dirtbagging. Not exactly where I hoped to be financially, but I will cobble things together and be just fine. I currently live in North Dakota and now that I can move, I am looking for a place to thrive, mostly in terms of living simply and to be more often than not outside. I love trail running, mountain and gravel biking, hiking and backpacking, and climbing. I love sunshine and dirt. I want to be where people like to play outside, where I can have lots of friends who also enjoy outside activities, but not in a place where that means paying for passes or having to drive. I want a break from conservative politics and religion--would like left of purple or independent vibe (again, just worn out from ND). As far as COL, I am not going to be able to swing Boulder unless someone wants a tiny house in their backyard with me doing their gardening for them, ala RobGreenfield. ;). I mostly love the western states for playing but haven't been to Vermont or Maine--don't know if I'd fit in, be carried away by black flies, or what. I thought the PNW discussion was really helpful and was hoping others on the site could suggest places in CO or VT or other states that might be worth checking out. I will likely spent a year or so roving around these suggestions once I am cut loose from the job. Sorry to those of you from the southeast that no doubt love your places, but I just wouldn't survive the humidity. ND can be ridiculously humid enough for me. I could see myself buying a piece of land for an off grid tiny house before buying a regular house again. Probably enough to go on for now. Thanks in advance for weighing in with your perspective!

spokey doke

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, 06:40:38 PM »
Vermont is really cool in many ways, with lots of progressive politics and culture, and outdoors action...but it is not that sunny, and it has an real east coast vibe to it, with tons of NYers vacationing there.  If you love the mountain west, VT is a neat place to visit, but it might be a real adjustment to live there.

I don't recommend the skiing there either.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 06:42:34 PM by spokey doke »

FreedomInc

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 10:03:24 PM »
PNW is not sunny at all. One of the least sunny places in the US.

Colorado, on the other hand, is plenty sunny. From your descriptions I think Colorado would be the best fit.

windypig

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 10:12:43 PM »
Have you considered Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe, Taos area? I think you might quite like it.

Lnspilot

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 04:34:20 AM »
As a native Vermonter I'm a little biased. I love Vermont. I lived there for my first 22 years before moving for my job.

"I love trail running, mountain and gravel biking, hiking and backpacking, and climbing. I love sunshine and dirt. I want to be where people like to play outside, where I can have lots of friends who also enjoy outside activities, but not in a place where that means paying for passes or having to drive."

There is most if not all of this in the greater Burlington area, but you will need to occasionally drive to get the best of it, so it may not be precisely what you're looking for. It's not the sun-shiniest state out there, but it rarely left me just desperate for a sunny day. They come and go like anywhere else.

I have to disagree with Spokey Doke. I snowboarded for ten years straight there. There isn't always the fluffiest, driest snow, but the technical terrain makes up for it every time. If you are a strong skier/snowboarder you can conquer technical woods runs all day while the rest of the folks push off frozen granular of the main trails.

My favorites:

Green River Reservoir is epic. http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/grriver.htm , but it's an hour drive from Burlington.

Hiking Mt. Mansfield is about 35 minutes drive. http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/underhill.htm

Other cool things:

Mountain bike trails scattered across the state: https://vmba.org/statewide-trails-map

The Long Trail for hiking and backpacking: http://www.greenmountainclub.org

If you like beer, there are incredible microbreweries (like most states nowadays) all around. Cider is really kicking off, too. http://www.citizencider.com

Burlington is the biggest city in Vermont, but is still very small with around 50,000 people (see aerial photo taken March 2015).

If you are interested a Tiny House there, get in touch with Ethan Waldman http://www.thetinyhouse.net . He's got a great video on YouTube showing off his place https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGMk5bYpHkg .


So yes, Vermont is definitely worth checking out!

Dee18

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 06:39:04 AM »
Another vote for Vermont.  I work there in the summer, in central Vermont,  but have visited a lot other times.  If I retire in that area, I might choose to live in NH because I will have a pension and Vermont would tax the  heck out of it.  But then, that seems pretty fair since the taxes are what pay for such a nice state.

Bearded Man

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 08:09:47 AM »
Depends on where in the PNW. Idaho is cheap most everywhere, safe, low crime. Outdoor recreation galore.

