If you could live anywhere, where would you live?!

March 5, 2019

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Last week, in the midst of our 100th brainstorming session about what the heck we’re doing with our lives in the immediate future–we had a crazy idea; what if we just moved somewhere completely different? During our brainstorming sessions, whether about life or work or upcoming renovations–there are no bad ideas or wrong answers or ridiculous thoughts.

We started making a list of what we’d look for in a new city:

• Big city amenities with a small town feel. (ie: Lots to do but no crazy traffic)
• Easy access to fresh produce and organic grocery stores
• Great schools for the kids!
• A great food scene with restaurants that have lots of allergy options (I am dairy/gluten/grain/soy free)
• 4 Seasons, but predominately warm would be nice
• Low Crime
• Close to a major airport
• Diversity & Culture & Kind People
• Mature trees (always) and Interesting architecture

We took a couple fun quizzes!

This one was pretty in depth from Quizony, and said I belong in New York–could the description have any more cliches??!


This one, from Brainfall, was fast and said Wisconsin!


This one is worldwide, from Playbuzz, and I got the UK! (Not sure where they got that I like rainy days or football!)

This one I got LA, but I think it was a little skewed toward a younger crowd. One question had four options of what I like to do at night and NONE of them included stay home and ALL of them included going to a bar as just one of the activities. Haha.


Even TIME has a quiz–it takes only a few seconds to take and is based completely around your mood. “The United States of Attitude.” (I got North Carolina)

Although fun, we weren’t going to get an answer from taking 100 quizzes online. But some of them did get us thinking about what’s also important to us. The more we researched, the more we were drawn to...North Carolina! And then as we were Zillow and Chilling and couldn’t find a house we didn’t like there. (We were looking in the Raleigh/Durham area). Out of curiosity, we threw the question out on Instagram Stories to ask you “If you could live anywhere in the US–where would you live? We got answers in almost every state with reasons that had us considering everywhere from Montana to Tennessee to New Mexico.

(When we visited beautiful St. George, Utah last fall)

Growing up, if I wasn’t sure what to do about something, my mom would say, “One day, all day, pretend like you’re going to do x, and the next day pretend all day that you’re going to do y. And then see how you feel!” We did that. And even though the day we were moving to North Carolina felt exciting (and warm!), the day that we were staying here in beautiful Idaho to rebuild the cabin felt more like home. It feels like the only way. We can’t not! That’s not to say there isn’t a major move somewhere down the road, but in the meantime, we have family, friends, mature trees, 4 seasons (although predominately cold! haha), organic produce options, the most beautiful wilderness you wouldn’t believe, kind people and not a traffic jam in sight.

Would love to hear where you’re drawn to and why in the comments!

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What do you think?

  1. Melissa says:

    Austin! Austin! Austin !

  2. Angela says:

    I feel like you’d enjoy taking on a project in St Augustine FL. Of course it’s Florida so it’s predominantly hot (and humid!) so maybe not a long term thing. But between the beach and all the history (oldest continuous city in the country) along with lots of small businesses popping g hop (I went to high school with many of those business owners), I bet you’d enjoy it even as a short term thing.

  3. Lindsay says:

    North Carolina really is great. But I think you were looking in the wrong city! Check out WInston Salem and see what you think. (College town, not too far from mountains, very charming with a great art scene downtown, lots of local farm to table type of restaurants- and not as many chains. Great cost of living and easy access to all the major east coast cities. Oh and beaches with in driving distance.)

    RDU is great but knowing what I know about rexburg and you guys from your blog I think you should give WS a glance!

    • Krystal says:

      Yes! I second Winston Salem. I love it here. I’m a midwest transplant, moving here about four or five years ago. It’s such a great town for all these reasons!

  4. Henry says:

    Interesting topic! Strange that you got NY and NC – since those are quite different. Personally, I love exploring different places. I’ve been drawn to Argentina. It’s a beautiful country with lots of geographic variety – everything from world class cities like Buenos Aires to ice glaciers and cascade mountains in Patagonia to tropical waterfalls such as Igauza.

  5. Hannah says:

    I’m in Los Angeles rigth now, but my next stop is Salt Lake City. I want to spend some serious time in the mountains, but still see some of my favorite bands.

  6. Anna Clive says:

    I live in and love Grand Rapids, Michigan. It has a big city feel rich in art, music, entertainment and culinary gems. But there are plenty of bedroom neighborhoods and spacious, wooded suburbs and great schools. My favorite thing is the diversity of architecture. Heritage Hill has wonderful Victorian mansions as well as two Frank Lloyd Wright homes. East Grand Rapids has a variety of styles from historic Tudor style mansions to 1920s bungalows and even some Bauhaus style houses. My fave are all the MCM ranches in different areas of the city and suburbs. We are only a short distance from Herman Miller headquarters after all! GR is a less than an hour drive from Lake Michigan and there are many stunning state parks/forests in the state as well as national ones like Sleeping Bear. And added bonuses – GR has an international airport and is about a 2 hour drive to Detroit and we’re about 3 hours to Chicago!!

  7. Liz says:

    My husband and I along with our two small kids recently made a big move from Michigan to Missouri. It was a ‘starting over’ move and totally overwhelming, but just meant to be! We love it here in the sticks about an hour from St. Louis!
    Before we had our sweet kids we struggled with infertility and in the midst of that my husband was considering pursuing a job in the U.K. It would have been a commitment of 1-3 years. I was 25 and totally freaked at the thought of leaving everything we knew and my close group of friends in a really emotional time. So we stayed where we were and didn’t get pregnant for about 3 more years…and in the meantime 4 of my close friends had babies. It was incredibly difficult and if I could go back in time I’d tell myself to try something new. I think that would have been a great opportunity for my husband and an exciting time for us to travel (something we NEVER do…)!
    BTW I took the Time quiz I got Oklahoma! Clearly I’m in the right region now LOL!

  8. Miranda says:

    I have lived in Vermont my entire life and will never move.
    -Very low crime
    -Beautiful scenery
    -No traffic
    -Farm to table
    -Lake and Mountains
    -No giant/nasty bugs
    -Ben & Jerrys and VT maple syrup
    -No billboards
    -Hard to find jobs
    -Winters are horrible=roads are horrible
    -Not very much entertainment/events
    -Small population: Everyone knows everyone

  9. Ashley Clauss says:

    I might be biased being born and raised in good ol’ North Carolina. But the things you listed as what you were looking for a city are all some of the things I love about where we live. Not to mention close to both mountains and beach, good lakes for boating, swimming, etc. I could go on and on but it’s time for me to take my daughter to school ????

  10. Angie says:

    OMG, Sign! Me! Up! you’ve sold me on Tulsa!! ????

  11. Donna says:

    Hi Julia,
    As a native New Yorker, we moved away from the NY crazy and spent nearly 28 years in Winston Salem, NC. After raising our kids there through college, we decided to come back to NY to be closer to family and my kids (who decided there wasn’t any other place to be after college). What I can tell you about North Carolina is that it has so much to offer, from the beautiful beaches of the coast, the majestic Blue Ridge mountains to the west, vibrant cities, restaurants, entertainment and people from every corner of the world, and it was the best place to raise my family. Winston Salem was small and quiet when we moved there in 1990…coming from a job in Manhattan, it was a bit of a culture shock. But there was something about the weather (seasonal, but nothing drastically warm or cold) and the people that made us stay. Winston is home to NC School of the Arts and Wake Forest University which brings young, smart, talented kids. Luckily, with a lot of community involvement, historic attractions (Old Salem, Reynolda House Museum, Graylyn Estate), we watched the downtown area grow and become a fantastic place to see and be seen. The WS Symphony, Opera, Ballet, Wake Forest Innovation Center, countless art galleries, breweries, restaurants, etc. have made this city a place where young people are coming to live and work. Old factory buildings have been turned into modern lofts for living and for retail space. Older homes and buildings are being scooped up and renovated for affordable living. Life has been brought back to this city and it makes me sad that I left! For nearly 28 years I had called New York my home while living in Winston. Now that I’m back in New York, I realize that Winston really was my home and I never gave it enough credit for that. I realize home is where your heart is, and we should embrace home, wherever that may be. If you truly consider North Carolina, Raleigh and Charlotte are great cities, but make a point to go see Winston Salem. You won’t be sorry, especially in springtime or fall, when her true colors really shine. Let me know if you do. I’d be happy to fly down from New York and give you a tour. You’d like my friends!

  12. Amanda says:

    I was born in Maine and have lived in New Jersey, Houston and Florida. Each time we visit someplace, we are always glad to go home to Florida! Above all things, it feels like home. We love Maine, but the winters just seem impossible. We like to be outside as much as possible, even if it’s just sitting on the porch. We would consider moving just about anywhere short term, but Florida will always be home. Nothing beats the best beaches, warm weather and small town feel.

  13. Sarah says:

    I might be biased, but Fayetteville/Bentonville in Arkansas meets all of your qualifications you listed! You should definitely look into it.

    • Emily says:

      I live here and can agree! But I also totally understand the feeling of being home!

      • Sara Steen says:

        I also agree! Northwest Arkansas hits all of your bullet points on the nose! Plus Fayetteville seems to always in the top 5-10 of recommended lists in the US. I’ve lived in Fayetteville for 10 years now, and love it more all the time. It’s exciting to be part of an area that’s constantly growing and changing.

  14. Trudy says:

    We live in Chapel Hill NC – love the triangle! Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill – all have great food, music, etc and still easy living. We moved here from San Francisco and my native California husband had never looked back. You can find a house to redo!

  15. Mary C. says:

    Raleigh was just named third best place to live in the world!!! Maybe Zillow didn’t find anything now, but I wouldn’t stop looking!!

  16. Jenna says:

    Have only seen the coast of NC so I have no input on Raleigh-Durham (have heard great things though!) but when we lived in VA we spent a few weekends in Charlottesville and fell in love with it! It’s a cute college town a few hours from D.C., by the blue ridge mountains and they have their own “wine country.” We had a girls trip there and did a bus winery tour and it was so fun and picturesque. So much history in the area too if you’re into that. ????

  17. Kristie says:

    We live in Chapel Hill, NC and love it! I grew up in the Boston area but have lived in NC (including Raleigh) for 18 years when I came down for grad school! If you ever come this way and want to check things out, let me know. We would love to show you around!

  18. Marilyn Cutler says:

    Ok, we literally JUST moved to the Raleigh area a month ago from Utah. My husband is a realtor and investor and we wanted a change with all the same criteria you mentioned and also a homeschool friendly state that was driving distance to basically everywhere and WE LOVE IT SO FREAKING MUCH!!!!! I love that DC is a 4.5 hr drive away, NYC is a 9 hr drive away but Orlando is 9 hrs the opposite direction. And the beach is far enough it’s a vacay but close enough it can be a day trip. NC is also stunning…I constantly feel like I’m driving thru a calendar picture. It’s seriously heaven.

