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10 Great Places in the Mountains for Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 21, 2014 — If you are an outdoor oriented person the chances are you have dreamed about retiring to a town in the mountains.You might love to ski, hike, camp, fish, mountain bike, or just plain admire the beautiful scenery mountains have in such ample supply. This article is a companion to our other articles about great retirements near the water, in cities, college towns, and small towns (see Further Reading at end of article for more about them).

When some people think of mountain towns they might be thinking of a small community pushed up against the edge of towering peaks. Colorado and much of the American west have plenty of those. Yet for others the mountains might just mean having some nearby foothills. With that in mind we have tried to present a range of communities in this article. There are so many great mountain towns to choose from that we promise a Part 2 in these series.

For those who aspire to a mountain retirement, here are some of the advantages that come with them:
– Cooler summers. Altitude means an escape from hot summers, even in some otherwise warm states.
– Lower humidity. Particularly in the western part of the U.S., humidity tends to be lower in the thinner air.
– Beautiful scenery. Any time you look you will see a dazzling array of cliffs, trees, peaks, and more. At the higher altitudes there might even by snow in summer.
– Recreation. Mountainsides are hard to develop. So there is usually plenty of pristine land right outside your door where you can hike, ski, hunt, fish, kayak, camp etc.
– Spectacular home sites. Just as some people treasure a view of a lake or ocean, so do many others enjoy the thrill of big overlooks and distant mountains from every window and deck.

– Colder winters. Take the Blue Ridge mountains of western NC for example, where retirees experience snow and colder temps than do those who live in the rest of the state.
– More difficult transportation. Mountain towns tend to be smaller and more remote, so your car might be more important to your daily transportation needs than you might have hoped. Driving on snowy roads can be dangerous. Likewise, biking can be a challenge (or better buy one of the new models with auxiliary battery power!)
– Fewer cultural resources. This isn’t always the case, but many mountain towns tend to be on the smaller side, which can mean fewer town resources with cultural offerings
– Fires and natural disasters. Of course any location can have its share of natural disasters, but living in the mountains can come with serious hazards. Wildfires, blizzards, and landslides are just some of them.
– Not so great for older people. Once you get to a certain age you do have to consider the disadvantages of going up and down hills, slippery streets, and thin air.
– Less daylight. One friend of ours thought he wanted to live in a great town in western Colorado, only to realize that the winter sun was hidden by tall peaks until mid morning and disappeared again in late afternoon.

Some of the more popular mountain towns at Topretirements
Based on their popularity with our members,and along with some attempt at regional diversity, here are 10 examples of mountain towns that might be perfect for your retirement:
Prescott, Arizona. Located at an elevation of 5400 feet in the mountains of north central Arizona, the City of Prescott (population just under 40,000 in 2011), was the original territorial capital of the Arizona Territory. This old mining town now popular that now attracts so many active adults borders the Prescott National Forest to the south and west.

Talking Rock Ranch near Prescott

Knoxville, Tennessee . Knoxville is particularly attractive because it is home to the Vols of the University of Tennessee. It is a vibrant college town with big-time sports and many cultural events. Tennessee has wonderful mountains and hills nearby.

Las Cruces, New Mexico.. Las Cruces shows traces of civilization going back 8,000 years. The ancient Anasazi people had communities here, which seem to have disappeared by 1300 A.D. The town is 4000 feet above sea level and claims to enjoy 350 days of sunshine per year.

Lake and mountains in Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, Georgia. This very small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia is located at the very top of the state on the border near where Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina come together. The town has about 1200 residents. Blue Ridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia because of Lake Blue Ridge, the Toccoa River, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The southern tip of the Appalachian Trail is quite close.

Santa Rosa, California. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s wine country. Nearby towns include Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Napa. The city is actively engaged in economic development centered around wine, food, tourism. Residents enjoy the hiking and views in the many state parks surround Santa Rosa.

The mountain and college town of Middlebury, VT

Middlebury, Vermont. This college town offers views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks in the distance. The postmodern architect Robert Venturi said of the campus, “Middlebury looks like what everyone thinks an American campus should be but seldom is.”