Oregon and Washington are expensive in the western side of the mountains. 2 hours away from the big cities drops your cost of living drastically.

It's gray and cloudy here most of the year, but not really cold.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 10:04:13 AM »
Denver and Colorado in general is no longer affordable. The secret is out. I would have recommended Colorado about 5 years ago, but no longer.

I like the Idaho recommendation. I interviewed for a job in Idaho that was about 2 hours away from Jackson Hole, WY. Maybe something a little closer to a ski resort, but still on the Idaho side would be cool.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 10:10:56 AM »
Have you considered Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe, Taos area? I think you might quite like it.

I'll actually second this one. Went through recently... I back-country camped outside of Cuba, NM at 10,000ft. One of the most beautiful places I've been in a long time. Very friendly to dirtbaggers too =) A little pizza shop in Santa Fe let me wash out some clothes in their bathroom (I asked first) and gave me a free local kombucha with my pizza. Neat folks.

PNW being sunny vs not depends on which side of the cascades you're on, TBH.

eostache

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2015, 03:29:10 PM »
Western Colorado: Grand Junction. Ticks most of your boxes for an outdoorsy lifestyle. High desert climate. Mostly sunny and mild most of the year. Not too hot, not too cold. Utah is close by 25 miles away. It's a bit over run with conservatives though.

Conjou

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 03:35:29 PM »
Thank you to everyone that's replied so far! I know that a lot of people are kind of sick of the "place to live" question, so just know I appreciate the variety of perspectives offered so far. I am happy to throw northern NM into the mix and Bracken_Joy thanks for the dirtbag scoop on Cuba and lnspilot for the links and pics of VT. Just lots of good info coming through--thanks so much and I hope others will continue to weigh in. Is CO really just all bought up? Eostache, is the conservative thing true of most of western CO, do you know? Anyone out there have thoughts on Maine? Any areas other than Burlington fit the bill in VT? I am not a skier--well, I can do cross-country--so slope time in winter isn't high on my list of musts. Trail running, open and active cultural vibe, and non-ritzy are definitely going to appeal more. I had a really great time in Moscow, ID--cool town, people, shout out to Rolling Hills Bike Shop--for several weeks last summer but the politics, religion, and flavor of ID is too similar to ND for me, at least that's what I have gathered, even from the folks I met in Moscow. Anyway, please keep the insight coming and thanks again to the contributors thus far!

pdxvandal

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2015, 10:37:31 PM »
I lived in Moscow for 6 years and really enjoy it. As far as politics, it's easily one of the more "blue" areas in Idaho. In fact, it's located in one of two Idaho counties that voted for Obama in 2008. Really friendly people and a university town with some culture and a nice downtown. Four seasons and some cold winters, not as much sunshine as southern Idaho or Colorado. Really miss it sometimes. Glad you enjoyed it!

I really like Vermont and Maine, but cost of living and taxes will be higher than Idaho. And the weather much colder. If you want to check out New England more, visit Montpelier or Stowe in Vermont. In Maine, I really like Portland and the southern coast. Haven't seen more of the mountainous ("hilly") areas.

Other places you can consider: Prescott, Arizona or Wenatchee, Washington.

Overall, the PNW > New England.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2015, 08:13:46 AM »
I lived in Moscow for 6 years and really enjoy it. As far as politics, it's easily one of the more "blue" areas in Idaho. In fact, it's located in one of two Idaho counties that voted for Obama in 2008. Really friendly people and a university town with some culture and a nice downtown. Four seasons and some cold winters, not as much sunshine as southern Idaho or Colorado. Really miss it sometimes. Glad you enjoyed it!

I really like Vermont and Maine, but cost of living and taxes will be higher than Idaho. And the weather much colder. If you want to check out New England more, visit Montpelier or Stowe in Vermont. In Maine, I really like Portland and the southern coast. Haven't seen more of the mountainous ("hilly") areas.

Other places you can consider: Prescott, Arizona or Wenatchee, Washington.

Overall, the PNW > New England.

