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Old 01-14-2014, 04:00 PM
2,371 posts, read 2,393,109 times
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Hello there, I am retired, military. Living in a large congested, way overcrowded city in the PNW. I am considering a move to Decorah, as it is on my short list of places I am researching for retirement. I am single, with no kids, and can go anywhere I want. Please tell me about these things:

Crime in Decorah?

Are people friendly? I am Christian and go to church

Is it good for dating? Are there mature single women in the area for friendship and dating?

Are the winters worse then say, in Maine? or North Dakota?

Is it pretty there?

How is the VA outpatient clinic there if anyone knows?

How is the housing market right now there?

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Old 01-15-2014, 02:23 AM
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,908,975 times
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I live in Decorah. It's a beautiful town with a ton of culture, spectacular scenery, and wonderful people. Absolutely one of the hidden gems of the United States.

Crime is virtually nonexistent. The worst stuff is usually just harmless drunk college students. You could leave your doors unlocked 24/7 and you would probably never have an issue as long as you didn't advertise it.

People are incredibly friendly. The community in Decorah is vibrant and lively and very very welcoming.

Decorah has an enormous ELCA (Lutheran) community. There are three ELCA Lutheran Churches in or near downtown and many more in the surrounding rural areas. There are also Catholic, Episcopal, Unitarian, UCC, Methodist, and non-denominational churches close to the center of town. There's even a Zen Buddhist Temple close by.

As far as dating, it's a town of 8000 people, so you'll have to take what you get.

Winters are much better than North Dakota. Probably a bit colder than Maine, but not as snowy. Decorah winters are basically the same as winters in Minneapolis. You'll come to realize that Decorah sort of functions as the southernmost exurb of Minneapolis - people don't commute, obviously, but the cultural and geographical and political influence is immense.

It is gorgeous here every day of every year (all my own pictures):

I don't know anything about the VA Hospital, sorry! And it's a small town, so the housing market is not booming, but it's not in decay either.

Some other things about Decorah:
*it's very granola; lots of aging hippies
*it's a college town, so doubly liberal
*outdoor recreation is big, lots of parks and trails and river stuff
*quite a few amazing restaurants - way more than you would expect in a town this size or even twice this size.
*Luther College is internationally known for its music program, and its orchestra and choirs are among the best in the country
*this also means Luther/Decorah gets a lot of big cultural exposure (e.g. nationally televised Christmas concert; president visits; two years ago the king and queen of Norway were here, etc.)
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:32 PM
204 posts, read 360,282 times
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those pictures are beautiful..I too am looking at Decorah, we have 4 small children, I will be mostly on my own and my hubz will travel for work. I like the word "safe" in your description. I want to live in a town were I can get to know ppl. easily and make friends. I will need the support and help with the kids..I mean carpooling to practice etc. Is Decorah like this? "where everybody knows your name" I really want to feel like we belong... how are the schools if you know...only thing we are not liberal in our views..but can roll with anyone! thanks
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:24 PM
Location: Minneapolis
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Decorah would be a fantastic place for you and your family. It sounds like it's just what you're looking for. Like I said, the community in Decorah is very tight-knit and vibrant. You'll be welcome no matter what your political views are.

I also can't recommend the schools highly enough. I know a bunch of DHS graduates and a bunch of people who teach in the Decorah district and a bunch of people with kids in Decorah schools. Some of the best people I know.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:38 AM
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thank you so much...I was hoping you would get back to me! I appreciate it. We have middle school and elem. both so I figured I would meet ppl. that way. We wouldn't be heading out till the summer, I don't see many rental homes in Decorah..so I have started to look on the outskirts a bit..places called...Highlandville,Waukon, I know NOTHING about these places either any suggestions/opinions on these or other towns on the outskirts? thanks again
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:10 AM
Location: Minneapolis
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I've never even heard of Highlandville, but a quick Google search tells me it has a population of 35. Yikes!

Waukon is a bigger town about 20-30 minutes from Decorah and about half the size. It's perfectly fine, there's nothing wrong with it, but it is in a different school district (Allamakee County), and Decorah schools are much better. If you're okay with a different school district, the other bigger surrounding towns are Cresco, Calmar, and Ossian. Decorah is the biggest town for like a 40-mile radius, so it naturally has a a very big commercial and cultural pull.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:23 PM
204 posts, read 360,282 times
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thanks I will look into the others..I don't want to ride 20-30 minutes everytime I need something with 4 kids that could be a REAL hassle real quick.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:26 PM
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My family (me, husband, 4 children, and a grandbaby) moved to a farm about 15 miles from Decorah (close to Calmar) We have been here since September and I can offer a few insights.
The people in Decorah are friendly and welcoming as long as you put yourself out there. If you inquire about the town or their family, job, etc most are more than happy to visit.
There are two distinct types of folks here. There are the crunchy types who shop at the Co-op (which we love by the way) and there are the local types that never wander far from Wal-Mart. We shop at both places. We found a delightful local gal who we buy chickens from. It is very easy to know your farmer here.
People will do amazing things just because it's the right thing to do. The man from up the road plowed our driveway on Christmas night! Wow!
I cannot speak of the schools, we are a home school family. I can say that there are no shortage of churches. While we are not yet members of a church, my kids attend an awesome youth group in Decorah.
My husband also travels and initially I was a little worried about being in the country with the kids. It has been fine. Our land lord is great.
If there is anything else I can help with, send a message! We are always happy to cook a meal for new friends
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:45 PM
204 posts, read 360,282 times
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thank you so much for all the insight! I feel better about our possible move. I figured we would have to be a bit outside of Decorah. Looks like we are in the same boat with hubz who travel and four little kids at home. I'll keep you posted on our plans, and may take you up on that meal!
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:51 PM
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Good luck! Oh be sure to look at Decorahnow.com. There are sometimes houses there!
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