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Old 11-01-2014, 01:26 PM
ZTM ZTM started this thread
 
57 posts, read 78,758 times
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I want to move from South Florida because I hate it. The traffic and nasty people and cost of living is making me insane. I seem to have it narrowed down to 2 places;

Bella Vista AR:

Pros:
Nature, lots of trees and scenic
Low crime and good air quality
Seems laid back and friendly

Cons:
Boring housing styles..........very conservative; nothing modern
Conservative bible belt thinking
I'm Jewish from NY and not sure how well I will fit in even though I spend a week there with no problems.
Nearby Bentonville has heavy traffic especially during rush hour


Las Cruces:
Pros:
Love the style of houses and general architecture.
May like the climate even better than Bella Vista
Like the Mountains and dessert terrain
100K population is the right size for me
There is a Jewish population and a nice synagogue
Moderate, not too conservative

Cons:
crime.very concerned. Much higher than Bella Vista.
Dry heat....don't want to ruin my skin


What do you think? If you can help me decide or suggest another place, I would appreciate it. I am trying to live with a reasonable cost of living and not too conservative.
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
30,322 posts, read 27,776,619 times
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I've been to both places several times over the years and I have relatives that I visit in the Rogers area. Your pro's & con's are correct. I'd move to Las Cruces in a heartbeat and avoid Bella Vista area. The synagogue and less conservative are big pluses for New Mexico.
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:54 PM
 
1,640 posts, read 2,046,298 times
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If I had to choose between Bella Vista, AR and Las Cruces, NM, I'd pick Las Cruces, for sure.

For me personally, Bella Vista is just too Southern. Even though people say Bella Vista is a place where Walmart executives and their families as well as Midwestern retirees go for either a family-friendly environment or, in the case of Midwestern retirees, a lower COL and milder weather, I disagree. In my experience, Bella Vista, consistent with the rest of AR, is very backwards and, more specifically, "backwoods." There's still too much "Bubba talk" and too many "Bible thumpers" for me to truly feel comfortable there, not to mention AR is probably one of the least cosmopolitan and most insular states overall, even more so than states like AL and TN, which are, at the very least, home to major cities like Birmingham and Nashville, respectively.

I lived in Boca Raton for years before I moved to Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta area) on a six-month work-related assignment in 2004-05, and I will have you know that Alpharetta, which is more mainstream and less backwoods than Bella Vista presented a HUGE culture shock in and of itself. I would imagine moving from even the less developed areas of South Florida like Jupiter Farms or Loxahatchee to a small Southern town like Bella Vista would illicit a huge culture shock--Northwest AR is very, very different from South FL, and not in a good way, IMO.

In much of the South, but especially the more insular states like AR, conformity rules. If you're not heterosexual, married, and Evangelical Christian by faith, you're going to difficulty assimilating and navigating socially. If you're a non-Southerner, then the social adjustment is only exacerbated--people in AR don't particularly care for "Yankees" all that much.

Regarding the "Yankee" issue specifically, it seems like, of all the Southern states, I've encountered the most fervent dislike for Yankees for in AR. I've only visited several times, but among those visits, I've been subject to numerous hurtful comments. It's hard to explain because nothing is outright and everything seems to have a second meaning. It's not an issue of being a loud, complaining "Yankee"--I never talk much in the South without being addressed first, despite being a very gregarious person overall, and I definitely don't talk about my home state of RI or adopted home state of CA unless asked. Thing is, I am asked about "up there" a lot, usually baited questions. Another common occurrence is being asked a question and then being cut off before given the opportunity to reply. Definitely lots of cutting remarks, veiled insults, backhanded compliments, and uncomfortable comments in general that are said in a polite way. This has been my experience in AR as well as neighboring states, especially LA and TN, with my friends' neighbors and friends as well as service providers.

If any of that matters, Las Cruces has none of those issues, which has that classic live-and-let-live Southwestern vibe I love--very casual; polite; generally open-minded; tolerant, even if not approving; and although people may seem aloof, they are usually pleasant if you talk first. No one in Las Cruces cares what religion you are, where you go--or don't go--to worship, or who you sleep with. Most of the people in Las Cruces are native New Mexicans, Mexican nationals, or transplants from the West Coast or the Midwest, so no one cares where you're from, and you won't hear the term "Yankee" used outside of reference to the baseball or in a history lecture. IME, people in the Southwest are easier to live around than people in the South for someone who's originally from the Northeast (I'm from RI).

