Enjoying one’s surroundings is a pretty fundamental, dare I say essential part of a balanced breakfast.
Rich people flock to coastal California for never-ending sunshine, water, and arid warm temps.
Many of us Midwestern types yearn for mountain views, outdoor fun, and fairly moderate winter weather. The question today is: should we consider moving to and living in Longmont CO?
If it’s good enough for Mr. Money Mustache, why not us??
We just got back from Colorado where our home base was the sweet little berg of Longmont. We met up with some wonderful people who had moved there themselves within recent years, looking for a better quality of life.
I wanted my family to experience this magical little town, and ultimately figure out if we might want to move there someday.
The Airbnb we stayed at was located in the city’s historic east side neighborhood. The “Right Bank”, if you will, of Longmont. A very pretty and longstanding neighborhood. It hearkens back to many Midwestern neighborhoods, with mature trees, parks, and a mix of very old, old, and old and run-down houses.
Some are kept up and are quite charming. Others need some work. All are about half a million dollars in value, in case you’re wondering.
Longmont and Beer
No self-respecting visitor who claims to be a FIRE blogger arrives in Longmont without bicycles in tow. That’d be a sin. Before leaving the Twin Cities, we saddled up two kids’ bikes on the 1-UP hitch rack and two grown-up cyclo-cross bikes on the roof of the car.
(The roof mounting was exciting and new. I had no idea our Outback came with roof rack mounts. D’oh.) Our mileage suffered, but we were so glad to have our bikes to bop around town in.
I highly recommend biking the Longmont Loop, which takes you on a 16-mile circumference tour through many of its parks. Most of the loop is on bike trails, which are ubiquitous here. But of course, no trip to Longmont is complete without a visit to its fab breweries.
There’s about 1 brewery for every man, woman, and child in Longmont (and Colorado, for that matter) so it made our route fairly easy to plot. We had hoped to visit five or six taprooms, but the monsoon arrived on the day of our excursion, and despite rain jackets and lust for good beer, we made it to only three stops.
We wound up tipsy, exhausted, and soaked. 300 Suns were Mrs. Cubert’s favorite taproom, but I enjoyed the offerings from Wibby the best. The help at both stops was a little nicer to us tourists than the bros who greeted us at Left Hand a few years back. But I still love a good Nitro Chocolate Milk Stout here and there.
Longmont Housing Options
There was time to look at houses too. On a bright and clear weekday morning, we arranged a few showings at Prospect New Town. If you’re familiar with the movie “Truman”, this is an urbanist community that was designed by the guy who designed the town for that film.
Wondering why anyone would consciously choose to live in a neighborhood that feels like the domed-in, apart-from-reality location from that Jim Carrey classic?
We left wondering that too. Not just cuz the prices were jaw-dropping insane ($700K for a three-bedroom TOWNHOUSE) but because you knew that behind the veneer of these albeit cleverly designed and well-built homes, you were sitting in a suburb, and not within walking distance of the best parks, libraries, schools, and taprooms (how is THAT possible?) of Longmont.
Still, the houses were very pretty:
If we ever moved to Longmont, we’d definitely find a house near the old downtown. These are the early 20th century builds with tall mature trees lining the streets.
The drawback with this and even the more spartan homes beyond is rising home prices. Over the last three years alone, Longmont housing has shot up over 12%.
If it’s any consolation, the same house in Longmont can be fetched for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of a similar property in Boulder, just down the highway.
Being Close to Denver Is a Bonus
We spent a day checking out Denver. Got cheap tickets to a Rockies game and that was a decent time. Great views from the third deck of that stadium. And the hot dog wasn’t terrible! I had a Coors Banquet beer there, and boy, them Coors’s taste good at ball games. Something about the time and the place for lighter, industrial-era beers that makes them palatable…
Before we went to the Rockies game, we stopped at a few places on the way. Outside of Golden, we checked out Red Rocks! Great to see that place firsthand, after hearing about it and seeing clips in U2 and Depeche Mode videos. (Red Rocks has a Starbucks, which is handy for sleepy, half-a$$ frugal parents.)
We also meandered around a few of the hoods that reminded us of Uptown, Minneapolis. Great little mom-and-pop shops blend in with the scourge of overpriced chain stores. It doesn’t take much to see how gentrification has changed the complexion of Denver. And I had never been here before!
Longmont Has Wonderful People
The people of Colorado are Midwest-friendly. Starting with the lovely host of our Airbnb who was super responsive, and the auto mechanic in Denver who swapped our tail light and brake light for $5 total (in under 10 minutes, with a backed-up garage, an hour before closing shop for the day).
