Small Town Livability

Livability is what makes small towns a good place to live and to retire to.

Small Town Sense of Community

Many features makes up what we call livability, but for me it is a sense of community. Big cities and urbanized suburbs have much to offer, but they can’t hold a candle to small towns in offering a sense of community on a personal level. I could give many examples as I have experienced this first hand after moving from a big city urbanized suburbs to a Del Webb Community in a small town two years ago.

I loved living in the suburbs while I was working, but now that I am retired, I like my new small town community and feel a sense of pride in it.

Small Town Amenities

The amenities in small towns have improved and may even offer more accessibility to amenities than you were used to.  We have 5 theaters around our area, a regional mall within 15 minutes, Universities nearby, museums and some very nice gourmet restaurants.  Just about any service you want is available.  Amazon Prime delivers to my doorstep!

Small Town Demographics

Most people, I have found, are open and friendly. They are well spoken, interesting and at least as intelligent as the public can be. They can not be type cast.  The teenagers show a respect to us adults and don’t just look through you as though you do not exist,  like they did in the suburbs.

Small Town Education

I have been impressed with the colleges, universities and technical schools in the area.  We went to a show put on by the Gainesville Theater Alliance put on by the Drama Department of two area colleges and it was excellent!  I reviewed recently the IT computer department of the local university and was impressed with the staff and the programs offered.  There is a program for senior adults that offers a range of interesting courses for us.

Small Town Economy

The economy in my area is dong great.  The paper lists the new commercial projects and rezoning requests. Four or five new restaurants just opened last year in the immediate area and several more in the general area and they are doing a good business.

Small Town Health Care

I have never had this good of access to health care.  We have a hospital right next door to Village at Deaton Creek off Friendship Rd and that has caused multiple medical buildings to sprout up in the area.  Most of my doctor appointments are now only 5 minutes away! This has been the best and biggest surprise since moving to my area. They can handle anything right here from heart stents and by pass surgery, removing prostate cancer, cataract surgery to my annual physicals.

Small Town Housing

Small towns offer a variety of homes from 55+ communities to farms to rural homes with big lot or acreage. The prices may be a little lower than in the city but not as much as you may think.  Retirement areas seems to bring more services catered to us retirees and they is a good thing.  Buying in an 55+ Retirement Community like we did, gives you certain housing standards as do other communities.  The new Del Webb at Chateau Elan is opening in March.

Small Town Governments and Civics

We have been pleased to be part of Hall County.  They have a nice mid rise government building with tag and tax and other services that is very efficient. You are in and out.

Hall County Georgia also has a senior school tax exemption that we are getting and helps a lot.

Our voting precinct is 5 minutes away. I am going for jury duty Monday morning. There is an Arts Council with Summer and Winter programs. There are programs to promote downtown Gainesville and other towns with events each week.

Small Town Transportation and Infrastructure

Our parkway at the entrance is two years new and goes 9 miles all the way to Lake Lanier. It has a Life Pathway walk way all along the route where you can walk, run, bike and even use your golf cart.  The intersecting busy Spout Springs road will be widen as is I-85 up past our exit.  The road are good but we do have some two lane rural roads too and while scenic must be the reason our drivers insurance is a little higher. But it is worth it for the atmosphere of seeing pasture, barns and llamas.

Life After The Suburbs

After  having retired to a small town over two years ago,  I am pleased with the livability.  I see nothing that I am lacking and have gain more than I expected. Could not ask for anything more.

Robert Fowler
Also see my blog about living in a Del Webb community.

 

 

 

 

Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

After having lived in an urbanized suburb of Atlanta for 40 years, this is the year I will be moving out to a Del Webb community Atlanta in a small town. Granted it is on outskirts of the metro area, about 15 minutes from a major mall and commercial district, but it will still be plenty different from my current location.

There are groceries stores, UPS store, some restaurants, liquor stores, banks and others around my new community. A biggie is a brand new 100 bed hospital at the entrance to my new community. That is actually closer than my current hospitals.