Or Flagstaff AZ! It is Bend/Sister's sister city. Such similar climates. Same trees.

junglejim83

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2015, 11:52:07 AM »
My wife and I are weighing a lot of the same places.  My initial research & visits left me with the thoughts below.  We are slightly more geared toward skiing, hiking/mountaineering than climbing but I think those interests lead us to the same places.  I grew up and live in NJ but lived in SF for a few years so my perspective on what is an reasonable cost of living is a bit off balance.

As a general comment on climate, if you are comfortable with the Dakota winter temps you will be fine in New England or the Northern Rockies.  If that is too 'cold' then then OR, WA, CO and NM might be better.  The winters are going to be more grey in the Northeast and PNW (West of the cascades though).   On a hole, the mountains of the Northeast would probably be more comparable to the Black Hills.  They don't have the grandeur of the Rockies or the Sierra but are still great for an ass kicking and a beautiful view.

For those of you who have lived in ID, MT, WY, NM and AZ (Flagstaff or Sedona area), how do they compare to the other places discussed, economically and politically?  And everyone, please correct my thoughts below if I am mistaken.

VT- I have spent a ton of time in Southern VT, and like it down there. Manchester Vt would be the biggest town down south. Northern VT is beautiful. I think if I were going to live there full time it would have to be near Burlington.  It is a really cool fun town. It is expensive-ish in the town itself, but I think outside of town is fairly affordable.  There is not a ton of work in VT though and their taxes are higher than NH and ME (i think). 

NH- No income tax or sales tax.  A lot more work opportunity down south towards Boston and Portmouth, especially compared to Vermont but that takes you a little farther from the mountains.  I haven't spent as much time there as vermont. If you head up to the White Mountains you can get a legitimate, above the tree-line big mountain experience on Mount Washington.  Tuckerman's Ravine in the early spring is a really cool experience even if you don't ski it (epic if you do).

ME- Portland is another really cool town, like Burlington, but 50% larger with more of a small city feel. I think with the relative proximately to Boston/Portsmouth and its tourism there is a little more work than might be found in VT.  I am not sure on the proximity to climbing.  Mount Washington is 2 hrs away over the NH border and then there are other mountains north of Portland --- More of a coastal New England vibe than mountain town. Awesome Beer.

What about upstate NY?  In the catskills you have the Gunks which are apparently world class climbing, Kingston, New Paltz and Poughkeepsie have some cool stuff going on and then there are Adirondack High Peaks around Lake Placid if you look further north.  The further from NYC, NJ, CT you get the cheaper things it will be but I am not sure on the employment situations in those areas...

CO - Lots of upside for work b/c it is growing quickly. But it is going to be more costly than the other options (beyond NY) if you are anywhere near Denver.  It has all the Rocky mountain awesomeness though.

OR - Portland is like Austin TX meets Burlington VT (in my mind) and is a really cool city.  The town Hood River and the Columbia river gorge are amazing.   If you are concerned about the grey winters, look east of the cascades.  Bend is high desert (literally) and 30 min from Smith Rock SP which is right there with the Gunks, Squamish and Yosemite in the climbing world from what I gather.  Tons of awesome beer. It sounds like there are lots of other cool places throughout the state, but I can't speak to them.

WA - Sounds like a lot of what is awesome about OR, but with more work opportunity?

ID, WY, MT - Thoughts anyone? 

UT -  If you focus your life around Park City, the politics won't feel so conservative.  I have a few not-so-conservative minded friends that live there and love it.  In addition the state seems to have a fairly stable/healthy economy so that could help with job prospects.

NM - Northern NM seems like it could be a hidden gem. Can anyone offer more color here?

NV - Lake Tahoe straddles the CA/NV border and has some good things going on.   Reno and Nevada city are definitely bigger towns and Tahoe remains busy due to the NorCal population.  In this area, you get a lot of what is great about the Sierra but you can live on the NV side where they have no income tax --- right there with NH and WA...  Can anyone speak to the culture on the NV side of the border?

I hope this keeps the convo going.  I am really interested to hear what everyone has to say as well.


« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:51:32 PM by junglejim83 »

bridget

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2015, 05:21:26 PM »
UT -  If you focus your life around Park City, the politics won't feel so conservative.  I have a few not-so-conservative minded friends that live there and love it.  In addition the state seems to have a fairly stable/healthy economy so that could help with job prospects.

