So after our miserable vacation a few weeks ago you know I posted that I had second thoughts about moving out of my lovely area of Northern New Jersey. Denis and I pretty much decided we’d buy some land next summer in the general vicinity (further west than we are now though) and pay it off over the course of a couple years and then build a custom house on the lot.
So ever The Planner, I went online and began researching the things we’d need to know in order to buy land and build a house in NJ. Apparently, it ain’t easy. According to various message boards I’ve visited about building homes, NJ is the TOUGHEST state in which to build a house. So many rules, regulations, fees and ordinances that it’s almost not worth the hassle because just to get your HOME PLANS approved and stamped can take up to $7-10K and lots of hoop-jumping.
That made me go back online in search of info on “best cities to live in the US” and I once again entertained the thought of Asheville, NC because of it’s affordability and location. However, upon doing more researching I found that Asheville is very much a town with an “enclave” feeling – meaning that they don’t like outsiders coming in and messing with the status quo. It’s also a tough tough place for outsiders to make a living because of that same enclave feeling – locals go to locals, not transplantees.
So now I wonder: Where IS the best place to live? A place that:
1) allows one to live comfortably without breaking his/her back to scrape bucks together,
2) has good family foundations (meaning lots of activities for kids/families to do),
3) decently priced real estate and tax structure so that a family can entertain the idea of building a house and being a single-income family,
4) an arts culture that encourages local artists, local theater, local craftsman and has a good reputation for all three,
5) low crime, and
6) great climate (read: low to no humidity in the summer).
Update: One more thing!
7) Must be within 45 minutes of major metropolitan area (i.e., New York, Chicago, San Diego, or any other “major” city like that).
Give me suggestions. You can mention specific cities or suburbs of cities. They can also be small towns near big cities – but they have to be within a 30-minute drive of the city.
Update: So I did one of those “find out where you want to live” things online and you know what came up in the number one spot? BERGEN-PASSAIC, NJ. I just had to laugh, considering we live 2 blocks from the Passaic border and 5 minutes from Bergen County. Second place was St. Louis, MO.