Due its location near the Mexican border, Las Cruces, is quite multicultural for a small town--more so than just about any small town in the South that I can think of. If you appreciate Southwestern culture, which is a kind of a combination of Mexican and Native American cultures with some other influences, then look no further than Las Cruces. Las Cruces may share a latitude with the South, but that's where the similarities end.

Aside from the sociocultural differences of Bella Vista and Las Cruces, the latter has much better weather--warmer, sunnier, drier--and much more breathtaking scenery. The Ozarks are pretty, too, don't get me wrong, but they're not spectacular in the same respect as the Doa Ana Mountains and especially the Organ Mountains, which rise above Las Cruces. The mountain ranges in and around Las Cruces are absolutely otherworldly. White Sands, one of my favorite national parks, is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Las Cruces, too.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: USA
2,779 posts, read 6,683,064 times
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I just looked at Bing and found 3 synagogues located in NW Arkansas.

Las Cruces really looks like dozens of other towns in the southwest. Nothing special about it. Kind of "backwater".

Last edited by hdwell; 11-01-2014 at 06:08 PM..
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:03 AM
ZTM ZTM started this thread
 
57 posts, read 78,758 times
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8 to 32, thanks for that detailed response and also thanks to the others too. 8 to 32, perhaps you could make yet another suggestion. I'm age 50, single, no kids, and looking for a more peaceful environment than South Florida. I currently live in Boynton Beach and I have my bags packed. My job allows me to live anywhere I want, but I can't afford places like San Fran or San Diego, for example.Good Air quality and places with reasonable traffic with not too much road rage are important. I definitely want a more laid back vibe while still having a work ethic in the area. I lived in Port St Lucie for 15 months and it was absolutely horrible. Lots of red necks and a super unfriendly place. The thing that scares me about Las Cruces is the crime rates are higher than I like and even if I stay out of the sun as much as possible, I don't want to age quicker than I need to. It hasn't happened in FL because I mostly avoid the sun. Your description of Bella Vista makes me want to forget the place because as a former NY Jew (not religious), I feel like I won't fit in and the good old boys won't like me. So any other suggestions for a small city, maybe 100,000 where I might fit in and isn't killer expensive like Boulder would be nice. I even thought of Western NC, but then I realized I might have problems there too. I am really just trying to escape the rat race and live in a more peaceful place. I refuse to drive more than 2-3 MPH over the speed limit and it seems like almost everyone is tailgating me or trying to run me off the road in South Florida. Also, there are NO Jewish synagogues in Bella Vista. The closest one is in Bentonville and they only have services once a month when the rabbi comes in from Tulsa.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:35 AM
 
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For places that are more laidback/friendly, progressive in nature, with lower crime/less congested and that are desirable in terms of appearance I would point you toward college towns like Fort Collins, CO (home of Colorado State University, has much of Boulder's appeal without the sticker shock) or even more affordable options like Bloomington, IN (Indiana University) or Iowa City IA (University of Iowa) which are surprisingly quite progressive and diverse with friendly people.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:56 AM
 
5,819 posts, read 5,177,503 times
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I lived in Arkansas for nearly 4 years and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The reality is that every aspect of life there is dominated by fundamentalist christians. Granted, the fundamentalists like Jewish people (as opposed to anything else - agnostic, hindu, or etc.). Also, Bella Vista is a major retirement mecca, which influences the daily life and culture there.

Don't know a thing about Las Cruces.

Tell us what kind of weather you're willing to live with.

