City, Suburb and Country living

Today I was thinking about my grandpa and how he was raised in the city, moved to one of those postwar picket fence suburbs when he had his own family, then spent the last third of his life living in Amish country with his ex-Amish second wife.

A pretty cool progression if you ask me. I think he really enjoyed the pace of life in each stage of his life. I don’t think he set out to live in the country when he retired but he enjoyed it quite a bit.

Me, I’ve always lived in the same suburban neighborhood my whole life. Never lived in a coty or country setting. I am lucky to have lots of experience visiting cities and country areas but never living there.

I’m sure many Dopers have lived in all 3 types of places like grandpa did. If you lived in all 3 what was your progression? What did you like or not like about each type of place? Did you plan it this way? Did you try out a type of place then come back to previous place?

For the purposes of this thread, how are we defining the three, and what’s the difference between them?

When I was in grade school we lived in a city neighborhood (Squirrel Hill) near Pittsburgh. One day my dad decided that we were moving to the country. I remember being really pissed off.

I eventually got used to living in the country and today you couldn’t pay my to move to a city or even a suburb.

When I was younger, I lived in hip cool cities, and even the cool parts of the hip cool cities when I could swing it. I had some childish contempt for people who didn’t feel and do the same. Now, I could care less about most city amenities. Boring suburbia for me; it suits my temperament. Out in the country wouldn’t do because I’m an indoorsy type, but here in the burbs we get the some of the best of both city and country: services and convenience everywhere when needed, but room to spread out and breathe, and no pressure to fit in with the cool kids.

My Wife grew up near squirrel hill kayaker.

  1. Chicago Suburbs
  2. Illinois Country
  3. Denver Suburbs. Also some time in what I consider Denver City - Capitol Hill.
  4. Now for 32 years, Colorado Mountains.

I love the mountains. But since I’m getting older, going to need to move in a few years. My Wife and I have no clue where we are going to go. We are bouncing things back and forth. Most likely sort of country. No way would we do city proper. Or any type of apartment, or condo. Maaayyybe a subdivision.

I dunno, I feel like people know the difference? Like if you fill out a survey and it asks where you live with the 3 options, you know.

I think there are lots of nuances, and the answer might depend on the context. Like, in a literal sense, I live in a suburb, but I wouldn’t say that I live in suburbia. We have neighborhoods rather than developments, and streets all go from one place to another, and there are no HOAs.

On the other hand, the previous place I lived definitely wasn’t a suburb: It was the largest city for three counties in any direction, and there were other nearby municipalities that existed primarily as bedroom communities. But the city had a total population of 30,000, and I could see cow pastures and virgin wilderness from my back stairs. That doesn’t exactly feel “urban”, “suburban”, nor “rural”.

I grew up in a rural setting in Ohio, but it quickly became a suburb due to new homes. In college I lived in a big city. After college I lived in a suburb for ten years. Since 2001 I have lived in a very rural part of Ohio. We’re on 15 acres of mostly wooded land. No neighbors, and can’t see the house from the road. I love it.

I grew up rural, in farming country. We lived next to a county park so there was a bit of vehicle traffic on our one-lane road in the summer but otherwise it was quiet.

I’ve lived mostly in suburbs ever since. Almost all full of post-war ranch houses with the traditional picket fence front yard and two-car garages and too many people parking on the street. Its pretty quiet but the neighbors are far too close for my liking.

I spent two years living in downtown Portland and I loved it. There was a brew pub across the block from me, a convenience store on the other side, and a streetcar stop one block away. The grocery store – a proper full-sized Safeway with a deli and a pharmacy – was three blocks away. The Saturday farmer’s market was literally outside my front door. I loved it. There was always something to do, something to see, and a friend to visit.

But I did, and do, miss the country. If I ever win that lottery I don’t play I’m building a custom home on a piece of land so big I can neither see nor hear my neighbors.

I lived in Chicago (north side) and NYC (Greenwich Village) in my 20s. No regrets. It was fantastic. Then moved to non-downtown Seattle. But for the last 20 years I’ve been pretty remote (not exactly rural and not exactly suburbs.). I think I timed each phase right for what I wanted. I don’t need the “action” of a city at my age, and am happy for the peace and quiet.

That depends - as far as I am concerned, I live in a city. Not just because I am within the official boundaries (although I am) but because where I live doesn’t feel like a suburb to me in any way. On the other hand, I’ve had people tell me I live in a suburb or at least a suburban area because they think all city folk live in apartments.

