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Sandy and Annie’s Quest for the Perfect Place to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

April 11, 2016 — We love hearing stories from real people about their adventures in finding the perfect place to retire. So we were very fortunate recently to get an in depth interview from 2 old friends, Sandy and Ann, who shared their retirement search adventures. We hope you will find it interesting and instructive. (Don’t miss the Further Reading section at the end – over the years we have interviewed a whole lot of people about their retirement search experiences – and the links to those stories are all there!)

Prior to retirement the pair lived in a comfortable New York suburb, from which they commuted to successful careers in the Big Apple. Their enviable lifestyle included frequent ski trips to Vermont in winter and a busy social life at a country club the rest of the year. But when it came time for retirement, both were interested in a change of scenery. They agreed on two main motivations: to have easier access to outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, biking, and skiing; and to escape New York’s expensive cost of living and real estate taxes.

Looking down south
Like so many others, they were faced with a big question – where were they going to live the rest of their lives? The idea of a milder winter climate was appealing, where Sandy could play golf and they could both bike, play tennis, and hike year round. But there had to also be some way that they could ski in winter – perhaps with long trips west or a second place in the mountains. With so many of their friends headed to the Sunbelt for retirement, they decided they needed to check out that lifestyle. So off they went on a southern tour of exploration.

One of the first places they explored was Savannah, where Sandy’s mother had grown up and they still had family. They liked Savannah and also visited The Landings, a large active development of 4,400 homes near there. Sandy thought thought it was like a giant play pen for adults, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing. They also visited friends who lived in Charleston (SC) in a great old home. From there they looked at homes on Daniels island and Kiawah Island. Sandy and Ann also toured one of the luxurious Cliffs communities, of which there are several in the mountains of North and South Carolina. Their friends were in love with the Cliffs because of the extraordinary golf. Although Sandy and Ann enjoyed the presentation from a representative from The Cliffs, there were no sparks. Ann doesn’t play golf, so a big downside there was the tennis center, which was at least 20 minutes away. Also, they felt the whole community was too isolated.

As a good example of turning ordinary travel experiences into retirement research, the pair got good use of a trip to North Carolina to attend the wedding of one of their son’s friends. They ended up visiting Highlands NC, a very cute mountain town on the South Carolina border they had never heard of before (and neither had Topretirements). In the 1930s Highlands became a golfing mecca when Bobby Jones of Atlanta and some of his golfing pals founded the Highlands Country Club. Today that club is one of seven successful residential country club communities in this area of very western NC. Anne loved the town, partly because of its mountain location and partly because of the nice stores and luxury hotel and spa in town, the Old Edwards Inn. One drawback to Highlands, they learned, is that it is definitely a seasonal town – stores close down in the winter, which is a pretty big drawback.

Neither one of them had much interest in retiring to Florida – Sandy had been there many times on birding trips, but the Sunshine State didn’t click for him. Some of their retirement location requirements further disqualified a lot of places in the south – the high humidity and temperatures were unappealing, and so was worrying about hurricanes.

After a few of these scouting trips Sandy and Ann took stock of what they had learned. It was clear that Sandy had a strong interest in retiring to the south, but Ann was not that enamored. They liked a lot of what they saw in the Carolina mountains, but there were some drawbacks. For one, they wondered whether they would enjoy living there year round. For another, the skiing was not going to be good enough to meet their needs, and that meant having to live in 2 places, a big drain on the budget. At this point it seemed they were not destined for southern living. Ann, who had family in the Midwest and in Colorado (where she went to college), suggested they explore that area, which they both had always enjoyed and considered living in.

Off to Colorado
One of Ann’s cousins was a real estate agent in Colorado. She escorted them to various developments and towns in the Vail Valley, about 100 miles west of Denver. One of their objectives was to find a nice little town that felt like a community. Another requirement was that it had to have a Catholic church. One of the first places they looked that winter was Singletree, not as expensive as Vail or Beaver Creek, but very nice and with good facilities. Unfortunately being that close to Vail meant that home prices were high too; no single family home they liked was affordable. The cousin suggested other towns slightly more to the west, including Eagle Ranch, which she told them they would like. They visited there and did like it, but still kept looking. People told them that they really needed to come out to the area in the summer, when the experience is completely different. They did visit again, and discovered one of Eagle’s biggest advantage – it is a real town and not a resort (See our review of Eagle and our comparison of Mountain Retirements in Utah and Colorado for more).

