Nov 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #1296215
I currently live in the western slope of Colorado in the Gunnison Valley. I have been living in Crested Butte and Gunnison since 2007 and absolutely love it for a lot of reasons yet am considering a move in 2013. Here are some general +/-'s on the valley.
Likes: Amazing outdoor recreation extremely close to home, tight knit small town community feel, not a lot of traffic, older friends are like family. Amazing biking, winter backcountry sports, backpacking galore, etc. Lot of character and charm in Crested Butte. Sunny. Only hot during July in CB. I try to stay in the high country hiking.
Dislikes: Almost a bit confining, bad fem to male ratio, not a lot of job diversity, expensive, many seasonal home owners artificially boost the cost of living at the north end of the valley. Gunnison can get -40 although it feels much warmer. Supermarket sucks in CB. Health food stores are great but a bit pricey in both ends of the valley.
About myself: Early thirties bachelor, science backround working outside of my field with varied interests in alternative healing, sustainability, permaculture, etc. I enjoy photography, hiking, music, art, backcountry winter travel, backpacking obv. and my politics are green orientated. I feel we are stewards of the land co-existing with nature. We truly own nothing but our own conscience & our actions. I also have an aussie border collie who needs to run a lot or have a job.
Although I'm currently looking at Colorado in the Front Range and possibly western Washington as well. I'm open to any towns or cities you might recommend. North Cascades? I'm possibly looking to get a fixer upper that I can live in and then maybe flip depending on the housing market. I would be able to put 20-30k down on a 120k but would want to spend less on a fixer upper. Open to building a something like a strawbale as well.
I've lived for a couple months in Steamboat, then moved to Northern Cali and then to the Gunnison Valley. I prefer living on the outskirts of a city or anywhere in a mountain town. I've been perusing some different articles and city-data.com and will update as I go along.
Look forward to any feedback from personal experience. Thanks for your time!
Michael *edited for grammar*Nov 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm #1929688
Thread referenced for later: have to run..:)Nov 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm #1929689
What are your priorities?
Certain Cons you listed are consequences of living in a small mountain community anywhere (i.e., high prices of food, isolated socially, poor job prospects etc…). I would suggest looking at somewhere with proximity to a decent College/University. That always creates a vibrancy socially and economically. Are you willing to live in a larger city that has proximity to the mountains? Somewhere like Boise, ID or Boulder, CO?Nov 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm #1929690
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
it's an obvious option. I love it here. This place is a candyland. The options for exploration are nothing short of amazing.
There's also lots of decent sized cities outside of Seattle where you might be able to find work. And there's some interesting public transportation options if had to work in downtown Seattle but wanted to live outside of Seattle (there's a train that serves areas north of seattle, and I take and love the ferry from the west side of the Sound to downtown).
Feel free to ask detailed questions or PM me.Nov 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm #1929691
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Do some digging around on Silver City, NM.
The climate is nice, small tightly woven community, quirky, MUCH more affordable than anything in CO, and great outdoor opportunities right in town or from town. The Gila Wilderness has suffered some serious fire damage, but the land is healing and people are still making it out to the springs, mountains, canyons and rivers. The CDT makes its way through the area, so its a popular layover for many travellers. Its not upscale/affluent Front Range CO, but it is chock full of character and unique opportunities in the region for land acquisition and use.Nov 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm #1929693
Thanks for everybody dropping in!!!
Randy, I'm actually open to both just considering a change. Right now I don't have a priority over the other but am leaning towards a slightly more dynamic & diverse town/city.
I would consider living in Boise and maybe on the outskirts of Boulder. I've never been to Boise but when I visited a co-op in Boulder I founds it very friendly, liberal and yet quite expensive down town.
Will be on later tonight to check back in and read/respond to the rest of you. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts/experiences with me. :)
Salud, MNov 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm #1929698
Silver City would be great, if my brother-in-law didn't live there. I think you're gonna have to get in a metro area to get that guy/girl ratio synced up.Nov 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm #1929704
Two places I've lived that felt "right" and more or less fit the bill you're after, Missoula Montana, and Asheville, NC. Both towns have universities and are probably better on the Guy:Girl than other places. Missoula has everything you're looking for and, ten years ago, a very reasonable cost of living. Asheville is cheap enough to, at least compared to California. Asheville has lots of character and access to the beautiful southern Appalachians right out the back door. Great Smoky mountains, great rivers, not so much winter mountaineering. Missoula would have more of the latter, and not a terrible haul from other great places. Bozeman is nice enough too, though I've never lived there. That said, I think I would enjoy Tahoe City or Truckee California, but I can see where they could close in after a little while, not unlike Crested Butte has for you.Nov 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm #1929710
@bookLocale: Northern California
Bellingham, perhaps? If you can handle the rain! (A tad worse than Seattle). College town, close access to lots of outdoor activity. Not too big; doesn't feel "urban" to me. Great food. Loooong wet winter.Nov 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1929714
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Bellingham, perhaps? If you can handle the rain!"
Or maybe Mount Vernon, about 25-30 miles south of Bellingham. You might be able to pick up a relatively cheap house on its outskirts or in Burlingame just to the east.
It's in the Skagit Valley. If you like to grow things, it has some of the best agricultural soil in Washington, Class II soil in many places with seasonal high water table the only limitation.
Further south, much further, is Bishop, CA, in the Owens Valley. A beautiful, friendly town at the foot of the Sierra with a surprising number of amenities for a town of 4,000. If you're into mountains, it's a hard place to beat, and you should definitely be able to find a fixer upper in one of the smaller towns to the south, but still within easy driving distance of Bishop, e.g. Big Pine, Independence.Nov 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm #1929723
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
On Missoula (were I lived while going to grad school, moved north 2.4 years ago).
