I recommend these as a starting point for TH Location Selection:
1. Time, Both Personal and Professional
2. Social Situation
3. Services Needs
4. To Own or Not
Each of these factors, when combined, will assist you in determining the most ideal TH location for your consideration.1. Time... There are a variety of ways we spend our days, whether it be working, volunteering, creating, relaxing, fellowship, or hobbies. These are each equally important factors to consider when choosing a location to settle in. Are you retired or going to be retired soon? Are you self employed? Or will you most likely work for someone in your field of expertise?
Let's take Portland, Maine for instance. If you are a social butterfly, want to be within biking or walking distance to everything, and you paint or write for a living one may want to consider parking their TH near the 'Old Port'. The 'Old Port' is a bustling mecca for artists, coffee or wine with friends, and services all within walking and or biking distance on cobblestone roadways.
On the other hand, anyone liking local 'access' to this type of lifestyle but prefers to be in a small, quiet country setting and still desires walking or biking access to everything would probably do best parking their TH out on Peaks Island. Peak's Island is an oasis of calm and only a 15 minute ferry ride to Portland's Old Port.If one prefers being on a larger parcel of land, and is not adverse to using a car to access work and/or play, then parking a TH in North Portland out near Falmouth may be the best choice.
2. Friends and Social Environment may not be something that makes the top of our list for where to park out THs, but it should. Friends and entertainment nurture and sustain us. One of the benefits of TH living is the fact that it affords us the time and encouragement to spend a plethora of time with our hobbies, nature, and friends. Will you, and your friends if applicable, be meeting for coffee and dinner, playing board games, hiking, beach combing, or horseback riding? The answer to some of these questions can assist in narrowing down where you and your TH will be most happily situated.
3. Distance. There are a host of factors to consider when determining distance. Are you a hard core sustainability minded person who strongly prefers to ride or bike to the majority of your destinations? Does public transportation and elimination of the responsibilities of owning and maintaining a personal vehicle tickle your fancy? Or maybe with close family out of state, a regional airport within a short distance from your TH is a priority?
4. Own or rent. Personally I believe it is prudent, if you are completely new to an area, to rent land prior to purchasing. This gives you the freedom, even if it is only 3-6 months, to test drive the area and make sure it meets your needs. You will also be able to take you time and garner a real estate agent with whom you can trust to scope out the variety of land options available in your new community. With the economy the way it is, it is fairly easy to find someone to rent a small portion of their land, especially if you are off grid and self sufficient. I would run an ad in the local newspaper and see what you get for offers.
As a starting point, considering these factors will help you in seeing a 'clearer' choice for your living location and arrangements.
A special thank you to Paula for starting this conversation.