The main goal of our RV’ing “trip” is to find a place that we can call home, if and when we decide to settle down again.
I (Jodi) grew up in Chardon, Ohio and my children spent most of their lives there as well. I will probably always call it my “hometown”. But time moves on and as in most things, it didn’t stay the same. Still a great place to live, it is just not the town that I remember and not the place I’d like to grown old in. I personally blame it on Walmart — but that’s another story.
Kenny grew up in Austintown, Ohio (near Youngstown) left for a career in the military and returned some 20 years later. It will probably always be his “hometown” but it is not where he would like to retire.
So we are on the hunt… to find OUR Mayberry. and I have a system….
Using Microsoft Streets and Trips (which we use for most of our trip planning) I’m keeping a pinset (locations on a map that I’ve grouped together called “Possible Hometowns”) of places that we would like to visit and look at further. This way, when we are planning a portion of our trip, we can visually see the stops we would like to make, as they show up as a big pushpin icon on the map.
So my strategy… Kenny and I both went through the quiz on http://findyourspot.com . It asks you questions about your lifestyle and preferences, and shoots out a list of places that might fit the bill. This gave us a starting point.
I then looked up each of those towns on http://walkscore.com – another great site. Enter a city and it tells you the towns walk-ability rating – I would love to have the option to walk to the library or grocery store, though not a deal breaker. Of our old hometowns… Chardon’s walking score is 91 (way to go!!!); Austintown’s score, a piddly 34.
Other websites I am using to help:
http://bestplaces.net/city (comparison tool and cost of living)
http://areaconnect.com (crime rate)
http://greatschools.net (even though we no longer have kids in school – it tells a lot about a neighborhood)
I also look through the local newspapers online and the cities websites.
So for now we will continue to meander to Mayberry…