Neighborhoods

“It’s this last aspect that brought a taxing disruption to a “New West” resort community in one of the Rocky Mountain states on our bucket list.”

Montana’s Glacier National Park
Keys for Unlocking Your New Home: BOF, Bucket Lists, Life Stages and Lifestyle Segments

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

While Claritas / Nielsen Segmentation may redefine their lifestyle descriptions and change the names of their trend-setting profiles, neighborhoods themselves change only slowly over time.

All neighborhoods evolve slowly through life stages over years and decades:

  • Formation,
  • Early Growth,
  • Late Growth,
  • Maturity,
  • Decline and
  • Renewal.

Each neighborhood has its own “brand” – an image and an attraction – for people of the same type.

Colorful Neighborhood “Brand”

Neighbors feel the attraction because the neighborhood fulfills their fundamental need to belong.

Picture your current or most recent street.

Neighborhood Street in Winter

How quickly can you describe your neighborhood composition?

“Well, we have mostly families with kids, except the older kids have graduated.

Most left home for college, but then returned when they couldn’t find work.”

If you’re like me, it’s not something you notice or even think about.

If given a list to choose from, you’d have no problem at all.

You’d be able to rattle off:

  • Their social rank — made up of income, employment level and education level achieved.
  • And the degree of mobility (length of time living in your neighborhood).
  • The mix of ages, genders and living arrangement household composition.
  • And, their ethnicity (race, foreign birth, ancestry, and language)
Densely Populated Urban Neighborhoods

Visitors to your neighborhood can easily observe:

  • The degree of urbanization (variations in urban, suburban, and rural populations);
  • The density (how much room between housing units you see); and
  • Housing types (own, rent, value, age, number of housing units).

So, if you were an outsider about to move into a another neighborhood on your bucket list,

  • How well do you feel you would fit in?
  • Will established neighbors share your same values?
  • How likely will they treat a stranger like you with open arms?
Birds-of-a-Feather or Chicken Wars?

Consider those neighbors who have lived decades in your potentially new community – like those in Whitefish, Montana or Bishop, California.

When new people move in, if they are decidedly different from the birds-of-a-feather (chicken or otherwise) tensions mount.

If strangers replace former neighbors, the local’s sense of belonging to there long standing,  tried-and-true community can be dramatically challenged.

And they don’t like it.

Why?

In general, when people move in, they tend to stay.

Just like those who have lived there for generations.

Fight or Flight.

If locals hate the changes, but can’t afford to move on – they may lack the skill sets to find work or work in professions that are in decline – they feel stuck.

So you get chicken wars, among other things.

We’ve even identified a subset of our High Country Eagle lifestyles – Rustic Eagles – who live in the least densely populated rural areas.

Their communities represent our nation’s most isolated towns and rural villages.

Sparsely Populated High Country Eagle Neighborhoods

You’d recognize Rustic Eagles after hanging out a while in their pristine, remote communities.

They have relatively modest incomes (a median household income of just over $30,000 in 2011) and low education levels.

Most of their neighbors live in aging homes and are employed in local blue-collar occupations.

It shouldn’t come as a any shock if we told you they spend their leisure time hunting and fishing, enjoying church socials, swapping war stories at the veterans club, dancing to country music and racing cars.

Long-time Country Residents

You’d also notice two distinct age groups – 30-44  year olds and senior citizens 65 years old and older.

So, they’re a mix of young singles and seniors living in unmarried and family households.

What they most likely notice is a trend – an exodus as neighbor after neighbor migrates to cities and greener pastures.

Attractive Neighborhood Features

Often kids who have grown up in the small town can’t wait to escape to the big city after high school graduation.

If not for economic reasons then for life events.

And, if a community finds itself on an early growth path, chances are the real estate values have priced the 20-somethings out of the local market.

Take my neighborhood – original residents moved in at the same time, so any change is very noticeable.