The view from Eagle

The view from Eagle

One day in New York they got a call about a great house with mountain views in Eagle. And, it was far less expensive than what a comparable home closer to Vail. They had seen this house on their first winter visit – for about 10 minutes. When they came back for their second visit in the summer, the house was under contract to someone else, although they were able to visit a similar house by the same builder. Subsequently the deal on the original house fell through. They eventually purchased that home in a short sale, fingers crossed (it turned out great!). Now, 3 years later, they love living in Eagle, which meets so many of their requirements. The climate is interesting enough to allow activities they love all year round. Yet because it is in Colorado’s Banana Belt, it is milder than up the valley in Vail. The skiing, biking, and hiking are at their doorstep, and better than in the East. The scenery is beautiful, and the small town is interesting with good shopping. The Vail Club 50 has been fantastic for making new friends, and an easy way to get involved in all kinds of activities. One of their sons and many of Ann’s cousins live within a few hours, including one moving into their neighborhood. Although some Eagle residents journey to warmer climes during the winter (mostly non-skiiers), the year round population is fairly stable. They enjoy that they live in a place where people like to go on vacation, and that no one cares where you are from, or what you did before you came.

Vail Village

Vail Village

The golf is great in Eagle too, with two wonderful golf courses. The first is Eagle Ranch Golf Club (public), an Arnold Palmer signature course, which is generally thought to be the best public course in the Vail Valley. The other is Frost Creek Country Club, a spectacularly beautiful, private, mountainous course, designed by Tom Weiskopf. It is also worth noting that both of these courses are far removed from I­70, which is a big plus compared to most other courses in the Valley.

Saying goodbye to the suburbs
Any time you make a move as big as this couple has made, people will ask – how could you move away? To Sandy and Ann the move to Colorado was relatively easy. When their real estate agent apologized that their new real estate taxes were going to be $6000/year, Sandy said “go ahead and hurt me” – in New York they were paying many times that figure. Downsizing to stay in the area didn’t make too much sense, as their kids are grown up and living far away – and no grandchildren yet. Although they enjoyed their country club, it was very expensive. The club scene was also starting to get boring, and one of them said to the other: “I don’t want to wake up in 10 years and say OK, it’s golf again (or tennis)”. They both yearned for more adventure while young enough to try.

Not that the decision to move was completely easy. They love and miss their friends (and still go back yearly to visit). Some of their friends remain in the suburbs, while others are moving to the South or even New York City.

5 Best Things about why they chose to retire Eagle
We asked the pair to list the 5 best things about their retirement choice (not necessarily in order):
1. Vail Club 50 and its adventurous, fun people
2. Delighted to discover the cultural scene with the Bravo!Vail Music Festival, Vail International Dance, Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Beaver Creek (they say they see more cultural events now than they did living in New York!)
3. Year round community and a nice small town
4. Sports all year – bike, hike, ski, golf
5. Compared to New York the cost of living is low

Bottom line
The retirement priorities and choices of this couple are a little bit unusual, and wouldn’t apply to a majority of baby boomers. But, we like how Sandy and Annie went about finding their best place to retire, and think their process is worth emulating. They discussed it and worked out what their priorities were. They were open to different locations and visited many before they retired. And finally, they picked a place that works for them after exploring the area thoroughly. We are glad they are happy and enjoying their dazzlingly active retirement! See the Further Reading section for an amazing collection of previous interviews of retirees who have explored all kinds of locations!

Comments? What are your experiences in researching where to live in retirement? Please share your thoughts about what you learned, enjoyed, and regret in the Comments section below. We would love to hear your story too!

