A Favor

 small town USA
I am not content.  Mr. Hughes is not content.    Things have been festering for awhile and we are thinking about making some changes.  Some major changes.  We have been sitting around during the little vacation time we had talking, planning, dreaming.   We want a different life.  In a different place. We want to move.  You see, while we love our home, we don't like where we live.  Our town lacks character.   We are in a subdivision with less than ideal neighbors.  And, there is nothing to do here, that we enjoy, that is. We often drive to nearby Franklin to just be there.  But, we can't get what we want there.  Too expensive for what we would like to have. 


Franklin Tennessee

So this is the favor that I ask all of you:  simply tell us a great place to live.  Okay, not so simple.  Here is what we are looking for:
  • Small to medium affordable town within an hour of a city
  • Historic... character... something besides chain restaurants and Bed, Bath and BeyondYou know, some place with little festivals and antique shops.  I would love a "walking" type town.
  • Temperate weather... southeast preferably (both of our mothers live in TN)
  • Safe... low crime
  • Cute, old houses that aren't VERY expensive close to the downtown.  We want an older home.
  • A Catholic Church... sounds silly, but many towns in the South don't have one.
We want to take little trips to places in the next few years to see what we like.

 Savannah

You know, I adore Savannah.  I love it.  But, Mr. Hughes doesn't like the crime rate.  And, where we would want to live wouldn't exactly be affordable.  And, if you could suggest a place closer to the coast... 
Mr. Hughes can work from wherever and I am pretty resourceful, I can find something.  Again, we aren't looking to make this move soon.  We would be crazy to put our house up right now.  But, we both agree that we would need to make this before Baby Hughes gets too old.  This is something we want to do for us.  Yes, I am sure it will be scary to just pick up and move, especially if it is far away.  And, we wouldn't even have a job to blame it on. 

And, who knows, maybe something affordable will come up where we would want to be in Franklin.   But, like I said, closer to the ocean... 

So, what do you think?  Can you help us?  Oh, and those of you who live in older homes... I want to know your horror stories... electrical, plumbing, eh....ghosts?!

And, if any of you are just crazy in love with a place and want to write a post, email me and let me know and I will set up a McKlinky party or a blogroll.

Oh, and there is still time to enter my 100th post giveaway.   I will draw the winners tomorrow!


 

71 comments:

  1. I say move NORTH to NY..I live in a town 20 minutes from both Buffalo, Niagara Falls & Canada. 1.5 hrs from Toronto & Cleveland. 6 hrs from NYC...
    I absolutely love where I live. It's very walkable & affordable with many villages & tons of culture. So many festivals each summer weekend that it's difficult to choose. A beautiful waterfront nestled in the great lakes & Niagara river. Wine country.
    Dozens (if not hundreds!) of Catholic churches.
    Good luck on your quest!

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  2. I know it is to North for you but I live in exactly what you are looking for. I live in Jim Thorpe, Pa. Look it up. Great old town.

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  3. sounds idyllic - and hard to find
    good luck ~ Sherry

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  4. I wish I had a place to tell you :( I live in a cute town in IL with some history & cheap houses, but we are 1.5 hours from St. Louis our closest city. We have a great lake, but the downtown has been dying lately - although I would love a little shop downtown!

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  5. Have you looked into St. Simon's Island or areas of Brunswick, GA?
    How about Mt. Pleasant, SC (right outside of Charleston?)

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  6. Maybe Greenville, SC? It's a small college town (Furman University is there), but there is lots to do. I haven't lived there, but I have visited a few times.

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  7. I would say that you should come out west to the Central Coast of CA, but that might be too far from both of your moms. There are flights daily to TN though:)

    We have everything on your list except maybe the affordable older home. We have older, historic homes, but they run around a million plus.

    The bonus is that you can attend church at the historic San Luis Obispo Mission. How cool is that?

