Can a Yankee find Retirement Happiness in the South?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

You might be the kind of person who wants to retire somewhere warm. You’ve identified some states where the climate is a lot better than where you are now, and where outdoor recreation is possible12 months of the year. You’ve also done your research and have chosen a state that that is tax-friendly. Chances are, the states that meet those criteria are in the South. And that probably gives rise to other questions.

Even if you have never spent any significant time in the South, you probably have an image of what life might be like be like there. Without the benefit of experience, however, that image is probably off the mark. In this article we will attempt to answer some questions to help you become better informed: Will the people in your new community be friendly? Will you, a Yankee, fit into the social and cultural ecosystem of your new southern home? Will you be able to contribute your time and talents to your new community in the way you expect to? Will you be comfortable with the political situation and attitudes? And how about the food?

Our apologies in advance if this article offends anyone. The opinions given here are personal, undoubtedly biased by a native northeasterner who has only spent a little more than 2 years of his life in the South. Our attempt to answer the question obviously reflects a northern point of view. The corollary to this question is clear too: a southerner moving to the north should also be concerned about experiencing social and cultural issues in their new adopted region.

Regional Differences Magnified –Fairly or not
Sue Cerulean, a transplanted New Jersey native who has spent her adult life in north Florida, makes a great point about the kind of differences a Yankee will find in the South. She observes that… “the differences a northern transplant is likely to notice in the South are more of a rural vs. urban issue than they are northern vs. southern”. We agree, and would add that socioeconomic status differences also tend to stand out – whether you are in the north or the south.

Sure, there are some physical differences. When you stray from the Interstate the landscape features piney woods and red clay soil. When it comes to differences between people, the most obvious clue comes when we open our mouths. Different accents provide an obvious reminder of regional identity, which can create a barrier to mutual understanding and trust. The fact that newcomers stand apart from locals only compounds the social and cultural differences. Human groups usually prefer socializing with their own kind – in Savannah or Saint Louis – which explains why people who move to a new town might feel unwelcome.

What do you bring to the party?
Part of a successful transition to any new town has to start with you. What are you expecting in your new community, and what are you bringing to the party? If you want to be part of the community and are willing to get involved in working or volunteer activities, chances are you will soon feel a part of things. But if you want to do your own thing, you might feel like an outsider. Likewise, if you appreciate new cultural experiences, your transition will be easier no matter where you retire. On the other hand if you prefer to socialize with the kind of people you already know, then you should probably investigate an active adult community and stay away from living in a town or city.

Politics and Religion. Chances are your new southern home might be in a state that is more conservative than where you are now. In the 2010 mid-term election we just saw that the new South is trending more Republican among white voters, and Democratic among African-Americans. In small towns you will probably find that attitudes toward homosexuality might be less welcoming in the South. The southern brand of religion is a generally bit more conservative than its northern counterpart, although that is certainly not universally true.

Food. The good news is that Southern cooking is usually at a pretty high level. The typical small town restaurant puts a hearty meal on the table. With plenty of butter and bacon as ingredients, it might not always be the healthiest, but it will be tasty. Barbecue, fried chicken and gravy, and hush puppies are foods your editor can’t wait to experience South of the Mason-Dixon Line. And that is not to say that there aren’t great restaurants offering every kind of cuisine.

Deep South vs. Mid-South. In our opinion certain states are more “Southern” than others. Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia have a stronger Southern culture and feel, with exceptions guaranteed within those states. The houses don’t look the same, as bungalows and ranch homes replace salt boxes and northern frame styles. Like small towns in other areas of the country, zoning laws are not as restrictive as in affluent northeastern towns. Trash along the highways does seem to be a Southern scourge. Statues of Confederate war heroes on the town “square” (the “green” to many Yankees) will remind you of where you are. In the Deep South the differences are more extreme because the culture is stronger.

The Carolinas. Particularly near the coasts and in the larger cities, retirement in the Carolinas may offer more of a neutral living experience. A steady stream of transplants from across the country contributes to that. For a sophisticated, intellectually active environment, you might consider the dynamic Research Triangle area of Raleigh-Durham. Even the most jaded New Yorker could find adequate stimulation there. In popular retirement towns like Mt. Airy, Asheville, Greenville (either SC or NC), or Pinehurst, the person you bump into at the Piggly Wiggly is just as likely to be from Harrisburg as a town in North Carolina. In parts of the Carolinas without a heritage of outside immigration, however, you might be in for a cultural jolt. The locals are undoubtedly friendly, but it might take them awhile to get used to your Yankee ways – and vice versa!

Mid-Southern. Mid-Southern states like Tennessee and Kentucky can offer a mixed experience for retiring northerners. Nashville, Chattanooga, or Knoxville offer a pleasant small city experience, with tons of culture and a college town environment. Retiring to an area like Paris, TN, which attracts retirees from a wide area, will tend to minimize other differences. In a small town with few retirees coming in from other states, you might not feel at home for a long time – unless you make the effort to join in on community activities.

Florida. The Sunshine State is, for the most part, a cultural melting pot. Fort Myers, for example, is the quintessential American suburb, with sprawl, busy highways, and big box stores by the gross. Living there requires almost no cultural adjustment, no matter what part of the country you are coming from. Old Florida, to be found more in the western and central parts of the state, still retains some of its old Southern charm and differences. Personally, we find this charm very appealing – harkening back to another, kinder and slower era. But could we as a Yankee enjoy living in a regular neighborhood in a small town like Chiefland – probably not. But in a southern-looking neighborhood in cosmopolitan Tallahassee, definitely.

Cities in the South: The South has its fair share of bustling cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tampa, Nashville, and Charlotte. There are mid-sized cities like the college towns of Athens, GA and Tallahassee, FL. Living in one of those cities offers an experience not much different than living in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago – or Ann Arbor, MI. Either way you will be living in a city where many of the residents are from somewhere else and the cultural opportunities ample.

Where You Live – Active Adult Community vs. In-Town
The great leveler in regional differences is the active adult community or other big development. Home builders like Pulte, Del Webb, Centex, Toll Brothers, Jensen, Daniel Homes, and others have been on a building boom from New Bern to Bluffton to Huntsville and parts beyond. Thanks to the south’s attractive climate, favorable tax structure, and plentiful and cheap land, retirees from all parts of the country and Canada are moving south to these new communities. Some are near metropolitan areas, such as the National Village at Grand National is to Birmingham or Fairhope is to Mobile. Others are further afield, built near recreational areas like Lake Keowee or Amelia Island. Even more are in the hinterlands, far from anything, or near a very small town.

Living in one of these developments tends to diminish and soften the regional differences you might expect to see by moving to the South. That’s because you will be living in a self-contained environment which you rarely leave. Sure you will go to town for most shopping and medical needs, but your social infrastructure will mostly be centered within the active community. So, even if the small towns around your enclave seem alien – you only have to drive by this world, not have it as an everyday experience.

There is the South in your mind… but there are really many Souths
There are indeed many different kinds of environments in the South. With so much diversity anyone from the north should be able find a compatible location for a happy retirement in the South. And for those who choose to live in an active adult community or development, as opposed to residing within a town or city, adjusting to living in the South is usually almost not an issue.

Recommendations to consider
If you are concerned about your ability to be a happy Yankee in a southern world, consider these recommendations and questions:
– Choose a city rather than a small town
– Go for a college town or community that is known for attracting retirees from all over the South
– Don’t move anywhere without staying in that community for an extended period of time (visit first, then rent)
– Select an active adult community if you want to live with people like yourself
– If you want to live in a town or city, make an extra effort to join in the community
– If a development that is far from a major town or resort, take that remoteness into consideration
– No matter where you move, plan to make social connections as soon as you arrive – visit churches and join one, join a club (perhaps one you are already affiliated with like the Rotary), take up a sport, take a class, be open to new people, friendships, and experiences.
– Be open-minded about your new community – imagine what a stranger might experience by moving to the town where you live now

What do you think?
What have your experiences been if you have either retired in the South, or explored different communities there? Please give everyone on this site the benefit of your experience.

For further reference:
Use the Retirement Ranger at Topretirements to help you find compatible towns and communities. Advanced Search is another convenient tool to to help expand your horizons.

Posted by John Brady on November 9th, 2010


  1. I wish I had had this website about four years ago. Moved to a small town in SC (23 miles from Myrtle Beach) from No Virginia and it has been the worst decision of my life – people are NOT friendly; am not religious so church was not an option; tried to volunteer but nobody responded to the “forms” I was requested to fill out; people have turned their back to me when they are speaking to me; was unable to find a p/t job when it was discovered I was from the North and I could just go on FOREVER!! I’ve given it four years – way too much time and now must put my house on the mkt (at a tremendous loss) and figure out where to go – so please keep supply these wonderful insights!!! I need all the help I can get – SORRY I MOVED!!!! This particular article is right on the money!!!

    by KL Soper — November 9, 2010

  2. A couple of additional comments: first – the article is correct – garbage is all over the roadsides – so much for the $1000 fine sign for this offense and second, be prepared for the TOTAL LACK OF RESPECT AND CARE that is paid toward animals – people literally throw them away – they, too, are just considered garbage down here – so be prepared to lower you standards or just don’t come – which is what I should have done if I’d known all of this, but this was to be my retirement haven and I fell in love with my home – now I must give that up and my dream.

    by KL Soper — November 9, 2010

  3. An excellent article. Your checklist of recommendations is spot on. I lived in New York up until 2008 when we moved to Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton SC. Talk about culture shock. It did take a while to get used to, but what a wonderful and exciting experience. Your experience and retirement will be what you make of it. Good Luck!

    by Margaret Fallon — November 9, 2010

  4. I recently spent 24 days traveling all about the southeastern coastal states in an effort to identify where I might like to relocate/retire. At this point I was trying to get a feel for regions more so than specific towns. I concur with the article and its findings. However, having lived in a rural town of the north during my youth, I didn’t find the cultural shock so unexpected. I think rural to rural and urban to urban will be fairly level playing fields. More pronounced to me was their laid back manner, less hyper, lesser concern with time constraints. Tomorrow will be quick enough … I look forward to shedding my self imposed stressors and incorporating that mode of lifestyle (and it costs nothing!). Thank you for this article. I look forward to more.

    by Barbara T. — November 10, 2010

  5. Sorry to read Mr. Soper’s comments. I’ve lived in the South all my life, and I suspect what he found in a very small town in Sc is largely true. I also think he made a poor decision to move to such a location. This article would have been helpful for him 23 years ago. I do believe other can report better experiences. The South is hardly a monolithic area, as this article makes clear. I would enjoy an article aimed at those of us who will be retiring in New England in another year after having lived South all my 70 years. What can I expect to find in Connecticut, Mass or Vermont?

    by Bill S. — November 10, 2010

  6. @ Bill S:
    Bill, I’m not a NE native but have spent some time there (and in the South) and some of these comments may be useful to you. As you mentioned with respect to the South, NE is also not a monolith. (Where is, huh?) But, overall, I think NE is a bit more “civilized” than other regions (including the mid-Atlantic, where I hail from). Of course, Southern manners are lacking but, then, so are much of the prejudices and narrow-mindedness(and I’m not just talking racial prejudices). Taxes are higher of course but so are services. My wife and I had considered Vermont as a possible retirement destination after skiing there for many years and loving the Vermont vibe. But spending an entire winter in NE is another experience and one you have to experience to believe. Come Spring, you might decide to point your nose to the 180 degree mark and skeedaddle (sp?). But Vermont is very much of a piece (Burlington, Montepelier, etc., notwithstanding) whereas there is great variation in CT and MA. The I95 corridor is part of the great eastern megalopolis, of course, and can be as unplatable as any small town in SC, albeit for different reasons. But, even there, there are some terrific communities. Western MA and NW CT have more of the Vermont flavor (although Vermonters would deny this, I think). Let me know if you any specific questions and I’ll try to tackle them unless we get a real New Englander to chime in. P.S. Lest I’ve come across as too critical of the South, both Ashville and Charlottesville are on our short list.

    by Glenn — November 10, 2010

  7. After living in New York and specifically on Long Island our entire lives (over 55 years), we are recent transplants to the Raleigh Durham area (Cary,NC). Rather than rent initially as we had initially considered, we decided we didn’t want the hassle and expense of two moves. Consequently,we moved into a re-sale within the Del Webb/Pulte “active adult” community called the “Carolina Preserve.” We especially are enjoying the weather and the availability of as much or as little activity as we want to get involved in. This is an added benefit of being in this kind of community, althuogh they are not for everyone. Irrespective of the community, the “Triangle” area consisting of the aforementioned towns (cities) along with the addition of Chapel Hill offers a lot of varied activities. In addition to all the colleges and universitis down here, there are also opportunities to find work in the area with Research Trinagle Park being the economic driver in the region. Although much less congested than Long Island, this is hardly the southern “boonies.” Cary (aka “Containment Area for Relocated Yankees”) didn’t earn this acronym for nothing, as I’m finding most of the people in our community to be from the Northeast. So far, after moving in August, things are just fine and we are enjoying our new environment and exploring the area. We don’t feel that we are missing that much up north except perhaps more traffic and congestion, higher costs, especially the excessive real estate taxes and lousy weather for much of the year. We seem to have plenty of the good stuff down here including all kinds of entertainment ( theaters, live theater, professional and college sports, concerts) along with abundant shopping and very good to great dining. It’s a very pretty area with all the big trees and forested areas and lakes. We have the both the mountains and the coast within reasonable traveling distance and you can still make it back to visit friends and family in NY (for example) in one day’s drive. The area has also been referred to as “trees, tees, and PhD’s. Although an over-simplification, this discription is not off the mark.

    by Artie — November 10, 2010

  8. I enjoyed the assessment and believe the author made some good suggestions. I grew up in central Mississippi, but moved to the Rocky Mountain states nearly 25 years ago. I’m retired in New Mexico. My wife and I occasionally visit old friends in Mississippi (mainly high school reunions), and we always have a great time. Yet, we also feel as if we are in a time warp when we go back to Mississippi. The old friends are strongly tied to the narrow visions we held as children. They seem very happy with who they are, and that’ great. But, it’s always a reminder that we wouldn’t fit in. We’re always amazed at the depth of their beliefs in one religion, one political party. Unlike where we have been for nearly 25 years, too many people in many communities of the South (smaller towns) want to know what religion you are, who your family is.