Laramie, Wyoming. Laramie is a lively college town near the Medicine Bow mountains so nice that some people move here and never leave. A big draw for many is the fact that there is no income tax in Wyoming. Laramie has 14 parks and residents have access to the University’s 18 hole golf course.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Eureka Springs is a Victorian resort village in the northwest corner of Arkansas. Its steep winding streets and well-preserved Victorian-era homes give it an alpine feeling. Many of the buildings are built with local stone. The undulating streets rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
. This mountain resort town in Colorado draws tourists for its sports and views. Although skiing on Mt. Werner is the main draw here in the winter and spring, the popularity of river sports on the Yampa River, mountain biking, and hiking keep it bustling year-round. The population was about 12,000 in 2011, although it swells higher than that in peak periods. Steamboat enjoys plenty of snow and ample sunshine.

Morgantown, West Virginia. Home to the mountaineers of West Virginia University, Morgantown’s 28,000 students are a major influence on the community. Cost of living is low, while recreational activities in the nearby mountains, Monongahela River, and Cheat Lake are extraordinary.

Bottom Line
You can use our Advanced Search to look for more mountain towns in particular states. If you dream about retiring in the mountains, you will have fun going through lots of fun choices.

For further reading
These College Towns Make for a Great Retirement
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront (part 1)
7 Great Places to Retire for Livability
5 Big Reasons Why Small Towns Are Great Places to Retire
How About a New Urban Community for Retirement
See our 2 Part Series on Great Lake Towns for Retirement

Comments? Please share your thoughts about some great mountain towns you know about for retirement. Is their another kind of retirement environment you would like us to explore in a future article? Or did we miss any of the advantages or disadvantages about a mountain retirement? Let us all know in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on May 21st, 2014


  1. This article prompts me to write with concerns about retiring or moving to a mountain home that could apply to many other places but struck me because of recent experience near one of the places mentioned — Prescott, AZ. This applies mainly to older folks (we are both 66) and may be helpful if considering a new place to relocate.

    We have spent three weeks renting a vacation home outside Cottonwood — a smaller town over the mountain an hour east of Prescott. First, we have loved our visit — but…

    Mountain areas like this frequently have strong winds. The incessant wind stirs up dust and pollens, can blow over or damage sun shelters or awnings, seriously get on your nerves to the point you don’t want to be outside and effectively turn a warm weather environment into a chilly, not so inviting place. We have experienced all of this.

    The allergies: moving to a new place, you may find you are allergic to pollens, etc. you didn’t Know. My wife and I have been hacking, sneezing and coughing since we got here, and residents say that it is not uncommon. As you get older, this can be hard to deal with and you may not be able to adjust. And this is completely opposite of what we always heard about AZ being free from allergy and a place to move to get relief!

    The dry air is nice for some, but can exacerbate allergies and cause skin and breathing issues. Some have told me this can take years to get used to– at 66, I’m not willing to wait it out.

    We came here to get away from the cold. While we have some cold weather clothing and coats to manage it, this is not what we wanted. Mountain areas, as stated in the article are often susceptible to colder temps than perhaps you want to live with permanently. For us, it has changed a potential new home place into a “nice to visit”.

    I’ll repeat the advice often stated here on Top Retirements — try to visit places you are considering for retirement before you commit. An extended visit can reveal much that you cannot learn by reading or from a “drive-by”. We have toured all over the US including two brief visits near here. This visit was to test a potential move. Instead we reaffimed our original choice to stay in central NC.

    by Rich — May 22, 2014

  2. I used to live in Rohnert Park, just south of Santa Rosa. I recently left CA after 18 years there. The cost of living, insane high taxes and prices, regulations, bad roads, traffic, etc, are driving tens of thousands of Californians out of the state. Why not, when you can live on 40 percent less elsewhere (like Arizona). If you want to retire in CA, you better bring your wallet!

    by Mike — May 22, 2014

  3. With allergies on the rise, and new allergy sufferers joining the ranks by the day, your insight can be one that is not to be overlooked. Many Northern individuals have not been exposed to nearly as many diverse pollen types as Warmer areas commonly have. I have known a number of Northern people who have REALLY had eye-openning experiences in Florida. Florida is a KING of POLLEN PRODUCTION!!! Unlike alot of the Northern climates, pollen production in Florida is not merely limited to a couple of months. This,coupled with the heat and humidity, keeps the pollen production going full bore. I have met Northern retirees, who have never had an allergy in their lives, who experience numerous allergies in southern climes,(Florida specifically) sufficent to compel them to move back North.

    by Marc — May 22, 2014

  4. We live very near Blue Ridge in Ellijay, GA and you are right – it is a great community with a lot of nice cabins near water, long range views, etc. It is near North Carolina, not South Carolina. It is also pretty near Atlanta so you have reasonable access to Atlanta for Sports, theater, shopping, etc. Blue Ridge has an active community theater as well. We like the area for hiking (lots of waterfalls nearby), kayaking, great trout fishing, and the great community we live in at Coosawattee River Resort. There is quite a bit of wildlife the area is absolutely beautiful. Lots to do for active retirees.

