11 Small Cities Perfect for Your Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 24, 2016 — Does the idea of retiring to a small town seem nice, but just a little too confining? Or do the bright city lights get you excited – until you realize the urban pace might be too big, too intense, too congested, too expensive for a retirement lifestyle? If you are torn between the two, perhaps you should consider a small city, where you can experience the best of both worlds – retirement on a smaller, more livable scale, along with plenty of excitement, restaurants, and happenings to enjoy.

To produce this article we searched for smaller cities that are perfect for retirement. We tried to avoid places that get mentioned over and over again, or that are more popular as tourist destinations than as a place to live in retirement. Our criteria were relatively simple:

– City population between 100,000 – 250,000 (our definition, and hard to measure precisely)
– A distinct city center that is bustling day and night
– Advantage given to towns located in the Sunbelt or slightly warmer climates, since most retirees have that preference
– Not prohibitively expensive

11 Great Small Cities for Retirement
Here is what we came up with, using popularity figures at Topretirements (almost all made our Top 100 List for 2016) and research from Livability.com.

1. Greenville, SC. It has a beautiful downtown where you can live in happily as a retiree. It is also home to a number of colleges and is a thriving community for the arts. #3 for livability. The city population is 62,000, but we included it here because the Metro area contains many times that number.

2. Chattanooga, TN. Chattanooga is an affordable and interesting city for retirement. It was the site of the famous critical civil war Battle of Chattanooga due to its strategic location on the Tennessee River. Called the “Scenic City”, it is home to the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Campus. The population is 170,000.

3. Athens, GA. Athens is a lively university town that is popular with retirees as well. The University of Georgia has helped to create an unusually liberal community with a thriving artistic, musical, and intellectual scene. The population just over 100,000.

4. Knoxville, TN. Knoxville is particularly attractive because it is home to the Vols – the University of Tennessee. It is a vibrant college town with big-time sports and many cultural events. The 2011 population was 179,225.

5. Eugene, OR . Eugene enjoys a national reputation as one of the most livable cities in the country. As a retirement community it offers small town charm combined with big city sparkle. It has a thriving and eclectic arts scene along with unsurpassed natural beauty. The 2010 population was 156,000, making it Oregon’s 2nd largest city.

6. Ft. Collins, CO. Fort Collins was chosen by Money Magazine as the best small city in the U.S. It’s a popular retirement community for its low crime rates, fantastic outdoor life, and popular beer culture. The Downtown Business Association hosts a number of small and large festivals each year in the historic Downtown district, including Bohemian Night. 2014 estimated population of 156,480. Although it doesn’t get high marks for its walkability outside of the downtown, it does do well on biking.

7.Boise City, ID “The city of Trees” is a modern, prosperous, and livable city that offers many recreational activities and a great lifestyle. Livability.com put Boise’s downtown in its Top 10 for 2016. Estimated population in 2013 was 214,237.

8. Greenville, NC. According to Wikipedia, Downtown Greenville has seen a huge resurgence since the recession. The area has been renamed to Uptown Greenville and has become the arts and entertainment hub of the area. Greenville has a large number of bars and nightclubs located downtown, due in large part to the location of East Carolina U’s campus, which is immediately adjacent to downtown The population of the city is just under 100,000, but the Metro area has at least twice than many residents.

9. Gainesville, Florida. Home to the Gators of the University of Florida, Gainesville had a lively population of 127,000 in 2013. The campus is in the very center of town which makes things interesting. The UF Health Shands Hospital is here so the level of medical care is quite high.

If money is not a problem
The 9 small cities listed above all offer a reasonable cost of living. But if your budget can handle it, there are some other great small cities to consider.

Alexandria, VA (Population 140,000) has the #1 downtown in America according to Livability. It’s very old, charming, and busy, and right on a park alongside the Potomac River.

Santa Monica, CA (Population 90,000) is perched above the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles. The downtown area is superb for a well-healed retiree because you can walk or take a bus to most of your daily needs. It has the #2 best downtown.

For Additional reference:
2016 Best Places to Retire List
Best Small Towns for Livability
10 Great Walkable Towns
Great Biking Towns for Retirement
How About a New Urban Style Community
Your Best Place to Retire Might Be in a City
Most Livable Cities (many of which are in the Midwest)

What do You Think?
Please add your Comments and reactions below. We look forward your thoughts about where you are considering for retirement, as well as what small cities you thought should have made this list (or not made it!)




Posted by Admin on May 23rd, 2016

199 Comments »

  1. Why didn’t Huntsville, Alabama make the list?

    by Sandie — May 24, 2016

  2. Eugene OR and Boise ID? This one has me confused… basically any city south of a Lake Michigan latitude could be classified as “Located in the Sunbelt or close to it”?

    by Art Bonds — May 24, 2016

  3. You said you didn’t include Greenville, SC because it was over your cutoff of 250,000. Your definition for the population area is the “city proper”. Using this definition, the population of Greenville, SC was only 61,000 in 2013, so it is well UNDER your size parameters.

    Admin Comments: Good catch Partagas. Obviously we were looking at the wrong column when we excluded Greenville, should have said it was UNDER 100,000. But since the Metro is much bigger we have included as #1. Re Sandie’s comment about Huntsville – it is a nice small city, the right size, and it is in the Sunbelt. However we don’t hear much about it having a nice walkable downtown where you might want to live. So we didn’t include it for that reason. Also, we amended our criteria to say “Sunbelt preference”, since 2 of our picks aren’t there.

    by Partagas — May 24, 2016

  4. The Farmers Almanac had Eugene rated in its top 10 of worst weather cities with 209 cloud-filled days and an average relative humidity that matches New Orleans.

    http://farmersalmanac.com/blog/2006/10/06/the-10-worst-weather-cities/

    However the good news is with “abundant moisture and moderate temperatures” they do grow evergreens trees at an amazing pace. So if you life long desire for a hobby is watching evergreen trees grow, Eugene is your kind of town.

    by Art Bonds — May 24, 2016

  5. My personal favorites are Albany, NY and Portland Maine. We live outside of Chattanooga now and cannot wait to move back to the NE. You neglect to mention the amount of violent crime in the city plus the over abundance of fast food chain locations and 9-3/4% sales tax. Not to mention the heat, humidity and mosquitos. It is a place I would not recommend to anyone. Housing and gasoline are cheaper here but food was cheaper in Maine. Remember – education is NOT a priority in Tennessee. (we were told that, earnestly, when we moved here – for work)

    by Flatearth6 — May 25, 2016

  6. Oh – another note about Chattanooga – it has the Chattanooga CAMPUS of the University of Tennessee. The main campus is in Knoxville – 2-1/2 hrs north.

    by Flatearth6 — May 25, 2016

  7. East Colorado U’s campus is near Greenville, NC? That’s a surprise!

    Editor’s note: Thanks for catching that error, now corrected – it would be a surprise.

    by Peggy Gordon — May 25, 2016

  8. Chattanooga- real renaissance to downtown. They have done a great job and cost of living very reasonable. Air quality and neighborhood crime levels above average.
    My brother lives near Santa Monica area.
    Great retail shopping ie 3rd street outside street promenade really nice
    Air quality much better than Valley because town is on Hillside overlooking
    Pacific Coast Highway and ocean.
    Homes very very pricey great restaurants but Hugh homeless population

    by Ray — May 25, 2016

  9. I have been to all of the listed in the SE, and cannot think of one better than Winston-salem! 4 colleges, a vibrant downtown, film festival , and tons of community arts events and centers. Price is right . Half way between Raleigh (traffic) and Asheville (snow). Check it out!

    by Mary — May 25, 2016

  10. Foolish me…. I was thinking of taking a look at Chattanooga. Until reading Flatearth6’s post just now. Now it scares me!

    by Barbara — May 25, 2016

  11. I’m a senior citizen, who is 70 & I presently live in Fort Smith, AR & love the place. The climate here is excellent with fall like winters & very little snow & ice. The people are very friendly & public transportation & housing is very cheap. I only pay $5.00 or less for one way taxi fares & this small city is steadly growing each year. Its on the Arkansas River on the OK Border, so one has access to two states. David Shapiro

    by David Shapiro — May 25, 2016

  12. I am always interested in walkability, so will be looking at how these towns score for walkability.

    by Judith — May 25, 2016

  13. There have been a few new comments to this Blog topic. Because the Daily Alert did not go out yesterday we wanted to alert you that you might want to check it out.

    by Admin — May 26, 2016

  14. Chattanooga has developed into a lovely city with lots to do for residents and tourist alike. However, it continues to have a lot of shootings in sections of town — check out local news. Most recently, a mother of an infant paralyzed by gun fire was shot and killed just before she was to testify in the case. So far this year the city has had well over 60 shootings. Though public education may not factor into retirement, its schools are appalling. That said, its parochial and independent schools are thriving. And, it has excellent hospitals.

    by Gayla Baker — May 26, 2016

  15. This comment came in from Noel and we thought we would post it here, along with our answer, in case others have the same question:

    Q: I love your site. I am retired looking for a place to retire. I am really confused and need some help. Wondering if you might know somebody i can turn to. Thanks

    A: Glad you like our site. We really don’t have anyone who could provide one on one advising. But a good way to boost your knowledge is to continue to follow our newsletter, read our reviews of various towns, cities, and communities, and then go visit some places that seem to attract you. No better way to judge if a place is right for you than to see a possible retirement location yourself.

    Also, if you dont remember our “Baby Boomers Guide to Selecting a Retirement Community” you might want to look at it again and take the quiz – it will help you understand your needs better. Here is the link: http://www.topretirements.com/Ebookdownloadguest.html

    Best of luck

    by Admin — May 27, 2016

  16. love this site, I am learning a lot. Will want to relocate in a little less than 3 years, am retired now, waiting for 65! One negative I heard from a previous 55+ retirement home owner is that you lose a good number of friends due to death and it was depressing. Any comments?

    by Debra — May 27, 2016

  17. reflections on CHATANOOGA TENN: afternoon traffic is unbelievable. major WALL TO WALL TRUCKING cross roads of AMERICA, coming and going to ATLANTA GA. downtown busy and active. lots of places to eat. high light of the visit was the PEDISTRIAN BRIDGE over the river. friendly people. loved all the CIVIL WAR history sites. LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, SIGNAL MONTAIN and CHICKAMAUGA are MUST SEE items. very green. did some backroad drives and some nearby suburbs. nice and easy. stayed 3 days. decided we did not want to live there. not sure why. not a good fit for us. hunting for the right place adventure continues.

    by davefh — May 28, 2016

  18. I love receiving your email. However on this particular one, I was sad. The ages in these cities range is far lower than mine. I want to live in a community closer to my age and my abilities. I’m not as young as I used to be! Too much money burden but it was nice to read.

    by Denise — May 29, 2016

  19. Can you tell me the most affordable places to live in California?

    I am 63 and plan to move back. I’m ok with renting,

    Thanks!

    by Smiley Bear — June 1, 2016

  20. To Smiley Bear: First, consider what kind of weather you can live in full-time! CA has a variety of affordable cities and towns, but in my experience, weather is a final decision. If you like heat, look at houses for sale in Death Valley and the Mojave deserts: the High and Low Desert areas. You will need to note elevations as well, for some desert towns are above 2500 feet and breathing may be difficult. In all, there is less to do, less choices for purchasing anything, and less in excellent medical care. I liked the rural Ramona, CA area (not too far from San Diego) some years ago, but it was not developed at all — and now is. The views are lovely….

    There are some cities and rural towns in northern CA which are very affordable. Look at the map and scan towns near Red Bluff, Redding, and in all of the 3 most northern counties. Make sure you aren’t too close to a prison. Those just “out” create a lot of crime. I don’t think I have to do more than mention the large population of homeless roaming CA,, but some areas have more — and unfortunately, crime — than others. Check with the local real estate professionals and then the police depts. to see if they are telling the truth!

    The weather all over CA varies. Rain and snow amounts will show up in each city’s stats.

    Southern CA is not really “affordable” unless you are so close to the Mexican border (I think it is the Rt. 8 tarea cities/towns — and I’d avoid those.)

    by Bee Anderson — June 8, 2016

  21. To Smiley Bear, I would reconsider moving to CA. The reality is that any affordable places are the least desirable with crime, riff raff, etc. the politics suck too. If you are willing to rent a room, I would go way north. This is my opinion, though. I’m 65 and have one more year before I can flee this state to retire.

    by Vickie — June 9, 2016

  22. Ditto, Vicky and Bee…..I have lived in sandiego since the 90s and will relocate to coastal Oregon in a few years time….weather is the best of course but just too expensive, especially if you have a limited income.

    by Mary Jane — June 9, 2016

  23. I would have to contradict what Bee said about checking with real estate professionals about crime. Being agents of the seller I don’t think they can tell you about that or any other negative stat without violating their duty to the seller.
    The police department, unless you have a friend on the inside like I did, will probably not be of much help either.
    Best to look online for crime statistics. I have been able to find some sites that showed where and what type of crime. Also places like this site and city-data have forums for specific locations where you can ask a question like “where in Palm Coast should I look for a home if I am concerned about crime” and you may get a fairly honest answer (unless it is censored by the moderator/admin).
    Good luck. I escaped California by joining the Army and never went back.

    by Art Bonds — June 9, 2016

  24. Check out homes for sale on the Trulia.com website; part of the property information includes crime stats and details on type and number of crimes near the home you are searching.

    Another reference is http://www.city-data.com. Lots of info on this site including crime stats, but for a larger city it does not show exactly how close to a house you may be considering are the crimes taking place.

    I also have tried searching with words like Pros and Cons of living in (Name of City, State). Sometimes blogs will come up with comments from people about what a town is like and they come from all ages of responders.

    I have lived in 9 states and have often checked in with the local police near a house I am considering. Found this method very hit or miss. If you get an officer to talk they can tell you which neighborhoods or streets to steer clear of.

    The most interesting comment I received was from a resident working in his yard in a neighborhood I was looking at. The neighborhood was located near a large, active landfill. I asked if the dump had any effects like smells drifting over in the wind. He said rarely did they get smells, mostly it was the chicken bones the birds dropped on their cars and yards while flying over. That was a deal breaker for me – LOL.
    .
    Hope this helps

    by BeckyN. — June 9, 2016

  25. BeckyN – which state did you like the most, and which one did you dislike? I’ve lived in only 4 states, and the one thing that I’ve learned is to give yourself time to adjust. I was required to move from PA to Charlotte about 2 years ago. I realize that I spent the first year and a half making comparisons and missing things in PA. If my job permitted, I would have moved back in a heartbeat. Good thing I wasn’ already retired, or I probably would have tried to move back “home.” Last weekend (yes, it took that long), I realized that I didn’t want to go back to the cold and that I was starting to feel like my current location was “home.” I’ve got a new mechanic, doctor, dentist, hairdresser, vet etc I know where things are now. I’ve adjusted. I’m promising myself that I will give my ultimate retirement destination at least 2 years now, even if I get homesick for Charlotte in my next and hopefully final move!

    by Kate — June 10, 2016

  26. Kate, sounds like you quickly picked up on an important step in the process of finding happiness. You have to give your new location a chance and it is best to start out with a positive attitude and set the comparisons aside initially. I’m originally from Michigan and due to my husband’s military service we lived in New Mexico, Alaska, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Virginia, Massachusetts and now Connecticut. When he retired he asked me where I wanted to live and I chose New England. And … at that time, I did not want the slower pace I found in Virginia and that was one of the reasons for the choice of faster pace in Massachusetts. Now 15 years later we are looking to go back South for some of that slower pace.

    If I could afford it, I would live in Seattle area or Anchorage for the summer, anywhere in New England for the fall, Williamsburg, VA for spring, and somewhere in New Mexico in the winter. For overall year-round weather for someone that does not mind some cold weather, I have found the Hartford, CT area to offer a nice blend – not too cold or too much snow and not too many hot days.

