What's it like in Asheville, NC?
May 23, 2011 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Convince me to move to Asheville, North Carolina -- or convince me not to.

I am strongly considering moving to Ashville, NC. But: I have never been there! I want to hear about it from you.

Background: I am coming back to the USA in August after a year in Japan. I am 27 years old and a woman. I will have 2-3 months worth of expenses saved up and no ties to anywhere. I miss the town where I went to college (the smart people, the frequent indie rock shows, the nearby hiking trails, hanging out on porches, and how easy it was to meet people because the scene is pretty small. I don't miss feeling awkward because multiple ex-boyfriends live there. So, I want a fresh start!

In the year before I moved to Japan, I lived in a large city with a high crime rate. My living situation was a rundown artist warehouse. My friends there are amazing and I loved the vibrant art/music scene, but I was exhausted from my demanding job at a non-profit organization in the inner city and because there was a large party in my living space almost every night of the week. I struggle with an anxiety disorder and depression (both of which I have made a lot of progress on thanks to cognitive behavioral therapy with professional counselors) and I have decided that the chaotic lifestyle I was leading in that big city just isn't for me. During the past year in Japan, I have had a lot of time to reflect and I realized that I sincerely want to slow my life way down this coming year and focus on self-improvement.

I am artist and a curator as well as a musician, but I usually work full-time in the non-profit or government sector. My hobbies include sewing, making music, collecting records, making zines, reading books, watching experimental films, and cooking. That sort of thing!

What I'm looking for:
-a community of creative, liberal twentysomethings
-an intellectual vibe (smart people who like books, philosophy, etc.)
-experimental films, indie music, artist-run galleries, independent record stores and book stores, a community radio station
-yoga classes & meditation groups
-relative safety - can I walk around alone? can I ride my bicycle in the streets?
-hiking trails and swimming holes nearby

I want to find a place that is fairly small, where you're likely to see the same folks at the coffee shop as at the rock show that night. I'd like to continue to develop my skills artistically, so it'd be great to have a place to take courses, too.

Oh and of course: I need to work. How is the job market there? My resume is heavy on non-profit program manager type jobs, but I am hoping to get into government work eventually. Ideally, I am aiming for 30-40k salary. I briefly considered moving to Portland, OR but shied away after I read about how dismal the economy there is.

Other spots I've heard about that seem like they might fit the bill: Savannah, GA / Charleston, SC / Bellingham, WA.

Bonus points for any specific businesses/institutions/neighborhoods/cultural happenings.

Thank you, Mefites for any advice you've got!
posted by pinetree to Grab Bag (31 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry to say the job market was rough in Asheville even before the current downturn. It's similar to Portland in that lots of young folks move there and end up with low paying jobs in food service. Plus pay is pretty low overall. The economy is very small, based on summer tourism and not much else.

Otherwise it sounds like a good fit. But if the
posted by bluedaisy at 11:27 PM on May 23, 2011

(Gah, posted too soon.) If the Portland economy scared you off, think twice before choosing Asheville.

Really the best thing would be to try to find a job first.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:29 PM on May 23, 2011

Oh and of course: I need to work.

Ah. That's a problem. See mygothlaundry's comments in this thread. The economic squeeze makes prospects even worse in non-profit and public sector work than they were three years ago. The state is in full-on austerity mode; the county is contemplating slashing and/or selling off its services. But if you're prepared to slum it and wait tables in order to stay in town, or commute an hour each way to where the jobs are, you'd be in good company.

A data point: when are the most popular times for yoga classes? When are the times where people in full-time office-style jobs would be at work?
posted by holgate at 12:06 AM on May 24, 2011

The places with the descriptors you gave are the ones with the worst job markets. Because people move there for the vibe and hope to find a job.

If you are not okay with long term underemployment/unemployment, don't move to a small funky town hoping to find a job. Get a job, then make the move.
posted by pmb at 12:26 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I grew up there and call it home, but don't live there anymore. best areas, IMO are Montford and West Asheville. Prepare for sticker shock. No one else has had your great idea!


also, from a prior post I answered:

The last thing Asheville needs is another visitor/transplant. That's exactly why it's no longer as funky as it could be. And it's more lesbians and gays these days than hippies, if you're prejudiced. ( Personally, I prefer them to Suits, kids, and rich retired yankees or midwesterners.)

fauxscot's rule of attractive places is that they attract people until they are no longer attractive. The world is full of last year's #1 best places!

