Categories
Marietta

Downtowns in Small Towns Make Come Back

Marietta GA small town

Remember in the 60’s and 70’s when mon and pop businesses on main street in most small towns were being driven out of business by big box retailers like Walmart who settled on the outskirts of town on the bypass and near the edge of the freeways and sold at at discounts the Mom and Pops could not match?  In additional to cheaper prices there was plenty of parking and the newness of it.  Then after a while the main street of small towns were ghost towns.

Now many of small towns have their main streets and downtown section back in business with more mom and pop businesses like restaurants, clubs, music stories, antique shops, restored move theaters and more. There are town greens, town squares, bandstands, free concerts, art shows and people walking around taking it all in.  A stroll around on main street of many small towns making you feel good and enjoy their comebacks.    Some housing is even taking place in or near these walkable down towns with lofts being made from old buildings that were hotels or above store fronts or even new construction for people who like living in a walkable community.  The buy local movement plays right in to these down towns with some having weekly farmers markets and seasonal festivals featuring local craftsman.  Then there are new communities on the outskirts that try to bring this small town feel to lifestyle with a town square and walking trails, and some retail.

Some downtown in small towns are going beyond and becoming quite trendy and artsy sporting boutiques and tasty unique restaurants.  Many times local governments have helped bring these downtown back by making improvements including building city centers to get things started.  I am writing this post tonight after spending the day in Marietta Georgia, strolling around their town square, vising museums, antique shops, having lunch at a nice restaurant, stopping by the visitors center and buying tickets for a future concert on the square.   There were many people strolling around and enjoying the Spring weather and this beautiful small town. It is good to see small towns across America make a come back.

Originally posted 2010-04-07 22:18:36.

Categories
Blogroll

What is a Good Retirement Location?

A good retirement location offers higher education; outdoor recreation; great scenery, fitness/wellness centers; health care facilities, jobs, a good place for new businesses.  It would be nice to have a culture and political climate that is somewhat compatible to yours.  Available reliable service professionals, a good Publix and Whole Foods nearby would be great.  Some fine dining restaurants and a major mall within 6 miles.

Well I got a little carried away, but these are some things to consider.

Originally posted 2009-12-17 18:02:31.

Categories
Active Adult Small Town Living

Negatives of Active Adult Communities

I have written about the positives of Active Adult Communities and sometimes it looks like it is all positives.  (just scroll down to the bottom of this page for a list of posts about positives) So for the last few months I have been asking people, especially people who live in Active Adult Communities, what are the negatives.

A recent 15 day cruise gave us a lot of time to talk with wonderful people we met that live in Active Adult Communities in California and Arizona. These were mostly Del Webb Communities. They could talk for hours about the positives. When we finally asked them about the negatives, it took them a long time to come up with anything.  That is a good sign!

1. Number one complain was the Homeowners Association.  The HOA were too restrictive, or too noisy, too petty, too political. I know in any subdivision that has a HOA they came become like little dictatorships and really piss people off. When you add all the additional restrictions an age qualified community must have, then all the more to deal with. Also mentioned was neighbors reporting neighbors for violations. Even some taking to doing their own inspections vigilante style. (Having said this, the HOA board members are hard working residents and usually do a great job!).

2. Several residents of the communities originally built by Del Webb in CA and AZ felt the new homes built in their communities after Del Webb sold out to Pulte were not up the the same standards of quality. I hear that in my active adult community as well. ( A lot of resident upgrade their own homes with improvements).

The following comments were related to us from a third part.

3. One 50ish couple from Atlanta didn’t like the Hilton Head Active Adult Community they bought in, so decided to sell and move back to Atlanta. They felt the residents were too old for them.  Be sure to find out the average age in the community, it does make a difference to some. Older developments tend to have older residents, which, for many youth-seeking boomers, might just be a deal breaker.

4. A couple of people did not like The Villages in Central Florida. It may be been too large for them. Plus they may have heard the rumors of all the sex parties!

There is always the stories of people moving across the country to live in a new community but later deciding they wanted to move back to be close to their long time friends and relatives.  I don’t think that is a negative of the community itself.