    Also, love Steamboat Springs in the summer time. Great place for skiers in the winter – but too cold for me to live full time!

    by Steve — May 22, 2014

  5. We have made the decision to relocate to Tellico Village in Loudon, TN in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and near Knoxville. We will be moving there in a few weeks and are truly looking forward to the change and the experience. Since we are moving from Texas lower cost of living and milder climate are what has been the drivers not to mention that we both love the mountains and honeymooned in Gatlinburg nearly 47 years ago.

    by Ed Kingsbery — May 22, 2014

  6. First, I would say that it’s odd that Asheville, N.C., isn’t included in this list of mountain towns, when last year rated it the #1 retirement location in the U.S.

    Second, I don’t consider Knoxville a mountain town. It’s pretty darn flat, although there are mountains not too far away, and it is the headquarters of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (though more of the park is actually in North Carolina than in Tennessee.) In fact, it’s a stretch to say that a couple of the other listed towns and cities are actually IN the mountains.

    As to the reader comment on winds in the mountains, in my experience it varies a lot. For example, in Western North Carolina we normally don’t get much wind, except at the highest elevations such as the peak of Grandfather Mountain or Mt. Mitchell. It is true that bio-rich areas such as the Southern Appalachians have a lot of different pollens, and because of elevation differences the season for each type of tree or flower can last longer than in flat areas.

    by Lan Sluder — May 22, 2014

  7. I’m puzzled as to your naming Santa Rosa as a mountain town. We are somewhat in a valley about 45 minutes from the coast. Growing way too fast, high taxes and fees, poor roads. Looking for somewhere outside of California as we tire of supporting all those on benefits here. Better cost of living so that retirement money goes further. Hey Mike, where did you relocate?

    by Katherine — May 22, 2014

  8. Katherine,
    We moved to the Phoenix, AZ area. We are building our dream retirement home in Peoria at much less than the cost of a 50 year old house in CA. The cost of living remains at 40% less than the Bay Area (including Santa Rosa). For example, we routinely pay between 70 cents and $1.20 LESS than the Bay Area for gasoline. And the roads are unbelievably good. Clean and smoothe. Very little litter, too. The weather here is nothing short of wonderful (sure, it gets hot from June thru September, but then 8 months of the best weather in the world afterward is worth it). Considering that one of every 4 Californians live below the poverty line and 1 out of 3 Americans on welfare live in CA, I understand completely what you mean by supporting all those on benefits there. That is why 100,000 MORE people LEFT CA in 2013 than moved in.

    by Mike — May 22, 2014

  9. Lan, I agree that all mountain areas are not windy — in fact, in my experience most are not constantly or even frequently windy any more than any other area. I Was talking specifically of the winds we have experienced almost continuously in this part of Arizona. I have only known of winds like this in the Plains states which have a reputation for wind. Arizona has many highway signs in the mountains that warn of high winds.

    I also was surprised not to find Asheville listed but assume it will probably be in part 2. After all our travels, Asheville remains the one alternative we would consider besides where we live.

    And I too think of Knoxville and Prescott being, like Denver, mountain towns because of the proximity and visibility of their mountains. Sure, they aren’t “in the mountains” like Asheville or, say, Durango, but it’s diffiiult to travel in some directions without seeing and running into mountains and much of their recreation and economy is “mountain dependent”.

    by Rich — May 22, 2014

    This is one of my favorite tools. Just plug in where you live and where you want to go and look at the results. Very informative!
    – Mike

    by Mike — May 22, 2014

  11. Thanks Mike. Did you explore more elevated areas north of Phoenix? We’ve yet to get there to explore. I’m not a cold weather person but don’t know if I could handle the scorching Summers. BTW if you use (without cost-of-living), one can compare health matters, voting, religion, economy, housing too.
    Understand that the air quality in the Phoenix area isn’t the best for respiratory problems.

    by Katherine — May 22, 2014

  12. Katherine,
    Having come from the Bay Area, I have had my fill of cold weather. Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco”? I don’t like the cold either, so the northern AZ cities were out for me. Anyway, my wife and I grew up in the Phoenix area and have come home after many years away.
    Yes, there are some allergy problems here, but there also some in the Bay Area. As in most places, they occur in the spring. I remember when people used to come to the desert to relieve respiratory ailments like asthma. Many people take vacations and leave during the summer months. There are also lots of lakes around here, too. Plenty to do.

