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Here's some advise from someone who has lived in small towns all of my life until now (Salem is the capital of beautiful Oregon). In small towns, everyone is related (I exaggerate). Don't ever enter into gossip because you will be talking about someones cousin, brother in law, step mom, step sister or step brother. You get the picture. Zip the lip and listen carefully.
Source: I was a hairdresser in a beauty shop before I retired.
By hopeful from Salem, OR
When I moved to the small town I currently live in (population under 3000), I had extreme difficulty finding businesses and organizations. Not only was the town small, but they were also clicky and tight. I was an outsider, and just didn't fit in.
I also lived on a farm in the country, so didn't have a neighbor next door or across the street close by, nor were there kids in the neighborhood for mine to play with.
The town did not have a welcome wagon, but the city hall told me the chamber could give me information. So, I headed to the Chamber. The Chamber told me they would be happy to give me info and a town packet if I "joined". Needless to say, I didn't join.
Since my children were involved in scouts, I called the scouting headquarters to get the names of some scout troops in our area. Turns out, there were scout troops for older girls, and for younger girls, but none for my girls' ages.My children had also been involved in 4H. So, I headed to the county extension office. Here is where I hit my jackpot. They set us up with 4H information, a county and city map, a phone directory and names, addresses and phone numbers of community people who ran businesses out of their homes. They were not in the directory; such as a woman who did custom sewing and mending, a lady who made soap, a mechanic and a farrier. I quickly learned that anytime I had a question, the county extension office could direct me where to go with a simple phone call.
Our 4H group however, didn't turn out to be a good fit for us. The meetings were all scheduled on Sundays, during the time we normally attend church. So, with another family, we started another 4H group and quickly had 40+ kids and their parents involved.
I also have met friends by shopping a little differently. This town only has 1 grocery store, and it is a chain (wow, no WalMart!). So, when possible, I shop from private persons who are selling items that I would normally buy, such as produce. Taking the local paper has been very informative. Here I find info to holiday parades, craft shows, children's events and more. I found out in the paper that a near neighbor cut hay, as we were looking for someone to cut our hay. I also found here a local retired tractor mechanic who fixed our tractor.
A few friends I found by wearing t shirts. Sounds odd, but one lady approached me because I was wearing a 4H shirt. She and her child are now a member of our club. Another time I was wearing a Republican shirt, and a lady approached me and asked if I was local. I told her I was, and she replied she hadn't seen me at any of the meetings, and handed me her card with a website on it.
Later I looked that up and found out that the Republican women in my county have a breakfast once a month, with a speaker, as a way to get to know each other. Needless to say, the speaker rarely is a politician. In fact, this month's speaker is showing us simple Christmas crafts to make.
It has taken me 5 years, but I can finally say I now know some of our town's people, and finally fit in.
By mom-from-missouri from NW Missouri
Always remember you are PFA (people from away), and that will never ever change.
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We have 8 years before the hubby retires. We are looking to move out of California; are there any towns out there like Mayberry any more?
We are looking for somewhere with trees and that doesn't get a ton of snow. We are hoping for a community where shopping is available, there is a hospital in town, and we don't have to travel an hour just to get food.
Are there any towns that will welcome out of towners? We know of 3 people that moved to a small town (2000 or less) and the town snubbed them cause they didn't grow up there. Is there such a town now a days? So far we love Missouri and Arkansas.
The Greenbrier section of Chesapeake, Virginia has everything you want.
Also look into Edenton and Wilmington, both in North Carolina(but don't be fooled by Carolina's "no personal property taxes" -- they make up for it with other taxes).
Savannah, Georgia is not a small town but it has a small town feel.
Williamsburg, Virginia is another possibility.
Dothan Al is the best & cheapest place to live, go to their website. You will find lot of info there. We love it.
Located a few short miles from the state lines of Florida and Georgia, Dothan is one of the region's most progressive cities. The community offers a mild winter climate, affordable housing, low property taxes, and a wide variety of products and services that includes healthcare, education, shopping and cultural entertainment.
The Dothan area embraces the best that life has to offer, providing its residents not only modern conveniences and amenities of much larger cities, but also retains the charm and friendliness of the South. Whether you are visiting, a resident, considering moving to Dothan, or contemplating a business venture, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and our surrounding communities welcome you. If you decide to make Dothan your home, we hope this section of the web site will help to make your transition a smooth one.
Dothan is one of the region's most progressive cities. The area embraces the best that life has to offer, providing its residents not only modern conveniences and amenities of much larger cities, but also retains the charm and friendliness of the South.
Located a few short miles from the state lines of Florida and Georgia, you are within a three-hour drive from the foothills of the Appalachians in Birmingham or on the sugar white sands of Panama City Beach, located 78 mile south of Dothan.
You can find a fishing and hunting paradise within a 25-mile radius of Dothan. Golf is also very attractive at four public golf courses, including Highland Oaks, a stop on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Leisure recreation and all its amenities are beautiful in Dothan.