    Yet, there are communities in the South with transplants from all over, and I believe those communities are far more accepting of people with different views, different religions, different ideas. I also think people from the North have a much greater chance of fitting into those communities and being happy.

    Another consideration has to do with the climate. I think my wife and I would struggle with the heat and humidity that we knew as the norm when we were kids. Generally, the farther one goes into the deep south, the longer period of the year one will experience with no breaks from the oppressive heat and humidity.

    by mrgoodwx — November 10, 2010

  9. I found while living in various places in North Carolina, that if one offers their time and talents to the community, while at the same time not constantly telling people about how it was done in the community one moved from,that one will find a niche in the community.

    I now live in Mt. Airy, NC (11,000 Est. Pop),a community that welcomes retirees and persons seeking a better quality of life style for the experience and talents they bring to the community. Mt. Airy has all the facilities and services that make life enjoyable, as well as a variety of quality education opportunities, and a surprisingly large cultural and entertainment offering. A caring and friendly attitude towards newcomers, as well as long time residents, makes the community especially attractive for retirement.

    by Peter F. Lydens — November 10, 2010

  10. We moved from Rhode Island to the Chattanooga, TN area about 4 years ago as a work transfer. There were a lot of things to consider and we have tried to like it but we will certainly not retire here. Cannot wait to go back north! KL Soper is right, attitudes toward education, civic pride, football, animals, recycling and the fact that “its all good” just are not the same as what we’ve been used to. That said, we have made some friends (mostly others from northern states – some of whom have moved back) and we have tried to make it home.

    There are some bright spots. I would like to recommend Asheville, NC, Wilmington, NC and Athens, GA as some places to consider. With the university in Athens, there are always lots of people from other parts of the country as well as other parts of the world not to mention all the programs open to the public on the campus. Wilmington is very clean and genteel and I have always felt comfortable there. Asheville has a LOT of creative energy and they are very aware of the outside world. Do yourselves a favor and spend at least one extended vacation in the south BEFORE you buy!

    by H E Flaherty — November 10, 2010

  11. Wow. This is an interesting article and very thoughtful comments. I am a 25 year resident of Connecticut but I have lived in the Midwest, West and South for periods of a few years during my life. I grew up in Illinois, moved to South Carolina in my early twenties and lived in Washington State in my thirties. I’m sure there are things that change with time but some things remain fairly constant. I have also had the opportunity to travel and visit relatives in the Midwest, West, Southwest and Florida over the years. As I think about retirement the issue of fitting in has actually been at the top of my list. I will tell you that my impressions upon moving to Connecticut, where I have no family, were that the majority of people are ‘from here’ or New England with family near by. This can be challenging for a newcomer. I also found that as a ‘society’ people seemed less friendly and brusquer than I experienced in the Midwest. But when I would meet people one-on-one this did not seem the case.

    I do believe that many of the differences noted in this article are real and as a naïve 20 something who hadn’t even lived in New England yet, I noticed these cultural differences quite clearly. I do think, as has been noted that you will find differences, as anywhere, between rural settings and large cities. This is the same way in Illinois. I don’t think the ‘big city’ New Englanders would feel that much out of place in Chicago for example. I also think that Florida is really a different environment because of the diversity that has come from outside of Florida, both with retirees and immigrants. It is of course dangerous to generalize about any State but when looking at the South I think this is particularly true about Florida.

    There are many, many things to say but regardless of where you are thinking of going it is a great idea to go and stay for a while. And from a climate perspective be sure that part of that time is during the ‘worst’ time of the year. This brings up a point I think people should ponder. If you are thinking of moving to a warmer climate keep in mind that in some of these places the summers can be brutal. You may dream of escaping the winter in New England now but you may be dreaming of escaping the summer in another area later.

    Happy dreaming.

    by Mejask — November 10, 2010

  12. We moved from MD to Wake Forest NC in ’96, then to ATL in ’98 due to a job
    transfer, then back again, north of Wake Forest in ’06. It has NEVER felt like home. When one moves south for the warmer weather…you must understand that you lose summer. To say the summers are brutal is an understatement. Oct. and Nov. are wonderful, the winters are cold…spring is the first week of April, then summer begins !! I’ve heard others say that the job market is tuff because the area is over educated. We hope to move soon…not sure where but no further south than VA…and may move toward the midwest. Southerners are very family oriented which is nice,unless you don’t have family here. On the other hand, I’ve heard that if you’re a southerner, moving to N.E. , you will NEVER be “one of them.” We’re going back to 4 distinct seasons, rather than the endless summer !!!

    by Betsy — November 10, 2010

  13. This is an interesting discussion. I am from New York City, moved to Minneapolis and lived there for 20 years and we retired in Tucson AZ. Love this area a lot but will now be relocating to Wilmington, NC to be near son who married a NC gal. Here we live in an active over 55 situation and it is with most replanted northerners. A different culture here but welcoming. Well, when I sell the lovely casita, that is. Anyway my family wants me closer. I also have a home in Brainerd, MN for the summers so will only winter in Wilmington, NC. Great thoughts expressed that I had not considered.

    by Mary Veronica — November 10, 2010

  14. I grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles at age 19. That was culture shock. I have also lived in CO twice. I lived in Charlotte for 3 years. It was absolutely beautiful. I found myself seeking out transplants because the locals always asked what church I belonged to and if didn’t identify one I laid myself open for a conversion conversation. As an atheist it was tuff. I did love the laid back lifestyle and despite growing up in the sweltering heat of Brooklyn, the summers were oppressive. I’ve been gone 11 years ago but kept my acct. She’s a PA transplant!

    by Leslie — November 10, 2010

  15. I, too, wish this I had access to such an article 2 years ago before retiring to the south. My husband and I had lived in Michigan and Wisc all our lives. We decided to move to East Tenn, about 30 miles outside of Knoxville. We like living in a rural area and thought it would be a nice transition. We are very friendly and expected the same from our community but have not found that we are welcomed at all. I have been so upset and although we love the beauty of the surroundings we have decided that this has been a horrible mistake. The couple of people we do speak with are very cordial because they are neighbors but that is as close as it gets. Our son moved to Charlotte NC about the same time we moved and his transition has been much more positive. We have decided that NC is much more accepting of us Yankees. And if it were for the snow we would be back in the Midwest in a heartbeat where they accept people for who they are not because they speak differently. The points that were made in this article are the same things that we have found to be true.
    Great article.

    by Peggy G — November 10, 2010

  16. I was raised in rural NYS and then moved to VA after college – we love it here. However, summer is way too hot. Since my wife is a teacher and I do consulting, we enjoy VA all year and then spend 6 weeks in an RV in Amish country of western NY. Consider that approach to get the best of both worlds.

    by NY2VA — November 11, 2010

  17. My question is why do people in the south throw trash on the highways? Is this a socio-economic thing? Do lawyers or doctors throw trash out of their car windows?

    by cdimauro — November 11, 2010

  18. I am from the south, born and raised in the Atlanta area. All comments are true; religion is not a private issue. I teach at a college and they allow the bibles to be handed out! I am looking to retire in another part of the US as I am growing tired of the narrow mindedness of its educational system, politics and continued racism. The south has not progressed as it should. I personally think it has a long way to go. I have lived in other areas for a short while, even Europe and find the South a good ole boy system.This article is on the mark.

    by atleducator — November 12, 2010

  19. I can speak only from our experience. Our daughter lives in Charlotte, they are young and building a family there and love it. We are from PA, retired to the beautiful state of Delaware on the southern coastal beach area. LOVE IT!!Delaware has sooo many things to see and do. Low Low taxes, no sales tax and retirement income not taxed for the first $12,000! It’s mild climate in the winters, except for an occasional snow fall, warm springs, summers and long Fall’s make Southern Delaware I think the perfect place to retire to. Many Many people are coming here to retire from the NE and even up from the South. It’s very deverse and religions of all kinds. Beautiful developments being built from Milford to Bethany Beach that are affordable. Outlet shopping in Rehoboth Beach, boardwalks, and fantastic dining,(ITS CALLED THE CULINARY COAST),beautiful town of Lewes has a harbor and ocean beach, numerous festivals all year long, make this area perfect for retires. Come visit and you will fall in love with Coastal Southern Delaware. 😎

    by Coastal Lady — November 13, 2010

  20. The Villages retirement community in Florida might seem like a perfect place to retire for a “Yankee”. But only if you are white, middle/upper class, straight, and very politically and socially conservative. I am not sure about the religion factor, but pretty sure that once again, a conservative type is de rigeur!
    Too bad, as there are so many wonderful features there to enjoy.

    by Marge — November 18, 2010

  21. Does anyone have experience with Hot Springs Village in AR? We have looked at homes there and are considering it as a retirement option, with the Gulf Coast of FL as another option. Coming from metropolitan Minnesota, will we be ostracized as Yankees? We are not religious and don’t want to be uncomfortable because of it. Thanks.

    by Mary W — November 21, 2010

  22. hello im an armywife … i am orginally from pittsburgh pa butwe lived everywhere my husband have been stationed in witchita falls texas and that took along time to fit in …it was slow paced by northern standards the people didnt really start talking to me until i was there at least an year but after that it was wonderful experience .then we moved to watertown upstate ny …i found it to be rude and just unbareable but after a yr of that i found it to be refreahing and got the ny sence of humor and tude. then we moved to killeen tx and there were alot of mexicans and they were friendly and fun and the hospitality was awesome …now we are stationed in ft leonard wood missouri and it is back woods really rual but the people here are kind and trusting instint friends … we are going to retire in florida ft myers where it s very coultural

    by sandy — December 6, 2010

  23. I lived in the South, Atlanta, and in New England, Stamford CT.
    In both places I met great people, and people not so great (e.g. the kind of people they feel they own the land and they can decide who stays or goes). I will most likely retire in Italy, aside the beauty of the land, people are very welcoming and accepting toward new comers. That’s civilization.

    by Paula — May 31, 2014

  24. So glad to see this subject come up. I grew up in California and lived in several areas there… along with areas in Oregon. I moved to Arkansas for my now ex…I lived in fort smith and Fayetteville (college town) for around 20 years. Prior to moving to the south I thought the south the people would be warm and friendly and was open to making changes and trying to be part of the culture. I had no idea what I was getting into and how deep the cultural changes would be. My experience was that I would never really fit it. I wasn’t raised there, I did not have family there, I did not attend the type of church/religion that was prevalent there, and did not carry with me all of the premises

    by Iwashere — June 1, 2014

  25. Hit submit button by mistake… And did not carry with me all of the PREJUDICES for so many things … Politics, religion, where your from, who your family is, if you hunt, if you like football, what race you are ….and the list goes on.

    When I see all of the lists of best places to retire … Many are in the south as stated, you have to wonder why… I know why. Sure it’s cheaper.

