Anyone moved to the country?

We have a house in the Smokey Mountains. It is paid for and used rarely. It is on an acre of land with a phenomenal view. We currently live in Tampa, FL with a mortgage, rising homeowners insurance and a 9 month old baby.

I am trying to convince my husband to moving to the mountain house for a year, to see how we like it. We could rent our house here, toss the furniture in storage, use a single truck to move our stuff. We could feasibly rent our house here for about $600 more than our mortgage payment which would easily pay for the storage unit, a lawn service, many of our expenses up there. Here we must make $2700 a month with all our expenses. Up there, our expenses would be maybe $1500.

The plusses:
A. Lower expenses
B. More room
C. Phenomenal view/yard/house

The minuses:
A. It gets cold, occasionally snows and is possible to be snowed in 1 or 2 times a year
B. It’s about 15 miles from a small town. Larger towns are about an hour or so away. Atlanta is 2 hours.
C. Job scarcity, I’m not sure what the job market up there is like, but it probably isn’t great. The pay is probably less too.

The Rub: Now, I have no desire to live “off grid” I like my conveniences and the house has power, a well, phone, etc. But the likelihood of getting high speed internet is probably pretty slim. My husband desires to BE the grid. He would be happy being one of the little pod people from the Matrix. The fact is, he is a city raised hermit. If he had his computer, internet, movies and cable, I’m not sure he would notice where we were. Me? I’m a country girl. I only live in this god forsaken town because of him. I hate the city. I hate neighbors. I hate traffic. I hate having to lock my doors. The house has always been a vacation house. So he’s never been there with all his “toys” and thinks that he will be bored like he has in the past. He never goes to restaraunts, goes to movies maybe twice a year. He rarely has friends over. He has never lived more than a mile from a convenience store, never more than 2 miles from a McDonalds.

I look at this as a risk free proposition. We could move there, if we like it, we could either sell our house here, or continue renting it and allow them to pay off our house. If we don’t, we pack our crap, don’t renew their lease and come back home. No harm, no foul.

I think we are in an extraordinarily fortunate situation. I guess what I am asking is : Has anyone of you moved to the country? How did you adapt from city life to country life? What suggestions could you give me to make it NOT sound like I would be throwing my husband out in the woods to shiver away the winter with the bears?

Born in Chicago, raised in the country, lived in Denver for about 15 years, now live waaaayyy up high in the mountains. Been here for 14 years. I hope to god I never have to move back to the city.

It really doesn’t get that cold does it? I deal with –20 f at times. It’s not that hard. Getting snowed in is fun. We get around 12 feet of snow a year and in all the time I’ve lived here I’ve only been snowed in twice. Get a good 4x4 with real snow tires on it and you’ll be fine.

How small? Does it have a grocery store? I also live about 15 miles from the nearest facilities. Not a big deal.

Same here. A connection through our phone line gets a whopping 9k. So, I went with a satalite dish. It’s a bit expensive, but works great for me. Get all our TV that way too, since there is no cable and we couldn’t receive anything via antena.

I agree. You can give it a test drive. I also think there are city people and country people. I do OK in the city, but much prefer the ‘country’ (or mountains in my case).

The job thing is the only thing I would worry about. I would check on it before you make a decision…your expenses won’t seem lower if you have no money coming in.

Other than that, it seems perfect. I love living in the country. Even the drive to town won’t seem bad, I am sure it’s scenic. If you can arrange to have some cash coming in, go for it.

I live 12 minutes to the nearest grocery store/gas station, etc. Not a big deal. You stop by on your way home. I have 14 acres and a 160 year old farm house, and I love it. I don’t lock my doors (but then, I never have. I leave the doberman in the house while I’m gone). Neighbors are generally friendly and helpful, but not intrusive. The job situation is the thing I’d worry about. You may need far less to live on, but you’ll still need an income, and you have to decide how that’s going to work before you make a decision.


It depends on the person.

Do you like to drive? If you don’t, country living might not be for you. I’ve lived a fair way away from local conveniences before, and I got very tired of things like a 45 minute roundtrip if you wanted to rent a movie, or forgot to get milk, or whatever.

If you or your husband is working out of the house, then take into account the commute. People tend not to think about commutes when you’re not in a city, but a 30 minute drive to work is a 30 minute drive to work. Once again, if you’re the type who doesn’t mind it, no big deal. For me, an hour in the car every day is my idea of hell.