Being on a fixed income, retirees also fall into a lower Alabama income tax category. Income from specified retirement systems and benefits received under a "defined benefit plan," as defined under Section 414(j) of the Internal Revenue Code, are exempt from Alabama income tax. For federal retirees, there is no state tax on such income. lelentrader.com
The only thing that stands out to almost all newcomers in Dothan is the people. Nowhere will you ever find a community of people who are friendlier and more caring. Residents that move into the area discover something wonderful about Dothan...it's the perfect place to live.we have 2 large hospitals here. good luck.
How about Mount Airy, NC, the actual "Mayberry"? :-D
Thanks everyone :) Tammy
I have a friend who lives in CA in a town called Morgan Hills which is near San Jose and loves it. There is no traffic to speak of and still has the shopping available. Not sure about the hospital though but you could research that online.
I am sure you will find some place. My town of Nipawin, Saskatchewan pop about 5000, would be one, but I am afraid that the climate would not be to your liking. We have lovely trees, lots of recreation facilities, good stores, but -- we do get lots of snow and cold weather. However, we like it. We cross country ski, curl, downhill ski, snow mobile, ice fish, old time dance, take classes, and so on in the winter.
Good luck in your search.
We live in a small town, With a board of Selectmen, A firechief with the bad case of the "I wants". and the same with the Police Chief. Our Property tax bills are over $30.00 per $1000.00.( Very High)
Small towns are not all that great. Don't come to Allenstown, NH, you will not be happy.
We are getting out of this town. Allenstown, NH is not getting better, but much much worst. To many game being played, as they say, with the resident . Make sure you do your homework and research everything about the town. Ask alot of questions about everything. Example I live in a flood zone, two flood in 11 months. Homes have been buy-out due to flooding & thrown down, But, A newer home in this area is up for sale. The listing states Flooding is "U" unknown. AGAIN be very careful in your relocating to a small town.
Sorry, Tammy, I don't have suggestions for you about where to move; but do think twice before you move to a small town because I've also heard of a lot of people (nice, friendly people) who moved to small towns and were snubbed by the people there because they (the newcomers) didn't grow up there. From what I hear it happens most of the time: they say that people are friendlier to newcomers in huge places like NYC than they are in most small U.S. towns.
So my question is to any ThriftyFunners who've lived in a small town all their life: why do so many of you react that way to newcomers? (Not judging, got no plans to move to a small town any time soon because of this very problem; but I'm just really curious about why people react this way, maybe something hardwired into humans from our tribal days?)
Consider Alabama. I live in Decatur, north Al. My town is probably bigger than you would like, but we have some charming small towns nearby. Hartselle, Athen, Trinity and Moulton. All are close to Huntsville.
Check out this town, Perryville Mo. About 80 miles south of St. Louis and 35 miles north of Cape Girardfeau, MO
http://www.perryvillemo.com/ Good schools-churches-& hospital. Population about 8000.
CBS Sunday Morning did an excellent show on Ashville, NC.
Asheville, N.C., May 17, 2009
Not Your Grandfather's Retirement
Aging Baby Boomers Aren't Content Spending Their Post-Career Years Idle And Are Finding New Ways To Retire
here is the link: http://www.cbsn ain5021054.shtml
It is definately a place I would consider!
I live in Missouri and am familiar with Arkansas. I can suggest some towns in both areas for you to visit. You should be able to see them all in a couple of days if you fly into to Missouri and rent a car. Clinton Missouri is a quaint small town with a town square that seems to be thriving. The population is around 9000 people and is not far from Truman lake. Boonville Missouri is a small bedroom town not far from Columbia- where the university is located- looking over the Missouri river.
Ozark Missouri is located outside of Springfield Missouri and has a small town feel to it. Moving into Arkansas Eureka Springs, Holiday Island are both very pretty places to live as is Mountain Home and further south Hot Springs. My advice to you is to take a vacation and spend an afternoon in each place.
Don't talk to realtors or town leaders on your first trip. Go to the hardware stores, the gas stations, and the small business located in the area. This will give you a real feel of the people not just what they want visitors to see. I have lived in rural communities my entire life and understand the good and the bad that comes with it. No one is more loyal then a small town nor is any place more dramatic. Good luck to you. Feel free to drop me an email if you need more info.
The Tri Cities in south central Washington State. It's about a three and a half hour drive to Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon and there is an airport here if you don't want to drive and also a Greyhound bus and train service. The population for the Tri Cities is about 240,000. The draw back for you might be that there are not a lot of trees but the people are very friendly to outsiders. I know that first hand ;-)
There's lots of places to shop, some museums, theater, wineries and three major rivers merge here. When it does snow (rarely) it doesn't stay on the ground for more than a few days and is never more than four or five inches. Since you're speaking of retirement age there are also excellent doctors and hospitals. The best part is that it's totally economically reasonable to live here!
If you like attending plays and concerts, you might want to consider a town with a college or university. Think about what you will do with your free time, is it close to an airport if you want to travel some? Keep in mind how far your family will be from you, and if it will be convienent to get together
If you are the type of person who leaves friends behind, you will be able to make many new friends.
Like the previous poster I wanted to advise you to also look at property taxes, state taxes and any other tax for the State/town you are considering. As a retired individual your income is limited (or not if you have other income) and to be stuck paying high State, sales property etc taxes would not be offset by living in a quaint town.
