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Old 01-01-2018, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,351 posts, read 4,818,730 times
Reputation: 5708

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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrykaren View Post
Thank you all.


We live in the "Boonies" now and tired of traveling 50 plus miles round trip for a supermarket, 60 plus miles for shopping and Hubbie traveling 57 miles each way for work- yep, 114 miles 5 days a week. We want small town living but it still has to be livable.


That's why I'd like an active "Main Street": a nice library (we are BIG readers and since we don't have cable TV, all we watch are movies in the evening),


farmers markets,


second hand stores, flea markets, antique stores,


a health food store, a nice hardware store/ lumber yard, a feed store (we don't feed supermarket dog/ cat food due to animal's food allergies, plus we are hoping to bring our 1 pet goat and 1 pet sheep with us)


friendly ppl,


a vet (we have 6 dogs and 4 cats-all rescues, some handicapped/ seniors/ medical problems, plus we will have a goat and a sheep),


access to dentist/ doctors and a nearby hospital,


a Walmart would be nice, or shopping in a nearby town,


parks, restaurants, town-wide activities, things to see and do.


We will be retired, so employment is not important to us, but we would like an area where other ppl can get jobs.


Thanks again and keep the info coming. Maybe some info on quality of life. Thanks.

Welcome to the majority of small towns around Des Moines. There are many other nice small towns in Iowa that are nice and have amenities you're looking for, but are too far away from the full access to hospitals, dentists, doctors, and multiple choices in shopping. Examples being for example Atlantic, Creston, Carroll, Oskaloosa, Shenandoah, and Spirit Lake (living by the Iowa Great Lakes would be cool though).


As mentioned, if you're strong in your liberal views, it's either Des Moines or the eastern sliver of Iowa for you.
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Old 01-01-2018, 10:44 AM
 
870 posts, read 805,575 times
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Thanks everyone. Great ideas/ info.
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:59 PM
 
5,926 posts, read 5,418,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgg View Post
Welcome to the majority of small towns around Des Moines. There are many other nice small towns in Iowa that are nice and have amenities you're looking for, but are too far away from the full access to hospitals, dentists, doctors, and multiple choices in shopping. Examples being for example Atlantic, Creston, Carroll, Oskaloosa, Shenandoah, and Spirit Lake (living by the Iowa Great Lakes would be cool though). As mentioned, if you're strong in your liberal views, it's either Des Moines or the eastern sliver of Iowa for you.
I lived in Oskaloosa. The town has a good hospital, plenty of doctors and dentists, and several excellent veterinarians (who I still miss.) There was regular big box shopping and even some nice specialty shops and restaurants. No need to go anywhere near Des Moines! It was an easy drive to DM when wanted, though.

Even though I mostly enjoyed Osky, I can't recommend it to OP due to the "Southernness" of the religious and political attitudes there.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,351 posts, read 4,818,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
I lived in Oskaloosa. The town has a good hospital, plenty of doctors and dentists, and several excellent veterinarians (who I still miss.) There was regular big box shopping and even some nice specialty shops and restaurants. No need to go anywhere near Des Moines! It was an easy drive to DM when wanted, though.

Even though I mostly enjoyed Osky, I can't recommend it to OP due to the "Southernness" of the religious and political attitudes there.

Oskaloosa's at least 60 miles from Des Moines. A little far for what I considered handy in relation to Des Moines. I'm sure the small town hospital is pretty good, but you're not going have proximity to specialists or having many options at all. It is a lot closer to Ottumwa, but I wouldn't call that an ideal hub town.


Oskaloosa is a nice clean decent size town though. That's why I mentioned it.


To me if you get anywhere south of Hwy. 34, you're getting into a Missouri type feel. Quite conservative with a little local southern twang to the speech.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:12 PM
 
5,935 posts, read 14,287,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgg View Post
Oskaloosa's at least 60 miles from Des Moines. A little far for what I considered handy in relation to Des Moines. I'm sure the small town hospital is pretty good, but you're not going have proximity to specialists or having many options at all. It is a lot closer to Ottumwa, but I wouldn't call that an ideal hub town.