Graduating Neighborhood Kids

We know when people are:

  • Leaving the nest,
  • Graduating from college,
  • Getting married,
  • Having children,
  • Being promoted,
  • Emptying the nest, and
  • Retiring.
New Family Formations

When people move because of a positive life event, they usually find a neighborhood that is like the one they just left or better – a step up in social status.

Normally, the next set of birds set up their nest in the neighborhood home just vacated.

Moving Day

So, as you research and then visit resort towns on your bucket list keep a few things in mind.

Neighborhoods, like all things in nature, evolve through stages.

Characteristics that define a neighborhood change slowly.

Slowly Evolving Neighborhoods

The stability of a neighborhood comes from its fixed features:

  • Location,
  • Housing,
  • Transportation,
  • Schools,
  • Places of worship, and
  • Employment.

“Birds of a Feather” flock together.

They attract each other.

Social Ties and Deep Friendships
  • People with similar cultural backgrounds, needs, and perspectives naturally gravitate toward each other.
  • People choose to live in neighborhoods that offer affordable advantages and compatible lifestyles.
  • Self-organization and self-perpetuation reinforce the stable nature of neighborhoods

With stability comes predictability.

Variety of Neighborhoods Attract Different Lifestyles

And, with a little research and intelligence gathering you can whittle a long list of potential bucket list down to fewer, higher probability best fit towns.

How can you take advantage of the predictable nature of neighborhoods?

Several marketing and demographic firms (we’ve stuck with Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation over the years) offer statistics on specific clusters of neighborhoods.

They group segments into their similar demographic and behavioral characteristics.

If you know the area’s zip code you can discover the lifestyles of residents living in the community.

And, you can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

On your visits look for any newer developments that may trigger changes in neighborhood patterns.

Newer Construction

New construction in or around the neighborhood.

Major regional economic adjustments.

Transition from households with children to ones that are empty nests.

Rezoning, and dramatically rising/falling land values.

It’s this last aspect that brought a taxing disruption to a “New West” resort community in one of the Rocky Mountain states on our bucket list.

More to follow.

Steps:

(22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

 

Itineraries

“It is obvious that you are a young, smart-a– who probably moved from LA to Mammoth, couldn’t afford to live there and ended up here.” “I was born here. You’re obviously a hypocrite.”

Winter Season
Itineraries:  11 resort towns in 3 travel regions in California; 14 resort towns in 3 travel regions in Colorado

Changing Regions for Changing Reasons during Changing Seasons.

Let’s help you put together a travel itinerary.

Summer Outdoors

Your goal is to plan two vacations, one for opposite seasons – winter and summer.

In the regions of your top bucket list destinations.

To sample the good, bad and ugly community factors.

With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

For our “quality-of-life purposes” we can help you plan two mountain itineraries —

  • one for the Rocky Mountain Region and
  • one for the Sierra Nevada Mountain Region.

Whitefish, you’ll recall is located in Northwestern Montana in the Glacier Country Travel Region within the Rocky Mountain Region of Western United States.

Best of Whitefish, Montana

Phew!

You’d like it for all of those quality-of-life outdoor activities like

  • skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and
  • road and mountain biking, hiking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the summer.

That means, of course, to build your own bucket list, you should focus on the four-state region Rocky Mountain Region which includes

Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

So from the common (Premier Resorts –WRPR 09M1T1 and Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4) and the lifestyle-specific lists we’re eliminating some states.

The first to go is Arizona, followed by parts of California and Nevada, and New Mexico and Utah.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

But, first you may enjoy our “Best West Road Trips – Route 66” which traces the “Mother Road” from

the Texas Panhandle Region through New Mexico, Arizona and

ends up on the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Oh, and if you’re planning to move your lifestyle business from Whitefish to an artist colony, you may want to keep

Bisbee, 85603 and Jerome (Prescott), 86305 in Arizona and

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 on your list.

Jerome (Prescott), 86305 in the Northern Arizona travel region was once a notorious “Wild West” town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice — “the wickedest town in the West”.

Today Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios.

Bisbee, 85603, on the other hand, is in the Eastern Arizona travel region known for high desert lands, Wild West history galore and small towns near the border.

