My brother and I desperately want to leave this awful state, and we've had our eyes on New England for some time. Our requirements for a new home:
1. Mild summers. We don't mind cold weather, but this wretched heat is too much. I'm not going to go to the trouble of moving if the summers aren't more bearable. I'm thinking no more than mid 80s on average at the hottest, and that's too much! This rules out the entire Southeast, Texas, much of the Midwest, and the Southwest.
2. Bike and Pedestrian friendly. This is very important. We do not own cars and have no intention to, so wherever we move will have to be bike-able and/or walkable, and have at least decent public transportation (unlike our town, which has 7 vans that operate only while I'm already at work and go to places that are bike-able anyway). We would like to be able to take a train to nearby larger cities, which is practically unheard of around here, but apparently just such a thing exists in some places. It's a foreign concept to me, and I like the idea. This rules out the entire Southeast!, at least what I've seen of it.
3. At least reasonably affordable. I basically have no white-collar-ish skills at all, so even $1000 a month for a two bedroom apartment is way more than I'll be able to afford. My brother is in school and can only work part time. I could probably afford a small house and would prefer that, but it would have to be in the middle of town and likely need to be under $130,000. This probably rules out the entire West Coast, and some of New England, I'm afraid.
4. Not too small, not too large. I like visiting small towns, but I don't want to live in one. They generally seem to be fairly limited in a lot of ways, and we don't want that. Heck, my town of 100,000 is severely limited in a lot of ways, but that also has to do with the region as much as the size of the town. On the other hand, I'm not sure either of us would be ready to live in a major city. NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. I'd love to be able to visit them occasionally but I feel that such a move may be overwhelming to a couple of guys who have lived in medium sized town all their lives. Still, we'll at least consider just about anything.
Some cities we've considered:
1. Portland, ME. From what I've read this appears to be a decent choice which meets our needs pretty well.
2. Burlington, VT. Would probably be nearly perfect, but real estate seems to be rather high compared to Portland and others.
3. Plattsburgh, NY. Across the lake from Burlington, a little smaller than the other two, but also seems to be more limited in some ways.
We've looked at others but these three are the favorites so far, Portland in particular. But we also know very little about the entire area in general, so I'm sure there are many other towns that would be great that we wouldn't even know about. And so I'm asking for some advice from you good Foosters. Any suggestions or ideas you may have, please let me know. I've lived in this same town all my life, so this move will be a huge deal for me, as well as my brother. Thanks!