  19. Steph says:

    Minnesota is home to me, 4 seasons, but we do everything big! Hot summers, cold winters, dramatic falls and springs. We have cabin country in our back yard. Our cabin is in Wisconsin. We have ton of access to local and fresh food, great night life. Traffic in the city can get over whelming but we are north of the cities. So it doesn’t effect us as much. But where you are reminds me of my home state. We dream of relocating. But we are spoiled. I want winter, I want fall, and a hot summer, and a cool spring breeze. I feel like this will always be home. Good Luck on the next Chapter, where ever it leads you!

  20. Holly says:

    I live halfway between Asheville and Charlotte and I adore Asheville but Charlotte and it’s traffic I try to avoid at all costs! Our humidity is miserable and our summers start in late April and last until November it seems! The Raleigh-Durham area is very popular with families, just avoid the Chapel Hill area and you should be fine (lol)!❤️????❤️

  21. Kristen says:

    I will admit that I am biased because I was born here, grew up here and have lived here for 25 years. But I find it difficult to see myself ever leaving North Carolina. I love to travel and fall in love with other states/cities, but nothing ever compares to here. You’re within a few hour drive of the mountains or the beach. The schools are excellent. Housing is still relatively affordable. There are lots of employment opportunities. The major universities are some of the best in the country. You get four seasons! Yes, the politics aren’t the best at the moment, but I definitely see the state changing, albeit slowly. Definitely worth a serious consideration/visit. I live in Cary, kind of sandwiched between Raleigh and Durham, I would look into it. Chapel Hill is also amazing. I recently moved from the Southern Village neighborhood and miss it so much. The neighborhood had its own co-op market, movie theatre, restaurants, pharmacy, doctors offices, schools, and parks.

  22. Morgan says:

    I love in a SUPER small town called State Road, NC (it’s about 40 miles from Winston-Salem). I love the area and it couldn’t possibly any better for me. I’m close to larger cities but we have the charm of a small town, with absolutely no traffic!! In my opinion, NC is the PERFECT place to live. We have the most beautiful fall season and winter is super mild in most of the state.

  23. Brenda Bratton says:

    We had almost the same list. We live in Tulsa, OK and absolutely love it. We live on an acre of land in the middle of midtown Tulsa. Near the best restaurants, the gathering place and downtown. We have 30+ trees on our property which feels like a park and I renovated our 1949 house inside and out. There’s even a small stable in our backyard. The fixer uppers are affordable. A lot of midcentury home and character homes. We paid 225k put 125k into our home and now it’s worth 450k after 6 years. It takes about 15-25 min to get further across town During rush hour. The music and downtown is booming. They are calling Tulsa the next Austin or Nashville. Lots of organic and year round farmers markets. Lots of farm to table places to eat too. Schools are affordable if you choose private and public schools in Tulsa are chartered, magnet so you can pick and choose. Ranked some of the best in the country. The cost of living here is amazing. We make six figures and will have our home paid for in less than 10 years. Lots of shared office space all over town. Tulsa loves local business owners and promotes them. The weather here is the best. Our winters are mild and short. We may get one good snow 2-5” but that’s it. The spring and fall thunderstorms and tornadoes tend to skip or go around Tulsa. They are normally bad in OKC but die down before getting here. It was 70 yesterday and 54 today. You get nice breaks from the hot and from the cold. We love Tulsa and couldn’t promote her more. She’s a melting pot of artists, foodies, hipsters, musicians, farmers, renovation gurus, Art Deco buildings, history and families of all colors and cultural backgrounds.

    Happy hunting Chris and Julia :)

  24. Nicole says:

    Born and raised in Charlotte NC and we would love to have you hear ! There are not a lot of us natives anymore, but Charlotte has a lot going on and there are some great slower towns right outside of the city.

  25. Rachael H. says:

    You should consider Northern Idaho! Coeur d’ Alene/Hayden or Sandpoint more specifically! It’s beautiful up here and we have everything on your list! The seasons are amazing, especially the summers! So much fun stuff to do outdoors, and it’s very affordable living!

  26. Vicki Williams says:

    I think the Carolinas, though beautiful! have chiggers and all kinds of bugs. Not my cup of (herbal) tea! Just sayin’.

  27. Caroline says:

    Charlotte, NC (currently live), meets all of your criteria :) also Charleston, SC.
    Moved from Stockholm, Sweden to LA to NYC to Charlotte, NC.

  28. Mary says:

    At the risk of being flamed…I’m so surprised by all of these North Carolina comments. The politics, weather, and traffic there are horrible. I can never understand how anyone likes it there. I could not love Richmond Virginia any more. Great shopping, lots to do, total foodie town, and amazing schools in neighboring Henrico County. It’s a wonderful place to live.

    • Christina says:

      THANK YOU!!! for saying that!! I lived there for 4 years and it is awful.I say this with respect to the fact that I grew up in the Pacific NW and was raised with a certain mentality of just try to be kind and happy.I did not find that there…or organic vegetables…lol

      • Rachel says:

        I think it depends on where you live in NC. I live in Hillsborough, just outside Chapel Hill and Durham and traffic is rarely a problem. We also have a local co-op down the street with amazing local produce, as well as two killer farmer’s markets. It takes us 15 minutes to get into Chapel Hill or Durham, and my husband works in Raleigh (about 40 minutes away). We used to live more west in the state and didn’t love it as much, but I think this can be the case in any state – some parts are great and others not so much. :)

    • Kate says:

      Agreed, 100% I grew up in Richmond in the 90s/early 00s and LOVE going back to visit my parents. Henrico has gotten more congested, but I still just love how it’s a city but not TOO big. I’ve in been in Roanoke for a decade now and love it just as much as Richmond, minus the good shopping. ????

      Also, as a teacher, I’ve heard from many colleagues who have taught in both VA and NC that Virginia is much better in the education realm. I vote Virginia!!

  29. Laura says:

    I grew up in Raleigh, lived in Durham for 5 years and now live on the outskirts of Raleigh in Wendell. I love it here. Just one thing to learn is that it’s not Raleigh-Durham, or Raleigh/Durham…It’s Raleigh or Durham :) There are definitely lots of restaurants, parks, farmer’s markets and events going on in the area on a weekly basis. It has a smaller town feel compared to huge cities but still feels big enough to entertain most anyone. The mountains and beaches only hours away makes me happy that we have those options close by. We are actually baby mooning at the Outer Banks in a couple months and I’m looking forward to the quick getaway. I’ll probably never leave here and don’t really want to!

  30. Victoria says:

    Our family moved from Brooklyn to Richmond two years ago, which we chose completely from research — we didn’t have any family or friends here and we never visited before we decided to scout it out. We were looking for a a place that was cheaper, had good schools, affordable homes, better weather, slower pace, outdoor activities, bicycle friendly, not too far from family in NY, low traffic, and great food. When we visited I asked everyone I met so many questions. And it turned out to be the best choice! In fact, it is better than we thought it would be. The skies are blue even in the winter and I wake up to the sound of geese honking from the bedroom of the home we bought this year. We have a half acre by a pond in a safe suburban neighborhood and my son plays in the cul-de-sac with the neighbors. My commute is 20 minutes, 30 when traffic is heavy–when we lived in BK it took at least an hour to get anywhere. My husband is happy and relaxed and I’m expecting a baby girl. Money is still tight but our quality of life is fantastic.

    • Alex says:

      Can I ask you what neighborhood? We are looking to move out of downtown to start a family but don’t know a soul here who can point us in the right direction. We want good schools with access to nature. I’m clueless. We LOVE Richmond and don’t want to return to congested Northern Virginia.

  31. We’re in the country just a little north of Columbus Ohio and what you described fits mostly here, minus the good food, we’d have to drive into downtown Columbus for that. We love the country views and pleasantness of Ohio but every winter we dream of the mountains. I’d take more snow, preferably all winter, and we love skiing. The emptiness of Montana with its proximity to the national parks has my heart.

  32. Meredith says:

    You’re describing Charlotte in a nutshell! Despite it being a city, it still retains that neighborhood feel.

  33. Emily S says:

    I live in Durham NC and I LOVE it! There is a lot happening in Durham, lots of growth and excitement. Many are calling it the next Austin. There is a lot of diversity, a lot of really great restaurants (the food scene is booming!). The weather is great most of the time – we get a little snow, we get a little rain. Living in this area is convenient for trips to the beach or to the mountains. We have the Eno River which is fun to walk along. We have Duke University, UNC, and NCSU all right here. It’s fun!

  34. Nan says:

    I won’t live in a humid area again. Currently moving from San Francisco bay area to Lake Tahoe (Nevada side). I’ve lived in 5 states, and as much as I love California, it’s getting way too crowded, and the taxes are insane. We’ve talked about moving to Ireland for a year, but home will be in the mountains for now.

  35. Amanda says:

    As a gal who will be moving back to NC for the 3rd time this Spring, I can tell you it is an amazing place to live. Neither my husband or I are from NC, and work has moved us away 2x, we keep feeling drawn back to the state because of all it offers recreationally and true home feel it provides. Wether it is the RDU area, Charlotte, Asheville or Greensboro/Winston Salem, you will find amazing food, community events, and great weather year round. I highly recommend the state!

  36. Caitlin says:

    My dad lives in Raleigh and I live in Boston, but every time I visit him I fall more in love with Raleigh. It is such a cool town and its not too big, and not too small. Gorgeous landscapes, not far from the beach and not far from the mountains. The greatest flea/farmer’s markets I’ve ever seen AND excellent dining options in downtown. Definitely something to consider if you guys do end up moving at some point in time!

  37. Jen says:

    Look at Portland, Maine! Great small city with an amazing restaurant scene, reasonably priced housing, and good public and private schools. We have great access to all of the outdoor experiences Maine has to offer; hiking, skiing, biking, boating, etc. It’s safe and friendly, and we have both a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s! Good airport and less than 2 hours from Boston. Maine has great colleges, art museums, and galleries. Portland also has a great ballet company and a symphony. Check us out!

  38. Molly says:

    I personally would vote for Ann Arbor! You’re close to Detroit and the airport but still in your own town. There’s a great food scene for every food under the sun and absolutely caters to every food allergy/preference you could think of. We have 4 distinct seasons, lots to do outdoors, and we’re known for having so many trees! It’s a small city, with lots of amenities. I just love it here (been here 4 years and every year we love it more and more!)

  39. Rebecca Halverson says:

    We love Kansas City! We moved here from Eastern Oregon 4+ years ago and can’t imagine moving back. We have big city amenities, but it has a small town feel. We can get to the other side of the city in 45 minutes. There are lots of friendly people, a great food scene, lots of trees (big draw for me after growing up in high desert), miles and miles of paved trails and great architecture! We have a wonderful art museum. I think you’d like Leawood, KS which is a suburb of Kansas City.