For further reading:
What Sandy and Roger Learned in 8 Years of Looking at Retirement Communities
Why We Retired to Tucson
One Year Later: Why Artie Moved to Carolina from New York
9 Things Betty and Jim Learned While Looking for Their Best Place to Retire
Morris and Carol Explore Florida and Texas
Hop on Jay Michael’s Retirement Tour Bus (2 part series)
Review of Eagle Comparison of Mountain Retirements in Utah and Colorado
Adventurous Baby Boomer Retirement Choices (a series profiling a dozen retirees)

Posted by Admin on April 11th, 2016


  1. What i would like to know, and what i need help with, is what to do while i’m in a town to know if it is right for me? I’ve traveled to many towns and didn’t come away feeling like i knew much. Visiting the local library and main street isn’t enough. Perhaps i didn’t stay long enough. Help anyone? Please?

    by ella — April 12, 2016

  2. I love how they described their process. After moving around a lot for work, we have been doing a very similar search. First you have to decide what it is that you want to do or get involved with. We like cooler weather and we want a city with things to do but not too large to navigate. Education needs to be important and it needs to have good libraries. We discussed volunteer opportunities and groups we support. Then, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinsons so health care and support came to the top of the list. Our family is up and down the east coast so we focused there.

    On paper we picked out a few places – some we had been to and some just passed through. We finally decided on Portland Maine and made a trip last fall. I had reached out to some folks through the fiber/weaving/knitting website as well as asking everyone we knew if they had any ties to the area. We were also introduced to friends of my BIL so we ended up with two lunch dates. We stayed in a B&B and grilled the new owners about the city. We also met with a realtor (highly recommended by the knitters group) on the last day – just to touch base. She listened carefully to what we wanted and pointed out the perfect neighborhood. We are a couple of years from the actual move but are watching the market and she set up real estate e-mail alerts for us. Have also subscribed to the local city magazine as well as other local businesses e-mail lists. There is good shopping, great transportation access (train/plane/shuttle to Boston), great places for walks on the beach, so many restaurants to try, sports teams to watch and the Osher Center for Life Long Learning courses to take.

    We keep finding things that we want to try or visit or attend. Husband said, just the other day – “It sounds too good to be true!” I hope so! We are planning a couple more trips up before we settle in but the process has been fun so far and we KNOW we don’t want to stay where we are.

    by Flatearth6 — April 13, 2016

  3. Sandy and Ann,

    Welcome to Colorado! The winters can be a trial, but New York probably trained you well. I am glad that folks are really considering living here because it is fantastic. I think knowing what you want makes all the difference.

    by Lulu — April 20, 2016

  4. Ella, I know exactly what you mean. We have found actually talking to locals in shops or at events can be very helpful. On a recent trip to Venice, FL, we spoke to locals about everything we could think of from town concerns/issues, weather, cost of living, healthcare and their general satisfaction with the town and why they were satisfied or unsatisfied. We met people on the beaches, in shops, restaurants and even grocery stores who were more than willing to share the pros and cons of their area. We attended two art events and spoke with several people who lived in surrounding communities as well, all of whom raved about Venice. One of the most informative people was the owner of an ice cream shop who had relocated there from the Beaufort, SC area. That area was one I had been interested in until we spoke with him; hah! He was able to rattle off a lengthy list of what made Venice a much better area for his retirement than Beaufort and his requirements were similar to ours. Had we just visited and drove around I’m sure we would have found the town attractive but would not have had the same sense of place and community as we were able to get through conversation.

    by Janna — April 20, 2016

  5. We have a different kind of retirement problem I’ve never seen addressed. That is, having been happily retired in our choice of rural and very high country for nearly 20 years, we are faced with finding a suitable landing strip for Retirement 2.0. Now in our 70s, we realize the time may soon be approaching when one or both of us will face physical and/or medical problems that will make it difficult to remain here.
    Now, we are just beginning to regret having to drive 50 miles of difficult, sometimes closed, roads just to get to a chain steakhouse, and at least double that distance for a great meal or so-so theater. And we can’t imagine having to make that trip once or twice a week for medical services.
    So we’re searching for that ideal place where we can have services within easy reach, yet, not be stuck with neighbors on both sides and behind us. Been there back East. And our great kids are no help, one living in the NW, where weather isn’t very pleasant, and another in a beautiful part of California where we couldn’t afford a one-car garage, much less a home.
    But we’re working on it and will find an answer. It’s important to do this while we still have the time and good health to be choosy.

    by Craig — April 20, 2016

  6. Janna — fantastic response to ella! You can learn more talking to even just one or two people than by driving around a town for a week seeing the sights. Having looked around, find out what the people living there think of it As you said, they may well surprise your or may provide insights from elsewhere. And ideally, stay for a month or more…