Some people that have never lived in an Active Adult Community say they would not live in this type community because all the residents would be older and they like the diversity.  There is a lot of misconceptions about Active Adult Communities.  I don’t take that as a negative of the community, just one person’s view. The next person may think it is wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and socialize during the day with people who don’t have to be at work. Plus I know I value the friendships I have made with amazing people that are 10 and 20 years older than me.  Everyone is not the same age, so there is diversity in ages.

Now living in a Del Webb Community for over 4 years, I would say the gossip turns me off.  That is unique only because there are some many social gatherings which can be fertile grounds for gossip. But the outdoor sports I usually participate in has none of that.

Many of the larger Active Adult Communities are located in small towns on the edges of large metro areas and may not have all the nice restaurants you are used to or the upscale specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market or a Trader Joe’s. But usually they are not too far away.

As you may know by now, I think there are way more positives than negatives of Active Adult Community living.  Most people say they wish they wished they had moved in sooner.

Originally posted 2020-09-01 10:49:17.

Categories
Active Adult

Don’t Be Stuck in the Suburbs After You Retire!

My wife and I were stuck in the suburbs in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, three level home with a half acre lot. We were the only retired people in the whole subdivision of 25 homes! Retiring after working 45 years, we were now feeling a little out of place in a subdivision with large SUVs speeding past our house taking kids to their activities or even to their school bus stop at the entrance. I was working on my medal and token collection, but that was not very active! I was 58.

We were good friends with our neighbors, who were 10 years younger than us and still working. We had even gone on 6 cruises with them and out to dinner most Friday nights. But during the week, we were stuck in our subdivision with no where to go except lunch.

Our city of Johns Creek did open a new senior center and we joined and became active members. I even served on the activity committee. We got a taste of how we liked doing stuff with those we liked and related to.

That was better, but that was not enough. We looked around, considering our options of where to live. Someplace that was not the suburbs that was clearly kid and work centered, something we were not.

We took our time looking around visiting Big Canoe and Bent Tree in the mountains, Destin at the beach, and small towns nearby.  We decided a small town on the outskirts of our metro area would be nice; kind of the best of both worlds. We could still visit the suburbs, be close enough to have lunch with our friends and make it back home without too much trouble. But nothing was jumping out at us.

Then we discovered Active Adult Communities and found 4 or 5 around our metro area. We made some visits to active adult communities of Del Webb and other builders.  We signed up for the program where you visit the community and stay in a villa for 2 to 4 days to see what the community is like. We did that program three times. We thought about it.

We really like the Active Adult Community concept. The locations were perfect. It would give us a welcoming community right off the bat. A lot of other people just like us were moving there. The Active Adult Communities were all in good places to live. They had done their research.

Then reality set upon us and we froze up. We needed to down size and get rid of a lot of stuff. What about selling our home we had lived in for 26 years in a down real estate market. This would be a major upset to our lives, a lot of unknowns. We procrastinated and our excitement about moving waned.

We continued getting rid of stuff and business records going back 25 years that we no longer needed. Numerous trips to the shredders and to Goodwill. Selling stuff on Craig’s List and giving stuff away and dumping the rest in the trash.

Before we knew it years had gone by, then one day we made another visit to the Active Adult Community we most liked. We came back home and decided it’s time to do this. At age 67, we were finally making our move.

We hired a buyer’s agent to help us find a home in our Del  Webb Active Adult Community.  We looked at new homes and priced all the options. The buyer’s agent said we should considered resales and we found one, a 2,777 square foot ranch called the Cumberland Hall model. She helped negotiate a deal and we moved in!

Now 10 years later, after we starting retiring, we realize we should have moved a little faster. We love living here and it’s going on two years we have been here. Why did it take us so long?

We were stuck in the suburbs, having lived in the same house for over 25 years and in the suburbs for most of our working careers.  Moving and change is hard, but it turns out it was something we managed very well. We adapted to our new home and community almost right way. We never looked back. We know we made the right decision and feel for people who are stuck in the suburbs after retiring and do not quite know what to do.

Moving to a home and a community better suited to making you happy is the way to go.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

small town retirement

Originally posted 2021-01-23 11:28:00.