Categories
Small Town Living

Small Town America Parades

Small Town Parades

Nothing shows the great community spirit of small town America more than a parade. Small towns love a parade. People come to town to see floats, bands and drill teams, military flag team, antique cars, trucks and tractors, and clowns, Shriners, politicians in old cars, grand marshals, beauty queens,  flatbeds, boats, maybe a fire truck with Santa Claus aboard at the end of the parade.  The crowd at parades are festive and everyone is having fun. Small towns have parades for Fourth of July, Old Soldiers Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Founders Day and other occasions.

These photos were taken in Richmond Hill Ga by Mathew Rodocker and Robert Fowler in Johns Creek GA.

small town America parade
Small town America Holiday parade
shriner parade
Shriners on motorcycles are in many small town parades
boy scouts at small town parade
(r) Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in parade
Santa on firetruck
Santa on Fire Truck comes at the end of the parade
clown in parade
(r) Clown in parade

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Listen to Johns Creek GA band in this small town parade.

Categories
Small Town Living

Small Town Living Headlines

Small Town Living Headlines

This blog is about small towns and a lot of headlines about small town living cross my desk every week. This post will highlight some of the more interesting ones about small towns.

small town lifeMiniature Paintings Pay Homage To Small Town Life – Well this guy, Rod Penner, takes a photo of a ordinary and unassuming scene from small town life and then goes about creating a very detailed painting of the scene.  Not only that, but they are miniature paintings, like post card size.

If you ever lived in a small town you will think you recognize some of these scenes.

The scene to the right is a Penner painting. Source: story

fictional small towns5 Fictional Bollywood Towns That Have Great Tourism Potential – Well this is certainly an interesting story … seems Indian film makers are making up stories and characters in small towns, that is fictional small towns, that have their own interesting and colorful cultures. These towns have their own distinct characters in the films. Some suggest these fictional small towns would have great tourism potential.  So would this be like visiting Hunger Games?   Source: story

25 Signs You Grew Up in a Small Town – Well if you  grow up in a small town as I did, you will recognize at least a few of these.

A few of the signs you grew up in a small town that I like:

  • 2) You could name every person in your graduating class. (I think I had about 52 in my graduating class).
  • 5) You never carried a key for your house because it was always unlocked.
  • 11) An exciting day was driving 20 miles to the nearest Walmart or McDonlad’s. (yes, driving the 15 miles to Milledgeville to the Dairy Queen/Braissaire was a treat!
  • 21) you went to school with kids from eight other tiny towns. (yes, we only had one high school in Wilkinson County in Middle Georgia  and went to school with kids from Gordon, Irwinton, Toomsboro, MyIntyre, Allenton, Ivey – well only 6) Source: story

small town living

Categories
South Carolina

Retiring to South Carolina’s Lowcountry

Bay Street in Beaufort SC

 

We made a visit to Beaufort in the South Carolina Lowcountry. This area around Beaufort seems perfect for retirement living.

Here is a report on a few of the small towns, islands and communities in the Lowcountry that you may want to check out for places to retire.

 

Beaufort SC

Beaufort is a wonderful small town to visit on vacation, that is for sure. We enjoyed the carriage tour of the historical district and seeing the wonderful old homes here. We enjoyed walking the streets in the tourist areas off Bay Street and eating at the wonderful restaurants, especially those with seafood. We enjoyed the day trips up the Sea Island Parkway to visit Lady’s Island where some of the people we talked with in Beaufort told us they lived and mentioned when we asked about a good place to retire in the Lowcountry of SC. We enjoyed walking along the Waterfront Park on the Beaufort River on the backside of Bay Street and sitting on the decks of the restaurants there.

Lowcountry Retirement Towns / Islands

There are not any Over 55 Communities that we could find in the area except of course the Sun City Hilton Head which is about 30 miles away. People do retire to the Lowcountry but live in homes near Beaufort or on one of the many Sea Islands. Crossing the bridge from the historical district on the Sea Island Parkway you enter Mary’s Island which is home to several retirement community like communities, but not age qualified.