    I do find people a little less friendly in New England. The most friendly were in New Mexico first and Virginia next. I would recommend living somewhere near a military base as the communities are “used to outsiders.” I think that will now translate to areas with a large number of retirees that come from a variety of areas. I think diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and interests will make a town a plus on my list. By the way, I found folks in Rhode Island to be the least friendly. The ones I lived around had rarely lived or even visited outside of their small state, had large extended families that lived nearby and really were not very accepting of outsiders and people that “sounded different” from them. We lived in the Providence, RI area.

    by BeckyN. — June 11, 2016

  27. Please keep in mind the fine print in State / local government tax codes. Many states with “no income tax” attack you with local tax and sales tax.

    We live in south Carolina in York county and find the tax structure very favorable to retired persons. As an example I live in a new home I had built valued at around $300K I pay $825 per year in real estate tax. Gasoline prices are 20 cents a gallon lower than North Carolina and we have no city tax.

    Keep in mind you get what you pay for so the roads are no the best, and you have to pay for trash collection but overall we find SC.

    If you are on a fixed income these small things add up in your favor. So when considering a place to retire in do your research on State and local tax.

    by Ron — June 11, 2016

  28. Thanks, BeckyN! Good info. I live in Lancaster County, not far from Ron. My real estate taxes are about $1700 on a $300K house, and can drop lower when I hit 65. It’s obviously a lot better than the $8,000 that I paid in real estate taxes on a similiarly valued home in Allegheny County, PA. About the only thing that I’m finding is signficantly more expensive here are water bills (almost double) and having to pay sales tax on clothing and other items. Insurance, cable, etc. is about the same, with a net saving on annual utilities because of the great Spring and Fall seasons. There’s a property tax on cars (about $400 or so), but no car inspections.

    Pittsburghers are known for being extraordinarily friendly. While native S. Carolina/N. Carolina folks are warm and polite, there are so many people here from other places that there is no shortage of friendliness. Just observing the license plates, bumper stickers, sport team license plate holders, etc.,while sitting in traffic (and you will sit in traffic….), you will spot representatives from nearly every state in this part of the state..

    The only thing that I still really miss are the Pittsburgh newspaper (the Charlotte paper doesn’t compare at all), and the ethnicity of Pittsburgh.. In this part of SC there are few ethnic churches, ethnic festivals, ethnic holidays, ethnic foods in the grocery stores, ethnic neighborhoods, etc. If you live in an area with a big tradition of immigration, you may know what I mean. You won’t find churches with pierogi or other ethnic food sales, Babka and fresh kielbasa at Easter in the grocery stores, Italian bakeries with delicious rum cakes and specialty cookies, Chinese New Year parties, souse or head cheese in the delis, etc. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette just ran a story about a meeting of the worldwide Orthodox churches in Greece (first time all of the countries have gathered in over 1,200 years)…no news at all in Charlotte in the paper or tv about that event. You will, however, find Steeler fans. I’ve have sat in traffic and spotted a Steeler Bumper Sticker on the cars next to me and in front of me…along with my own, of course. Sometimes it feels like there are more Steeler fans here than Carolina Panther Fans!

    I’ve figured out a baseline retirement budget for my planned retirement in a year or so, and am looking at how the cost of living would be impacted by moves to possible destinations. My baseline is staying in my current home. I’ve researched HOA fees, taxes (real estate, income and personal property) and other costs in communities that I’ve liked, to see how much it would cost me against the baseline. After meeting expenses, I’ll have some disposable money. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that the disposable amount is $1,000. I’m doing reseach to see how moves would impact this budget. if I stayed in a house valued the same in different locations.. When looking at other locations, I factor in HOA fees, differences in taxes, utilities, etc. Interestingly, I found the Florida communities that I researched would result in a net gain in cost-of-living that eroded about $400 of this disposable money due to very high HOA fees, higher insurance costs and higher real estate taxes despite the fact there is no state income tax.. Returning to PA would erode about $200 of the $1000 baseline disposable discretionary money. Moving to NC would erode about $275. I’m still playing with numbers (no not an accountant but you can tell I have too much time on my hands LOL). There are a lot of other factors too, like weather, location of my kids, access to medical care and good libraries, etc. By the time I finally decide “WHERE TO RETIRE”, presumably I’ll be very comfortable with my choice.

    by Kate — June 12, 2016

  29. Ron,
    Sounds like York County is very affordable. I live in CT and have a home that is worth about $250K and pay $4,428 in yearly taxes and will be more this coming year. Roads here stink so it seems no matter what you pay, you don’t get much bang for your buck. We also have to pay for garbage too. Works out to about $128 every 3 months. They put down this liquid salt stuff on the roads before a snowstorm and it is so nasty that it will rust your car out in no time. So we have to go to the car wash after every snow to wash off the salt, times two vehicles.

    Our town closed down one school due to less children enrolled. Did our taxes go down because of one less school? Nope, not in a million years. With the money they didn’t spend, they hired MORE teachers and they want the same budget they had with the school being in the system; plus MORE money! They have a fairly new high school, about 8-10 years old. The HS chiller needs replacing so MORE money has to go there. My Hub is an HVAC licensed contractor and he said it is lack of maintenance and that chiller should have lasted many, many years. We go to vote next Tuesday on the revised school budget after they lowered it $300K. The budget is still way too much money with the school closing. The school was given back to the town and has sat empty going on a year. The town has not announced any plans on what they are going to do with it.

    by Louise — June 12, 2016

  30. Kate, As a born and raised life-long resident of Pittsburgh, I totally agree with your assessment of the richness of Pittsburgh’s ethnic diversity. Although that is much more prevalent in the various city neighborhoods, and not nearly as noticeable in the suburbs, where I have spent the majority of my life. Be that as it may, I know that it will definitely be one of the things that I will miss about my old hometown whenever we move to our new home in the Myrtle Beach area. However, my husband will probably miss the sports scene here in Pittsburgh most of all, but as you have said, there are Pittsburgh sports fans nearly everywhere you go in this country, and in the Myrtle Beach area, there are even “Pittsburgh” sports bars. A few years ago whenever we were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, we happened to be walking around the Barefoot Landing shopping district in North Myrtle Beach, and whenever we started to walk by one of the restaurants there, we heard the unmistakable voice of none other than Bill Hillgrove (a long-time Pittsburgh sportscasters) announcing the play-by-play action of a Pittsburgh Steeler’s football game which was currently in progress, which naturally drew us inside to watch the rest of the game. So, yes, there are Pittsburgh sports fans everywhere.

    by Valerie — June 13, 2016

  31. For BeckyN – I am surprised at your comment about Rhode Island, We lived in the small town of Westerly and from that perspective, (also after moving around the country) we found it to be the MOST welcoming of any place we have lived in the US. Yes, they had family ties but there was always room for a few more! Our neighbors were wonderful and often invited us along. The schools were terrific and I am SOOO glad my sons were able to graduate from Westerly High School. The parents were impressively engaged and for Open House – they actually showed up!

    Anyway, now we are in the middle south and although the locals are friendly, they don’t want to be your friends. We have felt more shut out of the community than anywhere else we have lived. I have made a number of friends but they are all from somewhere north of here too. There is a slower pace but it is the heat, humidity and attitude that is getting to us so we are headed to Maine for the final move. We have visited there, and talked to a lot of people. They are cooler at first, but once you ask a question, everyone seems to go out of their way to answer and help. They seem very gracious and may take a while to warm up but I feel we will ultimately have lasting friendships.

    We chose Portland, Maine – a small city – because of the climate, all the things to do plus the excellent reviews of the medical care. They also have a local medically oriented gym that caters to Parkinsons and rehab without a prescription for a very reasonable price. The city itself is rated 99% walkable and other towns around it also boast trails and sidewalks for exercise. There is also the Osher Center for Life Long Learning and real libraries!

    No matter what anyone says – obviously – if you are interested in relocating for retirement you should visit and see for yourselves. A few of my friends LOVE it here but it just isn’t for us. Reach out online, make phone calls and specifically visit or tour places that interest you. It is very outdoorsy here – hunting, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, or boating on the river/lake which we don’t do any more. In the Portland area, we visited the gym, had lunch with some locals I had met online, drove through neighborhoods, walked the parks and cannot wait to go back. We’re two years away!

    by Flatearth6 — June 14, 2016

  32. We currently live in Omaha and have been researching the northwest SC/southern NC area for retirement, most recently visited the Anderson/Clemson/Seneca, SC area. Took a look at Greenville, SC and surrounding areas as well, especially liked Greer. We are looking for low taxes and housing, but good medical care is our number one priority and all three of these areas have new hospitals and seem to fit that bill. Can anyone in these areas tell us more?

    by Sue — June 16, 2016

  33. I’m also interested in info on Greenville, SC area, particularly on crime. Are there areas that are better or neighborhoods to stay away from?

    How far out from Greenville can you go before you are really in a rural area (no subdivision housing, stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc.) Thanks!

    by BeckyN. — June 17, 2016

  34. http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/sc/greenville/crime/

    This site may help.

    by Joann — June 18, 2016

  35. Joann – thanks so much for this site! Liz

    by Liz — June 18, 2016

  36. Joann, my thanks also for this link. I do recognize it now and believe I used it when looking at New Bern, SC area and getting a sense of what area the home listings I was looking at were falling into. I don’t remember it requiring a subscription for more detailed info but that’s will be OK when I really start to narrow down my search before planning a visit to an area.

    by BeckyN — June 18, 2016

  37. I recently read the post that Eugene, OR has humidity levels comparable to New Orleans, LA. That “fact” was based on info from the Farmer’s Almanac. That is possibly the most ludicrous statement I’ve ever read on this website (sorry Art).) It might be best to actually get info from the NOAA website, or better yet, from someone who actually lives there. Having attended college there and also having visited NO several times, I can assure you that the heat & humidity comfort levels (heat index) are not even close to similar. Comparing a west coast marine climate to that of the Gulf Coast is extremely misleading, to say the least. Oh Art, Eugene is always rated as one of the top ten cities in the U.S. For outdoor activities such as biking, jogging, walking/hiking etc. BTW, yes, the evergreen forests are beautiful!!

    by Steve — June 19, 2016

  38. Hi Steve.
    https://weatherspark.com/averages/31029/New-Orleans-Louisiana-United-States
    https://weatherspark.com/averages/30206/Eugene-Oregon-United-States
    Actually the fact is that the average humidity in Eugene is as high or higher as NOLA. That was the comparison. And having visited both areas, I will agree, the difference between the two is HEAT.

    And if you have links to those NOAA sites can you please post them so I can see what you referenced? Thanks.

    But remember one of the original parameters… “Advantage given to towns located in the Sunbelt or slightly warmer climates, since most retirees have that preference” (by the way, the original requirement was “Located in the Sunbelt or close to it”, Admin modified it to ‘advantage given’ after my first post…)

    http://www.bestplaces.net/climate/city/oregon/eugene

    If you Google the 10 Most Cloudiest Cities and Seattle/Portland are always in the Top Ten. Seattle has 152 days of sunny weather, Portland 154, and Eugene has (drum roll please) 155. Average for the US is 205, Yuma AZ has 308.

    When you look at the above weatherspark site for Eugene and it has the cloud cover as ‘clearer’ for only a little over three months of the year you know you are in the wrong place for ‘sunny’.

    You may have spent some time in college there, but I lived 18 years in the Pacific Northwest (GO HAWKS) and I am very familiar with the overcast and rainy conditions that seem to start around mid-Oregon and stretch north well into Canada. So take it from someone that actually lived in the region for an extended period of time, the PNW is not “Sunbelt” quality.

    Which was my entire point in the first place, humidity notwithstanding.

    by Art Bonds — June 19, 2016

  39. Flatearth6, BeckyN is correct about RI. I grew up in RI , left when I was 18 and returned when I was 50 ish to be near family. I found it very difficult to make new friends in RI. The people are very unfriendly and openly rude. As BeckyN said, most people in RI have been here their entire lives and have never really been outside the state lines. It is a tiny state, yet many people in RI won’t take a 20 minute ride to Providence(they call it downcity)! It is very provincial and I would not recommend that anyone choose RI for retirement at all. I lived in many places in my life and was shocked at how unfriendly the people in RI were.

    As far as Portland, Maine goes, it is beautiful in summer, but the winters are long and brutal. You would have to love winter storms and ice to love Portland in winter!

    by Mary — June 19, 2016

  40. Denise, you expressed an interest in small cities with older populations. I’d like to suggest that you look into medium sized towns and cities with a fairly large university. Obviously, these are places with vibrant youth, but they also are places that often have residents that stay or return to retire near where they went to college. And the faculty often stick around as they age. Finally, surrounding these places, there are often a variety of small towns that have older populations but have the advantage of the nearby university.

    One place like this is Chapel Hill, NC. Walking downtown reveals a hugely disparate group of people. There are numerous retirement communities in and around, as well as mixed communities which support the work base at nearby Research Triangle Park. Our home (Pittsboro) is about 20 miles away and currently has a significant portions of older residents. (Due to a huge new planned community, Chatham Park, currently in early stages of development, that may well change in coming years.) Chapel Hill itself is fairly expensive (especially for NC), but again, prices fall in surrounding areas.

    I would expect that many “university towns” would offer comparable environments and almost all are centers of local art, sports, shopping and restaurants. At least that has been our perception in making road trips to and through more than 40 states since retiring.

    Another alternative for “older environments” (though they may have hugely different resources available) are the many smaller towns/communities in the country. The ones that the younger people tend to leave seeking a more vibrant city life.

    by Rich — June 20, 2016

  41. Any info on foley communities in Alabama

    Ed. Note: Look under Foley under Alabama on our State Community Directories.
    http://www.topretirements.com/active_adult_communities/Alabama.html

    by Konec9 — June 20, 2016

  42. Hey Art Bonds – I really wish more people were like you, and would please ESCAPE California. We have way too many people here in beautiful Southern California. And people just don’t stop coming to THE GOLDEN STATE.

    by Bubbajog — June 20, 2016

  43. Bubba, what I cannot understand is WHY they go there. Some of the higher taxes in the nation and yet in debt. Businesses moving out due to costs/over regulation. You get a traffic ticket and it costs $400 or so bucks because of all the surcharges and court costs added on, to the point that a significant portion of your population has suspended drivers licenses for failure to pay. The only place in the US that is at more of a risk of THE BIG ONE (earthquake) is the Washington/Oregon area. Something like 6 of the top 10 polluted counties/cities in the nation are in CA, many in the Central San Joaquin Valley where I grew up, including my home area in Merced County. Every time my wife and I visit our cousins in Atwater for more than a few days we come away with sore throats from all the pesticides. My cousin is on an inhaler. Lack of water, causing the San Joaquin Valley to sink. Illegal immigrants get drivers licenses but not auto insurance (which was the whole reason).
    Only proves people are crazy… but it is a beautiful state! 😉

    by Art Bonds — June 20, 2016

  44. Art, CA is truly a beautiful state — and it generally has a nice climate. But there are many more nice states without the baggage you listed (and there is a lot more). The wonder is that so many people continue to move there. But it do sort of agree with Bubba — if a LOT more people moved out it would help eliminate many of the problem areas you listed. ?

    by Rich — June 21, 2016

  45. Art, I’ve been in the San Joaquin Valley since 66 and you are right on about the pros and cons of CA. Oh did I say I was getting out of here? AZ awaits.

    Rich, of course if the illegals moved out there would be some improvement, but only if the politicians followed!

    by Dick L — June 21, 2016

  46. Rich… about that ‘baggage’ claim, you are correct there is lots more. I just didn’t want to write a small book. And Dick nailed it when he said it depends on WHO moved out whether there would be improvement or not. As it is ‘they’ won’t, so the best us rats can do is abandon a sinking ship.

