Getaway To Highlands NC

The wife booked us a three night  get-a-way in Highlands NC,  so we headed up I-985 from Atlanta for the 2.5 hour plus trip. It took 4 hours. So much for Google Maps prediction when it is foggy and light rain in the mountains.

Highlands NC is in Western North Carolina about 25 miles north of Georgia. In this section of Western North Carolina there are other desirable small towns like Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Sylva, Glenville, Lake To a way and Brevard, a quaint college town.    Both Highlands and Cashiers are resort mountain small towns with lots of charm. Both are favorites of Atlanta people escaping the heat and humidity during the Summer months and Florida halfbacks moving up from the Sunshine state.

Highlands has a walkable town filled with antique shops, interesting stores for shopping, restaurants, some gourmet,  and places to stay like 200 Main where we are staying.

Many people come here on a vacation and end up buying a seasonal home and for some that turns into their retirement home. There are no 55 Active Adult Communities. These are mountain homes and cabins with natural yards. There are many mountain lifestyle communities with activities and amenities that are similar to what Active Adult Communities offer.  Lonesome Valley, Sapphire Valley, and  Bear Lake Reserve are some of the larger communities but there are many more. Many full time residents now call this area home.

Western NC is known for being an appealing retirement area with award winning golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and renowned trout fishing waters. Most get an introduction to the area by renting a home first from rental companies like SPM Resorts and Sapphire Real Estate and Rentals.

I would image with the influx of tourists in the Summer that might get irratating to locals, but this helps supports the gourmet restaurants and attractions. During Winter I bet it gets a little quiet around here but locals love it.

Most of the time weather is great break from city heat and people enjoy hiking the nature trails, golfing, fishing on the mountain lakes and visiting the many waterfalls in the area.

In the meantime back to my trip,  since it is foggy and raining today, we will curl up around the cozy fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book and research where to make dinner reservations.

fireplace
Fireplace at 200 Main Highlands N C

 

old Edwards inn
Old Edwards Inn Highlands


Factors That Make Small Towns Desirable for Retirement

Factors That Make Small Towns Desirable for Retirement

In planning for retirement, many people seek out a new home in a new town, whether to downsize, move to a sunnier climate, or simply for a change of pace. While some baby boomers are looking for more excitement and a thriving night life, many people – both singles and couples – hunt for new homes in quieter, more cozy places than the suburban or urban environments in which they spent their working years.

Small cities – those with populations of 25,000 or fewer – offer some distinct benefits for senior citizens seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of life, but don’t want to live out in the middle of nowhere. In the hunt for the perfect small-town retirement destination, you may want to consider a number of factors: criteria that can help you determine whether or not a small city in question is a good spot to retire.

So, what makes certain small towns more desirable for retirement than others? There are a wide range of answers to that question, but the same few seem to pop up again and again: Low crime rate; mild weather; ease of travel within city limits (walkability) and to other destinations (nearness to international airport); number of retiree amenities per capita; natural beauty and charm of the surroundings; and ability to make quality social connections. While some of these factors (low crime rate and mild climate) are easy to quantify, others are a bit more subjective.

Ease of travel: To some, this may mean the ability to walk easily to the majority of restaurants, venues and shops in the community, while to others it may mean excellent public transportation options in a small city.

Retiree Amenities: Some are looking for a bonafide 55+ community with all the included amenities and facilities, while others look to the town in general to see what healthcare facilities, senior centers, adult education opportunities, libraries, and arts and entertainment venues are available.  Is there a senior center nearby?

Social Connections: Many small towns or small cities share a common “theme,” or may have large concentrations of certain types of people. Perhaps citizens share a common ethnic heritage, like Leavenworth, WA’s Scandinavians, or shared interest like the Sedona, AZ population of artists. Towns that host annual festivals and other events also offer many opportunities to meet new people.
Are there many baby boomers or seniors your age?

Regional Medical – Is there regional medical resources nearby and 24 hour medical services close by? How about assisted living homes?

Tip! Small towns with one of the large Active Adult Communities like those of Del Webb, K. Hovnanian Homes, Brookfield Homes, Lennar, Beazer Homes,  WCI Communities or Erickson Retirement communities – they usually have done the research for you and are in or near desirable small towns for retirement.