What is also closer is recreation amenities right in the community, plenty of sidewalks and trails for walking.  There are daily activities, a gym and indoor and outdoor pools at the clubhouse which is within walking distance from my new home.

Our current friends will be about 45 minutes to an hour from our new community so we can still stay in touch and meet for lunch.  At the new community there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new friends who will live in the same community and be available during the week, not just the weekends.

After a month or so at the new community I will have to do a post with my observations about how living in an active adult community in a small town is different from what I am used to.

We are thinking all the community offers will more than make up for any dislocations of living in a small town.  Part of what scares people moving from a metro area to a small town is the people – will they be accepting and what kinds of cultural changes will be faced. Most of that concern will be alleviated by moving to an active adult community with almost two thousand residents coming from all over the country and the world.

Of course my old friend the Internet will be with me. There is high speed Comcast cable and the cell phone reception is reportedly good for several carriers. Small towns these days have very good broadband and cell phone coverage

So this year will be an interesting one for us as we take life by the horns and transition to a new life in an active adult community. We have waited long enough and at age 67 and retired we look forward to making new friends and being active in our new community on a daily basis. We are avid Bocce players and they say we will fit right it. That is the first club we will sign up for, along with coin collectors club, day trippers, travel club and hiking club.  That will be a good start.

As far as the town, exploring the several nearby small towns, visiting the dairy, the winery and maybe the outlet mall up the road will be on the list. The Road Atlanta sports car track is nearby and a group from the community visits the track for several races which I will probably join them. Fort Yargo Park is nearby with over 1800 areas with a 260-acre lake that offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps.  Maybe it’s time to take up fishing again. I will keep you posted.  -Robert Fowler

Village at Deaton Creek

Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe
Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Last week we used a friends home in Big Canoe for a couple of days for a family reunion and I was reminded what a nice community Big Canoe is.  It is a beautiful mountain community with 8,000 acres, 3 or 4 lakes and 22 miles of trails.  A self sustaining park like community only one hour north of Atlanta GA.

Lake at Big Canoe
Lake at Big Canoe

Now Big Canoe is not officially a retirement community but they have everything say a Del Webb Community has and more. There are over 100 clubs in their activity center building as well a gym, pool, craft room, etc.  Several restaurants are in the community.

We happened to be there during their annual Oktoberfest which I really enjoyed. Happened to run in to Margie and Denis Casey the publishers of Real Estate Scorecard which just announced that Big Canoe won their 2014 Bliss Award for the Best Mountain Community of the year.  Check out their scorecard report on Big Canoe.

Oktoberfest at Big Canoe
Oktoberfest at Big Canoe

The residents come from all over the country and the world to live in Big Canoe. I don’t know if it’s one of a kind, but I have never seen anything like it.  Is has great appeal for everyone.

Kathy my sister in law took her grand kids to the lake to fish and they (we all did) loved it. During the Summer there are canoes and paddle boats and on the larger Lake Sconti there is a pontoon boat marina.Fishing at big canoe

Fishing at big canoe

Our friends David and Tina took us for a ride up the 1.7 jeep trail crossing several streams and climbing boulders to get to two waterfalls. On the trail there was an historic moonshine still and a cabin.

Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe
Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe

My wife Mary Ann and some family members went over to the Georgia Apple Festival in nearby Ellijay.  The small town of Jasper is the closest but other small towns nearby too.  Big Canoe is it’s own small town with it’s own zip code.

It you want something different than the large 55+ communities, then you may want to visit Big Canoe as it is an excellent place to live and retire.  This picture I took after our dinner at the Black Bear Pub at the Big Canoe Clubhouse and walking out to the deck overlooking Lake Sconti. It is a couple holding hands looking out over the peaceful lake. Now if that’s not a great retirement photo, I don’t know what is.

Big Canoe lake
Big Canoe lake

 

Resources:
**The official Big Canoe Website
**Margie Casey’s Real Estate Scorecard has reviews and wonderful photos of many top planned communities, most in small towns.
** North Georgia Retirement