    Dick… if you have made up your mind where to in AZ? I’ve lived in N. Scottsdale (McDowell Mtn. Ranch) and Anthem. Both are great, would go back to Arizona in a New York minute if it wasn’t for the (lack of) water concerns.

    by Art Bonds — June 21, 2016

  47. I’ve decided to retire to Athens, GA. Anyone live or have knowledge of the place? My nephew lives about 35 mins from Athens, so I’ve been there a few times (I live in NYC and can’t wait to leave.) Any info/feedback anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

    by Stacey — June 21, 2016

  48. Art, I am looking at Prescott Valley.

    by Dick L — June 22, 2016

  49. I too am a native CA resident (SF Bay area).
    We love the area and the climate. But there is way too many people
    it’s hard to journey out on the weekends with all of the traffic…

    We checked out OR last summer. Very nice.
    We are visiting AZ next year for possible retirement too (Prescott is on list as well as Tucson, Phoenix).
    Also on list is Reno area…

    by Mike Arnold — June 22, 2016

  50. Dick and Mike, Prescott Valley is very nice. My wife and I have made extensive roadtrips throughout the West and the Southeast from our home in NC with the intent of deciding whether there might be a better place for us (as well as just getting to see this marvelous land call the USA!). Our trips over the past 13 years of retirement was over 30,000 mi — mostly in multi-thousand mile extended chunks. Basically we decided that we love where we are most.

    But AZ (as well as CO) was a place we decided two years ago to explore more thoroughly and for a longer period, so we rented a place in Cottonwood (Verde Valley) a half hour south of Sedona. Due to a vehicle service requiement, we ended up making several day trips over the mountain to Prescott. I enjoyed the moderate heat relief (somewhat higher elevation), the clean look and nice layout of the town and several good restaurants. We can’t claim to be real knowledgeable, but this was an area that we decided would be a candidate for us in AZ. (We are not looking for a “retirement community” per se, but you can find them also.) In the end, we ruled out AZ for the same reasons as Art — hot, dusty, windy, and dry. Be sure to spend some time in AZ (weeks minimum) before deciding. We found very real difficulties with the dryness. You likely won’t have those issues coming from CA, but those from the Southeast or other generally humid climates may experience similar problems.

    Oh — and we DID learn that it is not Pres – cott, it is Pres-cuit (like biscuit).

    by Rich — June 23, 2016

  51. We’re in SIlicon Valley and have loved it until recently. Yes, the cost of living is high, but the weather is great, we can go to the ocean, the mountains or the desert, we have great theater, museums, and classes. We’re on top of the latest in technology and that’s of interest to both of us.

    Why do we think about leaving? The place is packed, traffic is ridiculous, expenses are high once we go to retirement savings. We can have a nice home elsewhere for a fraction of the cost, be closer to family, pay lower taxes. Of course, we’ll have to figure out what we’ll pay for medical insurance as that varies greatly from state-to-state.

    We’re checking out Fredericksburg, VA as one of the possibilities. If anyone has thoughts on the area, I’d appreciate your input.

    by Marcia — June 23, 2016

  52. Hi Marcia,
    I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and want to go out west, and live where you are, and you want to come out here! Funny!
    I am familiar with Fredericksburg as my daughter lives in DC, and I stop there for gas. It is a suburd of DC, and is very crowded and expensive. People who work in DC, live there. If you think where you live is crowded, the DC area is just the same.
    It is very humid here plus it snows , more so in Northern Virginia.
    There is a beautiful 55+ retirement comunity there, I believe it is on a huge lake.
    Best thing for you is come out, spend some time. I think you have it made where you are. I use to live out west in my 20’s and regret coming out here.
    I have lived in San Diego, LA, San Francisco and Tahoe. I wish I would have bought a house then, but I was young and a travel junkie.
    Fredericksburg is beautiful but in my opinion you are just trading coasts! If you are happy, stay put!
    Maryann

    by Maryann Barnes — June 24, 2016

  53. Rich,
    What area of NC to you live in? We are looking for somewhere between the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the western state line. We are coming for pretty much the same as you decided to stay where you are. We’ve always lived in south Florida. The heat and humidity really takes it out of you. We just run out of energy!

    by Virginia — June 24, 2016

  54. Virginia, We live in central NC about 15 due south of Chapel Hill. The area you are talking about is approx 2 1/2 to 4 hours west of us (or add a couple of hours if you look toward southwestern NC). I posted a number of times about our area and about western NC — you may want to search for my name (“Rich” with quotes to eliminate most of the general ‘rich’ comments).

    I will say that there is a HUGE territory enclosed in “the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the western state line” with vast changes is culture, character of the people (none of it bad), climate, temp, politically, rural vs. urban, and on and on. If you have never been here, I urge you to do some serious visitation to see what you like most. But I’ll also add that there is a lot to like.

    by Rich — June 24, 2016

  55. Hello once again bloggers,
    I wanted to jump in and say our move to Cali. is almost complete. Our grandson is here and the packing/down sizing/selling continues. Amazing how much “stuff” we accumulated in 15 years ! I jumped in specifically because our house is now on the market, if anyone is looking for the small town to retire to while only being about an hour from a bigger city {Clarksville, TN} then my home with acreage might be just for you. This is the link to find it on zillow.com.
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/204-Leon-Cole-Rd-Dover-TN-37058/42420364_zpid/
    Dover is a one stop light kind of place, plenty of peace and quiet.
    I am looking forward to the move , we are ready for a change. But, we also think we will be renters for life so we can keep on moving to other locations and new experiences.
    Good day to all !!! Love the reads :}

    by Louise Turner — June 24, 2016

  56. A couple of observations.
    If you’re considering Virginia, check out th Richmond area and New Kent County, which is between Ricmond and Williamsburg. The winters are milder than Fredericksburg and the pace not as frantic.
    Also, if you really like where you are now, why not explore ways to stay there before you pick up stakes and move to another part of the country?
    We’ve been in Virginia just west of Ricmond for decades. As we troll the country for the perfect place to retire, the stay here option keeps looking better and better. We have good medical care that only seems to improve and lots of shopping options, including Wegaman’s, Trader Joe’s, costco, whole. Foods etc, etc.

    by Sandie — June 25, 2016

  57. Sandie, We lived 30 miles inland from Fredericksburg (Bealeton) for 8 years and had come to the conscious decision that we liked it and were there to stay. During that time my mother lived in Hopewell (not far from Richmond), so I can vouch for all the things said about that entire region of eastern VA. I would agree, that if Marcia is concerned about traffic, being tied to I-95 in any way (whether Fredericksburg or Richmond/Petersburg) would not be best. But get 30 minutes away and there are many, many beautiful places in VA. But I think Marcia sees more negatives than just traffic which support her desire to leave CA. I also agree with you that Fredericksburg is much more tightly bound to DC (“frantic”) than Richmond and I personally would be headed that way instead of to No Va.

    Oh, and why did we end up leaving No. Va. after 8 years? An unexpected professional opportunity came up to not only pursue a long desired career path but that would also take us back home to the central NC (RTP area). It was truly amazing how our family just immediately changed our minds about staying in VA — literally instant — let’s go! And 4 months later we were back in NC.

    And here is where I can caution anyone about assuming that even the best planned decisions will not change and evolve over time. We bought our “forever” home just 45 minutes north of where we live now (north of Chapel Hill instead of south of the town). It turned out to be a near disastrous decision except that we were flexible enough after 9 months to recognize it was wrong. We restarted our search, found our current property, built a new home while my daughter was still in college (UNC-CH) and have been here in the right “forever” home for 25 years (including the building year when we moved temporarily nearby). The area, the overall community and atmosphere, and so on is very similar. But the first stop was a mistake, the second was perfect for us.

    by Rich — June 25, 2016

  58. Virginia

    Go a little farther South to South Carolina and look around Lake Keeowah or Lake James

    SC is a much more tax friendly state

    by Ron — June 25, 2016

  59. Thanks for the information Rich. I’ll have to do that search.
    Ron we’ve thrown around the idea of SC but isn’t the weather pretty warm and humid there? That kind of weather is what we are trying to leave behind! We don’t mind some, but it usually lasts most of the year here. I will check out those areas. Thanks so much for the suggestions. They always come in handy.

    by Virginia — June 25, 2016

  60. Sandie – thanks so much for your post about New Kent VA. You described very much what appeals to us. We have added it to the top of our search list. Although my fantasy might be a cottage near Trinidad CA overlooking the Pacific – it may not be a practical relocation. Vacation – yes! We do prefer living near a coast with good medical and shopping options as more ideal. We love Portland ME but know the winters would not be tolerable for us.

    by Joann — June 26, 2016

  61. I don’t read to much about north Georgia in these posts. Does anyone have experience or opinions about the areas between Atlanta and the NC state line? I did read an article about Cherokee county.
    As always thanks for any input.

    by Virginia — June 26, 2016

  62. Rich,
    What town do you live in near Chapel Hill? We just bought in Carolina Arbors in Durham.

    by Maryann Venezia — June 26, 2016

  63. To speak to Maryann and Virginia (plus others), we live in a “remote” woodland outside Pittsboro, NC. “Remote” only because it takes us 10 minutes to get to the nearest corner store and 20 minutes to any of several towns. But “remote” and “god forsaken” are terms that have been used to describe our location. The most common thing newcomers say is, “Boy, you sure are out there, aren’t you!?” Truth.

    We literally visited Carolina Arbors about a year ago as we seem to always be exploring options. But at 68, retirement communities haven’t yet had a great attraction to us. That said and without being able to say any more than what a quick visit allows, that location for you is very nice. Actually midway from Durham and Raleigh, there is quick access to several mall/shopping areas, lots of recreation and education and not a terrible issue with traffic. Rush hours may be tedious at times, but just try to avoid that hour (not 3 hours!). (My time to Pittsboro can increase from 15 minutes to maybe 18 minutes during “rush hour”. You will see greater traffic than that in the Triangle, but manageable. And at the worst, you don’t have far to go. Your “corner” will be Briar Creek — one of the nicest area malls and your towns will be Durham and Raleigh. Want to keep up with high tech? RTP (the Research Triangle Park is right there only 20 minutes away.

    Virginia, coming from south Florida, you would notice the improvement in humidity in all areas extending from north Georgia through southern Virginia. Huge variations in those areas? Not really, more hot and humid a half hour inland from the coast, significantly less in the foothill/mountain areas. More variation by season in the foothills/mountains, but no more than 10 degree temp differences coastal plain to mountains in any given season. All are less hot and humid than south FL. The typical difference in temp between Jacksonville in north FL and central NC is 5 degrees — enough to notice, but barely.

    North Georgia, again I’ve barely visited, but anything from the AL/TN corner with GA and Athens and on to Savannah to me is quite attractive. Do apply the basic coastal to mountain differences I described above, but also note that the area is midway between south FL and south VA. SC has some small tax advantages (gas prices), and general cost of living, but I personally don’t find most of SC to be as inviting. Politically, all of this could crudely be called the southeast Bible Belt. Cities are mostly more liberal, rural areas less so ranging to extremely conservative (is that any different from CA). But don’t take my gross (as in overall) value statements as gospel (poor choice of words, but functional).

    Personally, I think the people of virtually all areas of the southeast are wonderful. There are always extremists and a——s, but coming from a cosmopolitan military background originally out of the northeast and being a functional liberal, I love it here. I happen to know a former commandant of the Georgia State Police — quite conservative, but one of the nicest and most wonderful people you will ever meet. Lives in north Georgia, btw.

    My best advice (as often said here at TopRetirements) is always, always, always try to spend significant time living in any place that you will consider moving to permanently. Several weeks will give you a feel, but basically the longer the better. Try to be flexible! As I said in a post above, there are always surprises that will change your opinion. Without three weeks in AZ, I would never have realized how wearing dry, dusty wind can be. Without several weeks spent in the area, I would never have understood how mentally fatiguing it was for me to see little but red rocks. Beautiful, yes, but time to go home! Some complain about the heat and humidity of Florida, but I like heat, humidity and green. So a long, hot NC summer is just fine — this, so far, mild summer is a bit disappointing. (But there is hope, July is just around the corner! :<)

    by Rich — June 26, 2016

  64. Someone asked about NE Georgia. There is a quaint town called Clayton, GA 15 min. south of NC and 15 min west of SC. We have a weekend condo (there are also homes here) in a resort called Kingwood Resort and Country Club (not age restricted) there and really enjoy it. It is an hour and a half NE of Atlanta. Clayton is located in Rabun County GA and has lots of outdoor activities: the Chattooga river for whitewater rafting or kayaking, lots of trails for hiking and is 45 minutes south of Highlands and Cashiers, NC. Lots of good restaurants in Clayton as well as some cute shops on Main St.

    by Liana — June 26, 2016

  65. The dry mediterranean climate of Southern California is one of the variables that make this area so desirable to millions of current residents and those planning a relocation.

    by Bubbajog — June 26, 2016

  66. Thanks for the input, everyone.

    Top reasons for leaving CA are not just the crowds: it’s being closer to family and having a less expensive home and daily costs than CA. I’ve lived on the East Coast including college in Richmond, so I’m familiar with the weather. Going farther from the DC area isn’t as appealing due to family locations.

    I appreciate information you’re providing on VA – seems that most of the conversations are about other places.

    by Marcia — June 26, 2016

  67. Marcia, When you say that due to family farther from the DC area is not as appealing, that helps. Then the question becomes “how far” and what part(s) of metro DC. To start off, you said about CA, “Why do we think about leaving? The place is packed, traffic is ridiculous, expenses are high once we go to retirement savings.” What can I say — you are pretty much talking about DC/No. Va. with that statement. So, to me, the question then becomes how much commuting wold you do. Daily commutes into DC are some of the worst in the country — especially from the south (Fredericksburg). And not a whole lot better from the west (I-66 corridor). If commuting is only occasional and weekends, it’s not so concerning — but never forget that traffic is a way of life in the environs of DC (say within an hour). But people literally commute daily from 2 to 3 and more hours away each way.

    Remembering that I-95 and I-66 and always going to be the main routes to DC from No. Va. Fredericksburg and Warrenton, VA (using those highways) are both about 1 hr 15 min from downtown DC (the Mall) — that’s with no traffic (both my experience and compliments of Google Maps.) Getting even a little way from those interstates, you can find not only some of the nicest countryside, but some beautiful communities of various sizes. (That’s true even closer to DC.) Costs, while slightly lower than DC/Vienna/etc., are still high, but as you move further from DC, costs go down (but I would never call No. Va. a low cost region). 2 to 3 hours from DC, you can get to what I consider to be some of the most wonderful countryside, be absorbed more into the real Virginia, and even get well into the mountains (and, yes, lower costs).

    Let me give you one caution about all the the area around DC. Driving times (even if you are not commuting) are highly subject to traffic (rush hours are roughly 6-9am and 3-7pm) and weather. For a while, my wife worked at Georgetown Univ. (downtown DC). Normal good one way commute from Manassas was 2 hours — up to 6 hours if there were problems. Starting in 1982, we lived for 7 years in Bealeton, VA — 44 miles via I-66 to her job just inside the DC beltline. Same commute time. I have been told commutes are much worse now. Getting caught up in that (as opposed to staying closer to home) definitely affects your lifestyle. Staying closer to home (out in No. Va.), you can have a really nice place to enjoy with decent traffic and even open spaces.

