COVID-19 not only completely changed how we lived, it also morphed how we worked. Almost overnight, employees that never thought they could work from home were forced to do just that.
Teleworking became a necessity.
Through the process of transitioning their employees to work from home, companies learned that they could do just as well this way.
Many companies have already extended their employees’ work from home period or made it a permanent option, so we expect to see the percentage of people working from home to only increase in the future.
For workers, one major advantage of teleworking is the ability to work for a great company in a job that pays well without being tied to a specific city or even state.
In fact, if you love working in technology but prefer living in a small town, as long as that town has decent broadband speeds, you can do that.
For this list, we picked five cities and towns based on affordability, broadband of at least 100 Mbps, and how charming we found them.
Note that these places have traditional seasons, meaning they get quite cold in the winter and warm in the summer. Because of that, if you need a self storage unit, we highly recommend getting one with climate control.
Bemidji is considered the first city on the Mississippi River. Ever heard of Paul Bunyan. Of course you have. He’s American mythology, and legend has it he was born in Bemidji.
Near Lake Bemidji State Park, on the northern shore of Lake Bemidji, stands an 18-foot tall statue of Bunyan with his companion Babe the Blue Ox.
This 14.14 square mile area has short, warm summers with temperatures between 57 at night and 79 during the day in July, and long, very cold winters, with temperatures dropping as low as -4 at night and rising to 17 during the day in January.
This city has a charming downtown with many mom and pop shops and plenty to do. You can visit art galleries, a brewery, and catch theatrical performances. There’s a lot to do around Lake Bemidji including boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, and water-skiing.
Bemidji has a population of 15,400 and affordable broadband. The lowest cost for 100Mbps internet is $50 a month. The median household income is about $34,000, but remember, if you make more at your teleworking job, you can ignore the average. The median home price is roughly $195,000.
Now we move on to a larger city, Chattanooga, Tennessee, with its population of 180,000. For a city, the median home price is surprisingly low, at $225,000, while the median household income is $44,000.
This is a growing tech hub, in part because of the excellent gigabit broadband, which you can subscribe to for $50 per month.
Chattanooga is right on the Tennessee River. If you want to go fishing, though, we recommend Chickamauga Lake, which is full of fish like bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, white crappies, and more. Temperatures in the area get down to 31 at night and up to 51 during the day in January, and 69 at night and 89 during the day in July.
There’s lots to do in Chattanooga, including visiting the Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls, the deepest commercial cave in the United States showcasing many beautiful underground waterfalls, Hunter Museum of American Art, plus lots of restaurants, cafes, and live music venues.
Here’s a small town with a big claim to fame. Jonesborough, Tennessee is called “The Storytelling Capital of the World,” and for good reason. This community of 5,550 people hosts the National Storytelling Festival in October at the International Storytelling Center. The festival is based on the love for stories in Appalachian culture.
Jonesborough is also the oldest town in Tennessee and was founded before Tennessee became a state. There’s a lovely downtown area with lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, and a bi-weekly farmers market, that takes place every Wednesday and Saturday.
Winter temperatures are between 27 at night and 46 during the day, and summer temperatures range from 64 at night to 84 during the day.
This is the smallest town on our list and quite a charming place to live. The population is just 1,400. You’re bound to make friends here, and to start recognizing everyone pretty quickly. The median household income is also pretty good at $55,000.
Again, that may not reflect your income if you’re fairly well-paid and moving in as a teleworker.
Homes are affordable at $299,000 on average. The broadband is also pretty good at 110 Mbps, for $60 a month.
The homes you’d be buying are big two story houses. There’s a lot of space between the houses, too, giving the town a natural charm.
Even though this is a quiet town in the country, there are more than two dozen coffee shops and nearly as many parks. You’ll also find plenty of locally owned restaurants.
Winters are freezing. The temperature gets down to 10 degrees at night and as high as 30 during the day in January, while summers are about 57 at night and 79 during the day. If you like snow, you’ll enjoy life in Pawlet, which gets 73 inches of snow per year.
If you don’t feel like there’s a lot to do in town, be assured that you’ll be just an hour and 15 minutes from Springfield. Enjoy day trips to visit the Springfield Downtown Historic District, see the Springfield Community Players, or spend some time outside at Wellwood Orchards or Wilgus State Park.
Turtle Creek, PA
At last we come to the most affordable place on our list of affordable places for teleworkers, Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh.
Full of greenery and two-story houses, Turtle Creek has a population of 5,200. You can have gigabit broadband in your home for just $50 per month. The median household income here is $30,000, but even if you don’t make more as a teleworker (though you probably will), you’ll probably still be able to afford a house. The median price for a home here is $78,000.
Turtle Creek also has a low crime rate, according to Neighborhood Scout. Plus, there’s plenty to do, as you’ll be just 12 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh.
The suburb is also near some great colleges like Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh. There are plenty of coffee shops, independent restaurants, and shopping areas to visit right in Turtle Creek as well. And yes, you’ll get Pittsburgh weather, meaning January nights as cold as 22 degrees and days at 38, and temperatures ranging from 63 degrees at night and 84 during the day in July.
We hope our exploration of these cities and towns provided valuable insight if you’re thinking about moving.