  40. AP says:

    Ann Arbor, Michigan! Such a great place! We love the area. So much to do outside. So much to see. So many cool events at U of M! The outlining small towns have such a feeling of community. Now that we’re here, I plan to stay.

  41. DD says:

    The Raleigh/Durham area is great if you can accept bad traffic and soaring house prices as a trade-off for the local buzz. But why not move an hour west to Winston-Salem, where we enjoy big-city arts and culture with a neighborly attitude? High-tech research and museums full of history, a thriving slow-food vibe (our family now buys only locally raised meats and veg), and outstanding schools and universities. Only two hours from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, four hours from pristine beaches. We love it here. Best wishes.

    • DD says:

      Just thought of another reason to make North Carolina home: ACC sports. As a newcomer, you would actually be entitled to choose sides in the eternal, blistering rivalry between Duke and UNC. Most natives were born into either faction, which rises to a fever pitch during college basketball season. A book about the two national champions is even entitled “To Hate like this Is To Be Happy Forever.” UNC clobbered #1-ranked Duke two weeks ago, and the fur is still flying. I’m a Durham native who went to Wake Forest undergrad and UVA for grad school, so all I can say is, “Go Deacs, Go Dookies, Wahooo-waaa!” It’s merry mayhem!

  42. Alix says:

    We recently moved and our new home ticks every box on your list – it’s Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. We love it! No traffic, great restaurants and food, a symphony orchestra, two theatre companies, a world-renowned art gallery, plenty of wilderness. Such a great move from us from the grid-locked hell that was Sydney.

  43. Krystal says:

    This makes me so happy!!

  44. Grace says:

    I have lived in North Carolina my whole life (I’m 24 – but, still!) and it’s the best. I actually suggested New Mexico in your IG question though! I’ve lived in Eastern NC growing up – most of it is very rural and poor. I would not suggest living east of I-95, unless you’re actually on the coast! I was in the Raleigh-Durham for five years during college and one year after and I LOVED it and miss it so much. I now live 45 minutes west of Durham and 30 minutes east of Greensboro. I still love where I am now but wish I was a little closer to either GBO or Durham. For the other region of the state, my grandpa lives in the mountains and I’ve spent so much time there too! I looove where he is, 45 minutes south of Asheville. It’s beautiful and bucolic, but real estate prices are going up and up! I’d love to see y’all in NC someday but I can’t wait to see what you continue to do in Idaho!

  45. Jenna says:

    I knew my answer of North Carolina in your question box on IG would totally sway you. ???? But seriously, after you’ve done all the cool things in Idaho, come down South. Although I see you guys more toward western NC, what with the mountains and all. Nothing wrong with Raleigh, but west of Winston-Salem is where it’s at. ???? Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with during the rebuild process!!

  46. Katy W says:

    I love North Carolina! Raleigh is nice, with Cary being my favorite suburb. If Charlotte isn’t too big, they have some wonderful suburbs. Pineville and Waxhaw have cute downtowns. And just over the border in South Carolina are Fort Mill and Rock Hill which have GREAT schools and are super cute. Charlotte has tons to do (great restaurants!) and a lot of the nearby towns (30 minutes or so to uptown outside of rush hour) match up to your list well, low crime, farmers markets (soooo many peaches in the summer), warm weather, good schools. We love Charlotte!

  47. Sarah says:

    I don’t know anyone from Idaho but you make it sound amazing! I love your decision to stay the course but not limit your sights for where you might end up down the road. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Good luck!

  48. Ashley Boland says:

    You should absolutely consider Greenville, South Carolina. It checks every item on your list. It is the ultimate big city amenities/small town feeling type of city with wonderful restaurants. In addition to four seasons, you are 15 minutes from mountains and only a couple of hours to beaches. We loved our time living there but moved back home to Georgia to be near family since we have young children. But we miss it all the time! A special place!

    • christen says:

      i agree! we lived in greenville for a year and it was definitely a special place. and checks so many boxes!

  49. Felicia says:

    We’ve lived in Raleigh since 1995 —moved from South Florida so our daughter could grow up in a more sane place, plus my fam is in South Carolina — and we love it. Great arts/culture/sports/knowledge economy scene plus nice people. If you find yourselves wanting to know more, please get in touch. It’s a lovely, humane place to be. That said, there’s a lot to love in blooming where you are planted right this minute.

  50. Heather says:

    We just did this process and moved from Ft. Worth Texas to Sandpoint ID

  51. Patricia says:

    When I read your wishlist for a city to live in, I immediately thought that it sounds exactly like where you are now….Why not take a few weeks and treat your hometown like you are a tourist ? Sometimes we take our homes (towns) for granted and grow bored with them. Treat it like you are a visitor for a few weeks, and you may just find that you are already “home”…..

  52. Ellie says:

    My husband and I grew up in Cincinnati and we got REAL tired of snow. It’s just not for us! When we graduated college, we packed everything up and moved to Austin, Texas! Best decision ever! Sure it’s hot in the summer but we have gorgeous weather most of the rest of the year! Sunny, warm, and breezy. Also there are very strict city ordinances about cutting down trees so there are all these beautiful old oak trees everywhere! Right on the edge of hillcountry and not too far from the gulf of Mexico. Plus Austin is SUCH a fun city. So many new restaurants to try, places to visit, fun things to do! That said, if I could live anywhere in the lower 48 I would live in Georgetown, Texas! It’s a northern suburb of Austin and its this absolutely adorable small town with historic architecture and the county courthouse in the town square. It’s that small town feel, but you’re only about 30 minutes from the city so do you really get the best of both worlds.

  53. Eliza says:

    My family and I have lived in Raleigh for the past 14 years, and we LOVE it!! If you have any questions or would like to pick my brain for down the road, would love to chat more! ????

  54. Colleen says:

    Originally from Madison, WI area (eh), lived in Milwaukee, WI (loved), now live in SE WA – which I like a lot more climate wise than the Midwest, love the landscape and national parks nearby, but miss some of the options that larger cities allow for (shopping and entertainment wise). End goal is CA for my husband (originally from there) and I, but we’ll see where our adventure takes us along the way. :) For fun – my quiz results were California, Hawaii, U.K., Los Angeles & Rhode Island. Loved Italy and France when I visited (in particular would pack my bags and move to Monaco or Florence if I could), wish I had more time to see Germany and Switzerland, and have plenty more places on my bucket list to travel to some day!

  55. Sarah says:

    My husband, son and I moved to Denver from Philadelphia about 5 years ago. It’s been wonderful, but I really miss our families and closest friends. My mom passed away from cancer two years ago, and I’m sad that she didn’t get more time with her grandson. Moving can be wonderful and exciting, but there are downsides.

  56. LJ says:

    First time commenter here…all of them I could picture fitting into this but big city with small town feel, food scene, produce, unique neighborhoods, diversity are Cincinnati 10/10!!! Please, make. That. Move!!!

  57. Cara says:

    I’m glad you’re staying put. I think it’s always wise to just “be” for a bit after something major happens. Our initial instinct is just get up and go, as if that’ll make everything alright. Like if you change your scenery, you’ll change what happened or how you feel. You have a beautiful home with a great support system, so soak that up. Let it heal you. Let it change you in whatever way you’re supposed to change and when the time is right (if it ever is) you’ll know it’s not because of this traumatic event, it’s because that’s where you’re meant to be. You’ve got this! I just know it:)

    For the record, I’m from Raleigh, NC so I can promise you it’s amazing as you imagine!!! :) Hope you don’t have bad allergies though because pollen season is something fierce and it’s almost upon us!!

  58. Breanna says:

    My husband and I actually did this in our first year of marriage. We moved away from our childhood state in the Midwest, to the east coast for a job. Then once he began only working from home full time, we asked each other where in the US would we like to live. Through massive amounts of Zillow searching, we decided on Washington. We moved to a town closer to Seattle for the first year, giving us time to get acclimated. Then a year later, we found a great piece of property in a more rural area, but still close to urban amenities. Two years later we couldn’t be happier. It really does pay to go with your gut.

  59. Kathi W says:

    Puerto Rico! Just returned from a vacation there and actually started looking at homes for retirement in 15 yrs.

    • Mari Jusino says:

      Kathi W,

      But I thought they were still bouncing back from hurricanes… and actually weren’t economically sound before them. Can I ask where you were in P.R.?

  60. Jill says:

    I’m glad you ‘pretended’ to stay in Idaho and realized its still your place. ;))

    Vive le difference! Great to hear there’s so many contented, happy people across the entire country.

    I’m an hour from the beach. An hour from the snow. But the traffic is BAD when I venture into the city. Can u guess where I live? That’s right, San Francisco Bay Area! I simply love my small town 30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city. I guess I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. ;))

  61. Jennifer says:

    Seriously New Mexico! It ticks all your boxes but in the big city there is some rush hour traffic – but that’s fairly mild. The people here are super nice, and come from so many different cultures. There is so much to do, and such a variety of ecosystems. And we have the International Balloon Fiesta and no one can top that ????

  62. julia says:

    I’m in San Diego but from northern California (Auburn), just south of Tahoe. I had canyons to explore and a plethora of lakes to chose from. I’m not fond of the taxes here but I had a touch of snow growing up and true seasons. Unlike Oregon and Washinton the sun shines in the winter through the rain. I love it up there and San Diego would be great if I was a millionaire and could buy a couple acres and have a cabin in big bear when I’m dying for snow but my hometown satisfies those ideals in one place.

  63. Darcy says:

    I really think you could hit every item on your wish list by looking in Fort Mill, SC or Waxhaw in North Carolina. You’d be a hop, skip and a jump from Charlotte Douglas Airport, excellent schools, all 4 seasons and mostly warm, low crime rate and all the southern hospitality you could ask for! I could recommend some excellent Realtors if you decide to consider these areas!

  64. Blair says:

    I took these quizzes bc I am so curious. I have lived in the northern edges of New England, in steamy South Carolina, in the rainy cloudy UK, France and now Maryland. I got I should live in Georgia (Savannah and Charleston are two of my favorite places so this was spot on), Australia (on my bucket list), Alaska (I want to visit but would never live there – too cold), and California (which if it wasn’t for the cost of living I would totally move there today)! Funny huh!

  65. HeatherB says:

    As I read your wishlist, I immediately thought, “North Carolina or Virginia”! Hah! Maybe wishful thinking on my part, as my wishlist would be similar to yours, and those are my two dream states. Florida–my current home–is definitely lacking in the “four seasons” category!

  66. Meg says:

    When I read your list, my immediate thought was college town – I think a major college town would check your boxes. Maybe Davis, CA? (And yes, I realize you decided not to move, but I couldn’t not chime in.)

