Best Zip Code for Perfect Life

Two recent threads have inspired me. One was on persuading the wife for an audio shopping "romantic weekend" and the other on all of your hobbies outside of audio. Given that many of you seem interested in contemplative and creative things, fishing bicycling etc as well as quite a few car nuts, here is the ultimate question: Where can I chuck in the big city rat race and move that would offer: natural beauty, pre war architecture (at least some) and privacy where one could fish, cycle, enjoy nature etc and not worry about neighbors when playing MFSL Dark Side of the Moon at concert levels through subwoofers, drive 30-60 minutes maximum to check out some girls, visit a good audio dealer, book shop, music store and eat some decent Italian food, without spending a zillion bucks on real estate or living in an overpopulated or pre fab "McMansion" atmosphere. Extra Credit: roads ideally would be somewhat rural, bucolic, winding and not ruined by traffic or constant speed traps.(One for the car geeks, of which I am one.)Let's keep this gem to our forum, but WE can all move there and start an audio club and the best dealers will follow. Thanks for the tip and I will hope to see you in the village market and have you over for a drink and a demo!
Seems like New England may fit the bill, perhaps Vermont? Limited high end dealers there, but it's not too far a drive to New York or Montreal. Dealers, ladies, great food available in either NYC or Mtl. Another option is New Hampshire, but with the Big Dig going on in Boston, makes getting into the city a challenge for the next 10 years.
Better yet, move north of Montreal, to the Laurentian mountains. 60 minute drive to Montreal, awesome women, terrific beer, good audio dealers, incredible food, bad hockey team.
North Central Massachusetts has all the things you are looking for. I can be at a numerous high-end stores in 45 minutes. I'm in a neighborhood, yet can play loudly at any time (within reason) I do shut listening room windows if it's late. Respect does work both ways. I would'nt leave here for anything! Paul
I prefer LEFT coast. Monterey CA, to be precise. I'll move there, of course only if i become famous and lucky. Always go WEST!
Leafs? Great hockey team? They haven't won the cup since 1967, but, they do have a reasonably entertaining product now. Anyone who stayed loyal to the Leafs throughout the Ballard years deserves a winning team now.
Thanks,we have suffered long.I am going to be in Montreal at the end of the month.Any recomendations on hi end stores.
Great responses so far....I am starting to pack and will call the real estate agents soon....Eldragon, I understand Monterey is absolutely GORGEOUS, but this might fail my "without spending a zillion bucks on real estate" requirement. Let me guess, $1 MM plus for about 2.5 BRs and a quarter of an acre??!! EXTRA EXTRA credit for any zip codes with authentic architecture and reasonable prices. Otherwise thanks for all the excellent ideas and advice. (And ELdragon let me know if you want to sell the place in Monterey cheap. Maybe you could use a tax write off or something.)
Leafs, email me, let me know when you'll be in Montreal, I can point you in the right direction for high end stuff, living in Montreal my entire 39 years, I know where all the goodies are. I may tag along with you for a little high end excursion, although it usually costs me everytime I do that. Jeff
29902. That's the zip code for Beaufort, South Carolina, located on the very southeast coast. If you like moderate winter temps(with the exception of this year), natural beauty that includes ocean, salt marshes, and pristine rivers and streams, and pre-civil war architecture(Sherman didn't burn it all up), this is it. People are friendly, our traffic jams occur on fridays between 1-3pm when everybody is trying to get away from work for the weekend. If you like to fish, kayak, or play golf, there isn't a better place. There aren't any high-line audio dealers in the area, the closest ones are probably 4-5 hours away, but if you can get on a computer, you'll be able to converse with other Audiogoners just like I do now. The downside, you might have to stop and say hello to a friend, neighbor, or a fellow worker when you're out and about in town. The big cities have many things these little towns may never have, but you can go visit anytime, and when you get your fill, you can head on back to these small places and remember exactly what it was that got you to move there in the first place! No place is perfect, but Beaufort should be on anyone's short list. Happy New Year to you'all..Skip
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27514-27516. If God isn't a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina Blue? Plenty of pre-war architecture (some pre civil-war). Bass fishin' was practically invented in the region. Big undergrad and reseacrh university town atmosphere means hippie and yuppie cyclists abound. Look a few miles oustide of town and you can practically buy your own nature preserve, and enlighten the wildlife with Dark Side of the Moon at your leisure. Sixty percent of UNC's approximately 25,000 students are women, and 75% of them are very attractive women in their early twenties. A few great audio dealers in Research Triangle Park area (home of Cary Audio). Lots of well paved windy country roads (and a Ferrari dealership two hours away in Greensboro). Again, big (liberal) college town atmosphere assures plenty of bookstores, music stores, restaurants, etc. PLUS you get to live in the national capital of college basketball, fantastic golf courses, great live music of all sorts (see big college town info above), a four season climate with none too drastic, an international airport nearby, and a beautiful but increasingly spoiled coastline within 2 1/2 hours drive. The downside is that you get Jesse Helms as a Senator, but no one in Chapel Hill votes for him anyway. He once said of Chapel Hill, "They ought to just put a big fence around it and call it a zoo." I grew up there and came to the city to make my fortune but will return ASAP.
Explain 'a zillion'? All things are tradeoffs. I think my favorite 'low cost' city is Denver, CO. It's getting expensive though. You can find some older houses just south of the city, or some out West.

