Best place to live in Arkansas? (Little Rock, Conway: fit in, hotels, home)
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To anyone thinking about moving to Arkansas, if you are a miserable person where you currently live, you will be miserable anywhere. And that's not any state's fault. Arkansas has pros and cons about it like every state. It's not set in law that just because we are southerners we have to be overly polite. There are nice people and jerks everywhere too (CA included). People are suggesting that neighboring areas like Memphis, southern MO, and TX are extremely different---just because you cross some state line doesn't mean you've entered a whole new world. I grew up just outside of Memphis, but on the AR side. Crossing the TN line isn't something magical. The people aren't any different there. Tons of people working in Memphis live in Arkansas anyways. (So, some of these much more cultured folks are actually Arkansans and not from Memphis at all.) Some of you people that have posted on here (I have one in particular in mind, but I'm going to be a polite southern bell and not name names) sound like bigots. If you are getting odd reactions from a lot of people when you tell them where you are from, maybe it's just something odd about you. AR is not some third world country. Of course we have cable, DSL, cell phones that work, stores, etc. My point is---enjoy where ever you live. And if you don't---MOVE!
Ravenasque needs to go back to California but GBeasley offers excellent advice. North central Arkansas has lakes, rivers, streams and (sort-of) mountains without the downside of being major tourist attractions. Check out Conway, Searcy, Batesville, Heber Springs, Hardy, Mountain Home, Newport. Cost of living is relatively low, real estate is reasonable, city services are decent. Come for a visit and judge for yourself.
I am originally from southern CA. I moved to the south east and lived in Cherokee Village for several years. You won't find cheaper houses anywhere, I don't think. There are a lot of very nice houses for a third or less of what you would pay for one in CA, even the lakefront houses are more than reasonable.
The utilities are higher in the summer months (it does get really hot in the summer), but compared to the national average I don't think it's unreasonable.
If you like the outdoors you will love it in the Ozarks. Rolling hills, lots of trees, plants, flowers, etc. Golf, hiking, river rafting and fishing are a few things to do. The fishing around here is some of the best anywhere and the water is clean so you can eat what you catch without being worried.
A great majority of the people who live in Cherokee Village are originally from somewhere else. I have only met a few who are true natives. I haven't seen much unfriendliness, but there is always an exception, because there are good and bad people everywhere.
I had a cell phone, cable and DSL. The DSL and cable were fine, same as most places, but they need more towers in some areas so depending on where you go you might not have good coverage.
Some of the cons are: lack of shopping in the immediate area (there is a Walmart of course), although there are some cute shops in down town Hardy, which is close by. Everything closes down pretty early (except Walmart). There isn't much in the way of bookstores or coffee shops, but if you don't mind driving 45 minutes to an hour or two to shop for a day, you can get a fix in that way. (Springfield, MO is about 3 hours away, if you don't mind the trip, you'll find everything there). The bugs are horrid, but you learn to live with it. The chiggers are the worst! Stay out of the tall grasses and bushes, etc, and wear plenty of repellent. The bugs are curiously more aggressive for some reason. As far as employment goes, well....not much there. But, if you have some kind of marketable skill, you should find something, but it won't be for the same kind of pay you would find in the city (don't forget the cost of living offsets that some).
I will say this much, when the sun went down, it was dark, it was quiet (except for the cicadas for a season) and I slept better there than any place I've been.
For the best of both worlds I would suggest living on the outskirts of Springfield, Mo. Plenty of georgeous country, inexpensive housing, outdoor activities and all the modern conveniences.
Over all I would say that anywhere in the mid-north to north-west section of Arkansas and the south-west section of Missouri is a good place to live.
My aunt just got back from Heber Springs and told me it was a very nice town near a pretty lake. She said it was one of her top places to go. The prices on homes were pretty good too. It is on the small side but not far from Searcy and a little over an hour's drive to Little Rock. She also said the people were nice and she would visit it again.