Oskaloosa is a nice clean decent size town though. That's why I mentioned it.


To me if you get anywhere south of Hwy. 34, you're getting into a Missouri type feel. Quite conservative with a little local southern twang to the speech.
Lived down there very briefly many years ago. The locals called it "Lapland"--where Missouri laps up into Iowa.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Iowa
11 posts, read 9,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrykaren View Post
We are looking for a Mayberry type town, with an active (and useable) Main Street, with stores and restaurants. We want to be near a good hospital. A health food store is a plus.


We want a safe area with friendly ppl. WE are liberal, but even now here in upstate NY, we have conservative friends. We like everyone and want to be friends with everyone.


It seems a town like Winterset would fit the bill in terms of the way it looks. How is Winterset? Any other towns like it?


Also, being from NY we are use to snow and cold, but how are the winters in Iowa? How about other weather? Heat? Tornados? Flooding?


How is the COL? It seems cheaper than even the south, which we really don't like at all.


Thanks everyone. All info, good and bad, is welcome.
Fairfield definitely fits all your criteria. It has lots of various ethnic restaurants due to the university in town as well as the standard ones. If you want more upscale restaurants, you are within an hour of a larger urban city in one direction and an hour and a half in the other. It has an excellent hospital and a grocery store that only deals with organics foods.

It is also a very liberal town and has a thriving art scene and community events. When I lived there, it was on every politicians punch list of must visit towns so I got to shake hands with the presidential candidates during my time living there. COL is extremely cheap.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,215 posts, read 17,166,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Around View Post
Lived down there very briefly many years ago. The locals called it "Lapland"--where Missouri laps up into Iowa.
Lapland is actually south of Highway 2. It gets its name because of a border dispute resulting from unclear language in the Missouri state constitution that led to both states claiming a swath about 10 miles wide for a few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lthenderson View Post
It is also a very liberal town and has a thriving art scene and community events. When I lived there, it was on every politicians punch list of must visit towns so I got to shake hands with the presidential candidates during my time living there. COL is extremely cheap.
Fairfield probably has more liberals per capita than most small towns in Iowa, but calling it a "very liberal town" based on that fact is a mischaracterization. It's really a mixed bag.

The quirkiness and multiculturalism of the TM community gives the town sort of a liberalesque vibe, but politically those folks are very independent and mostly lean to the right except on certain issues like war and the environment. In 2016 most of those folks had Bernie Sanders signs in their yards, but in 2012 the same lawns were peppered with images of Ron Paul. Two men at opposite ends of the political spectrum whose ideological paths only cross on the issue of ending our perpetual state of war which is a major issue of the TM crowd.

Most of the "locals", those whose roots were planted in the area generations ago, tend to lean to the conservative side. But like most Iowans they don't tattoo their political leanings on their foreheads. They may be firm in their beliefs, but they're more interested in maintaining civil relationships with their neighbors than trying to prove that they are right so they they tend to keep it to themselves unless directly challenged.

The true liberals are mostly latecomers attracted to various aspects of the TM movement without fully being a part of that movement. The university offers programs in areas like sustainable living and organic agriculture which have great appeal to "old hippies". Not being natives for the most part, they're more likely to wear their (figurative) blue bandanas around their foreheads than most Iowans. This makes them more visible and adds to the perception that Fairfield is more left-leaning than it really is.

