Where to Live As A Mid-Age Single Woman?
September 10, 2017 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm living in the Southwest because it's sunny, warm (I have SAD) and the cost of living is lower than where I'm from in Washington and Oregon. I bought a house here for $135K. But problem is I'm worried about global warming (we had the hottest June on record for this area 2017) and I'm a 20 minute drive from just about everything.

What I would really like is inexpensive housing (85K to 200K, small houses good too), being able to walk outside my front door and go to coffee, walk my dogs, go shop, and a town/city where there are classes, pubs and outdoor recreation. Also, I'd be moving there alone so friendly people is a must. Anyone living in or know of such a place?Places I've considered include: Kanab, Utah (because Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is there and I'd love to work there plus Southern Utah recreation!); Pt. Townsend (grew up going here a lot and visited recently); Prescott, AZ (still in the sun but cooler). Don't like snow that much but some is okay. Want to keep away from the southeast. I'm cool with buying land and putting a modular on it or building a small house, too. Thanks, all!
posted by DixieBaby to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
You don’t mention the need to be close to a particular industry. If you’re able to work from any location, consider Bisbee, AZ. It’s similar in temperature and elevation to Prescott, but less windy and more affordable.
posted by kbar1 at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does Texas Hill Country qualify as Southwest? Close to Austin/SA, and the higher elevation really helps with the heat/humidity during the Summer with some of the prettiest scenery in Texas. Fredericksburg might be worth taking a closer look at, but I've read that Austin retirees have pushed housing prices up, but it still might be worth further investigation.
posted by Beholder at 2:08 PM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think Taos, New Mexico may stay relatively cool compared to a lot of the Southwest, and it's very sunny and pretty walkable. There are a small number of affordable houses there. I've also been thinking about relocating somewhere and thinking about climate change, and the problem is that there will definitely be impacts beyond heat alone (in Taos, for example, more risk of drought and wildfires, changes in the species that can live there, declining water quality, etc). It does look like it might fare okay economically according to this map. Is Port Townsend sunny enough for you? If so, that opens up a lot of other choices...it looks like it only gets 159 sunny days a year.
posted by pinochiette at 3:29 PM on September 10, 2017

Response by poster: I'm semi-retired. Work with animals right now, which I can do just about anywhere.
Pinochiette, thanks for that map! It was what I was looking for but didn't know it! Port Townsend isn't normally sunny enough for me but I'm considering having a really bright "sun" room where I can have special lights to get some relief, if I do decide to move up north. Taos looks beautiful from photos on the internet--I've never been--albeit a bit small for me. Beholder, Fredericksburg is gorgeous and the population (76K) is right too. Definitely some homes in my price range. Well, I will be ready for a road trip next Spring and hope to check these places out.
posted by DixieBaby at 7:10 AM on September 11, 2017

Best answer: As a current resident of Seattle with SAD, I often tell myself that if I were a single lady, I would move south in a heartbeat. Arizona, Utah or New Mexico sound pretty awesome to me. I wish I had some specific towns to recommend, but mostly I wanted to say that even with lots of sunny windows, Port Townsend in winter will be very dark and often chilly. :(
posted by purple_bird at 9:10 AM on September 11, 2017

How do you feel about the middle of the country? I loved living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a walkable, diverse college town in the Ozarks. Summers are hot and humid and winters can be a bit gray with occasional ice storms, but I remember lots of sunny days.

It's super affordable, the locals are effusively friendly, and there's a lot to do, including hiking, kayaking, etc. in a beautiful mountain location.
posted by toastedcheese at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2017

Best answer: I'm in a similar situation as you, and have considered/visited a lot of the towns mentioned here. I spent the month of June in the Prescott, AZ area, and that's where I'm moving. The Prescott area hits the sweet spot on being affordable, attractive, and has a thriving downtown with shops, festivals, art galleries, brewpubs, coffee shops, funky antique stores, a great indie bookstore, etc., all arranged around the town square. It also has a small but very cool farmers market.
What I also liked is that Phoenix is about an hour away if I simply must get my West Elm/Anthropologie/Crate and Barrel fix, and Flagstaff is about an hour or so to the north. Flagstaff is like an amped up version of Prescott, but with snow and forest. Even closer is Sedona, which is GORGEOUS, and full of new-agey stuff if that's your thing, and galleries and restaurants. There's the cool old mining town of Jerome about 45 mins from the Prescott area, too, which has a superb restaurant and hotel in an old asylum, along with funky ambiance in general.
The whole area is full of hiking spots and outdoor activities, and while Arizona is considered a red state, that seems to be changing. Prescott has a very active Indivisible group, too. Honestly, I expected to hate Arizona, but I ended up loving it. And I found the people to be incredibly friendly - I ended up having long conversations with retail clerks, artists and rockhounds. I even had a "favorite cashier" at Safeway by the time I left.

And if all that isn't enough, Toni Tenille from the Captain and Tenille was moving back to Prescott at the end of July (and was making plans to join the college choir, which I found charming and adorable.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:57 AM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fort Collins, CO gets lots of sun and is a lovely place to live.
Quite cold in the winter but that may change...
posted by exceptinsects at 11:51 AM on September 13, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! To the gal who is moving to Prescott, you sound a lot like me! I definitely need to make a trip to Prescott. I've been to Jerome and Sedona. Colorado also sounds nice but I hears it's expensive. I've never been to Arkansas, but worth a look. And thanks for the reality check about Pt. Townsend. Maybe I should just visit once a year.
posted by DixieBaby at 1:17 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

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