DH and I were talking about possible future moves, especially if he gets out of the military. We are hoping he doesn't do that, but we realize that some (most) things are out of our control in regards to that.
We are both from the Midwest, and I have no desire to live anywhere near where I grew up. Loved it, but there is *nothing* there as far as jobs, and eventing is unheard of. Yikes. He wouldn't mind moving back there, but I would only consider living near a major city such as Des Moines or St. Louis. Chicago is out of the question.
I LOVE the East Coast, but he despises it. He really likes Texas, and I'm not a fan. Neither of us care much for extreme cold 8 months out of the year or humidity. I would love love LOVE to stay here in SoCal, but realistically that will be unlikely. Plus we would like to be a little closer to family (preferably a couple states away from my in-laws, though).
If you were looking at a move like this, where would you want to end up? What venues would you like to be close(ish) to? I am putting my foot down when it comes to having access to eventing. It's what I love and I hope to make it my business one day, so not living anywhere near an eventing scene is not acceptable.
Southern Pines or Aiken. South Carolina does tax military retirement, North Carolina does not. Both are near major military installations. Aiken has heated up a bit over the last few years on the eventing scene and Southern Pines is somewhat quieter. There are lots of nice areas just outside of the Youngs Road/megabucks/Southern Pines proper where land is very affordable.
I've been a promoter of the Upstate South Carolina having moved here 7 years ago. If you consider the Greenville area (nice mid-sized city with good sports/arts/business balance) there are at least 4 major Eventing/Shows farms within 2 hours of Greenville, FENCE, Full Gallop, Paradise, Jumping Branch along witha bunch of smaller dressage and CT show farms. Add another half hour and you have Pine Top. Just a little further and many of the NC shows come into play.
Aiken can be pricey to live and pretty hot in the summer (though I'll admit Greenville aint cool, but we got the mountains near by. There are three big lakes within an hour drive (Hartwell, Keowee, Murray), strong Hunter Pace and trail riding support, and jsut a little over two hour drive to either Atlanta or Charlotte.
There are a number of active Eventing Trainers near by (Amy Nichols being one of the best) and you can pick up a 10 acre farm for less then 300K. Couple all that with an International airport minutes away from Downtown (GSP) and you got a great place to work, ride, and live.
Where ever you wind up, best to you and your family.
Having lived in Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, New Jersey, Maryland, NE Ohio and now, Kentucky, I would choose Kentucky. The price of houses and land in Northern KY is lower, but the land has too many hills and hallows. (DH was an FBI agent, so we moved alot the first 10 years that we were married. ) The land in Louisville is lovely, as is the Lexington area, but a bit more pricey.
That being said, if I could afford land in North Carolina, I would love living there, too. I was only there for about 8 months, but it was lovely.
I still have the family home in Alabama, which we are keeping, just in case we decide to become "Snowbirds" in the Winter.
What is it that you don't enjoy about the East Coast? As I'm sure you know, it's not really a homogeneous section of country, so whatever your generalized objections to this area, you can certainly find a community on the East Coast that is more to your liking.
There are so many "epicenters" of eventing in this region--if living in well-saturated eventing community was really important to me, I honestly wouldn't consider moving anywhere else.
Let me preface this by saying that yes, I know that you're looking for places other than the East Coast, but hear me out...
Virginia is an amazing place to live, which easy access to more recognized and unrecognized events than you could ever hope to do in one season. Northern Virginia is expensive and crowded, though incredibly lively and full of culture. If you look in central Virginia (i.e. Richmond and vicinity), you can find some incredible property deals. Plus, living in Richmond makes trailering to some of the best trainers an easy drive. Horses aside, Virginia is a great location because you're close to D.C., a 45 minute flight from New York, a 3 hour flight from Florida. I can't imagine why you would choose to live anywhere else...unless, of course, you chose the South of France - then I would move with you!
*I* LOVE Virginia. Love, love, LOVE it. We lived in Stafford for about 7 months in 2011, and I cried when we left. The thing I hated about it was the humidity. DH just doesn't like the East Coast. He doesn't have a specific reason, but he wants to avoid that area. *rolls eyes* At least I have a reason to avoid going back to the Midwest
DW I like Kentucky as well and was thinking about that as well.
pegasusmom, we're really trying to avoid going to the East Coast, especially North Carolina.
We tried that and were successful for over 20 years. Then my husband was made offers he couldn't refuse (said with italian accent) - battalion and brigade level commands. We have been here for 14 years now and I can't imagine living anywhere else. Just make sure you aren't confusing one side of Ft. Bragg for the other!
The entire East Coast? But....I mean, it is so vastly different from place to place to place. Even Richmond is WAY different from NOVA...and they're less than 3 hours apart, really. That is a BROAD generalization. You're SO is rather silly
Since you won't do the East Coast, you have ruled out ALL of the areas I would pick. (VA, MD, PA, SC, and NC...all of which are vastly different).
It's hard to beat Aiken. Sooo many events within a reasonable commute. That said, it could be east GA, SC, TN...all within 2 hours or so of Aiken. Pine Top, Paradise, Full Gallop, Tryon, River Glen, Champagne Run, Sporting Days, Jumping Branch, etc. Chatt hills/Poplar are 3-5 hours from Aiken too, not a bad drive at all. As for humidity, well...you can't have everything There's really not a "season" either. People refer to it, but the only month there's not a recognized event is December (IIRC), and you can still find schooling shows if you want!
Some people, believe it or not, do not consider those a positive.
Especially if Des Moines and St. Louis are considered "major cities".
Does any state that contacts the Atlantic ocean qualify as "the east coast"? Because you'd be hard pressed to know the difference, in a lot of ways, between northern Kentucky and western Virginia, for example. (I am speaking climate and geography and not sociopolitical distinctions)
And if cold isn't a factor, consider Michigan. Ann Arbor has a great eventing scene. It is a reasonable haul to the Kentucky horse park for events and a much greater cultural scene than you would expect from a town of that size. My personal list is Michigan, North Carolina, SE Pennsylvania/Delaware/N.Maryland
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What are you considering Midwest? I ask because you say you don't want to move midwest but love Ky... which for the most part I consider midwest (if where I live in ohio is considered midwest, then at least half of ky is as well imho).
I like where I live for the most part. Dayton is an ok size city, lots of amenities, but not so big that it sprawls everywhere and you can't get out to the country. There are a few eventing related things going on (and they're doing a lot at Twin Towers park to encourage more horse activities), 1 recognized event... but it's also close enough to many recognized and unrecognized events within only a couple hours drive. There aren't any BNT in the immediate area, but again, enough knowledgible folks in the area and BNTs not too hatefully far away. Cost of living isn't bad. And for exmilitary, the VA is here in Dayton and WPAFB is obviously a huge employer. Dayton was also ranked #1 in some happy employees survey by some magazine recently.
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Well if climate is an issue (which is understandable), why don't you move to New England? You'll still have access to a pretty robust eventing scene, but you won't have to deal with the constant heat/humidity/bugs that you do in the South.