Well, I don’t know. None of the places I’ve ever lived fit comfortably in any of the three categories. They aren’t suburbs, and they certainly aren’t “the country.” They’re technically cities, but not what you might think of when somebody mentions “city” living; the city I currently live in has a population of under 15,000.

I was conceived in Chicago, and fictional God willing, I will die in Chicago. As Nelson Algren wrote, “Once you come to love this little patch, you will never love another.”

I was actually born in suburban Evanston, but that was just because my dad worked at the hospital there, and could get an employee discount.

I guess then your answer is “I have not lived in a city setting, a suburban setting and a country setting so I don’t have anything to add to this particular thread.”

I was raised on a farm and didn’t really care for it; too much isolation. I’ve lived in small and medium sized cities, as well as 5 years in NYC. We moved to the DC suburbs shortly after our daughter was born and have lived here for the past quarter century. We’re inside the Beltway, so where we live is mostly indistinguishable from the nearby DC neighborhoods. I love being able to walk to the grocery store and nearby restaurants. I could not go back to living in the country, and I don’t think I’d care much for suburbs that aren’t walkable.

I haven’t lived in a rural setting, though my husband’s family has many members who do. Growing up in a suburb of a small city I thought I’d want a more country life, but at no point in my adulthood have I ever wanted that isolation and work. The idea of needing the car to get a carton of milk just annoys me intensely.

My current home is in a location considered to be “city” but it was a post-war suburbian development. Our house is in a weird location where, due to long parallel one way streets, shops and restaurants aren’t particularly close by and calling it “walkable” is a bit of a stretch (10 mins walk), but it’s easily bikeable. I like doing quick runs to the fruit store with saddle bags, for example. Our previous rental was in a much more walkable neighborhood of multiplex buildings and more in the city itself. I miss it, though where we are now is a great place to raise our kid.

I’m in my 40s but my idea of a date night still involves a mosh pit and Boustan and while we aren’t really looking to retirement yet, I think I’d like to end up in a truly walkable city neighborhood, probably a condo, with no yard work. Probably in this city; this is home to me.

We’ll see how that “plan” changes as we age!

You learn to plan. Whether you like it or not. Also when in ‘town’ do multiple errands. It sort of annoys me if I have to make 3-4 stops, but it makes a huge difference.

Let’s see tomorrow -

  • Audiologist
  • Drop off recycling
  • Buy beer
  • Buy dog food

Then work in the afternoon from home. Being able to work from home since COVID is a huge plus.

Town in this case is about 45 minutes away. There is a very small town about 5 miles away, It’s got a mom n pop private owned convenience store(best beef I have ever purchased. Puts any steak house I’ve ever been to to shame), bar/restaurant about 3 MJ shops and a tiny liquor store.

I’m flying out Wednesday. The airport is a solid 2 hours away, first I have to drop the dogs off at the ‘Doggie Dude Ranch’. I’m driving down Tuesday for that and just getting a hotel room after dropping the dogs off.

It’s not for everyone.

I’m not so good at planning ahead!

Pretty much across the street from my son’s school is a lovely neighborhood grocery store; fresh fruits and vegetables but also the staples, so I don’t have to go to a big grocery store more than once a month or so. There’s also a pharmacy and bagel shop (wood oven , I think they’re as good as St Viateur or Fairmont, and better for proximity!) in the same strip. I often stop there after picking him up from school, gives us the ability to decide on supper on the spot. I love it.

In the semi-walkable from my house area there’s a couple of restaurants and bakeries, a bookstore, two other pharmacies, another fruiterie, the best local dépanneur for beer selection, hairdresser, barber, etc. Incredibly convenient.

Lots of parks and greenspace; this isn’t a concrete neighborhood which I appreciate. I have a fairly big back yard for this part of town.

As you said, your living choices aren’t for everyone, just as I’m certain many would recoil at mine! It works for us.

I’m sure you have much better views though; I just see my neighbour’s houses!

Or you could skip over Algren altogether and go directly to William Hulbert, the founder of the National League, who said “I would rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city.”

Not necessarily. We will move as we age. Can’t figure out where though. Your set up sounds pretty good.

One of our favorite pastimes is playing chess or cribbage on our deck. Two 14,000 foot mountains make up the other side of our little valley. There are only a few months a year we can use our deck though due to snow.

I will get use to seeing other houses, but still, I need my space.