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Old 11-04-2010, 06:41 PM
 
9 posts, read 21,078 times
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Hi everyone! My name is Lori. My hubby and I are looking for a new place to live and ultimately retire. We are currently in Fort Worth, TX and we hate it here! I've lived here since I was 11 yrs old (for 28 yrs) but he's only been here for 2, and came from Wyoming. There are over 47,000 people just in my zip code alone, which is 3600+ people per sq mi, and it is growing by the second. The people here are selfish, discourteous, and there are way too many illegal immigrants (from all different countries). There is nowhere in this city you can go without people around. Nowhere...I've looked. The summers are blisteringly hot and the winters are completely unpredictable. There's no sense of community because everyone is out for themselves. We have a few charities and non-profits but no one really cares about anyone else here. The thought of getting away from all these people is the driving force behind my decision. I've had enough and I want out. <end of rant> lol

After all my research and borderline-obsessive fact finding, lol, we have decided on Decorah, IA. I have been able to find absolutely nothing bad about this place written anywhere. It seems too good to be true, and most things that seem that way usually are, which brings me to your forum. I've seen all the touristy websites and the carefully chosen words that would draw someone to Decorah, but I would like to hear from people who have actually lived there, or are currently living there for an honest opinion. This is a huge step, and I want to get as much info as I possibly can. There will be no driving up there to check it out beforehand. I am doing everything from my computer and phone, which includes finding a job, a place to live, utility connections, etc.

I've also read a lot of posts about people moving from a big city to a small town and ended up hating it. I've always disliked Fort Worth, but never really considered leaving it until about six years ago. I'm too old for the hustle and bustle of a big city but still young enough to yearn for SOME of the big city conveniences, like a Walmart and fast food joints. Decorah seems to have 98% of what we're looking for in a new place to live. I smile at the thought of a community rallying for a good cause, or helping paint background scenery for the local high school's annual play. How about driving down a country road and not passing 100 cars in a one mile stretch? Okay, that last one was an exaggeration, but you get I mean.

Is there anyone here who moved from a big city to Decorah, or a comparable small town in Iowa? What was your experience like?

Is it possible to make a decent living in Decorah without being rich before you get there? **We're just two regular hard-working "joes"; I do general office/admin type work (currently unemployed though) and he currently works for a convenience store (but can do light manual labor if need be).**

What are the winters like? (I don't mind cold weather one little bit so be honest)

What are the people like? Are they open to new residents or will they be more standoffish?

Does everyone in a small town really know everyone else's business or is that just a stereotype of a small town?

Is there anything random you want to just tell me about life in a small town?

I haven't been able to find any apartment complexes in Decorah, only basement and garage apartments, and houses. Am I just not looking in the right places?

I know this is a long post, but this is something I really, really need insight on. I've never done anything quite like this in my adult life as I'm not much on taking risks, and although my mother moved us around A LOT when I was little, I'm a bit terrified but overjoyed at the same time to be able to do something like this. My biggest concern is being able to make a living. All the other stuff will fall in place later. Before I wrote this I had a million questions, but now I've drawn a blank, lol.

Thanks for your responses, I will check back regularly to see what you guys have said. Have a blessed day!
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:22 PM
 
3,179 posts, read 2,533,462 times
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I don't live in Decorah but have been there several times and find it to be a very nice town. The job market is going to be like most towns that size, limited opportunities. Iowa does not have near the unemployment as a lot of other places so you should be able to find something. Minneapolis is less than 3 hours if you want a getaway to a big city.

As far as winters, no doubt about it they can be long and cold but bearable if you dress properly.

I would encourage to take a trip to Decorah and spend some time there before making the move. It is a big step and you want to get a better feel for the town in person and also a better idea of job market which is tough in this economy.

Jasper Hobbs
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:44 PM
 
9 posts, read 21,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasperhobbs View Post
I don't live in Decorah but have been there several times and find it to be a very nice town. The job market is going to be like most towns that size, limited opportunities. Iowa does not have near the unemployment as a lot of other places so you should be able to find something. Minneapolis is less than 3 hours if you want a getaway to a big city.

As far as winters, no doubt about it they can be long and cold but bearable if you dress properly.

I would encourage to take a trip to Decorah and spend some time there before making the move. It is a big step and you want to get a better feel for the town in person and also a better idea of job market which is tough in this economy.

Jasper Hobbs
Thanks Jasper, I have gone to the Iowa Workforce website and they have a few jobs in there that we both could do. I am concerned also about finding a job before we get there, as I don't imagine many people would hire someone without a face to face interview first.

I would love to visit Decorah first, but it's going to be hard enough to save the money that we will need when we get there (I'm currently unemployed), plus it's a 15+ hour drive from Fort Worth. If only I could win a few thousand in the lottery, lol!

Thanks for your reply. I have heard only good things about Decorah, and I'm very excited to have found it. I am keeping an open mind though, as I'm somewhat of a pessimist and I'm also making allowances for things I can't control.

Have a great weekend!
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:56 PM
 
221 posts, read 1,082,836 times
Reputation: 375
Default Decorah is wonderful!

HI -
Decorah really is one of those wonderful small American towns. Luther College is the dominant force in the economy, so that would be the first place for you to look for a clerical job. The college also creates the town's atmosphere - cool little restaurants and shops. There also is a nationally known museum (Vesterheim) and the wonderful Seed Savers, a farm and tourist destination which markets heirloom seeds.

If your husband is willing to work in a convenience store, he should be able to find a job just about anywhere. Yuck! And more power to him.