    by Mike — May 22, 2014

  13. Thanks to all who take time to help us newbies out! Keep those comments coming. We are five years out but traveling to these spots on purpose and staying to see and inhale!

    by Megan — May 23, 2014

  14. Las Cruces, New Mexico has an altitude of just under 3000 feet, not 4000 feet as your article states. It is also nearly level, although there are mountains nearby and the Rio Grande flows through this, the second largest city in NM.

    by John — May 24, 2014

  15. Blue Ridge shouldn’t be on this list! There’s no more room there. Stay away! High rises every place you turn. Graffiti all over. Hoodlums I tell you! The people there aren’t friendly at all. Don’t be fooled by some article that somebody got paid to list such an armpit of the South!

    by Bubba Blue — May 26, 2014

  16. Bubba Blue…I am sensing sarcasm! We love the friendly folks and beautiful
    country of the Blue Ridge Mountains…tell us more specifics …lest you jest!

    by Carol — May 27, 2014

  17. NOTE: This message was posted in a different forum as a reply to “Robert” but I thought it might be relevant to this forum, too.

    Robert – this post should be in the “Mountain States..” forum, but i’ll try to sum up Wyoming for you. We have only lived here since 1975 but I feel qualified to give you my honest opinion.

    We are a mountain state and even the plains and prairies are “high altitude” and arid. It goes without saying that the mountains have shorter summers. Best to live in the eastern part if you want to farm (we like to garden). It gets hot in the summer but not very humid. We have more sunny days than not, by a wide margin. We are motorbikers and this is a beautiful place to ride; we have a lot of bikers.

    We are people who love the outdoors and aren’t ashamed to carry a jacket around with us in the summer, knowing that we might be outside after dark! If you like fishing and/or hunting Wyoming makes it cheap and easy for you. We have plenty of public land. Camping? Hiking? Wildlife and landscape photography? We has it!

    We are an energy state, so taxes on oil, coal and uranium production puts a huge amount of revenue in our coffers. There is NO STATE INCOME TAX! Sales taxes are usually 4% or 5% tops but there are no sales taxes on groceries in most communities. Doctors are at a premium in some places, while hospitals in Casper and Cheyenne are well staffed. There is a VA hospital in Cheyenne and it is part of the recent scandal (thanks Obama ). Get used to driving 100+ miles to do major shopping unless you live in Casper or Cheyenne, even if all you need is available at WalMart! Note to hipsters, we have NO IKEA stores but I heard there is a Starbucks in the new Safeway store in Lander.

    We give a discount to Veterans. I get about 30% knocked off of my property taxes because of my Veteran status. Our property tax is about $600 a year, so that’s almost $200. We live in the town of Riverton; house appraises at $150,000.

    We are and have always been a conservative state. We recently managed to elect some extremists to our State House, but I think people have learned a few things about “moderation” since then. A fact that isn’t well known is, there are more “same-sex couples” per-capita in Wyoming than any other state. I will take a leap here and claim that almost all of those couples are of the “female” gender! Yet, we will probably be one of the last states to have “same-sex marriage”, go figure. We are known as “The Equality State” because we elected the first woman governor.

    I hope you get the gist. The best way to know it is to visit it.


    p.s. we actually have fast internet, too, so a lot of folks who do little more that surf the internet would be perfectly happy in Wyoming from the warmth of their kitchens

    by Gary — May 27, 2014

  18. My son lives in Steamboat Springs so I try to spend a week at Christmas each year. I wouldn’t think of going without my Yak Traks as they don’t seem to plow and shovel like Wisconsinites do, nor do they salt. (tree huggers I assume) So you are usually walking on packed snow or ice and need to be very confident on your feet. I did see some cinders in use last December, don’t think I had seen that since the 50’s in Illinois. Beauty is plentiful, so is cold and snow. Be ready for sticker shock in the grocery store, and shopping on the internet, otherwise WalMart is the option! Too remote for elderly seniors IMHO. Air fares expensive out of season and few. Stores are too tourist oriented. Nice place to visit.

    by Penny — June 1, 2014

  19. This is a reply to Gary in Wyoming. Many thanks to you for your insight. My daughter recently moved to CO, so we have some sense of life there, but WY to the north was previously an unknown for us. I especially wanted to post a comparison on Gary’s veteran info: my property taxes here in NJ are north of 8000 and as a veteran I get (drum roll please) a 250 exemption (wow, what a relief!). Needless to say, some states are friendlier to veterans and retirees than NJ.

