Charlottesville Virginia – Check It Out!

Rotunda – The University of Virginia

When one makes a trip to spend a few days in an area you have never visited and discovers it’s an attractive area, sometimes it turns in to a “Let’s move here” idea. I could see how that could happen in Charlottesville Virgina after spending 3 days there this week.

Rotunda – The University of Virginia

When one makes a trip to spend a few days in an area you have never visited and discovers it’s an attractive area, sometimes it turns in to a “Let’s move here” idea. I could see how that could happen in Charlottesville Virgina after spending 3 days there this week.

We just wanted a getaway and picked Charlottesville off the map. Having never been there, we did a little research and found it’s a good place to visit and to live.

Charlottesville Trip Report

Day one we flew to Richmond Va and took our rental car for an easy drive over to Charlottesville via I-64. Takes a little over an hour with stop an a visitors center on the way.

Seeing one of the big attractions is visit to Thomas Jefferson home (Monticello) we exited I-64 and followed the signs. We first came upon historic Michie Tavern cir 1784 which offered a buffet lunch which we were about ready for and then a tour of the tavern by ladies in period dress. We went ahead and got the Presidential tour package which includes Monticello, Michie Tavern, James Monroe home and James Madison’s home at Montpelier. After eating we took the Michie Tavern tour with a nice lady as guide. This got us in the right frame of mind for the next stop.

So about 2pm we arrvied at Monticello which is right up the road from Michie Tavern. This is a popular place and lots of people were coming in from the parking lots. We stopped by the ticket office and immediately got on the bus for the next tour of the home. The bus takes you up to the top of the hill to Monticello. Their is a guided tour of several rooms of the home and it has a lot of the items owned by Mr. Jefferson and other period pieces to look just like it did when he lived there. Thomas Jefferson worked on Monticello for 30 years and made it his unique home. Afterwards we joined a tour of the grounds and made a day of it. I think Monticello was the highlight of our trip.

Day two we take the short drive down to the University of Virginia to find the Rotunda designed by Thomas Jefferson. We park at The Corner, a popular place for students, and just follow them up the hill, over looking grounds framed by historic buildings. Every hour there is a tour by a student guide starting at the Rotunda. We visited several rooms inside the Rotunda and hear about it’s amazing history, then go out in to the academic village for more of the tour. After wards we stop by a student hangout at The Corner for a coke.

Next it’s a short drive to the downtown mall, which is an area several blocks long with the main street closed to auto traffic. Side walk cafes all around and we try on out for a delicious lunch. For the afternoon, we drive out to tour the farm of James Monroe which was part of the Presidential homes ticket.

Day three we drive out to Montpelier James Madison’s huge home and farm. It is a about 15 miles north of Charlottesville, right off the path to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we would be visiting that afternoon. We pass many farms on the way. This property has been restored by the National Trust, and they have done an excellent first class job. There is a large visitors center where we watch a short movie about James Monroe, the father of the US Constitution. Next we tour the large home and walk the grounds.

It getting around noon so we head East to the Shenandoah Park. Ticket is $15 but since I am 62, I am offered the Senior Pass for $10 and it is good the rest of your life. What a deal! We get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 9 miles along stop at the Big Meadows Lodge for a nice lunch in their dining room. We enjoyed he views and head back to Charlottesville where we dine that evening at the Boat House, the best new restaurant of the year.

It was an amazing trip and to see so many things in such a short period of time! Charlottesville is a college town with history and everything you would want, without the traffic of a large city. If you have never visited Charlottesville you need to. You just might want to move there.



Best Places to Live in Florida

Best small towns and places to live or retire to in Florida

Florida Retirement

Best Places to Live in Florida

Florida, known as the Sunshine State, has been attracting people almost every year since World War II due to its warm weather, world-class entertainment, beautiful beaches and recreation areas, and proximity to both North and South America as well as the Caribbean.  Although many people think of Miami or Orlando when considering moving to Florida, there are many smaller communities that are attractive and still close to those major areas.  In this article, we’ll explore why these Florida retirement communities should be considered for anyone wanting to move to a small town in Florida.