That’s OK for sure and actually preferred by many, living among multi-generations. Several of the communities had wonderful clubhouses with plenty of amenities. Of course these are resort style communities and are usually not far from a body of water,  if not actually waterfront or marsh front themselves.

Living in any of these communities would give you a great base for visiting nature, the beach, any of the numerous sea islands, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston.

Some Lowcountry Communities That Might Be Nice to Retire To

Our research led us to these Lowcountry communities as being great places to live, retired or not.

Coosaw Point http://www.coosawpoint.com/ – Located on Lady’s Island, this is a 400 acre beautiful Lowcountry community on the edge of the ACE Basin with all it’s wildlife , old rice fields, streams, wetlands and marches. Yet this community is only 10 minutes to Beaufort. A 12,000 square foot clubhouse with amenities and a causal feel for Lowcountry living at it’s best.

Newpoint SC – Another waterfront community on Lady’s Island boast a walking neighborhood that overlooks the beautiful Beaufort River. About 50+ acres it is a good size but not huge community.

Distant Island – We rode through The Village at Distant Island on Mary’s Island and saw some beautiful custom built homes in this waterfront community.

Pleasant Point Plantation on Ladys Island also has a waterfront location and a wide price range on homes.

Habersham SC is a beautiful small town on the coast of Broad River and is perfect for your retirement living. http://www.habershamsc.com/index.html

Dataw Island http://www.discoverdataw.com/ – East of Beaufort, this really is a retirement island as there are mostly adults living here in a gated community. It boasts golf course homes, waterfront and marsh front homes in this beautiful community that would be great for retirement.

Fripp Island http://www.frippislandrealestate.com/ is another island about 21 miles from Beaufort to check out. The whole island is a gated community! It’s a vacation resort but several hundred people live at Fripp also.

I think staying for a few days in Beaufort would give you a good base to scout out all of the above communities and have a great vacation as well. Maybe you will find a Lowcountry community that will be perfect for you to retire to.

For more information on Beaufort and surrounding towns and communities contact Keith Strawn at explorebeaufortrealestate.com

Resources:
More small towns in South Carolina
Thanks to Todd Covington at Low Country Properties

Categories
Where to Live

Retirement Villages in Western Australia

St Ivers GroupBaby boomers looking forward to retirement today are trying to decide what lifestyle most appeals to them. Many of today’s retirees are active adults with a desire to travel and pursue interests they simply did not have time to focus on during their working careers. Others may have spent decades living in urban settings, and want a quieter, more “small town” feel to relax and unwind. But why choose one or the other? Retirement villages in Western Australia, such as those developed and run by the St. Ives Group, provide beautiful suburban-like neighborhoods just minutes from WA’s capitol city of Perth, or coastal resort cities such as Mandurah. Retired seniors who emigrate to Western Australia can have the experience of living and traveling in an exotic locale, while enjoying all of the benefits of small-town living.

Retiring to an age-restricted community in a foreign land may sound exciting, but often the differences in language and culture make life too stressful, and seniors from the U.S. may find it difficult to navigate the legal, medical, and financial systems of these foreign countries. Unless you want to be extremely adventurous in your golden years and step completely outside of your comfort zone, it is a good idea to limit your foreign retirement options to countries in which English is the most commonly spoken language. Australia, with its cultural and historical connections with Great Britain, is the perfect “foreign” land for English-speaking retirees to consider.

Western Australia has long been known as one of the “Land Down Under’s” favorite retirement destinations, for both Australian citizens and those from the UK and United States. There are several retirement estates in the province, which offer a variety of high-quality housing options and healthy lifestyle choices for financially stable retirees. Similarly to life in a small town in the U.S., living in a 55+ community in the Australian countryside provides residents a real sense of community and social responsibility for neighbors. Each St. Ives Group retirement village in WA, for example, provides its residents with social clubs and rotary associations for those who wish to be very involved with others in their community. Residents don’t suffer the feelings of alienation or anonymity often experienced by seniors living in large urban areas.

The open spaces, gorgeous surrounding landscapes, and generous living areas found in WA retirement villages are also incredibly attractive to many retiring baby boomers. Some St. Ives Group retirement estates offer beautifully appointed, secure 2- or 3-bedroom villas with private courtyards, or spacious free-standing homes in contemporary designs, with large verandahs and landscaped yards to make the most of outdoor living in the near-Mediterranean climate. Depending on the location of the 55+ community, many housing options include single or double garages, visitor parking, and room for storage of boats and/or RVs.