I used to live in Asheville for say, 45 years or so. If you like decent restaurants, access to real locals, culture and agriculture, health food, history, and decent weather, you could do worse. Damn good little university at UNC-Asheville, too. Community theatre, local music scene is excellent. Great health care.

Traffic sucks. Transplants negatively affect the local real estate market and inflate prices, crowd the restaurants, and don't know how to be polite members of society, so if you don't bring any of those negatives, I'd say check it out.

OTOH, Chattanooga is cool.

Have fun.

last, the text of a longish email I sent one of the above:

Asheville is/was a neat place. It's kind of a victim of it's own success. I grew up there and recently left.

I ran a manufacturing company, my own design firm, a family business. I was part of the community leadership structure. My birth family is still there, and a lot of friends, mostly due to inertia or having more stamina than I.

We used to joke.... "What happened to last year's #1?" when Rand McNally Places-rated retirement guide rated Asheville and Brevard #1 and #2, respectively, way back in the 80's.

There is a never ending stream of people arriving who bring with them their grey hair and medical problems, their lack of appreciation of local culture, their disproportionate and economy distorting wealth, and who simply arrive, outbid the locals in real estate, and prepare for eventual death, contributing not a lot to the local economy.

Another pile arrives hoping to find a niche, and finding it about as easy as being "discovered" in Nashville. I made a living with my marketable manufacturing, management, and inventor's skills, but there's a reason I can do that and it's the same reason I can do it anywhere. It's in demand. If you are an MD, accountant, nurse, waiter, bartender, self-employed/employable, a lawyer (somewhat), or independantly wealthy, you might be ok. If you want to sell crap at Home Depot, Lowes, the garden store, you can find a job. If you're an artist, you'd better be damned good, because some damned good ones don't make much money there. Best to take your own job. You usually won't find one there unless it involves adult diapers and/or menus.

No offense meant, but to this day, my first reaction to a Florida "Sunshine State" car tag is a desire to shoot indiscriminantly. Be warned... there are hills and curves in the road. Cadillacs are hard to stop...Escalades even harder.

Half Asheville's local air pollution comes from cars, the other half from TVA coal fired power plants way upstream. It's killing the Smokies. There is an ozone alert system in place there for air pollution problems in the park, which is the most visited in the USA. Local air pollution contributes to accelerated geriatric and pediatric asthma and death substantially. Until recently, there was no zoning in the 'county', i.e., the Non-city part of the area. I had a persistent cough twice a year that lasted six months each time! (It has stopped since moving to a place with clean air.)

Asheville has done a helluva job trying to balance the unbelievable pressure for growth, but development is usually the winner in any contest. We worked for 10 years to get a sign ordinance passed in the city, only to have the goddamned Asheville Art Museum install a butt ugly flashing sign in the middle of the frigging town square the next year!

It is a fractious, contentious bunch of competing and antagonistic constituencies, to quote the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Wadley-Donovan report from the 1990's, exacerbated by a local newspaper that loves to foment dissent as opposed to help solve problems (from the same report).

Making change in this environment takes stamina and is damn hard to effect. I am not sure if it's the transplants or the locals that make life difficult in this regard, but I will suggest that the locals resent outsiders, the old outsiders resent the new outsiders, and everyone not of Florida resents Floridians! Yankees are a close second, though I have found many actual Yankee fans, of which I am one, and which I kind of wish I had a lot more of where I am. (Sadly, this year appears to be a bad year to be a Yankees fan!)

I recommend studying the concept of the tragedy of the commons. If ever a concept applied to a real place, Asheville is it.

I have seen a bunch of little developments 'for people like us' crash and burn up there. The trouble is you can't get away from 'people like you'. Cars, cars, cars. Bulldozed mountain tops for retirees to get views of all the other retirees staring right back.

