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Old 04-10-2010, 07:56 AM
 
80 posts, read 94,789 times
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My family is trying to figure out whether or not we would be happy moving from a large metropolis to the small town of Oxford, MS.

We've been to visit and enjoyed the very friendly people and a potential wonderful career. The University itself was beautiful but the rest of the town wasn't much. There were very nice homes intermixed with blighted lots and a town square that was fun for one visit. Homes are either very expensive or very cheap with postage stamp sized yards however nothing inbetween unless you're willing to move way out of town away from people.

Everyone talks how wonderful this city is but we just don't get it. We don't hunt or fish and we're not into college sports. We have young children and the schools are great but we are worried about what fun things we could enjoy with them. Are we going to be miserable?
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Madison, MS
64 posts, read 226,525 times
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Sounds like you mind is already made up. I myself can't imagine the culture shock of moving froma large city to a small southern town. But I grew up in one so I don't know much deifferent. Culturally speaking, I would say Oxford has as much to offer as any MS town. Great schools, art, dining, moderate shopping, etc.
You have to realize that there is more to moving to a town than watching college sports, participating in outdoor sports (hunting, fishing). It's about becoming part of the community, finding that niche group that enjoys what you do and building on that common interest, improving it for the next person that moves to Oxford with the same fears you have now.
Good luck on whatever decison you make, keep us informed. I can think of a lot worse places to move in MS than Oxford (and that comes from a MSU fan :-))
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I grew up around Starkville, not Oxford, so I can't specifically comment on Oxford. My family doesn't hunt or fish, and we were never into college sports. However, with a university, you have access to art exhibits, theatre, music, and more. The college will provide a lot of opportunities for entertainment though not always professional (much will be done by students, of course). Also, you aren't far from Memphis so if you want more culture, you can go there.

You're very vague about which major city you're from so it's difficult to predict your enjoyment / hatred level. I think I can say, in general, if you hail from NYC, Chicago, Boston, D.C., LA, etc, I think you will feel lost. Oxford does not have the history, arts, and science to the extent that these cities offer. If you're from a smaller big city (Cincinnati, St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, Albuquerque, etc), you may still feel "bored" or stifled. If you aren't really wanting to slow down and take it easy, if you aren't ready to give up the traffic and mass access to museums, theatre, concerts, zoos, etc; then you might want to rethink your decision.

I grew up in MS and spent 6 years living within commuting distance to NYC. We are in TN now, and I miss the access to Philly, Boston, DC, NYC. I miss the museums, the crazy-awesome shopping (can find ANYTHING in NYC), the Broadway shows, and rich colonial history of the NE. However, it's a mindset adjustment. Nothing more. We tour Civil War battlefields, go to the local museums, shop in local arty stores, hike and camp. We drive to Nashville or Atlanta for a show or the zoo. We save mad-money down here and are able to visit the major cities we love so much.

As far as your children, I'm sure they will become involved in their school's activities (sports, arts, choir, band, cheerleading, plays, etc). In the south parents, for the most part, get really involved with their kids' "events". This will keep you very busy and give you lots of time with them.

I think it comes down to a simple question: are you willing to let go of the "big city" life to embrace something a little simpler? It's fine if you aren't. I have friends who could never and would never leave NYC. If you are ready, though, Oxford is a nice town, and having the University is a huge plus.

Best of luck in your decision-making. I'm sure you'll make the right choice for your family.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:18 AM
 
80 posts, read 94,789 times
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We're back & forth. The schools, job opportunity and the friendliness of the people are great positives. What we are struggling with is how everyone brags up this town but never has specifics. Just as you said yourself, great art, dining & shopping but how far does that go? How many times do people eat out and then shop? Everyone we spoke with talked about great tailgating, hunting & fishing but it's not part of who we are. Is that all that there is? I'm more worried about what we can enjoy with our very young children. The town square is nice for a visit maybe once or twice a year.