In Longmont, we got to meet some extraordinary folks. Carl and Mindy (Mr. and Mrs. 1500 Days) were super gracious in showing us some listings, right on the day they got home from their long road trip. If it were us, we’d have gone into wagon-circling mode.
We had a fun time looking at different houses with Carl and Mindy. All the while my little pea-brain calculating costs and figuring if we could make a move here work.
After house hunting, we headed over to Mr. Money Mustache Headquarters in downtown Longmont. It was kind of neat, walking into a space I’d read up on and seen YouTubers about.
Even though Mrs. and I only had a couple of hours to spare before meeting up with her parents for dinner, we squeezed in a fun happy hour in the backyard of Early Retirement Valhalla.
The icing on the cake was meeting the POPs and Miss Mazuma. It was a little hilarious since I knew I’d be meeting Miss M., but the POPs popped out of nowhere – having been stealth guests of the 1500s that week.
And the fact that Miss Mazuma came out from Denver to meet up with us was really special. I owe her a decent bottle of vino for that. And, the Mrs. and I selfishly still need to get the DL from her on her hiking adventure to the Camino De Santiago. So little time!
Moving to Longmont would be worth it for the wonderful people alone.
A funny thing happens when you get back from a vacation like that. You find you miss your home, you miss your neighbors (most of them) and the weather gods play tricks by rolling out a gorgeous summer evening. Just walking around our neighborhood with my little girl was the tonic.
I started running off the months in my head when I’m miserable in Minnesota (as Mr. 1500 Days so eloquently described): Lessee… January, February, March, and most of April. I just need to solve for four months of despair! Can it be done? Tune in for updates. There’ll be plenty of this waffling for months (if not years) to come…
Our First Trip to Longmont (Sept. 2017)
There’s something magic happening over in the Mountain time zone. I felt that the little town of Longmont, Colorado might have more to offer than little old’ icebox Minneapolis, Minnesota. We had to check it out first-hand.
Getting tickets was no problem at all. By this time, I’d already picked up on the strategy of applying for a bazillion credit cards to rack up bonus rewards points. Besides, Minneapolis to Denver is a relatively short hop.
If memory serves me correctly, we converted some Chase Sapphire bonus miles to Southwest. Free flights. Check.
The rental car was easy too. I was fully armed with knowledge. The young associate at the rental car counter had no chance when offering an upgraded vehicle to “handle the mountains.” Was it a Humvee?
We stuck with our choice of the venerable Toyota Yaris. Stick shift! The Yaris is one of the least powerful and smallest cars you could rent off the lot. At first, I wondered how this little toy car would manage the great Rockies. More on that later. Cheap rental car. Check.
Main Street Longmont Is Lovely
Since Longmont was on the way to our destination of Estes Park, I convinced Mrs. Cubert that we should stop there for lunch and a little walk-about. You know, see if we could spot any bums shopping for errands on bicycles.
We instead were greeted with a cute town that has all the things I could imagine an early retiree would want or need, including a Carl’s Jr.
At first, we had to get past the dreaded development just on the fringes of town. All sorts of chain-infested strip malls and box stores line the main byway into town. Not bike-friendly by a long shot. Just get to Main Street and things get much more promising.
There are also the light industrial zones of Longmont that have some cool things happening. We chose to stop at Left Hand Brewing. And we’re glad we did. Their beer is tasty.
After lunch, since we still had plenty of time before checking in at the lodge in Estes Park, we decided to take a stroll around the old neighborhoods of Longmont. If we were to ever consider moving out to this front-range town, the older, established blocks would be our likely destination.
Roosevelt Park is just a hop off of Main Street and perfectly situated as a central park of sorts for any kind of festival or triple-M hootenanny. We walked around for a bit there and then headed over to check out the Longmont Public Library.
This library is EXCELLENT. With little kids, this is an amenity that has to hit the mark. Our toddlers go through books like Kleenex these days. Read it more than twice? No way.
Longmont’s public library has a wonderfully large children’s area stocked to the gills. Oh, and it’s located just a block off of Main Street, just like the park. Longmont’s walkability is not too shabby.
Would We Ever Move to Longmont?
While walking around on this beautiful sunny September day, I began to feel the top of my head tingle. Dammit, I forgot my ball cap in the car! Poor Cubert’s receding hairline was taking the brunt of the Colorado sun. We dodged the harsh rays as best we could, but high noon shows no mercy.
I guess in retrospect I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, just an “ah-ha” moment. Yeah, the UV factor in Front Range Colorado is about twice that of where we live in Minnesota. For fair-skinned balding types like me, that’s not a great mix.
Wuss factor aside, Longmont is a fine little town that checks many boxes for us.
For now, we’ll stay put in the Great Up North. The people are lovely here too, and there’s plenty of good craft breweries, distilleries, parks, and trails to keep us busy. You betcha!
