Best Retirement Towns

Many books and articles are available about the best retirement towns, so I took a look.

Kiplinger has it’s best cities for retirement,  They start off mentioning Tampa Florida, well you could say Clearwater and St. Petersburg, since the three are almost joined together in one big area.  With the real estate bust, I hear you can get a deal on a house these days. I would add Sarasota Florida, a town I have visited several times, as a great place to retire.  Sarasota has it all.  Kiplinger goes on to name Harrisburg PA, a city I do not know much about. They say Harrisburg has four seasons and PA does not tax retirement income. That sounds good, but not unique. Why city retirement?

Money/CNN has their best places to retire list as well.  Some included are St. Simmons Island Ga, Walla Walla WA, Prescott AZ ( and Tucson retirement communities) , Holland MI, Williamsburg VA.  Of those I would probably vote for St. Simmons GA (and the Brunswick Golden Isles also) , Williamsburg VA (a good place to vacation as well), and Prescott Arizona, where you could probably get a good deal on a house as well.

AARP has their 5 great places to live. They point out fewer than 5 percent of people 55+ move each year, so this whole exercise may be a mind game. They go on to say Upwards of 90 percent of people say they’d like to stay right in their own communities as they age.  I do believe that. Ok, so we are looking close to home. No problem there.  The first place they list is Atlanta GA. Hey that is close to home since I live in Johns Creek on the north side of Atlanta. I do agree with their first choice.  Portland Oregon is listed and I have heard good things about this area. Well rainy weather may be the exception.  Chandler AZ is listed as on their 5 great places to live. Chandler is part of the Phoenix area and everyone knows someone who has retired to AZ.  I know there are several Sun City communities there, as we several couples on our last cruise who enjoy living there.  Next there is Boston Mass. I have enjoyed visiting there many times but never thought of retiring there. They say retirees love  the Abundance of culture and restaurants in Boston, and I certainly do understand the appeal there.  Next up is Milwaukee WI. Residents say the only way to “get” Milwaukee—an easy 90-mile train ride or drive from Chicago—is to tour its many distinct ethnic neighborhoods, including German, Polish, Italian, and African American communities, and sample the food at the dozens of ethnic festivals that occur throughout the year.

I would recommend getting the book The 50 Best Small Southern Towns by Gerald Sweitzer and Kathy Fields which I have read and liked.  

I looked at other sites but were not too impressed with their random choices.  I think it is best to scout these out yourself and spend a little time in several locations. 

Assisted Living

Atlanta Upscale 55+ Community

Upscale 55 + Atlanta Retirement Homes

When living in a large city or metro area, I think it makes sense to stay close to the area you already live in, when looking for a retirement home.  You get used to the amenities in a metro area that would be hard to find in a mountain, lakeside or other resort areas.   A 55+ community in a smaller town on the edge of a metro area is what most folks come to realize is the perfect solution.

A luxury 55+ community in the Atlanta Georgia area that sounds perfect is The Enclave at Pinetree Country Club. It is close enough where you can still lunch or visit with your long time friends and relatives in the metro area, yet enjoy the country club and on site amenities that 55+ like to enjoy.  It is located in Kennesaw GA up near I-75 and I-575, so it is part of the metro Atlanta area, but maybe not in the hustle and bustle your current home is.

New model homes are now open and ready to tour. Contact Robyn at the link above.

The Enclave at Pinetree County Club on

The 50 Best Small Southern Towns

The 50 Best Small Southern Towns

I received a copy of The 50 Best Small Southern Towns by Gerald Sweitzer and Kathy Fields that has just come out.  Living in Georgia, I was very interested in seeing what towns the authors chose. Almost as interesting, was a section in the back of their book titled “Additional Small Southern Towns of Interest” where they listed 4 runner up towns from each state.  In Georgia these included Cartersville, Sandersville and Thomasville.  I have been hearing good things about these very towns, so this immediately validated my interest in this book.

The authors visited each town listed in the book (more than 150 towns!) and spoke with many regular lay people as well as professionals in each community.  These really are small towns in that their scope was towns with a population of at least a thousand but no more than 25 thousand. They list many other criteria in their book, too many to list here.

After their evaluations, they list 5 or 6 best small towns in each states (and the 4 runners up towns as mentioned above).  In Georgia, for example, they list Carrollton, Covington, Dahlonega, Perry, St. Marys and St. Simmons Island.  Being in the Atlanta area, I like Dahlonega and St. Simons Island best from this list from first glance, but maybe I should visit the other towns listed.  I do like Sandersville and Carterville from the runner up list they provided.

I found this book interesting, especially since at age 60 we plan on visiting as many places as we can to see what is out there beyond the rat race we just left behind.  We plan on visiting in our own state first then maybe working in some towns in neighboring states as a combination vacation and research trip.

Thanks to Gerald Sweitzer and Kathy Fields for providing such timely information for me and my wife Mary Ann.

PS: I will try to find out if Kathy Fields is still teaching the Simple Living classes in the Atlanta area that was mentioned in the bio of this book.