Art Galleries

“Bisbee offers some of the best art galleries together with highly Zagat-rated restaurants and brewpubs. 

Main Street’s antique shops and galleries are surrounded with examples of Victorian architecture.”

In our “Best West Road Trips – Route 66” magazine profiling the North Central travel region of New Mexico  you may enjoy discovering all that Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 has to offer you as one of the

Santa Fe, New Mexico Art Scene

“world’s top destinations for its long history of artists (especially Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz) , musicians and fine dining.”

Oh, and before we dismiss Montana, if Dudley and Arthur and the long-term locals, Charles and his brother relocated as part of the Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4 migration, it’s entirely possible that they would prefer Red Lodge (Billings), 59068.

You’ll recall that they fell victim to astronomical tax valuations based on the skyrocketing land values that had turned much of western Montana into a real estate gold mine over the previous 10 to 15 years.

So if they took some of their friends advice, “Your sitting on a couple million dollars; why don’t you sell it?’ they might have capitalized on a hidden opportunity.

Most other Montanans got relatively small property tax increases in the same year — some, in declining areas like eastern Montana, actually saw their tax bills go down.

And, not only is Red Lodge still in Montana it is on the eastern side of the Continental Divide roughly an eight hour drive southeast of Whitefish.

Like Whitefish, Red Lodge offers many outdoor recreation opportunities: skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking.

Red Lodge in Montana

In April it is host to a popular triathlon called the Peaks to Prairie.

Red Lodge’s population increases from about 1,200 people in the winter to over 1,800 people during the summer tourist season, arriving via the Beartooth Highway.

Pretty much just like Whitefish in the good old days before the celebrities, sports stars and CEOs made neighboring Flathead Lake their playground.

With sometimes as much driving time and distances to cover as from Whitefish to Red Lodge and with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

In the Rocky Mountain Regions, Colorado is often considered the gateway to the Rockies.  Within Colorado tourism areas are broken down into:

Colorado Regions

Denver Area

Eastern Plains

Front Range

Northwestern Colorado

South Central Colorado

Southwestern Colorado

In California the travel regions vary greatly, ranging from forested northern coastal regions to the rugged interior mountains to the harsh southern desert.

“Outside California’s major cities one finds some of North America’s most rugged national parks, incredible skiing/snowboarding opportunities, and quiet and ancient northern forests including the highest mountain peak in the contiguous states, Mt. Whitney.”

California’s 10 travel regions are broken down into:

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

Southern California

Desert

Central Coast

San Joaquin Valley

Sacramento Valley

Sierra Nevada

Gold Country

Bay Area

North Coast

Shasta Cascades

If you’re interested in the Desert and part of the Southern California region, you may enjoy the “California Regions” edition of “Best West Road Trips – Route 66

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

If you’re fascinated by the beach towns and breath-taking scenery along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), then you might enjoy, “Best West Road Trips – Goin’ Coastal,” an itinerary.

Iconic Hotel Del Coronado

It that takes you from

the historic beach Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

through South Coast beach towns to

the laid back Central Coast,

the Bay Area and finally  to the North Coast before continuing into

Oregon and Washington.

California – birds-of-a-feather (BOF) towns sorted by regions.

Southern California – Idyllwild, 92549; Del Mar, 92014; Escondido, 92026; Julian, 92036; Lake Arrowhead, 92352 and Malibu, 90265

Bay Area – Mendocino, 95460; Healdsburg, 95448; La Honda, 94020; Napa, 94558 and St. Helena, 94574

Sierra Nevada – Truckee, 96161, 96162; Lone Pine, 93545; Oakhurst, 93644; North Fork, 93643; Bishop, 93514; Squaw Valley, 96146; Tahoe City, 96145; and Truckee, 96161

Central Coast – Baywood – Los Osos (San Luis Obispo), 93402; Cambria, 93428; Montecito, 93108; Morro Bay, 93442; Santa Cruz, 95064; Santa Ynez, 93460 and Scotts Valley, 95066

Desert – Indian Wells, 92210; La Quinta, 92253; Palm Desert, 92260 and  Rancho Mirage, 92270

Gold Country (Western Sierra Nevada) –  Murphys, 95247 and Roseville (Granite Bay), 95746

Shasta Cascades – Susanville, 96137

Colorado – birds-of-a-feather (BOF) towns sorted by regions.

