OT: what do you think of where you live?

RIDDIM

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I've lived in a few places - NW and SW CT, Ft Worth, Tokyo, Guam, Bangkok, Sicily, STL, DE, San Antonio, Ft Worth, and Rantoul, IL (in the winter!).

Presently I'm 30 minutes from Baltimore and DC, maybe 20 from Annapolis. I like this area a lot.

Before COVID, the only other places I'd want to live would be somewhere close to NYC, assuming I could find something affordable and safe. Failing that, maybe Paris, London, or Berlin.

Why I like this area:

There are many universities and lots of high achievers in many areas. There are a lot of folks here who want to hear more than C&W, classic rock or blues ( I've done tons of those gigs, but those are not all l I like to do). Tons of great musicians in most idioms (not the best spot if Tex Mex is your thing though - Houston or San Antonio would be better fits). Between the universities, the service bands (Steve Gadd was in the Ft Meade band), and the magnet schools, there is a ton of talent here. It keeps you on your game. The standards in any idiom are generally high. Dennis Chambers, Aaron Spears, Jamal Moore, Sean Jones, Gary Thomas, Dana Hawkins, Quincy Phillips and Lee Pearson are neighborhood guys, which says something about the neighborhood. And everybody came here. If I got a big head, NYC is a 3-4 hour drive, so I could go up there, get my butt kicked and not need to resize my hats.

There's an expectation that you'll bring something to the table. This is the first place I've lived where that's the case, rather than just play what's on the record or like somebody else (unless you're playing wedding or tribute gigs - and lots of folks do; regular meals are a good thing). Most other places I've been, it's "Can you play it more like the record?"

Lots of jam sessions, too, in many idioms, all over. Great way to remind folks you're not quite dead yet and to meet folks who will be someone in the next 5 or 6 years.

Before COVID, I was working 2-4 nights a week, doing funk, straight ahead, Brazilian, fusion and other calls, plus teaching, sessions, etc.

Rush hour traffic can be character building, but that seems to be a given for any metroplex. I leave early and try to leave room for myself or others to be an idiot.

It can be pricey, depending on where you live, and we do pay state taxes. While I want to keep as much of my money as I can, I think taxes are the price of civilization; we have decent schools (I like living around folks who understand that the sun does not revolve around the earth), decent roads, hospitals and it doesn't take the cops 2 weeks to respond to a call.
 
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Damn, I didn't know we had so many Jersey guys here. We should organize a DFO Jersey "hang" sometime!

I grew up in Pitman (South Jersey) and moved back and forth between there and Philly a few times. But for the last 30 years I have been in North Jersey and I love it. I'll echo just about everything MTN Man said, but my taxes are much cheaper without all those extra costs (DAMN!!!!) I found a little town in Bergen County that is actually VERY reasonable and very safe.

I agree with all the ups, and convenient distances to the airport and the city that have been mentioned. There are lots of perks being around here in NNJ: gigs, students, good professional musicians, lifestyle, and all the stuff that has been mentioned. Great healthcare too.

I can be home from Manhattan in 30 mins (getting in is always longer with traffic. But traffic is a way of life in the Northeast,) to Newark Airport in 30 mins, to the NJ shore in 45 mins, Philly in 2 hours, the backwoods of NJ in 45 mins, the NY Adirondacks in and hour or so. I can work throughout NJ and the NJ Shore, Philly, NYC, and even Boston, without getting on a plane. The musicians living in NYC can't do that (no cars, and most of them don't drive.)

The downsides... the "occasional" 100 year flood (we've had 3!) and on street parking. Car insurance. But the ups far outweigh the downs. I am very happy here. My wife and I live a nice middle class professional musician life, and we can't complain about anything.

BUT, when I retire from music, I am heading to New England (I think?) I used to have a little vacation house in Maine, and loved it (except for the Black Flies.) We sold that one, but will find another, and that will be our retirement place (I think.)

But back to OP. It depends on what you are looking for from your location. Every location has some sort of "natural disaster-weather issue" (tornados, floods, hurricanes, extreme snowfall or heat,) so I consider that a wash.

