I've lived in a lot of different states, and as much as I love Upstate NY it is a real pain living there between the crazy amount of laws and the wicked high taxes they have up there. I visit up there because all of my family is still there, but I wouldn't want to live there anymore. I confess that I do miss the snow, though.
I currently live around Bowling Green, KY. The metro area has a population of around 80K people so it's not a sprawling metropolis and the economy here is largely healthcare and of course WKU (the university). There are a few manufacturing places and the joke is we have more restaurants and drug stores per capita than any other smaller city in Kentucky which is probably true based on what I have seen. Bowling Green is kind of generic and does not have a lot of night life, but it's also relatively quiet as far as crime goes. It is not expensive at all to live here, and my family lives a LOT better on my salary here than we did up North...much lower property taxes. The gun laws are pretty lax here, too. We have open carry, and no limit on the number of guns you can purchase in a given time period or clip capacity, etc. There are also more rural locations nearby to live in if you aren't interested in living in the city of Bowling Green. The main disadvantages (gun wise) is that we don't have a lot of places nearby to purchase pistols (except Gander Mountain). We do have a nice shooting range nearby in Horse Cave, KY. Bowling Green isn't known for gorgeous scenery; that would be the far Eastern part of Kentucky...
This was already mentioned, but Tennessee is also a great state to live in. Low costs, and middle Tennessee has a decent economy (better than most of Kentucky's). The Nashville area has a lot to do, and it is much easier to find things to do. Housing costs are a little higher than Bowling Green, but are still very reasonable plus you get the bonus of living near a larger city. Knoxville, TN is also a very nice area of the state; the area surrounding Knoxville is around the Smoky Mountains and is just beautiful.
As far as climate, Bowling Green and Nashville do get some hot weather in the summer but it is nowhere near as humid as the more eastern states. Yes, you are going to get those nasty 90+ degree days...but it isn't that way year-round. Both states do have a Spring and Autumn, and both states do get cold in the Winter months. It isn't every year, and not much when it does happen but both states have been known to get a little bit of snow some years in the Winter.