If you were starting fresh and wanted to live out west... Where would you go?

Watt21

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I'll Never Leave Montana Brother
Bozeman comes to mind since you mention engineering and your wife could find nanny work no problem. Whoever said bozeman was "poverty with a view" has not spent much time their recently. The town is growing faster than any other city in Montana, has a high number of young professionals, and has a strong business startup sector. Sitka, Simms, and numerous other outdoor companies headquarter there for a reason.

Great trout fishing in any direction. Great elk hunting in any direction. Great deer hunting in any direction.

Only downside is the consistently poor football team (Go Griz!)
 

teej89

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Funny that Helena would be considered too small considering we have about 60,000 people that live in our area.
I'm just going off of the google, it said there's 29k. For me it'd be perfect, her... not so much lol she needs more people around. I gotta work her way down to that level slowly, our first step is to get out west.
 

1_pointer

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Funny that Helena would be considered too small considering we have about 60,000 people that live in our area.
Perspective. 60K is not really into "city" status in many parts of the country. The town I live in is considered a suburban, bed-room community and it has 60K people...

To the OP, I wish you guys well. IMO/E you are smart to make a choice that would make sure she has what she wants as it'll increase your chances of staying there. I grew up in IN and moved to UT for about a decade for grad school and then work. Now back in IN. Wish I had to options you have, but it looks like the door's been shut on that possibility for me.
 

BuzzH

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To the OP, I wish you guys well. IMO/E you are smart to make a choice that would make sure she has what she wants as it'll increase your chances of staying there. I grew up in IN and moved to UT for about a decade for grad school and then work. Now back in IN. Wish I had to options you have, but it looks like the door's been shut on that possibility for me.
Yeah, but you have a reasonable hunting lodge/time share in Laramie where you can slum it for your trips West...
 

Nameless Range

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If you wanted to live near a "larger" town in Montana, but in a community outside that town this would be my input for surrounding towns. Just my opinions and rough guesses on population.

Helena (60,000 people in the valley and approaching 80,000 with the surrounding areas) Good hunting and fishing, not as expensive. Lot of Govt jobs.Growing steadily. - Surrounding towns: Clancy/MT City (5000 people), Townsend(2000), Elliston(300).

Missoula (100,000ish people with surrounding areas) Good fishing and hunting(but harder to figure out IMO). Excellent beer. Good options for entertainment(for Montana) Expensive but established. - Surrounding towns: Bonner(2000) Clinton (1000) Frenchtown(2500) Lots of small towns up the Bitterroot which is basically a 50 mile long subdivision

Bozeman (100,000ish with surrounding) Good hunting and decent fishing. Comparable to Missoula in terms of entertainment, good skiing, decent beer. Expensive and growing. - Surrounding towns: The Gallatin Valley is a sprawling mess. Manhattan(2500) and Three Forks(3000) would be alright commutes(less than half hour) and will probably eventually be connected to the sprawl.

Kalispell(50,000ish) Hunting and fishing. I don't know a whole lot about. Very beautiful but lacking in some of the cityish things that Bozeman and Missoula would offer.

Billings(150,000) Capital of West Dakota. Definitely hunting and fishing options. Lots of people, surrounding small towns in reasonable driving distance.

Butte(20,000) I add this because it is the most underrated town in Montana IMO. Great hunting and fishing. Some good beer. Lacking in all else. Interesting people. Small communities within driving distance.

Great Falls(60,000ish) Good Fishing, a bit of a drive for hunting but access to great hunting. OK beer. Some entertainment. Nice surrounding small towns.

Just my limited opinion, but a couple weeks ago we took a trip up the Bitterroot down to Salmon, ID. Along the South Fk of the Payette River and into Boise. Boise was a hideous rat race and I couldn't get out of there soon enough. You may be more used to those things though. It was within reasonable distance of some amazing country, though I don't know about commuting distance.
 
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Southern Elk

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If you wanted to live near a "larger" town in Montana, but in a community outside that town this would be my input for surrounding towns. Just my opinions and rough guesses on population.

Helena (60,000 people in the valley and approaching 80,000 with the surrounding areas) Good hunting and fishing, not as expensive. Lot of Govt jobs.Growing steadily. - Surrounding towns: Clancy/MT City (5000 people), Townsend(2000), Elliston(300).

Missoula (100,000ish people with surrounding areas) Good fishing and hunting(but harder to figure out IMO). Excellent beer. Good options for entertainment(for Montana) Expensive but established. - Surrounding towns: Bonner(2000) Clinton (1000) Frenchtown(2500) Lots of small towns up the Bitterroot which is basically a 50 mile long subdivision

Bozeman (100,000ish with surrounding) Good hunting and decent fishing. Comparable to Missoula in terms of entertainment, good skiing, decent beer. Expensive and growing. - Surrounding towns: The Gallatin Valley is a sprawling mess. Manhattan(2500) and Three Forks(3000) would be alright commutes(less than half hour) and will probably eventually be connected to the sprawl.

