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.
All images and web site content copyright by owners and photographers. All rights reserved.
Listen to Johns Creek GA band in this small town parade.
Smalls towns are not what they used to be. These days they appeal to most everyone who wants a brake from the rat race of urbanized living. Small towns offer so much more than they used to.
That being the case, what are some of the differences you will notice if you move from a metro area to a small town. I am about to find out moving from a metro area that is getting more urbanized everyday to a small town out one the fringes of a metro area. This move will be to a Del Webb community and that seems to be their ideal location, far enough but not too far, from metro areas.
We have purchased the home and are downsizing our current household belongings, meeting with an interior designer who is giving us input on what to bring and will help set up our home in the new community.
So we are in the process of moving, but are following our new community with many visits to the community and surrounding area during our moving process. Observations are being made and I am updating this page with new observations.
The purpose of this posts will be to share my observations about how living in a small town is different and I have two observations to start this list and will add more as we move.
1. More Influence in the Community.
Kind of like you become a bigger fish in a smaller pond type thing. Your input and efforts make a bigger difference. Example: The county wanted to dig up one of the new tennis courts in my new community to lay a utility line and said they would return the courts to same or better condition. They did not. They tried to repair the courts but they kept cracking. The county was not going to do anything further but talk. In the recent county elections the community got behind a new candidate who took their tennis court issue seriously and with help of the community got elected. The new commissioner got this problem taken care of. That is one example and I am sure there are more not just in politics but in volunteering and other causes.
2. Traffic is different.
Traffic is lighter and is less congested but some things are further away. So you might drive further with a less congested drive and arrive about the same time. In fairness, many things are closer but some are not. I will hone this initial observation once I start living there everyday.
I very much look forward to continuing this list very soon with my observations of how living in a small town is different than living in a metro area.
3. Churches are Small Too.
Rather than the huge mega churches found in the city and suburbs, smaller churches are all around. In this area many of them are quaint architecturally.
4. Fresh Produce is available.
In the city, the organic farmers markets on Saturday were high priced and very little selections sold by middle men making their markups taking produce from boxes from who knows where. In a small town, there are produce stands selling fruits and vegetables that taste like they should at a reasonable cost.
Some people looking forward to retirement have their sights set on adventure and travel. Others may want the hustle and bustle of a big city, to enjoy cultural pursuits they never had time for during their working years. Many, though, would like nothing better than to relax in a quiet, homey environment with friendly neighbors and low stress. If this is you, small town retirement may offer the peace and quiet you seek, as well as a surprising number of other benefits you may not have considered:
Lower housing costs. Rural land is generally less expensive than that close in to urban areas, homes usually cost less to build, and property taxes are often significantly lower than those in the city. Some retirement communities in small towns.
Lower cost of living. Although transportation of goods may mean that some groceries and household items cost a bit more outside of urban areas, most other expenses of daily life are lower. In general, utilities, insurance, home maintenance, car repair, and many other goods and services are less expensive in smaller towns.
Lower crime rates. With less concentrated populations, small towns avoid much of the crime you might experience in big cities.
More park like, natural setting. If you are invigorated by exposure to the outdoors, trees, and wildlife, you can get these benefits by stepping right outside your door into your back yard. You could even plant your own garden to reap more benefits of the time you spend outdoors. Small towns are less densely populated and because of the virus, some are moving away from the cities to small towns.
Peace and quiet. Unlike living in the city, you don’t hear “noise pollution” such as sirens, yelling, traffic, horns, and the general rumble of thousands of people living in close quarters. The lights you see at night come from the moon and stars instead of the “overglow” from neon signs, traffic lights, street lamps, and headlights. The reduced sound and light distractions can lead to less stress, and an improved ability to relax and sleep.
More Personable – People in the small towns seem to be more friendly. They say Hi to you on the street. Some people are more accessible to you, for example you can even phone up your mayor or state representative and talk.
Many small towns have 55+ communities within their borders or just outside of town. Even if you choose to live in your own home outside of a retirement community, small towns may provide similar benefits: a close-knit community, helpful and friendly neighbors with similar lifestyles, and a town center where you can engage in social activities. For a retiree seeking rest and relaxation, a small town retirement is a lifestyle worth considering.
In this economy baby boomers nearing retirement are looking for affordable housing as never before. Here are some ways to do so.
1. Move to a Small Town where housing costs, property taxes and cost of living are all lower. This will save you money.
2. Downsize to a new smaller more efficient home which will save you money on utilities and have less upkeep & maintenance repairs. It will be a long time before you spend money on appliance replacements or have to replace the hot water heater, furnace, air conditioner or roof.