  67. Jacqueline says:

    I was going to suggest Asheville, North Carolina. The Raleigh/Durham area is nice too! It’s giving me a little food for thought. I love Metro Atlanta but sometimes I long for a smaller town and slower pace of life. Less traffic would be ideal!

  68. Heidi says:

    I was born in NC, and have lived here most of my life. Raleigh, as an adult, the past 12 years. I love that mid-NC (“The Piedmont”) is 2 hours to the beach, 2 hours to the mountains. Blue Ridge Parkway AND the Outer Banks?? What did we do to deserve both!! Gorgeous in different ways all over the state, at all different times of year. SO many things to do with the fam, and it keeps growing in (mostly) thoughtful and exciting ways.

    The real estate situation here is really bonkers right now. Low inventory, high demand. Folks love NC and keep coming here! (For good reason, it’s great). It’s a “put an offer in before you even tour” kind of speed, which isn’t for everybody. But that market is also making a lot of folks consider selling since they can get more for their house than ever. Seems like buying some diamond-in-the-rough land or a fixer upper on the outskirts of the major cities is the way to go. (Outside of the I-540 loop) I’d love to design and build a place on the outskirts of Raleigh or Durham (I’m an Architectural & Graphic Designer), so maybe you should do the same and I can get all the inspiration and know how about the process from you guys!! Love your style so much! Good luck figuring it all out – exciting times when there are so many possibilities! :)

  69. Jessica says:

    Ahhhh!!! I was one to suggest North Carolina!!! I hope you find happiness and peace with your future dreams ????????

  70. I am thrilled that you decided to build again! I can’t help but think that the land and the cabin would be so grateful that the family who nurtured it for so long are not giving up on it. That it will have a chance to be reborn and loved again. PS, that is not a guilt-trip…the MOST important thing is to live in a place that is best for your family, so of course moving would be the right option if it felt right to you guys, but I’ve always felt like homes have souls and a spirit to them, and this spot would be honored to house and shelter your family again.

    Also, it would be cool to include in your new cabin design a small art studio off of the cabin for you to have a gorgeous setting for getting back into art, and you could so small art showings or intimate cooking/painting/styling and photographing workshops in that beautiful spot!!! I would totally sign up for any of your classes or showings!! I love any art event/venue brought to eastern Idaho!!! :) (Of course parking would be a doozy. haha. Maybe include a shuttle van from Swan Valley?)

  71. Viktorija says:

    It was so funny reading your post and coming to the Raleigh/Durham part—I live in Durham. :) I think NC is a fantastic state. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that it really is the perfect fit for me: not too cold, not too hot, four season, we’re 3 hours from the mountains, and 3 from the coast. BUT after everything you’ve gone through this past month—and the fact that you have family in Idaho—I think I’d also stay put if I were you. ;) Family sweetens locale in such a wonderful way.

  72. Maria says:

    My husband and I have the privilege to relocate from the Bay Area in CA to anywhere we’d like to go to and after a couple years of visiting various places such as Portland, Asheville, Austin, Seattle, Park City, and Boulder, we are pretty sure we are going to go to Charlottesville, VA. It’s near family, which is nice for raising our daughter and it has almost everything on our list (which closely resembles yours). If you were to make this big life leap, we’d love to be taken along for the ride as we make a similar change.

    • Laura Groff says:

      Great choice…welcome! We came here decades ago to stay for a short time…love it here.

    • Sherrie Meyer says:

      My husband and I, an older retired couple, are moving from Fl to the Charlottesville, Va area to be closer to family as we age. We will be 30 min or less from Charlottesville in either Staunton or Fishersville as housing costs are less there. I did extensive research on the area. Everything will cost less there than here in Fl…housing, utilities, home and car insurance etc. There are farms that grow anything you would want and you can buy directly from them. Great outdoor activities. Great music scene. Check out the year round events of the Blues Society. I am so anxious to get out of hot, humid, embarrassing state of Fl. It is not the paradise people think it is if you live here.

  73. Amy Lee Graham says:

    As a teen and in college, I’d always dream about the coolest places to move!! BUT, now as an adult, I just can’t bear the thought of being more than 10 hours away (preferably less!) from our close family. I have three little boys who ADORE their grandparents and cousins… and I would be SO sad to be far away from my sisters and mom! Right now, our siblings, their families’, and our parents are all within an 8 hour drive. So, all of the cool locations in the world have a hard time competing with spending a life enjoying plenty of time with family. :) Maybe if end up filthy stinkin’ rich and i can have my own jet, then I could easily fly to visit family every month! haha! (PS, I live in Idaho Falls, so we’re neighbors. :) Right now, my idea of where I want to live is Inkom. Ya know, right next to Pocatello. I LOVE the hills!!! And it’s a small town, but close to Pocatello for access to stores and jobs. And, it’s in the middle of family, who are in Eastern Idaho, Star Valley, and Utah/Provo Valleys. I also don’t want to drive longer than 15 minutes to get to a grocery store and a gas station. And I 100% agree with you on the trees. Which is tricky if you plan to build in Eastern Idaho, because trees here have to be planted and nurtured, and take time!! Maybe my husband and I could buy land, then go plant a bunch of trees, then build 5 years later, haha! I also want a valley view on one side of my house and a hill view behind us. So, halfway up a hill is my goal. The home I grew up in had that view. I know that is weirdly specific! ha! But, I could definitely find it in Inkom!

  74. Laura says:

    You named two of my favorite states NC and MT! We’re in the middle of raising our 5 kids in North Carolina and it’s awesome (although weirdly, more snow would make me happy), but that’s because I’m originally from Montana. We take our kids back to the ranch there to “de-citify” them!

  75. Kelly Sune says:

    You should check out Carrboro, NC! LOVE LOVE LOVE my town!

  76. Dani says:

    Colorado is big on restaurants for those with intolerances and dietary restrictions. Tons of organic stores and farmer’s markets here, lots of mature trees, diversity, culture, good schools, and warm temps. Okay, okay, so I’m just trying to get you to move here. But if I could live anywhere, I’d likely not leave the state. The scenery is incredible, and the people seem happy. Plus, it’s a fitness and dog-loving state.

  77. April says:

    My mother moved to the Raleigh area two years ago. The weather is probably close to what you’re looking for (summers are BRUTAL), but there’s about a trillion people there. People bring crime, and traffic is the norm. Cary, however, is quite the utopia with walkable streets and fun events. It’s hard to find a lot with privacy, if that’s a concern. Homes are cheap, property taxes are low. It would appear that none of the houses have basements, much to my mother’s displeasure.

    I live near Concord NH, and there is no one here (well, kinda). Weather does skew on the colder side. People keep to themselves, perfect for introverts. Crime is super low. Lots of farmers markets, but we also have most of the major retail chains. Home prices improve from Concord up, but property taxes bring the hurt. The towns with the worst taxes have fantastic schools. Bonus is Manchester Airport. It’s quite small, and much less stressful than checking in at Logan. Carrie Bradshaw would be bored, but it’s perfect for us. I literally live in the woods, yet Home Depot is 5 minutes away. Can’t beat this.

  78. Shelley says:

    We are transitioning back to Portland, Oregon for retirement after living the last 34 years in Montana (too remote and the winters are too long & harsh!) I grew up in Portland area and actually LONGED to return for years. Fits your criteria except perhaps the rising cost of housing and traffic. But the GREENESS, trees, long growing season, great restaurants and bars, accessibility to outdoors, outdoor recreation (hiking, biking, boating, skiing, kayaking) make it all worth it. To me it still has a comfortable mid-size town feel. I’m familiar with the Puget Sound area too and it’s truly beautiful but has become too congested and costly. The Pacific Northwest has the rain but mostly mild temps, and long beautiful summers.

    • Avery says:

      I second all the above about Portland OR. And as a mother with two small kids – we are happy with our schools, sidewlked safe neighborhood, and hiking trails that start 100 ft from our door. The traffic really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be if you pick your house and work with intent. It’s all the things on your list for sure. I also went to college in NC and it was nice for sure, but Portland would be a closer hop to family. Two cents ;)

  79. ALLIE says:

    So fun to dream. We live in North Dakota. I know, I know, the state EVERYONE wants to move to ;) I actually love it since it’s an easy drive or layover in Minneapolis-St.Paul. Not much traffic, incredibly affordable, a crazy amount of local artists, and the beer and food scene is really growing and super close to the lakes. All that makes up for the awfully long winter. I would love to live closer to the mountains or the ocean but we love being close to family with little kids. Maybe when they’re older!

  80. Davida says:

    I lived in Durham, NC for seven years (originally born and raised in NYC), then I met my husband and we now live in Wilson, NC which is about an hour east of Raleigh, NC. I love Durham and wish we were back there, but we do go there a lot and even do staycations there. It has changed immensely since I left a mere four years ago, and is only getting better in my opinion. You might like Durham compared to Raleigh or Cary (although Chapel Hill is nice too, but probably more expensive). Durham is diverse, has great schools and there is a lot to do. The real estate has gotten a little expensive, which is why we decided to stay in Wilson (we got two kids in college!), but if you can afford it, I highly recommend it. Let me know if you have any questions.

  81. The TIME personality quiz says I belong in FL but I totally want to get out of here to more of a mountain scene! Totally LOLed since I already live here ????

  82. Michelle says:

    I live in the Raleigh/Durham area (Chapel Hill, specifically) and can totally see you guys loving it here.

  83. Laura says:

    NC, definitely, but look in the mountains! Asheville has all the things you are looking for and is beautiful.

  84. K says:

    As a military family we’ve lived all over the country. We are mid-30s with two small children and there are several places I’d consider living again for the long-haul: Bainbridge Island, WA, Asheville, NC, or back to upstate NY where I’m from (maybe Ithaca or Rochester?). WA and NC meet your requirements but NY has horrible winter weather. We currently live just south of San Francisco in Monterey… which is nice but the cost of living and the majority of the public school systems here are of major concern. We are moving soon back to Northern Virginia. Not my favorite location (traffic!!) but we will be able to access an amazing public school system and family.

  85. Jael says:

    Do you follow @cheapoldhouses on instagram? Their posts always get me contemplating moves to the most random places.

  86. Lori Hess says:

    As an FYI the house at the beginning of your post belongs to my talented Jennifer Mathews of Jennifer Mathews Interiors in Long Beach, CA. I see this image posted all the time and no one ever gives her credit!

    • Julia says:

      Thank you so much! I’m going to credit now. I did a reverse google image search and went through pages and pages and they all landed on Pinterest–which is so frustrating. Really appreciate you letting me know.

  87. Morgan says:

    I grew up in Cary, NC (right outside of Raleigh) and while it is lovely as far as general proximity to mountains/beach, Universities, and lots of shops, I moved to Charleston SC in 2007 and haven’t looked back. Charleston has the historic charm, I am ten minutes from the sandy beach, and has an amazing food scene!

