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.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Stuck in the Suburbs After You Retire!

My wife and I were stuck in the suburbs in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, three level home with a half acre lot. We were the only retired people in the whole subdivision of 25 homes! Retiring after working 45 years, we were now feeling a little out of place in a subdivision with large SUVs speeding past our house taking kids to their activities or even to their school bus stop at the entrance. I was 58.

We were good friends with our neighbors, who were 10 years younger than us and still working. We had even gone on 6 cruises with them and out to dinner most Friday nights. But during the week, we were stuck in our subdivision with no where to go except lunch.

Our city of Johns Creek did open a new senior center and we joined and became active members. I even served on the activity committee. We got a taste of how we liked doing stuff with those we liked and related to.

That was better, but that was not enough. We looked around, considering our options of where to live. Someplace that was not the suburbs that was clearly kid and work centered, something we were not.

We took our time looking around visiting Big Canoe and Bent Tree in the mountains, Destin at the beach, and small towns nearby.  We decided a small town on the outskirts of our metro area would be nice; kind of the best of both worlds. We could still visit the suburbs, be close enough to have lunch with our friends and make it back home without too much trouble. But nothing was jumping out at us.

Then we discovered Active Adult Communities and found 4 or 5 around our metro area. We made some visits to active adult communities of Del Webb and other builders.  We signed up for the program where you visit the community and stay in a villa for 2 to 4 days to see what the community is like. We did that program three times. We thought about it.

We really like the Active Adult Community concept. The locations were perfect. It would give us a welcoming community right off the bat. A lot of other people just like us were moving there. The Active Adult Communities were all in good places to live. They had done their research.

Then reality set upon us and we froze up. We needed to down size and get rid of a lot of stuff. What about selling our home we had lived in for 26 years in a down real estate market. This would be a major upset to our lives, a lot of unknowns. We procrastinated and our excitement about moving waned.

We continued getting rid of stuff and business records going back 25 years that we no longer needed. Numerous trips to the shredders and to Goodwill. Selling stuff on Craig’s List and giving stuff away and dumping the rest in the trash.

Before we knew it years had gone by, then one day we made another visit to the Active Adult Community we most liked. We came back home and decided it’s time to do this. At age 67, we were finally making our move.

We hired a buyer’s agent to help us find a home in our Del  Webb Active Adult Community.  We looked at new homes and priced all the options. The buyer’s agent said we should considered resales and we found one, a 2,777 square foot ranch called the Cumberland Hall model. She helped negotiate a deal and we moved in!

Now 10 years later, after we starting retiring, we realize we should have moved a little faster. We love living here and it’s going on two years we have been here. Why did it take us so long?

We were stuck in the suburbs, having lived in the same house for over 25 years and in the suburbs for most of our working careers.  Moving and change is hard, but it turns out it was something we managed very well. We adapted to our new home and community almost right way. We never looked back. We know we made the right decision and feel for people who are stuck in the suburbs after retiring and do not quite know what to do.

Moving to a home and a community better suited to making you happy is the way to go.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

small town retirement

 

Small Towns Are No Longer Small

When you think about small towns you may be thinking remote, off the beaten path with very little things to do. There probably are some small towns today that fit that description perfectly, but many that don’t.

Many small towns these days are located on the outskirts of large metro areas or in resort areas. In these towns you still get the feel of a small town, but with many more resources nearby.

Near these small towns there is probably a large regional shopping mall within easy driving distance. Some excellent gourmet type restaurants are located in small towns.

When I moved to a small town a couple of months ago, I was concerned about how far away I would have to drive for basic things like grocery store, drug store, dry cleaners, restaurants, and retail stores like Kohls or Target.

Google maps has been a wonderful help to me by locating these stores and giving driving directions also. With GPS on my smartphone, all I have to do is say “Pulix” if I want a brand or just “grocery store” for all, into the google search microphone.  My phone says there is a Publix 2.9 miles away and another 3.4 miles and another 5.2 miles away.  I have been to the closet Publix, the “new Publix” as it is called, and it has everything and more than my suburban Publix did before I moved.

There are two Kohls with 5 miles, and three dry cleaners within three miles, and a CVS within 3 miles. There are several independent banks close by but my credit union is about 8 miles away and is the only thing that takes a little driving to make deposits.

The new 100 bed hospital is less than one mile away and that was a major reason we liked this location.  Doctors and hospitals are the one thing you better check on before moving.

Driving to the largest shopping mall in the state only takes 15 minutes but on the way I pass farm houses, a lamas farm, barns, and traffic is light.

By the way, I love my Amazon Prime account with free two day shipping.  I have ordered just about everything I need without making any trips.

However I downsized quite a bit before moving and I am really going to try not to buy too much stuff, a lot of which I would use infrequently.

So small towns are not so small after all.

We moved to a Del Webb Active Adult Community in a small town so we get the bonus of feeling like we live in a cosmopolitan areas with people from all over the country moving here. Plus all the socialization opportunities and activities are right outside my door.

We have 9 miles of hiking trails and I can enter the trail about 100 yards from my front door.  I ordered two walking sticks from Amazon and will be out tomorrow to get them a try.

The suburban community we moved from had no activities, busy neighbors, very little socialization except for our good friends who lived next door and no hiking trails.

I think this was a good move for us.