While we were in North Carolina we noticed that there sure were a lot of dogs.  Everyone seemed to have a dog or two (or three). The couple we were staying with had two dogs, two cats and a nine month old, a full house to be sure. My husband loves dogs and dogs love him. This giant puppy was a 115 lb. deaf Great Dane that thought she was a lap dog. Really.  I would walk into the den to find her as close to huddled on my husband's lap as she could get. He was a great sport about it and tried to accommodate her as best as possible.  I can tell you that he never let's me sit in his lap.

I guess what you really want to know is if we finally chose a place to re-locate.  We have narrowed it down to two locations--Napa Valley or White Chapel, North Carolina.  They are actually quite a lot alike, both rural but a stone's throw from 'civilization'. In Napa you are an hour drive to San Francisco (my favorite American city), in North Carolina you are an hour by plane from New York City or Miami, a mere six hours from Europe.  Of course the whole idea of moving is to be able to buy a house and have a great place to raise our (hopefully) future kids. With our budget we could afford a modest house in Napa Valley, but it would be a house in Napa Valley. In North Carolina, well that's a game changer, we could get a beautiful house with acres of land (which means I could have my miniature animal farm!) it would still be modest, but I could have my mini farm plus my own studio space, both of these sound very attractive to me. In North Carolina, I do fear that it could feel a little isolated being that I am a City girl.  Now we live a block from one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles (not a plus mind you) but convenient to everything. We are going to be doing some more number crunching this evening, we do know that May 1st is our deadline so we don't have a lot of time to be hemming and hawing.  Any advice, suggestions, questions? 

Malinda (March 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM)  

NAPA!!! Don't go south - it's really, really, really slow paced compared to LA (though I know that's what you're going for) it will be a totally different world once you live there vs. a visit. I PROMISE!

Vee (March 26, 2012 at 5:42 PM)  

My advice would be to look at quality of life/satisfaction data for the two places - how happy other people are in the two locales is a very good indicator of how happy you'll be.

Such an exciting adventure, either way.

Martha (March 26, 2012 at 6:47 PM)  

I've never been to Napa, but grew up in the South, so duh, I'd go for NC. But it is really, really different from LA. I think that people are different in each place also, and that's something to consider. As as example, I grew up thinking that I was a liberal (in the deep south), and met my husband, who thought that he was quite conservative (in CA). Turns out, we're really similar.

Miss B. (March 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM)  

Lol, that's funny you should say that Malinda, I felt that time stood still while we were there (we also visited Georgia). It wasn't a bad thing, just something that I noticed. That is a fear that I will feel stunted, both places are very slow paced, so it is a huge consideration. Vee, interesting we actually read a study, where we are thinking of in NC has a high ratio of happy people because they are A) highly educated + accomplished and B ) live well. The 'triangle' is what they call the area and has more Ph.d's than anywhere in the world. Martha it's supposed to be very liberal (the town had the first gay mayor in the South), BUT Northern Cal is also very liberal. They are A LOT alike that's why I need all the feedback I can get! One other thing I need to consider for Napa is taxes, it's EXPENSIVE to run a business in California! Thank you ladies!

Jill Elaine (March 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM)  

Napa! I wish all my friends and family would move to california - then it would be a no-brainer for me to move!! LOL! I just really like the sounds of being close to the beach and I love cali weather.
I'm tired of being cold. But then I really know nothing about what the weather is like in NC.

Spiral Style (March 26, 2012 at 7:43 PM)  

My vote is Napa. It is hard to break into southern society if your aren't a southerner. You may feel more comfortable staying in California. Of course if you start a family, kids are instant ice are pets.
Good luck with your decision. I LOVE to move to new places. I envy you.

Miss B. (March 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM)  

Jill, lol, well Napa is a little on the cool side and no beach in sight! It's definitely not what you imagine California being like, more like Vermont on the West Coast. Think foggy days, sleepy towns and lot's of great food. I honestly don't know if I can break into any society, I am such a weirdo. Not a bad weirdo mind you, just a little shy and socially inept.

I love hearing all the suggestions though, this is the HARDEST decision I have ever made!

Toi –  (March 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM)  

I have nothing to shed on either of these places, but I hope you find a lovely place to land where your heart is happy. I'm so excited for you! I think it's just wonderful that your thinking about your future littles and wanting to give them an environment to grow up happy. Good luck in your decision making. And don't worry, I hear mini donkies love Napa just as much as NC so you can't really make a bad decision here.