Hendersonville, 30 miles south of Asheville, is the historic storage area for Floridians there, but of late, it is getting a substantial Hispanic population, and lots of folks can't handle the diversity. It is a better place for oldsters, though, and a lot easier to navigate. Lots of relatively cheap real estate, and flat land, which is at a premium in Asheville. It isn't as cool, thermally or socially, but it hasn't been 'discovered' as much. I don't know the situation on synagogues there, but my suscpicion is there are a few. Asheville only sports two, as I recall. There is a diverse religious environment, and a lot of bible thumping morons, like Ralph Sexton. (MY sister in law was kicked out of her Baptist church for marrying a Jew.) A good counter to this is the presence of lots of Wiccans, Unitarians, and Adventists, who tend to be liberal and open.

A walkable lifestyle is possible in Montford in the city proper, but there's substantial competition and again, that pesky old 'diversity' problem. It's mixed income, mixed race, mixed age. The occasional mugging and murder appears, and that seems to have gone up since I was a kid.

All that asided, I'd give you $50 for the rest of the state. Asheville is great and a liberal oasis in the midst of a red state conservatives. The hillbillies are wonderful, and legit. Shinding On The Green features their music, and with apologies for the adulterations, a lot of authentic folk can be observed there. It has a thriving art scene. Beats any other place I have been hands down, except for the dirty air and increasing competition for resources.

good luck. neat place. have fun.
posted by FauxScot at 2:28 AM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]

Have you considered Durham, NC or Chapel Hill, NC? Both are filled with smart, funky people, great art scenes, and better job prospects than Asheville.
posted by JuliaKM at 3:44 AM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

Moving to the city where your ex-boyfriend is, where you have some level of social connection to others, where you know and remember drama of prior years... well I wouldn't normally consider that a fresh start.

You are not in college anymore. You will be approaching a city you fell in love with at a point in your life when you had fewer worries as someone who no longer qualifies as a college student. Its going to be a very different place with respect to your prior experiences.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:52 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Basically, you're a hipster (if you saw/knew me, you wouldn't read that pejoratively). Hipster culture + decent pay + non-profits + small town in the south? Doesn't compute.
posted by tremspeed at 4:51 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Having a shitty job, or no job, can make one miserable even in the coolest locale in the world. Search for jobs in all those cities you mentioned, and move to one where you get the best (best for you in all regards, not necessarily highest paying) job offer.
posted by emd3737 at 4:53 AM on May 24, 2011

Or get a telecommuting job that you can do from anywhere, one that pays well enough, *then* move to Asheville.
posted by brainwane at 5:15 AM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: Based on your stated preferences, I think Asheville is a very good choice for you. However, I don't know much about the job market there. I think you're getting a few answers from people who know maybe TOO much about it -- be careful of getting an disgruntled insider's view on any town.
posted by statolith at 5:50 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My sister lives in Fletcher and works for Henderson County, about half an hour away from Asheville, and she loves it. It is a funky place, one of those places that's southern but not, if that makes sense.

The job situation is going to be tough no matter where you go so you might as well go somewhere that has a lot of other things going for it and low cost of living. Can you set up a shop on Etsy to sell art at first? Would you consider getting a job at a university? There are a few schools in the Asheville area and I think your skills from a non profit or government job would transfer. Do you mind driving? Would you be willing to live and work in say, Charlotte, or between Charlotte and Asheville so you could spend weekends in Asheville and work in Charlotte?

If you're most concerned about getting a job but you still want all of those things, I would strongly encourage you to look at Austin, Texas - it has a similar liberal enclave in a conservative state thing going as Asheville but there are a lot of tech start-ups and jobs there and there will always be a lot of young people (because of UT) and music (because of SXSW). Also, this might sound crazy but I actually really liked Chapel Hill when I visited. It's obnoxiously cute, lots of young people because of the university so it will have a lot of the things you're looking for, but if you wanted to live there and work in Durham or Raleigh, it's totally doable.

I'd also warn you, in general, that things are going to be very different wherever you go. That might sound dumb but it sounds like you went straight from your college town to Japan. It's hard to be a 20-something after college period. You don't make friends as easily, you get lonely, etc. But it sounds like you're really willing to make an effort somewhere. I just don't want you to feel discouraged if you're in town for a week and don't have a zillion friends like in college. Try out yoga classes, check out MeetUp, have fun, and be patient.