You might want to give us some more info about what you are looking for from a new location.

MSG
 

Vistalite Black

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I live in a small city in Central NC (pop.95,000). There’s a brew pub within 100 feet of my back door and a half dozen vey good restaurants we can walk to within about 10 minutes.
Lately my wife and I have been alternating miles-long walks with Pickleball at the park about five minutes away.
We don’t have much traffic and I can get to the closest movie theater in under 10 minutes. There are two rock clubs that get pretty big touring acts within 30 minutes, and I can get to an NFL game in 90 minutes and Charlotte Motor Speedway in just over an hour.
July and August are way too hot, but the rest of the year is good.
I’ve lived in NY (worked in Manhattan), CT, Virginia and SC. I’m not moving.
 

CherryClassic

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Austin, Tx everyone wants to move here! lol Lots of live music of pretty much every genre pretty much every night (except for now) Housing is high within the city, better in the smaller surrounding towns. Traffic sucks (except for now) I have an 18 mile commute to work takes 30 to 40 minutes....the good though lots of Tech jobs and average to above average pay.
I was born and raised in San Antonio but live in the Austin area. Just South of Austin and love it here. The nice thing is IF we have snow in the winter you better hurry when you wake up to see it; very seldom it last for two days. And the weather man here is wrong most of the time. LOL Just kidding. But it really gets hot here in the summer but there is a lot of fun things to do in the summer. A lot of businesses move here for that reason. And there are a good number of small towns surrounding the Austin area with in a 15 to 30 minute drive. And a lot of great places to eat!!!!

sherm
 

Vistalite Black

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Note to the OP: If someone discusses their town or city in terms of how close it is to something cool, they’re in a place that sucks.

Also, “only two hours to the city” can be translated as “in no traffic, between 2 am and 4 am, you could make it to the city in two hours ... if every light turns green for you.”
 

MntnMan62

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Note to the OP: If someone discusses their town or city in terms of how close it is to something cool, they’re in a place that sucks.

Also, “only two hours to the city” can be translated as “in no traffic, between 2 am and 4 am, you could make it to the city in two hours ... if every light turns green for you.”
To the OP. When someone says that "if someone else discusses their town or city in terms of how close it is to something cool, they're in a place that sucks", it just means that person is jealous. Anyway. We'd love to hear more from you and what you are looking for in a new hometown.
 

dcrigger

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I've lived in California since I was 8 - though for 35+ years, there wasn't a month that went by without me traveling someplace or another to gig. So of course I kept my eyes and ears open to other places - imagining what it might be move to a number that seemed appealing. But none of them inspired me to even think twice about leaving California. After growing up in Orange County, living for 25 years in the San Fernando Valley, living almost 15 years about an hour east of San Francisco, then moving two years ago to San Marcos, here in San Diego County, I can't think of any place in the world that I'd rather live.

And while those four locales are somewhat different from each other - they all very much feel like California. So to the OP's list...

Climate - people come here to escape their weather - year round. Though if you love the whole four seasons thing - CA is not your place. And it does vary around the state - but in general, we have our hot spells (but we're pretty lucky with the humidity) and most areas will dip into the 30's - a few nights a year. :)

Population - well CA has lots of people - close to 40 million - but it's a big state. And except for San Francisco, generally pretty sprawling. Meaning.. spread out. So actual density can really vary depending on where one settles... again, it's a flipping big state.

Diversity - very much so. And has been for a long long time. Far predating me. Our struggles with this is IMO almost entirely economic - class, not race. Unlike I think some states - where racial diversity is a newer phenomenon for them.

School system - I'm probably biased here - as my family is chock full of folks that currently work or retire from careers working in the California School system. Is it perfect? The best? Absolutely not - and who knows? But it doesn't suck - and unlike some states, my granddaughter will be taught that the Civil War had an actual winner and a loser and that Black people actually were kept as slaves in this country - and no, they weren't happy about it. And the world is more than six thousand years old. And won't be taught that Jesus had a pet dinosaur as a boy, because in public school, she won't be taught about Jesus at all.