    Craig — We are somewhat in your boat. Now 68 and having been retired in rural NC 20 minutes from anywhere (not as extreme as you) and confronted in recent years with changes and health issues, we have been searching like you are. Frankly, I can recommend NC with few reservations. For you, that might be humidity, but I mostly can’t think of more. And humidity varies greatly from coastal, through central to mountain NC — mountains being more reasonable, but still not at all like CO or AZ. (I relish the humidity, but I started at 16 — at 70 it can be a “tad” different.) But humidity is mostly a 3-month summer event and even that can be broken up by “cold fronts”. (Learn to sit quietly and be comfortable in a stew or be ready to take a shower. Or travel elsewhere in the summer. :<)

    But for all other aspects, we have the best of planned communities, individual homes (like ours) and various types of residential complexes along with more than 100 colleges and universities all over the state. And some of the very best medical facilities anywhere — again scattered all over the state from mountains to coast. The central Research Triangle area (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh) has literally everything, but is 3-4 hours from anything (accept the Rockies and dry desert). After all our travels (very extensive all over the US), we have decided NC is PROBABLY our final home — just as we had originally thought. But instead of continuing the 30 minute drive, we might move 30 or 300 miles (still in NC) to a place with less upkeep and more walkable (or golf-cartable). Or maybe not. (The dilemma of the novel "Lonesome Dove"s Clara. How do you change for a better than what you love? I bet you know about that problem.)

    A comment about politics in this very political world we find ourselves in today. NC has a quite conservative reputation. For the second time today, I'll say that it's not pervasive and you can either enjoy it or help to change it. This state swings on a pendulum. With a current conservative administration, many scream over outraged values. The pendulum has peaked — it is returning. But the range has historically been extreme conservativism (more like today) to moderate liberalism. This too shall pass.

    by Rich — April 20, 2016

  7. My wife and I are in our late 60s and have lived in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio for almost our entire lives, We enjoy Cleveland, but are tired of the long and harsh winters. For the last decade, we have been investigating different parts of the country. Because of the humidity and hurricanes, we ruled out Florida and the Carolinas, so we were looking Westward. Scottsdale AZ seemed appealing, with its’ great activities, shopping and restaurants, but the cost of housing, extreme summer heat (even if it is dry heat, 115 degrees is still like living in a microwave) and TRAFFIC kept us from pulling the trigger on moving there. We then investigated Mesa, which is only about 30 minutes from Scottsdale and you get more bang for your buck (still real hot, although AZ winters are great).

    Then a neighbor asked us what we knew about St. George Utah. Well, we had heard of Utah (not St. George though) and we knew little about it except that it was cold there, which we were trying to avoid. He explained that SG was in the very SW corner of Utah, near Zion National Park and only about a 90 minute drive from Las Vegas. There are over 300 days a year of sunshine and only a few inches of snow. It’s a little colder than Phoenix in the winter, but not as hot in the summer, especially because of the altitude. To make a long story a bit shorter, we visited SG a year ago and fell in love with the place. It is surrounded by huge red mountains, sort of like Sedona. There is every outdoor activity imaginable in the area, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend are all about two hours away There is a beautiful open air amphitheater, Tuacahn, where they perform first rate Broadway plays and have entertainers like Jay Lenno and The Beach Boys. There are a number of quite good, if not incredible, restaurants. Shopping is OK, but Vegas is nearby. There is an excellent grocery store (other average ones as well) and even a Costco! All in all, the place is very livable, even for big city folks like us.The place is serene and beautiful. It seems like a very easy place in which to live (no traffic jams, everything is about 15-20 minutes away, , friendly people, low crime, clean air, etc).
    There is an existing adult-active community of about 2000 homes, a BEAUTIFUL golf course community (many courses in the area), and a brand new adult -active development called Brio. We visited Brio a week before the grand opening and had our choice of lots. Our backyard will be facing a big, beautiful mountain! The clubhouse is modern and lovely and there s a nice workout facility, an indoor and outdoor pool and hot tubs both inside and outside. Everything is built to maximize the great view. When it is finished, Brio will have about 600 homes and even will have an assisted living facility on the property, should we require one down the road.
    In summation, St. George in general and Brio in particular, seem to have everything we were looking for, even if we didn’t know it was there, or even that it existed,