Colorado Springs is nice too. Very safe. Primarily a military town with strong Christian and liberal influences. Local music and social scene is more limited but Denver is an hour away. Dunlavy, Genesis, and Rowland are made there. Semi-affordable, great old victorians downtown.

Another great city is Portland Oregon, where I live now. It rains too much, but it is beautiful and has skiing, hiking, beach, great old bookstores and a few good music venues. It's a little like a smaller, simpler san francisco. The houses are expensive relative to most local incomes, but cheap if coming from most other cities. There are some beautiful old Victorian houses around Portland. Some in 'revitalizing' neighborhoods if that is your thing.
02156: 2 minute walk to lake, 4 minutes to great Italian restaurant at town center, with 12 minute rail/20 minute drive to Boston's Symphony and/or Jordan Halls (though parking's a bitch!). 10 minute walk to newly-"hot" town center. Great solid American "four-square" and victorian turn-of century homes (lots of cross-beamed ceilings and built-in bookcases result in less add-on acoutic treatment!) in a QUIET neighborhood withfine schools K-5. Cold 'n icy now, but a neighborhood of hardwoods whose color pallet's to die for in October....... (Yeah, the northern pioneer valley is nice 'n rural, but truly insufferably humid in that Connecticut River valley in the summer, no? (My kid summer-camps's brutal!))............ (Got a sis in Chapel Hill with big new house--quite a deal, and she loves it. OTOH friends whose taste and mores I trust claim Raleigh/Durham's a mess of ugly strip-mall development: cheap, sweet and unidimensional. True?) We've friends farther out in the sticks, but it's awfully nice to be able to stroll by the lake and then be hearing world-class live music in any number of venues within a half-hour. Not sure I'll ever move away...except maybe to parts of France I continue to visit..........It's easy to envy the left coast this time of year, though. Can't find any well-travelled friends who could stand to live in the South, despite its great economic value. I know these can be fightin' words around here, but I keep being told about vapid culture. I understand the need to build a ref system is especially great if you live far from interesting live musical venues, but as I get older I find myself increasing the ratio of live/recorded music I partake of. Hence the geographical Catch 22, no? code, shmipcode--it's all about inner peace and the extent one can bring oneself to love others, no? A great millenial New Year to all!...wherever ya sit! Ernie
thanx john_l for your pitch for my town, denver,co. denver is, indeed, a haven for audiophiles. not only do we have close by the audio firms mentioned but several others, too: avalon acoustics, boulder amplifiers, inc., ayre, green mountain audio, among others. we also have some top-notch retailers who, together, carry a huge array of products. within 60 miles, we have numerous universities and colleges, public and private. the front range corridor is also a nationally prominent high tech center, with loads of high-paying jobs for those with the right mix of skills/experience. the number of live music venues has exploded in the past few years, from large to intimate; 'course we have as a city park the favorite venue among many performers: red rocks. it's hard to imagine a spot more geared toward outdoor pursuits. you can kayak, ice climb, ski, snow shoe, hike, fish, etc., etc. what's more you can drive or ride the roads used in tire commercials, which also serve as test grounds for nearly all the us and international auto manufacturers. we don't have the history of the east, of course. colo is the "centennial state" because it was admitted into the union in 1876. what we do have by way of historical buildings, we've preserved. those buildings surround our 2 newest and about-to-be completed 3rd major league venue. this town is a 4- league sports mecca; every avalanche game ever played here has been a sellout and every broncos game, too, since the early 70's. unfortunately, as john_l, notes, denver is no longer affordable in terms of housing (mean home price surpassed $265k this year). there are some affordable areas left if you're willing to commute or be an urban pioneer. on the whole, there are few places i'd rather call home. (i'd really like to live in london, but that's another story)
