I received the following e-mail a few days ago from someone who is considering moving to Great Falls:
I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few dorky questions. I stumbled across your blog and was looking at the pictures you’d taken around the area. Since you are very enthusiastic about the Great Falls area and seem to very much enjoy it there, I’d like to pick your brain for a second if that’s all right.
We’re looking at moving to either Great Falls or Blacksburg, Virginia (yep, that’s a big difference!) and I’m driving from Arizona up to the Great Falls area probably tomorrow to take a look around and see what I think of it. My husband and I just got back from Blacksburg and liked it very much, but I’m going to sorely miss the West and am looking for an excuse to stay in this part of the country. We can’t afford Arizona (and I absolutely hate where I’m living right now) but if we can find an affordable, livable place in Montana I’d be happy as a clam. (My husband) hates cold, snowy winters and I hate hot, humid summers, so one of us is going to get the shaft wherever we end up. 😉
Wow – comparing Virginia to Montana – that’s unthinkable to me!
The e-mail continued:
Questions… What’s the job scene like in Great Falls? I’m kind of a Jill of all trades, having done accounting, payroll and worked for attorneys. I also have a knack for writing. (My husband) is a machinist (uncertified) and has been for 10 years. Do you think we’ll have trouble finding work there?
As for weather, how cold and snowy are the winters, and how hot are the summers? Where we are right now in the mountains of Arizona we get heavy, heavy snow in the winter and it does occasionally dip below zero. I’m anticipating that Great Falls is probably less snowy but colder than here. Tornadoes or severe weather—are those issues there? How about smog in Great Falls? I know some of the cities that are located in valleys have trouble with pollution, but not sure about Great Falls. What is the crime rate like? I’m so, so very tired of being surrounded by meth heads who steal everything that isn’t nailed down. That will be a problem to some extent anywhere we go, but some places are definitely worse than others for that sort of thing.
Is property affordable around Great Falls? We’re looking to rent for a few months while we get settled and buy property on which to set a modular (if you know of any pet-friendly rentals, please do share) and would like a place a little bit out of town where we can have horses and room to breathe. What advantages/disadvantages does Great Falls have over some of the other cities in Montana like Billings or Helena? Any other thoughts or advice regarding the area?
Sorry for the barrage of questions… as you can tell, we’re pretty darn clueless.
Wow – lots of things to consider in there! I replied to her and gave her some brief answers (as best I could), and of course included the standard, “…when you get to Great Falls, give me a call and lunch is on me!” I always tell out-of-towners that, if I learn that they will be visiting.
In this case, I wasn’t sure if I would hear from “K”, but sure enough she called me yesterday evening from her hotel in town, and we headed over to Jaker’s for dinner. I had hoped to give her a windshield tour of the town, but it was dark by the time we finished eating, so I told her what to look for as she cruised around for the next two days, though, and also told her to call Ronda (the realtor who worked a miracle for me in 2002) to begin research on places to live.
I don’t know if “K” and her husband will wind up in Montana, but I sure did my best to convince her!