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Old 11-06-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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I am hoping to get a little insight into living and working in rural and small town Iowa.

First some background. Currently I live in a small town in Missouri near Kansas City. I've been in this area for several years and have noted that people are unpleasant to put it mildly. Outsiders seem to be viewed with suspicion especially if they are friendly and people start vicious rumors that can ruin someone's reputation. I have lived in rural towns in Maine and Minnesota and also western Kansas and did not really experience the same issues in those areas.

I may need to make a move out of Missouri soon because it appears as though my current job is in a tenuous state. If that happens and I cannot transfer with the company to another office then I will have to leave Missouri for greener pastures.

In past years I've had people recommend Iowa to me as a place to live and work and now it appears as though this idea is worth exploring. Any input on these subjects is appreciated!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:30 PM
 
Location: IN
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Decorah is a good small town. I prefer the driftless region of Iowa. Dubuque is a smaller city, but has many nice areas outside of town as well. It is heavier on the dairy side which gives it a bit more of a Wisconsin feel. Dubuque is a bit tougher for outsiders.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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What is the Driftless Region if Iowa? I've never heard about it.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Driftless Area - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It's the really beautiful hilly part of Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota/Illinois where the glaciers never flattened everything. Comparable to the foothills of Appalachia or the Black Hills. Decorah is a town of about 8k right in the middle of the most dramatic part of the Driftless in Iowa.

(from flickr)
Very heavy Norwegian influence there, and it's a liberal, forward-thinking college town for the most part. Because of all the college students and families, they aren't really leery of outsiders.

Other places to consider... Storm Lake, Dubuque, Iowa City (larger metro), Mason City, Clear Lake, maybe Charles City.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
Driftless Area - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It's the really beautiful hilly part of Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota/Illinois where the glaciers never flattened everything. Comparable to the foothills of Appalachia or the Black Hills. Decorah is a town of about 8k right in the middle of the most dramatic part of the Driftless in Iowa.

(from flickr)
Very heavy Norwegian influence there, and it's a liberal, forward-thinking college town for the most part. Because of all the college students and families, they aren't really leery of outsiders.

Other places to consider... Storm Lake, Dubuque, Iowa City (larger metro), Mason City, Clear Lake, maybe Charles City.
Great scenery! My mother's family is Swedish and we have a couple of Norwegians and Danes that married into the family.

Scandinavian culture still embraces independent thinking and activities. Thus all of the great skiers seem to come from those countries and a similar heritage in this country. :-) Sounds like being a non conformist in Iowa will be less of a problem than in Missouri.

How about the Ames area? I like the hiking trails in nearby Boone.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:58 PM
 
Location: IN
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Ames is home to Iowa State University- so it is a large college town. It is right up the road from Des Moines if you want all the bigger city amenities.

NE Iowa in the Driftless Region is very rural by comparison. If you are used to a more rural lifestyle than I would definitely recommend it. Also, cities like Madison, Rochester, and LaCrosse are a fairly short drive away.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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^Don't forget the Twin Cities! It's about as close to Minneapolis-St. Paul as it is to Madison.

I honestly don't like Ames much. It always strikes me as sort of dreary. But like GraniteStater said, it's close to Des Moines, and there's nothing inherently wrong with it. I don't know if I would call it a "small town," though.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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I've only passed through Ames a couple of times over to Ledges State Park in Boone. People were definitely much friendlier than in Missouri.

Dubuque seems like a very unique little city in your region. I just did some research on the place and I like what I found. It seems as though it is a city of higher intellect in that real culture and not bars is the primary way that people like to spend their spare time. I like the terrain and it is likely I can find some good hiking trails in the area.

I'll start looking into some of the other cities that you've both mentioned.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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Le Claire on the Mississippi river has turned into a real charming little town. In the 80's it seemed pretty beat up and trashy. Now it's had a full face lift and seems like a place to be.

It's close to the Quad Cities, about 15 miles or so, close enough that it doesn't have that isolated feel and small town mentality, but far enough away that it's still it's own town and not a suburb.

If you've ever seen the tv show 'American Pickers', Le Claire is where they have their home base/retail shop.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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Have you checked out the Mt Vernon / Lisbon areas?
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