Moving to a Small Town

October 25, 2011

Small Mountain TownHere'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

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
November 23, 2011

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.


October 27, 2011

Always remember you are PFA (people from away), and that will never ever change.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 14, 2010

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.


By tammy


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February 14, 20100 found this helpful

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.


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February 14, 20100 found this helpful

Dothan Al is the best & cheapest place to live, go to their website. You will find lot of info there. We love it. Everybody is friendly country people, you can even buy fresh veggies in spring & summer at the farmers market, email the mayor or the city manager.


They will give you lot of info, good luck.


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February 14, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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's the perfect place to live.we have 2 large hospitals here. good luck.

February 15, 20100 found this helpful

How about Mount Airy, NC, the actual "Mayberry"? :-D

February 16, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks everyone :) Tammy


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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.


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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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?)

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

Check out this town, Perryville Mo. About 80 miles south of St. Louis and 35 miles north of Cape Girardfeau, MO Good schools-churches-& hospital. Population about 8000.

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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:
It is definately a place I would consider!

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.


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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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!

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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!

February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.)

February 18, 20100 found this helpful

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.


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February 18, 20100 found this helpful

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' :)

February 18, 20100 found this helpful

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.

February 19, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, Tammy! I relocated from suburban Philadelphia PA to rural Calhoun Country WV two years ago, & like it very much. My small town, called Big Bend, is about a 10-minute drive from Grantsville (1 small grocery chain, 2 dollar stores, a pizza place, & at least 2 small restaurants), & approx a 1-hour drive SE of Parkersburg & NW of Spencer, both of which have Wal-Marts, the former also having the larger chains such as Lowes, Sears, etc. A mere 2 doors away from me is a convenience store w/ gas, & several doors beyond that the post office & a pizza restaurant. There's even a vet.

We're in Agricultural Zone 6A, just as Philadelphia; our winter right now is about as bad as it gets, with maybe 8" accumulation at most. Also, we're on the Little Kanawha River, with a college town about 45-mins away.

Property taxes are low, & zoning is non-intrusive, at least around my place. Land is comparatively inexpensive. It's overall a nice place to make a home, among many older families as well as newer settlers, mostly from the East Coast.
If you have any questions, please contact me directly (bsvgs AT Good luck - Nica

February 19, 20100 found this helpful

I would like to offer my home state of Oklahoma. Come visit and see what you think. We have small towns, we have medium towns with Universities large and small. The taxes are OK compared to friends in other states.

Weather wise - this year has been tough, but my father had 60 years of weather notes and stated that there are only 6 weeks of the year when he couldn't pour concrete! The springs and falls are wonderful - most winters are very tolerable.
So, check us out on the computer and come and visit. We'd love to have you. Oh, your dollar will go much farther here.

February 19, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks everyone for writing I have alot of places to research.It should keep me busy a day or too. :)

September 29, 20120 found this helpful

Florida, for sure. So many good places to live down there for retirees.

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March 31, 2015

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?

By Barb


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April 1, 20150 found this helpful

Everywhere you go, there you are. That's a problem you will have to deal with. In order to have friends, you have to be a friend. You can not sit and wait for people to come to you. It may be time to move to a place that is bigger with more variety of activities that you might be interested in. But you will not make friends if you don't go out and join in on things.

You have to become a "joiner". You could also start a group and see if people would like to join in. In my area, a town of about 5000, there are these groups that I might join & some of the activities I take part in - a book club, a singing group that sings once a week at a local seniors residence, a line-dancing group, a quilting group, exercise classes, curling club, part time work as a ski instructor, substitute teacher, and tutor, art club, art classes, Red Hat society, volunteering to do meals on wheels, retired teachers' group, ladies golf group, volunteer at a school, museum volunteer, hospital volunteer, senior citizens club, etc. I do not do all this stuff, of course, but these are some activities I could do.

April 10, 20150 found this helpful

I do believe you should move. Here's why:

There has to be activities that you want to do in order for you to meet people. Very small towns are often insular and have fewer opportunities. Also, you may find yourself in a town with an aging demographic, with people who talk about illnesses and dead loved ones primarily. This will certainly get you down.

Finally, if you are in a town in which several generations of families have lived, you will no doubt feel you are the "odd one out" if you don't have a street or business named after a prominent ancestor.

In my town we have community opportunities and classes. There is community theater, Toastmasters, yoga, rug hooking, quilting, book club and other groups. You need to find a place like that.

There are also quite a few things going on while the weather is nice such as the farmer's market every friday. Beware though, of moving to a place with a long winter, which is why I can't quite recommend my town- there is a short season due to being in the mountains. But I would recommend Colorado in general. People here are more active, and since nearly everyone here is originally from somewhere else, they are more inclined to be friendly.

February 19, 20190 found this helpful

Some good advice. I had to move 4 years ago from a large town because of a neck injury. I've been active in groups in the past, but am admittedly a bit impatient with some social etiquette, and thus a loner in my thoughts. Neck pain makes me afraid to be social, because that is when I feel the pain the most. Any suggestions on how to make friends better by phone, etc. I'd like more "real life" friends, but I will be moving to an even more rural part of Colorado. Driving is often an issue too

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August 17, 2020

A picture of the everyday life of what a young town girl sees when she looks out her window

A view of a small town street.

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