Just as American retirement communities vary in features and costs, there are a myriad of 55+ communities scattered about Australia, with a wide variety of facilities and housing styles, priced from “budget” to several million dollars. Due to the immigration requirements for U.S. retirees (see retirement visa information here), most Americans financially capable of retiring to WA will likely be interested in luxury living options. The St. Ives Group retirement estate at Meadow Springs, for example, caters to the high expectations of affluent, sophisticated retirees, offering a resort-style setting and spacious, luxury homes. This particular retirement community features a large indoor pool, spa, tennis courts, clubhouse, three rink bowling green, gym, library, and business center with internet access, among many other amenities.

Western Australia is a popular destination for retiring baby boomers looking to get away from it all. The weather is lovely throughout the year, and retirees can discover many beautiful cities, beaches, parks, and vineyards to take advantage of. If possible, though, Americans moving to Australia for retirement should rent before investing in the purchase of a property. Moving to another country – even if they do speak English – is not the same as moving to a state farther south. The climate, seasons, popular activities, and mindsets of your neighbors may come as a surprise, and you don’t want to be stuck with a property if you decide the area is not for you. If at all possible, you should rent for a year to a year and a half in or near a St. Ives Group retirement village before making the decision to buy. You need to have a good idea of what the community and region is like throughout the year – not just during the holiday season.

Categories
Canada

Retirement Areas in BC Canada

BC CanadaWhen I started thinking about where I was going to retire, the obvious came to mind first: The Sunbelt. Florida. Arizona. Texas. Southern California. In addition, every time I started seriously considering any of these alternatives, I started to sweat. I am really not an all-warm-weather kind of person. I enjoy seasonal changes, low humidity, and mild summers. I actually like snow – especially if I no longer have to go out in it to go to work. Therefore, I started looking into less-cliché retirement destinations, and happened upon an article about retiring to British Columbia, Canada. I was hooked.

British Columbia, the westernmost province in Canada, sits along the Pacific Coast. The coastline stretches over 17,000 miles, and boasts deep fjords, bays, and inlets, as well as thousands of tiny coastal islands. Alaska and the Yukon Territories are to the north of B.C., the province of Alberta is to the east, and the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana border B.C. to the south. With its metropolitan areas of Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia offers some choice urban retirement communities for those who enjoy the multiculturalism, nightlife, and easy access to amenities found in cities; but the real draw for me was the wonderful selection of active adult communities in B.C.’s many small towns and suburbs.

British Columbia offers a long list of benefits for seniors residing there. Canada’s solid economic position, the high demand in B.C. for older, experienced workers, and, of course, the Canadian health care system all create a very hospitable environment for retirees, be they Canadians or American expats. Add the strong banking system and low, predictable inflation rates, and you can see that there are many reasons why the financially savvy 55+ crowd may seriously consider a Northern migration. Consider, for example: The average retiree in the U.S. will incur approximately $250,000 worth of medical expenses during retirement. Canadians, on the other hand, who are fully insured through government-provided basic health care, need only worry about 30 percent of those costs – or roughly $75,000. On top of that, the B.C. labor market provides a wide range of opportunities for older workers who still want to work part-time after retirement..

But finances aside, the climate, landscape, and social aspects of retiring to British Columbia are what drew me. Summers are glorious, with temperatures usually in the high 60s and 70s and a distinct lack of humidity – perfect for outdoor activities like golf, fishing, hiking, bicycling, boating, and camping (but bring your DEET!). The fishing rivals that of Minnesota, with thousands of lakes, streams, and ponds as well as unparalleled salt-water fishing along the coast. And the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities make British Columbia seem like one giant national park, with old-growth forest, gorgeous ocean views, gemlike glacial lakes, and the commanding presence of its snow-topped Canadian Cascades mountain range.