I personally like TN Smoky Mountains foothills area. Very quaint small towns, low property taxes, no income tax but sales tax are about 9%. What ever you do please do not come to South Florida! It is no longer the retiree mecca.
Good luck hope you find your dream town!
Just curious, should have been a sociologist, I guess, but why should Tammy, or any other retiree, not go to South Florida, Annae? Is it because you live there and don't like the place or you live there and do like the place but it's the "small town not wanting outsiders" thing again? (No offense, just curious; been hearing so much, both in the media and from people I know, about unfriendly small towns lately.)
Just a couple of thoughts. What you see in a small town today might not be the same in 8 years, taxes included. Be sure to check with the economic planning board of the county to see what the long term plan is for the area. In our area, I-40 opened about 10 years ago. There is a 1 mile section between I-85 and I-40 that was residential and still is but, the long term plan is for all of it to be commercial.
Having said that, this area (Hillsborough, NC) is a great place to live but our taxes are higher than neighboring counties. Three hours to the east and your feet are in the ocean, three hours to the west and you're on a ski slope. Within 10 -15 minutes we have Duke Univ. Med. Center, Univ of NC Hospitals, and 60 minutes away we have Wake Forest Med Center, all great teaching hospitals. Lots of cultural events in the area, 25 minutes to the capitol with state art, science and history museums. Needless to say, we are close to lots of shopping areas. Even with all this close by, we are still a small town.
In neighboring counties, to our west is Mebane, another small, up-and-coming town, which has I-40/I-85 on it's border; south of us (past Chapel Hill) is Pittsboro with no interstates within 30 miles, and to our north is 40 miles of farm land that is beginning to see development.
To answer Lynn from CA, I think new people get 'snubbed' because with any growth you get change, and many times the small town life as we (lifers) know it becomes a way of the past. And, you hear "where we came from they did...." which translates into "this place that you love isn't good enough for us". And, with growth you have to have services to accommodate it which sometimes means taking family lands for new roads or new schools, your small road becoming a busy 4 lane thoroughfare, etc., etc, etc. And there is my personal favorite, once new folks arrive, they want to shut the gates and restrict growth! I love it!
Anyway, we all know 'they ain't making no new land' and growth is going to happen everywhere as the population goes up. On behalf of small town lifers, I apologize to those who feel they have been snubbed. I hope you find your ideal retirement town, wherever it may be.
On South Florida for retirees: we lived in an area of central NJ--where there were quite a few small-town- feel places - for most of our lives and "accidentally" relocated to S. Florida ( came to be with an ill family member and ended up staying).
That said,the South Florida Fort Lauderdale/Miami metro area really has no small-town feel; it's sprawling urban for the most part. The downside is the Indy 500-like traffic and a medium high to high cost of living ( and a real estate market currently in the tank); the upside is great access to the arts and culture, big emphasis on outdoor activity and generally great weather year-round.
The atmosphere is more intimate in the Keys, friendly but pricey and in the Lake County area--think around Mount Dora. We take day trips to both areas often and really like the whole feel there.
The Panhandle area, furthest northwest has lots of small towns but in our experience also a lot of Old Florida look-at-those-tourists attitude. Just sayin' :)
I notice that Perryville and Ozark, Missouri have both been mentioned. You'd probably do great in both places. I'd think that if you get a suburb of a small city, you do great. Normally people in a town are pretty much what you'd expect them to be. Perryville is on the east side of Missouri and it's beautiful country over there. Not too far from St. Louis, there are a lot of tourist attractions nearby - Elephant Rock, Johnson Shut-Ins and Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River are nearby.
Ozark is close to being a suburb of Springfield (about 10 miles away to the south). I live in Bolivar, 30 miles to the north, but lived in Springfield for 30+ years. I'd love to live in Ozark because it is a small town, yet right between Springfield and Branson. Branson would be too, too busy most of the time, but it's still a nice place to visit. Springfield has several hospitals, a nice shopping mall and since it's a college town, is flooded with eating places and churches.
I don't know how it compares tax-wise to other places, but it didn't seem to be out of line as far as I was concerned.
I have lived in a small town, less then 300, for 10 years now. I still do not feel I fit in with the women that live here. I am a widow. My husband got sick almost soon as we moved here and died soon after. During that time I was home-bound caring for him. A few ladies did try to make friends with me at that time, out of their christian duty I suppose. They were very interested in me joining their church and bible study. When I resisted that they lost interest. Not that I do not believe in God, I do I am just not much of a joiner of anything.
The only other way to get to know people is volunteer fire department ladies AUX. Ugh, I attended a few meetings. I got to helping pick-up our town highway trash. At first I had a helper and then I got 4 miles of road to pick up by myself! Come on ladies. But several of the ladies had quit, so we were all short on help.
Then I got Lyme disease. I was very sick. It took 2 years to get a positive lyme test. So for all that time I was sick as a dog and had no idea why! So I became pretty much home-bound. Nobody seemed to notice I was even sick let alone alive. lol
Now I am feeling better, but am just kinda stuck in a rut about not having anything to do with anyone. Is it time for a move or what?