Dopers, I ask for your esteemed opinions and information. Nay, I dare say I beg after spending a few days researching and tearing my hair out in frustration.
I’m thinking of moving rather soon [next six months or so], and I’m trying to figure out where to go. Job security isn’t an issue, as I’ll be taking my job with me, so that helps a bit. With that said, here are my needs/wants:
Southernish, from Maryland down [can’t deal with the bad winters].
No more than roughly 8 hours from where I am now [Southern Ohio].
The closer to the coast, the better.
Rich in culture and things to see/do/explore.
Attractive and clean.
Does this place exist? Or am I describing an unobtainable utopia?
Takoma Park, Maryland and the surrounding area seemed ideal – until I looked at the real estate prices. A three bedroom, small, brick home goes for **$500,000 ** there. I’m going to be renting initially [and probably for a decently long time], but I’d like it to be somewhere that I could feasibly buy a home in the future.
Many, many, many thanks in advance.
Oh, and feel free to pimp any other towns/cities that don’t fit all of my criteria – I’m very interested in most any ideas that are on the East Coast.
I think Takoma Park is more than likely out of reach for me, if the real estate prices I saw online were any indication. However, I’d love to read your Delaware vacation thread – I’ll run a search and find it! My wife and I poked around Rehobath Beach and the surrounding areas a few years ago, and it seemed to be quite the pretty place.
Other than the location, downtown Denver would fit the bill. Contrary to poular belief, winters in Denver are quite mild, with the snow coming in big ammounts, but melting quickly.
This weekend there is a big pridefest, as well as the U.S. Womens Golf Open.
Notice I said Downtown Denver specifically. There is a big gay community there, but other parts of the Metro area aren’t quite as friendly and the places that are (Boulder) can be just as expensive as Takoma Park.
Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC is about 2.5 hours from the beach, and probably a bit more than 8 hours from where you are now (I’m horrible with distances, so don’t trust me on that estimate), but it meets the rest of your qualifications. It’s a college town, but there are families and plenty of out of college singles there.
What about Philadelphia? I don’t know much about individual neighborhoods, but I’m sure someone can tell you what might be “clean and safe” and affordable. It’s not quite as south as you want, but damned close. The winters are actually pretty mild. It’s very close to the coast. It probably would take you about 6 hours to get from there to the PA/OH border. It has public transport. I suppose it’s as gay-friendly as any major city, and it has lots of culture and things to do. It’s also only a couple of hours from NYC, DC, and Baltimore, so that greatly expands your “stuff to do” opportunities.
Plus, it’s the only place on earth where you can get a decent cheesesteak.
If you were flexible on the distance from where you are now, I’d recommend Austin, Texas. The Gulf of Mexico is only a few hours away, but there are lakes and rivers all over the Austin area. It’s safe, tons of things to do, has a large gay community, and I’m told the public transit system is good.
I found a great site - www.findyourspot.com. You answer a bunch of questions and it’s quite comprehensive. They ask about all the things you listed that you want. That’s how I found my hometown-to-be, Charleston, SC.
I’ve seen some pictures of Denver that were so beautiful – I think it had something to do with the wildflower association or some such. Really glorious. Alas, it is too far. Thank you, though!
I haven’t checked out Asheville at all, and I’m not even sure if I’ve heard of it before – will absolutely do so now.
Chapel Hill has always been near the top of the list for me, as has Wilmington. It’s about the right distance, too. This one definitely is up for heavy consideration.
You know, even though it’s a bit far north for me, Philadelphia keeps cropping up whenever I make this list. I’ve been there once or twice, and I did like the city a great deal. For some reason, though, whenever I think of Philadelphia I think of huge snows and very reserved people. Is that way off base?
The distance is pretty nonnegotiable, I’m afraid, but I covet being that close to the Gulf and plan to get down there someday. Thanks for the suggestion, Fionn.
You are a LIFESAVER. I owe you a drink if I end up near Charleston at some point. Thank you so much – that site is awesome and just what I needed.
Funny you should mention Charlottesville – I was just talking to my wife about C-ville, as it’s about three hours or so south from where I grew up. It’s a possibility, for sure.
Thanks bunches, guys, you’ve been way more helpful than I had hoped for, and it’s really appreciated.
Affordable - Bit iffy on that one, depends on which suburb you want to live in.
Gay friendly - check
Public transit - Hrmm… apart from the recent train troubles, check
Southernish, from Maryland down [can’t deal with the bad winters]. - Double check
No more than roughly 8 hours from where I am now [Southern Ohio]. - Uh, no check
The closer to the coast, the better - check
Rich in culture and things to see/do/explore - check
Attractive and clean - check
Relatively safe - check
There’s a book named “The Places Rated Almanac” that lists a bunch of US and Canadian cities, and ranks them by various aspects. Visit a local giant bookstore in the trivia/reference section and see if they have a copy to breeze through.
When I read your list Richmond, VA sprang to mind. My husband spends a lot more time there than I do, since he visits a good pal there about every two months or so. When I read him your list, he said it sounded like a good match.
Like any big city it has unsafe places, but you just learn to avoid those.
If Chapel Hill/Carrboro is a possibility for you, please consider DURHAM. Don’t believe anything those Chapel Hillians tell you about Durham, especially not when it comes to crime. Yes, there is more crime here. No, I have not encountered any in my 10 wonderful years here.
If fact, my purse was stolen in Chapel Hill.
Chapel Hill does have the edge in public transit, since it is a smaller area to cover and the buses are FREE.
Asheville, NC is very very far away from the beach. But cool.
Pittsburgh is surprisingly queer friendly, has public transportation (not as good as the A-class cities, but it exists), and is CHEAP. Rent on one half of a 2000 sq foot apartment costs me $400/month. It’s a day’s drive away from a coast, though, and doesn’t have a lot of fancy cultural stuff, but I’m still not bored with it. It’s also quite safe as long as you live in a good neighborhood.
I was going to suggest Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Gainesville, Florida. All are a bit far from Ohio, but I imagine they’d all appeal to you by your criteria. I lived in Gainesville for the better part of seven years, and it’s a Southern college town, with all the good and bad that brings with it. Plus you’re two hours or less from three very large cities (Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville), and beaches on both coasts of Florida OR the Panhandle.