I am also a former SO CAL Arkie.. I have lived in Cabot for 6 years now. It is one of the fastest growing cities in AR. Great Schools, Close to LR. Lots of commuters here. I am in no way prejudice, but the town is not too adverse. (that could be taken as good or not, you decide) but the town is 96% white. Just opened a brand new Super Wal Mart, new Home Depot and Kroger in the last year or so. We do have a few close calls on the tornados, but nothing since I have been here... Coming from Earthquake country, I will take a tornado... At least you know they are coming (most of the time) and you can buy a storm shelter (many people do) My wife and I have a 2 1/2 yr. old and a 7 month old, and Overall I feel Cabot is VERY safe. We are 45 minutes from Heber Springs, about 1 1/2 hours from Hot Springs, and about 2 hours from Memphis. (LR is about 25 minutes south on Hwy. 67) Plenty of brand new subdivisions, or if you want to get away and have some land, there are plenty of options available there as well.
Well, there is my 2 cents... Hope it was somewhat of a help..
Another (sort of) California looking at living in AR
But I was actually born in DC and lived in Lakewood, CO before ending up in the SF Bay Area.
Thank you all for this information (good and bad). Some of the bad surprises me because these things could have been found out before actually moving. My research into the cost of living around Eureka Springs and Fayetteville revealed both areas to be quite reasonable. And I found a lot of information about how progressive and diversity friendly (or not) these places are.
About places being hostile to Californians: Oregon has a few cities also on my list and is notorious. I have visited there and had no problems. I guess a lot has to do with how you present yourself and how you treat people.
How I got here:
Through the Find Your Spot site, I got a list of cities and most are in AR based on my need for a saner lifestyle (including things like a lower cost of living, lower crime rate and a place where people actually sleep at night). I am in Walnut Creek (median home price a gazillion $$ - seriously half a million) and it NEVER gets quiet. Lakewood was quiet at night, the neighbors all knew each other and for city nightlife, Denver was about a half an hour away. I miss that. I do not miss being snowbound, however!
So now based on what I read here, in addition to my AR list, I am going to expand my research to Springfield MO and surrounds.
My wife and I spent a month in Eureka Springs this past spring and thoroughly enjoyed it! If you like an old town mountain feel this is definetly the town for you.
From what we could make out, there are a lot of service industry jobs such as restaurant and motel help but not much else. If you are going with your own job, as we did with an internet business, life could be nice, although real estate is pricey in town.
The town seems to have a lot going on from Thursdays to Sunday, as they host many different venues each weekend, but gets a little sleepy the rest of the time.
The general attitude we picked up on was that the people here own their own businesses and realize that tourists pay their bills so to a point they're hospitable.
We would rate Eureka Springs very high for quality of living as its low key, peaceful and safe. The many quaint shops and the colorful 19th century homes make for a memorable vacation or a beautiful place to live.
My wife and I live in DC, I just retired from the Office of the President, and she works for the DecDef. We went to Jonesboro in April, and she was amazed by how beautiful the city was, and how friendly the people were, everyone said hello, people at the mall, resturants would say hi to her, she just couldn't believe it. So she began to look at the housing prices and utilities. They were giving houses away. We decided to go back in July to find a house. We couldn't believe what 300K could buy. In DC your neighbors rarely talk to you, in Jonesboro, our potential neighbors came over while we were looking at the house, introduced themselves, said we could use their part of the fence if we wanted to build our own. There is no comparison. If you want to live a rat race, then stay in the big metropolitan areas, work long hours and see little of your families and spend your money on homes and transportation and energy. If you want a quality life, change the way you live by changing your attitude, then your location. We move on September 27th, I never thought my Yankee wife would ever go for Arkansas, but she feel in love with Jonesboro for the quaintness of the town, and was won over by how friendly everyone was. I had often remarked to her on the subway in DC about how distant and cold people were here.......we can't wait.
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