    I hope that answers some of your questions about VA and that others will contribute their thoughts and experiences as they may well be more recent and perhaps different than mine. And having said all this, keep in mind my previous comment to you and Sandie — we truly did love living in No. Va. not far from Fredericksburg.

    by Rich — June 27, 2016

  68. a general comment on anyone thinking of relocating to SOUTHRN CALIFRONIA: we spent 35 years there. it was fantastic at first. bought and sold 4 different homes. able to get SOME equity out, but not a fortune. taxes and government are controlled by the INSANE, for the benefit of the NON CONTRIBUTING portion of the masses. the state is very beautiful. traffic is a DAY AND NIGHTMARE 7/24 365. way too many illegals and crime of all kinds. they even steal the copper wiring from private lawns and city parks. schools are left leaning and emphasize the importance of SELF ESTEEM instead of LEARNING. great places to see and do on a vacation. going to the beaches can be a parking challenge. the SAN DIEGO ZOO/WILD ANIMAL PARK are definitely BUCKET LIST ITEMS. the weather is great, but can be boring. earth quakes are interesting. water is a recurring issue with droughts and water rationing. flooding has become less a BIG factor. FIRE SEASON IS A REAL SEASON. had 4 close threats. if money is not a big factor for you, then you may find your PARADISE. I recommend looking at a state map. find Sacramento. draw a horizontal line left to right passing through SACRAMENTO. look for you senior citizen peace of mind home, NORTH of that line you just made. good luck to all.

    by davefh — June 27, 2016

  69. Has anyone done a recent move from the New England area and has some input on utility costs? We are interested in Williamsburg, VA. We now live in Connecticut and have the A/C alot because we don’t like humidity. We are wondering how electricity costs compare? Also if it is better for us to look at homes with heat pumps rather than furnace and A/C. Any feedback on electricity costs being something significant to consider on retirement income. Noticed cost seems to vary city to city, even between adjourning cities.

    by BeckyN. — June 27, 2016

  70. Concerning Dave’s input on living in Cali…it all depends what part you decide to live in. I’ve been living here in northern Sandiego since the mid 90s. Purchased a 2 br condo for $58000 in a nice 55+ community, now they’re selling for $210000….so if you’re interested in investing in real estate this is the place to be to make a nice profit. We only pay $800 per yr on taxes,utility bills are only $45 per month. We don’t experience much earthquakes or fires and traffic isn’t that bad either….now saying that we don’t plan on living here forever because we’re planning on moving to the coast of oregon to be closer to family. Its much cheaper to live there . You can buy a condo on the beach for $115000.

    by Mary Jane — June 28, 2016

  71. Hi Liana,
    Thanks for the input on Clayton. I am considering Northern Georgia as my next full-time residence so it’s helpful to hear about new places. I had been considering Blairsville or Blue Ridge, about an hour west of Clayton.

    Being that Clayton is south of Highlands, NC, one of the wettest places in the country; do you find that it gets a lot of rain? Gray weather?
    Also, i thought i had read that it’s fairly expensive. Does that seem true to you?

    Thanks so much. I’m glad you’ve found a place that makes you happy!

    by ella — June 28, 2016

  72. Also concerning Dave’s comment on Southern California, i lived 6 miles outside of Escondido (35 miles NE of San Diego) for four years in the 70’s. I NEVER found the weather boring. I loved it. (Except for two winters with non-stop rain for three months!)

    by ella — June 28, 2016

  73. Concerning the CA comments. In my opinion as a CA native, Dave gave some good advice about drawing a line at Sacto, except I’d go a little further north and draw it at Redding. If the State of Jefferson ever made it to reality I might consider moving back, except they would probably inherit much of the debt that was created by past administrations in the process and they would expect us to pay it off.
    Mary Jane is right about prices going crazy up in CA, but like everything in real estate you need to buy low and sell high. At $210,000 for a 2 bedroom condo one has to ask oneself if anybody coming into the market right now is buying on the high side. It could go up even further, or suffer a collapse like Florida, Arizona and Las Vegas, NV did less than a decade ago. While the batteries on my crystal ball died years ago, given the crime, illegals, government debt (I did say crime, right?), business’s leaving for greener pastures, etc etc etc, I am betting on the latter of the two scenarios.
    ella… I am sure SoCal would love having three months of rain, preferable to the drought they have now. To paraphrase a car commercial, it’s not your daddy’s weather anymore. 😉

    by Art Bonds — June 28, 2016

  74. BeckyN, I have an opinion on heat pumps. I won’t compare energy costs between NE and Williamsburg, but I can say we haven’t been hit very hard at all when I compare our previous home in Northern NJ to our current address in Wytheville, Va. However, we do have a heat pump, which I understand is prevalent round these parts. I can tell you that it does not put out “warm” heat. It keeps you alive, but nothing like gas, propane, or wood. It also becomes much less efficient in REALLY cold temps. If you have a choice, I would advise you to go a different route!

    by doc stickel — June 28, 2016

  75. ella, If you think that Highlands is one of the wettest places in the country, you haven’t been to the wet areas. Sure, all the areas around the Great Smokies get some pretty good rainfall — that’s because the mountains block air flow, the hits the warmer air coming from the east and it rains. But none of these areas typically have continuous weeks of non-stop rain. (Notice I said “typically”.) One trip through Highlands area, it was so dry the waterfalls had mostly disappeared. But I have made hikes on the Blue Ridge where it didn’t stop raining for a week or more. I also hiked the crest of the Great Smokies for a long week and never saw a drop of rain.

    I just wouldn’t want anyone to dismiss the southern mountain areas because they think it rains like Hoh Rain Forest or Kawaii. Or that it was as frequently cloudy as the northern West coast. The Smokies often get afternoon rains — that’s what keeps the waterfalls flowing. Consider that one of the big disappointments of our travels, was the trip to Kawaii when six weeks of drought (!) had literally and completely dried up the hundreds of waterfalls we were so looking forward to seeing. You know that old saying, “Weather happens!”

    by Rich — June 28, 2016

  76. An extremely high cost of living with a scarcity of affordable housing. Absolutely way too many people. A continuous threat of earthquakes, fires, and water shortages. A political environment that offends a large portion of the populace. And yet for all the negatives: People want to live in California. The state population is approaching 40 million. We are getting close to one out of every eight people within the United States living in California. Without any doubt, there is something very special about California. That is why we are “The Golden State.”

    by Bubbajog — June 28, 2016

  77. Art, I would join you at Redding or north in a heartbeat. Of course sans the debt and politicos who ran up the debt. Also we need Rich if we can get him away from the Hoh River and his rain!

    by Dick L — June 29, 2016

  78. I love living in Sacramento (been here 35 yrs), all except for the liberal politics and CA’s oppressive taxes. I’ve been following the proposal for the northern counties of CA to secede and form “Jefferson.” I too would join in the move. If enough freedom-minded people showed up, it would snowball. Just imagine how nice it could be.
    In the meantime, however, I’m looking at leaving CA in a couple yrs for retirement.

    by Barbara — June 29, 2016

  79. Rich… is that Kawaii, as in cute little things, or Hawaii?

    Bubba, people want to live in CA because of the climate and all the natural beauty the state has to offer. They don’t want to live in CA because of all the negatives (list is rather long). It’s a balancing act. Can you stomach the bad things to live in the good things. Many can, many can’t.

    Dick, just one word… Weed. (now before the rest of you jump to unwarranted conclusions, get out a CA state map and follow I-5 northward from Redding…)

    by Art Bonds — June 30, 2016

  80. Art Bonds – It’s a numbers game. And the numbers say a definitive YES; that people want to live in California and will stomach the negatives. And I believe a Las Vegas bookie would respond in kind with those odds!!! LOL

    by Bubbajog — June 30, 2016

  81. Bubba, true CA is growing, but it is not growing at the rate many other states are growing. CA grew 2.7 per thousand in population in 2015. Both AZ and NV have been cited in articles where Californians are moving to, and the population growth figures support it. AZ grew 9.3 per 1000, and all it really has going for it is the Grand Canyon. Nevada (what does NV have over CA?) grew at 13/1000. Texas, another destination for Californians, grew 10 per 1000. Colorado, 12.5 per 1000. And the big winner? Florida, at over 16 per 1000. Can’t believe folks would prefer alligators and humidity over what CA offers.
    http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census/state-migration-rates-annual-net-migration-by-state.html
    It would seem that with the great climate and all the beauty of the state over other areas of the country, what with the redwoods, Yosemite, the Sequoia’s, Big Sur, SF, etc, CA should be growing at a fantastic rate. And it did grow at a fantastic rate… decades ago. Everything not nailed down in other states made its way to LA.
    http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/how-a-great-american-migration-to-california-reversed-itself/
    Lately domestic migration (citizens) have been moving out, but CA continues to grow due to foreigners moving in (also a slight increase due to births vs deaths). See this report, a few years old but nonetheless informative.
    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/cr_71.pdf
    The PDF even states why folks are leaving and how to reverse the trend… all it takes is political will.
    Regarding the focus of this article, I agree that Santa Monica is a beautiful spot to retire, as long as you have the BIG bucks. I would even suggest Santa Barbara and the general area around there, very beautiful (but I haven’t seen it in years so I may not be totally up to date on it).

    by Art Bonds — June 30, 2016

  82. Tax rates in California make it extremely difficult to survive on limited incomes.

    by Ron — July 1, 2016

  83. I agree with Ron that California’s tax rates make it difficult to live here in retirement. We have lived in Southern California for the last 30 years and are planning to move to Florida to be closer to our families who are all on the east coast. We hope to stretch our retirement dollars by saving on state taxes in Florida and lower housing costs. We plan to move next year and are going to visit Florida this August to see which would be the best place to retire. People warn us that the humidity and crime in Florida will make us change our mind. However in Southern California there are also high crime areas and if you don’t live near the ocean the temperatures can be very hot and uncomfortable in the summer. We have sold our properties in California and don’t have any desire to buy here again as the prices are too high if you want to live in a nice area near the beach. If anyone has comments on which area would be a good place to retire in Florida on the Atlantic side, it would be much appreciated.

    by Mimi — July 1, 2016

  84. Ok, Art. Please remember that I am 68 and subject to memory malfunction — not much, but enough to misspell Kauai.

    And on you brief comment — are you for or against weed? I’m not a narc, just curious as I am “for”. Perhaps TopRetirements can do an article with this topic as the focus…

    DickL, no problem getting me out of Hoh Rain Forest. Nice to visit, but I live in NC because I love the sun. And Highlands, NC. does get a decent amount of rain ( http://usatravel.about.com/od/Weather/ss/Wettest-Places-in-the-USA.htm — just above that spot where NC/GA/SC meet), but no place in NC shows up on the lists of highest rainfall, most days of rain, etc. Note that the dark areas of that map show 50+ inches in a range of 50 to over 300 and 400 inches that also fall in that area. (BTW, the Smokies get their name from the low hanging rain clouds frequently found nestling among the peaks.)

    by Rich — July 1, 2016

  85. Art, I have to take Bubba’s side in your debate (which really doesn’t belong under the Small Cities category). I thought Retirement meant you got to enjoy what YOU loved doing and where YOU loved being. And most of all, Experiencing new things. This Retirement Blog always brings in politics, immigration of foreigners, intolerance of new people and ideas, etc.. If you want to keep experiencing, feeling, and being exactly the same way you were when working and raising your family in your little corner of the world – why retire at all? Bubba at least looks at the Fun and Sunshine and accepts what Is. No I don’t believe in Unicorns, Utopia, and rule by Puppies and Kitties; but you retired people need to “lighten up”. Vote what you believe and keep the rest to yourselves. You REALLY are no longer in charge of or responsible for your family, your Company, your Country. Just LIVE for a change. ????

    by SandySW — July 1, 2016

  86. Absolutely SandySW!! Living in California goes way beyond dollars and cents and political views. The aura of living in California keeps us young both mentally and physically. The beaches, mountains, deserts, and sunshine. The opportunity to go outside almost everyday of the year is something that I personally find priceless. The abundance of sunshine with the dry mediterranean climate just seems to do something very positive for the inner soul.

    by Bubbajog — July 1, 2016

  87. Rich, I would have never guessed “Kauai” as the misspelling. When I looked up “Kawaii” and didn’t find anything I had to know where you were actually talking about. Curiosity killed the kitty I guess.
    And did you stop at the word “Weed”, or did you do what I suggested in the second part of that sentence… “(now before the rest of you jump to unwarranted conclusions, get out a CA state map and follow I-5 northward from Redding…)”
    FYI,I am not a narc either, just an ex-law enforcement officer that never made a mj bust… just had them dump it on the ground because it was illegal. But now there would be no need to do even that… I worked in Washington State. 😉

    SandySW, in any blog related to retirement places, just pointing out the great things found in an area does nobody any favors. If all one hears from posters is “that is a GREAT place”, and somebody spends a quarter million or more on a residence plus all the related expenses, and then finds out the traffic is horrendous, the crime is sky high, the environment polluted and you can’t afford to have fun because of the cost of living, the posters that painted a Pollyanna picture did that retiree a grave disservice. For a retiree that is tough to overcome and they may never recover.
    Life is to short and precious at our age… not much left. I would rather hear honest opinions from boots on the ground about the reality of the area BEFORE I make the move and pay the big bucks. Just my opinion, but I’m sure we have all made enough mistakes in our lives already without making yet another *completely avoidable* expensive one at our advanced ages. That requires honest evaluations from our friends here at TR. And remember I am a California native, born and raised there. Did I mention great weather, beautiful scenery?

    And a big thanks to John (Admin) for creating this blog so we can exchange valuable information between members. And if only one life is saved doncha think it was all worth it? (“Think of the chilllllldren!” )

    by Art Bonds — July 1, 2016

  88. I’m with Art (who I have only met through TopRetirements) — the more info for good or not so good the better. (And a huge tip-a-da-hat to the Admins.) CA is a really nice place to visit and have fun, and over the years I’ve lived there for a while (as a child) and traveled there for probably a month or more in total a week at a time. I also have several good friends from NC who spent years living in CA and have mostly good things to say. . One is still there having spent years trying to decide to retire back to NC — she loves CA for the many reasons expressed here, but she will leave (one way or another — think about the age factor) primarily because of the cost. And she has a really good retirement plan along with her own savings. On our two personal “retirement time” trips through CA, consideration of relocating was one of the reasons for going. Cost was a key reason for not moving. For my wife, trained as a geologist, that other looming negative makes CA impossilble.

    Art, I actually did read your full statement about Redding, but frankly missed the point. Now that you have pointed me at it, we’re in sync. Interesting, isn’t it that CA will likely also join the states that legalize recreational marijuana this year. If nothing else, their financial situation should push it over. That would make the entire western, what — tenth?, of the country (including prime living and retirement areas for some) as a place where people can not only ease the medical issues that crowd on us with age, but also recreate without criminalization. Again, a valid reason for TopRetirements to explore doing one or more articles on the topic.

    As far as these disagreements about CA go, it’s probably time to admit it’s been discussed thoroughly (not necessarily in the wrong place, SandySW — California is more full of nice towns and small cities than it is the big cities). Probably some of us just have to agree to disagree. And decide that living where we choose is most important, because most of what CA offers can also be found elsewhere.

    by Rich — July 2, 2016

  89. Rich and Art, agree to disagree on CA. Except for medical care for major health concerns, small towns in all states are preferable for “laid back” living than large cities. They can also be very small minded and less accepting, but to each his own Sunshine. Now back to the discussion that is more on topic- 11 Small Cities Perfect For Retirement……

    by SandySW — July 2, 2016

  90. Hello! I see no mention of Utah, Wyoming, Montana. Low humidity, sunny skies, low cost of living. We’re looking for an affordable place to retire in any of these states. Would so appreciate any information you may have on these states!

    Thank you kindly!
    Debbie

    by Debbie — July 2, 2016

  91. Ella, I feel Blue Ridge is more expensive real estate than Clayton. I also think Clayton does get 8-10 more inches of rain than Atlanta. But Blue Ridge is very popular!

    by Liana — July 2, 2016

  92. Art and Rich, I enjoy your topics immensely. Of course there is Weed, but also Yreka and not Eureka see (sea).
    Now have either of you passed through Gorst, WA? When the water was low and the tide flats would smelllll, ugh!