    by Dan — June 2, 2014

  20. As a previous poster stated, visit the area you are interested in. And, do it for more than a few weeks. Ideally rent for a year. FYI. The winds in Prescott are fairly moderate overall. See WEATHERSPARK.COM for a complete report of long term temps, wind, humidity, etc.

    by Tom — June 3, 2014

  21. OK … I am single; want mild(ish) winters, decent medical care, great veterinary care, independent booksellers, and a place to kayak (lake, not rapids). Thinking North Carolina but would consider anyplace on the east coast … as far west as eastern TN or KY … I don’t want to be isolated and think a small college town or university would provide lots of interesting things to do. But the more I look, the more confused I get! Anyone care to make suggestions?

    by Sheila — July 1, 2014

  22. STEVE – Can you tell me a little about your neck of the woods? I’m from NYS and I am very interested in Northern Georgia. How does it compare to Western North Carolina in cost-of-living, housing costs, and cultural opportunities. From what I’ve read the Georgia state tax situation is much better than that of North Carolina. Not sure how that translates into dollars and cents.

    However, would people there be as open to a New York transplant? Is the area more Southern (not a bad thing, just asking.) I’ve read the area is very prone to tornadoes; your experience? And last, are you familiar with Blairsville? If so, your take in comparison to Ellijay?

    I DO HOPE YOU RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. It would mean so much to me. With hope in my heart and my thanks in advance.


    by ella — July 21, 2014

  23. Sheila, I personally would find most small towns, college or not, too isolating for me…unless, they were relatively close to a larger area. For example, I live in Fredericksburg, VA where U of Mary Washington is located. It has a population less than 25,000. But because it is approximately 50 miles south of DC and 50 north of Richmond, it is not isolated. I do not intend to stay here for retirement, but it could be a nice area for some if they can tolerate I-95. I am looking for an area where my money will go further and will explore Northern Georgia as well as NC and SC.

    by elaine — July 22, 2014

  24. […] For more information: Part 1: Best Places to Retire on a Lake (2011) Great Mountain Towns for Retirement […]

    by » At The Lake – Where the (Retirement) Living is Easy Topretirements — July 22, 2014

  25. As you approach retirement, you may find that the home you’ve lived in all these years just isn’t as suitable as it once was. It’s for this reason that many retirees decide to sell their old homes, using the funds to purchase new ones that will accommodate their new lifestyle.Middlebury,VT has a small population, making it a quiet, low-key retreat that is perfect for those who need serenity, all that just makes it perfect for my retirement.

    by Jack — January 16, 2015

  26. Jack I agree with you about VT. I’ll be heading to NH as soon as a rental becomes available in Dover or Hampton Falls area. I’ve just returned from the holidays in RI,and while I was there I bopped up to NH to check it out in person.It seems like a pretty good area to live(not to close to Portsmouth). Once I get there I’m not tied to any one spot I can move as I please throughout the state. NH still has some freedoms(no state or sales tax,I have the option of getting car insurance or wearing a seat belt,concealed weapon permits,etc…). Rents are pretty reasonable,home is right down the road. I’m sure I’ll hear all the negatives of living in NH,and I welcome all comers. I need all the information I can get!

    by Jim — January 17, 2015

  27. Jim, I lived in NH (West Lebanon near Dartmouth) for awhile. Just remember that although there is no state tax on earned income…they do tax interest and dividends…do not forget to file!

    I moved from a state with “Live Free or Die” on the license plates to a state with hearts on it’s license plate.

    by Elaine — January 18, 2015

  28. We are getting ready to retire. Years ago, we owned a vacation home in Highlands, NC. We loved it so much! The town was filled with wonderful people transplanted from all over the Country. We really like a colder climate. However, the 10 hour drive got too difficult, and we sold it.
    Now we want to retire in the Smokey Mountains somewhere. Highlands homes are very expensive. Taxes are too. I hear that TN has no tax on Soc Sec, Pensions, retirement income, etc. Can anyone recommend a small, great mountain town in TN (if what I hear about the TN cost of living is true?)

    by Katharine S — March 23, 2015

  29. Katharine,
    I too am interested in Tennessee Although i can’t answer your question, i just wanted to let know that retirement income is not tax-free in TN. Any amounts that come out of your savings in the form of IRA, 401-K, 403-B, annuity, or just plain savings income will be taxed. Just wanted to let you know.
    Hoping you find someplace that makes you just as happy as your former Highlands home. By the way, didn’t you find it too wet? (I’m considering towns not too far from Highlands).