Denver Area – Golden, 80401

Front Range – Boulder, 80301; Winter Park, 80482;

Northwestern Colorado – Aspen, 81611; Basalt, 81621; Beaver Creek, 81620; Dillon, 80435; Edwards, 81632; Frisco (Copper Mountain), 80443; Snowmass, 81654; Vail, 81567; and Walden, 80480

Southwestern Colorado –  Crested Butte, 81224; Creede, 81130; Lake City, 81235; and Silverton, 81433

South Central Colorado – Pagosa Springs, 81147

Organizing potential quality-of-life mountain towns into travel regions for the migrating Premier Resorts –WRPR 09M1T1 and Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4 BOFs eliminates from the Southern California region …

  • Del Mar, 92014,
  • Escondido, 92026, and
  • Malibu, 90265.

We also skipped those towns in California’s Shasta Cascades, Desert, Central Coast and Bay Area Travel Regions.

So, our itinerary in California focuses on  the Western Sierra Nevada – Gold Country and nearby Sierra Nevada travel regions.

In preparation for the Colorado itineraries, we’ve eliminated the Eastern Plains, because no potential towns attracted ex- flocking neighbors.

And, by passing on the Denver Area and Front Range travel regions, we’re concentrating on the potential bucket list towns in the western half of the state, Southwestern, South Central and Northwestern Colorado.

California Itineraries 11 resort towns in 3 travel regions:

Southern California – Idyllwild, 92549; Julian, 92036; and Lake Arrowhead, 92352

Sierra Nevada – Truckee, 96161, 96162; Lone Pine, 93545; Oakhurst, 93644; North Fork, 93643; Bishop, 93514; Squaw Valley, 96146; Tahoe City, 96145; and Truckee, 96161

Gold Country (Western Sierra Nevada) –  Murphys, 95247 and Roseville (Granite Bay), 95746

Colorado Itineraries: 14 resort towns in 3 travel regions:

Northwestern Colorado – Aspen, 81611; Basalt, 81621; Beaver Creek, 81620; Dillon, 80435; Edwards, 81632; Frisco (Copper Mountain), 80443; Snowmass, 81654; Vail, 81567; and Walden, 80480

Southwestern Colorado –  Crested Butte, 81224; Creede, 81130; Lake City, 81235; and Silverton, 81433

South Central Colorado – Pagosa Springs, 81147

So the good news is you (and the migrating BOF from Whitefish, Montana) won’t have to visit all 75 potential communities.

By taking travel region itineraries you can cut the total by 66% and not have to deal with the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

However, since we’ve eliminated most of the Southern California travel region you won’t have a chance to visit one of the three chicken-war battle fields, “Wealthy Influential” Newport Beach.

But the better news is, by traveling the Sierra Nevada regional itinerary,  you’ll (and former  BOF) be able to compare notes during Bishop’s Mule Days Celebration over the Memorial Day holiday at popular Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ on north Main Street.

Come Early to Skip the Lines

You might run into those “hypocrites” …

“It is obvious that you are a young, smart-a– who probably moved from LA to Mammoth, couldn’t afford to live there and ended up here.” 

“I was born here. You’re obviously a hypocrite.”

And, so it goes.

Steps:

(32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

Best Places Bucket Lists

Added to the collection in the spring of 2009 was ZoomProspector.com’s list of best places with less densely populated towns – under 100,000 people – that were a best fit for entrepreneurs.

‘Preneur Bucket Lists – for all you consultants, freelancers, authors, artists, lifestyle business owners and entrepreneurs fed up or just plain dissatisfied with your community.

Between the two traumatic American events, 9/11 and The Great Recession, I aggregated and curated hundreds of potential locations from lists of “Best Places.”

