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Moving to the Ozarks

14 years ago

This isn't a specifically a gardening question although a garden is a part of my plans when my husband and I figure out where to settle. We have friends in St. Louis whom we'd like to be close to and are thinking of settling in the Ozarks. I've read a bit about the "Ozark Mountains" but wonder whether the actual Ozark Mountains are anywhere within driving distance of St.Louis.

Can anyone let me know if the idea of living in the Ozark Mountains and still being within driving distance of St. Louis is possible? Also, any recomendations on a good book which will help me to get a handle on the Ozarks and all of its regions? Thanks in advance, AmyJean

Comments (11)

  • ceresone
    14 years ago

    Its roughly 200 miles from here to St. Louis, and I think some are disheartened to find our mountains arent like the Rockies.Since we're one of the oldest, if not the oldest mountain chain, some people think we're more like hills--except our gullies are deeper. LOL Now, when you go 63 hwy down the Hardy Hills, you'll know you're in the Ozarks.
    I've always been told that the plateau ends, and the mountains start at Cedar Gap on 60 hwy, and south of Rolla on 63 hwy.
    Welcome to the hills--and the forum. I'm sure other will have different opinions, thats what makes this a excellent forum

  • gldno1
    14 years ago

    I have had people ask me where are the mountains and I tell them you have to go further south(away from St. Louis) to find them! We live in the Springfield, Mo. area and our son lives in the St. Louis area. It is a 4 hour trip for them.
    You need to come down and look around and see what appeals to you.

  • pamcrews
    14 years ago

    Hi Amyjean. I'm living at the Lake of the Ozarks. Wonderful place with lots of rolling hills. Love living around the lake but in the winter time alot of the smaller businesses that really survive from the tourist close up for the winter. Hearing from the local old timers this area is growing fast and now more places stay open than close. I transplanted here from Florida approximately 3 years ago. Miss my tropical gardening but love the seasons. Good Luck!

  • christie_sw_mo
    14 years ago

    The map I linked below shows an outline of the Ozarks and it's broken down into different regions. I'm in the Springfield Plateau Region and it's not very hilly around Springfield as someone said.

    As you can see from the map, "the Ozarks" extends almost all the way up to St. Louis. You may want to Google some of the towns south and southwest of St. Louis to find out more about them if you need to look up information like jobs and schools. You may want to look up real estate listings and compare the price of homes in different areas. I know I've seen websites that have statistics on things like crime rates and poverty too. There's a lot to consider isn't there! Hope you find the perfect place.
    Welcome to the Ozarks forum. : )

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • sunnyside1
    14 years ago

    Amyjean, I think you will enjoy this region. I lived in St. Louis for several years and it's 5 hours down I-44 to Joplin. The magic of Joplin or towns this size is that you can get anywhere in 10-15 minutes or so. No driving 30 minutes to get on an interstate to get somewhere! I lived in big cities for 21 years and boy, they can't hold a candle to Eureka Springs, Arkansas (do try to see that!), Tablerock Lake and even beautiful Oklahoma.
    I wish you good luck. Let us know where you eventually land, okay?

  • amyjean
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thank you everyone for responding to my post and for the ideas. We will schedule a trip this spring to find out more about the area. One of my impressions is that the Ozarks would be beautiful in the Springtime. I've not found any photos, really, on the internet, but I just have this idea that it might be. I've been in North Carolina and I would probably list that as THE most beautiful area in the Springtime. It seems to literally burst alive with azaleas, dogwood, and just masses of lush, colorful flowers. It's my "yardstick" for Spring beauty, I guess. Any thoughts? Thanks again, Amyjean

  • christie_sw_mo
    14 years ago

    Dogwood, redbud, forsythia are common here and it is pretty in the springtime. Azaleas aren't as common as they would be in North Carolina but some people have those too.

    If I was a short drive from the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, I think I would have a season pass. It's a great place to visit and will give you some ideas on what to plant if you do move to Missouri.
    Would Lake of the Ozarks be too far away from your friends? It sounds like you're wanting to find someplace with a scenic view so you may want to check that out.

  • pamcrews
    14 years ago

    It's so hard to decide where to live when there are so many great places. A few years ago my husband and I moved to Missouri after doing some online research and then taking a 10 day road trip. Our only criteria was we didn't want to move out of the central time zone. We traveled up through Mississippi, Tennessee, over to Kentucky and fell in love with Springfield Missouri. Six months later we found Lake of the Ozarks and knew that was where our next house was supposed to be. We bought some property and then built a home. It turned out being a two year process but it was an exciting time.

    Spring is a wonderful time to visit the Ozarks. Lots of wildflowers and the grass on the hills are so green. Take the back roads on your trip, stay off the interstates if you can. I love the four seasons here, something I hadn't experienced much before moving to this area. (IÂm even learning to co-exist with the cold weatherÂif thatÂs possible). Fall is awesome you can see by the attached photo.

    Please keep all of us here on the Ozark Region posted on your travels. I too had posted similar to yours before I made the move and remember Christy answering most of my questions and offering very good advice. Over the years her and the rest of them on this forum have provide interesting stories and insight of their lives from farm living to gardening. ItÂs been a wonderful source of knowledgeable entertainment. I hope your journey goes as well for you as it did for me.
    Lake of the Ozarks

  • missfourseasons
    14 years ago

    Hi Amyjean ~ What a nice name... I have a home sort of in the middle of Pam and Christie's. Pam's picture gives you a great idea of what our mountains are like. When we moved back to the states, we lived in Missouri first and later spent some time in your neck of the woods (Pennsylvania). My observation on the difference between the two is that the Northeast is definitely beautiful and more "settled and cultivated" ... your mountains are much more dramatic. But I think in the end, while I would miss the "drama" of the NE, I would still choose to live in MO...the seasons are just as beautiful and the zone is "supposed" to be the same for gardening...but there is a certain sense of "wildness" that is missing in the NE...I NEVER had as much hummingbirds..I NEVER heard the coyotes cry..I felt like I NEVER saw any sort of wildlife in general as much as I have in MO. I obviously lived in the country in MO but I also lived in the country in Pennsylvania and that sense of "wildness" and "nature" just wasn't as strong ... and for me ... I loved it and missed it. If you want the "mountains" then live near the lakes. Jefferson City is pretty close to St. Louis and that will give you a little more hilly terrain, but Ceresone is right...we are a state of more "rolling" mountains than the NE ... and I feel like the farther south you go, into Arkansas, the more dramatic the rolls... I think there's a bit more of a snowy winter in the NE than MO, but otherwise, the gardening is the same ... except for the rocks! I hope you are a creative rock gardener :)

  • pauln
    14 years ago

    Being from Arkansas, I'm less familiar with the areas near St. Louis. I have visited South-Central MO, and really enjoyed the area near Irontown which appears to be about 60 miles south-southwest from STL. You'll find pink(!) granite there and the locations of Elephant Rocks, and Johnson Shut-Ins are really awesome. The shut-ins are under repair after a damn broke a couple of years ago, so I'm not sure of the condition right now.

    The other thing that is so striking to me in that area (further south) is the fabulous springs and caves in a really dense concentration. I was there on a hot dry August and to see a cold river emerge from the base of a bluff is amazing. The Current and Eleven Point Rivers both have paddling opportunities year round with plenty of cold clear water.

    I'm partial to the southern most Ozarks where the sandstone meets the limestone, but that's just a personal preference. The Boston Mountains in Northwest Arkansas would be pretty far from STL.

  • John Bilhardt
    last year

    Did Amyjean move to the Ozarks? Is there an updated status of her move?