    I recently moved after doing a lot of research, I moved to St Louis. It’s in the middle, and economically affordable. There is culture, diversity, and so many things to do.


    by Iwashere — June 1, 2014

  26. Think twice about moving to a small town in New England – unless you were born here and still have family “history” in town, you will always be from “away” and never fully assimilated into the community. The cities are more of a melting pot but steer clear of rural areas or small towns. It sound like this is true in many other areas of the country as well! For us, we ARE going to retire in the South, in a gated community where folks are from all over the country and just want to enjoy their retirement years without the political or religious bantering that goes on in small towns. For me, I plan to garden, exercise, kayak on the beautiful tidal inlets, and enjoy the warm weather and new neighbors! Leaving the cold weather, high cost of living, and opinionated locals behind!

    by SandyZ — June 1, 2014

  27. Paula – I’m replanted in Southern VA from Greenwich CT. While I love it here and it is WAY more affordable, I do miss Hard Rolls from Cassone’s bakery and a few other northern delicacies. 😛

    by Liz — June 1, 2014

  28. I moved to the south in 90’s with husband and 2 children teen yrs for I thought a better quality of life, it was hell. it is correct the culture difference even today. Unfortunately after living 12 yrs in south moved back to LI after my husband past my children stayed. I have been back on LI now 14 yrs and retired go quite often to the NC to visit my children that are divorce now, n not to mention to southerners and that culture did not work together. I have been contemplating to go back because my kids are there and like sun city Carolina lakes but once you come out of there your back in the south. It has been a very very hard decision to move back. The food, the Yankee thing will never go away the mentality, the driving, the property tax on cars, service is very expensive (salons, car wash, yoga n supermarket are overpriced. the Malls are beautiful but Macy the quality of clothes are leftovers that no one buys in the North. Little city that is dead after 5pm and weekends only the young all over city and all there is is drinking. So big decision to make love my kids but I live now where there is water city mountains all but with my type of people that if you say a bad word you don’t get ridicule ..make sure you know what your doing do homework first moving to south if your a non social person its for you..

    by jean — June 2, 2014

  29. oops!!! I would do anything to have my children back on LI ny… where they grew up. where there is life family that stay together.. where teenagers have things to do and not get bored like in NC. Jobs all over I live in a very desirable active community now that keeps going up in value every yr 1.9% and a 15 yr waiting list why wud I move! I miss my kids …but yoga. Salons, gyms food are cheaper than NC..

    by jean — June 2, 2014

  30. What is Li?
    It is interesting to hear people’s perspectives. I spent the first 30 years of my life in Missouri. Next 34 in Wisconsin. Chose Texas for retirement. Wisconsin has a drinking culture. I find people in Texas to be polite and much more accepting of cultural diversity. Gas is 40 cents a gallon cheaper and I adore the fresh fruits and veggies that are a reasonable price.

    by Susan — June 2, 2014

  31. Having lived in 10 different states during my husband’s Army career the best advice I can offer is embrace the differences! Learn about the culture in your new home and don’t expect things to be like they were “back home”. We moved from MI to SC last June and are loving our new home and life! We have made lots of new friends in our 55+ community which has people from all over. We have also spent time exploring our new state and trying different foods. A plus for us is our daughter moved down with us and now lives 40 minutes away. Our son and his family will be moving to NC this summer so we will be able to see them often. Life is too short not to embrace the good things! Remember that different is just different, not right or wrong.

    by Kathy — June 2, 2014

  32. I would like to hear from folks who like some affordable urban areas in the south that enjoy them.

    I agree with the article and some posters that it is more a question of urban vs rural and to some degree how mobile the population (migration) is. I grew up in north NJ and my got undergraduate degree in Minneapolis. Moved back to north NJ and worked in Manhattan. Moved to Detroit and Chicagoland area for jobs…all very urban. But even in NJ, you did not “own” a house until you moved…then it the Smith’s house and doesn’t become the Jones’ house until the Jones move!

    Then to NH (also job)…beautiful, but too rural for me and I lived near Dartmouth! Moved to Birmingham AL for a graduate degree and surprise, loved it. Very cosmopolitan…but I was not that comfortable with the rest of AL, outside of the B’ham area. On to Chapel Hill (loved it)…then Wilmington NC (did not find folks friendly).
    Now living in Fredericksburg VA…half way between DC and Richmond, VA. Moved here for job and just retired and deciding where to move to for retirement. I know that most small towns are not for me, but do like some small towns that are close to larger cities. I will probably move to and explore the Raleigh/Durham area and from that base also make trips to Greenville, SC and Charlotte and a few other areas.

    Just like we cannot broad brush a state, we sure cannot broad brush a region or even rural vs urban. I had to support myself so I had to move for jobs…it has been an interesting ride and now where? Enjoy these blogs while I try to decide.

    by Elaine — June 2, 2014

  33. Loved these posts – very helpful. Liz: I sympathize on the hard rolls. I moved to Western PA from CT. The first time I asked a bakery for hard rolls, the clerk looked at me blankly and then asked if I wanted stale bread! Now I’m moving to NC (or SC over the border) for work. My kids will be in PA, so I don’t know if this will be temporary or is my retirement destination. I definitely will look at Delaware though, after Coastal Lady’s posting. Well, this will be another adventure as Kathy says. I might end up missing pirogi and Western PA foods as much as I missed CT hard rolls.

    by Sharon — June 2, 2014

  34. Susan, I would guess that LI is Long Island.

    by Mike — June 2, 2014

  35. Great article….and soooo true!! Born and raised in NY state….NOT the city…..beautiful western NY and decided to get away from winter….moved to FL….BIG mistake…..then moved to central NC ……thinking it would be better…….it’s not…..or should I say most of it is not! The Raleigh-Durham-Cary area is excellent for anyone wanting to move to NC from the North…and the Asheville area is too, but don’t get too far out into the small towns surrounding Asheville…..they don’t like Yankees! I wish, 1000 times a day, that I would have never left the North. I was younger and naive and just did not realize that the war is not over in the South and that the cultural differences would be so dramatic. Now that I have lived here for quite awhile, I still wish I could get back there. Anywhere from the PA state line then due north. Now, I’m afraid I can’t afford the move and so here I am. So, please, if anyone is thinking about getting out of the cold and into the unbearable heat and humidity for retirement, think very long and hard about it………find an area where a lot of other Northerners live and be prepared! There is no such thing as Southern hospitality…….just go and stay for about a month…..then go back up North………back to good food, friendly people and a great place to live!

    by Sandra — June 3, 2014

  36. As is often the case on this site, it appears anything in the west has been ignored. Guess what…mississippi is south, Louisianna is south, Arkansas is south, Texas is south, New Mexico and Arizona are South and West…and since this blog editors are Yankees, you may not know it but Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisianna all consider themselves southern states and have a very southern sensibility. I grew up in Oklahoma and have lived in Texas and many of the issues outlined in this article are true in those states as well. Racism and bigotry are alive nd well all over the south..across the country. However, they are in the north as well, it is just more well hidden. I just lived in upstate NY for 7 years and was shocked at the bigotry and racism. Sexism. It was awful. I spent most of my life in Northern California. We don’t make fun f people for sexual orientation. We serve food in restaurants promptly to people of any color. Unless you want to move to the west coast, you can expect racism and bigotry anywhere you go. that’s my experience, from living and traveling all over the country.

    by Ginger — June 3, 2014

  37. Kathy: Can you tell us which 55+ community in SC you chose & why? How long have you been there & what specifically do you like about it? Thank you for any information you are willing to share.

    by Maureen — June 3, 2014

  38. I have lived most of my 64 years in the Los Angeles metro area. I have traveled a great portion of the country for leisure and business. Also, I have been reading “Top Retirement” blogs for the past 4 years. I have come to my own personal conclusion that I would be disappointed if I were to move out of Southern California. Over the years I have seen too many people move out of Southern California only to make a quick u-turn and bee line back. Yes, California is very expensive and very crowded; but there has to be a reason 38.3 million people live here.

    by Bubbajog — June 3, 2014

  39. I moved from OH where I grew up to NM and then to VA. We live on a beautiful 14 acre piece of ground on a navigable creek and it is the perfect place for boaters, fishermen, crabbers, and other water loving people. We have been here 10 years and currently have our home on the market. It is our prayer that we will return to the southwest AZ or NM. The biggest problem I have with this area is that Virginians are in love with their ancestry. Many people I have met have had a presence in this area for 400 years. They refer to us as “Come-heres”. They tolerate us but wish we were only visiting. So do I.

    by Desertrat — June 4, 2014

  40. Wow! I really enjoyed reading every ones thoughts and opinions. My husband & I born,bread in Queens,NY married and moved to LI (yes Long Island)Where Tax’s are out of control and 90% are living pay check-paycheck. Winters are getting back to the days when I was growing up..snow storm after sonow storm, now spring..just rain and cold. Summer is nothing but hot haze days. I’m done with LI. We are nearing retirement and,have been looking in the south (NC) for sometime. We visited Cary..loved but now feel every one from NY/NJ/PA moved there and, do not want to feel like we are back on LI. We recently spent a week in Brunswick county,NC I was not loving most areas. We are looking at the South port,Boiling Springs area. Any insist would be great. Our # decision is to RENT 1st! I love the sound of Delaware…will check it out. Thanks again to all

    by Roseann — June 4, 2014

  41. In regard to what Sandra has said is so true about the south. Southern hospitality and ya’ll come back now is so untrue. I really don’t know why people think that the south and southerners are so warm and friendly. I lived in TN for 15 yrs in a very nice area s. of Nashville and the people are wonderful to your face but don’t turn your back on them. I was told that by a co-worker shortly after starting my job Unless you have “kin” or go or will go to their church your are out in the cold. The north and the mid-west have a TRUE warmth (even in the coldest winters). We thought long and hard about moving back southish to escape the winter but remembering ALL of the nasty comments about Yankees and your particular religion(I really didn’t think people did that anymore)putting up with snow is better than living 365 days with the southern attutides. So anyone considering a move to (especially tn) do a lot of research and then some more. Anyone I talked to that has had the “southern experience” will tell you the same thing. In some case, the best retirement experience is right in your own backyard.

    by JEB — June 4, 2014

  42. I have lived in western Tennessee for the past 12 years, having moved from southern Maine for my husband’s job transfer. My husband had a hard time dealing with living in a metropolitan area (Memphis) because he has never lived out of the state of Maine. I, however, have lived in Mexico City and Washington, DC (five years after college). It is a culture shock, for sure. The first time somebody asked what church we attended, I thought my husband was going to have a cow. LOL. We soon learned that if we told them we are Catholic, they would leave us alone. We have adapted to living in the south. We plan to retire to the Tampa area for eight months of the year and return to

    by Norma — June 4, 2014

  43. I find this string of comments most interesting. The editors don’t like comments on conservative versus liberal views but seem to have no problems with major bashing of the “South”. I am originally from PA but lived in Mass and Ohio before moving to NC twenty four years ago. Is the “South” different from the North? No doubt and if you want to move to the South and change it to the area you moved from, forget it. Do I find the people in NC less friendly than those in Mass? NO!!!! I find lots of people from NJ, NY and Conn moving to my area. Would I like to be their friend? No way, the superior attitude that comes with them is hard to take.

    If you are moving “South” in hopes that it will be a suburb of NYC, you are making a big mistake. Are there things I wish were different? Of course. Would I return to the North? No way. If you are not happy, move or better yet, don’t come here in the first place.

    EDITOR’s Note: Dick, you raise a good point. We have edited out some of the more “southern bashing” comments but left a few in, in the spirit of having people share their opinions/experiences. We know many people from the north are considering a retirement move to the south so any shared experiences might be useful.

    We personally find some of these comments over the top and biased. We agree with many other posters like you (and rely on you to provide a counterpoint) who recognize that there are 2 sides to every story. Every part of the country has its biases – just try blending in in an old New England town some time! Anyone who thinks the South has the market cornered on bias and two-facedness is just plain wrong. Anyway, we will be on the alert for hurtful, ignorant comments and try to remove them in the spirit of keeping this a friendly and thoughtful place for discussion. Thanks for the comment.

    by Dick — June 4, 2014

  44. Maine for the four months of summer/early fall. If Florida does not work out, we will live in east Tennessee for the eight months we are not in Maine. I DO NOT RECOMMEND west Tennessee. It has issues – namely, political and racial.

    by Norma — June 4, 2014

  45. Maureen, we live in Del Webb Charleston which is actually outside of Summerville. We have been here almost a year and have not regretted our decision. Everyone in the community itself is very friendly and there are so many activities available to keep you busy. We wanted to be close to a military base and also the ocean and we both love history so Charleston seemed like a good fit. We had done a lot of research prior to our first visit here and had planned to look at a couple of places in Florida as well. We ended up making our decision after visiting here and the Hilton Head area as it just felt right for us. For us one of the important lessons we learned in our many military moves is that “home is where the heart is”. Let me know if you have any other questions I can help with.

    by Kathy — June 4, 2014

  46. The South: when I was doing research , I read an interesting article on the definition of the variable South in research. Wish I remembered the source. Of course, it depended on the discipline you were researching (climate, ecology, industrialization, health care costs, poverty, obesity, culture etc. as well as the time period. Of course, there were multiple variables in any study.

    Three interesting examples: Southern states
    •based on succession from the union during the Civil War/War between the states (this is actually a very common;
    •below the Mason-Dixon/ Ohio River line;
    •The number of times it was named in a country song. (A favorite of mine for ranking “how southern”)

    You can also pick your favorite from this website. or or
    have fun with … Follow through to the quiz
    PS Florida is often not considered southern for certain types of research.

    by Elaine — June 4, 2014

  47. I would appreciate any insights/comments about active communities in the South, especially Florida. My finances are limited, both with regard to buying a condo and not getting hit with exorbitant HOA fees. I’m currently in Missouri in an isolated area. After my husband died, I no longer want to be out in the middle of nowhere and far from a big city. Visited a friend who lives at one of the Century Village communities in Deerfield Beach, Florida. I need a lot of activities, and especially need to be able to swim year round. I’ve lived in NY and miss deli food, so was happy to find everything I liked available in Florida. It felt like NYC South. Not sure about the heat and humidity, but I’m hoping that being more active will enable me to become healthier, lose weight, and tolerate the heat better. It seems to be important to investigate the HOA before moving to make sure you don’t get in with difficult, unreasonable people. I would be interested in any information (good/bad/ugly) about such active retirement communities. Thanks–I’ve really enjoyed your comments. Like hearing about personal experiences and perceptions.

    by Ellen — June 4, 2014

  48. Roseann: My daughter lives in Southport and loves it. It’s a lovely little town that has retained much of it’s charm because it’s out of the way. Every time I’ve spent time there, I’ve been impressed with how friendly everyone is. We are considering a move there in the not too distant future. Good Luck with your search.:mrgreen:

    by Gail — June 5, 2014

  49. When I was in the Air Force in 1974 I was stationed at Charleston AFB. The area was beautiful but one thing we could not stand was the smell of the papermills especially in the hot, humid summer. Can anybody tell me if the smell is still there.

    by Mike M — June 5, 2014

  50. Dick that is very true. If you replaced the word Southerner with liberal, conservative, black, or white some of these comments would be deleted in a flash. Anytime an article states, Our apologies if this offends anyone, the author already knows they are going to be offensive and decides to go ahead.

