The impulse to move somewhere new and reinvent yourself is very American thing. Whether fleeing a failed relationship, searching for opportunity, or simply for the thrill of the unknown, Americans are a semi-nomadic people always eyeing the horizon.
There are hundreds and thousands of towns and cities in America where people can reinvent themselves, but we narrowed our list to these nine for reasons completely unique to each place. There may be a perfect match in there for you or someone you know, and if not, you can always throw a dart at a map and let fate decide.
Best Place for Running Far, Far Away
The gold rush may be over in Nome, but that doesn’t mean there’s no draw for a lonely soul looking for a new start. For those looking to put some miles between themselves and the past, it doesn’t get much more remote than this frigid town on the Bering Strait. Nome is an ideal place to write a novel, particularly if the plot involves a family of native Iñupiat diesel mechanics who are also CIA agents infiltrating the Russian fishing fleet across the Bering Straig. And if you think gold and literary aspirations aren’t enough of a draw, keep in mind Nome was the cinematic setting for The Simpson family in The Simpsons Movie. Marge even knits a doormat that reads “Nome Sweet Nome” on it.
Jobs: Unemployment is higher than the national average, but according to the Nome Nugget there are currently openings for school cook, Safeway cashiers, teachers, and more.
Place to Live: The cost of living is high in Nome, but home prices are less expensive than the national average. Nome Sweet Homes has a list of available homes for sale.
Romance: Nome is romantic goldmine for groupies of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race because the race’s finish line is right there. It’s also a hot spot for anyone seeking grizzled prospectors or just men in general. Females make up only 47% of the population (high by Alaskan standards), but there are currently only two available Nome women on Match.com.
Activities/Hobbies: Engage in a little recreational mining at the beach, saddle up to the bar at the Board of Trade Saloon, or hang out with the local muskox population.
SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Best Place to Go from Nerd to Titan of Industry
Silicon Valley is the cocoon where the high school computer dweeb blossoms into the filthy rich tech billionaire society has come to admire. Just like in an 80s teen movie, before the nerdy girl removes her glasses to catch the eye handsome boy from the good side of town, she first has to serve time in the startups of San Jose, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. Silicon Valley is a transformative place that rewards bright, creative minds. We’re talking about gobs and gobs lot of money.
Jobs: Try your luck at Facebook, Apple, or Google, or go find the next startup that may eventually top them.
Place to Live: Click any of these cities to view homes for sale there: San Jose / San Francisco / Palo Alto / Menlo Park.
Romance: There’s a thriving industry of dating professionals who will happily take the money of socially-awkward singles in exchange for helping them find love in Silicon Valley. It’s sort of a casual form of pimping.
Activities/Hobbies: The downside of many of these tech jobs is there’s often little in the way of free time. Still, if things work out you can cash in those stock options when your company goes public and retire.
Best Place to Become Who You Truly Are on the Inside
This small Colorado town of roughly 9,000 people has come to be known as the “Sex-Change Capital of America.” The mountain town is where sexual reassignment surgery was introduced back in 1969, and became such a popular location for it that the term “taking a trip to Trinidad” became a euphemism for the surgery. Like thousands of Trinidad’s residents, many of those patients decided to stay in the town because of the strong community and live-and-let-live attitude. Not bad criteria for anyone looking to reinvent themselves.
Jobs: The surrounding county relies heavily on farming and ranching, but Trinidad is the primary commercial center and county seat, so it’s got a little of everything.
Place to Live: The median home price is around $100,000 and mountain views are easy to come by.
Romance: The air’s thinner at 6,025 feet, but it makes up for it with an abundance of love in the air. Trinidad isn’t that big, just be friendly and you might end up meeting some nice person, like Larry. Be warned, the odds of meeting a lonely fur trapper are considerably less than a century ago.
Activities/Hobbies: There are plenty of scenic highways and outdoor activities, and downtown is a fun place to look for western art.
Best Place to Change Your Financial Fortunes
Like some sort of economic Disneyland, Houston may be have happiest economy in America. While dreary economic conditions have haunted much America for years, Houston largely avoided the recent housing collapse, and for every job lost during the recession Houston has since added 2.3 more. Business is booming in Houston, the cost of living is lower than any other major American metropolitan area, and housing prices are affordable. Basically, it’s a great place to re-invent your career, economic fortunes and the potential for an early retirement.
Jobs: Ideally, you’d become one of Houston’s NASA astronauts, but there are also 22 Fortune 500 Companies to apply to if you don’t make the cut.
Place to Live: Click HERE to view hundreds of Houston homes for sale on Estately’s real estate search site.
Romance: There are 115 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried woman, and local babe Beyonce is off the market so nobody has to walk around in her shadow.
Activities/Hobbies: Explore the city’s diverse restaurant scene, experience Triple A baseball disguised as a Houston Astros game, or visit one of Houston’s many gun ranges.
BAR HARBOR, MAINE
Best Place to Swim Against the Tide
Americans historically move west in search of a fresh start, so swim against the current and head about as far east as you can go—Bar Harbor, Maine. The Wabanaki Indians once gathered there to harvest clams, followed by rich folks like J.P Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Rockefellers, and the Astors. The premier summer resort of New England back in the 19th century, it still draws a crowd thanks to fantastic sailing, golf, and brewery tours. It’s also a heck of place to regroup, paint the fall foliage, and plot just what the heck you’re going to do next?