I don't live in Fairfield, but I live close and have many friends there, mostly part of the artistic community (which I take part in myself from time-to-time). It's really a wonderful, welcoming, affordable town for anyone regardless of their political leanings.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:17 AM
 
1,706 posts, read 1,316,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrykaren View Post
That's why I'd like an active "Main Street": a nice library (we are BIG readers and since we don't have cable TV, all we watch are movies in the evening),


farmers markets

a health food store, a nice hardware store/ lumber yard, a feed store (we don't feed supermarket dog/ cat food due to animal's food allergies, plus we are hoping to bring our 1 pet goat and 1 pet sheep with us)

a vet (we have 6 dogs and 4 cats-all rescues, some handicapped/ seniors/ medical problems, plus we will have a goat and a sheep),


access to dentist/ doctors and a nearby hospital,
I wholeheartedly second Iowa City. Marvelous library, good quality locally owned restaurants, and lots of university-sponsored events. The one negative- and this is a big one- is that you must be extremely careful about choosing a veterinarian. I ran into two truly frighteningly scary vets in Iowa City, one of whom is hopefully out of business and the second who opened a bright shiny vet hospital with subpar care. Carefully research your vets.

Otherwise, IC ticks all your boxes- great medical care at university hospital and clinics, wonderful farmer's market, great food coop, and really nice people.

I miss IC and sometimes think I made a big mistake leaving.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:22 AM
 
5 posts, read 4,124 times
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I’ve lived in Iowa City for 5 years and love it. I would not live anywhere else in Iowa other than maybe Des Moines. I agree that it does tick all your boxes. It’s a very progressive area with new construction constantly occurring, whether it’s commercial or residential or both. The only thing I don’t like is the amount of traffic at all hours of the day and night. It’s one thing that really surprised me about moving here and has been somewhat of an adjustment for me.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Clarksville, IA
1 posts, read 1,236 times
Reputation: 10
Default Iowa

Quote:
Originally Posted by countrykaren View Post
Hubbie and I will be retiring in a few years. We've looked at other states....need I say it?.....Florida, and the southeast for retirement and it doesn't seem to be our thing.

We are looking for a Mayberry type town, with an active (and useable) Main Street, with stores and restaurants. We want to be near a good hospital. A health food store is a plus.

We want a safe area with friendly ppl. WE are liberal, but even now here in upstate NY, we have conservative friends. We like everyone and want to be friends with everyone.

It seems a town like Winterset would fit the bill in terms of the way it looks. How is Winterset? Any other towns like it?

Also, being from NY we are use to snow and cold, but how are the winters in Iowa? How about other weather? Heat? Tornados? Flooding?

How is the COL? It seems cheaper than even the south, which we really don't like at all.

Thanks everyone. All info, good and bad, is welcome.

A very small town WITH numerous stores and restaurants in Iowa is going to be tricky. I recommend a town with at least 6000 or so residents. I live in a town of 1500 and we barely have a grocery store, two bars, and one Casey's. If you live off the interstate you may get a Subway or Hardees in.

We aren't as divided as the coasts, as Iowa is a pretty split state. Being liberal in Iowa isn't quite like being a liberal in New York or Massachusetts though. A bit more moderate leaning I would say. Universities would be an exception.

As a conservatarian, I would recommend Northeast Iowa such as the Decorah area, Southeast Iowa such as the Iowa City or Coralville area, or the Des Moines area. Pella is a very charming town with Dutch architecture and festivals. Very walkable.

Iowa is VERY cold (Mostly zone 5) and in one of only two regions on earth not experiencing warming. It's April and we still have 20s and snow in the forecast. This isnt normal, but then again, Iowa doesnt really have a "normal" weather pattern. VERY variable from year to year. Winters tend to be very dark and gloomy. Our latitude means the sun sets around 4:30 for a couple weeks in winter.

Flooding seems to increase as years go by. Absolutely devastating floods for those along the river have been occurring as of late. We seem to be in a pattern of relatively cool summers too. I remember VERY humid summers as a child, but it seems we have cooler summers every year, aside from maybe a week or 2 of 100° heat indices. Tornadoes are very common in Iowa. Most of the state is in tornado alley, and you may expect to be in a tornado warning at least once or twice every year.

Last edited by iowarizona; 04-08-2018 at 01:02 AM..
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