As a native of Salt Lake City, I heartily recommend Utah. Park City is crazy expensive, and basically a fake resort town -- it's turned into a constructed pretend-city that is put up to look quaint for tourists. But Salt Lake City proper is awesome. It's much less expensive than PC, and not hugely conservative or even predominately LDS (this changes a lot once you get into the 'burbs). If you live in the Liberty Park, Avenues, Downtown, Millcreek, etc. neighborhoods you will be minutes away from world-class trail running, hiking, mountain biking, etc. Skiing and snowboarding is amazing, if you're into that (including cross-country). If you drive just a couple of hours into the Uinta mountain range, you can get even more wildlife and solitude. Southern Utah's amazing national parks are only 4-5 hours away, if you want to beat the cold for a long weekend in February. Downtown SLC has a high-ish rents, but there are legitimate walkable neighborhoods. I can jog to a hiking trail from my apartment building in less than 10 minutes - no car required. We have a small but burgeoning microbrewing and distilling scene, and thriving art and cultural events. We get lots and lots of sunny days (even in the dead of winter).

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2015, 05:29:35 PM »
We have a small but burgeoning microbrewing and distilling scene, and thriving art and cultural events.

I thought that was illegal there?

bridget

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2015, 05:37:56 PM »
We have a small but burgeoning microbrewing and distilling scene, and thriving art and cultural events.

I thought that was illegal there?

It's illegal to make your *own* liquor, but it is legal to homebrew. I was referring to small local business (Epic, High West, etc.) that make great stuff. We obviously don't have the quantity that our neighboring Denver does, but it's coming into its own. 

Unless your joke is that alcohol is illegal in Utah :) In that case, joke understood, but it's really not as bad as one might think. There are a few silly laws floating around, but most of them have to do with rules for bars and restaurants, which won't matter as much to a mustachian as others. 

spokey doke

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2015, 07:25:00 AM »
UT -  If you focus your life around Park City, the politics won't feel so conservative.  I have a few not-so-conservative minded friends that live there and love it.  In addition the state seems to have a fairly stable/healthy economy so that could help with job prospects.

As a native of Salt Lake City, I heartily recommend Utah. Park City is crazy expensive, and basically a fake resort town -- it's turned into a constructed pretend-city that is put up to look quaint for tourists. But Salt Lake City proper is awesome. It's much less expensive than PC, and not hugely conservative or even predominately LDS (this changes a lot once you get into the 'burbs). If you live in the Liberty Park, Avenues, Downtown, Millcreek, etc. neighborhoods you will be minutes away from world-class trail running, hiking, mountain biking, etc. Skiing and snowboarding is amazing, if you're into that (including cross-country). If you drive just a couple of hours into the Uinta mountain range, you can get even more wildlife and solitude. Southern Utah's amazing national parks are only 4-5 hours away, if you want to beat the cold for a long weekend in February. Downtown SLC has a high-ish rents, but there are legitimate walkable neighborhoods. I can jog to a hiking trail from my apartment building in less than 10 minutes - no car required. We have a small but burgeoning microbrewing and distilling scene, and thriving art and cultural events. We get lots and lots of sunny days (even in the dead of winter).

I really like SLC.  Lived there and go there often still...but I would never live there again...the air quality is horrible on too many days of the year (and its just too crowded).  Likewise with skiing (and other outdoor rec activities) - great resorts, great snow, great terrain, beautiful mountains...too many people.  On a powder day everything is skied off in no time.  For a similar climate, a progressive city in a conservative state, with great recreation, I would choose Boise.  Not nearly as good on the skiing front, but incredible trail system and also amazing rivers in the area.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 07:27:49 AM by spokey doke »

spokey doke

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Re: Vermont, Colorado, PNW, some other state?
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2015, 07:36:26 AM »
My wife and I are weighing a lot of the same places.  My initial research & visits left me with the thoughts below.  We are slightly more geared toward skiing, hiking/mountaineering than climbing but I think those interests lead us to the same places.  I grew up and live in NJ but lived in SF for a few years so my perspective on what is an reasonable cost of living is a bit off balance.