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  8. I, also, say move farther north. Not too far north though, and definitely still accessible to TN. Columbia, Missouri is a beautiful town. I moved away from there about 3 months ago and I miss it terribly.
    It's a medium sized college town. It has all the suburby-junk, but only on the edges of town. I always found it nice to have it there if I needed it, but not to have to drive through it/by it everyday. It's about an hour and a half from St. Louis AND Kansas City, a half hour to the state capitol of Jefferson City, and an hour to the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks.
    There are tons of older houses within walking distance of downtown, especially in a neighborhood referred to as West Broadway. I think they are reasonably priced, but I've never bought/sold a home before. If you lived in that neighborhood you could walk everywhere you actually needed. That includes a grocery store, the community center, the library, an elementary school, the University of Missouri campus (with all the events/arts/sports that go with that) and the District. Oh the District.
    The District is basically the local name for downtown. I lived there for six years and didn't get to try all the local restaurants within those few blocks. Live music, an interactive science museum, the beautiful newly renovated Missouri theatre, not to mention several vintage shops, used bookstores, and other awesome retail stores. There is also a lot of good antiquing to be done in town and in the surrounding area.
    The crime rate is relatively low, it's a big enough town that there is a "bad part" of town, but not what you would find in a big city. I never once felt unsafe there and would totally feel safe raising children there.
    The schools are some of the best public schools in the country. The Catholic elementary/middle school is in the process of building a high school, so that will also be an option soon. There are three Catholic churches. The one with the school is by the mall, the Newman Center is on the University campus, and there is one more I'm not familiar with.
    Sorry for the long post, I'm seriously in love with that town.


    check out the website: www.visitcolumbiamo.com

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  9. Hello friend! Wanna move, eh?! Well, to be honest, I would like to move as well...to a smaller town with tons of character. You ever watch Gilmore Girls?! Well, that's the kinda town that I would LOVE to live in. If you find it, please let me know! ;)

    Smiles,
    rachel

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  10. Wow ! After reading about Columbia , Missouri I want to live there. It sounds fabulous.
    I love what you are doing. I wish Joe and I had the forethought to do the same when we were younger. But with kids and grandkids right around the corner , well , we won't be going anywhere :0)
    Sue

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  11. Nope, you're coming to live close to me. It's settled.
    You will be living in Fredericksburg, TX.
    Quaint little German town, with oodles of charm and character. The city is populated with gorgeous old rock homes, some a bit pricey, but we'll find ya something affordable.

    It's a walking town, with some of the best boutique and antique shopping anywhere.

    Lots of festivals, music, cultural and otherwise. We even have a mini-Canton here with Trade Days.

    We have a gorgeous old Catholic Church here, St. Mary's. It's a large, thriving, traditional parish, and is one of the most gorgeous churches you'll ever hope to see.

    There's Homestead, home of Carol Hicks Bolton designs.

    And best of all....there's ME!!!
    Just think of all the trouble we'll get in together, hmmm?

    So, when can I expect ya? ;-)

    Anne

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  12. Oh, and you're still relatively close to Austin and San Antonio, too. :-)

    Anne

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  13. I noticed that you have England listed as an interest of yours! Perhaps you would like my new blog:

    http://picturesofgreatbritain.blogspot.com/

    As often as possible I will post photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Anglophiles everywhere!

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  14. Being English, I'm not going to be much help to you. I have been to Tennessee. Chattanooga and the surrounding area and loved it but, it's a bit different being a tourist than living somewhere. I wish you lots of luck finding the house of your dreams and hope that you get lots of help from fellow bloggers. XXXX

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  15. Wow! What a tall order! BUT I'm sure you will find it! Listening to the description of Fredricksberg sounds wonderful! I live just a few hours North from there in the Dallas area and I have heard great things of that area. I know they have wineries too! ;) Good luck!

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  16. Greensboro, NC has a revived "walking" down town, plenty of old charming neighborhoods, and is not too expensive. We have great dining, antiques, and outdoor events. Just a four hour drive to the Tennessee border.

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  17. I don't know what your idea of an expensive house is, but Cedarburg, WI has just about all of those qualities. Except for the all important weather.

    Check it out anyway. :) 4 seasons are nice!

    http://www.cedarburg.org/Default.asp

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  18. Something must be in the air since my hubs and I are looking for the same thing. We currently live in a southern coastal town, but it's getting too crowded here. We crave country living on some acereage. I'd love to keep track of any potential places you might find. Good luck!

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  19. While I am not familiar with any of those areas (living in Ontario Canada) I have read an article in Coastal Living, listing desirable towns near the water. I'm pretty sure they were listed in groups by price range of homes, and with details of what was desirable about the area. Check their website, but I will look for my issue and see if I can find more info.

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  20. Okay I kinda have most of what you want..
    North Carolina is your answer. We are close to Tennesse and we are near the beach. I have been to Wilmington and it has wonderful homes and you are right there at the beach. Wonderful walking downtown with lots of historic houses.