    Bubbajog, the poloticos have destroyed San Francisco. Yes I do hate to leave, but cost of living dictates that I am.

    by Dick L — July 2, 2016

  93. Dick L, if I remember correctly Yreka was (is) supposed to be the capital city for the State of Jefferson. Another nice small city in CA. The only reason I mentioned Weed was it’s proximity to beautiful Mt. Shasta. Same goes for Black Butte.
    Seems you know CA… I was born in Fort Bragg. No, not North Carolina, the one in California. Or should I say State of Jefferson.
    Worked in Bremerton at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS)(also affectionately known as Piled Shit, No Shovel) for 5 years, commuted daily from my home in Tacoma. So yes, very familiar with Gorst and the backups coming down the hill on Hwy 16. And to everybody, Gorst is definitely NOT on ANYBODY’S list of 11 Small Cities Perfect for Your Retirement… take it from somebody that had tires (not boots) on the ground, trying to get through it as fast as possible (had to make the post on topic… ;-). But at least Gorst is not a sanctuary city.

    by Art Bonds — July 3, 2016

  94. Debbie I have been trying to find out any info on South Dakota from someone who has retired out there,but I can tell you that wyoming is pretty affordable(no state tax, low property tax,not a lot of people) but it gets very cold and windy in the winter and the highways can close on short notice. Housing is not cheap and if you are looking for any kind of government assistance they don’t believe in it. Different parts of the state like cheyenne really don’t have trees outside of town and lots of blowing dust, because of the high elevation you might also sick, which is what happened to me. The state is in big trouble right now because they are very dependent on the price of oil and they have big shortfalls. Personally I liked the state a lot (not a lot of people) but could not handle the elevation and the lack of trees. Other parts of wyoming are more beautiful but more expensive and get a lot more snow.

    by nancy

    by nancy downing — July 3, 2016

  95. If you are considering relocation for retirement start by making a listing of those things most important top you.
    Next review in great detail your finances. Retirement often means a fixed income for cash flow and hidden taxes are an important part of your review.
    The south is attractive to Northerners due to the mild winters, however, weeks of days hovering in the 90’s and high humidity makes summer as offensive as winter in the North. We think of summer here as winter in Ohio were we are originally from.
    My research finds only two states that generally meets my requirements South Carolina and Georgia are the most tax favorable for fixed income in the South. Don’t get fooled by states claiming no state tax as they get you with a high sales tax which hurts more !

    Also consider your political and religious affiliations. The South is definitely stuck in the pre civil war era, right wing, protestant and unfriendly outside larger urban areas.

    We live in South Carolina just outside Charlotte and find the outdoor activity parks and recreation areas are few and far between when compared to the Cleveland , Ohio region.

    Do you homework folks and make those lists

    I hope this

    by Ron — July 3, 2016

  96. Ron, it is obvious to me that you didn’t make your lists before moving South. Your comments on political and religious affiliations are offensive. I moved to NC twenty six years ago, not to change the area I live in to be like the area (Ohio) that I moved from but to enjoy what is there. If you expected to be able to change where you moved to, you were sadly mistaken. I suggest you move back to Ohio.

    by Dick — July 3, 2016

  97. Ron, we have found very little political and religious prejudice in our area of coastal SC. We live in a gated community where almost everyone is from “away”, and one’s beliefs mean very little and are never the topic of discussion, probed or judged. I like to think that with age and greater wisdom comes the realization that we are all much more alike than different, and bless those differences! We have met many new friends, both retirees like us, and local vendors, contractors, and SC natives. I can assure you and others that Southerners are friendly, positive, and welcoming in general, IF YOU TREAT THEM LIKEWISE. There are always a few bad apples, in every location on Earth, but I have no desire to waste precious time wasting a minute of my retirement on their issues. Shake hands, “nice to meet you”, and move on from the negative energy of those who sadly choose to live their lives in bitterness.

    by SandyZ — July 3, 2016

  98. Dick and SandyZ, your responses are remarkably similar (but in totally different words) to how I answered ilovemexico in another thread. Another comparison: usually those who marry a person with the thought (even intent) to “change” them, are overall disappointed. So much better to accept and make a good life from what you have chosen. (As SandyZ also said, there are always a few “bad apples”, exceptions. The you may have to choose to move on.)

    Ron, you said, “weeks of days hovering in the 90’s and high humidity makes summer as offensive as winter in the North” and I can only argue with the word “offensive”. We choose to live where we do. Even a homeless migrant can walk somewhere else. So change the word “offensive” to “difficult” and (for me) I can’t argue. I have come to love the humid 90’s and even 100’s that are at times a part of life in the deep South. But that takes time to accommodate — time that many retirees may not have. So do consider your list well.

    Another brief and relevant comment on southern heat. My father had a year-long tour in Vietnam as part of his career in the Army. When he got back, he found that NC was too cold for him. After retiring, he spent much of his remaining 12 years with an RV traveling the warm seasons until finally settling in a small city in central FL.

    by Rich — July 3, 2016

  99. Hey Ron – If you do decide to go back to Northeast Ohio, this would be the time. LeBron James has put Cleveland back on the map. The Cavs are NBA champions. The 52 year drought is over. The curse is broken!!! The Indians are playing absolute great baseball. And God willing, RG3 will lead the Browns to a winning season. No city has been bashed more than Cleveland!!! How about that saying “MISTAKE ON THE LAKE.” I am nothing but happy to see Cleveland flex its muscles again. And as a Southern Californian, overwhelmingly ecstatic to see the Cavs kick the Warriors ass in the NBA FINALS. LOL

    by Bubbajog — July 3, 2016

  100. Thank you Nancy for your response. I’m finding it so very difficult to find our retirement destination. Every time I think I’ve found it I find new information that eliminates the area. So very frustrating. I guess the biggest issue is finding an area you would like to live in that you can afford. When I find an area that looks appealing I search for affordable areas within that state. I have realized that the word affordable is very subjective!! 200,000 for a house is not affordable to us! I’m so frustrated with the process right now and unsure where to look that if we weren’t living in IL we would just stay where we are. However, IL is getting less affordable everyday. High taxes of every kind and health care is outrageous!! So the search continues!! Good luck to everyone in your search! We so appreciate these sites, they’re very helpful!

    by Debbie — July 4, 2016

  101. Thank you who responded for helping make my point! Do your homework before you consider where you relocate to.
    You all can see the anger that resides in the South. It might be elsewhere also.

    by Ron — July 4, 2016

  102. Art, I was born and raised in Bremerton and never heard this description of the shipyard!!! I was there in the 60’s for a 1 year work/study program. Enjoyable, but Fresno was beckoning due to more advanced electronics and a degree.

    How is the East coast treating you?

    by Dick L — July 4, 2016

  103. Rich, I was so surprised to read of your ” humid 90’s and even 100’s that are at times a part of life in the deep South.” My memory may be failing me; aren’t you in either Wytheville or Bristol? Are the temps. there that Hot and Humid??? If so, it would be a good thing for me to know now before i retire nearby. I had thought the mountains would decrease the heat and humidity.
    As for acclimating, i’ve lived in my current home in NYS for 36 years and cannot get used to either. On a hot day i remain indoors from 9 or 10 (depending on how hot or humid), and then go back outside at about 7 pm. This summer has been dry (not humid) so far, so i’m out by 6 pm. Unusual and very much appreciated!

    by ella — July 5, 2016

  104. Administrators, I don’t appreciate my comments being deleted. If you are going to delete something (and there was no reason to delete my last comment), you have my email, tell me why…..

    by Dick — July 5, 2016

  105. Dick, never heard of that description? You must have lived and associated with the more refined and dignified society surrounding the shipyard. I worked there from ’82 to ’87. Maybe only us Government Slaves (GS pay grade) knew that description, not the Working Gods (WG pay grades) which you may have been. 😉
    East coast overall rates an ‘ehhh’, my corner of East Tennessee (Bristol) much better. Compared to the rest of the East Coast, being at 1600 feet above sea level makes summer nice. While it may be 85 degrees the humidity is a lot lower than the rest of the East coast (and 85 in Seattle would have you heading for an air conditioned mall for relief!). Compare San Fran’s weather (with a breeze off the Pacific) to Sacramento (no breeze, sweating your brains out). But we get some snow in winter (more than in the Puget Sound), nothing we have to shovel, usually melts off during the day. Rolling countryside and treed, very green here, but different from Evergreen State green because the trees here are deciduous, so we get the colors come fall and new growth and flowers on the trees in the spring. Cost of living very low, City Data says “Mar. 2016 cost of living index in Bristol: 81.8 (low, U.S. average is 100)”. As a comparison San Fran cost of living is 169.4 (eeek). Crime is average, mostly property crimes, I have been here 3 years, no issues encountered. And a Tennessee CCW is recognized in more states than most any other (unless you carry a 50 state permit called a ‘badge’).
    Being in East Tennessee we are central to all the East coast amusement parks (read “roller coasters”), from Cedar Point up north to everything Orlando has down south. A boat load of beaches within an easy (for me) drive, as well as history sites galore. We have a 5th wheel RV to go to these places for a few days at a time, and being semi-retired that leaves the wife and I with time to do it. If I was still working full time it may be a different story.
    Overall, can’t complain to much, could use a better selection of restaurants in Bristol. Could easily be in (and have been in) worse areas.

    by Art Bonds — July 5, 2016

  106. Dick I did delete your last comment as we appreciate your posts that are helpful, informative, and pertain to the Blog topic, your last comment was more personal.

    by Jane at Topretirements — July 5, 2016

  107. ella, “Doc Stikel” <(spelling I am sure is incorrect) is in Wytheville area, I think I am the only one in Bristol.

    by Art Bonds — July 5, 2016

  108. ella, Perhaps Art cleared up your confusion to an extent. He and Doc Stikel can talk directly to the area along the I-81 corridor of SW VA and NE TN, although I lived in neighboring Gate City for three years back in the way back (79-81) I’m now more a source for Central NC (between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill) and I’m the one who sticks up for high humidity around here. No offense at all intended, but staying indoors through the heat is not adapting — it’s hiding. That’s ok if you want to be confined for most of the day, but my life is outdoors 90% of the time. (I sleep indoors — camping (not RV) was a way of life when I was young, but AC was invented to permit comfortable sleeping :<).

    Adapting to climate for me is learning to live with the conditions. I am outdoors almost the entire year, though I take exception during what I consider extreme cold. Below 32* is not conducive to anything except grilling — and even then I can step indoors as needed. I deliberately stay outdoors as much as possible year round. That way my body adjusts to the climate and temp changes as they occur and by the June – Aug heat season (sometimes early Sept.), I'm able to engage in any activity I like from mowing to gardening to sitting and stewing. But I have "adapted" to this over 55 years. That is the relevance to retirement. If you move from northern climates to the south at age 65 (as an example), then "adapting" may not be so easy. (But do remember the story about my father who, after a year in Vietnam at age 45, had trouble with NC "cold".) So anyone can acclimatize — it depends on how willing you are and how much you can accept just pure "sweat" as a part of life.

    If you are an indoor person, the heat/humidity may be minor as you jump in and out of your car. If you are very "outdoorsy", expect to have to adapt if you move to the deep south. Age is definitely a factor on that adaptability. With age, even natives or near natives tend to slow down, and drift more toward getting stuff done, take a shower, and sit down in the shade with a mint julep (so to speak).

    by Rich — July 5, 2016

  109. Okay, i think i’ve got it straight. Doc is in Wytheville, Art in Bristol, and Rich in central NC. You are all three of my favorite writers, so i tend to confuse what you’ve written a bit. I’m actually pleased to hear of your location, Rich. I AM an outdoors person and i CAN NOT adapt to the heat and humidity (believe me, i’ve tried!). Your area is a bit hotter than the other two, (NE TN, SW VA), so that’s a comfort. Thank you, all three, for responding. You guys are sweet hearts! (Hope that’s okay to say!)

    by ella — July 5, 2016

  110. ella, at my age you can call me anything you want. Except late for dinner! 😉

    by Art Bonds — July 5, 2016

  111. It’s all good, ella. Believe me, we had been indecisive for years over whether to consider moving back to the Upper East Tennessee area (not far from Art — we like Johnson City area). You are correct in that it is distinctly less hot (not saying that you may not fry at times :<), less humid (in general) and also somewhat colder (elevation and west side of the Appalachians) with a little more snow (but seldom lasting long or requiring shoveling). We also like that general area of VA and of NC. Within an hour drive of Art (he's right slam-bang in the middle), you can find parts of each state that are almost identical in topography and culture and parts that vary a lot based on the towns available. From my perspective, there are no bad choices — it's just what suits you.

    by Rich — July 6, 2016

  112. Ella, you are correct. I do reside in Wytheville, Va. Or, at least 7 miles from town. That 7 miles can make a difference, also. We are 3 to 4 degrees cooler than standing in “downtown” Wytheville. We get our local news from Roanoke, which is 75 miles to the north. We usually factor in a difference of 5 to 7 degrees difference(cooler) whenever we hear temp prognostications. We are at approx 2700 feet in elevation, which oftentimes makes for comfortable nights. Even after a 90 degree day, temps drop off rapidly to 60 to 65 at night. Coming off our elevation, and travelling over I77 South to Mt Airy, NC, is to experience BIG changes in heat and humidity. Once off Fancy Gap down in the flatlands, is quite a different environment. I’ve come to relish and enjoy all sorts of weather differences. Being quasi-retired, I have more time to deal(and enjoy) with all of the changeable mountain weather one experiences around these parts. I’d imagine that just one sunny day after another would be quite boring. Our weather, with it’s extremes, is just another way we enjoy our location. Sunsets, cloud formations, and clean air are all part of the equation also. When we travel back to our former home in Morris County, NJ, the smell and “ambiance” are readily apparent. Even though formerly from Chatham and Basking Ridge, which are nice areas, there is precious little we miss.(well, maybe the pizza…..). We will not be returning to a life north of the Mason-Dixon anytime soon….

    by doc stickel — July 6, 2016

  113. Ella,

    While folks that live in the mountains of NC and VA are correct they forgot to mention that it frequently snows in those same area in the winter. So if you are trying to escape the threat of snow keep going South.

    by Ron — July 7, 2016

  114. Actually, Ron. Two of us specifically said that while it does snow, it is generally not heavy and seldom lasts long. Those who live in the higher elevations have to deal with more, but all of our discussions have related to Valley elevations of 1500 – 2200 feet. For more than two years, I drove daily through the mountains from Gate City, VA (near Kingsport, TN) to Big Stone Gap, VA on mostly ridge roads. We never had enough snow to affect me. The worst was some occasional ice on one section well known for the runoff.

    by Rich — July 8, 2016

  115. Rich is correct, not enough snow to fret about. The only ‘shoveling’ of snow I have ever done here in Bristol was on my rear deck on the north side of my home that opens out on the back yard. I did that so the dogs didn’t track snow into the house after doing their duty outside. And I did that ‘shoveling’ with a broom.

    by Art Bonds — July 8, 2016

  116. Thank you Doc Stickel, Rich, and Art Bonds (the terrific triumvirate) for your astute replies. Rich, interesting that you mentioned Big Stone Gap. Any reflections as to the area? Is it more beautiful than the the Tri-Cities area? Also, less cosmopolitan (definitely the wrong word, but i can’t think of the right one), and less accepting of newcomers; or not so? Any input would be welcome. Thanks, once again! 🙂

    by ella — July 9, 2016

  117. ella, I would suggest you watch the movie “Big Stone Gap”. While not a great movie, it is a relatively reasonable portrayal of the Big Stone Gap we knew in 1978 — long ago. Cosmopolitan? No. Interesting? Certainly. Will you ever be fully accepted? Probably about the same answer as any other small, isolated town in the US. Are the people warm and welcoming? We found that they were. There are always exceptions. And the Big Stone Gap of today is NOT the same as 1978. You can actually get there from here now. :<)

    Comparing Big Stone to the Tri-Cities is really not valid. It depends on where you would actually reside. Downtown Big Stone is in a slot in the mountains as are most of the towns in the Alleghenies. Look out a window and you see the flanks of the mountains. (As an aside, nice as it is, I had the same feeling about Vail, CO. Just not for me.) The Alleghenies are not the same as the Appalachians. Not as high, oriented in folded ridges, and in my memory a little chillier. The Tri-Cities are situated in the incredibly beautiful ROLLING hills of the Great Appalachian Valley. In the right location, you may be able to add a beautiful skyline mountainscape. The Valley is much more accessible than any of the intra-mountain towns.