Retiring to a small town can be an appealing option on many fronts. After battling traffic and hassles of urban or suburban living for decades, the attractions of small town life can be a serene alternative, and offer opportunities to learn, grow, socialize, and live happy and healthy lives as seniors.



Huntsville AL – A Great Town to Retire To

The town of Huntsville, AL is the best small town for retirement for those who wish to retire in good weather and a scenic city that has lost none of its beauty.

Magnolia Trace
Magnolia Trace

Huntsville, Alabama sounds like a small town, but it is definitely one that has experienced growth. The town of Huntsville is located in the north region of the state of Alabama. Huntsville has a current population of fewer than 200,000 people and has attracted retirees due to the vast opportunities available in this retirement city.

Huntsville, AL is a scenic and beautiful city. Though it is one of the four largest cities in the state of Alabama, Huntsville is a beautiful place with plenty of greenery. Many large cities only concentrate on building up and out, without paying attention to the natural beauty of the place. Huntsville, Alabama has plenty of wooded areas, gardens, lakes and greenery to enjoy. For this reason, Huntsville is an excellent retirement destination for those who crave the city life, while still wanting to enjoy small town luxuries.  Magnolia Trace Huntsville and Redstone Village are two Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Huntsville that offer a retirement community for independent living as well as care facilities when needed.

One thing that makes Huntsville so special is the large amount of PhD holders who live in this city. Huntsville holds more PhD holders per square mile than most other place in the United States. The reason Huntsville has so many educated citizens is due to the NASA branch located in the town of Huntsville. The city also holds many opportunities for those who hold degrees in science and engineering. Retirees who wish to have a part time job in their old field or to volunteer in the science and technology field will find Huntsville to be full of opportunities.

The growth that Huntsville, AL is expected to receive is largely due to the military opportunities that are moving to the town of Huntsville. Nearly 10,000 military jobs will be relocated to the city and a large amount of military contractor positions will be soon to follow. Military retirees who wish to remain close to a military installation and have the opportunity to contract with the military will find Huntsville to be one of the top towns to retire.

The weather in Huntsville is excellent for those who are looking to get away from cold, harsh winters without having to deal with summers that are over 100 degrees F. Most winter temperatures in the Huntsville area are around 49 degrees and temperatures in the summer are just less than 90 degrees on average. Mild falls and summers leave time to explore Monte San Mountain, a beautiful mountain and nature reserve located in south Huntsville.

The town of Huntsville’s demographics are varied, which makes for a culturally rich town. Huntsville is also located within 2 hours of both Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN. A day trip to both of these large, popular southern cities will take no more than a few hours. Chattanooga, TN and Birmingham, AL are within one hour of Huntsville and these cities are popular destinations for large events.

The town of Huntsville, AL is the best small town for retirement for those who wish to retire in good weather and a scenic city that has lost none of its beauty. Huntsville, AL offers the ability to live well on retirement income and also offers opportunities to those who wish to stay mentally active after leaving the workforce full time.



Towns and Communities in Vermont

I will to going to Burlington VT next week to seek the leaf foliage.   I know Vermont has a lot of small towns that would be a great place to live and would like to visit some.  We plan to do a lot of driving, maybe up hwy 100 and then one day up to the North toward Montreal.

If you know of any good small towns that I could review while in VT, please let me know. If you have retired in VT, let us know where you live and what the area has to offer.

UPDATE:  Well I did visit Vermont and really liked it.  We staying in Burlington and liked everything about it.  It has a University, a great small town for walking, many restaurants, many sites to see like the Vermont Teddy Bear factory, Lake Champlain, and others.  We did Stowe, the ski resort up in the mountains were I took that photo at the top of the post.  Side trips up to Montreal Canada and over to upstate New York were great too.  I see from our site that there are several 55+ communities in Vermont so I need to take another visit.

 



Suburban Retirement

Today I want to talk about retiring in the suburbs and the advantages of that from my personal observations. These many be enough reasons just to keep me and other baby boomers in place, so let’s begin.

Baby Boomers are putting a lot of thought in to the question of where to retire.  Many people think about retiring to a small town and there are many advantages to living in a small town.  Some people even retire to city living and that is also becoming a popular idea.

