Sunday, January 4, 2009


****Hubby and I have been considering a move to another part of the country. Even though it is very beautiful here, we feel that it might be time to move back to a city atmosphere where we can walk to coffee shops and take advantage of more cultural activities. There has also been some rather uncontrolled development problems that are making our town look not too pretty.

****The other main consideration is housing cost. It would not make sense for us at our age to sell our home and pour every dime back into another property. The local economy of our destination is not a big deal as we both make our living primarily on the Internet. In addition to his company, LeWalt Publishing, my hubby is much in demand as a guitar, banjo, and mandolin teacher. He also teaches at the local college and runs the New Horizon Music Program at Holy Names Music Academy in Spokane. Those things can be duplicated most anywhere.

****We have been looking at Toledo, Ohio - more specifically the Old West End, the largest neighborhood of late Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts and Crafts home east of the Mississippi. Housing prices are phenomenally low and since we both love older homes it is looking pretty good for a future home.

****I was born and raised in St. Paul, MN, and hubby came from Minneapolis, so it is not too different from anything we know. Neither of us is a stranger to long distance moves. I lived for almost 17 years in Houston, and we both spent 10 years in Sedona, AZ, and 21 years here in beautiful North Idaho. There was a 2 year "stop-over" in Phoenix on the way to Idaho that we are trying to forget as it turned into the longest 100 years of our life.

****There are many famous people from Toledo who regard it with great affection. Notable is Uncle Jim, blogger and remodeler extraordinaire. Check out his latest efforts at his blog a second chance. Simple Sinner over at Black Cordelias is another famous native of Toledo and thinks it is a super neat place. Jay Anderson over at Pro Ecclesia, Pro Familia, Pro Civitate moved to Norwalk, Ohio (not too far from Toledo), and loves the area.

What do you think????
P.S. I was going to post on the subject of spiritual directors but Terry over at Abbey-Roads stole my idea and did such a great job I feel beholden to just send you over there. That is - after you weigh in on Toledo.


Adoro said...

Well...if you go to Toledo, You'll have to look up my college friend Erica, and it'll make it more possible to meet you as I have so many friends in Ohio...I'll have to put you in touch with them. They love new friends! :-)

X said...

If you move there I am SO coming to visit!

belinda said...

Terry's post was fantastic. I always wonder after I read his stuff. Hum... do I do that? I always do a quick self check to see how sinful I am, and whether or not I am bound for hell, but most of the time he cracks me up.
Where do you think God wants you to live? Why not Hawaii,, or the Bahamas you know some place warmer?

Elisabeth said...

I think you need to move to my part of NC! Lots of things to do, and the two closest "towns" are very charming. I'll send you more info -

Mark D. said...

Ok, first of all, northern Idaho is paradise -- why would you want to leave???? Because Post Falls is kind of dingy? Well, yeah, but there are very beautiful spots all over north Idaho you could move to.

Second, as for your choice of location if you do go, de gustabus non disputandum est. Anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains is too far east for me, but that's just a personal thing. Honestly, if I were going to pull up stakes and move, I would move to the northern Puget Sound area north of Everett. But that's just me. A little farm on the Nooksack River would be heaven...

Third, if I had to move east of the Rockies, I would head for North Carolina's Piedmont region. It's the South, but not too much (lots of northerners, tech companies, the sorts of businesses that need lots of lawyering done for them, etc.).

Fourth, I would be sad to see you and your tribe leave the inland Northwest.

Good luck with your decision!

Adrienne said...

Adoro - what fun - more new friends.

Angela - Toledo is kind of in the middle of everything. Eight hours from St. Paul.

Laura - Toledo is not far from NC either. I can't remember the exact time but I think it was only about 5 hours from ebeth (Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars)

Belinda - Honestly - I don't think God is too concerned with where I live. I'm not being snarky just really honest. He's probably more concerned with how I live (which most the time is not really up to par)

Been to Hawaii and it was a great place to visit but don't think I'd want to live there and highly doubt we could afford it. Same for Bahamas. We do like the change in seasons.

We can always slip away for a few weeks in the winter if we want to.

Adrienne said...

Mark - good points and ones we have considered. I'll take a look at the Piedmont area.

We just keep circling back to the money issue. Honestly, there are gorgeous houses in Toledo for 60 -70K. The same thing in any area in Spokane we would consider living is 250 - 300K (or more)

I even started searching around Coeur d' Alene and was appalled at some of the prices.

