Categories
Virginia

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.

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.

Originally posted 2010-09-26 13:12:27.

Categories
Florida

Best Places to Live 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

Originally posted 2010-09-09 06:45:00.

Categories
Boomers Retirement Homes

Boomers Own Multiple Houses

Baby Boomers were to down size to a small home because they didn’t need as much space, supposedly because they are now empty nesters, but many have multiple homes.

We know a couple who got remarried and both keep their own homes. They stay in one for a while, then the other. Oh by the way, they have a lake house, a mountain condo and just bought another house in the foothills. I kidded him, who is 71,that he is a real estate tycoon.

Several other friends in their 70’s spend half the year or more in our Del Webb Community in North Georgia, and then head to Florida for the rest of the year. One of these lives on my street and actually has his primary residence in Florida, so he lives there 6 months and the rest here.

Some friends we know have a house in Big Canoe in the North Georgia Mountains and also a cluster home in Atlanta, then a condo in Sandy Springs. When they want a “city fix” they can spend some time in the city.

Many boomers were told to down size to a small home by the financial press, saying they could live cheaply and save money. I am not sure that is the case. Even moving to a small town in the suburbs is not that much cheaper than living in the suburbs, but there are other reasons to do so.

Many counties on the outskirts of large metro areas do offer a better property tax exemption for seniors and that will save you some money. It’s worth looking into when deciding where to live.

Why Do Boomers Own So Many Homes

Retired boomers like to have options and variety. Living in different locations during the year offers variety. Plus it’s nice way to offset harsher temperatures you often get in one location for part of the year.

Another reason boomers like to own homes, is that owning real estate has been a good investment to us over the years, dispute the big real estate downturn of 2007. Home prices have risen, especially in small towns that are growing and now have more to offer.

Some boomers just like to try out different homes and different areas.  Buying a retirement home and staying put is certainly not always the case. You may have bought a home that was too large.  Or maybe you found yourself in a home that is not large enough.  Selling and moving is not as hard to do once you already have downsized somewhat from that home you lived in for 30 years or more.

Don’t let the press tell you where to live and what size home you need in retirement.

It’s clear we baby boomers are not following the pattern of our parents in deciding where to live and what kind of house(s) we should have.

Discovering what living arrangement works for you is part of the fun we get to have in retirement.

Robert Fowler
Retired and loving it!

Originally posted 2020-09-01 07:43:44.

Categories
Canada

Retirement Areas in BC Canada

When I started thinking about where I was going to retire, the obvious came to mind first: The Sunbelt. Florida. Arizona. Texas. Southern California. In addition, every time I started seriously considering any of these alternatives, I started to sweat. I am really not an all-warm-weather kind of person. I enjoy seasonal changes, low humidity, and mild summers. I actually like snow – especially if I no longer have to go out in it to go to work. Therefore, I started looking into less-cliché retirement destinations, and happened upon an article about retiring to British Columbia, Canada. I was hooked.

British Columbia, the westernmost province in Canada, sits along the Pacific Coast. The coastline stretches over 17,000 miles, and boasts deep fjords, bays, and inlets, as well as thousands of tiny coastal islands. Alaska and the Yukon Territories are to the north of B.C., the province of Alberta is to the east, and the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana border B.C. to the south. With its metropolitan areas of Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia offers some choice urban retirement communities for those who enjoy the multiculturalism, nightlife, and easy access to amenities found in cities; but the real draw for me was the wonderful selection of active adult communities in B.C.’s many small towns and suburbs.

British Columbia offers a long list of benefits for seniors residing there. Canada’s solid economic position, the high demand in B.C. for older, experienced workers, and, of course, the Canadian health care system all create a very hospitable environment for retirees, be they Canadians or American expats. Add the strong banking system and low, predictable inflation rates, and you can see that there are many reasons why the financially savvy 55+ crowd may seriously consider a Northern migration. Consider, for example: The average retiree in the U.S. will incur approximately $250,000 worth of medical expenses during retirement. Canadians, on the other hand, who are fully insured through government-provided basic health care, need only worry about 30 percent of those costs – or roughly $75,000. On top of that, the B.C. labor market provides a wide range of opportunities for older workers who still want to work part-time after retirement..

But finances aside, the climate, landscape, and social aspects of retiring to British Columbia are what drew me. Summers are glorious, with temperatures usually in the high 60s and 70s and a distinct lack of humidity – perfect for outdoor activities like golf, fishing, hiking, bicycling, boating, and camping (but bring your DEET!). The fishing rivals that of Minnesota, with thousands of lakes, streams, and ponds as well as unparalleled salt-water fishing along the coast. And the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities make British Columbia seem like one giant national park, with old-growth forest, gorgeous ocean views, gemlike glacial lakes, and the commanding presence of its snow-topped Canadian Cascades mountain range.

When I trekked up Interstate 5 to British Columbia to see for myself what retirement would be like there, I found some of the most pleasant, neighborly people and inclusive communities I have come across in my decades of travel. B.C.’s small towns offer the perfect combination of multiculturalism, open-mindedness, and isolation; you get a sense of belonging, acceptance, and mutual interdependence not found in many U.S. towns. The people are warm and welcoming. Neighbors help each other and engage each other at a personal level. I immediately felt at home, before I even decided where I wanted to live.

MoneySense magazine recently published their ranking of Canada’s 10 best retirement areas, with five of the top ten in British Columbia. This is likely because of the province’s relatively mild marine climate. The city of Victoria was at the top of the list, for its very cosmopolitan and international flavor and the fact that it sits within the Olympic “rain shadow” (getting less than a quarter the precipitation of Renfrew, just 80 miles away). The metropolitan area of Vancouver, B.C. and its many suburbs was next on the list. The smaller B.C. communities of Courtenay (on Vancouver Island), Salmon Arm (central B.C.), and Vernon (in the Okanagan region) also made the cut.

