It’s always fun meeting young couples who relocate to the Lakes Region. Ben Crawford and Amanda Ainsworth recently purchased a home in one of the Lakes Region’s newer communities. They moved from the Lake Tahoe region to the Lakes Region, and it is interesting to see how their travels brought them to the Lake Winnipesaukee area.
Amanda, where did you grow up?
“I grew up in Western Mass., and graduated from Western New England University where I majored in accounting. After college I headed off to San Diego, California. I loved the area and lived in a beach community working as an accountant for an online university.”
How did you adapt to the West Coast lifestyle?
“It was very different from New England. The lifestyle was very laid back with lots of beach activities. People were very friendly and there was perfect weather all the time. It was like being on vacation. However, there was very little rain, and the traffic was difficult to handle, especially coming from a smaller Western Massachusetts community. The commute to work was stressful. I was fortunate to pick up a new job through my contacts, with a computer software company which I am still working for. It’s a wonderful company to work for; I do business intelligence consulting and analytics. I work with different groups of clients, mostly over the phone and through e-mail. I do a lot of the work out of my house. It was in San Diego where I met my future fiancé (Ben Crawford), and the two of us enjoyed experiencing all that the San Diego region had to offer. The surfing culture was definitely a new experience. I lived there for 3.5 years.”
Ben, how about yourself: Where did you grow up?
“I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and went to the University of Nevada in Reno, where I majored in Spanish. I started out in engineering, but wanted something that could broaden my outdoor experience, so I would not be confined to a desk job. I left school to become a fireman in the fire service industry in 2005. Then I moved to San Diego to apply for a job with the San Diego fire department. Unfortunately, budget cuts came at the exact time that I made the move. I had to make the decision to stay and find a job, or move back to Nevada. I learned to surf as a kid and I worked my way into a management position in the surf industry at the Pacific Beach Surf Shop, which was the largest in the San Diego area. I totally enjoyed the surfing culture! We hung out with a crew of New Englanders at Pacific Beach, where we lived in a beach community. Unfortunately, the prices for real estate were sky high in the area. Both Amanda and I felt we wanted a change, so we moved to Dillon, Colorado, in the winter of 2012. We felt it would be a new experience because you couldn’t ski in San Diego. There we went from the beach life to the skiing life, where we rented a furnished condominium where we were able to ski at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek. We considered buying a home in Summit County, Colorado, however again, the prices were so high, and the ocean experience was too far away. I was working for Vail resorts at the time. We came back from Colorado to San Diego for one summer, then back again off to the mountains.”
Where did you head this time?
“We headed off to the Lake Tahoe region outside of Reno where I went to college. We wanted a lake experience with the mountains and the skiing integrated. It was there that we spent two winters living in a condominium at Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. There were some great ski areas to experience, and during the summer months the boating experience on the lake was great! Lake Tahoe is immense, with beautiful mountains surrounding it. However, there was only one island to explore, and the water could be choppy on the weekends. You needed wet suits for waterskiing. It was very touristy in the summer with lots of traffic.”
What happened next?
“Amanda and I got engaged in February of 2015, and instead of moving around and paying rent where the affordability of real estate was so high, we decided to research other areas and find a place to settle down. We wanted to find a place where we could have all three of the experiences we shared previously: The lake life we experienced at Tahoe, the skiing in Colorado, and the ocean life we experienced for surfing.
Amanda had family that lived in Southern New Hampshire. We came up one week and visited her aunt and cousins, and hiked Mt. Major in Gilford in 2012. Both of us felt it reminded us so much of Lake Tahoe, with the expansive views of Lake Winnipesaukee. When we got back, Amanda brought up the idea of moving to NH’s Lakes Region. She wasn’t sure how I’d react, being from the West Coast. But I felt it was a great idea! We did a lot of research on the internet, and in November of 2014, we flew out, drove around the region, went to Meredith, circled around the lake and over to the coast of NH. We felt the region offered so much. It had the ski areas, gorgeous lakes, hiking trails, and was just a short drive to the coast where I could get my surfing in. Best of all, it had that true community feel and an excellent school system.
Amanda had flexibility in her job with the computer software company and was able to work from home. So I said, ‘let’s go for it.’
We looked on Realtor.com and Zillow and found many affordable housing choices. We connected with Rachel Xavier, a REALTOR® who was the listing agent of one of the houses we found online. We flew out from Tahoe in March of 2015 and looked for 3 days with Rachel at close to 30 properties. We found a great house in like-new condition that was right next to the lake, close to Gunstock Ski Area, and was in an area with beautiful natural scenery and hiking trails. Everything was so close. The ocean was only an hour away.”
Amanda, what are your thoughts on the move?
“I love the 4 seasons, the people are fantastic, and you don’t realize what you have… it’s so special here. I am close to family in Western Mass. Out on the West Coast, everything was just so far away. At Tahoe, we were 4 hours from the Pacific Ocean. The New England culture offers so much. We’ve explored the Maine Coast, the White Mountains, and Fenway Park in Boston. It’s a beautiful region and we’re so happy we’ve made the move. We’re looking forward to our wedding in April of 2016, where our East Coast and West Coast families can enjoy a destination wedding in Mexico.”
Visit www.s21794.p694.sites.pressdns.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, NH and can be reached at (603) 279-7046