Join the Legion of Cubicle Doom!
Sign up to have new posts and special updates sent directly to your inbox.
Team CF says
Very nice trip and I’m really jealous that you got to meet some seriously cool folks too!
Pretty pics too, you know how to handle a camera!
Thanks, man! I love photography. It all boils down to light and composition. Rarely does the equipment make all that much of a difference.
Mr. 1500 says
Cubert! It was wonderful seeing you here in Longmont! You sure packed a lot in! Nice work.
While it would be wonderful to have you here in Longmont, your neck of the woods is pretty great too, so I won’t nag you too much. However, do expect an email from me at the end of February when you haven’t seen the sun for 6 weeks, it’s snowing and 15 degrees outside. My email will include pictures of the sun (to remind you what it looks like) and a thermometer (to prove that it’s 45 degrees warmer here).
I hope your travels back were stellar and thank you for the beer!
We are nothing if not efficient, my friend! (Recall we met up with stalwart grandparents to help us maximize the adventure!)
The nagging is actually appreciated. I can’t help but look ahead to the end of February when you’ll be enjoying a beer in your backyard while I’m curled up in a ball in front of the fireplace. (wahhhhhh!!!!)
We’ll keep an eye on Longmont. Nothing like being back in a cubicle today to jolt one’s perspective. 🙂
Mr. 1500 says
Don’t listen to Miss Mazuma! The weather here is peachy in the winters.
She might be on to something – lots of volatility in our weather these days. A CO-cean might be imminent, and palm trees your new norm!
BTW I just read your DIY Friday pizza post from 2013. Lucky you have your comments turned off on the oldies, else I’d heckle you mercilessly for the amoeba shaped pies. L-O-L. 😉
Mr. 1500 says
Comments turned off? Crap! I wonder why that is! I need to learn how to blog one day!
Miss Mazuma says
So great to meet you both!! That pic at Mills Lake has inspired me to get out and see RMNP. I’ve been here a month and haven’t hiked a single day!! I will second Carl’s comment and be sure to send pics of the sun come February. But 45 degrees?? He told me that too but when I visited last February it was single digits with over a foot of snow in town. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that was just a fluke but only time will tell. 🙂
Go see that lovely park! We really enjoy the hike up Ouzel Falls that leads to a ledge trail hike with wonderful views. About a 10-12 mile loop? The Mills Lake hike is a really good one too – but the first mile is often crammed with short hikers heading to some falls.
Carl promises only sunshine and mai-tai’s in Longmont this February. In that event, we’ll be packing our wagon for a permanent vacation! 🙂
Mr. 1500 says
Miss Mazuma brought a nasty cold front from… guess where… wait for it… The Midwest!!! It blew down from Minneapolis and then followed her from Chicago to Colorado. Totally true.
We are known for that. Think about it. You guys were hit with high 90s and a nasty heatwave, then along comes the Cubert family last week with monsoon rains and mild temps in tow. You’re welcome!!!
Accidental FIRE says
I just returned from 2 weeks in Colorado myself, mostly climbing. I’m definitely considering retiring there or at least owning a place to rest my head, since I go about twice a year. But prices have been going up super fast ‘cuz everyone else and their mother is saying the same thing….
Right on, man! Maybe you could look into St. George Utah as a plan B? Excellent rock climbing there, with Snow Canyon and Zion nearby. Definitely a bit toasty from late spring through summer though.
freddy smidlap says
looks like a nice trip. we can’t figure out where to retire/move but haven’t even gotten to the point to seriously scouting it out, like spending a week in a potential spot. i gotta get that onto the list.
An awesome trip! I highly recommend it.
Where to retire – such a difficult thing to work through. Family, friends, roots, all sorts of variables to knock about. I put a high value on weather and geography, followed closely by friendly people and amenities. Longmont hits all the marks.
Young FIRE Knight says
Sounds like an awesome trip! Colorado is definitely on my radar for eventual places to move, so many outdoor activities and things to do, I don’t think I’d ever get bored! Now about those housing prices though…
You should get out there, my friend. Check into Miss Mazuma’s recent posts – she’s rocking the tiny home in Denver. A great city in its own right, on the doorstep of RMNP!
Tread Lightly, Retire Early says
You’re one of THOSE people who actually likes those box houses?!? I don’t know you any more.
More seriously, what about renting out your house for a year and trying out a new place? And then after that, you can go home if you want.
Ho ho ho! Well, like I said, put a gun to my head! =)
I think that’s a neat idea, Angela, but the house isn’t the sticking point. It’s the businesses we’ve built. And, some of the roots we’ve planted. Even though I’m a smug sun of a gun and my wife is pretty introverted, we’ve still managed to finagle good friendships. Time will tell where we wind up, but mpls is in the top cities to live for some very good reasons. #HateWinterStill.
Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
I’m thinking north instead of south. But that’s just me 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
Well you’re still young enough to tolerate winter. Give it about 20 years my friend. sh*t gets old!!!
I have had these same thoughts numerous times after I get back from Colorado. In fact no different this year as well after our trip in early July. Just love the mountains and something amazing and calming about being there. This time though we went spent a couple days around Grand Lake, which I have never been to that side and enjoyed not having as many tourists on that side of the mountains. Glad your trip went well too and can’t wait to hear more of your waffling in the upcoming months… years. 🙂 Remember, though there are some good months coming up here in MN if you like to get outside in a little bit cooler weather.
Right on, Eric! The best months are still ahead of us. I love September and October here. We even get surprised in early November, if we’re lucky. I just wish congress would get rid of daylight savings or just abolish the set back in late October.
Done by Forty says
I like the framing of Longmont as early retirement valhala. And I see the appeal!
But I’ve found that in traveling, many, many places seem like wonderful places to live. They probably are. But Mrs. Done by Forty and I learned somewhere around the 20th place we seriously considered moving to that they can’t ALL be THE perfect place for us to move to.
There’s no place like home, Cubert. 🙂
Very well-put, my friend. That’s more or less the conclusion I’ve come to since returning home Sunday. My next personal growth project is to buck up for late winter. If I can make that work, why leave??
Tips on getting little kids to hike – My son’s problem is lack of motivation, and not actually getting tired. I made him wear a Fitbit to school one normal day, and he crossed 32000 steps (on a day without PE) – I think he can walk.
The only thing that gets him hiking is the game we play – We count the number of trail markers we each spot. And the one who spots the most wins. I find that game pretty annoying (we have been playing it for years now), and sometimes makes BusyDad do the keeping-him-occupied part.
Yay! A win for wearable technology! Funny you mention it. My wife plays similar games to keep our kiddos moving. They’ll even ask their mom if her Garmin watch met its step goal. In retrospect, I think 5 miles would’ve been an ideal max goal for our twins.
I just moved out of that area (stationed at Buckley AFB – you may or may not have seen the giant golf balls in the distance), and I wasn’t a huge fan. (I know, I know.) Colorado is awesome for so many people, but I grew up going there my entire life, and always dreamed of the beach life. Now I’m in Pensacola, FL for nursing school and I am loving it!
If you love it, you should go there, but maybe wait until the market crashes again? The housing is just outrageous right now, as you mentioned. The breweries are fabulous, and of course, you have the mountains. Plenty to do for those that love the outdoors and adventure-style recreation. You know that though!
My biggest regret was not meeting up with the PF bloggers out there. I had no idea they were all out there until AFTER I moved.
Hi Liz! I seem to recall that from your blog, that you were in Colorado for the military. I’m really glad to hear you’ve made it to the beach!
I’ll be honest with you (and my readers), having grown up in the great lakes state, I’m more a fan of big water than the mountains, though I love both. Given a chance, I’d spend summers on a Lake Michigan shoreline and winter in Palm Beach.
Keep us posted on your adventures in Pensacola, and good luck with nursing school!!
Sounds like an awesome trip! You can’t beat CO. I lived there for a few years and currently have family that lives in Parker so we are out there regularly. And the beer is SO good! We need to make it to Wiley Roots and Wieldworks after trying so many tasty brews courtesy of the 1500s.
Hi Mrs. Wow! (Best logo caricature EVER!!!) 🙂
It was an excellent trip! Plenty of locals shared the joys of those beer fests with us while there. Our only saving grace is the booming scene here in Minnesota. It’s almost enough to tolerate winter. Well, nah…
You can thank the Groovies for our caricatures! We need to make it up to MN, we have so many friends up there, but have actually never been there before. We’ll probably avoid going in the winter though, not sure how these CA peeps would tolerate the cold.
To be honest I would move in a blink of an eye if it would not be sooo far away from our place. If I only know that much about the place what I have learned from MMM’s and other bloggers posts even then it would be the first place to visit (if I ever visit the United States). Don’t really have plans on moving over the pond but who knows what the future brings, maybe we could be neighbors one day 🙂 Great landscape, beautiful town, friendly folks, craft beer, coworking spaces and people with encouraging mindsets? How can one resist all of this?
Neighbors? For sure, man! Never know – but you may have to wait for the next administration …
If your moving to Longmont you should use move forward Colorado they have great reviews and are easy to work with here a link to see their rates
I have a rental vacancy available in Prospect Newtown if you’re interested. Available April 1! There’s a brewery in the first floor commercial space. http://www.primitivebeer.com