1. Naples, FL – with the first people moving to what is now know as Naples, FL arriving in the 1860’s, Naples has always been noted for it’s mild climate and plethora of fish and other game.  Socialites have always called this place home back to the time of Thomas Edison and Greta Garbo.

Why would someone want to live in an area known for celebrities? With one quarter of the population older than 65, this area is very retiree friendly as well as having beautiful beaches.  With many cultural amenities like museums and parks, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities to enjoy as well. Some museums to check out include the Collier County Museum, highlighting local history through the centuries, and the Von Liebig Art Center, which showcases art after 1950 and in the local style.  Parks to enjoy include the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary , which was the first national preserve in the US Parks System and is great for birdwatching, canoeing, and kayaking, and Fakahatchee Strand State Park which is full of endangered species including the Florida Panther.  It also has a 2,000 foot boardwalk to look at the natural setting.  If you’re daring, you can even get a guide tour of the swamp!

Overall, Naples is full of shopping as well.  Fifth Avenue South is the heart of this shopping.  There are lots of little cafes and restaurants in this area.  Whether you like natural stuff like parks or shopping,

2.  Clearwater, FL– named one of the “Ten Best Beaches From Maine to Hawaii” by USA Today, Clearwater, FL is one of the nation’s top vacation destinations.  However, with a great climate and white sand beaches, it’s also an ideal place to relocate due to a laid back lifestyle.

Located just west of Tampa, FL, Clearwater has 28 miles of beaches and is a stereotypical beach town with small roads, people hauling coolers, and lots of boats.  However, it has a diverse economy with manufacturing, education, and tourism making it an easy place for people to find jobs.  Being close to St. Petersburg International and Tampa International Airports also makes traveling and having friends visit easy as well.

With marinas, beaches, and an aquarium, Clearwater’s location on the beach means there’s lots of water sports and fishing.  As home to the biggest fishing boat fleet on the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are many opportunities to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, and just leisurely sailing the clear waters.

3. Winter Park, FL– this little community is located just north of downtown Orlando and is probably one of the first “wealthy” areas of Orlando.  There is a lot of history here with professionals from Orlando’s early years residing here.

Home to Rollins College, Winter Park is a small community that has kept its roots as a vacation resort to the rich in times past to now becoming a bedroom community of Orlando.  In many parts of this small town, you can walk by various shops with a farmers market every Sunday just west of the main park north of Rollins College.

Although a bit pricey for homes due to the highly-educated and highly-paid workforce, Winter Park makes up for it in cute brick paved streets and low speed limits which makes it quiet for people living here.

Winter Park is a great community to consider living in for those who want a tight knit, classy town that has all the amenities of a small town while being a few minutes from downtown entertainment and work space.

Overall, living in Florida has its pros and cons.  Even though it’s extremely hot in the summer months, the proximity to the beach, mild temperature outside of the summer months, and slow pace of life make Florida a great relocation destination for those who want a simple life that doesn’t involve winter weather.  Naples, Clearwater, and Winter Park are all communities that a person should consider when looking at Florida 55+ homes for sale.

Copyright SmallTownRetirement.com



Assisted Living Facilities

Retirement communities are there but are assisted living facilities and nursing homes available in small towns?

skilled-nursing-facility

Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes in Small Towns

So if you are retiring to a small town what kind of retirement related housing will you find.  Retirement communities are not that plentiful in small towns, except small towns on the edge of large metro areas or in resort areas at lakes, in the mountains or the sea shore.  Small 55 plus communities are gaining ground just about everywhere.  Of coarse, retirement homes like ranch style with universal design offering ease of living to retirees and anyone else are found everywhere also.

But what in later life when assisted living facilities or a skilled nursing facility is needed, will you be able to find one in a small town?

To start, Assisted Living is the term used to describe a type of long-term care facility for people who are elderly or who have disabilities. As opposed to a nursing home, assisted living centers are designed for people who can move around on their own but may require extra help with some daily living activities, such as bathing, getting dressed or preparing a meal. These facilities can be small, with fewer than a half-dozen residents, on up to large, full-service apartment complexes.

