Observations About Moving To A Small Town

small town farm

Eight months ago I moved to a retirement community out on the far edge of the metro area, away from the suburbs where my wife and I had lived for 36 years.  I knew life would be different and here are some of my observations about things I noticed are different. I am happy to report that we are loving it!

  1. Less traffic. It’s so funny because we used chuckle when people complained about our traffic, thinking they just were not used to city living.  Now we say the same thing and have enjoyed getting away from the awful traffic!
  2. People are friendly.  Out in public the people you encounter at the park, in restaurants, and the workers nearly everywhere, overall are just more relaxed and friendly and considerate. People seem to show their personality more.
  3. There are plenty of places to eat out and buy stuff.  Restaurants are less crowded so you don’t get the mad lunch hour rush as much. With a major mall only 15 minutes away, that is close enough.  A Publix and a Kroger a mile away. Haven’t found anything that I missed so far except maybe a Whole Foods or Fresh Market. Oh, my Amazon Prime works just great with two day deliveries.
  4. More scenic countryside.  I love driving out our back community gate, passing barns and farm houses and a lamas farm!
  5. More places to walk. Our subdivision has plenty of nice wide sidewalks.  Out on the main street there are wide sidewalks. The high school track is open after hours for anyone to walk! (not so in the suburbs where they lock the gate) Several parks and even a rec center with an indoor track.
  6. Your vote counts.  The just had an election for school board president and someone won by 8 votes!
  7. Community fairs and events.  People really turn out and support the community events.  Be it a 5k run, arts and crafts fair, or Christmas parade, people come together for these events.
  8. Medical services close by.  My dentist is 5 minutes away.  I visited the orthopedic doctor yesterday at the medical building next door and got there in 5 minutes or less.

I haven’t noticed anything that I miss from my old community of 21 years, except some friends that I don’t see as often. There was a risk in moving out to a more rural area but that has now been officially resolved!

What do you like about living in a small town?

Getaway To Highlands NC

The wife booked us a three night  get-a-way in Highlands NC,  so we headed up I-985 from Atlanta for the 2.5 hour plus trip. It took 4 hours. So much for Google Maps prediction when it is foggy and light rain in the mountains.

Highlands NC is in Western North Carolina about 25 miles north of Georgia. In this section of Western North Carolina there are other desirable small towns like Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Sylva, Glenville, Lake To a way and Brevard, a quaint college town.    Both Highlands and Cashiers are resort mountain small towns with lots of charm. Both are favorites of Atlanta people escaping the heat and humidity during the Summer months and Florida halfbacks moving up from the Sunshine state.

Highlands has a walkable town filled with antique shops, interesting stores for shopping, restaurants, some gourmet,  and places to stay like 200 Main where we are staying.

Many people come here on a vacation and end up buying a seasonal home and for some that turns into their retirement home. There are no 55 Active Adult Communities. These are mountain homes and cabins with natural yards. There are many mountain lifestyle communities with activities and amenities that are similar to what Active Adult Communities offer.  Lonesome Valley, Sapphire Valley, and  Bear Lake Reserve are some of the larger communities but there are many more. Many full time residents now call this area home.

Western NC is known for being an appealing retirement area with award winning golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and renowned trout fishing waters. Most get an introduction to the area by renting a home first from rental companies like SPM Resorts and Sapphire Real Estate and Rentals.

I would image with the influx of tourists in the Summer that might get irratating to locals, but this helps supports the gourmet restaurants and attractions. During Winter I bet it gets a little quiet around here but locals love it.

Most of the time weather is great break from city heat and people enjoy hiking the nature trails, golfing, fishing on the mountain lakes and visiting the many waterfalls in the area.

In the meantime back to my trip,  since it is foggy and raining today, we will curl up around the cozy fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book and research where to make dinner reservations.

fireplace
Fireplace at 200 Main Highlands N C

 

old Edwards inn
Old Edwards Inn Highlands

Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe lake

Big Canoe
Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Last week we used a friends home in Big Canoe for a couple of days for a family reunion and I was reminded what a nice community Big Canoe is.  It is a beautiful mountain community with 8,000 acres, 3 or 4 lakes and 22 miles of trails.  A self sustaining park like community only one hour north of Atlanta GA.

Lake at Big Canoe
Lake at Big Canoe

Now Big Canoe is not officially a retirement community but they have everything say a Del Webb Community has and more. There are over 100 clubs in their activity center building as well a gym, pool, craft room, etc.  Several restaurants are in the community.

We happened to be there during their annual Oktoberfest which I really enjoyed. Happened to run in to Margie and Denis Casey the publishers of Real Estate Scorecard which just announced that Big Canoe won their 2014 Bliss Award for the Best Mountain Community of the year.  Check out their scorecard report on Big Canoe.

Oktoberfest at Big Canoe
Oktoberfest at Big Canoe

The residents come from all over the country and the world to live in Big Canoe. I don’t know if it’s one of a kind, but I have never seen anything like it.  Is has great appeal for everyone.

Kathy my sister in law took her grand kids to the lake to fish and they (we all did) loved it. During the Summer there are canoes and paddle boats and on the larger Lake Sconti there is a pontoon boat marina.Fishing at big canoe

Fishing at big canoe

Our friends David and Tina took us for a ride up the 1.7 jeep trail crossing several streams and climbing boulders to get to two waterfalls. On the trail there was an historic moonshine still and a cabin.

Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe
Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe

My wife Mary Ann and some family members went over to the Georgia Apple Festival in nearby Ellijay.  The small town of Jasper is the closest but other small towns nearby too.  Big Canoe is it’s own small town with it’s own zip code.

It you want something different than the large 55+ communities, then you may want to visit Big Canoe as it is an excellent place to live and retire.  This picture I took after our dinner at the Black Bear Pub at the Big Canoe Clubhouse and walking out to the deck overlooking Lake Sconti. It is a couple holding hands looking out over the peaceful lake. Now if that’s not a great retirement photo, I don’t know what is.

Big Canoe lake
Big Canoe lake

 

Resources:
**The official Big Canoe Website
**Margie Casey’s Real Estate Scorecard has reviews and wonderful photos of many top planned communities, most in small towns.
** North Georgia Retirement