  88. Angela says:

    Check out Hood River,OR. We love it. Great schools, on the Columbia River, a 25 minute drive to Mt Hood for skiing. The nicest people, community feel. It’s 45 minutes from Portland.

  89. Maggie says:

    As I was reading your list of what you would look for, I was thinking North Carolina. I’ve been in the Greensboro area for a little over five years, and I love this state (my husband and I just closed on a house last week, so we plan to stick around)! Greensboro has a smaller town feel, but we have all the city amenities we want, too (arts, culture, great food, etc.). The mountains and the beach are both only a few hours away, and we have an airport, as well as two others larger ones that are less than a two hour drive away. We also have four seasons (though sometimes we get an additional spring in the middle of winter). We really love the Raleigh/Durham area, too. But I totally understand a place feeling like home, as exciting as moving somewhere new might sound, and I’m sure Idaho is as wonderful as you describe it. I visited Idaho 18 years ago (my great grandparents had a house on Lake Pend Oreille), and I still remember how amazingly beautiful it was!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes to Greensboro! My husband and I went to college there and moved away. We talk often about moving back. Big cities, mountains, beaches all close. Great schools and higher learning. And some fabulous architecture. Not to mention the Christmas balls!

  90. Ron says:

    I love how your posts really get me thinking.

  91. Sasha says:

    I think Minnesota is probably the best state to live in right now.

    “Now Minnesota has the largest Somali [mostly Muslim] community in the United States, with Census numbers putting the population around 40,000.

    “It’s the biggest Somali community in North America, possibly in the world outside of East Africa,” Arthur Nazaryan, a freelance photojournalist told CNN. “It’s like the cultural hub of the Somali diaspora, you could say.”

    I think cultural diversity should be the number one choice in deciding where to live. I love wearing a burka now and have never looked back!

  92. Erica Lanagan says:

    We in the midst of planning a move to Nashville from Orange County, CA. I’ve lived here for 41 years, but I don’t want to raise my 3 year old twin boys here.

  93. Janet says:

    As I was reading, I kept thinking NC. I’d recommend looking at the Charlotte area, as well as Asheville and Chapel Hill. We’re in The Greensboro area and love it…three hours to the beach, three hours to the mountains.

  94. Jen says:

    Don’t come to Nashville! We’re full! ????

    I mean, I love you guys… But Nashville can’t handle the influx of new residents! We’re being crushed under the weight of our own growth.

    • Britt says:

      Oh Jen, as a fellow Nashvillian, I love you. Our city is bursting at the seams! It’s insane here. Music City is glorious, but it really needs more infrastructure to handle this influx of Californians and Ohioans who seem to be mass migrating here.

      • Jen says:

        Haha, thanks for backing me up here. As a southerner, I hate to be unwelcoming or unfriendly. But I hate to see all the independently owned businesses that gave our hometown its charm going out of business, because they can’t afford the cost of rent in an It City. And then they get replaced by CPK and mellow mushroom… Goodbye, charm!

        Of course, it’s even worse to see native Nashvillians being priced out of the city where they grew up. I’m just glad we bought our home before everything blew up. We couldn’t afford to live here if we were buying now, LOL!

      • Rachelle France says:

        Us Californians are coming to places like Nashville etc because California natives too are getting pushed out from our homes by the tech industries. It’s a domino effect.

      • Rachel says:

        Jen & Britt, I totally agree with you. Soooo over the traffic, construction and crazy real estate prices here. Nashville ain’t what she used to be. ????

        For anyone considering a move to Nashville, stay on I-65 South. I hear Birmingham, AL is really nice too! ????

  95. Alicia says:

    Before I got to the part about North Carolina, I was thinking about Wilmington for you guys!

    Also, you said you were looking for friendly people… we live everywhere!

    • Julia says:

      We’ve traveled a lot and agree with you–there are friendly people everywhere! I will say, NYC had the least number of friendly people. Hahaha. I think I’m used to living in a place where everyone waves and smiles and says hi even if you don’t know them!

      • Laura says:

        People in NYC are super friendly. We don’t say hi to every stranger we see because we’d be saying hi 10,000 times a day, but stop someone to ask a question and they’ll open right up. I also think NYC is a city of neighborhoods. Tourists tend to congregate in touristy areas, where no one knows each other or chats on the street. Go to a more residential area and you’ll see people engaging with their local shopkeepers and with each other on the street. Finally, the easiest way to engage with strangers in NYC is to own (and walk) a dog – my list of neighborhood friends grew about 20x after I got a dog.

        NYC is not for everyone, but for those of us who love it, it spoils every other US city. I grew up in Washington DC, which is a lovely city, but it pales in comparison to NYC. I couldn’t live in any other place in the US.

      • Caitlin Rose Low says:

        My husband and I just spent 8 days for our anniversary in NYC over Christmas. Honestly I was nervous…the only other time I had been there a person screamed at me in a coffee shop. We had the best time!! I loved every single minute of it!! You’re right people don’t say hi, but it’s truly because of why you said. We had great conversations with baristas, wait staff, uber drivers, all of it!

      • Laura says:

        So glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Joy says:

      We’re in Wilmington (NC) and LOVE it! Small town feel with big city amenities and almost NO traffic, there isn’t any major highway, only “back roads” to the beach and places. everyone is super friendly, downtown is charming and the weather is a huge plus.

  96. Kaleigh says:

    Try Canada! We have BEAUTIFUL scenery too. I live smack in the middle of our great country, on the flat prairies, but a 3 hour drive and you end up in the most beautiful lake country, or rolling hills. and the traffic jams are definitely few and far between ;)

  97. Julie S says:

    Haha, the end got me! Sounds like you’re going to stay and rebuild? I love that you tried on each “decision” for size for a day. Great idea. Hey, North Carolina has been on my bucket list of places to live ever since I was researching places to go to college years ago. The gorgeous case goods, the decent weather/4 seasons, the landscape. I’ve only lived in Michigan (great people, couldn’t handle the weather) and two regions of southern California. I’m now in the beautiful if low mountains east of San Diego and very happy with everything except the politics!

  98. Erica says:

    My husband and I and our three kids live in Cary, NC, and we love it. Our three kids have all been born here and it is a great place to raise a family. I feel like your list describes this area quite well. I love the advice that your mom gave you about living with a decision for a day or two to mull it over and see how you feel. That is a great way to tackle the decision making process that I had never considered.

  99. Kambrie Barney says:

    Boise checks off eeverything on your list! ???? Believe it or not there are 4 seasons here! It’s usually 15 to 20 degrees warmer than Eastern Idaho! Fall lasts for months and it’s GORGEOUS! It’s close enough to Eastern Idaho you could easily take a drive and explore some options ???? I love it here! There are SO many fun things to do with kids here, and still plenty of outdoor activities. McCall is just a short drive away. The food options here outweigh anywhere else in Idaho! The traffic is the busiest in Idaho, but I still wouldn’t really say there is terrible traffic here ever. There is a substantial airport. We LOVE it here!!

    • Kambrie Barney says:

      Boise checks off eeverything on your list! ???? Believe it or not there are 4 seasons here! It’s usually 15 to 20 degrees warmer than Eastern Idaho! Fall lasts for months and it’s GORGEOUS! It’s close enough to Eastern Idaho you could easily take a drive and explore some options ???? I love it here! There are SO many fun things to do with kids here, and still plenty of outdoor activities. McCall is just a short drive away. The food options here outweigh anywhere else in Idaho! The traffic is the busiest in Idaho, but I still wouldn’t really say there is terrible traffic here ever. There is a substantial airport. We LOVE it here!! Also that is coming from someone who has lived in Rexburg, Raleigh, and Boise! North Carolina is beautiful, I personally just felt SO claustrophobic over there after living next to the Tetons and Yellowstone! I hated that when we were on car rides there were no big beautiful landmarks to guide us, just trees for hours and hours and hours. At first I thought it was amazing if, but After a few months it started driving me crazy!

  100. Gwen says:

    People say not to make big changes after a loss or when in grief. Glad you’re staying put for the time being. Also, as a military family that’s moved too many times; moving is no joke, emotionally. As a mother, I deal with my own feelings and emotions as well as each child’s issues with the move, good or bad.

  101. Lindsay says:

    I responded to your quiz with mid NC, I live in Greensboro and travel throughout the state all the time. Blah for looking for a house in Raleigh! Traffic!!!!! And so cramped feeling, or sad poor flooded and empty further east. The more west you go the better! Visit the capital and beach, don’t live there.

    Buuut we spent a week in northern Idaho last summer—I don’t fault your choice for staying, it was beautiful!!

    But seriously, IMO don’t move to NC east of Chapel Hill.

  102. Jill says:

    It’s fun to read where people live and why they love where they live!
    It’s really a very individual decision with many complicated considerations isn’t it? It’s never cut and dried.
    I love living in the Bay Area. It’s an hour drive from where I live to either the mountains or the beach. Perfect.
    I’ve lived in NC and SC. Never again! And I won’t get into specifics, but let’s just say the political climate in the south is one that I struggle with. Also the humidity drove me away from Charlotte. Gah! Stifling.
    I spent time in Idaho and said I could live there in a heartbeat! Haha. Like I said, very individual decision.
    I personally hope you stay put and rebuild on your land.

    • Tracey says:

      I’ve only lived in California but I had friend moved to North Carolina and she couldn’t stay either due to the politics. Being a Californian I don’t think I could ever live in the South (or even many Midwest states). It would effect me too much emotionally.

      • Anna says:

        So you cant live somewhere with individulas who have political beliefs that may differ fron your own? Good grief try a little tolerance.

  103. Lori says:

    Currently anywhere warm as this is the worst winter I’ve seen in MN… to feel the sun + warmth on my face… *sigh*

  104. Melody says:

    We chose to relocate from Ohio to Greenville, SC. I never comment on things like this this but it fits ALL of your criteria❤️ The North Main and Augusta Road areas have your name and style written all over them. Greenville is growing at a rapid pace but is SO artsy, foodie, outdoorsy, SO family and pet friendly, and ALL the seasons with sunshine❤️) We will never leave! Please google and look into it. The downtown is so so beautiful and adorable with a waterfall running thought it! It’s dreamy! Love calling this my home! Let me know if you have any questions ;) I’d love help;)

    • Julia says:

      sounds beautiful!

    • Mary says:

      I live in Atlanta but go to Greenville often for work and your assessment is SPOT ON! Gorgeous up and coming town with so much to offer!

    • Jen says:

      I took a quiz on once and it gave me Greenville SC as the top pick. We live in MI and drove there for a weekend to visit in the summer. I LOVED it. They closed down the main street one night and had a bounce house for kids, food and beer trucks and live music all under trees that were lined with white lights. It was magical. Sadly though I couldn’t convince my husband to relocate us there.