Of course, over the years magazines like “Money Magazine” and “US News & World Report” kicked off best places listings and articles that they felt would appeal to their readership profiles.

As those lists moved online, CNN/Money for instance, it proved easier to aggregate.

And to track which locations sustained their high rankings and which ones fell to the way side.

Each year I had to add new folders and tags to my growing knowledge bank.

Under my “Best Places” you can review:

  • Top 100 places to live
  • Boomtown slowdowns (in 2009)
  • Cities with the best high tech jobs
  • Migrations to growth states
  • Best quality-of-life
  • For retiring to places with low taxes, better vacation home tax treatments and near small university towns
  • Cities poised to recover first from the real estate crash
  • And, not to be outdone, the first to recover from the recession
  • Places to time your purchase of McMansions
  • Where to live frugally with fun
  • Which rural areas to choose for retirement
  • Where to retire on lakes and rivers
  • For history buffs
  • For finding progressive-oriented neighborhoods
  • Where to pursue a cycling lifestyle
  • To raise a family
  • To work in communities with populations under 25,000

Added to the collection in the spring of 2009 was ZoomProspector.com’s list of best places with less densely populated towns – under 100,000 people – that were a best fit for entrepreneurs.

“Due to differing regional definitions, we used the label “town” for any city, township, borough or Census-designated place. 

Characteristics like the number of museums, parks, bars and restaurants, and cultural institutions per capita, and favorable business environment.” 

But, how did they define “favorable business environment?”

“These include patents, venture capital funding, sole-proprietorships, start-ups and small businesses per capita.” 

With a little digging in my knowledge bank, I assigned their top 10 to regional categories for future vacation itineraries.

The first five fell within the general Bay Area Travel Region in Northern California –

two in Silicon Valley, Cupertino (Apple) and Mountain View (Google and Facebook); and

three in the Peninsula area, Foster City, Hillsborough and Belmont.

Davis in Yolo County rounded out California’s Northern Region – at least north of the Central Valley in the Sacramento Valley travel region.

Tustin and Aliso Viejo in Orange County, as well as, Santa Monica in Los Angeles County made the remaining highly ranked in California situated in the broad South Coast Region.

For my personal bucked list, I only kept two.

Santa Fe in the North Central Region of New Mexico.

And my favorite on this list, Boulder along the Front Range, on the Eastern Slope of Rocky Mountains, north of the Denver Region.

These regions boast cultural amenities, pro-business environments, highly educated workforces and enviable salaries.

Downtown Bolder, Colorado

Boulder offers world-class ski slopes and an abundance of parks, as well as a strong venture capital environment, plenty of like-sized start-ups and high-quality talent from local resident University of Colorado.” 

Features like these helped propel Boulder to the top spot on our list of best towns to live well.

Oh, and we had already visited Boulder on our multi-Colorado region trip and were slated to revisit a year later.

That’s not cheating, is it?

Over the two timeframes, 2003-2008 and 2009-2014, the ‘Preneur bucket list grew.

Additions to the original list rated highly over multiple years:

  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Round Rock, Texas

Top ranked states in 2011

  1. Arizona
  2. Texas
  3. California
  4. Colorado

And, finally the best places list categorized alphabetically by states across the west and Hawaii.

  • Arizona – Prescott and Scottsdale

    Oahu, Hawaii
  • California – American Canyon, Carlsbad, Danville, Folsom, Marina del Rey, Novato, San Jose and Ventura.
  • Colorado – Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins and Louisville
  • Hawaii – Honolulu
  • Idaho – Boise and Coeur d’Alene
  • Montana – Billings and Missoula
  • Nevada – Henderson and Reno
  • New Mexico – Rio Rancho and Santa Fe
  • Oregon – Bend, Corvallis, Eugene and Portland
  • Texas -Bexar, Georgetown, San Antonio and Stafford
  • Utah – Salt Lake City
  • Washington – Bellevue, Bellingham, Olympia and Spokane
  • Wyoming – Cheyenne

Steps:

20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.