Snow also depends on the person. Snow wouldn’t bother me in the least, but then again, I’ve spent most of my life in one of the snowiest areas of the US.

Don’t discount how isolated you are on a daily basis. A week in a cabin without city amenities is one thing - living there is another. Small things, like no Pizza/Chinese/whatever delivery, or not being able to get <insert mundane item here> without driving to Atlanta get old after a few months.

No high speed internet would be a breaker for me. I’ve often said the only reason I can live in a small town is the Internet. There’s just so much that’s not available - anything from browsing in a bookstore to talking to people with the same hobbies/interests. The internet provides enough of that for me. Without it, I’d feel really really isolated living in a small remote town, much less out in the middle of nowhere. And I’m hardly a city girl.

You didn’t buy the old Haney Place, did you, Mrs. Douglas?

We did something very much like you’re proposing. We rented out our Seattle area house and moved to the toolies of Wyoming , near Yellowstone Park. It was like living in Og’s country. I’ve never been in a more beautiful place and I’m glad we had the opportunity to live there for a while.

I’m also glad we didn’t sell our house, though. After about a year in Wyoming we wound up moving back. We felt too isolated – it was a 26 mile drive to anything – and the wind drove us f*cking bonkers.

YMMV, but it’s a good idea to leave your options open.

Auntbeast, I could have written that OP.

We have a small apartment in NYC that we’re paying peanuts for and a large cabin/small log home a little more than two hours away.

There’s a village 5 miles away with a library, pool, deli, fairgrounds, hardware store, so the necessities and an occasional diversion aren’t that far away. Big shopping is 20-30 minutes away.

We keep waffling about moving up there. My wife is like your husband: city-bred, hermit-ish, loves the convenience of living in the city. But the city can get to her, and we have kids now, so things are tight. There’s so much more room up at the cabin and the girls love it of course. Whenever we come close to moving we start missing the city already, though. I can go either way. At this point I’m probably going to be laid off at the end of the year, so we need to keep our place in the city because it’s a better place to find a job from. We’ll make a housing decision once the job situation gets settled (yeah, right).

Getting snowed in - that’s easy to plan for and it’s very nice, provided you have a plan B for when the power goes out. Thunderstorms and heavy downpours can be just as disruptive, if not more.

Jobs, could be a problem. It depends on what you guys do.

Internet connectivity - there’s always satellite. We have satellite TV with TIVO and XM and all the fixins. There’s a nice public radio station in the area. I could get satellite broadband but don’t want to pay for it unless I’m there full-time.

The kids - I have twins, so they play with each other. They’re going to be school age soon. The area school seems to be good, generally, but it’s small. I guess that can be good and bad.

All our friends are scattered to the four winds, so it’s not like we have a big social life in the city anymore.

Like I said before, my wife has been a city girl all her life, so this would be the biggest adjustment for her, especially doing everything by car. I worry about that, as she’s can drive, but she’s inexperienced. She’s also worried about finding enough kid stuff to do.

I’m going to look at this in a different light - I grew up on the farm and moved into the city when I was 18. Honestly, if I ever had a child, I’d raise it in the country. Not isolated country, but when you have a half a mile walk to the nearest houses on both sides kind of thing. I loved the freedom when I was little and the advantage of a smaller school. Also, the high school I went to for a while was a feeder school for all the rural schools. The quality of education there was high and it was always a good environment - country kids genuinely understand the value of work and being kind to each other. I never went through the hell of bullying quite as much as I hear other people have in the city. They opened up the high school to city kids as well because there were fewer rural kids, and I noticed the grades and attitudes of the rural kids were much better than those of the city kids. Unfortunately, the city kids took over, so I left.

Satellite is available in rural areas, as well as satellite internet as others have said. You might miss the close amenities, but the peace is worth it. I’m at an age where I want to go out and explore things, so the country isn’t for me anymore, but I’d raise a family there.

Seeing as you have two kids, they’ll never run out of stuff to do. I mean, they’ll do things seperately as they wish, but they won’t be lonely. The ability to have an impromptu game frisbee in the yard or playing street hockey without having to move the nets every time a car goes by or being able to hit that baseball as far as they want without hitting a window is great. Plus they’ll have the good snowdrifts to themselves in winter to slide down, no strangers will wreck their snowforts, they can go for a bike ride without having to constantly stay on the side of the road and they’ll have so much space to do everything. Trust me, as long as you and your kids use your imaginations, you’ll never run out of kid stuff to do.

