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Old 26-08-2006, 22:12   #1
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Question Where should we make home base?

My family currently lives in Central California.

While discussing our plan to leave the state following my husband's retirement in 2 years, we were surprised to find out that the rest of my family (parents, 2 sisters, & brother-in-law, plus some) are also planning to leave the state because of politics, state economic issues etc... (Californians have developed a habit of voting in stuff that is proving disastrous for the state).

My husband and I are planning on purchasing a boat on the East coast and sailing from there down to the Caribbean and back. Who knows after that.

If we can convince the whole family to move to the East coast or somewhere along the ICW, we will effectively be moving our entire home base with us to an area convenient to get to by boat.

Here's where it gets more difficult. My family includes bi-racial couples who would like to find a place with positive social acceptance regarding all races. We are also very open minded when it comes to alternative liestyles and personal choices. We feel that questions of employment (teachers and nurses) or housing are secondary to the social issues.

I have been following this board for quite a while and when I read "Seasoned by Salt" the author mentioned Viriginia and Maryland. That is when I reaized that folks here might have just the answer to satisfy all of our needs.

My sister and her husband plan to start scouting locations next summer. Any suggestions on where to start?

Thanks for any thought or suggestions,
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Old 27-08-2006, 01:15   #2
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Old 27-08-2006, 03:37   #3
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The question may not be where but how large a population and the education level of that population. My wife's argument for going to UT was the school was large enough that anyone could find a group where they could feel at home. While the state of Texas is best considered to be socially conservative, Houston is big enough that most anyone will find a place here. Our house is near the Medical Center, the neighborhood is mostly professional and is very diverse. I am just trying to illustrate a point, not suggest this area of the coast. We still have a large number of locals who believe talk radio is a solid source for information and peer review is having matching bumper stickers. In any case there is plenty of sailing so if you want more information I can put you on some resources. Just send me a private message.
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Old 27-08-2006, 04:30   #4
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I live in southern VA. A lot has to do with what you do when not sailing. What things you think you have to have and how well you feel you can make friends. You may find Maryland too cold with high taxes, but then it should be a deal after California. What you want for a home also enters into it as well. The southern Chesapeake is as far north as you may want to go without having to haul your boat out of the water in the winter.

As far as living on the ICW it is mostly small towns in hurrricane prone places. Some interesting small towns in NC. It's almost all small towns until you get very far south. To stay away from hurricanes you need to be north of the VA / NC border yet you still can get a piece of one from time to time.

As far as housing prices go I think you will find the SE coast to be the best for your money. You can do quite well selling a CA home and coming this way. Being on the water might be possible but probably no place else unless you have a very large amount of money.

I think you would do well to take a car tour around some places you are considering and see if you like them. A lot places are nice that I don't like. I'm sure you would be the same. You may like to sail (as we all do) but maybe you don't want to live aboard. You find you need a life ashore as well as afloat. No place is perfect and some places just won't be what you are used to and then the issue of changing your ways start to enter into the picture.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 27-08-2006, 04:49   #5

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I think Paul said it best, and you need to do a road trip through the SE. As for bi-racial couples and positive social acceptance regarding all races, pretty much any medium to large population center would be OK. Here in Florida, this is pretty common stuff, but as previously mentioned, hurricanes can be a problem.

There are some area photos on my web site.

Rick in Florida
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Old 27-08-2006, 05:38   #6

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For god's sake... don't move to a state where you have to pay taxes on items such as your boat!

This leaves FL, NH and I think.... CT. Of those, there are bi-racial couples in all of them, and acceptance, as mentioned before, depends on the education level of the population. College areas are always best for an educated population.

By bi-racial, what exactly do you mean? That does factor in a little bit. What exactly are the races you are saying are bi-racial?

Also, metropolitan areas are far more likely than rural areas to be accepting of any lifestyle, since you will find pockets of people who have similar lifestyles. Not that rural places aren't accepting, but you will possibly stand out more in a rural area and I think this is what you mean by wanting "acceptance..."
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Old 27-08-2006, 12:36   #7
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People are people. There are some Yahoos that won't accept anyone that doesn't look like them and they aren't really happy about them either. There are a lot of stereo types of the south that come from the last century. I would argue that the South has actually done better for true racial acceptance than the smug northerners/big city people like to believe.