We have some concerns about some of the liberal attitudes I've discovered lurking there. We sometimes forget how conservative it is here.

Therese said...

I think you should move to Australia and be my next door neighbour.

belinda said...

Adrienne, I lived next door to my inlaws for 12 years, and I do think that there are certain places that God wants us to be,
- I tried like hell to move for years. Second I still agree with you. How we live is so much more importiant than where.
I hope that you find the perfect spot.

Tracy said...

It sounds wonderful to me:)

Adrienne said...

Belinda - you make a very good point. (12 years??? Eeeerk!)Sometimes things are going on and we don't see the hand of God until later (if at all. That's given me something to think about.

Therese - I doubt if Australia would have us. They are pretty picky about who they let in. ;-)

Tracy - 8 hours to St. Paul so what, another couple to you? I could visit!

Packrat said...

Okay, Adrienne, I don't know you, so I'm sorry if I sound rude. I'm just worried about your well-being. You've lived in Idaho a long time now.

I know living in the boonies in Idaho can be the pitts culturally and business-wise. I've been railing against it on a regular basis for 30+ years.

BUT, really! Toledo???? We now live in Paradise. This is truly God's country (even if it is blizzarding).

Think of the same amount of snow mixed with pollution. Think of Spokane's crime rate multiplied many times over. Think of the traffic backed up for hours and hours (and it does). Think of not seeing any mountains. Think of no really clear blue skies. (The only clear blue skies you'll see is when the temperature is below zero.) Think of the furthest visibility being only about 8 miles. Think of the humidity. Think of tornados. Think of the depressed state of the area (beyond the low housing prices). Think of all the rules and regulations that you've gotten used to not having to deal with. Imagine never being able to leave a door unlocked. Imagine always (and I mean always) having to watch your back (unless the crime rate has improved?).

Sorry, but when we lived in Detroit, Toledo was the joke. No One moved to Toledo. The comments made about Toledo by Klinger on M*A*S*H weren't all just jokes.

But, come to think of it, Toledo is probably nicer than Detroit...

Just think about it. Please.

Adrienne said...

Packrat - I know I should have watched M*A*S*H.....

Detroit - now there's a place that really scares me...very, very close to Toledo.

We've been watching the crime reports and I belong to a Old West End Association (online) and was a bit alarmed at the number of people who talked about break-ins.

I have done so much research and the conclusion I have come to is either people think Toledo is the pits or absolutely love it. There is never, ever a middle ground. Wonder why?

Pro Ecclesia said...

"The comments made about Toledo by Klinger on M*A*S*H weren't all just jokes."

Actually, I'm under the impression that Jamie Farr (who portrayed Klinger) is actually quite proud and fond of his hometown of Toledo.

But it is rather interesting that people either love Toledo or hate it. I, too, know very few people who are neutral on the subject.

Adrienne, have you taken a look at Perrysburg and Maumee? Very nice towns close to Toledo with beautiful historic districts.

Kirk said...

If you move to Germany you would be my neighbour instead! If you moved to Kaiserswerth that is! And we don't get nearly as much snow as you but enough to make you feel snug indoors...

Melody K said...

Adrienne, you have to do what you have to do. But won't it just about kill you to leave all that gorgeous landscaping you have worked so hard to do, and what about your day-lilies? (However it would be hard to pass up those beautiful old houses.)

Tom in Vegas said...

To heck with New England, I'm moving next to you in Toledo:0)

My gosh, if you have coffee shops you can walk to and lots of cultural activities in Toledo, then by all means, make the move. Those Victorian houses also look magnificent. Although if you can find a nice size cottage for you, the hubby, and your critters- even better.

belinda said...

Kirk has the best deal . He can make cake!

Elisabeth said...

Mark, Try a wee bit east of official Piedmont, down into the "golf belt" of NC ;) - and let me know when you get here :)

Kelly said...


I agree with Mark about anything east of the Rocky Mountains being too far East. The houses are beautiful but the depressed economy might be, well, depressing. That being said, if you do decide to go I will definitely make it a point to cross the pass and visit you before you go.

Mark D. said...

Laura, next time I'm in North Carolina, I'll check out the golf belt. I'll be there in March for a week, on trip to Raleigh and a side trip to Deep Gap (the birthplace of bluegrass legend Doc Watson).

Adrienne, why would you ever leave the northwest? Really, the whole thing is God's country. From the coast to the Rockies, is there anywhere in North America that really compares to this place? You can find inexpensive nice houses in Spokane -- we have a friend who just bought a nice house in a decent neighborhood for a little under a 100,000.

