Poll: Residential preference

Posted by on February 5, 2012 in women | 17 comments

A month ago I moved with my family to a new home, city and state. From Boise to Seattle, we have experienced more than just the changes and challenges of a major move as a family of 6, but a shift from one type of societal environment to another. And for the most part, after a month of adjusting, I have to say I am really learning to enjoy and appreciate the differences in this stage of my life. In fact, I like it here so much, within a bus ride of some of the best Sushi downtown and walking distance of beaches and parks along the Puget Sound, that I’m already second guessing our plan to eventually move out to the more rural areas surrounding Seattle where space would allow a large garden (perhaps an orchard), chickens and maybe even a cow or goat of our own. I still want those things, but the allure of a pulsing and vibrant city is beginning to weaken my resolve. And with a view of the Olympic mountain range from my bedroom window coupled with world class food and museums at my fingertips, could you blame me?

What about you? What type of residence is your cup of tea? Have you moved around much and tried out a variety of locations or been happy in something similar to what you grew up with? What do you like about where you live? Does the larger environment around your home have a strong effect on you? Why or why not? For me, I’m not yet sure why, but I’m much happier back* on the coast in a more urban (and green) locale.

*My own residential history has included the East Bay of San Francisco, Provo (only one land-locked year), downtown Boston and rural New Hampshire prior to the suburbs of Boise. We’re hoping to stay in the Seattle area long term until one of our children goes back East for college (we get to choose that, right?).

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17 Comments

  1. Welcome to the Seattle area. You’ve moved during a great winter. My husband and I grew up in rural and suburb areas. When he graduated from college we moved to the city where he got a job. We are about 15 min east from Seattle and totally in the rich ‘burbs. Before moving here, I thought I’d really love the area but I want to be closer to the city. We also thought we’d want to move down to the Olympia area soon (where his family is)…. but I’m not ready to leave the proximity to the city yet!

    I have lived in the rural environment and it has its perks. In high school, I was able to be involved with everything I wanted to be. I could play any sports, be on any clubs, etc. However, rural in Western Washington usually means low population of members. I think there were 4 other members in my high school.

    Personally, I think I’d prefer urban or rural life. I’m itching to get out of the ‘burbs. Maybe it’s not all ‘burbs though, just the ‘burbs where my neighbors all drive luxury sports cars.

  2. You’re not an Idahodian (that’s a joke) anymore?!
    For me, it is alllll about climate. I would be back in Portland, OR in a heartbeat but that rain/incessant grey for half the year was just too much for me–I tried it for 5 years b/c that is where my husband is from.
    I really hope you like Seattle. It is a super town.

  3. Welcome to Seattle! Lucky for you, the City of Seattle allows you to keep chickens and one goat in your backyard, so there’s no need to ever move to the ‘burbs :) We live in the Wallingford neighborhood and love it.

    @ssj I’m so glad you’re thinking of moving to the big city!

  4. I’m not a fan of big cities. It has a lot to do with my sensory processing disorder. But I really do love Seattle. We lived on Camano Island (about an hour north and west of Seattle) for thirteen years, where we had all the benefits of a rural area (2 1/2 acres in the woods), plus the ocean a five-minute walk away, and then Seattle (with Pike Place Market, the art museum, the opera, Seattle Center, the Experience Music Project, etc.) just an hour away and then Vancouver, BC (such a great international city) just two hours north of us. We made so many great day-trips when our kids were teenagers, not to mention a couple of romantic getaways for anniversaries. We could even do Friday Harbor as a day trip if we went walk-on on the ferry. Okay, now I’m getting really homesick. There is much I love about Helena, Montana–a small town (35,000) with all the culture and amenities of a larger city because it is the state capital. And we are having a very mild winter, so I can’t complain about that this year. But wow, I do miss the ocean and just the “feel” of Seattle. Church people are very different everywhere we’ve lived too. They tend to reflect the prevailing local culture (and sometimes define it).

  5. I love big cities, but as a practical person, a big city is not always an option. I am probably going to sound like a sell-out, but I tend to go where the work is, and for us, that has not been in the city, post-marriage. We have lived in the ‘burbs and rurally most recently. In this I have learned so much more of people in those areas, and I think I have even learned more of the city, because when we are able to visit, people have bend over backwards to accommodate us. So in the end, I am becoming less fussy about where I live now, and more anxious about choosing what area I like best for retirement, although that is still a lifetime away.

  6. This exact discussion is one that my husband and I have been having since we got married! His family lives in the suburbs, mine lives in the two-hours-to-a-major-airport kind of rural. We’re living near my family right now, and we do love the rural. I’m in love with nature; I love being able to drive past horses and cows and hear a rooster from my bedroom, while still being able to get to the city within an hour. I often pull over and get out of the car to take pictures of flowers or the sky or a lake or just the wind in the grass. And he doesn’t like big cities.

    But we also absolutely despise having to drive at least twenty minutes to get anywhere, and sometimes I just feel desperate to move to New York City or someplace where people don’t even usually own cars, you can walk or take public transportation anywhere you want to go, and there are things to do besides go to the movies and go bowling. There are very few health food stores, the museums are an hour away, and I feel like I spent half my life in the car.