    I enjoyed living in Big Stone/Gate City, very much regretted leaving after three years and felt strong pangs of something like "homesickness" for years afterward. But had I moved to Bristol or Johnson City, I doubt there would have been any second thoughts at all.

    by Rich — July 9, 2016

  118. What exactly is the Tri-Cities area and where is it located?

    by Gene S — July 10, 2016

  119. Tri-Cities: Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City — all in what is called Upper East Tennessee — the upper easternmost.

    by Rich — July 10, 2016

  120. I find the Hilton Head area of South Carolina and the Savannha GA greater area great places to retire.

    Climate perfect close to the ocean culturally excellent and many different home prices to consider.
    This area has a diverse culture unlike some parts of the South East and easy access to great medical facilities.

    Take a ride and check these areas out .

    Ron

    by Ron — July 10, 2016

  121. Rich,
    Funny you should suggest i watch the movie, Big Stone Gap. I did, about a month ago. It was terrible, but aside from that i got the feeling that i’d have to be born there to flourish. However, you’re right; the movie was set in 1978 and i’d imagine the culture has become more inclusive since then (one would hope!).

    Big Stone Gap does sound beautiful; i can understand your homesickness upon leaving. It took me seven years after leaving the Green Mountains of Vermont to get over my ‘loss.’ What did it was living an equally intense, and positive, life experience in a Christian community in Rifton, NY.

    I’m not sure if NE Tennessee will be enough for me. I do have a strong inclination towards the mountains, and it seems TN is mostly very hilly. We’ll see! My favorite topography, so far, is SW Virginia. Not sure if these mountain towns are the best choice for us upon retirement however. As you stated, ” The Valley is much more accessible than any of the intra-mountain towns.”

    Sending my best, and thanks for your comprehensive reply!

    by ella — July 13, 2016

  122. ella, I’m sure that Doc and Art smile along with me when you say, “I’m not sure if NE Tennessee will be enough for me. I do have a strong inclination towards the mountains, and it seems TN is mostly very hilly.” Do you remember, “Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee. Greenest state in the land of the free.”? Well, Davy Crockett was born in a little place between Jonesboro and Greenville, TN in the shadow of the Great Smokies. Some would call them thar hills mountainous. I personally think that some of the greatest mountain views in the eastern US are right there. If you have never seen the crest of the Smokies from Sevierville, you have missed one of the most beautiful sights you will ever see. And BTW, that view includes Rocky Top. Hope you can see my smile!

    by Rich — July 14, 2016

  123. Yep, Rich. I find I do need the mountains now like some need the ocean. There are numerous mountains here in SW Virginia as you know, but one of the motivating factors in our gravitating to Waynesville, NC was the mountain vistas are “right there”, surrounding or even cradling us. Not bad for a Jersey boy…..

    by doc stickel — July 14, 2016

  124. Thanks for your encouragement, Rich and doc stickel. It (and you) are much appreciated! I will begin in Greene County, Tennessee. I do hope it suits as it will be difficult looking for our forever home with two cats who get left behind while we wander. As for Waynesville, doc, my biggest concern was the lack of close proximity to good hiking. I was directed to drive to the BRP and start there. Did i miss something? Is there hiking closer to the town?

    by ella — July 15, 2016

  125. ella, Directing you to the Blue Ridge Parkway is almost offensive! Waynesville is minutes (minutes!) from the Great Smokies National Park including access to the Appalachian Trail, Cataloochiee and Maggie Valiey and on and on. Living in/near Waynesville, it is possible that you won’t even have to use a car.

    If you go to Maggie Valley and you find the hiking staff I lost that was decorated with The One Ring runes, please feel free to enjoy it!

    by Rich — July 15, 2016

  126. Ella, the ink is barely dry on our closing documents, so I am uninformed on hiking trails. I’ve spent many long weekends in Waynesville which usually incorporated my motorcycle which is highly discouraged on the trails. Of course hiking trails being like people, with differing personalities and characteristics, I’m not certain as to what might suit you. Aquick google search did provide numerous possibilities nearby, though. Another source I’ve found to be of value is the citydata forum site. Great localized info direct from the natives. Having said all that, I do intend to take frequent evening strolls around the perimeter of Lake Junaluska, which appears to be a pleasant two and a half miles or so. Good hunting! Doc ( Rich I’ll be on the lookout for your staff…..)

    by doc stickel — July 15, 2016

  127. Doc stickel, is Waynesville a second home or did you leave Wytheville?

    by ella — July 16, 2016

  128. Ella, still residing here in Wytheville-where I sit as I write this. We have closed and took possession of a house in Waynesville. Our current home is for sale, and will remain our “principal” residence till sold. We will spend frequent weekends in the Waynesville area, though.

    by doc stickel — July 16, 2016

  129. ella, I think you can understand how anyone in Doc’s situation could get stretched kind of thin. And someone like Doc who contributed to community activities must surely feel it when he has two. I’ve been in a comparable situation and know a bit about it. So bravo to Doc and best of luck in resolving his temporary “stretchiness” by getting his Wytheville home sold.

    For others who look to move, consider what potentially having two “homes” could mean to you — and what happens if the situation becomes months or years. The next time the potential for this came up in our lives, we chose to sell first at all cost. And then we had to move twice — once to a rental and the next time to the new home we found and built. Frankly, I don’t have a preference for either situation and it may well be the circumstances that determine what you do. This is why so many people agree to buy “contingent” on their current house being sold. But that can also result in losing a deal that you really like. Life is amazing — enjoy it to the max you can as I think Doc is.

    by Rich — July 17, 2016

  130. Thanks for your hiking advice, Rich. I didn’t realize the Great Smokies National Park and Cataloochiee were so close when we were in Waynesville. I was in Maggie Valley and didn’t know there was hiking there. It was so touristy in the worst sense! If i find your hiking staff, i’ll return it to you (it would be fun to meet you!). But doc has a better chance of that than i do. Are you talking about the Lord of the Rings ring?

    by ella — July 17, 2016

  131. ella, yes. When I started backbacking, I had also just read The Lord of the Rings for the third or fourth time. I was fascinated by the fact that Tolkien was a linguist and his stories were a vehicle for the languages he created. So on a stout bamboo staff, I painted the runes,
    “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
    You can see those runes from the book here: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ring_Verse

    If you just look at Maggie Valley or Cherokee, NC, or Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN, while driving through them, they you’re right, — you only see the over-developed tourist meccas. But pass just beyond and a whole new world in the Great Smokies National Park opens up for you. The Cataloochee area is actually part of the park and is one of my favorites. As is Rocky Top (otherwise known as Thunderhead Mtn.). The view from the top is absolutely stunning and almost unbelievable — but it is accessible only by hiking or horseback. The Smokies also have numerous beautiful roads through and around them worth taking the trip to see. Many with heavy traffic during prime season), but some are so little used that you can drive for hours and see no one and be envoeloped in the enchanted forest. And all have many, many day-hiker accessible trails. You could spend a lifetime just hiking Great Smokies trails and yet you would miss the thousands of miles of mostly lesser used trails in all the areas surrounding the park and throughout that region of NC/TN.

    by Rich — July 18, 2016

  132. Yes, Rich; i would love to hike the many trails thru the Smokies. I would love to find an area near by that’s not touristy or heavily traffic-ed from May – late October.

    by ella — July 20, 2016

  133. doc stickel, I have many questions to ask you about your choice to move from Wytheville to Waynesville. Especially since the area around Wytheville has been high on my list of possible relocation areas. Are you ready? Here goes…

    What is the difference in the ‘feel’ between these areas? Does either have a more authentic mountain feel? Is either place more open to new-comers? Is there less ‘culture’ in one place or the other? Will you miss the music from the Crooked Road venue in SW VA? Especially free concerts and jam sessions? Is it harder to get to where you’re going in SW VA? Especially necessary places like hospitals, food shopping, etc.

    Is your new home on a mountain? When we were shown around Waynesville two years ago, the homes were all on mountains. I’d prefer rolling hills, but don’t know if Waynesville has any. Are you concerned about the altitude? (Highest county east of the Rockies.) My reading indicates that the higher elevations have more issues with more water, snow, wind, etc. I have found that Waynesville does have the best weather of any town i’ve researched thus far, due to the cooler summers.

    Have you compared the cost-of-living and the taxes? Is the state tax much higher in NC? Property tax, etc. When we were shown homes in W., the cost was quite high. Over $400,000 for a house with some property around it (2-3 acres). Have you found this to be true?

    Are you choosing a house in a community or development with bylaws?

    I know you’ll enjoy it there with the beautiful down town, festivals, community centers, and all else Waynesville has to offer. Here’s hoping your house sells quickly!

    THANKS (soooo much), DOC!

    by ella — July 20, 2016

  134. Ella, phew! Perhaps drop me a line??? Thanks vastickel@gmail.com

    by Doc Stickel — July 21, 2016

  135. Thanks, Doc. My thoughts exactly. Please be on the look out for my message. ( :

    by ella — July 22, 2016

  136. I strongly disagree about the inclusion of Alexandria, VA. I have lived in Northern Virginia for over 30 years, including several years in the far corner of Alexandria, a long ways from Old Town (the downtown area). You had better be REALLY wealthy to live in Old Town, and be able to afford flood insurance for the regular flooding of the Potomac. Right outside Old Town are a good many apartment buildings I would term housing projects; I wouldn’t walk there during the day, much less at night. Other areas of Alexandria have lots of high-rise apartment buildings and condos, some single family, but nothing special. Anywhere in Alexandria, you will pay DC prices and they are outrageous.

    by Gary Knoke — July 22, 2016

  137. I have to agree with Gary Knoke. Alexandria is not really a small city. Rather a large neighborhood of Washington D.C. Expensive is an understatement. Of course if you are rich and have a huge retirement wad to blow. Have at it.

    by Dave — July 23, 2016

  138. I totally disagree with Portland, Oregon’s as #45 on the Best Places to
    Retire. I just returned from my fourth visit in the last 4 years and Portland has a severe mental health and homeless crisis. I visit NYC, Boston, and most major cities. I have worked in social services all f my life. I have never seen anything so heartbreaking, severe, and scary in my life. There ar mentally ill, addicted, and homeless living on every single sidewalk, park, trail, all over the city. There are homeless encampments in every single section of the city. People defecating and urinating on buildings, sidewalks, parks, etc. Every single Portlander that I spoke to was alarmed and afraid. This is not just a homeless problem, as that exists everywhere. This is the most alarming mental health system failure I could ever imagine. It is simply NOT SAFE. I could spend time with personal anecdotes of being accosted on the streets in broad daylight, and stories of people who cannot sleep in their apartments at night because there are men who set up carboard shelters and drink and shout obscenities all night long, right underneath their bedroom windows. In the moning, all over the city sidewalks are empty bottles, needles, and human waste. This is much, much worse than NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, or anywhere else I have been. Apparently, the mayor of Portland got an ordinance passed that allows people to live wherever they want on city property. If anyone is even considering Portland,OR, I suggest you google it and read up. I would not even suggest a visit, it is way too dangerous and heartbreaking.

    by MaryNB — July 23, 2016

  139. Wow, MaryNB! What a mess Portland, Oregon is in! I have never been there and never had a desire to go there but now I will never go there! I do believe the lack of jobs in this country contributes to a lot of these problems. One minute you can be employed with a house or apartment. Then you lose your job, your home and car and become homeless. It is a huge downward spiral leading to hopelessness, drugs and alcohol. Once you are down so low there is very little chance of getting a job and getting straight. I can really see how this can happen. I lost two really great jobs. One I had for 18 years and another for 4 years. Once I lost those jobs which were very limited in my area I had to find something else at a much lower pay and jobs that I despised. The last job of 4 years I never did find a job and that was in 2011. I finally gave up when I turned 62 and went on SS this year. Lucky for me my husband worked and had health insurance. Plus, we saved a lot so we didn’t lose our home or anything. BUT it can happen to anyone.

    by Louise — July 24, 2016

  140. Yes, Louise, it is a mess. However, what I saw is so much more than just unemployment. I live in a state that has had high unemployment and has never bounced back from the recession and probably never will. We have homelessness in the Northeast, but what I saw was like a horror movie. There were men, women, and children sleeping everywhere in every section of the city, even the suburbs. Apparently, the Governor of OR recently visited Portland and was shocked and horrified at the extent of it. It is very scary because many of these people appear to be seriously mentally ill. I heard men shouting obsecenties to people in broad daylight, saw people toileting on the streets, witnessed fist fights, and worse. It is just horrible. I will never go back. I was considering moving there, but I will never return to Portland if Imcan help it. It was simply horrendous and I am in no way exaggerating.

    by MaryNB — July 24, 2016

  141. I am shocked by what you’ve commented on portland’s detiorization. I lived there from 1995 to 200 3 and there was at that time some young homeless people in the downtown area. Sounds like it has worsened and they need to do something about it. My husband was raised there but we have decided to retire to the oregan coast….after living in sandiego since 2003.

    by Mary Jane — July 25, 2016

  142. Mary Jane, I did go to the Oregon Coast and the situation was somewhat bettter, but still a problem like I have never seen before. I went to Seaside and there were homeless people everywhere, mostly young men who appeared to be intoxicated and were panhandling. It was enough to totally destroy my enjoyment of the coast. Seeing that many human beings in that condition is very upsetting to me. I view it as a complete failure of the mental health system and misguided laws that do not allow families to force help for those who cannot help themselves. A waitress told me that there was a heroin problem that was out of control. A shopowner told me that she believes other states buy them bus tickets to Oregon because the numbers are mutiplying by the day. There were men sleeping on the sidewalks right outside the restaurant, in the sidewalks, on the beach, on the boardwalk. It was very disturbing, but not as bad as Portland and the surrounding suburbs. The belief among Oregonians is that the state has become a mecca for homeless from all over the country because of the moderate weather and the lack of vagrancy laws and the abundance of food programs. It is an issue that is being hotly debated in the state and the present policies are to allow people to live wherever they wish. You can google homeless problem in Oregon, or homeless in Portland. It is beyond what I could ever imagine in this country.

    by MaryNB — July 25, 2016

  143. Good point MaryNB. This article, which is pretty long, explains a lot of what you observed. They closed all the mental institutions down, released the patient’s and thought drugs were the answer.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/09/29/ronald_reagans_shameful_legacy_violence_the_homeless_mental_illness/

    by Louise — July 25, 2016

  144. After 36 years in the West and Southwest, I have to agree that it seems to me that any one who is “missing” a grandchild or family member has only to look in the streets of San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Portland, and Seattle. Like retirees, they head for the warmth. I’m sure that is also true of Florida and the SE. I’ve only observed Orlando. What saddened me the most,however, was observing it and reading about it in the small towns of PA and Ohio where my husband and I grew up.