    I have been to Greensboro as stated above and love it. It has amazing homes that are done and some that need doing- They have a great downtown with lots of restaurants and amazing stores and tons of stuff to do.

    I live in Sanford- I gave a hometown tour on my blog...I now live in my second house in the historic district. We have houses of many types-french eclectic, bungalow, four square, etc.
    We are a small town without a target - yeesh I know. We have a nice downtown with some great restaurants and some cute stores. We have a depot park where during spring and summer are concerts in the park and they do kids movies in the fall. We are 45 minutes from Raleigh/Durham and are 2 hours from the beach and 2.5 hours from the mountains. The biggest shopping areas are Cary and Fayetteville 30 minutes away but Southern Pines is getting lots of stores too- only 30 minutes away and they have an amazing historic downtown with an amazing downtown. If we move again it will be to there.
    tammy

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  21. Columbia, MO is a fabulous place to live! MIZ-ZOU!!

    It is a really great town with lots to do. I am in love with that town also..

    I know Missouri is a long shot from what you want but also Parkville, MO and Weston, MO are amazing places to live.. sound exactly like what you may be looking for!

    Nicole

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  22. Hmmm I have been in your shoes..we moved from Florida last year to Oklahoma which is probably too far for you but we looked in Georgia...North Carolina..Alabama and Tennessee. The crime rates,taxes and schools were always big factors. Many looked great until we went there to visit :(!!! It is a hard choice but an adventure too!!!
    ~ So many towns are "reviving" their downtown areas so sometimes the real estate goes up and fast..The challenge is getting in before the prices sky rocket and enjoying the equity. As far as homes gop, we moved from a brand new home to this one built in 1936.. so far about tha same amount of upkeep and yea a resident ghost. A friendly one:))> I look forward to your journey!

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  23. ^^^^Such typos...sorry..it should be a crime to take cold meds and try to type!!!:)

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  24. Sorry I am of no help. I have been thinking about change also. I love Franklin, but housing there is not in my budget.:(

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  25. Well, we're practically neighbors. I live in the historic district of Morristown, TN. It is small--sorry, no Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We do have a TJ Maxx and Pier One though. There are very few chain restaurants, but within an hour is Knoxville and Pigeon Forge.

    I am in walking distance of our church, library, bank, and downtown shopping. The downtown has my daughter's dance studio, several antique stores, and three or four good restaurants. I should walk more.

    There is a Catholic church in the town.

    There's a nice old house across the street from me that's been on the market for quite a while--good deal, I bet! I'm sure you can find it listed online.

    I know what it's like to feel the urge to move and then to look for *the* right place. That's how we ended up here from Florida. We came here not knowing a sole without any employment. It's been a grand adventure.

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  26. My vote is for ANYTHING along the Oregon Coast or Park City Utah...but they get inches and inches of snow yearly!!

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  27. Cedarburg Wisc is a really nice town, but probably too far north for you, but for anyone else reading... check it out.

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  28. Oh, what an exciting prospect. My hubby and I felt the same well and finally got to move to rural Pennsylvania in a house built in the 1940's. We are tucked among orchards and rolling hills and surrounded by some amazing history.

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  29. We live in the little town of Clover, SC (with love in the middle) or something silly like that. We've been here a little over two years. I am from NC originally. We are a stones throw from the state line and only 45 mins from Charlotte; about 3.5 hrs from TN and Myrtle Beach, SC. Not sure about a Catholic Church, sorry. Low crime, great schools, affordable houses some old (mostly bungalow type). Nice temps (this week excluded...brrr). A walking downtown with antique stores, local restaurants, barber shop, library, etc. Holiday parades, a big St. Pat's festival, car shows. Lots of historic things to see and do close by. Clover is getting bigger tho as more folks move from the big city to simplify. I think western NC is also very nice; never lived there but have visited often (and it would be close to Mom). Good luck in your search!

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  30. Josh and I feel your pain! Our plan is to win the powerball so we can buy one of those amazing homes in downtown Franklin. We are both from Birmingham, and there is a charming suburb I love called Homewood, but it's just as expensive as living in Franklin. We're thinking in a few years we'll buy some land in Williamson Co. and build a cottage!

