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Old 02-13-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Central Alabama
14 posts, read 31,539 times
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My family is 'starting over' and leaving Arizona. I have lived in AZ for 16 years and it is time to stretch somewhere else. It is just too isolated feeling here without a deep sense of community.

About me:
1. I work at home remotely, so can live pretty much anywhere.
2. I want to have a garden and some livestock.
3. I am a Christian
4. I've been all over Colorado quite a bit and especially love the Pagosa Springs/Durango area

I'd like to get us into a rural town where folks still do things together.

The mountain towns in Arizona are just plain strange and folks seem distant. In some the hippy communities have them not-family-friendly.

As much as I love Colorado I am concerned the small towns there will have the same isolation culture.

My questions are:
1. Is rural Colorado of the 'new people are always new' mentality?
2. Do folks in rural Colorado do things together or is everyone holed up with their TV?

Any experiences from people with families who have moved into rural Colorado would really be valuable to me.

TIA
Mike
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,906,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnichols1970 View Post
My family is 'starting over' and leaving Arizona. I have lived in AZ for 16 years and it is time to stretch somewhere else. It is just too isolated feeling here without a deep sense of community.

<deleted> ....

I'd like to get us into a rural town where folks still do things together.

<deleted ...>

1. Is rural Colorado of the 'new people are always new' mentality?
2. Do folks in rural Colorado do things together or is everyone holed up with their TV?

Mike, i think you're going to find most of Colorado to be the same as your experience in Arizona, the exceptions being some of the small mountain towns that are off the beaten track: like Collbran, Meeker, Cedaredge.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:11 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,107,644 times
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I have to agree with 80skeys here. Many Colorado towns, especially in the mountain areas, simply are not "real" communities. That is a function of the resort/part-time resident mentality that now pervades most of them. There are a few exceptions, but those towns, like most rural communities, can be tightknit places that are sometimes not especially welcoming of newcomers.

The kind of small town that you desire are just not very common in rural Colorado, anymore, with the exception of the farming communities on the Eastern Plains or a few places in the San Luis Valley. Neither is the sort of "garden spot" place that people think of when Colorado is mentioned. There are some towns similar to what you seek in New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah, but each of those states also has its unique cultural and climatic issues that may not be attractive to everyone. The Plains states of Nebraska, Kansas, and the Dakotas have many small towns with the values you seek, but they certainly are not endowed with Colorado's mountain geography. Ultimately, it depends on what tradeoffs you are willing to make and what you decide is the higher priority of your wants. You can't have it all.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Central Alabama
14 posts, read 31,539 times
Reputation: 11
@jazzlover
I am confused by your reply after looking through a number of other posts by you. I don't want to seem combative here, but you seem to state in other threads that a small town feel where people help each other is still found in Colorado, but here you seem to say the opposite. Maybe I misunderstand your other posts ? Is there no more Little Britches ?
I am not looking to be a tourist, but rather have some simple property and be vital in my community. I got two little kids that I want to be able to have friends outside of occasional park days...a tough thing in Arizona believe it or not!
I'm originally from Oklahoma and the South where folks have pretty open doors, so I was just wondering if small town Colorado has that same type of vibe.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:11 PM
 
Location: N. Colorado
345 posts, read 758,656 times
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You have to put yourself out there and make friends, people do not come up to you and do so. I live outside a small town, I have 4 neighbors, I rarely see or hear from 3 of them. In town I know people because I talk to them, they did not speak to me first. I have friends here because I am outgoing, if you are not you may not make friends.
Helpful not so much. People are busy running from work to home and doing their own things. They do a couple of community things a year but due to the lack of funds and cool things to do they may not be well attended.


The problem with the things you are looking for are:

- Water, if you have a well and it is not full use you cannot use it for your garden or animals. You have to buy and bring it in. If your well dries up you may not be able to afford the 40k and up for a water tap if it is even available so you would have to use cisterns and again buy and bring in the water.

- Livestock, the growing season here is short so I have to buy hay 6 months a year, sometimes more if we have late snow. Due to the drought in Texas there is now a hay shortage here and the prices have gone up a lot. What I was buying for $70 last year I am now paying $120 for.

- Gardens are hard if your soil is not good, if you forget to water for one day or if the young plants do not have shade, they burn up and quick.

- Predators, depending on where you live can just be coyotes and foxes, if you are close to the mountains, bears and mountain lions. Good fencing is a must and other protection is needed as well, I use guardian dogs, since coyotes do not respect field fence.

- Internet, you might need this for your job? In the smaller towns high speed in not readily available. I do have high speed through radio waves or something but it is not cheap, works far better then Hughes net which is not better then dial up.