    Editor’s Note: Thanks Debra. Please see our comment added to Dick’s excellent post above.

    by Debra — June 5, 2014

  51. Love Dick’s comments! We all can relate to someone who is new in our town, wherever that town is, constantly commenting about how things were done back in whatever town. I have moved several times and I always meet these Negative Nancy’s. Of course she/he is usually insinuating that it was better back there! If you are planning to move, leave all of that behind, ease into your new hometown, relish the differences, and discuss the weather, the new museum you visited, the best restaurant you have found – anything but your fantastic previous address. Quick turnoff and you will never be happy!

    by SandyZ — June 5, 2014

  52. Having moved from the MW to W TN, I can affirm that it is a culture shock…at first. Our biggest problems were, at first, finding a decent contractor and seeing so many stray animals on the road. But we have solved one problem and noticed that the other is being resolved…slowly, but they are making progress.
    But nevertheless, wherever you are, go out and mingle, discover, get to know people. Southerners are like people everywhere. Northerners talk behind your back just as they do down south, with the exception that here, it ends with a “bless their heart”. You find the good with the bad, you find highly intelligent and industrious people right next to those who haven’t seen a bar of soap in a while and let the world go by.
    What you have around here are very low property taxes and fairly low COL. Summers are from hot to hotter, and the winters are cold, but nothing too extreme. At the moment (almost 9 a.m. CST, I have all the windows open and feel a nice breeze coming in, while I am watching an amazing array of songbirds in our front yard. It will be in the 90’s later on.)
    You will find everything from hiking trails to boating, swimming, fishing… TN river and lake (Pickwick Dam), golfing and many historical sites. The more we look, the more we find, and we are discovering more daily.
    What’s nice about this area is that we don’t have to mingle if we don’t want to. Its not that crowded. If you want to mingle, you will find people within short commute.
    And one more thought. The south is slowly changing. The more people become engaged in what is happening around them, the more it will progress. So while we were searching for greener pastures, we realized that the pastures all come with negatives. Its why we have decided in favor of making this place our home base, are in the process of buying an RV and will be discovering America whenever we feel like it.
    While exploring, we came across this community that may be of interest for some.

    If you want communities and amenities, there are several other in the area. (If you can’t find them on the web, please feel free to contact me.)
    But its also very affordable and safe to live on your own, if you don’t mind doing your own maintenance.

    So, these are my (our) thoughts and experiences. Husband nods.

    by Godsgirl — June 5, 2014

  53. How warm a welcome would a southerner receive on LI? Accents would be ridiculed and a request for grits with a soft boiled egg in any diner would get the same blank stare as a request for hard rolls.
    Arrogant Yankees need to stay home. They will never be happy anywhere else, and they can use the money they save by not moving to pay those ever escalating taxes.

    by Sandie — June 5, 2014

  54. Mike M, I only notice the paper mill smell when we are on I526 heading toward Daniel Island. Our daughter lives on Daniel Island and usually can’t smell it.

    by Kathy — June 5, 2014

  55. Gail..Thanks so much. were about in South Port. Is he in a home community.
    I really fell in love there. would love to hear more about it.

    by Roseann — June 5, 2014

  56. The folks that I believe really take a bashing are those from New York City and its suburb New Jersey. It appears that many people find these folks very obnoxious and annoying.

    by Bubbajog — June 5, 2014

  57. This topic is very interesting. As a born and bred NYer (the city not upstate), I always find us being bashed. And the “true” NYers feel that the people from the Midwest are obnoxious and annoying especially when they move to New York and think they have to be nasty to fit in. As my mom always told me when I was growing up, there are good and bad in every kind. I think that certainly applies to any area of this wonderful country. If you are open and friendly, treat others with the respect they deserve, I think any place has the potential to become home.

    by Stacey — June 5, 2014

  58. Stacey, Thank you for stick up for us New Yorkers….We really are good people…As are the people in the South. People are people.

    by Roseann — June 6, 2014

  59. Would love to see more links and info on 55+ in NC.

    by Roseann — June 6, 2014

  60. I also thought this was interesting. I will be relocating for my job and I know that I’ve been talking a lot about “back home.” It’s not that I’m not receptive to discovering that “new home” is going to be great….I’m just a little homesick and am grieving for the things I loved “back home.” I hadn’t thought about how it might be perceived, but ‘ll definitely try to avoid doing this anymore.

    I work all over the country, and have noticed that a lot of prejudices are related to speech patterns. I’ve heard people in the North talk about Southerners being dumb because it takes them so long to say anything, and I’ve heard Southerners say Northerners are rude because they talk fast or talk over other people. People have told me they hate Boston/R.I./N.Y., N.J., Long Island accents, and that they hate Southern drawls. Regional accents are also criticized (Pittsburgh’s “the car needs warshed….”). It’s all pretty ridiculous when you think about the fact that someone with a strong accent could end up being one of the nicest, smartest, or most interesting people you’ll ever meet, if you just give him/her a chance.

    by Sharon — June 6, 2014

  61. Roseann: If there’s a way for you to get me your email address, I’ll send it along to Kristen (daughter who lives in Southport). I’m sure she’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

    There’s a new 55+ development breaking ground this fall. It’s named The Charles and looks really promising. We’re going to check it out during our next Southport trip. Kris said they’re going to be building a Lowe’s supermarket right across the street from it. It’s going to near St. James Plantation.

    by Gail — June 6, 2014

  62. Must leave a comment to those that have posted above stating that it’s in your attitude and how you embrace your new location as to whether you will become part of the community. Although I do agree that you do need to move to a new area with an open mind and an accepting spirit, it’s something I’ve always done moving to a new location, I found that after twenty years in the south, I will never fit in. I did meet some very nice people and was involved in many activities, with church, volunteering, school activities etc. But when it comes down to it in the end I am still a Yankee. I never adjusted to thE prejudices of every kind. Having moved to the south when I was stillll working I saw the good ole boy system in play, your qualifications didn’t matter as much as to where you went to church, what town you grew up in, and if you voted a particular way. It’s just the way it is, some places are not as accepting of differences as others. It goes way beyond your attitude towards them and your new area? You can insulate yourself to a degree by being in a restricted community, not working, or keeping to yourself but in the end this is your home where at some point you are a part of the society as a whole…going to doctors, hospitals, churches, taking classes, shopping, going to social gatherings… Or whatever… your life isn’t always going to be Inside the walls of a development.

    Just wanted to bring in a point of view from a Yankee who although well intentioned had the experience of being a Yankee in the south. I think when you get to your retirement years you feel better in an area that is closer to who you are as an individual, the weather and finances do come into the mix when you are contemplating a change, but you need to take into consideration cultural differences as this article brings up.

    by Iwashere — June 6, 2014

  63. I’ve spent a fair amount of time being a Yankee in the south. My dad was a hospital administrator in the Army and we moved around a lot, mostly in the south. My mother spent the last 40 some years of her life living in a small town in North Carolina. She went to the Catholic church, which was way outside the experience of most of the people there. That didn’t stop her from having many lovely friends. The community eventually started an interfaith group and they all visited each others churches and synagogues and experienced all the different traditions. When mother died and there was no place at the Catholic church to hold the luncheon after her funeral, the Baptists offered their gathering room. Just one example of lovely southern hospitality.

    Now as for prejudices, there are prejudices up north as well. People are people. Not everyone will think or believe as you do. That’s what makes the world interesting.

    by Linda — June 6, 2014

  64. Fortunately we live in a large country and have the freedom to make home wherever we find the greatest comfort.

    by Bubbajog — June 6, 2014

  65. To Iwashere: If you think the good old boy system is only alive and well in the South, you need to think again. It’s just as prevalent in NYC. Each industry has their own unique system but it boils down to the same thing.

    by Stacey — June 6, 2014

  66. Issues between northerner and southerners are a little more complicated than the stereotypes suggest. I own a vacation home in SC, and I have found my southern neighbors there a mixed bag of attitudes — annoying intolerant of people they have never met and incredibly hospitable and generous with people they know. Many years ago, I manager I met who was raised in Tupelo, MS, and moved with our company 10 times, told me he and his young family were happiest in the New York area. “You know where you stand [with New Yorkers],” he said. Many years later, I was talking with the lady who ran the bed and breakfast I stayed at in Hertford, NC, while I was reviewing a local golf community to which many northerners had moved. “Do you mind the wave of Yankees coming down here?” I asked her. “Oh, no,” she said. “They are very quick to volunteer for our local organizations,” she said with a wry smile. “Why are you smiling?” I asked. “Well, within six months or so of joining an organization,” she said, “they want to run it.” Good advice to anyone moving from one part of the country to another is to wait longer than, say, six months to reveal your inclinations.

    by Larry — June 7, 2014

  67. I currently live in the Midwest, grew up in the south, but have lived in the west and north central areas of the US. In evaluating potential areas for retirement my wife and I have focused on the SE for a number of reasons. By working and living in these diverse areas I have grown to appreciate the genuine hospitality and genteel manners of the south. Yes, good people can be found throughout our country, but I gravitate back to real southern charm and ease in which you can meet and form friendships without the abrupt, in-your-face personal interaction or complete disregard of your true persona that seems to characterize other regions. Where else can you be so quickly assimilated into a new environment? The south beats all comers.

    by David — June 8, 2014

  68. Larry – I loved your comment! I’m a New Yorker. I’m kind, honest, good-hearted, and you just described me perfectly. I’m sitting here at my computer smiling. Thanks for the apt description; i WILL take it to heart!

    by ella — June 8, 2014

  69. Kathy: Thank you for your response. Have you ever looked at, or are you familiar with, “The Elms of Charleston” or “Southern Palms” in Ladson, SC. My husband and I plan on visiting these sites in July. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.

    by Maureen — June 8, 2014

  70. Hey ella, I use to be conceited but now I think I am a hell’va nice guy.

    Just enjoy kidding a New Yorker. Hey we are all Cousins = have the same uncle Sam.


    by Robert — June 9, 2014

  71. 😛 Robert

    by ella — June 9, 2014

  72. After retiring here from N.Y. to a small city near Charlotte I everyday miss the conveniences of New York. It is very boring here. Trying to become involved but it is not the same. Homesick

    by Ann — June 10, 2014

  73. Hi Robert,

    In response to your remark; that was meant to be a smile, not a razz. A while back you said you’d chosen Tenn. over No. Carolina because of taxes. Were you referring to state or more than that? Thanks again, e.

    by ella — June 10, 2014

  74. ella – RE taxes are much much cheaper (IMO) in NE TN compared to NC. We haven’t made any final decisions yet – have not sold our home here in Pa. Probably be Gulf side of Central Fl or NE Tn.

    My wife is a New Yorker (Sicilian) from the Bronx to Long Island to Florida and now Pa! My Grandad came from County Clare, Ireland so when I met my wife I told her you are not Sicilian – Your Medirterranean IRISH. So we got married/lol

    by Robert — June 10, 2014

  75. This is a very interesting track of comments. I am a life-long south side Chicagoan, (62 years) about to move “lock, stock & barrel” to Mesa, AZ.
    I see the clear message of acceptance differences for people moving into the southern part of the country, and sometimes vice versa.
    THE BIG QUESTION…….Does the southWEST fall in the “south” bucket?
    Is the southwest United States not as firmly entrenched in traditional Southern traditions and acceptance issues?
    If there is a difference between the deep south and the west and southwest parts of the country, could it be that 100 years ago the west and southwest we’re very, very sparsely populated?

    I ask these questions because my many visits to the southwest have never resulted in standoffish behavior or lack of acceptance.

    I’m moving in September anyway, but I would appreciate anyone’s experience about attitudes in the Southwest, in places like Arizona and New Mexico and even Colorado. ????

    by Dave C. — June 10, 2014

  76. I also was born and raised on the North side of Chicago.I’m 61 and my wife and have been in the Phoenix metro area for 18 years. Don’t worry about moving here half the people who live here came from back east. As a mater of fact people refer to this area as Chicago West because there are so many transplants. They just opened a Portobello’s restaurant in Scottsdale. The CUBS & White SOX play spring ball here there is a lot of Chicago culture here. You will meet so many people from Chicago here you’ll never be home sick. The only thing that you will have to be concerned about is the summer heat.

    by Mark Cassidy — June 11, 2014

  77. Thank you Mark: I suspected what you said might be true, and you confirmed it! I think the restaurant you referred to is “Portello’s” and I heard one was open in Scottsdale with another planned for Mesa! The rest of the readers of this blog will have to forgive Mark and I for referring to “Portello’s”….but it just happens to be Chicago’s favorite sandwich shop with the best beef, Italian sausage and Chicago Dog sandwiches in both hemispheres!!!
    Believe it or not Mark…but Mr. Portello is SELLING ALL 35 OF HIS SHOPS!!