Tl;dr: If I were you, I'd definitely find a job first but if you want to make Asheville work, I think you can and I think you'd be happy.
posted by kat518 at 6:57 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just a correction here: North Carolina voted for Obama; the governor is a Democrat; and traditionally it's been on the less conservative end of Southern states.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:15 AM on May 24, 2011

North Carolina job market?

Not so good.

I lived in NC for 3 years (on the coast). And while there was a funky little underground scene, it was not hipster so much as boho. And everyone I knew worked minimum wage paying jobs.
posted by Windigo at 7:43 AM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: Seconding kat518. Austin meets a lot of the qualities of Asheville but is larger and therefore has some local industries that drive the economy. (Silicon Hills, the entertainment industry, state government, the university, etc.) Austin is offbeat and funky, full of young people, the sort of place people settle down, large enough that you can avoid exes if necessary, and close to some pretty spectacular nature. When I was in Asheville a couple weeks ago, I noticed that things seemed to be going well there but that there was a conspicuous lack of major employers there.
posted by jph at 8:04 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Orange Peel is an amazing live venue. Great sound and good acts.
posted by zzazazz at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Come visit Roanoke VA. It's on the Blue Ridge Parkway and adjacent to the Appalachian Trail and has a growing art/music scene, plus it's close enough to bigger cities for roadtrips. Last weekend's Down by the River festival featured Neko Case, Jay Farrar, Amos Lee, and the Mosier Brothers as well as a couple of country chicks. Not a college town (VaTech is a half-hour away) so downtown is not a drunken mess but has lots of little galleries and little venues for live music. Jobs ... well, things are tough all over but we didn't have either a boom or a bust so there are some jobs to be found. Nonprofit work for sure but we're not a govt. center besides a few field offices. It is really a great place to live.
posted by headnsouth at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: North Carolina job market?

Not so good.

This is true for Asheville (lots of tourism, not much else) and Charlotte (the big banks), and probably parts of the coast as well (not much industry there). But the Triangle area has been consistently on those lists of areas that have weathered the recession just fine. We never had a housing bubble in Durham, so we never had the big foreclosure bust, and our tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries are all still doing well, as are the large universities.

This is wandering far afield of your question, but in general I would suggest you pay attention to those answers here from people who live in NC right now, since we actually live here. Asheville is next to impossible to move to, but you should definitely consider Chapel Hill or Durham.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:06 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I lived in Asheville for 7 years. I had visited there for many years prior and moved there for many of the reasons that draw you.

Unless you have training for in demand jobs you will be stuck in low pay situations which don't come anywhere close to paying the rent. There are so many people with excellent work experience who have semi-retired to the area and now want/need to work that an entry level non-profit arts position paying $18k received hundreds of applicants - they only bothered interviewing those who held at least a masters.......this was 10 years ago and it has just gotten worse. I could relay dozens of similar stories.

Communal households might be fun at certain points in ones life. Unfortunately, they are a not a choice for most in Ashevegas - and many folks in their 30's, 40's and 50's are still having to share space at points in their life when they desperately want their own space.

If you can bring your own job and/or bankroll you can be fine. Otherwise be prepared to live a student poverty lifestyle indefinitely. You'll also be working your ass off during the nicest time of year and fighting hordes of visitors to do anything downtown.

I moved to the triangle area 4 years ago. While I miss the mountains and my friends, this area has so much to offer - including better wages, more affordable housing and ton's of free/inexpensive things to do. The music and arts scene is vibrant, Durham has a strong indie film festival, the area is teaming with small farms, artisan products and great food. The alternative vibe might not be as readily apparent, but with a little searching you will find it flourishing.

As an aside, I do agree with the poster about Roanoke, Va. It is much like Asheville was before it got "discovered". Augusta, Ga. has potential too.

Now when I visit Asheville I actually have money to go out to eat, hear music, hike the arboretum, etc.
posted by cat_link at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: When my wife and I were looking at Asheville, we got the advice: "Don't move here without jobs." We did anyway, and were unemployed for a couple of years (we'd sold our house in Brooklyn at the top of the market, so don't feel bad). Now we own a yarn store downtown! I've never done anything like this, but I really like working for myself. Asheville is not a place to get hired and have a 9 to 5. But it is a place where creative people can make money (with some luck and hard work). Sure, it's easy for people to hate on the vacationing Floridians, but they are intent on spending their money here, so why not make it easy for them?