For gardening, livestock and that small town feel I would look at Missouri. For 125k you can get a lot of house, land, water and less taxes. Here that buys you a few hard packed dry acres. It is also very pretty and green there.

Last edited by gmm_24; 02-13-2012 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:26 PM
 
20,310 posts, read 37,810,444 times
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Agree, that COLO is not really what the OP is seeking. Having lived many years back in VA, I would heartily suggest the Blue Ridge Mountain areas down in the Shenandoah Valley which can be amazingly beautiful: south of Front Royal, VA, along either HWY 340 (quieter) or the I-81 corridor.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:40 PM
 
590 posts, read 2,009,032 times
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This might be a big generalization, but in the East people have a sense of community based on where they live. In the West, the sense of community is based on similar hobbies and interests. If mountains are your thing you may consider the Ozark region of Southern Missouri or Northern Arkansas and farther East consider East Tennessee or Western North Carolina. Rural Virginia is beautiful but it feels like they are still fighting the Civil War and government gives the feeling that it hates people and hates cars more.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:22 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,107,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnichols1970 View Post
@jazzlover
I am confused by your reply after looking through a number of other posts by you. I don't want to seem combative here, but you seem to state in other threads that a small town feel where people help each other is still found in Colorado, but here you seem to say the opposite. Maybe I misunderstand your other posts ? Is there no more Little Britches ?
I am not looking to be a tourist, but rather have some simple property and be vital in my community. I got two little kids that I want to be able to have friends outside of occasional park days...a tough thing in Arizona believe it or not!
I'm originally from Oklahoma and the South where folks have pretty open doors, so I was just wondering if small town Colorado has that same type of vibe.
There are still a few small towns in Colorado that are "real"--I've never posted any differently than that. But, there aren't that many, anymore, and many that used to be that way no longer are, or are seeing that sense of community disappear. They are in transition to something other than a friendly small community. An example that readily comes to mind is Montrose. It is still a relatively friendly small/medium community, but it is rapidly becoming dominated by the retired outsider/trust-funder crowd. My experience has been that when that bunch overruns a community, it is not long before the "real" small town feel gets lost--not necessarily because they are "bad" people, but because most of them come from metro areas and just don't know how to live in a small town and be part of a community. They are simply metropolitan people living in a smaller area--they really don't change, but they change the place where they move into what they say they wanted to escape. Durango is my poster child of a place where that happened, starting around 30 years ago. A resort-dominated (particularly a "destination" resort) economy will kill off a "normal" small-town vibe faster than anything. If you are looking for something akin to what you knew in Oklahoma, you will find that in hardly anyplace in Colorado other than the Eastern Plains and a very few other towns. It didn't used to be that way, but that is the way it is now. There is a saying in rural Colorado, "If you've read about the town in a national magazine, it's probably already been wrecked." It really is pretty much true.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:38 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,026,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnichols1970 View Post
@jazzlover

I'm originally from Oklahoma and the South where folks have pretty open doors, so I was just wondering if small town Colorado has that same type of vibe.
I have also lived in Oklahoma, Texas and several southern states and it's a totally different deal in Colorado. Totally. People in Colorado are reserved in comparison and especially in the rural areas, people minding their own damn business is much appreciated. Also in rural Colorado there is very much an independent mindset and it comes across in their personality.

Sure there are nice people but it's not the gushy, hospitable, open arms type communities down south.

It's funny to me now that I've come back east to PA and also I work down south some. In Colorado I could sit in a diner or restaurant, read a magazine and eat and no one would bother me. Back this way it's the opposite, people have no problem with asking me who I am, what my business is or looking over my shoulder at my magazine and asking me about it.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Central Alabama
14 posts, read 31,539 times
Reputation: 11
@gmm_24 : Your reply was extremely helpful and I appreciate your thoughtful answer. The details you provide fill in blanks on whether it is a good fit for us.

@Mike from back east: I am from Harrisonburg, VA (JMU) before moving to AZ. Funny huh? I love that area and my folks still live in NOVA in Chantilly. We are also considering down near Pearisburg.

@md21722: Very concise examination of the differences between East and West community. Ironically I just vacationed in Jasper, AR for two weeks...

@jazzlover: Thanks for the further detail. Btw...I played jazz most of my life

@wanneroo: We are looking also at Alabama: I'll be careful what magazines I read I guess

Thanks everyone for the input. You pretty much confirmed my sense about life there and also clarified what the real priorities are for taking care of my fam.
I have lived all over the United States and toured extensively as well (former musician). I am blessed to have a job that lets me work at home. While I have loved the Southwest (AZ) it's been tough just getting involved with people no matter how much we've tried and the flood of California-style transience seems to be making it more isolated.
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