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.

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2009 Southern Living Idea House in Dahlonega GA

Southern Living House

Reynolds Signature Communities and Linger Longer Homes, the same people who developed the hugely successful Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee GA, are the developers of Achasta, a mountain retirement community in Dahlonega.   My wife spotted the ad for the 2009 Southern Living Idea home that is in Achasta, and we took a ride up from Atlanta to give it a tour. The price is only $5 per person and well worth it.  Besides the Idea House, there are three vacant model homes you can tour as well to see how informal mountain living can be.

The Southern Living Idea House was beautiful as you might expect.  Designed by Stephen Fuller.  It was full furnished and decorated.  We liked the openness of the home.  The master bedroom is on the main level on this house and all the models we visited.  The master bedroom, called the retreat, is open to the outside tower deck. Call tower because fo the 15ft high ceilings. The other bedrooms are on the lower terrace (basement) level.  Both level were very open to the decks outside which were covered, plenty of stone, an outdoor fireplace,  and nice views of the mountains and natural wooded areas.   The kitchen was really unique in that the whole wall was a retractable sliding door that open to the outside deck.   It seemed your kitchen was outdoors.  I guess you could have a sliding screen door.  The family room open up also to the outside deck with a nice seating arrangement around the outdoor fireplace.  Same on the lower level with access to the lower terrace.  That openess to the outside was the main unique feature of the home it seems to me.  It was nice and a feel good experience.  There was also an inviting living room.  The house flowed well from room to room. The lower level had two bedrooms, an family room, bath and another room.   All with high ceiling and nice carpet. There was an upstairs as well with a family type room and again opening up to the outside deck with great views to the mountains.

The Idea House didn’t seem too large but offered many spaces so as not to be crowded.  The two other model homes we visited were very nice as well.  I asked the attended the asking price of one of the model and she replied $975,000 with the accessories.  There were some middle aged couples but most were around my age early sixties.  There was a large clubhouse and excellent golf coarse in the community.   Achasta is in Dahlonega.  From Atlanta take GA 400 north to Dahlonega, turn left on Hwy 60 and go about 4.5 miles and you will see Acasta on the right. For the Southern Living Idea House the  HOURS:  Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  No reservations needed.

The Place to Retire – PA

One of the most searched terms people use to find our site is “retirement communities in PA“  looking for retirement communities in PA or Pennsylvania.  I was surprised that so many people were looking to retire in PA.  But my neighbor just took a drive through PA and reports it is full of small towns and peaceful rural areas, that would be attractive to anyone 55+ to retire to.  Then I noticed on our site 55CommunityGuide.com a number of attractive retirement communities in PA. including Red Hill, Lansdale, White Haven, Lancaster, Hummelstown, Hershey, Red Lion, Colmar PA.
There is info on affordable retirement community in Red Hill PA.
Also Luxury 55+ condos in Hershey PA.

55 Plus Communities in the Sacramento CA – Placer County Area

Sun City Roseville is a beautiful active adult community 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, CA. Situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Sun City Roseville offers an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities including a 50,000 square foot recreation center and 27-holes of golf.

Sun City Lincoln Hills is located in Placer County 30 miles northeast of Sacramento. This strategically located community is within a two hour drive from Lake Tahoe, The Bay Area, and Napa. Lincoln, CA has been noted by Forbes magazine as one of the fastest growing cities in the country due to its wonderful amenities, gorgeous topography, and world-class shopping and dining.

Springfield at Whitney Oaks in Rocklin California, near Sacramento, is a national award-winning gated 55+ active adult community of 868 homes. Nestled 80 miles northeast of San Francisco and just 120 miles southwest of Reno, Springfield at Whitney Oaks is within a two hour drive to the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley wine country. Set amidst rolling hills, Springfield has beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Sutter Buttes and Sacramento Valley.

Contact Anne Wiens at her web site.

More 55+ communities in CA

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. Â

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.Â