    So, to answer your question… I’m not sure what kind I prefer and I’m driving myself crazy trying to decide. :)

  7. Currently, I live in what I consider to be a small town in the midwest (almost 500,000). (I spent my formative years in the Bay Area, CA so that is a small town!) I’d prefer a larger town because I keep bumping into my students in grocery stores, etc., which is okay, but I like to keep my professional life separate from my work life. I also like big towns because of the many options; for example, if my kids are bullied beyond the norm, I can easily transfer them. If I need a plumber, I have many choices compared to my in-laws, who are stuck with the guy down the street, because they live in a tiny town (less than 3000). I like stars, wildlife, etc. but I like my options, too. There is a certain freedom in that, for me.

  8. I grew up in an area of about 100,000 people, and then for college & post-college I’ve been in towns of about 30,000. The smaller towns drive me up the wall, but at least where I am now there’s a descent-sized city in a short driving distance. Not that I take advantage of it very often, but at least the option is there :)

  9. This was an interesting one… I answered that I prefer rural but with an airport within 2 hours.

    We just moved to an area that’d be rural with more animals than people (population 3,200, next “big” city, or really any city/town – 1 hour away, and that “big” city is only 100,000 big). I already absolutely love where we ended up. Love it. But I do wish that the next major airport was a little closer than it is (our airport is the San Fran airport, about 4 hours away…).

    I also wish there would be just a wee bit more going on for kids. Other than that I think I’m in the most perfect place on earth. It wasn’t what we were shooting for initially (one of our major requirements was living close to a major airport, since I’m from Germany and we want to go back a lot), but now that we’re where we are, I am seriously in love.

  10. After living in a large city for 45 years and putting up with traffic and rude people, I’ve retired to the central Okanagan area of BC Canada. I love being in the midst of all the wineries and orchards. People are much more friendly and live at a slower pace. I would still like to live in a more rural area where I can grow my own food and commiserate with nature.

  11. I am torn because I love having space, but I hate driving. I really love where we live right now, Tucson, AZ. Within city limits are about 500,000 people with 1 million in the greater metropolitan area. It’s definitely a city, but it has a smaller feel, probably due to the university and a large population of retired people who move here for the climate. People tend to drive slower. There are a lot of local events and fairs and great food. However, it is surrounded by rural farming area where we might think about living after I finish grad school. We have a mountain and an airport in less than an hour. I did not enjoy living in the Phoenix area at all, but I love what Tucson has to offer.

    I guess I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I did live in a small(ish) town for awhile and it was not for me. I need a major city with more than one Wal-Mart at least 30 minutes away.

  12. I grew up in what I consider a perfect place. :) A small (2 sq. miles) town in NJ. It’s got beautiful old architecture, you’re close to everything you need, not right in a city but have easy access to both New York and Philly.

    We’re in Seattle now (not too far from you, I think – in Ballard) and I love our neighborhood here. We might consider moving further out at some point, but I love being able to hop on the bus to downtown and having my husband commute by bus. What we’d get in more house and yard further out we’d lose in ease of commute I feel like. And I love that we’re in a neighborhood with a “main street” again. That’s something from my childhood I miss when in a suburb/rural area. Most of the time I forget that we’re so close to the city (well, technically, in the city). And I like that about our neighborhood (we were right in downtown for a month and I wasn’t such a fan). Of course, we’ll probably also stick with a smaller family of two kids so that we might actually be able to afford a house this close in some day.

  13. Looks like a Seattle meet-up is in order! :) We’re in the Greenwood area and loving the proximity to downtown but being far enough out that it’s relatively quiet when it should be. We’ve definitely had some false advertising with the weather here lately, but I am already truly in love with this city, even on rainy days, and yes, the ease of getting downtown from where we’re at is what makes me re-think moving out to the country. Traffic will probably always be a problem getting here from further out, so unless we’re ready to stick around wherever we settle, I’m not sure I’m ready to be that remote. But I do want more open space at the same time…hmm, we’ll just have to get rich and buy a summer cottage to go with a condo in the city! ;) Anyone have opinions on areas within an hour of downtown (two hours with traffic I suppose)? Marysville felt very similar to where we lived in New Hampshire and it didn’t seem too far out, but I’ve also heard that every other county outside of King is pretty conservative, so I’m wondering if it’s worth risking what we struggled with in Idaho.

  14. I’m an outskirts person. Love the city access! Also love having a yard. :)

    • Oh, yeah. MUST have big-city access. Preferably with a fabric district and good Asian markets.

  15. I voted for urban outskirts — because I have little kids right now, and I want them to have a yard and friends around the corner and the freedom to ride their bikes all over the place (well, when they actually LEARN to ride their bikes). But the truth is that I adore big cities — the two years I lived in downtown L.A. were glorious — and sometimes it’s knowing that the trolleybus stop is only three blocks away saves my sanity.

  16. I went with “close to good size” and rank the places I have lived as an adult in the following order:
    1. Logan, UT
    2. Stillwater, OK
    3. Pocatello, ID
    4. Knoxville, TN
    5. Salt Lake City, UT
    6. Phoenix, AZ

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