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  31. My thoughts... DH and I go to the drag races in Bowling Green KY we have found that to be a really nice town... we started looking around that part of the country at the options to retire... GOSH we loved several areas. Springfield TN and the surrounding area the small towns in that corner of TN are quaint but close enough to Springfield and far enough from Nashville... one of our top choices to retire. We live all the way up in the Pacific Northwest.

    Another place we have looked at several times is Nacogdoches TX, and the surrounding area. A little more rustic than you are looking for, i think. We love the Piney Woods area of Texas. We have gone and stayed in a fun B&B (of sorts) called LLano Grande.

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  32. I recommend Saint Mary's, GA. It's about an hour and half south of Savannah and about 30 minutes north of Jacksonville and about 30 minutes south of Brunswick, GA. It's absolutely historic, as it is the second oldest city in the US :) just after Saint Augustine, FL. The crime rate is relatively low.

    The cost of living is low, but there is little work here, most people commute to Jacksonville. There is a local navy base, which gives this town more diversity than other southern towns. It's not quite as rural as I would like, but the schools are excellent and most people are real friendly.

    Might want to visit, tourist generally come for the fishing as we are Coastal Georgia afterall :)The downtown area is where it's a walking part of town. Lots of walking and golf carts are used there. I live in the boring suburbs

    PS Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church is absolutely lovely and the people are wonderful there. It's in the historic downtown! Google it and look at the historic chapel, it's a lovely tiny little church. (the parish meets in the newer contemporary church for almost all masses and only the chapel for special occasions, it's tiny)

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  33. Oh, forget your list! ;-) Move to Indianapolis so we can thrift together!!!!

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  34. Marble Falls Texas!!!! Beautiful Texas Hill Country. THREE Catholic churches.
    Lots of old homes to spruce up. We live in a new home in a wonderful neighborhood. None of the houses look the same, all custom built but none very big. Which we liked.
    Wonderful public pool in the summer. Lots of hiking trails, wineries, outdoor things to do. Small towns all around with millions of antique/flea market/junk stores in between. Weekend festivals.
    Amazing. I WAS a big city girl. Not anymore I heart our little town.
    You will too!

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  35. Hello, I must agree with my bud Anne, move to Texas. I was thinking of suggesting Brenham Tx. If you like to antique there are tons of shops in this quaint town, you are down the road to the 2 biggest antique shows of the year (Round Top and Warrenton Tx) and you are an hour from Austin or an hour to Houston and if you wanting the coast, you're only about 2 hours from Galveston. This town has beautiful older homes, yet big enough to do some great shopping (no malls, but close enough to drive to them). There's also the Antique Rose Emporium which is a nursery that's so pretty and you could have picnics here. And, there are so many wonderful festivals you could attend here each season. Just a thought, maybe you could come for a visit. This is one town I'm seriously considering moving to within 3 years and I'm only 45 minutes from here. Good luck to you, Theresa

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  36. Just found your blog! I'm from TN but currently stuck in Colorado...what part do you live in? You mentioned Franklin...I love it! I went to college at MTSU in Murfreesboro. Glad to find a fellow southerner! I too, am trying to create character in a newer home...it's tough!

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  37. Hi Michelle,

    While I cannot tell you where you should live, I would encourage you to move if you feel you are not in the right place.

    That's what we did 2 years ago. When you are finally in the right spot, it's heaven. I LOVE where I live and I say go for it!

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  38. Take a look at Beaufort, SC. It has some wonderful older homes downtown and within walking distance to unique shops and restaurants. It sounds like you really like the ocean so this would be ideal. Best of luck!

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  39. Thanks so much for stopping by! I love comments!

    MO tornadoes aren't too bad. If you live in a valley your less likely for one.. But we do recommend basements around here! :) Warnings and watches are common but nothing too scary has happened where I have lived in MO.

    Nicole

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  40. You are describing the small south Georgia town I teach school in: Thomasville, Georgia; We are small, crime is low, downtown has late 1800's early 1900's buildings with darling, edgy shops. We do have a Catholic church. Lots of old houses to redo or buy already done. We have a custom called Victorian Christmas they close the brick streets for that has vendors, carolers, children dancing etc. Check us out...shhh its a secret!

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  41. Well - I would love to be able to help but I can only give you a few French addresses and not tooo close to the beach (as you can imagine) You may just have to visit South West France sometime ;-)

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  42. Sounds like you'd LOVE Natchitoches, Louisiana, the oldest permanent settlement in the La.Purchase. Steel Magnolias was filmed here. City sits on the beautiful Cane River and Front Street in the historic district is lined with red bricks. Several plantations, Christmas Festival of Lights each year along with tons of other festivals. home of the famous Natchitoches Meat Pie! yummyyy! check out Wikipedia!