Ohio. Good Lord, that might was well be Mordor...

Adrienne said...

Fine - I had a huge comment for everyone and deleted somehow. I'll try again tomorrow...

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Consider why the houses in Toledo are so cheap.

Think Utah--we can use all the help we can get.

Kasia said...


I will start by saying that Packrat is right: here in Detroit, Toledo is the butt of many jokes. (Come to think of it, anywhere in Ohio is the butt of many jokes, but Toledo wins the prize.) We say things like that we really won the Toledo War, because Ohio ended up stuck with Toledo. And that Toledo has one good thing going for it: its proximity to Michigan. Yuk, yuk.

However, I have to say a couple of things.

First, one reason housing is so cheap is probably that Toledo's local economy (along with much of northern Ohio) is almost as much in the crapper as that of my beloved Michigan. In short:

Do not buy there (or here) unless you don't mind the prospect of holding on to the house until the Lord calls you home.

We are hopeful that the real estate market in Michigan will bounce back in the next few decades. I don't know Toledo's specifics, but given their proximity and their similar economic bases, I'm guessing they're not doing so hot right now either.

So that's Point One.

However, Jay is right: most or all the Toledo jokes on M*A*S*H (Canuck is a huge fan and owns most of the series on DVD) were courtesy of Jamie Farr, who played Cpl. Klinger, and yes, he loved it. So did my old Ops Manager, who lived in Toledo and commuted to a suburb of Detroit for work for years. (He told me once that the insurance we pay in Michigan is a joke.) I seriously looked at moving to northern Ohio and commuting to Detroit after having known him.

In other words, cost of living in Ohio has been comparatively low for a long time. I'm not sure why - I would tend to attribute it to a generally moderate conservative political equilibrium and not a lot of big new development - but whatever it is, ya gotta love it.

And I have to say a word in defense of my native Detroit: yeah, the city itself has hit some really hard times, many of them self-inflicted. But it's really not as bad as it's cracked up to be, especially in the suburbs. The worst part about Detroit, IMO, is the political climate (a LOT of hostility between city and suburbs, with major racial undercurrents). I'm not familiar with Toledo's politics, but I'm not aware of them being even within a million miles of Detroit's.

And if you do move to Toledo, you can test your mettle by driving to our little Detroit suburb to visit me and the Canuck! :-)

Packrat said...

Okay, I stand corrected on Klinger's (Jamie Farr) comments about Toledo. Sorry. I haven't watched M*A*S*H for a while.

One good thing about Detroit so I'm guessing Toledo, too, is all the different ethnic food restaurants.

Adrienne said...

Ok - I'll try again to answer comments without messing it up.

Think I'll start from the bottom and work my up.

Kasia - Thanks for the reasoned response. My hubby and I are 63 and 64 so keeping the house until the "big hole" is our last option, was a consideration.

We are aware of the reasons for the housing prices but, again, local economy has no real impact on us since the majority of our income is from the internet.

As for hubby teaching - there are always at least 10 or 15 people, no matter where you live, who would be able to afford lessons. He is quite well known for his teaching (he has tons of customers already in that area), so students would not be a problem.

He did a workshop in the Akron area a few years ago and came home raving about how much he liked it. He stayed with the organizer, who lived in Norton and also drove him all over the city. He is insistent that I visit Akron, too. (Now for me - just that name Akron sets my teeth on edge. Makes me think of rubber. ;-)

Father Richsteig - Not after seeing your snow pictures. Besides, if I moved there, Tara and I would never get any work done we'd be so busy causing you grief. Tara can do the work of 10 women, anyway ;-)

The other consideration is the number of Catholic Churches in Toledo. We figure with that many to choose from, we might have a better chance of finding one that may be a bit more into the "reform of the reform", and perhaps have its own version of you (complete with machine gun. That would be a blessing.

The Rosary Cathedral in the Old West End is beyond gorgeous and it appears they have decent music at one Mass. I can't handle anymore Haugen/Haas/Joncas without seriously considering poking my ears with an icepick!

Mark - you are getting very emotional for a smart lawyer feller. Have you considered they kill old people in WA now? I see the politics of eastern WA going the way of Seattle, which is not a pretty picture.

Don't get me wrong - I completely agree with you that it is extremely beautiful here, but I also thought Sedona was the most beautiful place in the world. Still do. I had no trouble at all leaving there when it became so New Age and creepy that we became convinced it was "possessed" by evil spirits.

