Searching for Retirement Home Can be Fun

Destin FL - Where to retire
Getting out and exploring new things is always fun.  Exploring retirement home options can fall in to that category.  Maybe you have a little more time to take a few days off. Explore retirement options in your area, your city, your region and far away. Make it your hobby to research and then to travel and experience new options you now have.

Experience the Vacation Getaways at the Active Adult 55+ Communities with a trip of 3 or 4 days and see first hand what they are all about. In addition you get to visit the town and area where the community is located.  These are positive experiences at very little costs.

Next visit small towns in your area and region. This would be as short as a day trip, an overnight trip or spent 2 or 3 days and visit several small towns.   Do your research first on the web and plan your visit. Visit during a festival or town event would be interesting as well. There are many advantages to retiring in a small town but just visiting can be fun too.

Next travel to a resort area and combine a vacation and a retirement research trip. Go to Hilton Head for a week. While there explore some of the communities in the area.  Warning: don’t buy any timeshares while there. Enjoy your vacation and learn something too. You have a legitimate reason for visiting the communities, you are not wasting anyone’s time. You are the prime prospect, but most communities are helpful and low pressure.  If you really did fall in love with the place, maybe renting for a season would be a good idea first.

Finally explore your own city. Research first then go downtown and experience the mixed use, high rise, loft, town centers and other interesting concepts in your very own metro downtown or midtown.  What would it be like to walk to restaurants and museums from your very own condo. Urban life is not for everyone but there are some boomers moving downtown to experience the advanatages of retirement city living style.

But the main to remember is to have fun! There are no deadlines and you don’t have to do anything. Take your time during your visit to take it all in.

Small Town Retirement Options – Serenbe Community in Georgia

Bosch house at Serenbe Community

Yesterday my wife Mary Ann and our neighbors Scott and Dawn set out to visit the HGTV Green House for this year.   We drove from our Johns Creeks Georgia home down to the southside of Atlanta, then another 20 miles out in the countryside to the Serenbe Community.

From their web site:  “Serenbe is a 1,000 acre community located under 30 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It is a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.— focusing on land preservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, workability, high density building, arts and culture, and community living for multiple generations. With a projected 70% of future building occurring in the greenfield,  Serenbe demonstrates how urban development models can succeed on the edge of a metropolis while preserving a vast majority of the greenspace.  Serenbe’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate how development can accommodate the need for housing with minimal impact on nature—Serenbe’s land plan call for a preservation of at least 70% of the acreage, while accommodating as many or more people as traditional subdivision-style development, which would disturb nearly 80%.

I snapped some photos of our visit that will tell  the story.

The Stables Market at Serenbe
The Stables Market at Serenbe

We stopped first at the Stables Market where venders were setting up their wares.  This was a real horse stables.

Cutest Donkeys
Cutest Donkeys

Outside the Stables Market were the cutest donkeys.

Serenbe Farms Market
Serenbe Farms Market

Next we visit the Serenbe Farms Saturday morning market.  Mary Ann picked up a nice bunch of organic beets which she will roast and make a salad out of the top green leaves.  Serenbe Farms provides the three community restaurants with fresh fruits and vegetables and makes them available to the community also.

Interesting small town retirement homes
Interesting small town retirement homes

Next we walk along the side walk toward the village and past some interesting homes that could be someone’s small town retirement home.  Wild flowers especially Brown Eyed Susans were in bloom eveywhere.

Townhomes in Serenbe hamlet
Townhomes in Serenbe hamlet

In the village, or hamlet as they call it, Mary Ann window shops while I spot some townhomes across the street.  So this would be “city living in the country”, just the opposite of the Doraville song that says “county living in the city”.  lol.

Serenbe Community main street

Further down the street even more progressive looking homes.   So one side of the main street has shops with residents over them and this is the view of the other side.

Blue Eyed Susan Bakeshop
Blue Eyed Susan Bakeshop

We decide for lunch we will go with the less formal Blue Eyed Daisey Bakeshop over the two more formal restaurants, The Hill and the Farmhouse.

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop

Inside the Blue Eyed Daisey Bakeshop it is quite busy.  I have the veggie burger and Mary Ann gets a chicken wrap.    There bakery case is full and we see they will be featured on the TV shop Cupcake Wars this month.

Our stop was going to be the HGTV Green House but we are told you need a ticket and the next time available is going to be 4pm.  However we find two more interesting homes to see the inside of.  We went inside The Bosch Net Zero home pictured at the top of the post. Net zero means it generates all of its energy. In the Bosch House I see this clothes washer that uses only $16 of energy PER YEAR.  How is that possible? The Bosch house was fully decorate by Ballard Designs and was beautiful.

Victoria Home
Victoria Home

Next we see who diversified the homes at Serenbe are as we go into a four level Victorian home.  It is huge.  This is not a retirement home!

Top of Stairway
Top of Stairway

However I have to show you the shot I took from the top of the stair case on the fourth floor.  Don’t get dizzy!  The fourth floor was a Karaoke studio.

However we did a little driving around the Serenbe Community and it has smaller homes and cottages that would be a great small town retirement home.  I will leave you with a few photos I took of these.

Great Retirement Homes
Great Retirement Homes

 

 

Great Retirement Home

 

 

 

 

Retirement Home
Retirement Home

More about Serenbe Community and 55+ communities in Georgia

 

Small Town for Sale

Toomsboro mayor Roger Smith stands at the fence of the newly restored bed and breakfast at the center of his mid-Georgia town
Toomsboro mayor Roger Smith stands at the fence of the newly restored bed and breakfast at the center of his mid-Georgia town

There is a story in the Huffington Post that says buying a small town just keeps getting easier.  It says a developer who owns most of Toomsboro Georgia is putting his properties up for sale.  The town has 700 residents and features several small businesses like a florist, a convenience store and a custom cabinet shop.  According to the seller it was be ideal for a movie production company for a movie or a music video.

Toomsboro is in Wilkinson County where I went to high school and I knew several classmates who lived in Toomsboro.  Kurt was a butcher in Toomsboro the last time I went through there.  .

I know this sounds sensational saying a town is for sale, but several things just do not make sense to me.  So what does it mean to buy a small town… don’t the people living there have a say?   Reportedly a developer has the properties for sale…. well I can assure you there has not been much new development in Toomboro in quite some time.  I remember when the Swampland Opera closed down and most buildings in town were showing their age and in need of repair.   Maybe I could be wrong and the developer renovated the buildings and the town.  Gosh, you know he is upside down on those loans.

Despite all the publicity, have any sales of small towns ever worked out?   I remember Kim Basigner was going to buy Braselton, another Georgia town.   That sounds about as a good idea as her marriage to Alex Baldwin. With perhaps too much disposable income, Kim headed up an investment group that purchased the entire town of Braselton, in her native Georgia, for $20 million (she would later have to sell it).

Some guy who is the sole resident of Buford Wyoming put his house up for sale and a Vietnamese businessman bought it and could say he owned the whole town.  Big deal.

The town where The Hunger Games was filmed is reportedly for sale for 1.4 million.  The owner says the town gets lots of visitors.

If a small town is for sale, it is probably not a good place to live, much less retire to.   Who wants to live in a town that someone owns most of the property in and probably runs everything.   My guess is most of these towns are ghost towns and the people have long left for better living somewhere else, leaving  some buildings that may be called a town on paper but no longer in reality.