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  43. and YES there are several Catholic churches in Natchitoches.

    http://www.churches-in.com/louisiana/Natchitoches/

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  44. What a great post!! I love Colorado, but home is where your heart is.... :) All the best.
    Caroline

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  45. i vote Greenville, S.C. we are a little under an hour from there and we love it! it has a great downtown and lots of character. good luck! love your blog!

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  46. Well, growing up in Texas, I'd agree with all the above mentioned TX towns, but with a transfer from Fredericksburg, TX to CT, (what a cultural change at that) I say, wow, New England does have some wonderful towns, but they are $$, NC has some great places, but Ashville has boomed, Wimberely, TX is wonderful and so are some small towns in TN. We've done the drive from TX to CT too many times not to know the back roads and fun towns. To be honest, there are so many fun towns, maybe you should just sell the house and work from the RV! That's be my dream!
    Best of luck

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  47. I think we're kindred spirits. Many of the things on y'all's list are on my husband's and my list. I live in Texas and have all my life except college. Presently I'm in the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex . . . not forever . . . .

    I have visited Columbia, MO and Chattanooga, TN and think both would be worth looking at. In Texas, I like the Hill Country and East Texas Piney Woods area.

    I found your blog over Thanksgiving and have enjoyed visiting several times. Kelly

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  48. I just found your blog after searching for "junk decorating". Love it! Saw this post and thought I'd tell you about the community we live in. Hidden Springs is a planned community with 600 homes in the foothills of Boise, Idaho. I grew up in a tiny town and was never a big city girl. While Boise, the capital of our state, is just 4 miles over the hill, it seems we're in another wonderful world!

    We've been here for 8 years and love it. Thought you'd like to check it out.

    http://www.hiddensprings.com/Community/

    Jodi

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  49. I just stumbled across your blog and will happily be returning! I know your a southern girl, but if you ever change your mind....Camden Maine might be right up your alley. Beautiful old homes, OCEAN, adorable town and tons of fesitivies!

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  50. You could always move down here! Lots of character, friendly people, and only 45 minutes down the road..... I'm just sayin'

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  51. Oh wait, have you been to Florence, AL? Sorry to double comment, but I bet you would love it there, it's where I went to college!

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  52. Hi, if you're interested in going small-town, my hometown, Fayetteville, TN might suit you. Darling courthouse square downtown and a very, very affordable historic district. It's just an hour south of Nashville (about 20 minutes east of 65) and is about 45 north of Huntsville, AL. And I don't have to tell you how pretty Central Tennessee is :)

    Someone else suggested Beaufort, SC, and I second that. Beaufort is our dream town (in my mind at least)! Think smaller scale Charleston/Savannah. More affordable, too, but not so much that we could just pick up and move tomorrow.

    Florence, AL, is supposed to be nice. Had lots of friends go to UNA, but somehow never visited. Great little artsy community going on there -- heard of the designer Alabama Chanin?

    And speaking of college towns, what about Oxford, MS? Not sure of the affordability factor, but I can't be as bad as Franklin (I do love Franklin ...).

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  53. there is no other place on earth like MARYVILLE, TN, beautiful, 30 minutes from the smokey mountains and small town or not you choose in this city there are both types of places to live...Next to Maryville College is the Historic district of houses and they are Gorgeous without breaking the bank, but I am bias I was born and raised here and will never leave. If thats what you want your kids to say move to Maryville! I know a great Realtor who is Awesome if you need info email me!Good Luck where ever you choose

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  54. Come live near me in Madison, Georgia. One hour east of Atlanta. Voted "The Best Small Town in America" by a magazine a few years ago.

    We were in your boat 10 years ago - metro Atlanta - sick of suburbia. Now we are in a 160 year old house and my kids walk downtown for lunch (or ride their bikes).

    Pray about it - alot.
    -Trish

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  55. How exciting for you! It feels so good to make positive changes, doesn't it? I look forward to joining you on your journey. The dreaming and planning can be so much fun. Well, you know I'd be happy to suggest a town to you that smack in the middle of Indiana but I don't think you'd much care for our winters!

