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One thing that helps is that Western Mass doesn't have to be remote. If you're in Savoy, yeah, you'd better like nature more than people. But the Springfield metro area has pretty cheap rent and is still 600k people with colleges and companies and a great food and music scene up in Northhampton. It's also within tolerable driving or train distance of Boston if there's something you really want to get to.

Working remote can definitely be isolating anywhere, but I think if I were going to go back to it I'd prefer a midsize city to either rural or dense urban settings. Rural settings are obvious just small, and that's made harder by being isolated while you work. But huge cities tend to feel anonymous - if you're not actively engaging and meeting people it's easy to get forgotten or even miss out on finding out about things you'd like to see and do. It may just be a function of my tastes and hobbies, but somewhere Springfield-sized makes it a bit easier to find a stable group of people outside work to spend time with.

More broadly, there's a lot to be said for college towns and non-huge cities relying on safe anchors like 'meds and eds' or corporate research. Boulder's probably too big and pricy these days, but Northampton, Rochester NY, Flagstaff, Ithaca, and the Research Triangle are all inviting. Heck, even Fargo ND was shockingly inviting last time I came through - I'd rather live there than Cleveland.




Wow, you know Savoy! I'm a native of the area. You're correct - my favorite towns are Ashfield and Williamsburg near the Northampton area. I'd make a plug for North Adams right now. Williams College is in the the next town over, and Mass Moca is driving a lot of development that has been quietly happening over the past year or so.


>a great food and music scene up in Northhampton

The food scene in Northampton is great by the standards of rural MA. There are only 2-3 restaurants there that are any good at all.


Now that you say it, I was mostly thinking "you can buy unusual foods and quality meat and produce in Northampton".

Which obviously isn't what people normally mean by "food scene", my brain just approximated the topic as "well, it's better than all those rural places without any good grocery stores".


Would you say Providence is similar?


Yeah, now that you mention it. I mostly wasn't counting capital cities because they tend to have higher rents, infrastructure and gridlock issues, and other things I think of as "big city problems". (Or they're too small or run down to be appealing.)

But Providence is actually a nice exception; lots of events, good food and activities, several colleges, but pretty cheap housing and not terribly dense or gridlocked.




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