When I trekked up Interstate 5 to British Columbia to see for myself what retirement would be like there, I found some of the most pleasant, neighborly people and inclusive communities I have come across in my decades of travel. B.C.’s small towns offer the perfect combination of multiculturalism, open-mindedness, and isolation; you get a sense of belonging, acceptance, and mutual interdependence not found in many U.S. towns. The people are warm and welcoming. Neighbors help each other and engage each other at a personal level. I immediately felt at home, before I even decided where I wanted to live.

MoneySense magazine recently published their ranking of Canada’s 10 best retirement areas, with five of the top ten in British Columbia. This is likely because of the province’s relatively mild marine climate. The city of Victoria was at the top of the list, for its very cosmopolitan and international flavor and the fact that it sits within the Olympic “rain shadow” (getting less than a quarter the precipitation of Renfrew, just 80 miles away). The metropolitan area of Vancouver, B.C. and its many suburbs was next on the list. The smaller B.C. communities of Courtenay (on Vancouver Island), Salmon Arm (central B.C.), and Vernon (in the Okanagan region) also made the cut.

If you are looking for a retirement area with spectacular geography, beautiful seasonal changes, a mild climate, economic strength, an atmosphere of social unity, and vibrant multiculturalism, British Columbia, Canada may be the place for you.

Categories
Florida

The Villages in Florida is a Small Town Retirement Mecca

P1000626The Villages in Florida is a great place to retire to. Many retirees have chosen The Villages to spend their lives living a fun and interesting life surrounded by their peers. Most people look forward to retirement and this small town provides the perfect place for them to retire to. It was created specifically for senior citizens to have a place where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there are so many people living here that are over the age of 55 that this community is one of the world’s biggest retirement communities.

Seniors who want to visit this community before deciding whether or not to make it their home can come for a vacation and stay in a fully equipped cabana. The Creekside Cabanas can be found in Lake Sumter Landing. Those who come and stay in one of the community’s cabanas will receive a golf car that they can use for the duration of their stay. Some of the recreational activities offered include tennis and golf courts, pools and fitness & recreation centers. The signature stores found in this community offer discounts and free movie tickets to visitors. These are all privileges that the community’s residents are entitled to every day.

Visitors can board a boat for a very relaxing ride that departs from Lake Sumter Landing. They can also take a tour of the town by hopping aboard the community’s trolley. There are countless exciting activities offered to residents on a regular basis such as the community’s three town squares; Brownwood Paddock, Spanish Springs Town and the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

Brownwood Paddock Square is designed to look like a typical cattle town in Florida. Residents and visitors can see a movie at the Barnstorm Theatre, which shows the newest Hollywood releases. It is also the home of Brownwood Paddock Square’s log cabin, where live performances take place every single night. The Spanish Springs Town Square has a southwest feel to it, which can be seen in the town square’s shops and fountains. Some of attractions found in Spanish Springs include the Church on the Square, the Rialto Theatre and Cruise-In, which is a monthly classic car show. There are many restaurants to choose from that offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Live entertainment takes place every night at the Spanish Springs Town Square as well. Lake Sumter Landing resembles an intimate seaside village. The landing’s lighthouse is a Spanish Springs landmark. Lake Sumter Landing is also where the Old Mill Playhouse movie theatre is located.

In addition to all the fun aspects of these small towns, potential residents should know that their physical, mental and spiritual health would be taken care of while living here. There are many health care and fitness facilities on site, as well as The Villages Regional Hospital, a VA outpatient clinic and the Moffitt Cancer Center. The community has a hospital dedicated to long term acute care.

The Spanish Springs Town Square holds the MVP Sports Club, which offers personal training, spas services and exercise/fitness classes. The various fitness centers found throughout the community provide residents with a place to work out with weight training machines or treadmills.

Those residents who wish to attend church while living in the community have many choices at their disposal. Some of the churches that can be found here are the Hope Lutheran Church, Temple Shalom the Chapel of Christian Faith, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Open Bible Lutheran Church, and the St. George Episcopal Church.

Residents who wish to keep their minds sharp can always take classes at the community’s Lifelong Learning College. Classes are offered all year long in a variety of different subjects.

Transportation throughout the community is made easy because every resident has their own golf car, which they can easily drive to any of the attractions found in this diverse community.