You'd love Asheville. It is just as you describe, and people come here from all over. Interesting people, too, not just retirees. But no one's going to give you a job. It's a "roll your own" city.
posted by rikschell at 1:23 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just a correction here: North Carolina voted for Obama; the governor is a Democrat; and traditionally it's been on the less conservative end of Southern states.


true, but i did suffer through several terms of repulsican charles taylor and now watch horrified as democrat heath schuler shows us what a right-leaning blue man looks like. we did sport one Jesse Helms in the Senate for a long time, and the dems down there are not the same as they are up here in Vermont. One of our senators here is a socialist.

florida is almost blue; all my texas relatives are democrats; my 30+ years in Western NC are what I base the perception of conservative on. i see it improving. Asheville, in particular is gay friendly, liberal, great. a really good example of the city and county differences can be seen in this image of the city/county plaza downtown. guess which building is the county courthouse and which is city hall....

regardless, love the place. it's home. i miss it terribly some days.
posted by FauxScot at 1:44 PM on May 24, 2011

FauxScot, I lived in rural far-western NC for years, and I lived in Chapel Hill and Carrboro for years as well. I know what you're saying about Vermont and Helms and Shuler, and I'm not saying that NC is progressive. But you can't just paint the whole state as red and understand what's really going on there. Large swaths of eastern NC are blue, primarily because of the African American population. The cities are blue. Abortion is legal there. Higher education has always been very well funded (that's getting worse now, as it is everywhere, but it's still much better in NC than many other places).

The trope that the South is conservative and the North is liberal just doesn't really pan out. Asheville is lovely, but no more liberal than Durham or Chapel Hill or Carrboro.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:11 PM on May 24, 2011

But it is a place where creative people can make money (with some luck and hard work).

True, but you also need a particular set of networking skills. Asheville's big enough and diverse enough to support vibrant communities tied to interests and occupations, but it's also small enough to make those communities, if not necessarily cliquey, sufficiently encompassing that if you're not inclined to embrace them, you can easily find yourself missing out on opportunities. It takes a larger "sceney" city like Portland or Austin to support multiple parallel communities of common interest.
posted by holgate at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2011

Response by poster: Somehow an earlier comment I made (something along the lines of "Ugh. I don't know why I misspelled Asheville in some parts of my question and not others. D'oh") got removed.

But I also wanted to mention that some of the comments don't really seem to be coming from folks who actually read my question. Asheville isn't my college town and I don't have any ex-boyfriends there. I have never even been there! And yes, I'm liberal - that's why I wrote that I'm looking for a liberal community. The "previously" thread refers to a post from 2007 from a guy with a family looking to have some sort of off-the-grid life change so far as I can tell... So while there is helpful information there, I think my situation is different enough and enough time has passed that it is okay to ask about Asheville again.

I'm definitely keen to hear suggestions of similar places with stronger job markets. I want to mention again that I will arrive with about 3 months worth of savings so I can job hunt for that time. But you all seem to think that no one can find a decent full-time job even after two months in Asheville, right? That's a bummer. Any more articles, statistics, or local job board websites for the area would be much appreciated so I can look into it directly. Thanks again for your help! I do appreciate it.
posted by pinetree at 4:21 PM on May 24, 2011

Response by poster: Oh and I have been out of college and working full-time in the non-profit/gov't sector for 5 years, just FYI. I've lived in three different cities and three countries since my college days, so I think I can handle the adjustment to a new place. Totally not trying to get defensive, just want to make sure folks know where I'm coming from.
posted by pinetree at 4:29 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: I grew up here. If you can find a decently paying job, then go for it. Asheville is one of the most charming places in the state, and there is no shortage of things to enjoy. Except...you can't enjoy them if you can't afford them. If you want to live in Asheville, or Bellingham, or Savannah, or Charleston, make sure that you have some sort of job secured before you move there. Or make sure that you have a plan to make your own job secured before you move there.

