Monday, December 31, 2012
Augusta was founded in 1777 at the fall line of the Savannah River (the farthest navigable point upstream from the Atlantic Ocean). The city's population is roughly 195,000 but the metropolitan area includes several suburbs in both Georgia and South Carolina totaling about 550,000. Augusta has a humid subtropical climate, with short winters and an extremely humid summer. The average high temperature for the summer months is 90.6 °F (32.6 °C), but summer daytime temperatures can soar to 100 or above. The average low temperature is 67.8 °F (19.9 °C). The average high temperature for the winter months is 58.9 °F (14.9 °C), with an average winter low temperature of 34.4 °F (1.3 °C). Light snow flurries are common in December, January, and February, but the freezing rains that are more common also create more hazardous driving conditions. More about Augusta can be found on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta,_Georgia.
Augusta's primary advantage for me is affordable housing. It is second only to Jackson, Mississippi in the number of homes available in my price range. Although electricity rates per KWH are about 16% higher in Georgia and natural gas rates are almost 30% higher per therm, my usage of electricity would be slightly lower in Augusta and my natural gas less than half what I use in Marion. Cable Internet is $20.00 per month cheaper in Augusta than Marion, but water and sewer are $6.00 per month more, and rubbish collection is $16.00 per month more, so the other utilities roughly even out.
There appears to be a viable market for a traditional Japanese dojo in Augusta. There is a well-established Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu dojo in the area, but no mainstream Shito-Ryu nor any iaijutsu, kenjutsu, jojutsu, Ryukyu kobujutsu, or aiki-jujutsu dojo listed.
The climate in Augusta is well suited to growing several hot weather fruits and vegetables, including: peaches (of course!), grapes, berries, melons, citrus, corn, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, okra, sweet potatoes, and squash. Most houses have 1/4 to 1/3 acre of property, which is ample for home gardening.
There are also several moderately-priced golf courses in the Augusta area, so I will be able to afford to play golf at least a couple of times per month there.
Summers are hot and humid. I have a low tolerance for heat and humidity, so I will enjoy few outdoor activities during the summer in Augusta. It may at first glance seem a minor inconvenience, but I know myself too well ... I will have a difficult time motivating myself to do lawn care, gardening, and other outside chores in oppressive heat and humidity, which means in summertime my garden will suffer along with the curb appeal of my house!
Augusta does not have a large "international" airport, but a regional airport serviced primarily by commuter airlines. So I will either face higher airfares and additional connections or a 2.5-hour drive from Augusta to either the Atlanta airport or the Charlotte, SC airport. Either of these drives is nearly an hour longer than my current drive to the Indy airport. And from Augusta it will be a five-hour flight plus layovers to visit my family in Scottsdale, San Diego, or Seattle -- even longer than my current travel time from Marion!
Many of the homes I can afford in Augusta are in neighbourhoods that many would consider "undesirable". While this is not an issue for me, it might discourage some friends and family from visiting me as often as they otherwise might.
So, what are your thoughts? Is moving to Augusta a good idea or a bad idea? What are your impressions of Augusta? If you know me, would you be more inclined or less inclined to visit me in Augusta than you would in Marion? Or the other locations I'm considering?