Slappin B!tches Since 1982! (March 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM)  

Hmm, being a city girl myself (NYC), my vote is NC. I personally have a love for the south. You get the beauty without the stuffy attitude and high price. Having all that land and the amenities such as a studio, room for your animals and kids to just play... I think would be the big push for me. Then again Napa is so close to San Fran... which is my favorite city as well... outside of NYC of course :). However the San Fran proximity is the only plus Napa has in my mind. Then again that's just my opinion :) Good luck in the decision, I bet either way it will be good!

McMaster and Storm (March 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM)  

this is hard---
Matt & I love traveling to the South--however, he was involved in the wine industry when we lived in CA. I miss our jaunts wine tasting to many pretty areas there, not just Napa. It's fairly close to San Fran, which is a huge plus. I want to go to Sausalito right now--Tiburon too sniff.
I would say Napa--I miss the markets, fresh food and the restaurants.
We like these places close to Napa:
Rutherford, Yountville, St. Helena.

Megan (March 28, 2012 at 4:44 PM)  

Hi Miss B!

I grew up in rural NC (Saxapahaw) and now live in Chapel Hill (go Tarheels!). I'm biased but I LOVE this area. It is slower paced than LA, but not so slow that you can't find yourself immersed in plenty to do if you had a mind to it. You're right about the Ph.D. concentration, the triangle is a very educated area of the south, and it's only growing. My roommate in college was from LA then Sacramento and spent a few years in Sonoma before moving out here because she loved this area of NC so much. Living here is different from vacationing, but everywhere is like that. I think it's great you're seriously considering NC, it's a fabulous, friendly, smart and thriving area.

Rachel (March 28, 2012 at 5:57 PM)  

No suggestions, just excitement! Taking a leap like that sounds so freeing.

Oh, and a bit of sadness that you might be gone before we manage to get together! We should work that out (if only life would slow down a little). I live three blocks off of one of the busiest streets in LA, is it possible that we are referring to the same street?

Miss B. (March 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM)  

Megan I had my best breakfast EVER in Saxaphaw. We loved the little river and heard that even the NY Times knows about that General Store! Rachel that would be hilarious (and sad) if we were neighbors. Yes, we must meet before I leave!

Anonymous –  (March 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM)  

How exciting to start a new life somewhere! I live about 45 minutes south from Napa so I'll give you a rundown of positive vs. negative:
Positive: you can pretty much do anything you want to and being close to S.F. it is great for any type of culture you want. Weather pretty good for most of the year. Wide range of jobs and the pay is higher than other parts of the country. Easy to meet people and tons of places, restaurants, and activities to keep you busy. Cons: you'll be battling weekend Sonoma/Napa traffic which is a nightmare during nice weather. Going to the city on 80 is horrible starting at 10:00 on a Saturday. Trust me! It's so expensive and not worth the "rat race" to keep up, you'll get a fraction of the house and property you could get in NC. It can be pretentious, obnoxious, tiring, and really not the quality of life it's made out to be. You barely get a change of seasons, it's crowded, and you'll find that it is more of a hassle than a pleasure to travel around the bay area. Public schools are horrible, too expensive for private. LOTS of NIMBY!! Honestly I would pick NC over CA in a heartbeat. It would be nice to slow down a bit and enjoy life vs. having to work to live.
Hard choice to make, but good luck!

Roberta (March 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM)  

I used to live in Santa Rosa and worked in Napa. It is a beautiful, beautiful place but very expensive. And generally speaking, liberal but the more rural, less so. That's been my experience at any rate. I love CA and grew up there. It is prohibitively expensive for us right now. I've always wanted to move to NC - Asheville and haven't ruled it out. You'd get more bang for your buck. I don't think you could go wrong. You will set your own pace no matter where you are. Good luck!

Anonymous –  (March 29, 2012 at 5:03 PM)  

miss b,
the only advice I have, having raised a daughter in the country and also the mountains, is that she has grown into woman that actually has work ethics, is a leader and not a follower, and isn't afraid to get dirty. i'm very proud of her!
best of luck on your touch decision.

melissa anne (March 30, 2012 at 10:17 PM)  

I was born and raised in Sonoma (just over the hill from Napa), it that area is one of the most beautiful places to live. It can be touristy but I find that kinda fun and the food/culture is amazing. My sister moved from Sonoma to Kannapolis,NC and has lived there 10 years, she loves the seasons (which are pretty much non existent in Sonoma/Napa), she loves the people, pace and the ability to afford a home with land. Either way they are wonderful places, I'm partial to the North Bay as its gorgeous, sophisticated and very close to the city but also relaxing and quite. Best of Luck!

Ana (April 1, 2012 at 6:21 PM)  

Love the blog! very cute

About German Shepherd Dog (July 30, 2012 at 2:09 AM)  

Hi Miss B... I liked your blog. I thought off commenting on this post as this posts talks much about what I love... dogs. Your husband is lucky enough to be loved by dogs.

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