June 12- Every time we think we have heard about the most unusual type of retirement community, up pops another. The latest new idea is stargazer communities; developments geared for amateur astronomers. You don’t have to be retired to live in one of these developments, but most of the people interviewed in the article were either of retirement age or were baby boomers fast approaching it.
The New York Times reported (June 8, 2007) on a number of astronomers who have turned their dream into finding a home in a place favorable for stargazing into a reality. People who enjoy watching the stars, it turns out, share several unique environmental prerequisites. First, they need an area that is dark, away the from bright lights of civilization that ruin the celestial view. Another is that when they watch the stars live, they tend to stay up all night. Therefore they need quiet in the morning to get their rest.
The Times reported on several stargazer communities. The first astronomy village is thought to be Chiefland Astronomy Village near Chiefland, FL. The village is about 3 hours to the north of Tampa where the dark waters of the Gulf of Mexico contribute to good viewing. There are 20 homeowners in the village. Arizona Sky Village is adjacent to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona. The development in this unusually dark part of America has plans for 85 lots (which, according to the Times, start at $50,000 for a 4 acre lot). Another stargazer community is Deerlick Astronomy Village. Supposedly the darkest village in Georgia, it is about 120 miles east of Atlanta. Most homes in these villages tend to be modest, since the emphasis is on astronomy rather than on pursuits more common in typical retirement communities. Most of the homes are second homes, given the remoteness of their location.
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