As a general comment on climate, if you are comfortable with the Dakota winter temps you will be fine in New England or the Northern Rockies.  If that is too 'cold' then then OR, WA, CO and NM might be better.  The winters are going to be more grey in the Northeast and PNW (West of the cascades though).   On a hole, the mountains of the Northeast would probably be more comparable to the Black Hills.  They don't have the grandeur of the Rockies or the Sierra but are still great for an ass kicking and a beautiful view.

For those of you who have lived in ID, MT, WY, NM and AZ (Flagstaff or Sedona area), how do they compare to the other places discussed, economically and politically?  And everyone, please correct my thoughts below if I am mistaken.

VT- I have spent a ton of time in Southern VT, and like it down there. Manchester Vt would be the biggest town down south. Northern VT is beautiful. I think if I were going to live there full time it would have to be near Burlington.  It is a really cool fun town. It is expensive-ish in the town itself, but I think outside of town is fairly affordable.  There is not a ton of work in VT though and their taxes are higher than NH and ME (i think). 

NH- No income tax or sales tax.  A lot more work opportunity down south towards Boston and Portmouth, especially compared to Vermont but that takes you a little farther from the mountains.  I haven't spent as much time there as vermont. If you head up to the White Mountains you can get a legitimate, above the tree-line big mountain experience on Mount Washington.  Tuckerman's Ravine in the early spring is a really cool experience even if you don't ski it (epic if you do).

ME- Portland is another really cool town, like Burlington, but 50% larger with more of a small city feel. I think with the relative proximately to Boston/Portsmouth and its tourism there is a little more work than might be found in VT.  I am not sure on the proximity to climbing.  Mount Washington is 2 hrs away over the NH border and then there are other mountains north of Portland --- More of a coastal New England vibe than mountain town. Awesome Beer.

What about upstate NY?  In the catskills you have the Gunks which are apparently world class climbing, Kingston, New Paltz and Poughkeepsie have some cool stuff going on and then there are Adirondack High Peaks around Lake Placid if you look further north.  The further from NYC, NJ, CT you get the cheaper things it will be but I am not sure on the employment situations in those areas...

CO - Lots of upside for work b/c it is growing quickly. But it is going to be more costly than the other options (beyond NY) if you are anywhere near Denver.  It has all the Rocky mountain awesomeness though.

OR - Portland is like Austin TX meets Burlington VT (in my mind) and is a really cool city.  The town Hood River and the Columbia river gorge are amazing.   If you are concerned about the grey winters, look east of the cascades.  Bend is high desert (literally) and 30 min from Smith Rock SP which is right there with the Gunks, Squamish and Yosemite in the climbing world from what I gather.  Tons of awesome beer. It sounds like there are lots of other cool places throughout the state, but I can't speak to them.

WA - Sounds like a lot of what is awesome about OR, but with more work opportunity?

ID, WY, MT - Thoughts anyone? 

UT -  If you focus your life around Park City, the politics won't feel so conservative.  I have a few not-so-conservative minded friends that live there and love it.  In addition the state seems to have a fairly stable/healthy economy so that could help with job prospects.

NM - Northern NM seems like it could be a hidden gem. Can anyone offer more color here?

NV - Lake Tahoe straddles the CA/NV border and has some good things going on.   Reno and Nevada city are definitely bigger towns and Tahoe remains busy due to the NorCal population.  In this area, you get a lot of what is great about the Sierra but you can live on the NV side where they have no income tax --- right there with NH and WA...  Can anyone speak to the culture on the NV side of the border?

I hope this keeps the convo going.  I am really interested to hear what everyone has to say as well.

Idaho?  Totally mixed bag.  Proportionally more public lands with amazing mountains than anywhere in the lower 48.  Low population so there are lots of places that are not overrun.  A few really cool towns with strong progressive streaks (Boise, Ketchum, Sandpoint).  But overall, the politics are maddening for liberals (except for feeling special as you hang out with the small enclave of other liberals around you, feeling marginalized and bonding over that fact).  And because of the politics, and the culture that is associated, many things are not what they are like elsewhere.  Cows and ATV's get endless support, roads and schools, not so much.  Too much hate.  I prefer the feel of Montana.

But I love the skiing, biking, hiking, and scenery.  Idaho is also a major river sports destination, with tons of whitewater.

Tax friendly place too.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 07:55:58 AM by spokey doke »