Melody - gardens are forever being created and left for someone else to enjoy. My last house was a gem and now it looks like the city dump. Such is the way of life.

Daylilies take up surprisingly little room. Dig, pack, and ship. Simple! I could even hold the mother of all sales when I arrived and finance the entire move. It's a thought...

A gardener is like a model railroader. They're never, ever done and a blank slate to design a new garden is considered heaven on earth.

Kirk - If I thought I could swing living in Kaiserswerth I would be there in a heart beat. It is soooo gorgeous. Talk about beautiful old buildings. And you live there - a real bonus!

Tom - Do some research on the Old West End. You may be surprised. Since it's a historic district there are many groups devoted to restoration of these beautiful houses. If you go to Google Earth it allows you to wander up and down the streets.

Kelly - we can meet in the middle when the snow melts (sometime in July) - the pass has got to be 50 feet deep. Or maybe not. Post Falls and Athol were just about the hardest hit this winter.

We'll do it even if I don't move!!!

Now let's see if I can't actually post this without messing it up.....

Adrienne said...

Sheeeesh Packrat - I hadn't even considered the restaurant issue (except as it pertains to White Castle)

Good thought!

Adoro said...

Move to Akron! Then I can send you to Fr. V.'s parish, and he can tell you all about the cool things in Akron. Like Luigi's, and awesome ice cream...and stuff we din't have time to see when I was there. But he'd give you a personal tour of St. Sebastian's, I'd make sure my friends there would make you feel at home....go to Akron!

I'm going to go tell Fr. V. you're coming....

Adrienne said...

Adoro - Cleveland is waaaaaay close to Toledo.

What do your friends think about the area??

Adoro said...

Well...Cleveland itself is boring. It's a city. But there are some cool places like Little Italy, some really beautiful churches, and some neat locations I didn't get to visit.

Akron has a different feeling, but seemed very homey to me. Then again...good friends will do that.

Down side: they don't kneel after the Lamb of God or after Communion; they remain standing. drove me crazy. But it's easier when the priest is holy, knowledgeable, and only foregoes kneeling because the Bishop said so, not because he agrees. (obedience is important!)

But otherwise, read Fr. V.'s blog. I can also send a note out to my friends when I get home, maybe send them over here to comment. Then they can be YOUR friends, too!

(See how easy this is?) lol

Adrienne said...

Adoro - YEA! Send more friends, said the Zombie...........

Obedience is important.

I would like to find a decent "reform of the reform" parish. Twenty Eight Catholic Churches in Toledo proper - chances go up....and I've been to every single one that has a website. Some look waaaaay weird - others look pretty good. About what you'd expect.

Adoro said...

You'd be happy at St. Sebastian's. Yes, they have to be obedient to the Bishop, but you'll get nothing but good solid Catholicism there! And I know there are other good parishes, but I only have a connection to that one.

Pro Ecclesia said...

Toledo's Bishop Blair is one of the primary reasons my family moved to the Toledo Diocese rather than the Cleveland Diocese when we relocated from Virginia 3 years ago.

uncle jim said...

if your livelihood is not dependent on the auto and manufacturing industries, then Toledo is a great place

the art museum, the Catholic cathedral, the ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants, the annual jazz-fest on the river downtown, a good university and medical college, top-level minor league baseball and hockey, there is tons to like about toledo and it is well located - probably within 12 hours of half the population of the country

but it is all about where God wants you

that's why i'm now 3hrs 30minutes from Toledo in INdiana

Paulcoholic said...

Buffalo, NY is nice! ;-) Lotsa Catholics, Catholic radio is on 24/7, too!

Adrienne said...

Paul - I have only one word for Buffalo SNOW Other than that they do have a nice autumn ;-)

Pro Ecclesia said...

Not to dissuade you, but it's snowing in Toledo right now.

Adrienne said...

It could never, ever snow as much as it has snowed here this year. We are now getting rain on top of our approximately 80" of snow. Ugly!

I like snow - just not this much. I will admit this is an anomaly. We just hope it's not going to become a trend for the next 10 years or so (like our drought in the summer)

uncle jim said...

I don't remember Toledo ever having anything close to your 80"


Buffalo, on the other end of Lake Erie from Toledo, [where I have a son and daughter-in-law] has had much more than that.

IN FACT, my son tells me that in the last 5 or 6 years they've set several records.