Edit - Peppermint, just saw your post and that helps alot. Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:29 PM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,592,290 times
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I wish I could be more specific about things to do in Oxford. I just don't know the town that well. At MSU (in Starkville) there were spring and fall concerts, theatre performances, lots and lots and seminars (which nerdy me enjoyed), and all kinds of exhibits / events (art, 4-H, and more). MSU is the agriculture college and Ole Miss is the business / law college so I don't know how things will differ. Also, Starkville (and I'm sure Oxford) has an orchestra and a community theatre. Downtown Oxford probably has boutiques and art studios, which I think are fun. There are probably some parks or greenways affiliated with the university so you and the kids can play there. There are little league teams, dance studios and places for your children to take music classes.

It's a tough decision to downsize your town. I actually cried when we left PA. I didn't want to do it, but it's turned out just fine.

Again, best of luck and let us know what you decide.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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Oh dear--be careful. I moved to MS from Philadelphia. Though I am quite happy here now, it is exactly as you stated. To some people the Square in Oxford is something great and yet really how many times do you want to walk around one little square? The posters answering your question are right on the money. What lifestyle do you want? Do you want to exchange the pros and cons of the city for the pros and cons of the genteel Southern lifestyle and the things abouit the move that appeal? If so, then you must be prepared for the adjustment and going through the stages of culture shock. Read about them. Face it and then when you get comfortable you will have achieved your goal. But go into it with full awareness of the changes you must struggle with.

The advantages of the city do have counterpart advantages in small town life--as you seem to understand. Let me mention that if you have a good income, it is quite possible to have your cake and eat it too. The museums and shows and bright lights are only a plane ride away. With the internet now you can order anything you might miss like for me Tastycakes and Shoo-Fly pie. What a tough decision!
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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I'd just like to point out that, in my opinion, much of this discussion has focused way too much on externalities. If you want culture and activities don't forget Oxford is also just a short drive from Memphis or Jackson or even Pigeon Forge or New Orleans. But that really has little to do with day to day life.

The daily reality is this: big city means money. It means hours perhaps sitting in traffic. It means living in town near everything or living in the suburbs and having a boring, aggravating commute. Why are you considering moving away from your present city life?

Small town life means being free of the culture of big city life. OK so you got no museums (that most folks never visit anyway) or Symphony halls or opera - for as much as most folks do these things, big deal. But it's not as if small towns have no libraries, or summer concerts in the town square, or school plays. A town like Oxford, especially, is going to have a great library where you can obtain virtually any book you could know to ask for, if perhaps after a short wait for it to arrive from another library. If you're near town you'll still have broadband internet access.

But more importantly, you have TIME. That's what it's all about. Instead of spending time commuting, time to spend with your kids. Rather than worrying about what sort of social activities you can find to occupy their budding type A neurosis, you can let them play in the yard with other kids from the street and not have to worry who's going to lure them away or offer them drugs. This "slow lifestyle" you are imagining as something of a liability is actually the REASON for choosing a small town. I live in a town not even a tenth the size of Oxford and I absolutely love it. I hated country living but being in town, just minutes from conveniences but also three blocks from the high school (meaning I'm in a safe, well policed area) I find is an excellent balance.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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We lived in Oxford for three years. We are also a former military now federal government family, so we've lived all over the world. My family is originally from North Mississippi.

Pros: It's a college town and that makes it kind of fun! If you don't like football now, you might be surprised at how quickly you learn to love the Rebs!

Housing prices and cost of living. Yes, Oxford is more expensive than the rest of Mississippi. But compared to the rest of the country it is cheap as hell! I was amazed at the house we could buy for such an insanely small amount of money.

It's very, very safe.

The weather is nice if you are ok with hot summers.

It's very quiet most of the time, especially if you live several miles from campus.

No traffic. Well, people from Oxford and other small towns will complain about the traffic in Oxford. Let them hang out in Northern Virginia for a few days! Despite what you hear, other than on big game weekends, there is no real traffic.

Fun stuff to do year round at the University. Summer concerts at the Grove. Productions at the Ford Center. Art Festivals. The Double Decker Festival. I could go on and on.

For the most part folks are very friendly.

Cons: And yes, Oxford...you do have some cons!

Schools aren't great despite what you may have heard. They are very good compared to the rest of Mississippi. They are horrible compared to the rest of the country. I had kids in elementary, middle, and high in Oxford. I was very disappointed in the schools. But, I was used to Fairfax County Virginia type of schools, so my standards were very high.

No shopping other than the little stores on the square. You'll have to head to Memphis or to Tupelo to get to a mall.