  105. Andrea says:

    I’m glad to hear that you decided to stay and rebuild! I’ve lived in Raleigh, and it’s beautiful! The people are wonderful, and I’M HOME, they have the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted! ???? The university gives a trendy area and lots of activities. Amazing T-storms, cicadas, humidity were all new things for me when I was there.

  106. Rosemary Bedosky says:

    We left CT in retirement (I was 60 years old) and moved to FL. I do love it, all new, lots of restaurants, beaches, very ‘stress free.’ But I think it’s very hard to make a good income here. I suppose as a blogger, where you live does not affect how much you make so it could be an option. Not sure I’d like to raise my kids here. But boy is it nice for long visits. Raleigh/Durham is a college area. I’d see if you could rent out a professor’s home for the summer to really try it out. Now that could be fun.

  107. Hattie Kingsley says:

    As I get older, now 27, I’m realizing patterns in myself and this post really resonated with me! I live in Nebraska. We get the 4 seasons and this winter has been particularly tough and long! This time of year I daydream constantly about moving to a beach town. I picture myself and my husband and our pets in a beachy bungalow or a mid century modern home with a cute yard with a cozy entertaining space. I picture us at the beach, dining in the evenings at an outdoor restaurant, being tan.. We even zillow homes and daydream of living in Hawaii, or Florida or California. This daydream feels stronger each year but at the same time feeling so ‘comfortable’ where we are nestled in Nebraska with family and friends so close by. Thank you for your post, leaving me feeling that it’s ok to dream, it’s ok to be where you’re comfortable and most importantly to be open for what the future holds! – Hattie

    • Kristina says:

      Ditto! We moved back home to Omaha from Chicago a few years ago. We miss the big city vibe and also constantly talk of moving to warm weather but we never budge because we love being near family and friends. Plus- Omaha has been ranked as one of the top places to raise kids- and I would have to agree- it’s been great for our kids so far. That doesn’t stop us from dreaming of relocating though….but maybe not until the youngest is 18 ????

  108. Carol says:

    While Washington DC will always be my first city love, if you’re drawn to North Carolina you should seriously look into Asheville! My parents live there and it has everything you’re looking for and more! So beautiful, friendly, and a bit funky and spirited. Best of both worlds if you want that small-city-with-culture feel and incredible nature at your doorstep.

  109. Sara says:

    The West Suburbs of Chicago fit all your requirements!! Every single one of ’em. Specifically Glen Ellyn is a great choice and still has a lot of houses with outstanding architecture on hilly wooded land, that need to be updated. All steps away from the absolute best food and just a quick jog to Chicago or Ohare. Several neighboring towns just made the top few cities in america to live and/or raise a family.

  110. Sara says:

    New Mexico. Santa Fe and Taos are beautiful and I get the best feeling when I’m there. It doesn’t hurt that they have the best Mexican food on the planet – which I learned is a major criteria for me after living in Ohio the last 3 years

  111. Jennifer R says:

    Asheville, NC. It is my dream place to live. Right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, amazing food, very organic, amazing downtown with a very creative spirit, etc. You should definitely look into it as an option!

  112. Emily says:

    I love exactly where I live the most. st. George Utah. We have had the opportunity to pick and this is it. We eventually in the far off future will purchase a home in Hawaii then I’ll have both of my favorite places to go between. We have a little vacation place in bearlake to break up the summertime. St George also has no snow but mountains and snow 29-30 min away .

  113. Britiney says:

    I could never leave Idaho. there’s no where I could possibly love as much. I’m so glad to hear you’re staying. Also I think my cousin is a cabin neighbor of yours. The Mengs? Anyway, what a fun exercise to dream. And I agree about ‘pretending’ to make decisions. I do that with real decisions I’m struggling with in my life all the time. Somehow trying the options on helps make the right one seem more clear.

  114. Diana says:

    We just had this debate. We currently live in Georgia. We had a lot of the same requirements as you but a big one for us was that it needed to be on the west coast. All our family lives in or, ut, ca, az…. living on the east coast makes visits hard (especially if the airport is 2 hours away and you have a little one and you’re crossing many time zones) we settled on the south hill in Spokane, wa. It was not on our radar at all but when we visited we fell in love. Beautiful neighborhoods with mature trees lining every street, 4 seasons with mild winters, tons of fresh produce, tons of parks, great schools, tons of cool places to visit within driving distance (banff in ca, Seattle, Portland) tons of recreation opportunities. We’re stoked!

    • Julia says:

      I LOVE spokane. Our family is so spread out (although we have a lot in Idaho and Utah) but also Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Italy, Mexico! Being near family has been so wonderful and a big pull to stay put for now.

  115. Karissa says:

    On one of your podcast episodes when you were talking about dream homes Preston asked you guys where your dream homes would be and Chris said North Carolina! I’m not sure if you remember it but it obviously might mean something if it’s coming up again ????

  116. monica says:

    I am East Coast born and bread (have lived elsewhere). Politics are becoming more and more important to me and if I did not already live in Massachusetts (Boston suburbs) already, I would likely move here. We avidly support all types of lifestyles, schools/ higher education are outstanding, insurance is mandated to pay for infertility treatments, we are the home of healthcare for all (Romney care, ironically!), women will always have a choice (and will likely be the place red state women have to come to when they are denied choice in their states), and my senators and congressmen already vote the way I want them to! We have 4 seasons and have easy access to ocean and mountains and outdoor activities. I live in a town where kids are free range, even though we are only 6 miles outside of Boston. They can ride their bikes everywhere in town, every kid walks to their elementary school in the neighborhood (most parents join them it creates a wonderful community of people who see each other daily), yet we can also easily take a bus or subway into Boston.

  117. Carolyn says:

    We live in our dream place. We knew we wanted to live here when we were married in 1975. It took us a while, finally buying a place here in 2004, and moving here full time in 2014. It has everything on your want list. We live in a log cabin on a mountain top and are 25 minutes to town. The town? Asheville, North Carolina. I’ve lived in North Carolina all my life, but early on I knew Asheville was where I wanted to be. The jobs didn’t work out here, but we came whenever we could (our hometown was two and a half hours away). The mountains were calling. Every day we are so happy to be here. I do understand your wanting to rebuild the cabin and fulfill that dream.

  118. Name says:

    We actually want to move to Idaho! We have visited a couple towns and find ourselves drawn to the Boise are. Your list is my list! Even with the snow, which will taking used too as we have lived in Las Vegas most of our lives. Some days i wanna pack the dogs and go and others i have mixed feelings. We do want to move but leaving my security blanket is hard. Hope to see you in Idaho!

    • Sara says:

      Boise is sooo great! And we really don’t get much snow typically. The mountains and surrounding area do, so you can go get your snow fix. Hope you make the move!

  119. Heather Stephenson says:

    I said it on your IG quiz and after seeing your list, you would probably love Northern California! Specifically the Roseville area, but even more specifically the Granite Bay/Loomis/Penryn area. We can check off pretty much every thing on your list! We wouldn’t have the most interesting architecture there, mostly ranch style homes, but Sacramento (only 30 minutes away) has some beautiful architecture. Our biggest downfall is prices of homes. But it’s a beautiful and fun area to live! Two hours from beach/San Francisco and two hours from Tahoe/mountains/snow. Beautifully green in the winter and spring, with lots of trees (the Oak trees here can be amazing), Schools here are generally pretty great. Oh and it’s California, so we have amazing produce and lots of restaurants that accommodate special diets. The LDS population here is wonderful and your kids would go to school with a group of LDS kids, but not tons—pretty diverse! I moved here 6 years ago and I’m constantly trying to get friends and family to move out here ha ha. I hope to never leave!

  120. Emily Ward says:

    I could totally see y’all moving to NC! My husband and I live in Greenville, SC (which should also be on your list of considerations ????) and love this part of the country. The Carolinas is a great pocket of culture, restaurants, farmers markets, international airports, family friendly everything, low crime, close to the mountains/skiing, close to the beach (hello Charleston ????) and the people are just the friendliest! We moved here from Atlanta several years ago after graduating from college and haven’t looked back. Enjoy the process of finding out what’s next for your family. We are all rooting for you!

  121. Katie says:

    I totally thought this post was going to end with we put an offer on a house in X! I’m glad you’re staying put (at least for now). This has got to be such a complex and challenging time, and handling it publicly can’t be easy…but you’re doing great! Still love to follow along on your journey!

  122. Carly says:

    We, too, are contemplating what is next for our family. We have two businesses that we can do nearly anywhere, and I also work in higher ed, so university towns are a plus for job opportunities.
    We have always heard great things about North Carolina, especially Asheville, since we are artists/designers. However, my concern is diversity. As a Latinx family, our current small town in New England has been less than welcoming and we’ve had our share of unfortunate comments and experiences related to being perceived as “other.” (How that happens in this day and age is mind blowing to me, but it does…) We moved here from a big city but we know this is just not the right fit for us in the long term.
    Can anyone offer any perspective on the diversity and level of acceptance (or lack thereof) in some of these towns/cities in North Carolina? I would love to hear! Thank you!

    • Julia says:

      @carly, I grew up in NYC so I’m well aware of the New England culture when it comes to race. It’s subtle and in some areas, not so subtle. Since then, I’ve lived in LA and now in NC. I was nervous before moving because I’m Asian but we haven’t had one racial comment or anything like that since moving here 6 months ago and we border a rural area where there are people who’ve lived there for generations. But our interactions with them have only been pleasant. There is an authentic politeness and awareness of the world in much of the bigger city of Raleigh-Durham since the majority are transplants. :)

    • Emily says:

      We lived in Chapel Hill for a couple of years, and due to the university being there, there’s a lot of diversity! Even if you’re not a student, it’s a very pleasant place to live (and doesn’t feel like a college town, unless you’re on campus). Durham is the same way. Although it’s a busier city, it has its upsides: A great food scene and arts galore. I really don’t think you can go wrong living anywhere in the triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). Another great option is Hillsborough just outside of Chapel Hill. Small town living (lots of land with beautiful homes and trees) with a great historic Main Street, oozing with art galleries and shops. I’d definitely look into it. Good luck!

    • Abby says:

      Durham, NC is VERY diverse. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised! I live here and love it. It’s the most educated per capita community and also extremely family oriented, arts forward, and diversity driven. We love it here. I’m from Kentucky and my husband is from Chicago and we ‘ve lived in NYC and Chicago together- for reference. Also, 3 hours to the beach, 3 hours to the mountains and tons of options for weekend road trips like DC, Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, Charlottesville, etc!

    • Tarynkay says:

      We live in Durham, NC. My son goes to our districted public school here, it is 50% Latinx, 40% African American, and 10% White/Other. Everything is translated into Spanish. Durham is more of a city with colleges in it vs a college town- Chapel Hill is more of a college town. There is a lot more going on in Durham than the colleges (NCCU and Duke.) I think you would find it both very welcoming and reasonably diverse here.