3. Buy a resale home from a realtor or the owner rather than buying from the builder / developer. You can get a resale at a better price. There are previously occupied homes in every community, even new communities. Most resales have been improved by their owners.
4. Age in place in your current home making some improvements to make your house more livable. Check into changes in home design and function – many resources are available on the Internet. Visit your neighborhood senior center or active adult center for programs and activities that will help you stay active, learn, exercise and socialize right in your own neighborhood.
5. Also check out 55+ communities and senior communities that may better serve your housing needs into the future. Being pro-active and acquiring long-run sustainable housing can save you money by avoiding emotional, maybe rash decisions about housing later in life.
Although seeming more expensive age qualified communities many times include services, meals, transportation, exercise facilities and much more that you are paying for now, so overall may be a good value for you
Explaining to someone who inquires that you are retired and free for the day prompts an observer to later say “Quit saying that! People are tired of hearing you say that.”
Say what? That I am retired. Did I put a little too much happiness into revealing my retirement status?
It seems these days proclaiming that you are retired especially if you are still in your 60’s, may bring out resentment or at least envy from others who often then longingly reply “One day maybe I can retire.”
It may not be that they are sad you are retired, but they immediately think of their current situation and prospects for their own retirement, which may have been dimmed in this prolonged Great Recession.
Saying you are retired is like saying I just bought a new BMW! People will smile and act like they are happy for you, but secretly they feel bad because they want one too. Has retirement become a status symbol?
So what are you supposed to say or is it the way you say it that is just as important? If you plainly report your status as retired without any smile or indication that you may in fact be actually enjoying retirement, would that be better? Probably.
It is hard enough for you to start saying you are retired in the first place. You start off with saying you are trying to retire, or transitioning to retirement, then semi retired, then finally simply retired. Now you discover you better be sensitive to others in reporting your “retired” status or at least do not show too much happiness in doing so. Makes sense to me. Has anyone experienced this?
North Carolina has some of the very best small towns to relocate to. Such a varied state is NC. You have the Western Mountains (blue ridge mountains) which are beautiful, the Beaches, the large metro areas and more.
We just visited Asheville NC and noticed many new retirement communities around the area. We took the Asheville Food Tour and enjoyed the eclectic downtown area as well.
Hendersonville NC is another area we visited and walked down their wonderful Main Street and visited the Visitors Center where they were very help. Lots of retirees moving to Hendersonville. But here is another town you may want to consider for NC.
Best Small Towns for Retirement in North Carolina
Charlotte Area – All around Charlotte metro area seems to be the place for Active Adult Communities: Trilogy Lake Norman up on the Nortwest side of Charlotte, Lennar at Imagery at Mount Holly, Tree Tops also by Lennar Homes on the Southside down by Sun City Lakes which is all resales by now, Cresswind Charlotte a 55+ community over on the East side next to the hospital, Carolina Orchards, a Del Webb Community down on the Southside at Fort Mill. These are the big five retirement communities near Charlotte NC.
Chapel Hill – If you are seeking the perfect small town retirement location, and are drawn to the moderate climate and Southern charm of North Carolina, the small city of Chapel Hill may be the place for you. Chapel Hill, located in North Carolina’s “Research Triangle” (home to three renowned universities, teaching hospitals, and one of the largest research parks in the nation), offers everything a retiree desires. Not only are there cultural activities, medical facilities, and other senior-friendly amenities galore, but the area’s four distinct seasons draw retirees from across the country.
Chapel Hill, situated in the hills of central North Carolina, enjoys close proximity to three thriving institutions of higher learning – the University of NC at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and Duke University. College towns in general are enriching and invigorating places to retire – with art, music, education, a wide variety of dining options, and a “young” atmosphere – and Chapel Hill offers these benefits threefold.
The proximity of the universities also means that stellar medical care is available only minutes away from downtown Chapel Hill. Both the University of North Carolina and Duke University have large, modern teaching hospitals, and the large number of seniors moving to the area have drawn even more world-class health facilities into the region.
As a popular retirement destination, the Chapel Hill area boasts a number of 55+ communities that offer resort retirement living, although the cost of housing here is higher than in many small town retirement locations. There are golf communities, mixed-generation neighborhoods with a senior-friendly focus, and assisted living facilities. Closer to downtown, retirement condominiums and apartments are also available. Active retirees can enjoy the vibrant cultural scene in and around the city, or pursue recreational activities among the nearby mountains and beaches, both just a couple of hours’ drive away. With many social activities and dining establishments in town, meeting other retirees and making new friends can be easier than in smaller or more rural settings.
If you are considering North Carolina as a retirement destination, this charming small city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere may appeal to you. You may want to look into the city of Chapel Hill proper, or one of the many 55+ communities nestled among surrounding towns such as Carrboro and Durham.