A friend of mine who lives in the south is getting ready to retire. And she has a dilemma. She'd like to move but it is starting over. And moving is a big commitment. She has some ideas (Virginia is one) but says she might romanticize it. Is it accurate? Or is there a better place for her?
Well, you, my blog friends, live in states across the U.S. and the world, too! So I thought I'd throw it out and ask you about your communities -- what you love or hate, is it friendly, expensive or reasonable, all that.
I'll tell you a little about mine. Lansing, Michigan is a capital city so we have state government and a large (and recently scandalous) university and a community college. There is some manufacturing but it's not what it used to be when Oldsmobile was here. Losing that took a lot of the energy from the city but it's coming back.
I grew up here so I love it and the wonderful people but I also remember when it was better than it is now -- although I do believe things are on the upswing. I remember a vibrant downtown. Now downtown more or less closes up when the state workers leave, although there are new restaurants and bars popping up. Instead we have malls. I'd rather have a downtown but it is what it is. And we have some good preservation and development in fun places like Old Town that have become a destination.
Arts wise, we are a pretty vibrant community. The U helps with that, with a wonderful professional performing arts center that brings in road shows and acts of international quality. We have several extremely well regarded community, university and professional theatre companies, a symphony and good art.
We have a A-level baseball team and of course sports at the U.
There are some lovely gardens, too and several festivals each year. In terms of cost of living, I don't think it's bad at all. But to be honest, I don't have loads to compare it to, apart from saying it is not a big city and big cities tend to be more expensive, I think.
You can get from one side of town to another in 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day. And there are loads of class options for people like me.
Being in the center of the state we are about two to three hours from several Great Lakes and loads of inland lakes, and the larger, more vibrant and more expensive cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. We're about three hours from the Canadian border and beautiful Mackinac Island.
The best part of my community is the people. It's not just me saying that -- other I know who have moved into the area say the same thing. It's a welcoming place.
We're not without our faults, though. We're on a river and most of the time that's just fine. But if you live in the low areas and you get loads of rain -- watch out.
The roads are abysmal and we often refer to it as outer Kandahar. Our winters are erratic -- this past winter was bitter cold and snowy and spring was late; the year before we were planting in April and it was very mild. Rick has new hubcaps. I haven't bothered to replace the one I lost -- when your front bumper is attached with duct tape, you don't worry about the hubcap. I'd rather buy books and art supplies.
So, that's my city. What are the three best things about where you live and the one or two things that you don't like about it! Please share in the comments and thanks!
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