We just had our first child and I am in harsh negotiations for the second. :slight_smile:

The hope is that we could make enough money with just him working for me to stay home. I already stockpile food. I’m a lousy cook but working on it, he loves to cook. To me, driving 15 miles to the store is no big deal, I’ve had to drive farther, but then again, I had a mother who never grocery shopped, so we ran out of everything all the time. I already have a 22cuft. freezer. The kitchen there is much better than ours, then again, virtually everything is. I remember the isolation of living in the country as a kid but I had a horse and spent a ton of time with her. The biggest problem is my mom never wanted to drive into town and that is something that I need to be aware of. Her inconvenience was my friends. There are ski slopes nearby, it’s in the National Forest so there are parks, waterfalls, creeks, ruby mines…heck, the Foxfire books started there. I have found out there is DSL available (3mb) and I’ve looked into the satellite stuff before.

The job thing is kinda tough. My husband is a network administrator/plumber. I am a poker dealer. There is a casino about an hour away (Cherokee). Last I checked, everyone needed plumbers, although that is certainly not his job of choice. He may have better luck working for the local DSL company than he has had here. In Tampa, everyone is certified in everything and underemployed. The road the house is on connects two towns so it always gets plowed and all we would have to worry about is our driveway. The average temps in Jan are 29, which is about 60 degrees cooler than I like. :slight_smile: Most of the slopes here blow snow. One of them has converted to a snowboarding/tubing slope.

Did I mention the farmers markets? The bacon and ham to be had? Sweet god, the food is amazing up there. Real tomatoes.

Besides, I don’t know how to tell my daughter she can’t have a pony. Bike riding is out, it’s a windy mountain road. But we have an acre of land that is open field with a neato slope and it’s a blast in the winter.

I’ve lived in the country off and on since the early '90s and continuously since the summer of 2000. We live on six acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The back of our property backs up against open range land so we have neighbors on both sides but not behind us. Our “town” consists of a gas station, pizza place, auto parts store, hardware/lumber store, a couple of realty offices, and a small hotel. I split my work time about 50/50 between the office and the field. My office is about 50 miles from where I live (which means about two hours in the car) and the field can be anywhere in the state. My wife works a few hours a week at a local newspaper doing photo editing. I have two boys, ages 5 and 6.

I love it.

I love the fact that we don’t lock our doors (in fact, a couple of months ago my wife was looking for the house keys and I had no idea where they were), I love that we have a family of red-tailed hawks nesting in our backyard; I love that I have a barn and workshop to pursue my various interests; I love that my kids ride bikes, run through open fields, climb trees and rocks, hunt for lizards, frogs, toads, rabbits, and squirrels every day; I love that we have room for a pool, horseshoe pit, tree house, skateboard ramp, and barn and still have open space all the way around; I love that I wave to everyone on the road but no one ever comes over unless its an emergency; I love the quiet and the solitude; and I love my oak trees.

No high-speed sucks, although we do get dial-up at 46-49K. The commute isn’t terrible, it’s basically just driving through the country for an hour in the morning and evening, but it is something you have to get used to. We do a bit more planning as far as errands go, i.e. trying to plan multiple stops for our trips into town. I worry about when my kids get older and their schedules get more hectic and spread out. I forsee several years when we will spend a lot of time in the car every day running them around.

So, I guess it’s like everything else, it’s good and bad and not for everyone.

I’ve been cruising the websites related to the area our house is in. Not one of them shows a picture of a view that is better than ours. sigh Although there are houses fairly close, we can see only one roof and then, only in the winter. Did I mention the grape vines? The magnolia? Send me to the Smokies. I wanna go home!

Sort of sounds like our place, only we are in the Rockies.

No other houses and a spectacular view. We have two 14000 foot mountains that make up the other side of the valley. The peaks are about 3 miles away as the crow flies.

We are at 11200 feet. It’s not unusual for clouds (not fog) to float by below our house.

Views are great - whether they be mountains, ocean, forest, what ever. There’s nothing like looking out your living room window to some spectacular scenery.

I don’t live in the country, but I do have the best of both worlds IMO. After looking for about 18 months, we found a house, in town, on eleven acres of wooded land. When I’m at home, for all I can tell, I’m a gazillion miles from anywhere. House is perched at the edge of a small gorge. We have a view down the gorge through the lovely green woods to a creek from almost every room in the house. Can have a huge garden/horses/swimming pool/whatever we want.

Within a 2 minute drive is a grocery store, Target, and the rest of town.

I’m never moving.