    But I diverse. I feel much better now that I know the PHX/Mesa area is more of a melting pot of cultures. Thanks! 😎

    by Dave C. — June 12, 2014

  78. Gail…Kris. Thanks! I so appreciate this. my e-mail address is my husband & I will be returning to SouthPort in Aug for another house hunt. I’d love to meet your daughter..who know maybe we will all be friends.

    by Roseann — June 12, 2014

  79. I grew up in the Midwest. I heard more comments about my accent in Boise than I do here in the outskirts of metro Atlanta, we are about 40 miles out. I have met some really nice southern folks and then had a neighbor call me a dang Yankee behind my back. I guess if the war was fought on northern turf and had lost, we might have the same attitude as some southerners do. Generally, I find people quite nice here. There were jerks up north too so I’m staying in the south for the weather, it’s beauty and charming small towns.

    by Vickie — June 12, 2014

  80. Sorry Dave I did meant Portello’s. I do have to say though when I retire from the school district next year that I will be relocating to Marble falls Texas.Phoenix has become too big and crime has really increased over the past 10 years. Last night someone broke into a Catholic Church and killed a 29 year old priest and shot another in a robbery attempt A couple of weeks ago a police office was targeted and killed by reservation gang members in Scottsdale I feel like I’m back on 63rd and Stoney Island. Also lots of border related crimes not to mention traffic has become unbearable. Most people from this area now retire up in Prescott or Payson
    I chose Marble falls TX because it is a small retirement town that is close to Austin which is very beautiful & cultured college town. last but not least Texas is 1 of only 10 states that does not tax your Social Security, pensions or Retirement income, not to mention no state income tax.

    by Mark Cassidy — June 12, 2014

  81. Mark; your remarks about the crime in Phoenix makes a lot of sense, particularly with your experience at 65th and Stoney. I know the area. We are moving into the north east corner of Mesa. I hope that area will give us some peace from the raging crime areas in other parts of the metro community. We bought my father-in-law’s patio home in the Apache Wells II gated community. Your comments about the geographical melting pot of people in the greater Phoenix area were very helpful to us.
    I hope the Lone Star State treats your family with the utmost courtesy and respect. We can all do loads of due diligence before making a geographical move, but I think we all need a huge dose of luck to help things turn out okay. Good travels. ????

    by Dave C. — June 13, 2014

  82. Hey Mark and Dave C, are you really from Chicago? :-) As Chicagoan’s you should know Portillo’s is spelled with an “I” not an “e”. Also there is no “e” in Stony Island. You are correct that Mr. Portillo wants to sell his restaurant chain. Great Italian beef sandwiches and other fare. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist teasing you guys.

    by Leonard — June 13, 2014

  83. Leonard: my wife is still laughing at me. She said, “you corrected Mark’s spelling of Portillo’s, by misspelling it again!” After she saw your Stony vs. Stoney correction she determined buying her lunch at Portillo’s this afternoon will be my penalty.
    So let’s see, the result of my misspellings is that I get to enjoy a lunch of an Italian sausage/beef sandwiche at Portillo’s today. I should make a habit of misspelling! ????
    In just over 60 days I will be unloading furniture at my new home in the north east sector of Mesa, Arizona. I promised to report back to this thread about our experiences with the southwestern U.S. ????

    by Dave C. — June 14, 2014

  84. Dave C.: Lucky you, getting lunch at Portillo’s. Best wishes to you on your move to Mesa. With the Portillo’s in Arizona you will have the opportunity to get a taste of Chicago in your new home. I look forward to your comments on your experiences there. For now I’m staying in good ol’ Chicago land. Though another winter like the past one could have me changing my mind.

    by Leonard — June 14, 2014

  85. Hi, Does anyone know a good place to retire in RI or Mass?? I am living in NC and it is really regressed. Ann

    by ann — June 15, 2014

  86. Ann, how has NC regressed?

    by Elaine — June 15, 2014

  87. Why would anyone want to retire in Mass. or RI? I’ve lived in Massachusetts all my life and cannot wait to escape its taxes and corrupt politicians. Mass. taxpayers pay amongst the highest taxes per capita in the nation and suffer under a one-party dominated government that taxes and regulates everything. The Mass. Estate Tax on the privilege of dying is incredibly onerous. You certainly don’t want to die in either Mass. or RI if you care for your loved ones. Florida, Nevada and even New Hampshire look like very attractive escape.

    by Tony Conte — June 15, 2014

  88. Leonard are you an English teacher by chance? I apologize for misspelling Stoney Island but you see I’m from North Chicago Edgewater and I was at 63rd and Stoney Island only once in 1967 when I was 14 and I had 5 Blackstone rangers holding a gun to my head so I really didn’t take the necessary time to memorize the spelling of Stoney Island on the street sign I was a tad preoccupied and after all it has been 47 years. At least Dave got a good meal out of the deal. Happy Fathers day men.

    by mark cassidy — June 15, 2014

  89. Also puzzled about the Mass RI question. In my central Virginia subdivision of 37 homes, the last three homes that sold were to folks from Mass. They couldn’t wait to escape the cold winters and high taxes.

    by Sandie — June 15, 2014

  90. Born and raised in MA. Parents born and raised in RI, family summer home near the ocean in RI (was in Newport today, as a matter of fact. It was glorious!!!). Would love to retire in MA or RI except for the taxes, the corruption, the politics and the winters. All our family is up here so we are thinking of looking at NH (hope to get there before all the people from MA move up there and change it!) for April- Dec 31st and then renting some place warmer for Jan-March.

    by NancyW — June 15, 2014

  91. Hi all – I have lived in Massachusetts (Berkshires) my entire life – I’m 62. They don’t call it “Taxachusetts” for nothing. Looking to move to NC, SC or TN for retirement. Tired of home ownership, the cold winters and shoveling snow. I know that there is snow everywhere,and I’m in for some culture shock, but I’m looking forward to living somewhere other than Massachusetts. I enjoyed the 4 seasons when I was younger and looked forward to all, but its getting harder and harder to tolerate the cold winters up here and getting up at 3 or 4 am just to get the driveway shoveled so I can get to work. Its definitely lost its charm. I have a sister in VA and her winter rivaled ours this year but that is not the norm. Heading south next month to look at places with my brother and sister-in-law and can’t wait! We’ll try to be respectful tourists while down there, unlike some of the tourists that visit the Berkshires in the summer. Quite entitled, thank you very much, pushy, bossy and self important. I know nothing about Rhode Island but Massachusetts would never be on my list for retirement.

    by Bonnie Heisler — June 16, 2014

  92. Thank you all for the advise on New England especially Massachusetts. sounds like New Hampshire is a better idea. Elaine I am saying that N.C. regressed because I am living in a small city that hasn’t kept up with the rest of the country. It seems like it is 1950 here. I know that the larger cities in N.C. have more to offer. Ann

    by ann — June 16, 2014

  93. Hi Tony, Thank you for the advise. I guess thinking about a Ma retirement isn’t too financially beneficial. I just love Ma especially the south shore . Currently here in N.C. in a city that seems set in the past. Ann

    by ann — June 16, 2014

  94. Hi Mark Cassidy: Hope you had a great fathers day as well. Sorry, about your experience in 1967. Not a teacher, but I worked at the Social Security office at 63rd and Cottage Grove from 1978 – 1990 (also Blackstone Rangers territory, though by then I believe they were calling themselves El Rukn)so I got to learn the spelling of all the streets in the area. Yes, that can be a scary part of the city, though you do have nearby Hyde Park and the University of Chicago.

    Like so much in life our perceptions of safety are influenced by our personal experiences. I often take note of comments here on Top Retirements about the crime rate and relative safety of the cities mentioned as popular retirement locales. One person’s high crime may be another’s “just a day in the life”. The same with taxes. What one person considers high taxes may be low for another depending upon where they live. As you know we have high property taxes, sales taxes, gas prices etc. in the Chicago area. Escaping high tax areas for low tax ones may not be all it’s cracked up to be. As many of the comment threads here attest, you also have to consider your comfort zone with people of different political and social ideologies.

    by Leonard — June 16, 2014

  95. Ann, Thanks…I am thinking of the Raleigh area.

    Just a note on NH, parts are relatively rural and you might not find that to your liking. When I was there, there was no income tax (except something on investments) and no sales tax, but property tax was high. I was right near Dartmouth and still found it a bit rural for me. Lots of “mountain men” I remember hiring for the company that I was with at the time. You could have a beard, but not for positions working with the public…I had more than one man just get up and walk out when they heard that!

    by Elaine — June 16, 2014

  96. You are absolutely correct Leonard everything is relative. Are you still living in the Chicago land area?

    by mark cassidy — June 16, 2014

  97. 71 years old; born and raised in NH, but have done alot of traveling in an RV for months at a time. Yes, our cities are more “rural” than cities like Boston, MA, but Boston is less than 1.25 hours drive from my home, Montreal in Canada is a 5.5 hour drive. New York City is a 6 hour drive. The Atlantic Ocean is an hour away and the mountains are about 1.5 hours from my home. The closest big lake is 20 miles away. I love the changing seasons, especially fall with the leaves changing color to vibrant yellows, reds, and orange. I find the warm weather states, such as Arizona and Florida, nice for a visit but would not like to live there year-round, as there’s not enough diversity in the weather for me. I even enjoy the beauty of winter. Being retired, I can stay home when weather is bad, should I choose to do so. During a snowstorm, the road crews do a great job of clearing roads and quickly. I NEVER missed a day of work due to weather in all my years of working as a Registered Nurse. After my husband died, I hired someone to plow my driveway and shovel my walkway. It’s not difficult to find help, if needed. It is cold during the winter months. There’s the added costs for heating during this time.
    We have no income tax, estate tax, or sales tax, except for a 9% tax on rooms (hotels/motels) and meals (restaurants). We have a state 5% “interest and dividends tax” on any interest and dividends above a specific amount, which, as I recall, is $2500. Our property taxes are high, as is our town tax and registration fees on vehicles, including RVs/campers. (Of note, those fees decrease as the vehicle ages.)
    I don’t understand the reference to “mountain men”. Yes, some men have beards- many are in the upper income brackets, as well as those in the low-to middle income. Many are retired. Many have trimmed beards as they look better/more “distinguished” and it hides a “double chin!:wink:
    I read these forums, which I find enlightening, because there may be a time when I’ll want to spend a few of the winter months out of the cold or need to be in an area with a lower cost of living.

    by Betty — June 17, 2014

  98. Mark Cassidy: Yes, I still live in the Chicago area. I live in Oak Park which is a suburb next to Chicago. I retired last year and have no immediate plans to move. I don’t want to sound excited about paying taxes, but Illinois does not tax pensions and social security. So, I’m somewhat looking forward to filing my 2014 taxes and seeing what a difference that will make as my only taxable income will be dividends and interest on my savings. That break for retirees in a small way makes up for the high property and sales taxes we pay in Cook County. Of course, the state is in such bad financial shape it may only be a matter of time before the politicians decide they need to tax social security and pensions.

    by Leonard — June 17, 2014

  99. “Mountain men”…getting up and walking out on an interview are the type that I refer to. they were very interested in the position until near the end when that corporate directive was mentioned. seems odd to me. And the comment was directed to the women who did not care for small town NC. Just pointing out that it might not be solved by sections of NH

    by Elaine — June 18, 2014

  100. I agree with Betty. Despite the fact you see “mountain men”, I doubt it is any more than in other parts of the country (like smokey mountains). If you are determined to retire in a place that has “corporate types”, I suggest Connecticut.

    Betty did not mention that many areas of New Hampshire are expensive for home purchase. But, there are many “fixer uppers” on big lots. These give you the option of customizing your new home. If you don’t want to do that, there are a number of active adult communities.

    Don’t write off an area of the country because men wear beards. I despise beards on men, but I wouldn’t choose a part of the country because men wore beards, trimmed or not.

    by Lynne — June 19, 2014

  101. Once again, this forum is getting off track (sorry Lynne). Content is not an opinion poll on facial hair on men. And yes, (Betty) it does hide ‘turkey neck’ on men without surgery.

    by ella — June 19, 2014

  102. Just pointing out the obvious…we all want different things. My comment is NOT about the beards, but the attitude of SOME of the people…it’s about men who get up, knocking over a chair and walking out without any comment because you mentioned a corporate policy. Just pointing out that you get that attitude everywhere and the north is not exempt from “THE SOUTH” when it comes to attitude…I am a Yankee and born and raised in NJ…cannot retire to NJ…far too expensive now…but I have gotten along quite well in NJ, MI, IL, NH, AL, NC and VA and will probably try somewhere new. Live free or Die!

    by Elaine — June 19, 2014

  103. 😎 Lol! I thought this was an opinion/fact sharing page on northerners moving south to become southerners. I live north of Orlando & east of Tampa & West of Daytona Beach. Have been here for over 20 years – a transplant from Wisconsin with a detour thru Oklahoma. A. costs: if you don’t buy property on the beach or near the beach, don’t live in the ‘big cities’, Orlando – Miami etc & don’t buy a ‘palace’, costs are reasonable, insurance is available, no state income taxes – & in my county – homestead laws get you somewhat lower property taxes which, again, if you don’t own the palace, are reasonable. Sales tax in my area is .062% of general mdse. However, I am still a ‘northerner’ in my heart & if I had enough money to have my driveway & sidewalk shoveled & my lawn mowed or live in a condo and could afford a garage & an electric car-oil-heater (my car engine froze one year in Wi) I would still move back ‘nort’. I am one of those people who doesn’t mind the cold – extremely miss the change of seasons & am extremely allergic to mold so as in ‘right now’, June – September, cannot take part in outside activities for more than an hour. I have family up there & down here so that’s always going to be a problem I can’t solve (neither are interested in relocating right now:shock: ). My husband is also from up north – he says it correctly cuz he’s from new York originally. He loves it here – he thrives in the warmth. We live in a ‘block’ home so have been thru 3 hurricaines in one season – only the metal carport blew away. Bugs here too but we take care of our home so haven’t seen any of those inside in forever. Little ‘geckos’ running around outside – don’t bother anyone or anything. So there you have it – a transplanted northerner who never really adjusted & a transplanted northerner who would never move back … which is your desire?