Cost of living is reasonable compared to a place like Boulder or urban SoCal. Problem is that most jobs pay ~20-40% less than in more populous areas. Trail access from town is awesome, vast BC ski potential in all directions, though the approaches/bushwacking will be about 1000% gnarlier than in CB and after one season you'll want a sled. Weather in town during late Oct-April is horrible (rain, inversions), but better in the mountains. Ideologically you'd fit right in.
Summer backpacking, fly fishing, hunting, and packrafting options are bettered only by other, less-urbane places nearby.Nov 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm #1929755
deletedNov 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm #1929818
I agree with Rog above. Durango is a beautiful place and on my short list, but it might not be much livelier than where you are currently.
Since you're looking at the Front Range, I must plug my town, Fort Collins. Really nice neighborhoods, and quite a bit of land and fixer uppers available out in Poudre Canyon or the foothills. It is a pretty progressive city for the most part, but feels a bit more down to earth than say, Boulder. Close to Lory State Park, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, Devil's Backbone Open Space, Poudre/Rist Canyons, and about an hour to RMNP. I also like that is far enough North that it isn't as congested as the rest of the Front Range. Add to that a ton of microbreweries, a university, and a great community, and it is hard beat.
I feel that Fort Collins, while not a "mountain" town, meets a lot of the criteria you're looking for.Nov 20, 2012 at 6:38 am #1929855
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
Boulder feels more like a European City to me.Nov 20, 2012 at 10:07 am #1929890
Have you considered Golden, CO? Great access to all things outdoors, MUCH cheaper than Boulder, and close to Denver so you have access to the Denver job market, plus a major airport. Golden has a small town feel, but because of its proximity to Denver its culture is closer to what you'd expect in a larger urban city.Nov 20, 2012 at 10:23 am #1929893
@gallen1119Locale: Golden, CO
I would like to trade places with you.Nov 20, 2012 at 10:24 am #1929894
I've been considering a move this myself. In addition to some of the Colorado towns and Tahoe mentioned by others, the other place that's on my radar is Salt Lake City. There's excellent hiking right outside of town, and the Winds, Tetons, and all of the southern Utah playground are less than a day's drive.Nov 20, 2012 at 10:56 am #1929901
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I would love to be able to live in Colorado but have to stay put in Michigan for another 26 months.Nov 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm #1929918
I'm not sure I've ever been in a town in CO that I considered inexpensive. Or reasonable. Maybe I've lived in hell too long. I was looking at a vacation house in Moab, and was shocked at the cost.Nov 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm #1929937
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
"I'm not sure I've ever been in a town in CO that I considered inexpensive. Or reasonable. Maybe I've lived in hell too long. I was looking at a vacation house in Moab, and was shocked at the cost."
Sterling, CO will set you right.
When we were looking in Missoula ~3 years ago we didn't find anything worth spending money on for less than 200k.Nov 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm #1929938
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
My oldest daughter lives in Lewisville, adjacent to Boulder, and it has a lot of nice nearby shopping with a decent "fem-to-male" ratio.
I pretend to visit her but she knows I really come to backpack and ski in the Indian Peaks range.Nov 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm #1930026
Been really busy last couple days and just wanted to mention a couple of brief things…and thank you guys for your feedback/participating in the thread.
Put a cash bid on my first house!
Also about Crested Butte, it's priceless to live where most people come to vacation. Got some epic rides, backpacking and even barefoot hiked to Avery mountains peak this summer. :0)
On the fem/male ratio, I just have to keep raising my vibration and stay true to my passions & goals in life. Things will work themselves out no doubt. :)
Love & blessings, off to a late dinner party.
Will report back soon!Nov 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm #1930029
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
I spent the summer there in 1981 and have wanted to go back ever since. I can understand it's a hard place to live for the reasons you list, but what a gorgeous place. Crested Butte, Gothic, Whetstone, Axtell, Purple, Owen, Ruby, Avery–some of the local peaks I bagged.
Sorry, just reminiscing. :)Nov 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm #1930037
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
I'd put some thought into how much of the year want to ski vs. backpack. Some of these areas seem to get snow earlier and stay snowed under a lot longer.Nov 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm #1930053
@flutingaroundLocale: Rocky Mtn. West
Hi Michael, I loved reading through this thread, and it's exciting to see so many BPLers as lovers of the Colorado lifestyle. I'm in Denver and love it here. I also love visiting Crested Butte. I was there for Thanksgiving last year and performed a summer concert in your town. It is a very strong community with good energy.
I'm in the opposite position of you– I daydream about moving into the mountains (as a single female) and what that would be like.
But, I'm learning about sustainability, and permaculture is something I have been pursuing over the past two years. I have successfully established one in my front yard in Denver and want to grow into my backyard. Using permaculture principles, I produced a lot of food this year, even with the drought. It's all very exciting and it feels so good to make my own food. This has become such an important part to who I am now, that I know that the front range lifestyle is better for me, mostly because I have access to better growing conditions, and all of the local farmers. Urban homesteading is growing by leaps and bounds here. I have a dream to buy a couple of acres on the front range somewhere and start a food forest.
I do know that the Rocky Mtn. Permaculture Institute is supposed to have a successful food forest in the Basalt area (about 9000 feet?) Have you been there?
Anyway, let me know if you would like to talk off line about permaculture in Colorado. I have a bibliography of local resource I put together to share if you are interested.
I really think you can't go wrong in Colorado wherever you are! Life is so beautiful here. Sounds like you have the right attitude.
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