1 - 100" BY Thanksgiving
2 - 80+" between Christmas and New Year
3 - Total accumulation [but he couldn't remember the amount]

Toledo is the best bet on Lake Erie.

Terry Nelson said...

Thanks for the plug. Jeffrey loves Toledo - he could advise you. If I were to move I don't know where I would go.

uncle jim said...


Toledo OH to the following [approx]

Detroit 1 - 1-1/2 hrs

Indianapolis 4 - 4-1/2 hrs

Cleveland 2 - 2-1/2 hrs

Chicago 4 - 5 hrs

New York City 9 - 9-1/2 hrs

Washington DC 8 hrs

Minneapolis 10-1/2 - 11 hrs

Atlanta 10-1/4 - 10-3/4 hrs

Memphis 10-3/4 - 11-1/4 hrs

buffalo 5 - 5-1/2 hrs

ft. wayne 2 - 2-1/2 hrs

Toledo is right in the heart of it all.

Adrienne said...

Uncle Jim - I took note of the centrality of Toledo early on. Closer to my family without being too close. Did you get you mileage times off of MapQuest. I seem to remember the ones on MapQuest being a tiny bit smaller - like about 8 hours to St. Paul. I may be remembering wrong, though.

Terry - the damn post wasn't intended to make anyone feel bad for me or to induce guilt. I love you just the way you are....

....and, Jeffrey doesn't speak to me anymore since he had his last melt down. His loss ;-)

uncle jim said...


driving times mostly from my experience when i was in sales for a trucking company [see early blog posts - days of 'Tony', and others]

and the art museum in toledo is straight south of the cathedral a mile or so ... all old west end.

my growing up was in east toledo - across the river from downtown.

i still have one brother and two sisters in toledo. aunt rozann has 3 sisters within 35 miles of toledo. so we're there several times a year for one thing or another.

of course we go to detroit at least once a year to see the detroit red wings play.

Adrienne said...

Uncle Jim - Gosh, I'll have ready made friends if I go.

I always take MapQuest times and subtract an hour for my driving (although I have slowed down a bit since I've matured, errrr, grown older)

Paulcoholic said...

Buffalo's reputation for snow is overrated. We average 97" a year,according to: , who get their stats from the NWS.

Most of the snow ends up to the south.

Then again, I've only lived here for a little over a year, having relocated from Syracuse. Now you wanna talk about snow, oy vey! Da 'cuse rulz!

uncle jim said...

stick around buffalo a few more years and you'll probably see lots more snow

mapquest time minus one hour????
glad you're out there in the wide open spaces
maturity comes through education ... police call it 'enforcement education' - pay a few $100+ tickets and you'll slow down

Unknown said...

What defense is needed? I grew up there.

Move there, call me, and I will come up for the weekend and introduce you to half a dozen of your new bestest Catholic friends... And their sons who became priests.

You could find happiness and salvation in Toledo.

Adrienne said...

Simple - I'm overwhelmed. Such a sweet thing you are.

Kit said...

Come to the Finger Lakes! Despite the DOR - and you can be out of the clutches of Bp. Clark depending on which lake you choose - it is beautiful here, 4 hrs to NYC, 10-11 to Chicago, 6 to DC 5 to Pittsburch or Cleveland, and very reasonable housing prices.

And I am not on your blogroll anymore I don't think. :(

Larry Denninger said...

"Detroit - now there's a place that really scares me...very, very close to Toledo."

I agree with what Kasia said - and in defense of Detroit, we have great museums, theatre district, entertainment, and if you like hockey, then you can't do better than the Detroit Red Wings. We also have WDEO radio (awesome Catholic radio); St Michael's Media and; and an improving seminary.

I believe that southeastern Michigan is going to experience a great Catholic revival with Archbishop Vigneron taking charge. And Bishop Blair, from what I've been told, is a solid man. It's going to be very exciting around here from a Catholic perspective.

And since this is the first time I've ever visited your blog, let me take a moment to say "hi!" I hope you can take some time to visit mine.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Old West End for 20 years. It is an extremely dangerous area, and it is surrounded by very bad gang and drug areas and I mean surrounded. It is called the doughnut hole. The beautiful houses are so cheap because of the blight. I had a car a year stolen 7 years in a row, 3 break ins, one when I was home with my daughter. Elderly neighbor tied up, beat up and thrown down the steps. My young daughter witnessed a stabbing, gunfire day and night, I could go on and on. The day I finally got that house sold was the best day of my life. Just saying-help yourself.