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Old 02-15-2011, 08:59 AM
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Newton county is the most beautiful county in Arkansas. It is also one of the most rugged. But if you like hiking, canoeing, beautiful scenery everywhere you go, then it's great. Jasper (the county seat of Newton county, only about 500 people) has a few places to eat, a nice hardware store, decent grocery. It's a little more isolated than the Mena area, because of the mountains, but Harrison is about an hour's drive, and Russellville is a little more than an hour. Lots of curvy, winding roads in any direction you go from Jasper!
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:10 PM
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Prior to this winter, I would have said "winter isn't really an issue in Arkansas".

As for being near decent sized cities, you can pretty much go from one corner of Arkansas to the farthest opposite corner in about 5-6 hours, so given your 3 to 4 hour drive requirement, you're golden anywhere in the state.

Roughly the northwestern third of the state is hills and "mountains". The eastern edge is flat, Mississippi river delta country. Southern third of the state is part of the great Piney Woods... pine forests galore. And you are never too far from a river or lake anywhere in the state. As for gardening, I imagine you could grow just about everything you listed anywhere in the state.

Don't mean to paint too broad a stroke here, but outside of Little Rock and the Walmart Kingdom in the NW part of the state, Arkansas is generally a blue-collar kind of state. I doubt you will have any problems finding English speaking handymen. Now, understanding our particular southern dialect of English....well, that will come with time.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:07 AM
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I live about an hour north of Mena so my opinion may be a little biased as I have not lived in north central Arkansas. I raise a big garden every year, and the growing season here is wonderful. I love living off the land a little more then most do.

One thing I will say is that if you are looking for a Large city near by for shopping and convenience this part of the state may be a little lacking. The closest large town or city to me is an hour north (which is Fort Smith). If you want seclusion and to just be left alone to live your life then rural west central Arkansas is the place to be.

The county I live in is a dry county, meaning you can't buy alcohol here. (which doesn't bother me because I don't drink) but it might be something to take into consideration as well. I believe Polk county (Mena area) is dry as well.

A lot of the people here are religious but not to the point that they will push their views upon you unless you ask for them to tell you.

I enjoy seclusion and quiet living, but I do like to have access to the outside world. I live 10 miles outside of a small town of about 3000 people and I get DSL internet here. It is not the fastest DSL you have ever seen but it does all that I need it to do.

Hope this helps a little and if you choose to move here feel free to contact me and I will try to help you in any way I can.
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