« on: September 26, 2012, 06:36:03 AM »
I've got to make a plug for Indianapolis.
We live in the city, in an area called Broad Ripple (10 minute bike ride downtown). Its a great community of food/beer lovers and has many wonderful restaurants, a few brewpubs, and taphouses. I have about 1/2 acre that's perfect for a great garden. Its legal in our area to have chickens, and several people do (my friend has a chicken coop with a small garden on top, actually). My local (walking distance) market is a Fresh Market (like Whole Foods) and the Farmers Market every Saturday.
The cost of living in Indiana is AWESOME. I have worked in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbus, and Indianapolis is the most affordable city.
The area my fiance and I are in is a more historical district - our house was built in 1924. The neighborhoods continue to be kept up by the owners. We have a neighborhood association, but their focus is on commercial zoning, business growth, etc. The neighborhood is kept up organically by... the neighborhood. We chose the neighborhood because we wanted to meet other like-minded people and families. We've definitely succeeded! My neighbor is my age and an Engineer (like me). We've also met several couples via the dog park, rec. league sports, beer events, and my LHBS.
Indianapolis International can get you to Paris via Chicago or New York in 7-8 hours.
I am within walking distance of 3 or 4 wonderful Catholic churches. Not sure about protestant.
The job market is great as well. I just switched companies, and found a job within 3 months of starting my search. My fiance is a recruiter and she is busier than ever!
Indianapolis is home to a few great museums. The IMA (imamuseum.org) is a huge indoor/outdoor facility. There is also a workshop in the heart of Broad Ripple, if your wife is a sculpture or welder (or if you need to weld on homebrewing equipment). The Art Institute, IUPUI, Butler, and U of Indy all offer great arts/culture programs. Broad Ripple is a great district for arts and culture. The annual Art Fair is impressive, and arts in schools are heavily supported (Broad Ripple High School is a liberal arts magnet school).
The beer culture is growing exponentially and electric right now in Indianapolis! We've had a lot of breweries start up since Sun King has become so successful, and better beer locations continue to thrive. I think its the city for me to start my brewing venture someday. The area is fertile for well-run food and beer-centric business.
The homebrew culture is great as well. We have an AWESOME homebrew shop (greatfermentations.com) and a great homebrew club (Foam Blowers of Indiana). The state contest draws more than 1,000 entries per year.
AND we host a kickass Super Bowl!
Let me know if Indy falls into your consideration - I'd be happy to help you explore our options and connect with real estate agents, schools, recruiters, churches, homebrewers, etc.
Good luck in your search!