a VirtualTourist member
I am relocating in 2 years and am very nervous about moving to dayton. How does it compare in the outdoor recreation dept? Are there any nice historical neighborhoods with good schools? Medical Centers? How long of a drive to Lake Eerie?
I'm not an expert on Dayton, but I've lived near there most of my life. There are plenty of outdoor activities-from great parks to festivals down by the rivers (go to www.metroparks.org to check out the parks and trails). The Dayton Air Force Museum is supposed to be wonderful (I haven't made it there yet) and the Dayton Art Institte is not only a great collection of art, but is housed in an absolutely beautiful building (have been there, and I love it!) Dayton does have historical districts, but I can't tell you anything about them. I can't really give you any information about schools other than the University of Dayton and Wright State University are both part of the city. As far as medical centers, there is the Dayton Children's Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital. Dayton is only about an hour (or less) north of Cincinnati, about 1 1/2-2 hours west of Columbus and about 3 hours from Lake Erie. This probably wasn't too helpful, but I hope it gives you some idea of what you can expect.
Dayton is a great little town. Where are you coming from when you move? depending on what you are used to really depends on if you think that what Dayton has as a lot or not. I moved here from Chicago and like it near. It has a small town attitude but with a little hunting there are great things to do. Dayton's downtown area is really under construction at the moment. In addition to the advise from the previous responder here are some great options for Dayton information:
In terms of historic areas, sprinkled throughout the city you have nice options to choose from. The Oregon District (downtown), St. Anne's Hill (East of Downtown), South Park (close to NCR and Miami Valley Hospital) are directly in the city. for a city of neighborhoods Dayton proper is small but the Dayton area extends into Oakwood, Kettering, Miamisburg, and Centerville to the south. Going north the Dayton area extends to Clayton, Englewood, Vandalia (where the airport is) and aseries of smaller towns. The east of the city extends to Fairborn (home of Wright State University), Yellow Springs, Beavercreek and the list goes on and on.
There are goods schools in the city, but a bit of research is definitely in order. The Dept of Education in Dayton puts out booklet about the academic status of all the schools within the Dayton district. This will help you to know about the academic status of each school around town. Another option however is www.baeo.org. This is a program for education choice. It is a black organization, but a friend of mine has a book from them with a list of ALL schools (public, private, parochial) in the Greater Dayton area and their academic status according to the state, cost for tuition (where appropriate), grade levels accepted, academic requirements for admission. It was very informative.
This is a ton of information. Take it in. Don't mean to be a bother, but hope it helps.
"How does it compare in the outdoor recreation department?"
Honestly, it depends what you're comparing it to. I lived with a roommate from New Hampshire, and it's nothing like New England, Colorado, or California. She thought it was terrible that she couldn't climb a mountain. There aren't mountains and there isn't an ocean...it's the midwest! There ARE lots of lakes nearby, where you can boat, waterski, fish, and swim. They're lots of fun if you have a boat, and if not you can rent one. You can canoe or kayak in most of the area's rivers and lakes as well. You're within 2-5 hours of actual mountains and good rock climbing...the further you drive, the bigger the mountains get! There are tons of local parks where you can walk or hike, there are mountain bike trails, and there are indoor rock climbing places as well. In the summer, there are outdoor festivals every weekend. Dayton has a good network of long bike trails too. Additionally, those country roads outside of the city make for a great place to take long road bike rides on the weekends. There are several groups to meet up with to get started. There are also numerous adult-league sports both indoor and outdoor, year-round.
"How long of a drive to Lake Eerie(sic)?"
Parts of Lake Erie are 3+ hours away from Dayton. Other parts are much further east, and take longer to drive to. Almost the entire northern border of Ohio is Lake Erie.
"Are there any nice historical neighborhoods with good schools?"
Oakwood is both historical and has VERY good schools. Most of Dayton's historic neighborhoods are part of Dayton Public Schools, which generally are not "good". There are very good private schools within the city though, mostly Catholic. I lived in the Oregon District and absolutely loved it, but I wouldn't have lived there if I had children, because of Dayton Public and the yards being small. Oakwood is near University of Dayton and pretty close to several hospitals. It's very nice.
There is a Children's Hospital in Dayton, Miami Valley Hospital is very large, and there are several other hospitals as well, including in the suburbs. I think there's even a large group of practices called Dayton Medical Center. North of Dayton is Upper Valley Medical Center...it's a beautiful new facility in Troy.
Speaking of which, the suburbs of Troy, Tipp City, and Vandalia have good school systems and Troy and Tipp are less of a suburb and more of a small town/small city feel. They have numerous historic homes and also a traditional downtown Main Street. Those 3 are all north on I-75. South or east of the city are the more sprawling suburbs like Centerville and Beavercreek.
I liked growing up there enough that I moved back in my twenties. You'll like it as long as you keep a positive attitude and focus more on what it DOES have than on what it DOES NOT have. That was my roommate's problem, and I learned a lot from listening to her whine about the place!