Assisted living facilities are to be found in just about all small towns.  Many of these assisted living homes are small to mid size facilities, which to me is a more desirable size anyway.

Nursing homes – A state-licensed facility providing 24-hour nursing care, room and board for older and convalescing adults who have chronic and/or long-term illnesses, such as dementia. Regular, round-the-clock medical supervision is in place at these homes, along with rehabilitation therapy, a central cafeteria and social activities. Most are eligible for the federal government’s Medicaid program, which pays fees for residents who do not have the financial means to pay for their own care. These establishments are sometimes referred to as a Skilled Nursing Facility or a Convalescent Home.

There are many more nursing homes then there are assisted living facilities.  Many people can’ afford assisted living, but a nursing homes are eligible for Medicaid assistance.  Plus you can live at home even though you may need assisted living, but when you need skilled nursing, there is no alternative.

Therefore I have found nursing homes are found everywhere and are the most common among all of the above senior housing arrangements.  Since nursing homes are state licensed, the government provides a great sites that lists all nursing homes and even rating them for you.  Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare tool has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country and is a wonderful resource in locating and comparing nursing homes in small towns.

Glossary of Assisted Living Terms



Retirement Status: Is it Not Politically Correct to Say You are Retired?

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.”

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?



Retirement – Are You Ready and Can You Do It?

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business. People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time. All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process.

Retirement – When Does It Begin?

Looking forward to retirement is the current pastime of many of us 50+ years old boomers.  Anticipating our retirement and what it will be like is a pleasant thought.  They say you really don’t know what retirement is until you actually retire.

The expected benefits are many: having more time, doing things we like, making new friends, traveling, experiencing new things, less stressful life and a better balance between work and play.

Using the new definition of retirement as being a better balance between work and play, when do we pull the trigger and consider ourselves being in retirement? When you leave your full time career job?  When you start drawing social security somewhere between age 62 to 66?  Or when you say so?  Many people find it hard to say they are retired, even after they have retired.

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business.  People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time.  All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process. The exciting part is actually starting the process for a better balance of work and play in our life, no matter what you call it.

Robert, age 62 and retired



Rediscovering Passions In Retirement

Retirement Activities

Now that I am retired and have time, I am rediscovering some things I used to like to do that I have not done in say, 25 years.

Retirement Activities

Now that I am retired and have time, I am rediscovering some things I used to like to do that I have not done in say, 25 years.  Once of those things was to attend the European style Formula road races.  I guess it started when in 1972 I was taking leave from the Army (drafted in Jan 1970) while stationed in Germany.  I got my back back and sleeping bag and hit the road for 30 days to see Europe.  Well I just happened to be passing through Le Mans France when I noticed everyone getting off the train at that stop.  I follow them right in to the 24 Hour Le Mans race.  That’s when I got attracted to this type racing.  Back in Atlanta in the 1970s I started going to the same type races at Road Atlanta with my wife Mary Ann.  We even camped in the infield a couple of times.  Those were the days.

Then life happened and I was a professional accountant then real estate broker and didn’t have time for such.  I haven’t even thought about it for some time.  Now that I have more time, my friend Scott and I attended the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last Fall.  It was great. We went in the paddock area and saw the Peugeots, Audis, and Ferraris up close.

So last weekend when Scott wanted to know if I would go to “The Mitty”, a historic sportscar show and race at Road Atlanta, I said sure.  I found out I was not the only boomer who likes this type racing.   Many of the guys racing were in their 50s and 60s.   They were really enjoying themselves, showing off their cars and then racing them. The gentleman in the photo above is Tony Adamowicz.  He was having his 69th birthday and came in second in his class driving a 1969 Eage MK5 Formula race car that he had won the championship with in 1969.

Many boomers were taking photos at the events.  We assumed one gentleman with several long lens cameras was a photo journalist, but he said was just doing it for himself.  He was not alone.  Then there were the boomer spectators like me, enjoying the sun and fresh air while walk around the massive grounds to see the race from several view points.

Rediscovering this passion from my earlier years is a delight.  I expect to do more rediscovering of the things I used to like to do as well as new adventures.