    by ella — March 24, 2015

  30. it sounds like several of us are looking for something similar. We are very interested in the western part of NC. We have vacationed in those areas but have not been able to spend much other time to get the permanent feel of the area. I like to read other opinions and thoughts so that we can get ideas.

    by virginia — March 25, 2015

  31. A reply to Gary in Wyoming is in order.Wyoming is NOT the shangrila it is being made up to be as stated in another comment.Too many retirees,especially ones with lots of cash,are moving into Wyoming,driving up real estate prices ,rents and taxes.I feel that I too am qualified to answer these questions since I am a life long native of Wyoming.One can do better by shopping around other states than Wyoming,unless you like the ever shrinking public access to hunting and fishing areas over loaded with out of staters. Do not get trapped here by stories of gold at theend of the rainbow.

    by JB — March 25, 2015

  32. Katherine,
    What Ella said is not exactly correct. The only items taxed for income is interest and dividends, not IRA distributions or 401k or 403b withdrawals. There is an exemption if you make $33k or $59k for couples.
    Keep in mind Tennessee has a very high combines sales tax rate of an average 9.25%. Food is also taxed at 5%.

    by Bill — March 25, 2015

  33. Katharine and Virginia,
    I’m also considering SW Virginia (colder at times), No. Georgia, and E Tennesse. It is difficult to get feedback. Often a post will appear, i will then respond requesting information, and the poster never replies. Disappointing to say the least! Maybe someone will read this and give us something useful to help steer our search. Thank you, whoever you are!

    by ella — March 25, 2015

  34. Originally from SE Pennsylvania we moved around, CO, KY eventually landing in Central FL for the past 30 years. It’s been a good life but I wanted to retire further north to experience the four seasons again and plant trees, shrubs and flowers which don’t grow in FL. I was doing research for several years and hoped to visit several areas in VA and NC before deciding. My husband is 67 and has no immediate plans to retire. Two years ago as we drove by the exit on I-95 Sun City Hilton Head I mentioned that the amenities(pools and fitness centers could not be beat) and the prices were better than the Asheville area. My husband isn’t a fan of cold weather so the milder winter, but colder than FL, was attractive to him though I would have preferred further north. We knew what to expect in the summer and culturally because we vacationed at Fripp Island for 20-some years. The down side is the summer is just as hot and humid as FL. The heat does break much sooner than it does in FL.

    We recently visited friends who retired in North GA nears Brasstown Bald. I fell in love with a lot on a ridge with a gorgeous view across the area including a lake, in a new community. It even has city water! It’s a bigger lot and we’d have to maintain it while that is taken care of in Sun City HH. Most of it can be naturalized. I love the thought of cooler summers and beautiful fall leaves. My friend says it doesn’t snow often and doesn’t last long. I’d love it. We enjoyed some nice restaurants. I’ve been told there are golf courses(I learned to play in Sun City. I found wonderful neighbors in Sun City but they are always on the go-go(I don’t play cards or games. I prefer to golf, bike and swim and putter about my home) and the homes are too close(not that anyone is loud or annoying). I think I would adjust to mountain town life. My husband is concerned about aging in a mountain town. There are two hospitals but probably not the number of choices of doctors as in the Savannah area. He’s afraid I won’t have enough to do. I rarely go to a mall so that’s not an issue though I am used to eating out and Publix groceries which so far has not reached this GA community. My husband is still working but can telecommute. We each go back and forth between SC and his job in FL, a 4.5 hour drive one-way), once a month. That would change to a 10 hour drive through Atlanta. I’d go less often.

    So, anyone care to share their experience of moving from a big tour area like Central FL to a small mountain town? Is health care an issue? We are both healthy though I have had a total knee replacement. Do you get bored?

    by MarjieW — October 18, 2015

  35. MarjieW. We are getting ready to find out. We live in southern California and are starting to prepare the house for sale, paying off all our bills (except car)… and moving to Show Low AZ. Population 10k except during summer when the flat landers (Phoenix & Tucson) come up to get away from the extreme heat, then the population soars to 30k. It has all the amenities, just no big box store. If you shop at the local safeway, and are a member of their club (its free). As you purchase groceries you have credit added to your account you can use at their gas station. My BFF who lives there now got $.30 off each gallon with her last fill up. They have a good hospital, with two Medical Helicopters. Cost of living is about 10% less than where I currently live. Housing is reasonable… if you are looking for a 55+ areas they do have a couple just not highly active like down in Phoenix or Tucson. They have plenty of restaurants and things to do. Hiking, volunteering, even some part time jobs you might be interested in.

