"I'd hardly say reviews are worthless as long as you see the majority describing a certain product uniformly. That is a good indicator that certain attributes of the product are indeed present. But I agree that it can be used only as a gauge and ultimately having something at home in the right atmosphere is the best way to choose."
Please don't take this the wrong way, but once you get some more experience, you'll most likely agree with me. Look at this again.
Based upon reviews I've read I have narrowed down my field of speaker choices to the Wharfedale Diamond 220 which is a neutral speaker. Wharfedale Denton's which are warm. NHT Absolute One 2.1 which is neutral to a bit warm. Magnapan MMG which was recommended. Probably neutral."
Whether you realize it or not, you've almost certainly failed and just don't realize it. When you talk about a speaker using terms like neutral, warm or any other vague characteristic, without backing it up by listening to it, you can only have problems. Warm compared to what? Neutral compared to what? These are subjective terms, and there's nothing wrong with using them. Where you mess up is when you use other peoples subjective terms in place of your own. Just to give you an example of what I mean, I've heard 2 of the speakers on your list. The Magnepan and the NHT. The last thing I would call either of those 2 speakers is warm. Maybe if you unplugged the tweeters, but otherwise, no. And that's my honest opinion. I'm not making this up. So what do you do now? I know what you should do, and I know what you probably will do. You should never buy a piece of audio equipment without listening to it first. An in home trial with a no questions asked return policy is about as far as I'm willing to go on this. That's what you should so. What you will probably end up doing is rationalize this in some way until you feel comfortable in making a purchase without a demo. And don't think that I'm trying to single you out or make you feel foolish, or anything else. I've made all these mistakes myself several times over.
"Unfortunately I do not have any dealers of the products I want nearby. Maybe Best Buy but they don't carry any of the speakers that interest me in stock. A two hour drive to the nearest mom and pop shop is required."
A 2 hour trip is definitely worth the trip. Just think about how many hours you'll waste if you make a bad choice. That said, Best Buy may work for you. The downside is, forget doing any kind of demo. The upside is that they have a good return policy and some speakers in your price range that may work for you. I don't know what type of sound you like, but they carry, Martin Logan, Pioneer, Def Tech, Mirage, B&W and I think Wharfdale (I'm really not too sure about that last one. I thought I saw them there.) There should be something there that will work for you.