The things you'll have to be aware of is that small towns, under 20,000 people or so, are just that, small. There are a limited number of people and they tend to be very homogenious. Otherwise, they know everybody and everything about every family going back through many generations. I grew up as an interloper in a small farming community in Michigan. It mattered who your antecedents were and what people thought of them. My parents, from New York, did not have an easy transition into the much slower life style of that community but found friends and stayed there for more than 20 years. Anyway, that's the virtue asd well as the curse of small town living.

So, it's really going to be what you find are necessities in life. If you need a major mall and/or eclectic shopping, the theater, off the wall political or social attitudes, horrified by anything that is not paved, then small town life is not for you. If you are like the majority of us, then medium sized towns will fit the bill. If you are from NYC, stick to Miami. We've found that you can take advantage of most things that major cities offer without the disadvantages if you locate about a no traffic hour outside of the city. Prices are way more reasonable and/or the quality of houses way better. When you want to take advantage of what the city has to offer, just hop in your car and your there. It's also way cheaper to rent a hotel room if the occasion needs more than just an in/out.

Taxes are a consideration. Some states do not tax boats, which Sean brought up. If you have a big boat, it could be a significant dollar consideration. Some States don't tax pensions and/or other forms of compensation. I doubt that any State, outside of the NE will be as committed to lightening your wallet as California, in any case.

Weather is a consideration wherever you go. Hurricanes are a threat up the entire SE coast. Don't let the last few years activity lull you into feeling there is a safe area on the right coast. The farther north you go, the less the threat but the worse the overall weather. I've wintered over in Norfolk and found it a nice compromise for weather and proximity to everything the East Coast has to offer. Shirt sleeve sailing season is 9 months long and the short winters are sailable except when a short term storm comes through. One caveat, July and August can be a bit sweaty unless you are out on the water or have good air conditioning. Of course, that's not unique to just Norfolk afflicting just about everywhere but Maine and Hawaii.

You also might look at the PNW. People don't realize it but the boating season is year around if you dress for it. Temp's are almost never below forty, winds are better in the winter and the cruising grounds are wonderful all the way up into Alaska. Of course, it's not an environment for those afflicted with SAD. If you like the sun, all day, everyday, forget it.

The suggestion to rent a motor home and take a leisurely land cruise is a great idea. It's difficult to get the true essence of a community from the freeway. Hanging out for a few days or even longer will give you a better feel for the area. One thing is certain, you will probably have a lot of money that will stay in the bank after selling your California Property unless you insist on buying waterfront or major city areas.

Good luck. Your family is not an anomaly. Hear from more and more people that they are bailing from CA as soon as they can because of onerous regulations, high taxes and just too many people. One word of advice, don't try and Californicate wherever you go. It's not where you came from and that's its charm.

Peter O.
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Old 27-08-2006, 14:08   #8

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A good place to compare state taxes.

Property tax (real estate)
Personal property tax (everything you own except real estate)
School tax (can equal the real estate tax)
Income tax
Tax on pensions--or not
Estate Tax (planning ahead)
Sales Tax (8+% on boats)
Motor vehicle fees...

They always find a way to lift your wallet.
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Old 27-08-2006, 14:21   #9
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Florida only has sales tax for purchases on boats...not "personal property" tax. If you already paid sales tax of 6% or more in another state you pay no tax. If you paid less than 6% the tax will be the difference between Florida's and the state's rate you paid in.

Also, when doing sales tax on USED boats, Florida does NOT charge sales tax on the accessories and gear. You have to get these itemized on a bill of sale to show proof when registering or will pay tax on the whole purchase price.

Another (non commercial) can REQUEST antique registration status which is only about $5 annual. Antique status isn't just assumed, you have to request it and somtimes educate the clerk that the law exists.
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