Jobs: Find seasonal work at the B&Bs or breweries, sell trinkets to cruise ship passengers, get shanghaied for the summer aboard a yacht, or beg your way onto a lobster boat.
Place to Live: The median home price is around $300,000, but there are inexpensive rentals when it’s not tourist season.
Romance: You’ll have to make a move quickly, but thousands of cruise ship passengers come ashore most days during summer so maybe it’ll be love at first sight?
Activities/Hobbies: Explore Acadia National Park, go birdwatching or beach combing, take up kayaking, hunker down for the winter with a lot of good books, or check out ILoveBarHarbor.com for more.
Best Place to Stop Aging
People from across the country come to Miami to spend their golden years, pursue NBA championships, or find a new start. The southern Florida city is also a fantastic place for those looking to reinvent themselves through collagen injections, liposuction, and tummy tucks. With the highest number of plastic surgeons per capita of anywhere in America, Miami is vanity headquarters for those less concerned with personal growth and more concerned with cup size. If the “new you” includes breast implants and a straighter nose, Miami is plastic surgery paradise. It’s also solid for those looking to get fit, improve their health, and slow the aging process naturally—just stay out of the sun!
Jobs: Economic sectors hiring include government, health care, and the hospitality and tourism industry.
Place to Live: Click HERE to view hundreds of Miami homes for sale on Estately’s real estate search site.
Romance: In 2012, Miami came in 4th on Travel + Leisure‘s list of “America’s Best City for Singles.”
Activities/Hobbies: There’s no shortage of cultural or recreational activities in Miami, but if you’ve just had Brazilian butt lift surgery you’re going to want to avoid exercise or any activities that require sitting for more than an hour.
Best Place to Change Your Altitude and Attitude
Situated at 10,152 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States. This high-altitude outdoors oasis has a rough and tumble past, complete with mining busts and Wild West shootouts. However, the brothels are long closed and the gunfights rare. The city still gets its kicks, although mostly from skiing, endurance training, and the occasional long night on a barstool. Surrounded by mountains, the city enjoys breathtaking views and 310 days of sunshine, but that’s countered by 278 days each year with freezing temperatures.
Jobs: Check the local ski resort’s careers page for available jobs. Ski Cooper has frequent openings for often hiring ski patrollers, instructors, and even daycare teachers.
Place to Live: A two-bedroom Victorian miner’s house rents for about $700. Or rent an apartment in an old church for $675.
Romance: A few old miners and prospectors still look for love in the town’s saloons, but newcomers might be better off joining a running club.
Activities/Hobbies: Skiing, running, mountain biking, trying to keep warm, playing with the dog in the snow, and ski joring—a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier through a course that has gates, jumps, and rings.
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Best Place to Reinvent the Wheel (or the Wing)
The city that welcomed so many escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad, is an ideal spot for those looking to carve out a new life. Buffalo may have lost its steel manufacturing and thousands of jobs, but it’s been quietly re-inventing itself, just as it has previously with each wave of immigrants who arrived. This city of fresh starts and reboots is a haven for innovation, Buffalo is home to some America’s greatest inventors—the creators of buffalo wings.
Jobs: Buffalo has a diverse economy with every type of job, but the wise move is to grab a restaurant job and create a 21st century bar snack on par with the buffalo wing.
Place to Live: Buffalo has one of the highest amounts of vacant or abandoned homes so the price is probably right if you’re willing to put in the work renovating.
Romance: While many American teenagers claim to have an attractive boyfriend or girlfriend living in Canada, Buffalo has multiple bridges connecting the city to Canada allowing for actual North American romances to blossom.
Activities/Hobbies: The bars stay open until 4am in Buffalo, so it provides additional time to try any new bar snack inventions. Look, not to belabor the point, but we at Estately are seriously determined to see Buffalo become the next great American food city, and the first step is a revolutionary food invention in the realm of bar snacks. The future of American cuisine is Buffalo. It is written in the stars.
PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON
Best Place to Regroup and Start Again
Located on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, this Washington town is a haven for independent boatbuilders, starving artists and urban castaways who’ve fled the city. Port Townsend‘s fleet of wooden boats and cozy cabins provide ideal habitat for those nursing broken hearts and professional burnout. The sky can be a gray soup for much of the year, but that just hides the transformative properties of the town from passing satellites. For some unknown reason, Port Townsend is where loggers become yoga teachers, and investment bankers become boatwrights, and lawyers become farmers. Newcomers usually find their own community in town, and stand a good chance of meeting some likeminded soul and living happily ever with some cats aboard a sailboat.
Jobs: Jobs aren’t that easy to come by, but it’s a great place to start your own business, just like the good folks at Mt. Townsend Creamery did.
Place to Live: There are rental cabins around town, buy a leaky sailboat and live in the marina, or check out the dozens of homes for sale on Estately.
Romance: If you’re going to fall in love with a gentle tugboat captain or the person working the register at the co-op, Port Townsend is the town to do it in.
Activities/Hobbies: Check out the various boat events and festivals, hike in the nearby Olympic Mountains, or stroll the beach with the rescue dog you’ll inevitably adopt.
Did we leave out any great places to reinvent yourself? Let us know in the comments.
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