Cornfedboy -- delighted you like my town more than you like my posts. I think London is the new center of the global village and universe and I am devastated to now be moving back to NYC after many years there. Despite my devotion to London, however, I would say it fails in most if not all of the "perfect life" criteria. Very expensive real estate (easy to spend $500-1 MM USD in town on a 1-2 BR apartment), Italian food available but also very expensive, interesting cars available and popular but traffic moves at 3 MPH. And I haven't found any good audio dealers -- more or less everything but especially (!!) electronics cost in pounds what they would cost in dollars over here. This has led to a vibrant grey market in high end. (Still ridiculously overpriced.) But the access to Europe, the naughty, witty English girls and the pubs and Guiness make it all worth it and I would move back in a second!!!! Please let me know if I can help you if you are ever there. don't wanna go off subject but must say i quite agree about london being the center of the social and cultural universe, at least for the nonce. also agree it's bloody awful expensive. interesting to hear your "italian food available" with no attached superlatives; i've had some of the best italian food ever in london (and, yes, i've traveled extensively in italy). i do feel sorry for your apparently involuntary move back to nyc. tho my wife, grown sons and their spouses disagree with me quite vehemently, i find nyc to be far outside the class of other "international" cities.
CFB, not to follow you off subject but I think you are absolutely right -- NYC, for all of its culture and world class bluster and bravado is a very money and career obsessed, American city. It is international from the perspective of its working class immigrant population, but ultimately much less cosmopolitan than London or other cities I have visited. (New Yorkers typically don't understand this and are very offended by the idea, but it is true. ) The food in London has improved immensely since '94 - perhaps you are thinking of Zafferano's in Knightsbridge? I hope you were traveling on expense account! For a "cheap and cheerful" not amazing but authentic and fun Italian for slumming it a bit, you should try Spago on Glendower Place in South Kensington. Run by a bunch of crazy Italians (food may not be their only "business", I think the best deal in town for a raw chianti and a brick oven pizza or some linguini vongole. I ate there from 2-6 nights a week for 7 years so I am reasonably familiar with the menu. Please feel free to write to me directly if you would like to discuss London.
London the center of the social and cultural universe? Ever had Mexican food there? Sorry, Mechsiquan Phoode. Shaken. Not stirred. Cheers to the palate of the Stiff Upper Lip. Where's the best place to get English food in London?
You know, I'm just dying to go to London for the linguine vongole. Do you think the difference between Knightsbridge, Chelsea and South Kensington is worth the tube ride? Maybe a ticket to Florence is worth considering? Execpt for the phoode.
This just in: the best English food in Paris is in the septieme arrondisment. Place called "Smythe's". Run by some crazy wankers from Pakistan, India or maybe British East Africa. Somewhere from the empire for sure. Extremely authentic. Sun setting and all... CW I don't live in NYC but I find your anglocentric eurotrash perspective to be seriously parochial. How cosmopolitan do you really think London is beyond its "working class immigrant population": you know, the ones who run Spago on Glendower Place. Where you ate 2-6 nights a week for 7 years.Oblivious.
Dear Khrys: I have eaten at Smythes near the shomps e lee zay many times. And I love their French champagne!! But, for authentic English food, the curried Conch salad at Churchill's in Barbados is definitely the best. ...I can also trash London with the best of 'em, and I appreciate your point (and wit). But your use of the word "Eurotrash" is at least as parochial as anything I said. Eating regularly at my favourite dumpy neighborhood Italian was not the cosmopolitan experience that distinguished London from NYC. For an ordinary middle class Joe like myself, I simply found working and socializing in London to be a much more international, multi cultural experience than living and working in New York. And I say that as a someone who is proud to be a "New Yorker." Perhaps the geographic proximity of other countries has something to do with it? But let's get back to the perfect zip code question -- maybe Tuscany?? "Crazy" Italians as friends and neighbors, real estate very cheap, great food, some quirky and high end audio manufacturers and winding Tuscan roads for the Ducati or Ferrari.
Eldragon, I'm in Portland.
Cornfedboy, Denver is a great place. Funny I don't ski nearly as much as I used to. I do fly to ski once or twice a year and slosh around in Oregon and Alaska a bit.