I don't think there ARE any big apartment complexes in Decorah. Wipe that kind of lifestyle from your city trained brain and look for a duplex or apartment in an old house - or even a teeny old house!

Finally, I don't think it is at all smart to move someplace you've never at least visited. Take a trip there to find an apartment. Looking for housing is a great way to learn about a community. You'll quickly be able to tell what an acceptable standard of living is there.

Don't expect to find Texas "friendliness". Seek out the kind of people who like to do what you do and you'll find friends.

I LOVE Decorah! Hmmmmm - maybe I should move back to that area!
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,729 posts, read 18,523,828 times
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I almost moved to Decorah a decade ago, to the point of having a business phone and an ad in the Yellow Pages. I visited it 2-3 times a month for a couple years. It's a great community. I like the size and nearly everything else about the town and the area. It has most of what you need without heavy city traffic. Housing costs were (a decade ago) higher than in most towns of that size, however. In the end I just couldn't leave Wyoming. I was raised in Iowa and moved to the west 40 years ago for the mountains. While NE Iowa has nice hills, it still has no mountains.

Winters are typical of upper midwest -- cold and snowy. Decorah isn't that far from the Minnesota border -- not really that far from Minneapolis, which means it's weather isn't much different either (although Decorah residents don't like to admit that). You can get this information more accurately online at a weather site.

Decorah isn't too small by small town standards. I don't know where in Wyoming your husband was from, but it's similar to Lander in size.

I too think you should make a trip to see it and maybe land a job and find a place to live before you commit to move there.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:02 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
30 posts, read 150,578 times
Reputation: 32
Hi Lori !
I live in New Mexico, but am also hoping to relocate to Iowa !! I have been looking for a couple of years for just the right small town. Decorah is definitely on my short list ! I have been there a couple of times, and get a really good feeling about it. The people seemed friendly and the town doesn't seem to be run down (like so many small towns are) The downtown area seems beautiful and vibrant !
I wish I could help you more, but I seem to be in the same boat you are ! It does get frustrating that I can't just "pop up" there more often to look around (it gets expensive !)
Hopefully someone on this site will be able to help us ! I've visited 95 of Iowa's 99 counties, so let me know if you want to know about other towns !! Good luck with your search !
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:43 PM
 
9 posts, read 21,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveIowa View Post
Hi Lori !
I live in New Mexico, but am also hoping to relocate to Iowa !! I have been looking for a couple of years for just the right small town. Decorah is definitely on my short list ! I have been there a couple of times, and get a really good feeling about it. The people seemed friendly and the town doesn't seem to be run down (like so many small towns are) The downtown area seems beautiful and vibrant !
I wish I could help you more, but I seem to be in the same boat you are ! It does get frustrating that I can't just "pop up" there more often to look around (it gets expensive !)
Hopefully someone on this site will be able to help us ! I've visited 95 of Iowa's 99 counties, so let me know if you want to know about other towns !! Good luck with your search !
Wow! 95 counties? That's incredible. You're seeing the same thing I'm seeing...Decorah is the place to be! I can't wait to get there. Are you driving up there, or flying? I was thinking that if you drive there, maybe we could carpool and split some expenses, but that's a long shot considering we're complete strangers. LOL! It was just a thought. Thanks for the info though. I'm hoping everything works out.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:42 PM
 
3,179 posts, read 2,533,462 times
Reputation: 7986
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveIowa View Post
Hi Lori !
I live in New Mexico, but am also hoping to relocate to Iowa !! I have been looking for a couple of years for just the right small town. Decorah is definitely on my short list ! I have been there a couple of times, and get a really good feeling about it. The people seemed friendly and the town doesn't seem to be run down (like so many small towns are) The downtown area seems beautiful and vibrant !
I wish I could help you more, but I seem to be in the same boat you are ! It does get frustrating that I can't just "pop up" there more often to look around (it gets expensive !)
Hopefully someone on this site will be able to help us ! I've visited 95 of Iowa's 99 counties, so let me know if you want to know about other towns !! Good luck with your search !
I am curious why you would want to move from New Mexico to Iowa? I have always thought New Mexico would be nice with much milder climate than Iowa.

Jasper
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Old 12-04-2010, 08:55 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
30 posts, read 150,578 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by delicia9999 View Post
Wow! 95 counties? That's incredible. You're seeing the same thing I'm seeing...Decorah is the place to be! I can't wait to get there. Are you driving up there, or flying? I was thinking that if you drive there, maybe we could carpool and split some expenses, but that's a long shot considering we're complete strangers. LOL! It was just a thought. Thanks for the info though. I'm hoping everything works out.
Hi Lori !

I'm not sure how I will visit Iowa next ? I'd like to visit before Christmas, but because of of possible weather issues I probably wouldn't drive, I might take the train then rent a car ! That was a good idea about "carpooling"! Maybe we can do that in warmer weather !! I do hope we can meet someday, It's exciting to meet an "outsider" that shares my Love for Iowa !! Please let me know about what you find out, and how your search is going !!
Jodi
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:04 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
30 posts, read 150,578 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasperhobbs View Post
I am curious why you would want to move from New Mexico to Iowa? I have always thought New Mexico would be nice with much milder climate than Iowa.

Jasper
Hi Jasper !

Well, the reason I am willing to give up the warm winters of New Mexico for Iowa is this - The wonderful people of Iowa !! There truly are no better people in the country !! (I've been to 48 states !!!) I know it might be hard to fit in at first (almost everyone I've met in Iowa are natives!!!) But I want to become a part of a community, and blend right in ,like I was born there !

I always enjoy reading your posts Jasper, you know so much about the state, and it seems you really Love it too !! Have a great day !

Jodi
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