Kalispell(50,000ish) Hunting and fishing. I don't know a whole lot about. Very beautiful but lacking in some of the cityish things that Bozeman and Missoula would offer.

Billings(150,000) Capital of West Dakota. Definitely hunting and fishing options. Lots of people, surrounding small towns in reasonable driving distance.

Butte(20,000) I add this because it is the most underrated town in Montana IMO. Great hunting and fishing. Some good beer. Lacking in all else. Interesting people. Small communities within driving distance.

Great Falls(60,000ish) Good Fishing, a bit of a drive for hunting but access to great hunting. OK beer. Some entertainment. Nice surrounding small towns.

Just my limited opinion, but a couple weeks ago we took a trip up the Bitterroot down to Salmon, ID. Along the South Fk of the Payette River and into Boise. Boise was a hideous rat race and I couldn't get out of there soon enough. You may be more used to those things though. It was within reasonable distance of some amazing country, though I don't know about commuting distance.
Good advice. Couldn't help but notice beer is pretty high on your list of priorities.:cool:I need to bring you some beer from Mississippi that is better than that Montana beer.
 
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Good summary by NR. I grew up in Missoula but wouldn't choose to move back. Helena is a great central location. I can hit the Front Range, prairie country of north-central MT, Missoula, Bozanistan, Seeley-Swan, etc in no more than 2 hours. Great hunting within 30 minutes of my house. Fewer but good breweries, great trail system for hiking and biking (best in MT by far). Gov jobs are fairly consistent. Not much of a nightlife but I'm getting too damn old for that anyways. Traffic and commute time is short compared to the bigger cities in MT. It took us about a year to get established with a good friend group but I really like living here now.
 

MTGomer

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If you're considering Montana, please keep in mind that we have a requirement that you do not seek to force rules/regulations/laws/taxes/lifestyle changes etc.. that you left behind on the inhabitants of your new home :)


Oh... you said Ohio, not California, New York, Massachusetts, etc..
Welcome Neighbor!
 

hank4elk

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...who escaped from CA and the CA folk escaped to NM to get away from the Dizzyland visitors who never left...
 

Rat Fink

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I'm just going off of the google, it said there's 29k. For me it'd be perfect, her... not so much lol she needs more people around. I gotta work her way down to that level slowly, our first step is to get out west.
Population inside of the City Limits is 29K. But the area surrounding Helena makes up about 2/3rds of our population base. We are on the front end of a good commercial boom cycle here. Things should be pretty exciting for a while. Lots of Engineering work around here as well, and according to your wish list of job opportunities I can think of a few large local companies that would offer what you are looking for. PM me if you want more info, I have the inside scoop on what's happening around Helena.
 

RockyDog

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out west we see alot of guys with metropolitan wives who have moved here from the big cities. In my experience once they get here the wives become intolerable complainers. Dont put your big city wife in that situation. Personally I cant imagine what its like to be married to someone who feels entitled to always have comfortable heat, AC, shopping opportunities, entertainment, $$, etc. What on earth makes a person think they are entitled to never feel anything natural and always have absolute comfort? Isnt feeling a little bit of discomfort once in a while connected to being alive? My inlaws from California complain about Montana weather incessantly, yet as far as i can tell in california they sedentarily move from one air conditioned zone to another in pursuit of the best coffee and shopping experience.
 

teej89

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out west we see alot of guys with metropolitan wives who have moved here from the big cities. In my experience once they get here the wives become intolerable complainers. Dont put your big city wife in that situation. Personally I cant imagine what its like to be married to someone who feels entitled to always have comfortable heat, AC, shopping opportunities, entertainment, $$, etc. What on earth makes a person think they are entitled to never feel anything natural and always have absolute comfort? Isnt feeling a little bit of discomfort once in a while connected to being alive? My inlaws from California complain about Montana weather incessantly, yet as far as i can tell in california they sedentarily move from one air conditioned zone to another in pursuit of the best coffee and shopping experience.
Dang man, very well put! Well she does hate shopping, and she loves camping and only enjoys running when we trail run. She likes the outdoors but I think it's the whole idea of being a long way aways from a large population... I think we may give helena a chance, we're looking at visiting places in september (while everyone is chasing elk lol cuz I have a CO rifle tag and no archery tags) just haven't decided where yet. I kinda want to narrow it down to one place then visit it for 3-4 days.

I still think her best transition would be to a bigger town 100k+ then years down the road shift to a town more my speed <50k. We always complain our lives flash by because of working 9-12hrs a day each week then 1hr commutes on top of theat theres no time for anything after work. And on the weekends just to let Boomer(my lab) hike in the woods we drive 45min to a crappy metro park(it's pathetic) and 45min back.
 
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