Colorado is still the best place to ski because it's always sunny. Mountains like Whistler and Jackson Hole are awesome, but you're always skiing in a storm. Have to admit that when Jackson Hole is on - with deep powder, nothing touches it.

I'm going to do a trip to Breck/Keystone/Copper this March. Have you been to Keystone in the last year or so? They opened up some terrain 2-3 years ago, and it's actually one of the best mountains for backcountry single diamond skiing now. Nobody knows about it!
Portland (Oregon) is probably my next destination! How is economy there? Any jobs?
Can I offer a free beer to anyone being able to offer a place with the above criteria MINUS the car nut stuff (I am not one) PLUS a dry climate (allergies). That last pretty much rules out anything East of the Mississippi... Double-extra-plus bonus points if the ratio of available and interested women to men is above average. I am also pretty big on alternative rock concert venues, so Denver may be the place to be for me.
Denver is pretty nice, expecially if athletic women appeal to you. I remember moving from Denver to Chicago and thinking, 'the women here are so much smaller'. Still cute though! The alternative music scene is actually pretty big in Denver. The best thing to do in Denver, when you're not dead, is to go out skiing and hiking on the weekends. Places like Chicago and San Francisco have bigger nightlife scenes. Chicago would be a good place to get away from allergies, unless you're allergic to concrete that is.
Eldragon, I think the Portland economy is fairly strong. The housing market recently evened out, but there is still plenty of work, especially in newer high-tech areas like Hillsboro. A decent four bedroom house will run you 160-200K. You might want to consider Bend Oregon. A much smaller economy, but close to good skiing, and much lower housing costs. It is getting bigger, and I think this trend will continue. Eugene or Corvallis are cool if you are into a more alternative/hippy scene. Both are College towns. Ashland is nice too - it's in southern Oregon, near California. John.
Denver is pretty nice, expecially if athletic women appeal to you. I remember moving from Denver to Chicago and thinking, 'the women here are so much smaller'. Still cute though! The alternative music scene is actually pretty big in Denver. The best thing to do in Denver, when you're not dead, is to go out skiing and hiking on the weekends. Places like Chicago and San Francisco have bigger nightlife scenes. Chicago would be a good place to get away from allergies, unless you're allergic to concrete that is.
Good sport CW! I'll second Tuscany, Fieosle especially. North County S.D.,CA. is a good bet,too. Wine's worse but the Ducati dealer is more reliable.
Hey, threadman. Why not try Taos, New Mexico? Or for some more bucks Sante Fe? As a NYC boy longing to live elsewhere(At least part of the year) This has been one my favorite getaways. Awesome food, great weather, people who march to very different drummer, and pre-war architecture? You've got prewar, pre-colonial, and pre-cambrian. Just make sure you're on the grid.
Eldragon ~ you'd be hard pressed to find a greater city in America than Portland, Oregon. Hey but don't tell anyone, it's the best kept secret on the West coast. You may say why? Well for starter's Portlandian's have a great respect and pride for their city. There has been a massive effort to make one of the finest downtown's in America. Great public transportation, great schools, BEST Microbrew in America, Coffee is not far behind because of the close proximity to Seattle. Many drive through espresso stands. One of the best school systems in the country. A very fine higher education system, U of O (that's where all the hippies are if you like that kind of groove and only 2 hrs or less from Portland) And Reed college, anyone heard of that? This is actually where the CD we love/hate so much was actually invented, or at least the theory in how it operates. The mountains, the rivers, the forest, the ocean, ecologically minded people, layed back, many many great places to hear live music especially Blues and good ol'rock and roll. I could keep going and going and going. Portland is the best. A strong economy right now, with realestate rising rapidly. Many jobs especially in high tech, architecture, city planning, education, business etc. God I wish I were there now. My only caveat emptor: rain, mist, overcast, and the occasional dolldrums. But one thing is for sure, those things sure seem to keep the assholes away. Yeah, they are all here in the Bay Area and don't seem to have any plans to leave anytime soon. Goodluck to you Eldragon. I don't think you could go too wrong with Portland, just don't forget your Gortex. Who know's I might try to make it back there myself. My plan is to stay here for another 10yrs with my house and then sell and move to Oregon and live like a god damm KING!!! And one more thing. Jerry really didn't pass away, he just moved to Eugene. Many of my freinds have seen him frequently at the WOW Hall, aka Woodman of the World. Cheers!
Shhhhh Axomoxa !