It's a great place to live if you are an author, a new age-type yoga instructor, an entrepreneur, a health care professional, etc. There are government agencies in Asheville (NOAA's National Climatic Data Center immediately comes to mind), but not as many as you might find near the research triangle park area.

I am speaking as a recent college graduate who doesn't live in Asheville any longer, so your mileage may vary with what I am suggesting.
posted by JesseBikman at 5:31 PM on May 24, 2011

Asheville is quite the place, and fits your bill, but we bought our jobs here when we bought a business related to our business in Chapel Hill. The Chapel Hill location is now failing while Asheville thrives.

I'm sure you'd like it here, but you'd better have money or be special. One of the people we bought this business from is very happy in Durham.

We know a few people who have moved here, put up with financial crises for years and eventually landed great jobs. We also know a bunch of people on food stamps, who would love a way out.

Isn't that the story everywhere? Just come. You'll either succeed or fail. You could pick worse places to do that.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:35 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: a new age-type yoga instructor

It's not so bad if you run a yoga studio. If you're a yoga teacher who pays up front to book the space, then it's hobby money with a tax write-off for your mat.

What's changed in Asheville and environs since 2007? The housing market has deflated, though not to the point that housing is affordable, and the job market has tightened up significantly, particularly for state/local government and non-profits. Here are your stats.

Your checklist of interests and desires fits Asheville perfectly, and I wish you the best of luck, but there's a reason why the city has some of America's best-educated waiters and bar staff. I know a computer programmer who spent an extended period working third shift in a factory before he and his family packed up and moved to New Zealand for a decent job. I have also heard multiple reports that government jobs are basically internal hires right now.
posted by holgate at 8:22 PM on May 24, 2011

I do think you should consider Durham, NC. It has an inaccurate reputation, I think, which probably keeps some people away. Don't listen to the haters (or at least not the haters who don't live there).
posted by bluedaisy at 12:26 AM on May 25, 2011

Best answer: I'm very late to this but maybe you're still reading? I live here in Asheville - have lived here for 11 years. I have 15 years experience in nonprofit management, education and communications. I'm currently a cashier at Home Depot and getting food stamps; I've been unemployed since April 2010 and my unemployment ran out. The museum where I used to work is down to 2 staff people, one part time. The Health Adventure (the children's museum) laid off more than half their staff (some 20 extremely qualified, experienced people) in April of this year. UNCA and AB Tech have a hiring freeze on - a UNCA staff job I interviewed for last summer but did not get has just been eliminated. So that's the competition you're facing for nonprofit or arts jobs. By the way, I used to hire people at the art museum. Even 8 to 10 years ago we routinely got well over 100 resumes for every. single. job we posted and that's including making $7 an hour as a gallery attendant.

I hardly know anyone who makes more than $13 an hour and that's for a professional level job - that's GOOD money for Asheville. Unfortunately, the housing market, although down from where it was three years ago, is still way out of reach for that money. Rent isn't cheap. Buying is out of sight expensive. It's a great place to live and my entire family and all my friends are here. Chances are that I'll have to leave in the next two years and I'm kind of bummed by that.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:18 PM on June 9, 2011

I'm also very late to this, but I thought I'd add my piece. Asheville is a hard place to swing a good living, but it's also a place people do come and thrive. It helps to have family and friends, but some of the most successful people I know here are transplants from different places.

I've worked a lot of jobs here in my 20s, some of which were a lot of fun and some which even paid OK (for a young person anyway): Research assistant (good paying job that fell into my lap), freelance writer (also paid pretty decent), personal/admin assistant, office manager at wellness center, babysitter/nanny, teacher's assistant. I'm motivated to stay here because so many of my family and friends live here, so I do hustle for work when I have to and I've always been frugal, but I think living here is doable especially when you're young, which you still are. I know lots of people that get by waiting tables and you'll be in good company, and by doing so you'll have lots of free time which to porch sit and go to those swimming holes you mention. The job market is bad, but isn't it bad everywhere? I can think of worse places to be underemployed. I say why not try it for a year, and then if the job or the town doesn't pan out, bail. It really is a special place, and worth exploring for awhile if you can swing it.

There's also a great place to do FREE YOGA!! And some amazing therapists/healers here if you want some recs.
posted by Rocket26 at 5:49 PM on August 14, 2011

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