If you are looking for a retirement area with spectacular geography, beautiful seasonal changes, a mild climate, economic strength, an atmosphere of social unity, and vibrant multiculturalism, British Columbia, Canada may be the place for you.

Originally posted 2013-06-13 14:28:31.

Categories
Wyoming

Remote Possibilities: Dubois Wyoming

“I wish we had known we wanted to move here 5 years ago,” my new neighbor Karen said rather wistfully a few days ago. “But we didn’t know!

She was speaking about one of the most remote places in the middle of nowhere: the town of Dubois in the upper Wind River Valley of Wyoming. Like so many who have chosen to retire here, Karen and her husband came once on vacation, returned and returned again, and gradually fell in love. Others have fallen in love right away.

When my husband suggested actually moving to Dubois rather than just visiting, the idea seemed crazy and impossible. Leave New York City for the wilds of Wyoming? But it’s only wild in a wonderful and different way, and 8 years on I’m deeply grateful that we moved here.

How is Dubois remote? It’s more than an hour’s drive to the nearest big towns (Jackson, Lander, and Riverton), and 3 hours to the nearest Interstate. Most of the surrounding terrain is public land, much of it officially wilderness, owned by the US Forest Service, the US Bureau of Land Management, or the state of Wyoming. By one standard, a survey from the US Geological Survey, is only about 40 miles away as the crow flies from the most remote spot in the lower 48 states, in the southeast corner of Yellowstone Park.

Nonetheless, we do have many of the advantages that residents from Washington DC, Chicago, even Paris and Stockholm may consider essential to the good life. Dubois has a choice of good restaurants with different cuisines, two places to buy a latte or cappuccino, and two taverns. It also has world-class Internet service, thanks to the fact that the head of the local telephone company was a prime mover in the national effort to bring broadband service to rural areas of America. (Telecommuting is a distinct possibility: I worked from Dubois for a large international corporation for 8 years before I retired, and others here also have Internet-based careers.)

Surrounded by some of the most spectacular vistas in the American West, Dubois (it’s pronounced “dew-boys”) is home to a diverse mixture of active and very interesting people who are deeply committed to maintaining what we love about this village of 1,000 residents that swells to 2,000 in the summer:

The variety and beauty of the landscape: Situated near the Continental Divide, we live about an hour’s drive from the south entrance to Yellowstone Park, on the ecological dividing line between high Alpine forest and red rock badlands. We are surrounded by two major ranges of the Rocky Mountains, the Absarokas and the Wind River Mountains. This may be the only place on earth where you can see all three mountain-building processes (tectonic, volcanic, and sedimentary erosion) from one location.

The nature of the community: A combination of the traditional independence of the American West and the vitality of its newcomers, Dubois’ community is deeply self-reliant and also welcoming. Generally, people here don’t care what you used to do or the size of your bank balance; they care how you relate to your neighbors. We mind our own business but respond quickly if someone is in trouble. What’s more, the proceeds from almost any event in town (and we’re ferociously busy in the summer!) go to local charities.

The history: The first visitors to the area were the trappers who opened the West. Next came the hardy homesteaders and then the tie hacks who cut logs that supplied the railroad ties that opened the rest of the West. Butch Cassidy lived and owned property here. One of the best preserved gold-mining ghost towns in the US, South Pass City, is an easy day trip away near Lander. A recent and surprising discovery atop a nearby mountain, the remains of a Shoshone village, inspired a curator at the Natural History Museum in New York to call Dubois “the epicenter of Rocky Mountain archaeology.”

The activities: We may live in the middle of nowhere, but we have plenty to do. Artists, photographers, and musicians gravitate here, so weekends are busy with jam sessions or performances by musicians, art or photography shows, speakers about history or archaeology at the local museum, an eye-popping quilt show, or pack-horse or chariot races. You might join the tourists at the weekly square dance or rodeo. It’s often difficult to set aside time for what you might really want to do instead: fish, hike, golf, or get away in your camper.

The climate: The Shoshone natives settled here centuries ago partly because of the mild climate. We call it the “valley of the warm winds,” sheltered from wintry blasts by the Tetons over near Jackson and our hovering wedge of local mountains. Summers in Dubois are cooler and more pleasant than elsewhere in Wyoming (or almost anywhere). We often find the winters more temperate and tolerable than back in New York City. It may snow sideways for four days, but then it all blows away.

The economics: Real estate prices are modest. We traded a small 3-bedroom second home in Connecticut for a very large 4-bedroom log lodge with a cathedral ceiling. We don’t find prices of necessities any higher than anywhere else. There’s no Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, but we do have a Family Dollar.

The downsides: Dubois has only a part-time doctor, a full-time nurse practitioner, and a dentist. It takes over an hour to drive to a specialist or a hospital (but that could take just as long in New York City). Shopping is limited (but now, of course, there’s the Internet and FedEx). US mail generally takes a day longer than in a large city. The produce in the supermarket in winter is often disappointing, and you may have to wait for your next trip to Jackson if your recipe calls for chipotle-flavored mayonnaise or dried seaweed.

About this time of year, my husband and I begin to discuss exactly when we should head back east to spend the holidays with the rest of the family. I anticipate my return to New York City with pleasure, because it’s a chance to relax in a place where nothing ever happens (that I can’t miss) and where I hardly know anybody (after four decades). Before long, I’m dying to get back home to Dubois.
(Read more about daily life in Dubois at www.livingdubois.wordpress.com.)

Originally posted 2020-09-01 05:01:07.

Categories
Small Town Living

Retirement Living in Small Towns : Is It for You?

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.

Advantages of Small Towns
More Reasons to Live in a Small Town

Originally posted 2020-09-06 08:09:22.