    We're going house hunting this morning. I woke up so excited!

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  56. I say stick with your instincts and move to TN! Not Franklin, but only a short drive to get there... and with out the price tag! Where you ask?! EAST NASHVILLE! Was just ranked as one of the souths best come back neighborhoods by Southern Living... see link.

    http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/best-neighborhoods-00400000061751/page16.html

    My husband and I just bought a 1930 bungalow that is caddy-corner from the home in the picture! Beautiful historic homes, extremely community oriented, very artsy, fun local restaurants, 5 minutes from downtown Nashville, great elementary school (Lockeland Design Elementary School). Seriously, it's amazing! I would be happy to give you even more info! You just let me know!

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  57. I went on vacation once and spent a day or two in Natchez, Mississippi. Cute, small, off the beaten path, great little downtown with trendy/arty little shops. Normal, everyday homes and giant ante-bellum beauties. Has sense of history, a great walk-up ice cream shop, on the river and the crepe myrtles are absolutely stunning in the summertime. I'm sure it would be affordable and the people were quite nice.

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  58. I live in the sweetest Victorian seaside town, Port Townsend, WA. I know it's not in the South like you were looking for, but it's just lovely here. It has everything you were looking for, and since we are in the Olympic rain shadow, we don't get as much rain as Seattle. We are about an hour from Seattle with a ferry ride to get there and about two hours from Victoria, BC, Canada. We have fairs and festivals, farmer's markets and big box stores are not allowed in town. We are on the Olympic Peninsula, so we are surrounded by water and there is even an orca whale pod that swims in our waters...My man and I are builders who specialize in cottages, and we have a small neighborhood of 9 cottages going in right now, but there are lots of old farmhouses, other cottage neighborhoods and plenty of big old Victorians in town, too. Send me an e-mail if you are interested in more info about Port Townsend and I'd be more than happy to go on and on about it, since I love where I live! You might, too...Fremontpinesllc@Gmail.com

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  59. found your blog thru Funky Junk. How ironic. It must have been fate. Let me tell you why.

    My hubby and I just did the very same thing.Seriously, just last week. We've lived in 9 different states, and just spent the last 12 years in Colorado. I'm a southern girl, he's a southern guy, so we wanted to get back south. Our criteria is the very same as yours, except, well - we're baptist. lol

    And guess what? My mom lives in Manchester, TN, which is a small town, and Murfreesbore is the closet big town to her. I'm guessing you live somewhere in that area since you're so close to Franklin.

    We decided to start looking around a few different states surrounding TN, but still within a few hours drive from my mom in TN. (I'm boycotting actually living IN Tn since their tax rate is so high.)

    We looked in Huntsville, AL as someone above suggested. It's a neat little town but not exactly what we were looking for.

    The gal above that is from Fayetteville (I can't believe someone is actually on here from Fville!) was right about her town. We almost landed there. Seriously, we almost bought an old bed & breakfast there around Christmas time. I visited there when I visited Huntsville, and was overcome with ow beautiful the downtown area was at Christmas. It was truly magical. There is an old theatre downtown that was built in the 1930s and is famous for never having changed the inside. There were people everywhere. I remember thinking that it felt like a scene from a Christmas card. There is an antique mall on the square that I think is a couple of stories. There are some neat little cafes too. And surrounding the immediate downtown area are many beautiful historic homes. It's definitely a place to check out. No big grocery stores or shops though. You'd have to drive into Tullahoma on one side of it or Huntsville on the other to find those.

    We looked at Springfield and White House, TN, and also Franklin. You're right, Franklin is too high. Anyway, in the end we ended up in Bowling Green, KY. It's about 2 hours from my mom, an hour from Nashville, a little over an hour to Franklin, TN, about an hour to Clarksville, and about an hour and a half to Louisville, KY. It's a great spot. Lots of shops and history. In fact, today we accidentally happened upon a beautiful park about 2 miles from our house. We noticed some boats on the water a few days ago and today decided to drive down the road by that small lake to see how big it was. To our surprise, we discovered a very nice park with a lake, a fishing dock, ball fields, a wedding chapel, tennis courts, an amphitheatre, etc. We couldn't believe we had been driving past this everyday and had no idea it was there.

    Today we also found a wonderful indoor antique flea market and some great thrift stores. The downtown area is really neat. There area also lots of activities all thru the year. I was so bummed that we missed all of the Christmas concerts and plays. There are all kinds of kids activities and groups too.