      We have plenty of restaurants and groceries that cater to every food restriction that I can personally imagine.

      We moved here in 2008 and bought a house near the bottom of the market. Property values have skyrocketed around here and housing inventory is so low that the city is actively searching for solutions. The prices may not deter you though, if you are coming from New England. They just raised property taxes, though again, coming from New England, this might not phase you.

      Because people are moving here faster than the city can accommodate them, the traffic is bad and is getting worse. It is not LA level bad, or even Atlanta level bad. But there is a lot of traffic and there is not a lot of reliable public transit. They are starting to add more bike lanes and connect more bike trails. My husband can safely bike to work from where we are.

      This is a very family friendly area, there is a lot for young families to do here. I’m comparing it to FL, where my husband and I both grew up, and LA, where we lived for a few years. On the con side, the schools are not great. And yes, we send our son to his districted public school. He’s doing very well there. But poverty is high, students move from school to school a lot, and test scores are correspondingly low. We have a new superintendent, hopefully he can turn things around. It’s a lot of work. No one wants to spend the money on it. No one wants higher taxes. People are moving into the highly desirable downtown areas and then sending their kids to charter schools vs the public schools. The funding goes with the kids. So, like other places on earth inhabited by humans, there are problems. There is crime. But on the whole, the people are friendly, we have found it fairly easy to build a community here, and the weather is nice. It usually snows once or twice a winter, and the whole city shuts down. Everyone goes out and plays in the snow and it melts a day or so later.

  123. We live about 30 miles from the Idaho border. This is my 23 house I have lived in. My dad built the missles growing up so we moved A LOT! This is my 6 house with my husband. We moved every 2 years. Until now! I looooove it here. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. It’s a lot like where you live. NO traffic. Healthy options. 30 minutes to a big city. The nicest people I’ve ever met. We have a little bit of land. A corn field across the street from us. I really do love it here. We have a beautiful view of the wasarch mountains out my back door. I could do without a little less cold, but I feel it’s worth it for all the good we have here. It’s home for me. I’ve lived in MT, CA, SD 2x, ND, UT 3x ????

  124. yasmara says:

    Except maybe the traffic – we do have traffic, but it tends to be limited to the prime commuting times. So if you can avoid those times, you’re good!

  125. Stephanie Phillips says:

    Come on to North Cak, Marcums! I’ve been in NC since 1995 (Fayetteville for five years, then Greenville since 2000) and I LOVE where I live. There are SO MANY great places to settle- check out Durham, the Clayton/Garner/Fuquay/Apex suburbs. Wake Forest and Winston-Salem are fantastic. Southern Pines/Aberdeen is charming. Charlotte is AMAZING and metropolitan. We live in ENC and love our small city, but would leave in a second for an opportunity in Wilmington (we are Kure Beach people). There is nowhere in NC that is not convenient to hub airports (both RDU and CLT are huge international airports). We have the beaches and the mountains, mild winters, balmy summers.

    Seriously, keep digging into that research! Let me know if I can help you find anything- as I said, I’ve been here a loooong time and am networked via college friends and my moms group. If there’s a place you like, I am sure I have somebody you could ask more questions of.

  126. Tiffany says:

    North Carolina is really nice! I also like Richmond, VA. Albuquerque ticks of a lot of your boxes except there isn’t a lot of mature trees and there is more crime than I’d like.

  127. Mollie says:

    We live in Pittsburgh. It’s a fun city but we love it most because of family. We just had our first baby and raising him with his cousins is the best. To me, as long as I’m with them I could live without everything else!

    I’ve been talking about yalls cabin with my husband non stop. I can’t believe y’all have gone through this but that property is still amazing. Y’all HAVE to rebuild!! I can’t wait to watch what y’all do next!

  128. Valentine design says:

    Love this!
    I would say Stillwater Mn although chilly has abundance of everything on your list.but like you said you can’t not rebuild. Agree ❤️????

  129. Chelsea says:

    I’d move to North Carolina too, actually, ha ha! My favorite city I’ve ever been to is Asheville, North Carolina. If work made it easier to live there and they had better public transportation, I’d seriously consider it. My parents live outside of Charlotte and love it. Another place I’d consider is Portland, Oregon. I went there once and loved it for many of the same reasons I love Asheville. It would just be so hard to move to the west coast when all of my family lives on the east coast or east coast-ish.

  130. Courtney says:

    There are so many wonderful places to live! We love it here in Southern Alberta. Mild winters (supposedly…although we haven’t seen that the last couple of years!), beautiful summers, mountains, prairies, we’ve got it all! :)
    But really…it’s about the people more than it is the place. I understand the urge to totally switch things up and move on after your tragedy, but I’ve always gotten the impression that you love where you are and it’s a good place for you. Hang in there and reassess things in a year or so and see how you feel. :)

  131. Angie says:

    We lived in a Greensboro, NC suburb for a few years (we relocate often because of hub’s work). I would say it checks most of your boxes, although I’m not sure about stores or restaurants meeting your dietary needs, we are omnivores ;). We often think of those years as the best of our lives, and if possible, we would love to go live there after retirement. The scenery is diverse and beautiful ; people are welcoming and friendly, you get a nice long warm season (summers can be brutal though) and you are just a few hours away from major cities if you want a change from the slow pace of Southern living. Give it a try!

  132. Patricia says:

    I live in Seattle which ticks many of your boxes but we do have traffic and very high home prices. Going further afield, Bellingham WA has a university and is right in between Seattle and Vancouver BC. It looks out over the San Juan islands and mountains are nearby. A lot less traffic and housing is much more reasonable.

  133. Laura says:

    Santa Fe!! Skiing in the winter but hot dry summers. It’s the capital but also small town feel. Culturally so old and unique. Majority minority population in NM. Architecture and food are specifically Santa Fe

    • Katie says:

      Former Santa Fean, here! Oh, how I miss the City Different. The spirit of New Mexico seeps into your blood and sings to you when you’re away. My husband and I are already considering moving back once we are empty-nesters!

  134. We’re moving to the Czech Republic, which I’d imagine you don’t want to do :) But I do want to say that the process of figuring out what you really want and being willing to make a crazy change to get it is so helpful… or at least I hope it is, because that’s what led us to move from Israel (where we live now) to a 600-year-old house in the Czech Republic, practically sight unseen! I’ll let you know in a few months if this was actually a good idea. I had a lot of mixed feelings after making this decision– not 100% one way or another– and we’ll very much miss friends and family here, but for us it was about seizing the chance to step out of the high-tech rat race have the more relaxed LIFE we really want for our family.

    I’m secretly very happy that you’re planning to stay in Idaho and rebuild, though!! Fun post. :)

  135. Kesha says:

    I was going to suggest NC before I read your whole post and saw one quiz matched you to NC!! I actually live in SC, but am in the Charlotte, NC metro area. We love it here!!! I think the Charlotte area would check off all the brainstorming ideals for a new city. We have four seasons, we have an int’l airport, it’s a booming, growing city, but yet the outskirts can have the small town feel (Fort Mill, SC; Matthews, NC; Wesley Chapel, NC; Waxhaw, NC for example), great schools, wonderful restaurants, farmers markets, lots of diversity. Our traffic can get rough at times since so many people are moving to our area, but it’s probably nothing like a huge city.
    We are within 2-3 hours of beaches, the mountains, lakes – there’s so much to do in our area. Keep SC/NC on your list. :-)

    • yasmara says:

      Me too! We live in Wake Forest, just north of Raleigh (Wake Forest touches the city limits of Raleigh). Everything Kesha said is true about our area as well!

    • Stephanie Phillips says:

      I was thinking that Huntersville is charming for their wants as well!

    • Melody says:

      I think NC/SC is a great area too! I grew up in a suburb of Charlotte and love the city and all of it’s charming neighborhoods. I live in Dallas now, but I always dream of moving back to the area. Charlotte reminds me a lot of Dallas, lots to do, art and culture driven, lots of diversity but a bit of a slower pace. I love that in that part of the country you don’t have to travel far to feel like your in a different space. We always took weekend trips to Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Blowing Rock when I was younger. It’s much harder in Texas because the cities are more spread out. I love the idea someone mentioned of renting a home for the summer for your family to try out a different part of the country! So fun and you should definitely consider NC/SC!

  136. Haley says:

    I LIVE IN RALEIGH!! And when you were describing what you were looking for I was thinking “this fits” the WHOLE TIME. If you ever make this move, I am happy to recommend you everything.

  137. Laila says:

    Hi Julia,

    My family is moving from Galveston, TX to a small town called Belligham this May. My husband is from Vancouver, B.C., and has been trying to convince me to move to North West since we met. I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, so the idea of rainy cold winters was not appealing to me. We went to visit Bellingham in October and I fell in love with it. It has pretty much everything you mentioned on your must have list. Amazing restaurants and farmer’s market, many grocery stores with fresh produce, it’s small enough that there is no traffic, but still has the big town amenities like whole foods, Costco and Trader Joe’s, not to mention tons of outdoor activities. The town has it’s own airport and a lot of domestic flights leave from there, but you are also not that far from Seattle or Vancouver in case you need to catch an international flight. You guys have to go check it out, it’s amazing!

  138. My husband and I are from CA- we went to school in Boulder CO. And we relocated to North Carolina 20 years ago to raise are kids here. We currently live in Chapel Hill.
    It is everything you are describing. Plus the most beautiful beaches in the country.

    My husband and I redo houses and just finished a house in CH. Schools are also amazing. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I also work in Real Estate.

  139. Michelle says:

    Charlotte, NC has stolen my heart. And if ANYTHING, we are worth a visit – if not a full on move!!

  140. Brooke says:

    Yay! After living in CA our whole lives, we moved to Charlotte, NC almost 2 years ago now and we are absolutely in love. Cannot see ourselves living anywhere else… Definitely homey. Wishing you the best! Can’t wait to follow along. Xx

  141. Aubrey says:

    Love this! I would stay right where I’m at too. Shortly after getting married, my husband and I moved across the country for 3 years, then moved to South Carolina for a year before coming “home”. Which is exactly how it felt after living away for 4 years.
    I love your list! Looks exactly like mine except for me, the main thing is the people- our community. There’s SO MANY beautiful places you could live that are all unique. But once you find yourself a community where you just “fit” it’s really hard to leave those relationships… no matter the down sides of the location. (For us it’s the hot summers!)

  142. Casey says:

    I’m from the Outer Banks of NC and in my very biased opinion, North Carolina is the best state in the country! We don’t have many mature trees left where I live because it’s basically a sand dune but there are lots of charming cities just inland with tons of live oaks ❤️ I love that NC was your first pick though!

  143. Lisa says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Home is Home. I get the luxury of traveling with my husband for some of his business trips. We have so much fun exploring and trying new restaurants and enjoying new scenery. We always ask “could we live here?”. But home is always home. I love that traveling gives me the gift of seeing other parts of the country. But I love it even more for the gift to be grateful for where we are. ❤️????