    by Jeanne C — June 20, 2014

  104. Elaine – So sorry; my succinct style does not seem to suit a blog. I was not referring to your comment, which i thought was extremely helpful given the topic. I was referring to personal comments on mens’ facial hair, which i now feel has been so over stated that i am even loathe to write this. However, please know i was not referring to your perceptive and helpful comments. I will try to do better in the future. ella.

    by ella — June 23, 2014

  105. Please let me know where there is just an absolutely great place to live. I mean one with low taxes, no corruption, very low to no crime, everybody likes everybody, there’s a lot to do, etc, etc,
    I need to make plans to go there ASAP because I live in the south and don’t like it (I’m a Yankee). I really can’t afford to move …. but if this perfect place exists….i will be there in a flash regardless of the cost!

    by Sandra — June 24, 2014

  106. Thanks for all comments. Midwesterner who has lived in suburban NYC for 25 years. Trying to find a place with lower taxes and milder climate. Lived in Charlotte back in ’90’s and still have friends there. It is a great city with great people but brutal summers. As an old southern gentleman told me air conditioning saved the south. If you go, be ready to spend much of summer is A/C. Looking at southern Delaware. Any thoughts?

    by Joe Braun — June 24, 2014

  107. Sandra, It doesn’t exist :)! But what are you escaping from in the south? The weather, the people, the insects, too much traffic and tourists, too rural or something else.

    by Elaine — June 24, 2014

  108. Joe B…….I’ve been looking into Delaware……planning trip later this summer…..I have been looking in Lewes and surrounding area. Will know more when I get up there…… and I’ll let you know.
    Elaine……all of the above………!

    by Sandra — June 25, 2014

  109. NJ gal who has been living in south FL for 30 years. It is far to congested, the crime rate, even in my excellent neighborhood and the costs are skyrocketing. Hurricane insurance on my VERY modest 2/2 house running $4000 a year. We are moving soonest. The choice is either northern rural FL not on the coast or Colorado. The traffic here seems to have doubled just in the last 5 years….gotta get out of this place! Anyone from southern Colorado???

    by Lorrie — June 25, 2014

  110. Lorrie, I lived in Southern Colorado 10 years. What exactly to you want to know?

    by Alice — June 26, 2014

  111. Joe B and Sandra,

    Almost bought in Delaware last year. Pulled out due to potential for flooding in the community, propane gas ($), expensive water (most residents have a well dug), long lines to get into restaurants (even in Feb). Many communities have smaller lots so if you don’t mind being close to neighbors you may be ok.

    by Fionna — June 26, 2014

  112. Lorrie: It would be helpful to know what area in south Florida are you living in? Could you narrow it down a little more. Thanks.

    by Maureen — June 26, 2014

  113. Joe B and Sandra: My husband and I moved to DE Lewes/Rehoboth area 7 years ago..absolutely love it here! Great people and a variety of places to live, Condos, Townhomes, singles…so much to do. Great change of seasons, not to harsh mid atlantic winters. Golf courses, and of course gorgeous beaches fantastic restaurants and pretty walkable seaside towns…I could go on, but come see for yourself. 😎

    by sunlovingal — June 27, 2014

  114. Alice, looking for a rural area that is still close to healthcare and some activities. We are going to visit the area in October, but need to narrow it down a bit. Good Gardening area a must, we want acreage (10-40) but access to a town. Have looked at Pueblo and Durrango online…

    by Lorrie — June 27, 2014

  115. Maureen, I live in Hollywood Fl, between, Miami and Ft Lauderdale.

    by Lorrie — June 27, 2014

  116. Lorrie, thanks a bunch. Every bit of information helps me narrow down my search!

    by Maureen — June 27, 2014

  117. Not sure what everyone is calling “North” and “South”, but TN and VA are GREAT places to live. I live in the Winchester, VA area. Very nice, affordable and low price.

    by Liz — June 27, 2014

  118. I like what I have read regarding the Del Webb community in Ave Maria, Florida. Does anyone have any comments regarding this 55+ community which is within an all ages community. I would love to hear pros and cons. Your input is welcome.

    by Nikki — June 27, 2014

  119. Lorrie….
    It sounds like you’re looking for Ocala Fl… It has Everything you’re looking for.

    by CJ — June 28, 2014

  120. Lorrie, you won’t find many gardening opportunities in Pueblo, nor in any other place close to it. From the Springs on down it is painfully dry. (Not sure about northern Colorado, they do get more snow). Most lawns in Pueblo are zero-scaped or if let alone, turn to dirt although my neighbor tried to grow tomatoes in raised beds. If you are still interested would recommend you check out Pueblo West east of McCullough. There are large houses on acreage, many people keep a pony or two. Don’t know much about Durango (there you would be living on the western slope) other than houses are very expensive due to mineral content found in the ground. There are lots of things to do in the cities, but most I knew headed for the mountains for a weekend of hiking and camping. Colorado offers a great life-style if you can take the cold. Personally, I miss it and trying to convince hubby to make another move… You might want to check out Falcon, east of the Springs. Especially if you’re retired military because it is close to Peterson AFB, but far enough away from the Springs to avoid at least some of the congestion.

    by Alice — June 28, 2014

  121. Hi Liz,

    I am interested in SW Virginia, particularly Galax. Ever been there? Any comments? I’m looking for an attractive, warm, homey town with hiking near by.

    My other concern about VA and NC is that they both tax income; but to be quite honest, i’m not sure how much $ this would come to annually. If anyone was any input on this issue, please feel free to respond. Thanks!

    by ella — June 28, 2014

  122. Sorry for typo above. That’s if anyone HAS any iput on this issue

    by ella — June 28, 2014

  123. There are two Virginias. The “golden crescent” running from DC to Virgina Beach along I 95and I 64 with a westerly bulge to charlottesville is very different from the rest of the state. Comments in this thread about rural versus urban apply here. Virginia taxes are far less burdensome than states to the north, and are different. You might want to do the entire calculation and not just apples to apples. No one likes to pay taxes, but the goverment services we all want are not funded by fairy dust. Folks who took their government from high tax states to move to low tax states need to remember this.
    The most important message in this blog is do your own homework and figure out what suits you best. But, if anyone does find the perfect place, please let the rest of us know!

    by Sandie — June 28, 2014

  124. @ Ella. Galax is about 4 hours south of where I live. I believe it is fairly rural, but I am not sure. I found a great link – for comparing where you live to where you are considering moving. I love Virginia.

    by Liz — June 28, 2014

  125. Lorrie – oops! Meant to say in Pueblo West check out north of Highway 50 — on McCullough and Purcell. Also, you might want to look into towns that are just east of Pueblo and I-25 which offer a rural lifestyle.

    by Alice — June 29, 2014

  126. 😎 If anyone here has access, either directly or online to The Daytona Beach News-Journal there is a short-but-sweet article about retirees moving to less ‘taxing’ climes. Today’s (Sunday, 6 29 2014) Paper states that a study by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution: Top 6 most popular metropolitan cities for seniors are: Phoenix, Riverside, Ca, Tampa-St Petersburg, FL, Atlanta, GA & Denver, Colo. I live east of Tampa & North of Orlando – in other words – if ever needed, access to some top-notch medical facilities & docs (UF in Gainesville) & Orlando specialty hospitals, but still reasonable traffic in the shopping areas around me. A small specialty college (Stetson) in the town next door! I’m going to repeat myself here – if you stay away from Orlando, or any of the other cities, especially on the coasts (east or west or south) prices are reasonable, housing, insurance, etc. Property taxes also. A word of caution – don’t bring your landscaping from up ‘North’ expectations because water is not plentiful & we don’t get the deep freezes necessary to sustain most of your plants/trees. I so miss my peonies & lilacs for instance. But we have other gorgeous flora/fauna. If you have enough money you can have your St Augustine grass (costly) that needs to be constantly watered & manicured. Water is expensive – we don’t water outside plants/grass – only 2 of us in the home so not a lot of wash or dishwashing going on. Our monthly bill averages $65 & we are considered low-volume users. That’s per month, folks, not every 3 months/quarterly like we paid up north. Everything else runs about the same as anywhere else for household costs. Natural gas is used in this area (or electric, of course) for heating, in the older homes. I don’t know about the brand new ones. Take my word for it — it is cheaper than electric!!! Hope that helps if someone needs cost ideas for their decisions. As stated before, I’m from Wisconsin & wish I was still there (only if I had the money to have a garage & electric car engine warmer) & someone to shovel the snow !!). I don’t mind the cold – even now as an older person – but my summer is your winter – stuck inside most of the time because my system cannot take the humidity & heat combo. And I miss my seasons (other than the snow-bird ones we have here) …Would like to relocate to SE Tennessee but 2 adult children live near-by. two others in Wi plus all the grands & greats. A real dilemma. No one in our family has the time or especially the money to travel. We have family scattered all over the US so there you have it. If I can help in any way finding info please let me know here.

    by Jeanne C — June 29, 2014

  127. LORRIE…
    Most everything Jeannie reported about Gainsville FL just about applies to Ocala Fl..altho Both have completely different personalities. Accesibility to major hospitals in both. Ocala has 2 hospitals (Ocala Regional and Munroe hospital across the street from each other) that are consistly in the “TOP 100 HOSPITALS iN AMERIA” List.. with Monroe hospital being in the “TOP 5” for Cardiology.
    Ocala is 45 minites south of Gainsville…1.5 hrs north from Orlando….2 hrs from Jacksonville, Daytona and Tampa and 1.5 hrs between the 2 Great Bodies of water..(Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico).
    Central & North Central Florida usually is spared from really wretched Hurricanes and such (Disney researched and with this reasoning, decided to move in North Central Florida instead of South Florida) If I remember right. Disney has only closed ONCE because of weather.
    Going north past Orlando there are no Canals..but a good amount of rivers and Lakes and “HILLS”…thats right hills…beautiful “ROLLIN HILLS” with Pastures with many Grazing prize Horses and Cattle. Some areas still have Fruit farms.
    Its generally true if you stay from the Florida’s popularize areas you can still find reasonable prices for everything. The 3 caveats you have to make up your mind that will happen is…

    1/ The Natural beauty of Florida will be slowly taken away from wherever you live in Florida…to be turned into Housing Developments and half empty stores in shopping malls by the Developers.
    2/ usually with the Blessings of the Greedy Polititions & Commissioners..
    Florida is full of suspect polititions who love “MONEY”..whether in their campaigns or pockets. I have never meet one that didnt. But this all happens slowly over time and perhaps there is still time to get a chance to enjoy it all.

    by CJ — June 29, 2014

  128. CJ Amen to that last sentence! Really what happened to this lovely little town, sadly. The last 5 years have been just awful here. I have searched a bit on the internet the Ocala and surrounding areas. That will be part of our hunting tour in October as we will drive from here to Colorado. It does look lovely in Ocala and I love the tax situation in FL and it would be a much easier move. My concern there is the sinkholes, which I am trying to research some. There is a giant national forest near Ocala and the houses near there look rather rural so that will be checked out as well. I would really like 10 years away from people before old age forces a more communal living situation, lol.

    by Lorrie — June 30, 2014

  129. Anyone here have any experience or care to comment on Blacksburg VA? Because it’s primarily a college town , it appeals as a way to keep my hand in the engineering game. The costs seems reasonable – most anything is reasonable than Long Island. I am particularly interested in the summer climate. It appears closer to mountains so humidity may not be as harsh as other parts of the state.