    The area seems to have a huge amount of doctors, they just competed a full cancer center. Most all take Medicare and the Hospital does too.

    The winter we are about to enter is suppose to be one of the worst for the past 75 to 100 years. (Good ole El Nino) We are watching how it is with my BFF and her hubby (they, too, are from So Cal). From their experience we will decide if we want to buy a 4-wheel drive or not.

    The temp range is what we are looking for…we want 4 seasons but not extreme. We want some land… quarter of an acre or more, too.

    Hope this helps

    by Kosborne — October 19, 2015

  36. Bill, thanks for your correction as of March 25th on Tennessee taxation.

    by ella — October 19, 2015

  37. Katharine and Virginia,
    I just returned from a 13+ day trip of SW VA, NE TN, SW NC, and N GA. Traveled to Abingdon and Galax, VA; Jonesborough TN; Franklin, Hayesville, and Hendersonville NC; Hiawasee, Blairsville, Jasper, and Dahlonega GA. Visted (communities) Big Canoe and Bent Tree in Jasper, and Carriage Park in Hendersonville. It was a whirlwind tour and i don’t think we learned enough about any one place. I’ll post soon, but in the meantime if you have any questions, please ask. It IS lovely to be home (NYS) despite the cold (which they are experiencing down south as well!!!).

    by ella — October 19, 2015

  38. Check out the Murrells Inlet and Charleston area. There are three seasons here and the heat and humidity lasts about 3-4 months.
    Yes it was chilly over the weekend but no where as bad as some parts of the country experiences.
    The only place in the US with perfect weather is San Diego.
    Nothing else compares.You get what you pay for. Be well!

    by Michael — October 19, 2015

  39. I’ll be very interested in reading your impressions of GA, Hendersonville and VA. I’ve decided to keep my short-list down to 3 locations. Each time I find a location that I like, I have to decide whether it will bump one of the top three or not. I still haven’t done my Florida and Hilton Head trips. Searching in Florida seems overwhelming, due to the large number of 55+ communities.

    But that is one of my greatest dilemmas. I definitely see lots of positives in a 55+ community, such increasing the odds of finding new friends who share similar interests and potentially having interesting activities available. On the other hand, I wonder about maintenance battles in the future as some residents’ fixed incomes are squeezed by inflation or the boomers care less about amenities they may become too feeble to enjoy anymore, if re-sale values will plummet due to the large numbers of units being developed especially post-boomer, and if retirees with too much time on their hands would over-manage their neighbors. After being a workaholic in a stressful professional position for 40 years, I’m also not sure how hard it will be to change to a social world. Well, one worry at a time as I approach retirement day…

    by Kate — October 20, 2015

  40. MarjieW, Would you give me the name of the community you visited near Brasstown Bald? My husband and i were recently in the area and weren’t aware of a new community there. We like the idea of retiring to a community with the potential activities and ease of getting to know people. However, the two communities we saw in Jasper, GA didn’t seem right for us. Thanks so much!

    by ella — October 20, 2015

  41. We just returned from a visit to Tennessee and northern NC. We loved both areas but know that this is the beginning of a tedious search. Of course we know that there is never a perfect place but I would like to be close! We would like to find a small town that would be fairly close to VA facilities. My husband is a veteran that needs to be fairly close.
    I agree with Kate with her views on over 55 communities, that is why we will be thinking of renting.
    Bill, thank you for your information on Tennessee taxation.

    by Virginia — October 20, 2015

  42. We are looking for a scenic town like Breckenridge/Frisco CO but without the tons of snow and very high housing prices. What we love about the area is the charm, the walkabillity, the public transportation, the biking trails, the abundance of hiking areas, the dry air, and of course the natural beauty. Any suggestions?

    by Linda O — October 4, 2018

  43. Hi Linda O,

    You’ll need to give up some items on your “want” list. Breckenridge/Frisco CO, are very popular and brings in lots of money so they are able to provide many expensive public works/facilities people want and are attracted to. Of course, any place extremely desirable will correspondingly have very expensive real estate prices.

    But, if you can settle for 80 percent of what that area offers, then I suggest you look at the below towns.