  144. Christine says:

    I just took the Time quiz and got….North Carolina! I’ve lived in Raleigh my whole life, haha. (And Charlotte for a few years.) This area has definitely changed since I was younger and it’s exciting to see the growth: new train station, fun areas like North Hills and Cameron Village, the new food halls downtown, and hopefully–in the next few years–a light rail system for Raleigh/Durham!

    Whether you decide to move or stay and rebuild, there’s definitely no wrong option. :)

  145. JD says:

    Your description is my home, Frederick, MD. It’s gorgeous, close to several cities and airports, lots of countryside still just a short drive north, some awesome school districts (some bad too) and amazing local produce and goods. I’m a flower farmer and there are 8 more within 30 minutes if me. I would say the only downside is cost of living. We have that gov’t bubble keeping wages and land prices high. But just north, prices do drop. And we have four seasons but mostly warm!

  146. Ellis says:

    I think Bozeman, MT is the answer, if only for a year or two! Still close-ish to family, but has that bustling vibe. I’ve been obsessed since I went a few years ago!

  147. Brit says:

    My husband and I moved from Virginia to Providence, Rhode Island! We were drawn to charming New England and just loved the landscapes (ocean and mountains!), history, weather, architecture, and culture. We wanted city amenities without major traffic, so we weren’t interested in Boston or NYC, although we wanted to be nearby. We visited Providence, New Haven (CT), and Portland (ME), and all were beautiful! Ultimately we settled on Providence- it’s such a charming, intriguing, foodie, artsy, quirky city with a small town feel! It’s centrally located to everything New England has to offer, is near the beach, gets all four beautiful seasons! We’re right near the dreamiest coastal New England seaside towns and only a couple of hours from the snowiest mountains. We’ve loved every bit of our move to this fun little city!

  148. Erin says:

    I have always lived on the east coast; grew up in MA and now live in VA, just outside of DC. I love my current area for the diversity, but don’t love the traffic and competitive feeling of everything here. My heart belongs out west. I love the idea of moving to Utah, Colorado, Northern California or even Oregon. Funny that you got a lot of pull for NC, we have family there and visit the area often and I really have no desire to live there. Maybe more west like Charlotte, but definitely not the Durham area. I also hate hot, humid summers which makes the idea of going any more south a big no for me.

  149. Cori says:

    I really do love where I live, in eastern PA. I’m in a smallish town, in a scenic county with everything from farms, to lakes, to adorable quaint towns, to a river. It’s less than an hour to Philly, and less than 3 to NYC. The beach is also less than 3 hours away (my favorite part), and the Pocono mountains about an hour away. We have four pretty even seasons, although it does get crazy humid in the summer.
    A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on a trip to San Diego, and while we could never love so far from our family, if we were ever tempted to move, it’d be there. Perfectly warm weather every day of the year, sunny beaches, relaxed, laid back attitudes and atmosphere, and lots of delicious Mexican food. Plus the best zoo on the planet.

  150. Camille says:

    We’ll save you a spot by the lake for when you’re ready to make the big move to NC.????But for real though Chatham County (where I’m at 30ish minutes from RDU airport) meets every one of your wishlist items. Something magical happens when you drive over Jordan Lake. You feel like you’ve finally found home.????

    • Katie says:

      I’m also in Chatham right by Jordan Lake and 100% agree with this post. Love being out in the country in all the beautiful nature, but still pretty close to all the urban amenities. As soon as we drive into our neighborhood we feel like we are on vacation. The first time we visited we knew we had to live there.

  151. Ursula Burkett says:

    North Carolina for sure! We are at the Lake Norman area. There is not a better area to be. This place is awesome for so many reasons: lower taxes, cheaper gas, friendly people, nice weather, beautiful lake vibe, great restaurants, oh my.. the list goes on and on. Good luck to you guys searching for a place to live! I’ll stay tuned!!

  152. Oh my gosh, you described Charleston SC perfectly!!!! It’s all your things! Have you visited here?!?!?! I truly think you’d love it. It’s glorious.

  153. Lexi says:

    Raleigh is a fast growing city and the traffic there was absolutely killer only to the likes of Atlanta in my mind. However, it is beautiful and you can do almost anything. Richmond, VA offers a lot of the same amenities but the traffic isn’t nearly so bad. I’ve had trouble being dairy and soy free in South Carolina but I think butter is in everything here. I’ve thought about moving a lot and have traveled a lot but I’ve never really found a place that appeals to my every desire which is why I’ve promarily stayed here.

  154. Kathy says:

    If my ex didn’t live there, I’d totally want to move to Asheville, North Carolina. Very small town feel but still big city, great weather (we were there around Thanksgiving and were still able to get by with just light jackets), and tons of variety for food. And so artsy and walking friendly. The cost of living was also not super high. …Maybe we’ll just move to the other side of town.

  155. Maria says:

    I love my small town of Tarpon Springs, Florida. We’re known as the sponge capital of the world because Greek immigrants developed a sponge diving industry when they immigrated here in the early 1900s. Cobble stone roads with tons of history, lots of pretty old houses, great food, beaches, and amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. The only downside, we have one season…summer!

  156. Andrea Speth says:

    Come to Madison, Wisconsin….a city with interesting people, a thriving University, a bustling local foodie scene to rival any big city. Saturdays all summer long find many people on the capitol square at an impressive farmers market! I never get tired of it and if I do, Chicago is just a short drive away! Enjoy dreaming…’s really the best part of the journey anyhow :)

    • KC says:

      It is not predominantly warm though, haha! I’m in Madison, too! Love it here.

    • Can I second Madison?! We love, love, love Madison for all the reasons Andrea said above – and selfishly, you’d be closer to us. xx (As much as you know I’m Chicago’s biggest fan, we’re out of the running based solely on traffic jams – ha!)

    • Lori says:

      Another vote for Madison! It’s not super warm, but compared to Idaho winters …

      And our farmers’ markets are tops. :)

    • Liz Thiam says:

      Yet another vote for Madison! I grew up there and love it. We now live in Chicagoland and have grown to love it here but Madison has so much to offer and checks a lot of boxes on your list. The northwoods of WI are beautiful as well. Glad to know you’ve found peace through the process to stay put though. :)

    • AP says:

      Another vote for Madison. As I read the list I thought Madison checked all the boxes. Personally, I grew up in Chicago, now live in the PNW, and I dream of moving to Milwaukee but I’m not brave enough for another big move. Wisconsin is such a great place.

      • Robin says:

        Yes we love it here in Madison! It’s regularly voted one of the best places to live, it’s the “greenest” city in the US, minimal crime, no hurricanes or earthquakes, and very little traffic. There is a great art community, unique restaurants, tons of festivals, and some of the most welcoming people. The public schools are great and the state university schools are both highly ranked and affordable… which is why we are one of the most educated cities. We have access to lots of natural resources and one of the most walkable and bicycle friendly cities. On the architecture side Frank Lloyd Wright grew up and lived nearby so there is plenty of his influence around.

  157. Shannon says:

    Hello. My husband and I are California born and bred. We moved to NC 5 years ago on a prompting and haven’t regretted it once. It has been the best move for our family and it seems to check all the boxes for you too! We live in Cary…reach out if you want some inside info,

  158. Brooke says:

    Everything you’re describing could be found in Greensboro NC! If you and want a small town feel, but the amenities of a city, look at Greensboro! That’s what I love about it! Plus, it’s only a short drive to either the mountains or the beach, right smack dab in the middle of the state.

  159. Elizabeth Rudd-Myers says:

    We live in Durham NC! It’s a great place for sure, but I would check out the beaches of NC if I was moving. We do have 4 seasons but summer is super hot and long and this winter has been the wettest in a long time. My parents also experienced a house fire after my sisters and I were in college so I want to wish you the best as you move forward. Can’t wait to see what you decide to do.

  160. Anne says:

    I took the Time test and got Georgia (???). Haha! I did just watch the Mashama Bailey episode of Chef’s Table, and was soooo inspired. I’d love to visit Savannah. I think that I’d like to live in Portland, Oregon. So much like my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, but without all the people I went to high school with haha. We live in Connecticut right now, and I’m so over the negative attitudes. But honestly, the north shore of Boston is so beautiful. I’d live there!

  161. Laura Young says:

    Have you ever been to Charleston, SC? Living in Mt. Pleasant just outside the city is a dream for young families. So much to do, amazing food scene and small town feel with everything a city has to offer. Great schools and safe. Plus, beautiful beaches only 10 min away. If you ever visit the area, make sure to check out Mt. Pleasant!

  162. Stacey says:

    North Carolina sounds interesting for sure! I also feel like you’re describing my cute little town! Franklin, Tennessee is so, so charming and I adore living here! I do miss the mountains from time to time but the Smokies aren’t too bad of a drive. I love that Franklin is a historic, “small” town where you can see huge stars walking around like its NBD. ❤️

  163. Tamara Wynn says:

    I was born and raised in Western North Carolina and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. The small town I grew up in is called Hendersonville. It’s the most perfectly quaint historic district nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains with amazing schools, food, shopping and charm. I now live and teach in Charlotte, NC—right at two hours from Hendersonville. And two hours from Raleigh. Three hours from Atlanta. And though I struggled at first with the big city vibes, I have found it to also be the most charming of places.

    North Carolina, though I’m partial, is beyond amazing and offers so much diversity as you travel throughout any part of the state!

  164. Nihal says:

    I’m in North Carolina! It’s beautiful and everyone and their mother are moving down here! The people are lovely, the trees and skies are like no other and colleges are amazing.
    We love love NC ❤️

  165. Meghan says:

    I live on a farm (that my husband inherited) in a small town in the mountains of NC. I can certainly understand the draw to here. Charlotte would be my pick for a city in NC over Raleigh but you really can’t go wrong. It’s fun to consider the options though.

  166. Rebecca says:

    I live just outside of Raleigh, and have since I graduated from college 17 years ago. As I read your list of must-haves, I thought, sounds like Raleigh/Durham! We love it here!

  167. mockginger says:

    I always scope out the local real estate whenever we travel, and when we went to Colorado last year (Denver area) we were expecting to be tempted to move there, but after looking at how crowded it is and how expensive real estate is, we weren’t tempted at all. We currently have 6 acres and a 100+ year old farmhouse with a barn, so we would have to find a place we could have the same level of accommodation for the same relative price. I will say when we road-tripped through New England this past summer, New Hampshire was very tempting…

  168. Melissa Lee says:

    Funny, a lot of the items on your wish list are on mine too… and I’m also really interested in NC! For several reasons, family being high on the list. I have lived in South FL my whole life (except for college) and it’s hard to leave what you’ve known so well and what always feels like “home”. But I still crave something new and different… so I’m torn.

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