Art scene, Social scene, Traffic - again, it's a big diverse state. I can't even say that Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are different. I mean in broad generalities they are - but within Greater Los Angeles there are huge variations - density, urban vs. suburban, artsy, staid, countryesque with ranches and agriculture, to surfboard and coffee house beach communities. and on and on.

We are generally a blue state - though in big parts of you'd barely know it.

In my experience, CA rarely has a small town vibe. You can live on a block for 20 years and maybe not know half of your neighbors. That's not every block - but it's not uncommon. There is a casualness here - that used to be even more pronounced by comparison. I remember when first touring in the early 70's, how common it was on the east coast, to drop into a restaurant for lunch in shirt sleeves and be required to borrow a jacket from the coat room. And I'm not talking really fancy places either - it was just still commonplace back then. Again on the east coast - not in California - where dress codes were just made to be fudged on, or simply ignored, or nonexistent.

Anyway - clearly I like living in CA - but I'm with others - what are you looking for? What do you do work-wise? Etc. etc. - more info would probably get you more targeted help and suggestions. - if that's what you're looking for.
 

dcrigger

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Vistalite Black

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To the OP. When someone says that "if someone else discusses their town or city in terms of how close it is to something cool, they're in a place that sucks", it just means that person is jealous. Anyway. We'd love to hear more from you and what you are looking for in a new hometown.
"Jersey Shore" really established my ideal. Walkable with lots of nearby bars, restaurants and places to buy t-shirts with cool messages. Plus, it's close to what 49 other states call the beach. Additionally, you can be in Manhattan in four hours when the wait for the tunnel isn't too long.
 

Old PIT Guy

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I've lived on both coasts. L.A./Hollywood was a cesspool and south Florida was a boozy marsh of mental malfeasance. I'll take mountainous solitude -presently- any day. Deer, rabbits, hawks, bears, foxes ... make infinitely more sense to me than life in a city, ocean or not.
 

kdgrissom

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I shuttle between two houses in two states -Florida and Georgia. For me, mid-Georgia is simply intellectually stifling and Florida is on track to lose quite a bit of land mass over the next 50 years. It is interesting how the people in charge deny global warming, yet FEMA continues to amend flood zone maps. St. Pete has a great beach, lots of entertainment and music with a vibrant downtown where you can go to a brew pub and sit and observe another brew pub across the street (about 28 in the Tampa Bay area). Lots of bicycles and young people moving in. The downside is that the "developers" are now firmly in control, so with out any regulation, I expect the charm of the city and quaint neighborhoods to disappear.
I yearn for an old mountain farm house with a valley view for retirement.
 

yetanotherdrummer

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My wife and I have both lived in Southwest Michigan our entire lives. Our town is a college town, so we have pretty much everything here. We are also half-way between Detroit and Chicago which is nice.

For the race fan in me, Indianapolis is only a 4 hour drive, and Sweetwater Music in Fort Wayne is less than 2 hours away.

My biggest complaint is the weather, too cold in the winter and hot and muggy in the summer. But spring and fall are always nice.

I guess that if we were going to move somewhere else, it would be near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. That is our favorite vacation spot hands down.
 

Dave HCV

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To the OP...

Now that the number of responses is in the 50s, you have plenty of opinions to chew on. And now for some facts. This web site...


...has a treasure trove of statistical information on many many towns and cities around the US, including crime statistics, average wages, costs of living, demographics, etc. Might be useful.
 

Hop

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I've been a So Cal resident since the early 70's, and have lived in several cities. The population in the state has doubled since I've been here (from 20 to now 40-million) and it is very noticeable. Everywhere and in every way. I can remember open lots/land - heck in Huntington Beach there was even a diary farm a street over from me at one point. But these days it seems hard to find a space that isn't developed.

So, it's a very expensive place to live to be sure, home prices are very high as others have mentioned. I gave up on the idea of home ownership here many years ago, and instead will just cash out a house in another state when I finally get the courage to move. I live in a port town (where the ghetto meets the sea - as I'm fond of saying), so it's got the beach weather but it doesn't have great beaches. The mild climate is certainly the only thing that keeps me here these days as almost all my family has moved away.