    Thanks for all responses

    by alleyeski — June 30, 2014

  130. Alleyeski,
    Check the NOAA site for the data you require.

    by Jeff — July 1, 2014

  131. Alleyeski,
    Another good site is Sperlings Best Places to Live. Use the Climate tab. Check the other tabs too. Many useful. My best.

    by ella — July 2, 2014

  132. Liz,
    Thanks for your comment about the Money calculator; i truly appreciate your attempt to help. Unfortunately, that calculator only deals with large cities (i’m looking for small towns), and it doesn’t take taxes into account. I’ts hard to get all the facts, but i’ll keep trying and with people like you maybe i’ll get there. Thanks again!

    by ella — July 2, 2014

  133. I may be getting my head handed to me here, but I’m going to take the chance. I have lived all my life in New England…half of that in VT – as has my partner of 32 years. We are legally married here. We come from the “liberal northeast”. My concern, as a lesbian couple, is that we will not be able to make a new home in the NC/SC region due to regional prejudices. We have always lived in a rural area and enjoy that lifestyle. Our way of life has never been an issue. We don’t want to have to move into a southern city in order to possibly find a diverse and accepting neighborhood…if there is one. Is it possible to live in rural NC/SC, or in a subdivision, and not face ostracism or even hostility from the folks there? The political climate one sees on TV points to a difficult , it not impossible transition to the area? We don’t want to move south only to become pariahs. Your observations would be helpful in our decision making. Thank you…

    by Jill Ryan — July 2, 2014

  134. Jill-have you thought about Chattanooga TN? It is a very nice town with accepting and open-minded people.

    by LisaJ — July 3, 2014

  135. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in south Delaware is known to be tolerant of gay people. I am heterosexual and have never been harassed by gay people there and they have higher proportion of Northern transplants there who try to bring cultural arts there through memberships, like Met opera performances at a movie theater. Go there for a weekend vacation and check it out for yourself. When I retire, south Delaware is where I need to go to escape the high taxes of Maryland.

    by JoyceR — July 3, 2014

  136. Brevard NC is a warm and welcoming small town in Western NC. I’m guessing you might want to be a part of a community and not just tolerated. Asheville is larger, so maybe not what you are looking for.

    by Debra — July 3, 2014

  137. ella,

    Fantastic tip regarding Sperlin! I knew there had to be something other than NOAA for climate information as well as just about every other kind of criteria needed.

    by alleyeski — July 3, 2014

  138. Hi, Does anyone have any advice about moving to Asheville N.C? I have heard that it is a good place to live but expensive and that they do not like People from the North. ann

    by ann — July 3, 2014

  139. Jill,
    I’ve addressed LGBT communities on pages 150 – 153 of my book. Can’t re-write it all here, but a few thoughts: Resort on Carefree Boulevard ( in Fort Myers, FL. is a community of women. I know you mentioned NC/SC in your post, and this is in Florida, but it bills itself as “Southwest Florida’s premier lesbian destination.” Manufactured homes. Kathy H. wrote an anecdote in the book about moving there. And, check out this link: It’s from, and it ranks cities with populations of at least 5,000 by the largest number of self-reported unmarried female-female households. The assumption is that this would indicate lots of lesbian couples. And, agree with the comment about Rehoboth, Delaware. On the water, artsy, lots of good restaurants, but it is a tourist destination, so very crowded during the summer season.

    Jan Cullinane, author the Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

    by Jan Cullinane — July 4, 2014

  140. Thanks for all the great information. It’s greatly appreciated. Now I have some places to start looking. Any more suggestions will be greatly appreciated. You’re a great group. One looks forward to retirement most of one’s life never expecting it to be so fraught with issues and major life-changing decisions.

    by Jill — July 4, 2014

  141. I live in NC and I am not big on the South…….anywhere in the ” Bilble Belt” is going to be difficult……interracial and gay relationships frowned upon……..some places are not as bad as others……..I have a friend who has a friend whose son is gay……..he and his partner live in the Raleigh area and have had minor problems…….I think that is true of almost everywhere ……… they have good jobs and love the area……..I have also heard that Asheville is good….artsy area ….expensive…but watch out for surrounding areas…….they are not so tolerant …….reach out to others like u have here and plan weekend in the area………Best of luck to you………

    by Sandra — July 4, 2014

  142. Ann, I have both relatives and friends who live in Asheville. It is a good place for all different types of people. There is a university and lively arts and music scene. No need to worry about not being welcome as long as you are open-minded about differences.:-)

    by Barbara — July 4, 2014

  143. Jill, Check out college towns and the college area of larger towns and cities. Some are tolerant and some are not…but it is much more transparent so you get a better handle on tolerance level more quickly.

    Asheville is interesting, but expensive.

    by Elaine — July 4, 2014

  144. Barbara, Thank you for the information on Asheville. That was helpful. Ann

    by ann — July 4, 2014

  145. I really enjoy reading most of the comments. However I think some are getting of the original intent. As a “Yankee” I want to believe we can live and thrive any where we choose…as long as we keep an open mind. Ann, believe in who you are and what you stand for…..remember you cant please everyone so you must please your self.

    I’m still looking for some great communities in North Carolina. My husband and are will be traveling back to SouthPort, NC in the next 4wks for another look. will keep everyone posted.

    by Roseann — July 5, 2014

  146. As retired enlisted military I am looking for an area near a major university what do you think of Athens Ga and the cost of living???

    by Jeff Gilfoy — July 5, 2014

  147. Jeff – have an Old Air Buddy (retired Major) who lives in Columbia Ga – might want to check it out. Robert (USAF)

    by Robert — July 6, 2014

  148. Jeff- Athens GA is very special. Lived there twice with my job. Many people who transfer there (including my NE friends) never leave if they can help it. Costs can vary by county. Always something interesting going on!

    by marsha — July 6, 2014

  149. These are all wonderful suggestions, but I’m a horse lover!!! Has anyone retired in Kentucky near or in Louisville or Lexington? I’ve visited these areas on vacation. How are they to live there year round? Thanks! Two years to go and counting!

    by Anna — July 7, 2014

  150. Speaking of retired military, can anyone offer any advice about retiring in Abilene, Texas near Dyess AFB? Thanks.

    by Alice — July 7, 2014

  151. Does anyone have any feedback regarding living in the mountains of Northern Georgia vs. the mountain towns of Western North Carolina or Eastern Tennessee? Culture, customs, climate, anything?

    Many thanks?

    by ella — July 7, 2014

  152. PS – Add cost.

    by ella — July 7, 2014

  153. Leaving the south on a road trip soon, heading North……..hoping to find a good place to move to in my retirement. I have to sell my townhouse before making the final move…….my biggest problem. Otherwise, I would be there already. I have a few places mapped out ….any and all suggestions between now and my departure? Would just like the names of nice places to live…………I can research the rest…………..I also know that this may sound ridiculous to some..but I just thought I’d give it a shot……..the responses, if I get any, will give me some ideas I may not have………thanks very much.

    by Sandra — July 7, 2014

  154. Does anyone have any insights on retiring to Santa Fe, NM and New Mexico in general? Wife and I are finally at that stage to move out of MI within the next year and that’s where we’ve been targeting as we both like the proximity to mountains and her to all the art galleries. Thanks.

    by Craig — July 7, 2014

  155. Ella – I would be very interested in the comments to your questions also. We are considering that area also but live in California. I’m from Alabama, relatives all through the SE. We love the mountains, lakes and outdoors and have visited Northern Georgia on several occasions and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    by Jan — July 7, 2014

  156. Ella –

    While in college in the N. GA mountains (foothills of the Blue Ridge – Dahlonega) I fell I love with the mountains, and a cadet. After eloping we became active members of the ‘civilian’ community, joined the local Methodist Church, and my husband went to work (part-time) for Mr. Moore at Moore’s General Store (now more trendy than practical as it was then). We were embraced by the community and the years there were some of the happiest in my life. We often just took off ‘riding’ since gas was very inexpensive in the early 60’s and followed one winding road after another further and further into the mountains.
    Georgia is a retirement friendly state – and you don’t need to live in the nether regions of the mountains – say ‘Blue Ridge, etc.’ you will find almost anything you need or want… but medical is a bit of a risk the further you go into the mountains. I don’t know you want to live a secluded life or one in an active 55+ community, but there are plenty of those around, most fairly expensive in the mountains. We are looking at E. Tennessee around Sevierville because of the close proximity to UT Medical Center but we are older than most of you on here and it is a real issue for us, particularly me since I have some ‘odd’ non-lethal medical problems that make finding a doctor difficult, particularly the specialties I need.
    We have looked at Georgia, S.C. and Tennessee and have settled on the latter – and although I would LOVE to live in Dahlonega again (or the near area), it would not be fair to ask my husband who married m when I was a 23-yr-old widow (my first husband, and the love of my young life, died in service when just 24. So, to ask Dick to live where I was so very happy with someone else would not be fair and I have never given it a thought. Depending on your situation I think you would be happy anywhere in the Blue Ridge or Smokies.

    by Diane Sanfilippo — July 8, 2014

  157. Morning..does anyone have any info on the TOA Builders/Communities in Pa

    by Doug — July 8, 2014

  158. Sandra – If you are determined to move north, the only state in the Northeast that is at all affordable is New Hampshire. Some pretty areas are Jackson, Franconia, Bethlehem – all in Northern NH, in or around White Mountains. Southern NH is beautiful, coastal, and expensive! Durham is a fabulous small college town, and Keene is also a nice college town. Make sure you love long, frigid, snowy winters though!

    by SandyZ — July 8, 2014

  159. Diane,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. We want to live amongst nature and in the mountains as i don’t handle the summer heat all that well. That said, my husband is 70+ years old so are trying to find a balance between a town with good roads close enough to a good medical facility and living in a beautiful setting.

    Not sure about the 55 communities or living on our own. Have considered Blairsville, GA, but have been told it’s ‘touristy.’ Will be checking it out, however. Others close by are prone to tornadoes as per the internet as are towns in TN near Chattanooga. Perhaps i’m being overly cautious.

    I’ve researched many towns in NE TN. I prefer TN as the cost-of-living there is so good; however most are hot in the summer. I’ve considered Sevierville as it’s so close to the Park, but was concerned it would be too touristy being so close to Gatlinburg, etc. Can you tell me a bit about it? I’m looking for a warm, friendly town that has some charm with a few things to do close by. Many thanks. All comments are welcome! Ella.

    by ella — July 8, 2014

  160. Sandra, If you want to move North the very best towns are in Westchester county. It is right outside the city. It is very expensive but everything is so convenient and of course the health care is great. Try Mamaroneck or Larchmont N.Y. There is snow but the village does a great clean up. Out of the house the same day. Ann

    by ann — July 8, 2014

  161. We are considering a small RV and traveling when we get the urge. Please, anyone who travels in this mode, post some of the good/bad/ugly of RV living. I grew up traveling, but it was as a child, so I did not pay attention to much other than keeping a bit of “space” and where the next ice cream shop would be. My husband did not enjoy this way of vacationing. He needs a bit of convincing. We live in CT, have a second home in the Monadnock region of NH. CT is a great state(it’s home) with a lot of culture, beautiful areas, high taxes, more crime than I’d like. Take the good with the bad. NH is also a great place. Be careful where you live, research your town carefully, the quality of life is wonderful. We’d like to travel while we’re young, early 60’s, and have the time/funds/health.

    Editors note: see our extensive series on the rv lifestyle

    by Maggie — July 8, 2014

  162. Sandra,
    I live in West Hartford, CT and I grew up just north of boston. If you can afford it Amherst, MA area is a nice place to live there are five colleges in the area. From reading this blog you Connecticut is very expensive to live they have taxes on top of taxes and regular gas is over $4.00 a gallon in my community. Around hartford the Farmington Valley is nice and Madison along the coast. I also lived in Providence RI for fifteen years and my wife and I visit Providence often but again very expensive to live especially regarding taxes. We saved money when we relocated to Connecticut. Boston is great but look for a town on the 495 loop that has commuter rail service. Massachusetts is a better state to live in for retirees then CT or RI. The Berkshires is beautiful along with Saratoga, NY. I am told that NH is the place to be, no sales or income tax beut real estate taxes are very high and I heard they added a View Tax. If your property faces a mountain or the ocean taxes are higher. NH just raised the Gasoline tax.

    by MarkG — July 8, 2014

  163. Thanks to all for the suggestions. My list is growing and I love it.

    by Sandra — July 9, 2014

  164. Sandra,
    I think you need to state what you’re looking for before ‘our’ answers can be of any help. For example, Ann mentioned Westchester county which is two counties south of me (and one north of NYC) and is one of the most expensive counties in NYS. It is also fairly urban, traffic can be busy, people dress well and homes are kept beautifully, etc. Not enough open space for me (i avoid traveling there), but obviously Ann loves it. So that we don’t steer you in the wrong direction, you need to let us know if you’re looking for – rural, urban, cultural, laid-back, does traffic matter, hilly, flat country, etc. My best to you.

    by ella — July 9, 2014

  165. Wow…..this topic is a text-book case of a “hijacked” thread!
    What started as, “can a Yankee find happiness in the south” has morphed into our standard, “let’s compare cities, towns, economies, cost-of-living’s, etc. etc. ”

    Maybe we exhausted the “Yankee replanted in the South” topic……but baby, it’s long gone!!!!

    by Dave C. — July 9, 2014

  166. Roseanne,
    I love Southport, NY. I did not live there but just over the only bridge at the time, 2000, on Oak Island. We loved Oak Island, but moved back to NY after
    my mother in law passed. Southport is ragther expensive, at lease for us, but I loved the Dry Street Pub for lunch, the beautiful Cape Fear River and all the ships going by, the Ft Fisher Ferry over to Carolina Beach, and all and then on to Wilmington. We hung out there a lot, but Oak Island has a wonderful Beaches, great small town feel, and it covered with those Live Oak Trees. It is a great place. A bit remote, but special.
    Elizabeth in NY~

    by Elizabeth S — July 9, 2014

  167. Dave, you’re right; but allow me a few websites for Sandra and then i’ll leave the “hijacked thread” alone. We be pirates all!


    You might want to take a look at the following websites before you decide where you want to travel to. Kiplinger compares the tax consequences of living in different states on the first one. You can choose any stat you want. On the second Kiplinger lists the 10 worst states to retire in. NY, CT, and VT are all listed (no surprise there!). The third (Sperlings) will give you lots of interesting info. on just about any place. Cost of living, climate, the way people vote, etc. Occasionally Sperling will tell me that it can’t find a town. Then i fool it by just googling something like “annual sunny days in TownName, State and Sperling will take me right to it.

    In comparing cost of living, 100 is the national average so anything above 100 is higher than and anything lower is … well you get it. A good way to compare one town to another.