Nobody is supposed to know!

It does rain like a faucet out here. The traffic is reaching epic proportion too of late. Also, I got a really bad cup of coffee downtown yesterday (at Powells!). Portland is BAD BAD BAD! Ha ha.
Nice one John! How is the old bookseller? That is one of the many of Portland's asset's I forgot to mention. So here it is; Portland also boast's probably one of the best bookstores on the West coast, possibly one of the best in the world! I just bet that was a really bad bad cup of coffee, ha ha ha! Cheers to my fellow Portlandian!
Try Decatur Illinois. We have every thing that you mentioned, i'm not kidding. Brick streets too. I just bought a pre-civil war home that is 4,500 sqft, all brick, BIG rooms and of course high ceilings for just over $100,000.00. try it you'll be surprised.
Subaruguru, you will be pleased to note that some of us have become martyrs down here and are doing all we can to bring cable television into each and every trailer so that HBO, MTV, and the rest of the cultured Hollywood machine can bring true civilized thought to all us rednecks. Hell, sometimes on the way back from a Klan rally, I take out my "Truck Stop Heavy Breathin' Babes" 8 track and put in some Mozart and, just for fun, pretend to appreciate it. Your ol' Brunswick, Georgia buddy at 31525, Charlie.
Man, I just finished the best book, "How To Make 'Em Ol' Yankee Boys Squeal Like A Pig." A southern best seller you might have missed. It is published by Deliverance Books and Accessories. Let me know if you would like a copy, (also available on audio cassette.) [:)] Charlie
Hi Charlie! Trying to recover from my 14 year old daughter's pajama party that stretched into today (overdose of "Backsteet Boys, Bare Naked Ladies, etc.) ...gazing at the fresh two inches of slush in the Subie-driveway...even good latte isn't helping! Got any room in that warm trailer? OTOH it's at least pretty looking out here...cheers! Ernie
Hey Axomoxa
Powells is doing well as usual. They actually broke it into two bookstores - a technical bookstore that's 3 blocks away, and the main 'nerd-free' store. It's much bigger than it used to be. Now it takes up the whole city block, has a coffee shop, and has four levels in the rear portion. The only other 'great' bookstore than can compete is 'the tattered cover' in Denver Colorado. Cool thing about Powells is that there are four great music stores within three blocks.

I actually had a great day of skiing on Hood yesterday. I switched from way-flat Timberline to Mt Hood Meadows. It was snowing hard all day, a foot+ of new snow, and about 30 degrees. Reminded me of Jackson Hole a little. I'm going back this weekend. There's hope for Oregon skiing yet !