Taxes are high and the state is not run well, and will not get any better any time soon. Additional taxes in L.A. too, the dopes here recently voted for an additional increase to fund the homeless - they weren't managing the money or problem well before, so I just can't see why you'd throw even more money at it. Last year the city budget for this issue was ~ $619MM. Although the state pension fund is about the middle of the pack compared to other states in area of "unfunded obligations," the overall all size of it is staggering. The state is about 68% funded, however the shortfall is about $190,000,000,000!!! The government employs almost 2MM as well, so that number is only going to swell. Many tax paying businesses and residents are leaving which will compound that pension shortfall issue (so get ready for yet another kick-in-the-nuts tax increase).

On the upside, there is great health care in So Cal (with top tier teaching universities to boot) and there is plenty of recreation (unfortunately that comes with plenty of recreators)...
Oh, and there is The Pro Drum Shop as well ;-)
 

mebeatee

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We bought this place about 20 yrs ago, in an amazing place full of artists from all mediums. Incredible creative communities and folks here. I still....well used to now...commute to the city for recording or tour prep (w/band based in city), and there was a ton of local gigs and teaching.
This is the first time in my 45+ yrs as a professional musician I have been unable to work so I say to heck with it.....I'm gonna go fly a kite.
Seriously....I have been flying kites.....quad, dual, and single line glider kites for about 26 yrs....
Tide's going out.....this taken earlier today from where I'm typing.... Going to finish up and then I'm going flying....
bt

IMG_1694.JPG
 

MntnMan62

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"Jersey Shore" really established my ideal. Walkable with lots of nearby bars, restaurants and places to buy t-shirts with cool messages. Plus, it's close to what 49 other states call the beach. Additionally, you can be in Manhattan in four hours when the wait for the tunnel isn't too long.
There really are two different "Jersey Shores". You have the Spring Lake/Sea Girt/Belmar area where you have the beach and then a residential area adjacent to it with grass lawns and very little if any sand in sight. Pretty much the suburbs next to the beach. Then you have the Long Beach Island version with is a true beach community. I've spent a fair amount of time in both Spring Lake and LBI and have to say I much prefer the latter. You know you're at the beach no matter where you are. And I think the beaches are much nicer on LBI. Larger, more spread out and therefore less crowded.
 

thenuge

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As much as I love city living no matter what city it is, I think the past 3 months have pushed me over the edge. In the Matrix there’s a great speech by agent Smith where he says “humans tend to flock to one place, use up all the resources, then spread out to another place doing the same thing” or similar, going on to say that there’s another organism that does the exact same thing, and that’s a virus. Funny that we’re being culled the worst exactly where we’re doing the exact same thing the most. Nature is funny.
 

MntnMan62

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I shuttle between two houses in two states -Florida and Georgia. For me, mid-Georgia is simply intellectually stifling and Florida is on track to lose quite a bit of land mass over the next 50 years. It is interesting how the people in charge deny global warming, yet FEMA continues to amend flood zone maps. St. Pete has a great beach, lots of entertainment and music with a vibrant downtown where you can go to a brew pub and sit and observe another brew pub across the street (about 28 in the Tampa Bay area). Lots of bicycles and young people moving in. The downside is that the "developers" are now firmly in control, so with out any regulation, I expect the charm of the city and quaint neighborhoods to disappear.
I yearn for an old mountain farm house with a valley view for retirement.
You're right about Florida. I've spent a fair amount of time in Florida. My grandmother lived in West Palm Beach, my mother currently lives in Boynton Beach, my brother lives in the Miami area, I've done a ton of business in Palm Beach itself, Jupiter Island, Naples, Ocala and Tallahassee. It's surprising how similar parts of the West Palm Beach area look so much like Long Island in New York (where I grew up). Disturbing really. I think everything you want to know about Florida can be found in Cark Hiaasen novels. We haven't decided where we are going to settle for retirement but I plan to make sure it isn't Florida.
 


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