    Hope this helps.

    by ella — July 9, 2014

  168. Whoops, sorry. Here are the websites:

    by ella — July 9, 2014

  169. Ella –
    There is a quiet side to the Smokies – and wonderful mountain homes near good roads – Wears Valley – Townsend – Sevierville (is not in the ‘tourist’ mecca) which has a new hospital associated with the University system – and they are building a brand new VA hospital next door. You can be just 15 minutes from town and be ‘alone’ either ‘in’ the mountains (email me and I will tell you about the cabin we rented one Christmas).
    I thought about Toccoa but have a friend who is the wife of a General officer who attended the same college I attended and she HATES it! Says that there is nothing there for any type of ‘cultural’ experience except mountain and bluegrass, and like me, she occasionally enjoys the classics. Which is another reason we are choosing Sevierville since with the university nearby there will be more variety and all the ‘country’ we can handle! The Christmas we were there, my daughter and I took a ‘ladies night out’ (she has two sons who stayed with Grampa), went out to dinner and saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which I had seen but she had not – and it was a very nice presentation, and was not crowded.
    My suggestion is to rent for no less than 6 mos. and then make a decision. This will be our last move – I am 71 and my husband will be 76 next month, and we HAVE to be happy.
    You can email me at
    I also have a great realtor with a wonderful website that I will share with you – she has been SO patient with me for the last three years as we prepared our house for sale – it’s on the market now so pray!
    Oh, we found it MUCH cooler in Sevierville than our home in Virginia – the humidity is much lower, thus the main difference. I may have to soak in baby oil but it will be worth it!

    by Diane — July 9, 2014

  170. Ella….thanks for the websites…..I have always used Kiplingers and there are a few more out there but I like Kip. the best, so far……..have not checked out Sperling’s…….will check it out……..and, it is just me, myself and I. I have done enough research to realize that a lot of this info that is done by these websites are based on a retired couple with a much bigger income than I have……sad to say. I can even consider some of the “worst” states to live in because of this……..SOME not all….. parts of NY, VT, MA would be even be feasible….depends on a lot of different things. That’s also why I didn’t really state my preferences…..I’m flexible…..and can usually figure the place out when I reasearch it or talk to realtors in the area……the places people tell me about give me different perspective on the areas.
    As far as this forum going off track, I’m from NY…the state…..not the city……..there’s a whole lot of NY out there besides the city……… been living in South for over 10 years……..and I’m hoping I can get back North in my retirement. I’ve stated the reasons before, all based on my experiences and my opinions. So I am a Yankee ….. and I just think, IF possiblle, this Yankee would like to go home.

    by Sandra — July 10, 2014

  171. Sandra,

    I love your perspective. You’ve done your research and now you want to hear from the people. Good for you, you’re a smart woman! I too, as i stated, am from NYS; however i am looking to go South. You didn’t state, in specific, what it is you don’t like about NC. Would you mind doing so (i don’t want make you uncomfortable). I’m thinking of the mountains. Many thanks, e.

    by ella — July 10, 2014

  172. Thanks so much, Diane! I will be contacting you!!!

    by ella — July 10, 2014

  173. Elizabeth S. (NY) thanks for the Southport plug. I’m so on the fence…I here the crime rate is high. NC is changing it’s take breaks for seniors..retirement funds etc. Have been reading and Google every question I can think of. I’m going back in August so we shall see.

    by Roseann — July 10, 2014

  174. ella, thanks for the Kiplingers website. loved it. Sperling”s is good, but I need more in-depth information. I so wish I could go live in my top 3 picks for a month at a time then make a decision…If only I had lots and Lots of $$$

    by Roseann — July 10, 2014

  175. Any info or insight into Pawleys Island SC…I hear it’s a great town.

    by Roseann — July 10, 2014

  176. Roseann, “arrogantly shabby” is what they call themselves. If your pockets are deep and you want a ‘funky’ beach town, you will probably like it.

    by Alice — July 11, 2014

  177. Hi, we’ve been looking at The Villages for sometime and have a friend that bought there and she loves it. We’re planning on a trip this Fall to see if it’s a good fit. With the house styles, education and recreational opportunities, it may be just what we’ve been looking for. Here’s their website for anyone interested.

    by Leslie Blackmon — July 11, 2014

  178. Alice, I did a little goggling to day on Pawleys Island..We do not have deep pockets.. Any advise on Little River?

    by Roseann — July 11, 2014

  179. Roseann,

    You mentioned NC is changing it’s “tax” breaks for seniors. I do know they changed some things recently, do you have information more detailed info than this article and Kip tax by state info? The changes seem to belie the article title. Living there keeps on more in the loop.

    by Elaine — July 12, 2014

  180. :shock::shock::shock: How about the site administrator stopping this thread, and starting a new one? All the latest inquiries and questions are interesting….. But had absolutely nothing to do with Yankees moving into the south.
    If we continue in Top retirements, to allow our topics to be diluted and totally ignored, we will eventually lose the interest of our readers. If I see a headline, and open up the comments and find they have nothing to do with the topic, I will not continue to open the messages. That’s how you lose readers. The latest comments on this thread are very interesting and potentially helpful, but they have nothing to do with the topic! If we continue to allow this disconnect we become our worst enemies and Topretirement’s will shrivel up and disappear. :roll:

    Editor’s Note: Thanks for the feedback Dave. You are right, a lot of discussion gets off topic. Usually newer people who haven’t looked around or had time to find a better place to ask their question. Our least favorite questions are “tell me about (name of city)”. It is so open-ended and indicative that they haven’t looked – we probably have tons of stuff already. We will try to do a better job of moving off-post comments to a better place.

    by Dave C. — July 12, 2014

  181. Re: Pawleys Island, you can find great houses for 225K with HOAs under $100 per month. It’s on the top of our list.

    by Richard — July 12, 2014

  182. Dave C – you are correct. Also, in general, everything here seems to be about the eastern half of the USA. Wish we had an “area specific” blog so I can skip those areas I have little interest in. Maybe there is but I haven’t found it yet. Just saying.

    Editor’s note: There are several places on the site where western areas of the country are discussed. You can always use the Forum. In the Blog there have been several articles comparing various western states, such as

    by John H — July 12, 2014

  183. It would be helpful to all if folks defined their terms. For example, in reference to Pawleys Island, where I own a condo, what does “deep pockets” actually mean? Richard is correct; you can find great houses in the low $200s (and very nice condos beginning around the $100s), with a low tax rate. Pawleys is about to welcome its 5th supermarket within a few miles which is more than the area needs but will certainly keep down food prices via healthy competition. Pawleys also has the widest range of restaurants at all price points, and the beaches are free. Right now, I’ve seen green fees on excellent golf courses in the area of less than $20, cart included. So when we throw terms around like “deep pockets,” it would be nice to have a frame of reference for what the author of the comment means. Sure, Pawleys may be more expensive than a town in the middle of nowhere, but it is a far sight cheaper than towns in more urbanized areas.

    by Larry — July 12, 2014

  184. Sounds to me like the topic of Northerners finding happiness in the South has been talked about and talked about to exhaustion of the issue! Since things are swerving in other directions here, I suggest folks look to the right column for the appropriate article and topic to find your best advice and share your thoughts. Many of these articles have hundreds of comments about this place or that community…, probably what you are looking for is right there!

    by SandyZ — July 12, 2014

  185. Ella…..thanks….although I don’t know how far it will get me!!!
    I live in Central NC…….. I really like the Raleigh-Durham-Cary area and if I could afford to live in and/or around there, I would…..but I can’t seem to find any place that I can afford. The housing in that area is too high for me…I wish it wasn’t because I would go there in a heartbeat!! It is a much more diversified area and because of RTP and Duke and the area as a whole…it is much friendlier than where I am. The main things I have a hard time with are the hypocrisy, racism and I don’t like the terrible heat and humidity! I don’t find it much cheaper living here. The A/C can cost as much as the heat… least it does for me.
    I am also going to check out Asheville and the surrounding areas. Asheville is quite pricey but I have heard of areas around there that are more affordable. I have found it very, very hard to meet people with the same interests in this area where I am. I have joined several different organizations and such when I first moved here but to no avail. Maybe, I just picked the wrong place to live….!! As I have stated before, I think it is easier when you are a “couple” and not a “single”. The organizations and/or places I tried to be a part of seemed to be uncomfortable with an uneven number……..if you know what I mean. So….gosh, maybe it’s nothing to do with me being a Yankee…..maybe it’s just because I’m a single Yankee….!!!!! LOL

    by Sandra — July 12, 2014

  186. I know Virginia has been mentioned…although not too often…I found this web site I do not know the realtor. She does provide a list of the active adult communities. For those Yankees like myself…if you are near enough to DC or along the 95 corridor you will probably be okay. I live in Fredericksburg VA and because folks commute to Quantico and DC (and Dalhgren) it is not very southern. Of course, any more north in Virginia is out of my price range.

    I hope to find something in the Raleigh area, but it is not inexpensive either.

    by Elaine — July 12, 2014

  187. For us Yankees (eapecially one like me who is not the rural type…is there anywhere in Georgia that folks have found their retirement haven?

    by Elaine — July 12, 2014

  188. Sandra, I am also a single and find that urban is much more comfortable than rural, whether in the north or the south…but do I think the rural south is worse in this regard. Unfortunately, this also means more expensive places. I am trying hard to find retirement in the Raleigh/Durham area. I notice that you mentioned Asheville which I thought about…when visiting however, I found that the less expensive areas nearby seemed to have a very different feel and I did not think that I would feel as comfortable as a single. But if you find somewhere when exploring, let the list know.)

    I actually loved living in Birmingham, AL…very cosmopolitan (probably because of the medical school), but HUMID, HUMID, HUMID. If that doesn’t bother you look around that area on your exploration of the south.

    by Elaine — July 13, 2014

  189. Larry, Thanks fort he PI-SC info. I have a friend who’s sister & brother in-law have lived there for a few years there late 70’s -80’s. My husband & I are in our 50’s- 60’s. I’m looking for lively neighborhood..lots to do and see.
    Really not into the gated many rules, regulations. Will be visiting the area in the next month & will do my best to get lot’s and lots of info out to our readers.

    by Roseann — July 13, 2014

  190. Elaine, No, I have not found any new info..Forbes is posting what I found in other articles. I for one do not want to end up living were every thing will end up being taxed.

    by Roseann — July 13, 2014

  191. We lived in Ellijay, Georgia for over 11 years and while the area is beautiful, the cost of living in Georgia is a bit high.

    I have found that Cleveland, Tennessee gives you the best of climate, beauty and cost of living while still being fairly close to convenience amenities. Plus there is no state tax. However most everything is taxed and the sales tax is equivalent to Georgia’s. The drivers licenses and and other state regulated taxes are better in Tennessee. Best thing you can do is go on line and do the demographics. Good Luck.

    by Barbara — July 13, 2014

  192. As far as Yankees living in the south, I just came back to Delaware from visiting my Sister in Sun City Hilton Head…everyone there was from the North. There is no ‘discrimination” whatsoever there. It’s a really nice place, but I am into a little more change of seasons and find my beach here in the Mid-Atlantic a better fit. Very humid summers that last quite awhile. 😎

    by sunlovingal — July 13, 2014

  193. Correction on above last line of comment..I meant, “Very hot humid summer’s there in Hilton Head that last quite awhile” 😎

    by sunlovingal — July 13, 2014

  194. Hi Barbara,
    You’re the first to have left a comment on actually living in Northern Georgia. I’ve been interested in the area (Ellijay, Blairsville) for quite a while with plans to visit. Can you tell me about the area. Also, what is so expensive? More so than Tennessee? I read that for those over 65, the first $130,000 are exempt from state taxes so for me and my husband that is better than Tennessee’s state tax policy. Any input would be so appreciated. Many thanks! ella.

    by ella — July 14, 2014

  195. Having always lived in the South and having many friends who have moved here from up north, I can tell you the one difference in those who have enjoyed the experience and those who have not is their ability to “go with the flow.” If someone moves from another area and immediately tries to change things, telling us everything was so much better where they were, it doesn’t win them many friends.

    If you like it enough to move here, then take it like it is. That goes for moving in either direction.

    P.S. Does anyone ever retire and move north?

    by Leslie Anne — March 28, 2015

  196. This article makes some great points. For it to be a more gentle ease from culture shock , the southern coast; although, sophisticated southern culture, is more civilized than the rural country culture obviously. Moving to the city would help a lot as well, than moving to a rural area. I moved from Northeast Maryland (Mid atlantic) to NW Tennessee as a fourteen year old (dad got job transfer) and at an those already big changing teen years it was a total culture shock. The accent, way of life, and just a totally different culture, people in NE Tn werent used to having everything around (aquarium, science centers, planetarium, just a bunch of places to go and see) its all open country here and I had a situation adjusting.

    Take it from my experience, if you living in mid atlantic on up (or even in a culture southern area, or big city area) going to a rural area is such a culture shock.

    In summing this up Good article on easing into culture shock, dont go from a super populated area with everything around , to a slower paced, more close minded culture if you dont want to experience drastic culture shock. Ive made friends from here and Ive made friends that moved here from different cultures as well. In fact I just realized while writing this, a lot of my friends are not from this culture, Dallas, and around Baltimore, or people that have lived else where and travel.

    This is from a culture shock perspective based on my experience and wherever one ends up one must still be positive, continually learning despite setbacks and failures, inspire others, courageous, compassionate, all those good characteristics. Going from a culture you dont like isnt a reason to complain or have a bad attitude, do your best and if you have the means to live where you want, then good for you

    by John Smeton — September 6, 2015

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