But today I want to talk about retiring in the suburbs and the advantages of that from my personal observations. These many be enough reasons just to keep me in place, so let’s begin.


Definition of SUBURB

a : an outlying part of a city or town
b : a smaller community adjacent to or within commuting distance of a city

Advantages of Retiring in the Suburbs

1. Since many of us currently live in the suburbs, we can just age in place. Less stress in moving to a new area.  More comfortable with surroundings we know.

2. Closer to our friends, associates, organization we belong to and can maintain current relationships.

3. I have a Kroger, Publix and a Whole Foods within 3 miles of my house.  That is nice.

4. We have an Active Adult Center nearby.

5. I have Meetup groups I belong to in my community

6. I am a member of a fitness gym five minutes from my house.

7. We have some really top restaurants nearby (5 to 10 minutes).

8. We have two regional hospitals and all kinds of Doctors and medical groups nearby.  For the future home health services abound.

9. I can continue my part time consulting job if I don’t move away.  Starting a new retirement job in a new location may not be so easy.

10. Many other services are nearby like getting a massage, stopping by the bookstore, dry cleaners, all kinds of shopping, etc.

11. Entertainment is easily accessible.  In my community there are live music venues, concert halls, community theaters, Verizon Amphitheater, sports.  A trip in to the city can be made in 20 to 30 minutes for bigger venues.

12. Driving is not bad if I am not in rush hour times but things are so close that does not matter much.   If needed in the future, taxis, vans and other transportation are available.

So even compared to one of those wonderful Active Adult Communities in the exurbs, I have a better Fitness Center, better access to grocery shopping, better access to nice restaurants and better access to top medical services.

At first glance there is not as much opportunity to meet new friends; but it is also something to consider in keeping old friends.  Meetups, adult centers, volunteering, clubs, libraries and hobbies presents opportunities to meet friends.

As it turns out what I have been searching for may be right here at my doorstep.  What about you, are you going to move for retirement?



Understanding Your Retirement Needs

It does not matter how old you are.  If you are currently working in a job that has you gainfully employed you should be thinking about your retirement.  Many people will think that because they are young and not even close to retirement age that they do not need to worry about it.  This belief is the furthest thing from the truth.  There are many different things you should worry about and understand before retiring.  If you do not have certain items and situations set into place by the time you retire you could find yourself needing a loan for bad credit.  That would not be a good place to be considering that retirement should be joyful and fun.  The article below will help you to understand what your retirement needs should be.

After Retirement Plans

Most people after retirement wish to live the same kind of lifestyle as they were living when employed while others do not care if the lifestyles they have changes so they have the opportunity to retire.  That is all a personal preference.  When thinking about this decision it is important to include housing costs, as well as how much traveling you plan to do and basic living costs such as a car, fuel, food, clothing and entertainment.

Current Income

Another very important fact to consider is how much your current income is bringing into the household.  After retirement most people will want to continue living the lifestyle that they currently have.  In this case you should be secure in the fact that your current pension will give you the same amount of income every month as you are currently making.  If it is not going to you might want to reconsider your thoughts of retiring or plan on taking up a part time job that will help to supplement your income.  It is also important to put a little of your monthly income back into your retirement account.  This will be able to help you when the cost of living increases as it always does year after year.  If these precautions are not taken it is possible that your credit will take a negative hit.  When this happens it is almost impossible to obtain a long and you will end of looking into loans for bad credit borrowers.

Social Security

Often times when a person is considering retiring he or she will depend on the savings account and their social security check instead of a pension.  However many people do not know how much to expect in social security every month and have no idea how to find this out.  Each year everyone is sent a statement from the Social Security Administration.  This statement will show you an estimate of what you social security income will be every month if you choose to retire at that time.  You should remember that these are not actual figures but an estimate.  You should not depend on the exact amount listed.

There is not a set age limit required for you to retire it will all be a personal decision.  You should keep in mind all of your financial needs before you make the step into retirement.  When you retire it should be a fun and carefree time of your life.  By being prepared the correct way you should be able to enjoy this time of your life with no worries.

This is a guest post by Janice Thompson.