Last edited by 601halfdozen0theother; 11-02-2014 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 11-02-2014, 03:27 PM
 
1,640 posts, read 2,046,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTM View Post
8 to 32, thanks for that detailed response and also thanks to the others too. 8 to 32, perhaps you could make yet another suggestion. I'm age 50, single, no kids, and looking for a more peaceful environment than South Florida. I currently live in Boynton Beach and I have my bags packed. My job allows me to live anywhere I want, but I can't afford places like San Fran or San Diego, for example.Good Air quality and places with reasonable traffic with not too much road rage are important. I definitely want a more laid back vibe while still having a work ethic in the area. I lived in Port St Lucie for 15 months and it was absolutely horrible. Lots of red necks and a super unfriendly place. The thing that scares me about Las Cruces is the crime rates are higher than I like and even if I stay out of the sun as much as possible, I don't want to age quicker than I need to. It hasn't happened in FL because I mostly avoid the sun. Your description of Bella Vista makes me want to forget the place because as a former NY Jew (not religious), I feel like I won't fit in and the good old boys won't like me. So any other suggestions for a small city, maybe 100,000 where I might fit in and isn't killer expensive like Boulder would be nice. I even thought of Western NC, but then I realized I might have problems there too. I am really just trying to escape the rat race and live in a more peaceful place. I refuse to drive more than 2-3 MPH over the speed limit and it seems like almost everyone is tailgating me or trying to run me off the road in South Florida. Also, there are NO Jewish synagogues in Bella Vista. The closest one is in Bentonville and they only have services once a month when the rabbi comes in from Tulsa.
ZTM, I lived in Boca Raton for 12 years (1995-2007), so I greatly empathize with you. The good thing is that since South Florida is home to the rudest, angriest, most aggressive collective group of people in the entire nation, any place else will be an improvement in terms of basic respect, civility, and friendliness. I grew up in RI and, during my adult life, have lived in AZ, CA, GA, and TX in addition to South FL with family and close friends in many other states, and I say with resolute firmness that there are definitely way more deviant, creepy, angry, shady, ghetto, and just plain bizarre types in FL than anyplace else I've lived or traveled--that's not even up for debate, either.

Port St. Lucie has to be one of the most abysmal small cities in the US in terms of QOL, especially for a single middle-aged working professional. I couldn't imagine living there in retirement, let alone in my 40's or 50's. The lower COL and less congested atmosphere aren't worth it, IMO, not to mention it's fairly redneck, like you said. In all honesty, the only smaller city in FL that I would ever even consider is Naples, which is upscale and fairly cosmopolitan for small FL city. Very beautiful, too. Really the only area of FL I ever truly liked. But the economy truly leaves something to be desire, it's very seasonal, and the median age of residents is 60+.

Avoid Western NC, too, which isn't all that different from Northwest AR outside of Asheville--lots of narrow-minded religious fundamentalists with strong socially conservative attitudes and ideals who don't particularly care for "Yankees" all that much, either.

That said, I recommend Prescott, AZ--tolerant, open-minded people with a live-and-let-live attitude; no one cares what religion you are, who you sleep with, where you're from. Active, outdoors-oriented population--lots of people hike, bike, camp, fish, hunt, garden, kayak, horseback-ride, etc. Nature and the environment in general are very important and well-respected, unlike in the South. Very safe/low crime. Beautiful natural scenery and plenty of trees/greenery (if that's your thing--it's most people's). Very low humidity, lots of sunshine. On the warmer side, but has all four seasons and doesn't get extremely hot like the low desert areas (i.e., Phoenix, Tucson). Doesn't get too cold either, esp. compared to the Midwest, Northeast, and Upper South. They get some snow in the winter, but not much. It's got a cute little downtown and reasonable home prices. You can drive to Phoenix for things you really need on occasion--higher-end shopping, fine dining, pro sports, travel, more culture. It's also close to Flagstaff if you want more snow, mountains, winter sports, etc. as well as Sedona and the Grand Canyon for some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the United States.

Let me know if you have any other questions or shoot me a DM. Good luck,

8to32
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
6,839 posts, read 6,178,314 times
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If you were going to go to NW Arkansas, go to Fayetteville where the University is. It would be a better fit.

Las Cruces is ok, but it is kind of grungy, dry and brown. The University there is nice but there are only a few places in LC that I would consider "nice". Also, although the city of LC is 100K it is really about 200K as much of the developed area is in the county. It is cheap, the surrounding area is nice, Mesilla is a neat tourist area, El Paso is close for bigger city things.

All in all though, 8to32's suggestion of Prescott, AZ. Although I hear it's getting expensive to live there.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:07 PM
 
Location: USA
2,779 posts, read 6,683,064 times
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Prescott would be the place to check out IMO.
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