    Definitely worth checking out.

    Wow, I got wordy there, didn't I? Sorry 'bout that. I just thought it was so ironic that we had such a similar story and really wanted to share mine with you.

    Good luck wherever you end up.

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  60. Meant to ask you, have you ever been to downtown Bell Buckle? If not, you should really check that out while you're in the area. There's a fabulous little cafe down there and lots of shops. The whole town is historic, but it is in the middle of nowhere.

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  61. Have you thought about moving West... To the West Coast, Salem Oregon. We are 1 hour south of Portland (an amazing fun big city that has a really fun Blues Festival), 1 Hour from the beach, 2 Hours from great skiing, lots of hiking nearby, We have an amazing Art Fair, cute cottages, Quaint little shops in our "downtown", cute cottages and we still have a Nordstroms. Some might say it's a little boring, but if you're looking there's plenty to do!

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  62. Pike Road, Alabama. Being Southern myself, I appreciate the charm of Southern homes and a neighborhood where you wave at each other from the front porch. Pike Road is right outside of Montgomery, which is growing and thriving more and more each day. Downtown Montgomery offers off-Broadway shows at the performing arts center, history, culture, natural beauty, yet it is not too big to get around. I love the close proximity to both the beach and the mountains, too. There is a neighborhood designed for mixed use called The Waters in Pike Road. This town is a dream! Newer houses that look like old historical houses, tree-lined streets, a town square, a church, and a new school soon to open just for the community. Check out this website and view the video. Note, I do not work for this community, I just hope to live there one day.

    www.thewatersal.com

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  63. Hello, I just read this and thought I would offer my 2 cents.I was born ans raised in California, but always wanted all thie things you have listed. So my husband and I packed up and moved back to his hometown. Very Gilmore Girls, I read the earlier comment:) Actually the town it is based after is very close to us. Canton,Ct is amazing, Good Luck!

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  64. Greenville, SC might fit your criterion. i saw it mentioned a couple times, but it was my pick prior :) it's growing into a city, but if you lived downtown, it would be really sweet :) google 'fall's park' it will take your breath away. i could give you oodles of details & favorite spots, if you look into it.

    asheville, nc also has a piece of my heart. there are a great deal of hippies (not my thing, but still love the city), bed & breakfasts, biltmore estate, grove park inn, blue ridge mountains, GREAT food.

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  65. I love Greenville, SC. I had a business trip there last year.
    http://culdesacchic.blogspot.com/2009/06/greenville-south-carolina.html

    I live in the Triad (near Greensboro, NC). It has much of your criteria.

    My hubby and I are at a crossroads too. He is from Southern Calif and I am from Long Island. We both have a strong connection to the beach. I of course had the benefit of playing in the snow at the beach and he could surf, but we both miss the ocean. We like the charm of the South and keep wishing we could move east near the coast.

    Let us know when you find your new town.

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  66. Just found your blog and I already enjoy! I'm the second the suggest it, but check out the Indianapolis area. It's like a small big city. Catholic churches are all over the place. I lived downtown for years and recently to moved to the northeast-side burbs with my hubby and toddler. Not only are there BB&Bs, there are antique malls, church festivals, farmers markets, neighborhoods with sidewalks, nice houses under $150,000 and car races.

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  67. I have lived in: WA, IN, NC, TX, NY, (my husband can also add in TN, OH, and MI) and now we are in OK. TX is nice, but has a much different feel than TN. NY- not if your a southerner at heart. WA (my home state) but it is true- too rainy! I would agree with many before me, sounds like NC would be good for you, and close. Greensboro is nice, but not small or quaint. I would try Davidson, Blowing Rock, Boone, and Asheville. They are all loaded with character and are very much what you are looking for. Good luck!

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  68. I live in a very small town in southwest va. We are about 7 hours from savannah. However we are 10 to 15 minutes from Kingsport, TN which is 60 to 90 minutes from Knoxville, TN. We have some neat antique shops, local restaurants, affordable and it's a great place to live. Come and check us out. You might just find what you are looking for here. Good luck and Blessings.

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  69. P.S. Yes we do have a catholic chruch St. Bernard here in town and one in Kingsport, TN St. Dominic's and they have a school there too. Plus you would be 60 to 90 minutes to Asheville, NC. And we are less than 6 hours from Franklin, TN. I would love to see you here.

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