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Folks from around this area - Where are cool up and coming areas?

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So, I'm from the east coast. I'm a city boy; and I've been traveling and WWOOFing for the last 2 years. The city mouse in me, it turns out, is hard to quash. I want to do some homesteading on maybe an acre or so of land, but I don't want to completely lose out on cultural diversity and the dynamic variety that comes from cities or interesting towns.

The Pacific Northwest has always appealed to me. The lush greens of the fern forests have been calling out to me for years, but I haven't had a chance to experience it first hand. So I'm hoping people from around Northern CA, Oregon or Washington (or even BC) might be able to help me narrow in on a place that is to my liking.

Ideally I'd be looking for a place that is up and coming in sort of a Asheville NC maybe 10 years ago sort of place. Kinda youthful, kinda weird place that hasn't quite hit it's stride yet and thus property around it might be a bit cheaper.

I have this fantasy of being able to work and entertain myself in that type of atmosphere and then e-bike or public commute a little farther away from this fantasy town/city back to my tiny homestead house in a little nook of fern forest.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions where to start to look into such a place?
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Everyone who can't afford Seattle anymore is moving to Tacoma, lot's of musicians and other artists.
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