Very few really good restaurants. There are some, but not many.

If you don't like hot weather (and I do), you'll be miserable during the summer because it gets hot!

I am back in Oxford frequently because our oldest is at Ole Miss. And we have lots and lots of family in the area. I love going back to visit. But honestly, as much as I love Oxford, I couldn't live there again...at least not as long as my kids are young.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:52 PM
 
1,354 posts, read 3,942,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poptones View Post
I'd just like to point out that, in my opinion, much of this discussion has focused way too much on externalities. If you want culture and activities don't forget Oxford is also just a short drive from Memphis or Jackson or even Pigeon Forge or New Orleans. But that really has little to do with day to day life.

The daily reality is this: big city means money. It means hours perhaps sitting in traffic. It means living in town near everything or living in the suburbs and having a boring, aggravating commute. Why are you considering moving away from your present city life?

Small town life means being free of the culture of big city life. OK so you got no museums (that most folks never visit anyway) or Symphony halls or opera - for as much as most folks do these things, big deal. But it's not as if small towns have no libraries, or summer concerts in the town square, or school plays. A town like Oxford, especially, is going to have a great library where you can obtain virtually any book you could know to ask for, if perhaps after a short wait for it to arrive from another library. If you're near town you'll still have broadband internet access.

But more importantly, you have TIME. That's what it's all about. Instead of spending time commuting, time to spend with your kids. Rather than worrying about what sort of social activities you can find to occupy their budding type A neurosis, you can let them play in the yard with other kids from the street and not have to worry who's going to lure them away or offer them drugs. This "slow lifestyle" you are imagining as something of a liability is actually the REASON for choosing a small town. I live in a town not even a tenth the size of Oxford and I absolutely love it. I hated country living but being in town, just minutes from conveniences but also three blocks from the high school (meaning I'm in a safe, well policed area) I find is an excellent balance.
Oh my poptones--where to begin. Just because youi hardly ever go to museums or take in the opera you need to know that many people with access to these activities enjoy them immensely and go to such regularly. When I lived in Philadelphia every Sunday was a journey through fascinating
historical, cultural, or ouitdoor adventures. There are people who can tell the difference between a local school production and a major theater experience.
Art films, world-class symphonies, lectures by prominent researchers, scientists, historians, and world leaders are ongoing at all times. And one can live in a major city without long commutes or crowded slum conditions. There are convenient areas with parks and gardens and good puiblic transport.

That doesn't mean places like Oxford don't have appeal. But your analysis doesn't cut it.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:51 PM
 
1,183 posts, read 2,775,394 times
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Quote:
That doesn't mean places like Oxford don't have appeal. But your analysis doesn't cut it.
Very true. I like Oxford. But I desperately missed many, many things about living in the DC area.

Poptones, our neighborhood here in Northern Virginia is every bit as safe as our neighborhood in Oxford was. We have literally zero crime in our area. DC has crime. But many of the communities surrounding it are completely safe.

My kids play outside all the time. I don't have to worry about them because I know most of my neighbors very well. There is no boogie man waiting to lure them away. You might want to get out more. It's a big world out there and not all of it is scary.

You don't think people visit museums? Really? Because we go to the Smithsonian Museums several times a month. I've never seen them when they weren't full of people. Those of us who live in or near larger metropolitan areas certainly do take advantage of museums, symphony, theater, etc.... I can't begin to describe how much I missed that stuff while living in Mississippi.

Oxford isn't a bad place to live. But if you are used to jumping in the car and having your choice of four or five huge malls within a few miles, you'll be in for a shock. If you are used to going to a real museum, you won't find that in Oxford. And if you are season ticket holders to a larger symphony or theatre group, you'll have to be satisfied with college level performances. Ole Miss does a great job with that stuff. But it's not the same as attending a professional performance by a world class orchestra.

Don't move to Oxford with unrealistic expectations. It's a town built around a college. If you live in the city of Oxford, you will be living in a college town. If you live out in Lafayette county, you will be living with good 'ole boys. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Like I said, my roots are deep in Mississippi. My entire family still lives there.

Oxford is the only place I would even consider living in Mississippi. It's a great little college town. Before you move, just make sure it's what you want.
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