    In retirement you get to choose your battles as well as your sunshine. Sometime they are hard to separate if it involves a family member, but you have to find your joy where you can for the time remaining.

    by SandySW — July 25, 2016

  145. Oops, make that 46 years in the West and SouthWest. Paradise passes quickly !

    by SandySW — July 25, 2016

  146. MaryNB, thankyou for the heads up. I am thinking of Astoria, Ashland or Florence. Where on the coast would you recommend?

    by Mary Jane — July 25, 2016

  147. Louise, interesting article. There is plenty of blame to go around. In New
    England institutions did not close down due to lack of funding, but a change in public policy and the liberal thought that individuals had the right to refuse treatment and civil commitment became almost impossible. The laws today make it almost impossible to get a family member with mental illness help. The result is that we have mentally ill people living on the streets, unable to help themselves and refusing the help of social programs. What I saw in Portland is far worse that anything I have seen elsewhere. Very, very sad and unsafe.

    MaryJane, I don’t really have any recommendations about the coast of Oregon. Though it is beautiful, they have a,problem that needs to be solved before I will ever go back. I don’t feel safe there.

    by MaryNB — July 26, 2016

  148. I was just in Astoria, OR, last spring and felt perfectly safe there. They have a wonderful Sunday market. We had a great time.

    by Linda — July 26, 2016

  149. We visited the OR coast last year in June. While driving from the Portland airport we did observe outdoor areas where people were sleeping under bushes/trees. Along the coast there are numerous parks popular with the RV folks. Again, we saw a few people who appeared to be homeless walking along the coastal route and sleeping on beach and in campgrounds. Very sad.

    by JoannL — July 27, 2016

  150. Linda, i have never been to Astoria, but I have gone to Oregon every year once or twice a year for the past 4 years and I can tell you that the situation has grown far worse in the past year than it ever was before. Apparently, there have been new laws passed that allow people to sleep anywhere they want on public property. They are called the “sleep safe” laws”, the idea being that it is better to have people sleeping out in the open than to have them hiding in bushes, etc. These laws have apparently become a magnet and caused an influx of people who wish to live outdoors from all over the country. The situation has grown most severe and public safety is a big issue in Oregon right now.

    by MaryNB — July 27, 2016

  151. Mary Jane if you have your heart set on Oregon I don’t think I would be discouraged by talk of the homeless. The San Diego area, as you know, has it’s share of the same problem. At one time, the freeway exit I took to downtown and the world famous zoo, was Always a homeless encampment that the police had to clear out from time to time. It’s an EveryWhere problem and is worrisome when those involved have mental health and drug problems, but we can’t live in a bubble or keep waiting for the “Big Earthquake” to occur.
    Why don’t you call the 55+ communities you have in mind and find out how far they and shopping are from such a situation. Visit or talk with family or friends there. In the West, you can have a large town like Portland 20-40 miles away and still find areas that bear no resemblance to the areas with the major problems. I bet even within Portland you can find almost problem-free areas. No large city is totally over run with drugs and homeless, even NYC. You live there and you get to know what areas to avoid.
    Some times others don’t realize just how large and spread out the West and Southwest are. We visit one area, know it has a problem, and project it on the entire state. I’ve done that too. I’ve always put down Seattle because during my last visit I saw a drunk man urinating on the sidewalk, a shirtless man walking with a python around his neck, and tons of grungy homeless teens lounging on chairs in the downtown Public Market. Visiting or renting in the area always sorts it out before a major move. We usually know what and when something feels right.

    by SandySW — July 27, 2016

  152. Sandy, thanks for your thoughts…..I have lived in upstate NY, Florida, California and Portland or and there is no perfect place…lol
    I live in a retirement condo complex and they just informed us there will be another increase in our HOA,we’re currently paying $420 monthly……so can’t continue living here. Anyway, I’m looking forward to a slower pace and less stressful smaller town to move to with my husband. I just can’t decide between the ocean or the mountains…lol

    by Mary Jane — July 28, 2016

  153. You can do it, MaryJane. You have the gutsy-ness of NY, the laid-back awareness of CA and Fla. (during the winter months ), and the weird-ness of Portland in your background ! All the best In your search. You know this Blog will keep you alert to things you haven’t even thought of yet. Must be the New York crowd !

    by SandySW — July 28, 2016

  154. Hi, I’m new to this blog but since I moved to Portland last year (in my mid 70’s) to be near family, I thought I’d contribute my observations. I chose to live in a nearby suburb and have been to downtown Portland only a few times. Being a retired librarian, I consider myself a pretty good online researcher but it has turned out that I didn’t know some very important things before moving here. If I had known them, I doubt I’d have come. Homelessness is indeed a huge problem here but the reason (IMO) is the lack of affordable housing which I did not discover prior to moving. I’m convinced that many of the “homeless” are folks who cannot find housing and in fact, may have been priced out of housing (or even evicted by new owners who want to renovate then market at higher price points). From what I’ve observed, most of the homeless are just people who want to live their lives. But, the city hasn’t figured out how to provide even bathrooms for these people so they are forced to urinate in the bushes. As a general statement, it seems to me that Portland is just now realizing that it is no longer the sleepy little NW city no one paid any attention to. It’s having to play catch-up big time now that it’s been “seen.” Oddly enough, the people pouring in contribute to the problem in that they are young, highly educated, mid level professionals who want (and can pay for) the good life.
    As for being a place to retire to, I’m finding the Portland area difficult. That’s primarily because of the housing situation. Real estate is appreciating at about 12%; rents even more but wages and salaries for locals aren’t keeping up. The young professionals coming in from out of state are being paid higher salaries so can afford more & will pay it. And then there’s the traffic!!! Like LA, there’s a mid-day window when traffic on I-5 and I-205 flow normally; during rush hours it can take literally hours to go a few miles. Finally, Oregon’s tax situation is not kind. The income tax rate is one of the highest in the nation. True, there’s no sales tax but if you’re not a big spender I’m not sure that balances out the high income tax. I’m told that property taxes are high too. Many retirees choose to live across the Columbia in Washington state (no income tax) but shop in Oregon (no sales tax). They “pay” by having to deal with the bridge traffic though. The final deal breaker for me is the weather. It turns out that I need lots of sun. This area has way too much grey gloom for me to be happy. Finally, like the rest of the country, Oregon is just coming to terms with climate change. Historically, Portland summers were mild (& short) so air conditioning wasn’t necesary. Virtually no apartments have it. Mine, for example heats up to the same temperature as outside. So, today when the temp will be near 100 outside, it will also be near 100 inside!
    Just because the Portland area isn’t working for me, doesn’t mean that it is all bad. In fact, I’m still struggling to find ways to make it work for me because I have found so much to like here. Oregonians are among the friendliest people I’ve ever me & I’ve lived all over the country. Sales clerks really try to be helpful and they do it with a genuine smile. I’ve found activities that I love so that I’m busier than I’ve been in years doing things I’m passionate about. Even with traffic, desirable shopping, restaurants and services are not far away. Portland considers itself a Foodie’s town so there’s lots of innovative food, beer and wine available everywhere. Nature is never far away, people go to the coast and the moutains for the weekend. For a city it’s size, there’s lots of culture. Cavalia’s Oddeseo is playing now; the Portland Art Museum has an exhibit of contemporary fashion by Native American designers; OPB is an outstanding NPR affiliate. I do find it odd, though, that the local newspaper isn’t worth subscribing to. If you’re still reading, I’d find it hard to give a grade to the Portland area as a place for retirement because it has such highs but also such lows. As for other places in the state, personally, I’d look carefully at their economic state and where their funding for public services comes from. Many places are suffering from the loss of the timber industry & haven’t found ways to replace those jobs and tax revenues.

    by laneyhh — July 28, 2016

  155. I found a link from Portland, Oregon’s govt listing the homeless population count at 4,000. Which is about the same as Seattle from what I recall? https://www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/60643
    I doubt it is larger than in other cities, but a quick search will solve the problem for you. I live in the NW and love it. The population around Seattle is over 1 million so you can do the math. Cheers

    by Maureen — July 28, 2016

  156. For anyone considering Portland, or Oregon in general, I suggest that you go there, rent a car and drive around for a couple of weeks, as I did. Talk to the people, read the papers, and most of all see for yourselves the homeless and mental health system problem. It is a crisis by all accounts. Seeing is believing.

    by MaryNB — July 29, 2016

  157. I was in Portland many years ago, but the center city of today’s Portland sounds (from what I’ve read and researched) like it’s more suited to the under-40 set with good incomes. As to housing affordability, it seems to be going the way of San Francisco and New York City: escalating home sale and rent costs that often price the middle class out. Not to mention those with low incomes, including the homeless. Finding solutions for the homeless, especially those with mental health issues, is a challenge for governments and citizens, regardless of political persuasion.

    I do know several people who have retired to the Ashland, OR, area and like it.

    by Clyde R. — July 29, 2016

  158. Can you rate Huntsville, AL, Portland, TX, Corpus Christi, TX, and any other coastal areas in Texas/Louisiana. I’m preparing for retirement and wondering why coastal areas are not mentioned much. Just need a quaint town like Bastrop, TX close to all with lots to do. Thanks!

    by Rach — July 30, 2016

  159. Has anyone information for Medford or Ashland OR? I recall them mentioned a while back as popular place for retirees.

    by JoannL — July 30, 2016

  160. Huntsville is interesting. It is not near the coast, however.

    by Sandie — July 30, 2016

  161. Coastal Georgia..comments,pros,cons,etc.

    by Joan — July 30, 2016

  162. Rach/JoannL,

    I like Southern Oregon (compared to overcrowded SF Bay Area).
    It’s easy to get anywhere on the highways. It doesn’t take long
    to be on the coast or on a river.

    Last summer we visited Ashland, Grants Pass, Medford, Crater Lake, Bend, Eugene.

    Many people retire in So. Oregon for the weather. It’s fairly inexpensive (compared to CA)
    Grants Pass (on Rogue River is very nice). Medford is a bigger city. It’s OK.
    I really like the scenery and vibe of Bend, but it’s kind of isolated father NorthEast.
    Many like the Corvallis area, especially over Eugene.
    Downtown Eugene is nothing I would want to go back to. Areas outside of Eugene
    along the McKenzie river are very nice.

    Ashland is more expensive then the other cities (Medford, Grants Pass etc..
    Many home are on hillsides.

    Mike

    by mike — July 31, 2016

  163. My brother has lived south of Oregon near Mulino and Beavercreek for over twenty years. He says that he rarely goes into the city anymore and when we speak he talks more negative than positive about the city itself. He has 15 acres and says that in the city long ago boundaries to contain urban sprawl and once the land within the particular boundaries was built out–that was it. That is why the housing is so expensive. Many people are moving from LA because it is less expensive than California and the water issues are better. Once he is ready to retire and sell his business, he will go to the coast with his wife–she just sold a home in Nehalem. They almost bought another one in Lincoln City a few weeks ago. He feels those are the two best areas to retire. He also likes the coast that is south and closer to the California border–it is very beautiful. He does not care for the high desert in the east part of the state. He still loves the beauty of Oregon.

    by Jennifer — July 31, 2016

  164. Thanks for the the info Mike and Jennifer. Any opinions on Florence or Astoria?

    by Mary11 — August 1, 2016

  165. My granddaughter called me tonight. She is going to college at the U of OR in Eugene. She said grocery prices were so high as well as everything else in Eugene. She paid $7.25 for a pound of butter tonight. There are also thousands of college students in Eugene which makes it very crowded.

    by June — August 1, 2016

  166. Ri, the information regarding the high housing costs in Colorado and the climate were great, but I was wondering if you already live in Colorado and, with so many of us looking to retire to Colorado, why would you leave? Are the every day living costs also high; restaurants., movies, groceries,etc.?

    by Michael — August 2, 2016

  167. My husband and I are moving to Portland. He’s retired, but I’m still working as a teacher. Portland is amazing!!! It has the best of everything…great city, amazing people, food, beer, coffee, transportation and arts/crafts….rivers galore! Not to mention the best views, hiking, biking, close to the ocean…the best farmers markets in the country, if not the world!!! It’s heaven for us and for many. Yes, housing is high priced…but, we think it’s worth every penny!! Also, best donuts, wacky everything and the most amazing bookstore on the planet!!!

    by Ml — August 3, 2016

  168. MI, yes!! Finally someone who found their perfect place without worrying to Obsession about taxes, politics, homelessness, family, others’ opinions, etc. etc. You just went for it with a positive attitude, confident it’s right for you. I love it! This is the best post EVER ! Full of positivity and happiness. Wonderful !

    But for the Worry-Warts out there who can’t decide what side of a North Carolina street to retire on, she’s a teacher so I know they did their homework.

    by SandySW — August 3, 2016

  169. Sandy SW….i totally agree with you!!. We should all live in the moment, embrace your decisions and realize how fast life and time goes by. It’s our time to shine and everyone out there shouldn’t worry so much about which side of the street or their grandkids so much. Just get out there and live… Soak in life!! Smile, laugh… And always remember the poem The Road not taken… The one less traveled by… Because it will make all the difference!

    by Ml — August 4, 2016

  170. Also, people shouldn’t worry so much about the homeless in Portland… Remember these are just people like you and me that ran into some hard times… I’ve been a single mom and worried about where and how I’m going to pay my bills next month and how to keep paying for food, so I empathize and want to help. When I get to Portland, I’m going to start a crochet club to make blankets for the homeless and also, I love to bake cookies and randomly give them away and watch the joy it brings. I think we have to remember that these are our brothers and sisters… People all are one, same planet!

    by Ml — August 4, 2016

  171. MI, God bless you. Enjoy the rest of your life. You could find joy and friendship Anywhere !

    by SandySW — August 4, 2016

  172. Regarding Portland’s ‘safe sleeping’ homeless problem, the program has been ended.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/08/02/portland-ends-pilot-safe-sleeping-policy-immediately.html

    by Art Bonds — August 4, 2016

  173. SandySW, “But for the Worry-Warts out there who can’t decide what side of a North Carolina street to retire on, she’s a teacher so I know they did their homework.”

    Thumbs up! It’s easy to get sidelined by trying to answer every detail in advance. Life just isn’t like that. I too love MI’s approach. I’m sure she will make the best of whatever develops.

    by Rich — August 4, 2016

  174. This request came in from Izzy. Can anyone help:

    I grew up in Brooklyn NY (a place I can no longer afford), I am widowed and don’t have much saved. I am currently living in Savannah Ga. , a lovely place in a cute house but I really would love to live in a bigger city- where there are more things to do and events. Maybe I am a NYC kid still. I cannot work as I am my mother’s caretaker (94 y.o) and cannot put her in a home.

    I really would appreciate your input on areas to look for in housing (cheap! And willing to remodel) in a larger city and preferably not in Florida. Also I need to be able to walk to places or short cab rides as I get older I don’t want to depend on cars.

    Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I am 64 but son’t want to live in a 55+ community.

    by Admin — August 25, 2016

  175. Hey Izzy: I’m also a Brooklynite and will eventually be moving to Athens, GA. Have you been there? Because of the University of GA, there’s a lot to do. There’s also a mix of ages. Housing prices are reasonable. You should check it out.

    by Stacey — August 26, 2016

  176. Izzy
    Pittsburgh PA has a lot going on if you’re into colder weather. It has a lot of big city ammenities without the price tag. Good transportation system locally and beyond. Friendly people with a Midwest rather than east coast vibe ( and I’m on the east coast) lol. Also has PA tax benefits.

    by Florence — August 27, 2016

  177. MI! Good for you! I like Portland very much and had planned to move there. Also, what I am talking about is not people who hit a rough patch, I am talking about mentally ill or drug addicted people. I too was a single mother. I am not a worrier, but my problem is I can’t run as fast as I used to! Last time I was there,I was out on my 6 am walk and was chased up the street by a homeless man while he was screaming, “Bitch, whore”. He was obviously psychotic. I will be 65 and not used to being accosted on a daily basis. From then on, I waited until everything was open to take my walk. It was very frightening! I am sure if you were there, you could have gone into the crowd and told them to behave! Also, I lost sleep for a week because there was a group of men who set up a camp underneath the apartment window who drank and sceamed all night. I wasn’t worried, just exhausted. I hear they have ended the policy,,so I may consider an

    by MaryNB — August 27, 2016

  178. I may consider another trip to Oregon to see if the change has made the situation better.

    by MaryNB — August 27, 2016

  179. Izzy, Pittsburgh was previously on my short list of possible urban locations. My research found many of the things Florence mentioned. I eliminated it when I checked out the sunny to cloudy day info. Decided it might be a bit on gloomy side. If that is important to you, you might want to check into that more. Otherwise, if you are looking for an urban location, I encourage you to continue to check out Pittsburgh.

    by BeckyN — August 27, 2016

  180. I love Pittsburgh, and lived there for many years before being relocated away from it a few years ago. Unfortunately, I think the greatest problem with retiring to Pittsburgh (other than snow and ice, assuming that is ok with you) is finding affordable one-level real estate in a good area. Pittsburgh has had a very large price jump over the last 2-3 years. A $250K-$300K house in Allegheny County will carry taxes of $6,000 to $8,000. The majority of homes are older and likely to be in need of updating. You’ll find that they come with steps…bedrooms upstairs and garages integrated in the basement. True, ranches may come up and may be available in some of the surrounding counties. They may be 50’s ranches, with one bathroom, one garage etc. There are very few 55+ communiities, and be warned that the starter prices listed by the developers do not look anything like the models. I was told by one developer that typical buyers add $100K of “upgrades.” Finally, do your research on elder law in PA before adding it to your list if you have children. When I left two years’ ago, PA’s filial support laws made children financially responsible for their parents, including Medicare recovery if the parents were in a nursing home. While there are many pluses to Pittsburgh including availability of medical care and elder programs, a housing search would be very challenging and those real estate taxes offset the income taxes in other states.

    by Kate — August 28, 2016

  181. That Eastern feel is relative and a state of mind. Here’s a cute story. I recently underwent some minor surgery in Albuquerque, NM and the anesthesiologist was a young Doctor wearing an Ohio State surgical cap. Since I had lived in Ohio for 12 years and was an Ohio State fan, I remarked that he had come a long way to put me to sleep. He made an indistinguishable remark about the East and the nurse reminded him that Ohio was in the Mid -West. He remarked ” Look where we are (New Mexico). Even Oklahoma is the East from here !!”

    I also vote for Pittsburgh. It’s close enough to visit Brooklyn friends and family. It has my second vote for retirement. First is Sacramento. Many good college memories in the Pitt area. It and Cranberry Twp., ( a suburb of Pitt) are number one for my Spouse. We love the Museums, the restaurants, the people, and the medical care. House-wise we found Kate’s statements to be absolutely true. I want to be close to the main heart facility ( downtown). We can only find older, in-need-of- repair, pricey, over-taxed homes or condos close to that area. We found a branch of PCMC hospital in Passavant (Cranberry) but major surgery would be downtown. For now, we just visit each Fall.

    by SandySW — August 28, 2016

  182. SandySW
    Can you share why Sacremento is so high on your list? Thanks

    by Florence — August 29, 2016

  183. Florence, I love Sacramento for its historic feel, the brick offices and homes downtown, the UC Davis medical system is highly rated by US News and me, it’s closeness to the old CA gold rush country and San Francisco, the Sacramento River runs through it, etc . For CA, you can still buy a house under 300K, maybe not right downtown unless it’s a condo. There are a few relatively new 55+ Communities close by under 300K and there are Senior and regular apartments between $1000-1500 month. The one thing I haven’t experienced in the winter is the fog. Judging from some traffic reports and accidents I have heard about, it can be brutal. Another Negative, according to one of the other Contributors, might be the very Liberal politics and government of the area. I don’t re-locate for politics or religion. I just vote,pray,and treat all the best I can;but if that is a major issue, some have chosen to leave the state because of it.

    CA property taxes are 1.25% of the purchase price and rise a reasonable amount annually. This is basically what we pay in NM and we get better services, such as roads, in CA. Taxes on the So CA condo we purchased in 2010 for 198K are about $2500 a year. I have never felt an earthquake in the Sacramento area but I have only been there for brief vacations. My Ohio-PA upbringing taught me to fear earthquakes, but my grown-up brain tells me I fear tornadoes and hurricanes more ! I don’t find earthquakes that bad and I’m not going to miss the flowers, history, and great weather waiting for them to strike.

    That area is well worth consideration for retirement in my book. There are even some senior apartments closer to San Francisco that I would consider renting on a 6-12 month basis just to explore the area. My husband, however, has gotten CA out of his blood after 34 years and prefers Pittsburgh and our NM home with his workshop in the back yard. I am also a huge Albuquerque- SantaFe fan (I’m just a history fan) so I have no major objections to CA-NM-PA living as long as we can do it. I think we can do all 3 for the cost of year-round property taxes and utilities in PA. You can tell me if I’m wrong.

    .

    by SandySW — August 29, 2016

  184. I forgot to mention that the condo is now valued at approximately $300,000 and the taxes are $2500 per year.

    by SandySW — August 29, 2016

  185. SandySW
    In Montgomery County, in the Philadelphia suburbs, the taxes on a $299,000 condo are $6,000. I hear the taxes in the Pittsburgh area are historically high. I would look on a real estate website to check on taxes in the area you’re interested in. We’ve been running the AC 24/7 this summer and the electric bill has been reasonable.
    Hope this helps

    by Florence — August 30, 2016

  186. Florence, I know those PA property and school taxes are high. Especially in the larger cities with many services. My NM prop taxes are about the same as CA for a house rather than condo. That 5K total on both of them always seems the same or less than the Pitt area on a $300K anything. Our utilities are about $200-250 a month in total on both properties . The air and heat are seldom used in CA and NM ( a 75 year old home) is cooled by a reasonable evaporative cooler. Highest heating bill there was about $80 in the winter, $50 water in summer, and $ 40 electric. I think PA would be higher for utilities also. Both are single story and 1080-1450 square feet so we have already downsized. Unless my husband’s heart wins out, we will probably stay put until we HAVE to choose between the two present areas – or unless our Fall visits to PA win us over. Are you in the Philadelphia area or further East? Amish country also is a favorite of ours.

    by SandySW — August 30, 2016

  187. SandySW: You bring up a good point on PA real estate taxes…when doing research, remember that in PA you don’t have just one real estate tax bill. It’s important to know whether a disclosure is for being given the total taxes payable, or only a portion of them. I was charged with three real estate tax bills, all payable at different times during the year: The school taxes were the biggest bite, at over $5K per year. Allegheny County was next, at about $1.5K, and the balance was the local township’s real estate tax. Whew. It’s also important to check whether a sales price would be higher than the assessment. Historically many locations have not conducted assessments regularly, so neighbors could pay dramatically different taxes on equivalent properties. People who bought houses that had not been assessed correctly were sometimes unpleasantly surprised when they got their first tax bill based on sales price. On the positive side, I didn’t think utilities were unreasonable. My gas budget bill for a 3,000 sq. ft. house was about $220/mo, and I used gas fireplaces and kept the house toasty warm. Electric budget bill was around $210/mo., and that’s with several kids at home who kept the tvs and computers humming at all hours.

    by Kate — August 31, 2016

  188. Kate brings up some good points. Most tax info listed is for (in most cases) county and local school taxes but it never hurts to check. Property around here Montgomery County. Local township tax is minimal. Housing is not typically reassessed at purchase, as in some locations, but it is periodically, and your taxes will go up. I’m surprised to hear you don’t need AC in Sacremento. I thought it got there in the summer. You’ll need the AC for PA summers. My husband used to work outside of Lancaster. Lititz is sweet little town but again has high real estate taxes.

    by Florence — August 31, 2016

  189. Thanks so much for all the helpful info. Just as I remember, I like PA people ! Florence, I’m north of San Diego. We seldom use AC but Sacramento does during the warmer times. I’ll check out Lilitz. I remember seeing the name last time we were there. I don’t mind paying those taxes if the services are good, but 6K+ really takes a bite out of the budget.

    by SandySW — August 31, 2016

  190. Hello. To the North Carolinians out there – I’d like input about Charlotte vs. Greensboro. I think I want to focus on those two cities due to good public transit (bus) systems, low costs of living, medical facilities, lots to do, etc. Maybe I should consider Charlotte suburbs?

    by Amy — September 4, 2016

  191. Amy: Responding to you from the Raleigh, NC area… One of my perceptions of Greensboro is from driving through it on I-40. Traffic flow there is VERY heavy causing some tense driving moments. On a happier note: There is a small commuter airport there that might be a plus for you. Also, Greensboro is located closer to the fabulous NC coast so if you’re a beach and seafood person, getting to the coast will be much quicker than from Charlotte – a direct drive on I-40 East to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach – and beyond! Also, you will have good access to the High Point and Hickory areas where the infamous furniture stores are located. Just wait until you have your first adventure at Furnitureland! Greensboro is also located quite central in the state so you can go off in any direction with relative ease. Charlotte is attractive because of the areas around Lake Norman…, desirable suburbs. What I like about Charlotte is the proximity to the Yadkin Valley vineyard area – straight north on I-77 – and there are some very nice wines being produced here in NC! – especially at the wineries located close to the Blue Ridge range (think elevation – always good for more intense aroma/flavor). A day spent in the Yadkin Valley, winery-hopping and wine tasting, is a delight! And, FYI – the Yadkin Valley is also very accessible from Greensboro! Back to Charlotte – Charlotte also has good proximity to Asheville which is simply a very awesome place to visit – the pub and restaurant scene is amazing – and the BoHo atmosphere is fun. Plus the FABULOUS Vanderbilt estate is right there! Always a pleasant place to visit but especially during the December holiday season when the estate tours are done in candlelight. And not to forget the Vanderbilt Village located just below the estate with it’s plethora of boutiques for interesting browsing and shopping. The lovely and historic Grove Park Inn is also located in Asheville. The mountain views from the veranda are gorgeous and at Christmastime, the GPI is the scene of a most fabulous Gingerbread House. display. From Charlotte, it’s an easy drive into South Carolina and all that state has to offer. But also, from Charlotte, you can get to the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee with ease. Good Luck with your search!

    by Linda — September 5, 2016

  192. Linda: Thanks so much for your input. I just came back from visiting Myrtle B each, which I loved, but I hear the bus system is terrible if you’re not on the coast. I’ll visit North Carolina (I live in New YORK) for my next vacation. I forgot to ask about New Bern. Do you have any comments about New Bern?

    by Amy — September 6, 2016

  193. Amy, I live between Raleigh and Greensboro though Raleigh is our major city for services. It you are going to be driving, I don’t know if either Greensboro or Charlotte is the place to be on the interstates at rush hour! But don’t even think New York when you consider that — there is just no comparison at all from a traffic aspect. And when you learn the city, you can get around it if you avoid downtown which is relatively small in NY terms.

    Charlotte is a major business/banking hub in the South. Both cities have accessible international airports, but are not hubs for the majors. Greensboro is a more regionally oriented city but is also in one of the major business/industrial hubs in NC. Those are Charlotte (big sprawling), the Triad (Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem) and the Research Triangle Park (RTP — Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). All have excellent interstate access, but the Triad and RTP consist of smaller cities. University access is outstanding in all those areas.

    New Bern is a small city NEAR the coast. It provides easy access to numerous very nice beaches, but access to anything else is a lot more limited. It’s a very nice place to visit/vacation, but you will want to travel there and other local areas nearby (such as Beaufort) before deciding on where to settle. BTW, that’s Bo-fort, NC, not Bu-fort, SC.

    Coming from the City, Charlotte may be a little more natural to you. But be prepared for heat. It is on the extended coastal plain, flat but no breezes. Greensboro is farther north and in the Piedmont (think hills). I live in an area similar to the Greensboro environs (but out in the country), and Greensboro would be my preference. (In my early years, I had a job offer in Greensboro at the same time I had one from IBM. I chose IBM because of the sheer technology at that time. No regrets, IBM was a good choice for me, but I also wonder how life might have been different had I chosen the less frantic pace of Greensboro. That may be a way to look at the differences in the cities.)

    by Rich — September 6, 2016

  194. Thanks Rich. My gut tells me that Greensboro is more for me. I appreciate your input.

    by Amy — September 6, 2016

  195. Currently living in the Charlotte suburbs, and the traffic is horrendous. I’ve lived in NYC and the NYC area too, and traffic in Charlotte can be comparable (takes me more than 1-1/2 hours to go about 25 miles in rush hour, assuming no accidents that stop everything.). It can even take me more than 1/2 hr to get to a Walmart that is only 8 miles away on Saturday morning, thanks to traffic. You do get used to it, but plan on needing an annual brake job. Or maybe the frequent brake jobs are because of my driving LOL.

    You can choose to live South of Charlotte for lower real estate and gas taxes. Both states have a similar property tax on cars (a few hundred dollars), but South Carolina doesn’t have the cost of an annual car inspection.

    Two things I prefer about Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh newspapers are much, much better than the skimpy Charlotte newspaper. Pittsburgh also has a much older population, and more activities for older persons (elder programs such as free movies and lectures, Access bus transportation). Two things I prefer about Charlotte: I’m happy not to have to deal with Pittsburgh’s dangerous snow and ice in the winter, and the cost of living – including nicer homes — is definitely lower here.

    by Kate — September 7, 2016

  196. Amy, Charlotte is a major hub for American Airlines.

    by Tessa — September 7, 2016

  197. Amy: Linda here again. Speaking from my own location: Have you considered Raleigh and the surrounding area as your go-to retirement location? Raleigh is definitely a “metro” area – with all the bells and whistles (and, yes, traffic!). Good hospitals, public transportation, a GOOD airport with many direct flights (including to Paris, France!!!), cultural venues, a plethora of fine restaurants and the nearest beach is only a 2.5 hours drive to the east. With UNC, NCSU, and Duke all within a 25-mile radius, the area has a strong and diverse environment. The nearby towns of Cary, Apex and Holly Springs are lovely. Apex was recently named as one of the USA’s “best places to live”. Cary has earned its true identity – it is considered to be the “Containment Area for Relocated Yankees” – LOL! There’s definitely a southeastern overtone here but all of the Yanks feel very comfortable here! The weather is moderate. Winter is very short-lived – some days in the teens and an occasional flurry – and an even more occasional ice storm. Spring is breezy and blossomy – and lasts for multiple months. Summers are HOT and HUMID and lasts longer than my Vermont-self likes. But, finally, fall arrives, and several months are sunny, cool, and delightful. Perhaps this area is one for your to consider?

    by Linda — September 8, 2016

  198. Thanks again everyone for your input. Linda, the reasons I’m not considering Holly Springs, Apex, and Raleigh are due to their poor Cost of Livimg ratings (Holly Springs got a D+ , Apex got a D+,and Raleigh got a C), and Raleigh got a C for a crime rating. These ratings are from Areavibe. While Greensboro’s ratings were A+ for COL and D for crime, there are always safer neighborhoods to move to as well as suburbs of Greensboro like Jamestown and Gibsonville, whose ratings for crime are A+ and A. Does anyone live in Greensboro and have input on the neighborhoods?

    by Amy — September 8, 2016

  199. Tessa, thanks for correcting my error about Charlotte not being an airline hub for a major. As of Oct. 2015, American did establish a hub in Charlotte — the second largest in the US after Dallas/Ft Worth.

    by Rich — September 8, 2016

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