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.

 

 

 

 

Observations About Moving To A Small Town

Eight months ago I moved to a retirement community out on the far edge of the metro area, away from the suburbs where my wife and I had lived for 36 years.  I knew life would be different and here are some of my observations about things I noticed are different. I am happy to report that we are loving it!

  1. Less traffic. It’s so funny because we used chuckle when people complained about our traffic, thinking they just were not used to city living.  Now we say the same thing and have enjoyed getting away from the awful traffic!
  2. People are friendly.  Out in public the people you encounter at the park, in restaurants, and the workers nearly everywhere, overall are just more relaxed and friendly and considerate. People seem to show their personality more.
  3. There are plenty of places to eat out and buy stuff.  Restaurants are less crowded so you don’t get the mad lunch hour rush as much. With a major mall only 15 minutes away, that is close enough.  A Publix and a Kroger a mile away. Haven’t found anything that I missed so far except maybe a Whole Foods or Fresh Market. Oh, my Amazon Prime works just great with two day deliveries.
  4. More scenic countryside.  I love driving out our back community gate, passing barns and farm houses and a lamas farm!
  5. More places to walk. Our subdivision has plenty of nice wide sidewalks.  Out on the main street there are wide sidewalks. The high school track is open after hours for anyone to walk! (not so in the suburbs where they lock the gate) Several parks and even a rec center with an indoor track.
  6. Your vote counts.  The just had an election for school board president and someone won by 8 votes!
  7. Community fairs and events.  People really turn out and support the community events.  Be it a 5k run, arts and crafts fair, or Christmas parade, people come together for these events.
  8. Medical services close by.  My dentist is 5 minutes away.  I visited the orthopedic doctor yesterday at the medical building next door and got there in 5 minutes or less.

I haven’t noticed anything that I miss from my old community of 21 years, except some friends that I don’t see as often. There was a risk in moving out to a more rural area but that has now been officially resolved!

What do you like about living in a small town?

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