    Salida, Colorado.
    1) The town is completely surrounded by mountains. It sits at the end of the Arkansas Valley.
    2) Arkansas River runs through it.
    3) Doesn’t get too much snow.
    4) Drop dead gorgeous views.
    5) Real estate prices are relatively inexpensive for a mountain town. Prices are similar to Denver metro area and half to one third the prices of Breckenridge/Frisco.
    6) Lots of outdoor activities: skiing, gold medal fishing, kayaking, river rafting, mountain biking, hiking, etc.
    7) Lots of green vegetation, much more than most mountain towns.
    8) Has a Walmart.

    Buena Vista, Colorado.
    1) Its a few miles North of Salida, CO. Its a much smaller town.
    2) Arkansas River runs through it.
    3) Even less snow than Salida or flat land Denver.
    4) Views are stunning. Its at the base of the Collegiate Peaks mountains.
    5) Real estate prices are less expensive than Salida, cheap even. You can make it frugally on just SS. Of course, mansions are there for the money.
    6) Lots of outdoor activities: skiing, gold medal fishing, kayaking, river rafting, mountain biking, hiking, etc.
    7) Shopping is limited.

    Palisade, Colorado
    1) A small town that is on the East side of the Grand Junction metro area. Its near Colorado’s western border.
    2) Noted for an abundance of artisans and wineries. Its a “cool” and hip place.
    3) Beautiful views.
    4) Not much snow, hardly any.
    5) Lots of green vegetation.
    6) Lots of festivals and activities in the area.
    7) Real estate prices are reasonable.
    8) Lots of shopping and medical facilities nearby.
    8) Economy is growing and jobs are plentiful in the Grand Junction area.
    9) Has a large airport nearby.

    by Alan E — October 5, 2018

  44. Hi Linda O,

    Additionally, the below towns might come closest to your desires and still be in Colorado. But, there are many towns and places in Colorado that might suit you. You’ll need to research and travel to them to determine if the vibe creates the right chemistry in you.

    Glenwood Springs, Colorado
    1) Tourist town, but, inexpensive when compared to the ski resorts.
    2) Colorado River and I-70 runs through it.
    3) Largest natural hots springs outdoor pool in the world that’s open to the public.
    4) Real estate prices are reasonable.
    5) Glenwood Canyon is visually gorgeous.
    6) Lots of outdoor activities: nearby snow skiing, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain and road biking, fishing, hiking, etc.
    7) Not as much snow as some other mountain towns.
    8) This would be an excellent place to retire.

    Durango, Colorado
    1) Located in southwest Colorado in the San Juan mountains.
    2) Tourist town in the summer.
    3) Plentiful year round outdoor activities: fishing, nearby snow skiing, world class mountain biking, hiking, road motor cycling (Iron Horse Rally), etc.
    4) Its a laid back place unless you get caught up with the tourists.
    5) Many seasonal jobs available.
    6) Mesa Verde National Park is very close.
    7) Overall, its a very desirable town to live and retire in.
    8) Most years there’s not much snow. Other years you’ll be shoveling it off your roof.

    Crested Butte, Colorado
    1) A small ski town located a little north of Gunnison, CO.
    2) This is the best small ski town that still has inexpensive real estate prices.
    3) Vail Resorts company (largest owner of ski resorts in the US) just purchased this place this summer (2018); therefore, real estate prices will go up quickly as they modernize and expand the ski area and town. The prices are already moving up in anticipation of this. This would be an excellent real estate investment if you buy now while prices are still low.
    4) This is a young town and not the best for retirees, but, will change quickly as new big money comes in to create lots of modern amenities and facilities.
    5) This currently is what Breckenridge, CO was 40 years ago, but, changes will very soon be on ultra-drive steroids.
    6) Being a ski town, this place gets lots of champagne powder snow, fantastic for skiing, cult-like even.
    7) Lots of outdoor activities: stream/river/lake/ice fishing, snow skiing, hiking, world class mountain biking, summer music festivals, etc.
    8) Shopping and medical are limited, but, will quickly change very soon.

    by Alan E — October 6, 2018

  45. Alan E: an excellent description of lots of great CO towns. Used to live in OKC & drove to CO each spring break for skiing. Skiied both Crested Butte & Breckenridge 40 years ago. Loved Crested Butte then so I sure hope Vail doesn’t bury its charm. Thanks for sharing your knowlege.

    by Laney Humphrey — October 7, 2018

  46. Hi All
    I recently returned from a trip out west and loved Coeur d’Alene Idaho. Any insights and input would be appreciated.

    by Moderator Flo — October 11, 2018

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