And yes, it is raining today.
Ernie, did the girls get to use "daddy's" stereo or play chopsticks on the Steinway? I hope you got to hear the latest NSYNC cd 3-4 x over, it gets a lot of spin time in my 11 yo daughters boom box, (on her side of the trailer.) I bet you were up all night standing guard! [:)] And hey, whats with the new hot Subaru sedan? 220 hp? You go, girl! (Well, you know what I mean.) Charlie
Everytime Subaru decides to overcomplicate their all-aluminum 4-hole boxer, either by overpressurizing (turbo), or stretching it (6 cyl), blown headgaskets, cracked heads, and destroyed autotrannies result. And $5k more for that Bean-y privelege? OY! My specialty is in that SECOND hundred thousand miles, so I'll wait to see if a good-sized sample pool of these uppity youngsters proves durable before grabbing any. Sorry to fall off-topic...LOTS of icy roads up in 02155-land this week, so the AWD's awfully fun. Cheers. Ernie
John~yeah, I grew up skiing on Mt Hood. Wish I were there now. Meadows blows away Timberline for many reasons. Though I still have a love for the old lodge and it's kind of like stepping more into yesteryear with the simple trails, lifts, etc. I am going to have to plan a trip. Nothing like being on the mountain, with a little snow falling, going up that lift looking down on the trees and mountains, breathing that beautiful air, the sweet smell. God I miss it. I think many times about selling everthing I own and moving to Zigzag at the summit. All I need is my hifi, a good pair of skis and I would be set. But then again I would miss the California coastline and all it's intrisic beauty. Cheers!
Yeah Timberline is way cool to go hang out. You know that's where they filmed the shining ! I've stayed there at christmas time before. They bring out a sleigh and reindeer. I usually go to Timberline with people who like to ski 'just a little', so they have someplace cool to hang out. I vote it best ski lodge ever ! I've been to lots of them too!

I'm going back to Meadows on Saturday! If I get a few more ski days like Sunday, I'm going to stop complaining about Oregon skiing. They've actually built up some hotels on the road to hood. I might do a full weekend there soon. There's also an area set off for cross country and snowshoeing now. Lots of subarus! I usually go to Mt Bachelor because I have access to lodging. Bachelor is a lot like Colorado skiing - sunny, with dry snow. It's too far for a day trip, but nice.

It rained again today.....
96911 (GUAM) GREAT WEATHER.Golf is great and cheap 35.00 and the scuba diving is fantastic,visibility 150-200ft.And yes you can turn up your system.Driving time from north to south island 45min.Beautiful views.One drawback no audio stores.OH well not all is paradise,but close
New Zealand - and given the low cost of living here (not to mention the low cost of amplifiers - I don't want to upset Peter Thompson, but there are amps here that Plinius cannot..oops) many of you could retire here for what you could sell your expensive houses for. Quiet, clean, great food, great wine, great beer, clean power (no power conditioners required), the list goes on. I live in New Zealand's capital Wellington, it takes a 5 or 10 minute drive to work and I am a five minute walk from a town belt where I can trek more or less around the city in bush/harbour views for hours and maybe bump into three people on a busy weekend. I am a 40 minute drive from my beach front weekend abode where five acres of beach front cost me little more than USD100,000. Three hour drive to ski fields. Four hours drive to the best trout fishing you could imagine. Sure, there are downsides, I wish I could get to France and Spain more often, and I wish there was more high-end gear to try out, but I have a number of American friends here that are not about to go home.
Adelaide, Australia.Awesome beaches , Roads , people and only about 1 million people live here. Traffic is low. From the city centre it is only 10-15 min from beach and 15-25 min from some of the most awesome roads on earth. Good to thrash the old Kwakka ZX6R and Mazda MX6 through the hills. And lets not forget that old South Australian favorite COOPERS BEER and the BAROSSA VALLEY WINERIES. Happy Listening. Tim Warhurst
Redkiwi reading your post remminded me when i travled and lived thrughout n.z.I was in wellington for several months and frequently visited the observitory there.The trout fishing i agree is fantastic.Twin lakes outside Aspen not bad either.
You always have a good point,have you been to that little antique stereo shop in christchurch.
Most of Christchurch is antique, as you know Steven - more British than Britain - but I must confess I have not visited the stereo shop you refer to - I will have to rectify that now you remind me of it. Sounds like you enjoyed Wellington, which I am very pleased to hear. I don't know when you visited but Wellington has actually changed a lot in the last five years, almost entirely for the better, so I hope you can return some day.
Christchurch is half-way down the right-hand side of the South Island Of New Zealand. Lots of Scots there in particular, lots of old black stone buildings, about a million people. Flat, surrounded by miles of plains, and the Southern Alps in the distance. Has a major airport and is the main gateway for international tourists to get to the most scenic parts of New Zealand, which are south and west of Christchurch. As for the girls - they are quieter than the American variety, probably a bit more "girl next door" too, but we are more recently a pioneer land than even the US and so people are still pretty individualist here. I don't have any complaints about the women, except perhaps that being an isolated country, the ones that have travelled a bit are somewhat more interesting than the rest if you get my drift.