    by Andy — April 20, 2016

  8. We, too, investigated St. Geo after passing thru on our way home from Zion. Stopped there for lunch & thought, “Where IS this perfect place??” 3 State parks within 8 miles, Zion 30 min away, Bryce about an hour, Lake Powell & Grand Canyon within driving distance & Las Vegas, too! There’s even a local airport serviced by a couple major airlines (into SLC)
    We visited a few more times to really investigate. Home prices started rising… & fast! Also, for us, winters are too cold (high ~40 & AZ winters are perfect — 6 months of the year! Can’t beat that!) & summer temps DO reach over 110 (look up daily temps for ANY city at
    Also, we actually ran into prejudice as we are not members of the Church. Altho we were assured that non-membership is no problem in the St. Geo area, we experienced it firsthand. St.Geo is truly gorgeous but, we will be heading to AZ.

    by Jess — April 21, 2016

  9. @ Craig — look at the Phoenix area. Superb medical facilities all around (@ Mayo clinics! Cancer Treatment Center & lots of hospitals, too).
    There are areas with s-p-a-c-e between houses, too.
    Just look around.
    Yes, there are 3 mos of Aytch – Eee- Double Toothpics, but, hey! lots & lots of people seem to live there & thru those ridiculous summers!
    Hey, just thought of it….look at Tucson — more affordable even.
    Good Luck

    by Jess — April 21, 2016

  10. Andy-keep in mind that Utah is the second driest state in the union. They have REAL significant water concerns including entering the 4 year of a MAJOR drought. You can find out more by looking up “St George Ut water problems”.

    by Ron — April 21, 2016

  11. Lived in ST. George a few years back. Opened a retail store. Was there for over a year. Because I wasn’t a “townie” or a Mormon, was basically shunned and went bust with the business. Yes, it’s got lovely scenic areas around and close to Vegas, but…..if you are not Mormon, you will never fit in and be accepted among the “townies”

    by Jacqueline — April 22, 2016

  12. I too visited St. George. A very beautiful area. My wife was concerned about
    the Mormanism since we aren’t involved in that religion.

    It does get hot and be quite windy.

    We are now looking at some AZ cities later this year –
    Prescott and Tucson (Oro Valley, Oracle hills) vs. Phoenix and the summer heat.

    by mike — April 22, 2016

  13. A colleague worked in Sholow, Pinetop and St George, Utah. People were real friendly at first but when they found out he wouldn’t convert to Mormonism he was shunned and all the friendly people he had thought of as friends disappeared. He left the area even though it was beautiful. If you are not Mormon or willing to convert, you might want to look elsewhere.

    by Lee — April 23, 2016

  14. Flatearth 6 – Before plunking down your retirement dollars in Portland, Maine PLEASE visit in January or February! I lived in Maine for 38 years, 30 min south of Portland. It is idyllic in summer and early fall, but once the calendar turns to November, it is a different world and as the weathermen say “April is a winter month in Maine”! Long winters that are dark by 4:30 pm, bitter cold, and downright dangerous for aging people – city budgets have been cut across the state and ice sheets cover every walk and roadway as they struggle to clear the feet of snow rather than attend to salting and sanding the surface that is left behind. Portland, in particular is especially frigid with the wintry blast of northeasterly winds blowing in from the surrounding waters. Ice is also a major problem for utilities and you will need to purchase a generator to last through the many outages from power lines succumbing to the weight of the ice. Also please investigate the cost of living. In addition to very high property taxes, sales taxes on just about everything, and an unbelievable state income tax, the cost of goods such as groceries is high due to the trucking distance to Maine. Even the Farmers Market in Portland is very pricey! I would suggest that you fill out a Maine tax form as a trial run to get an idea of some of the tax burden. We absolutely LOVED Maine from May – October – no better place to be during those months! But as we turned 60, we knew our desire to be active and enjoying the outdoors year round (and yes, we did ski and snowshoe for many years in Maine, wearing face masks coated with ice most of the time!), would draw us towards a warmer and safer climate. Happy in SC – biking, kayaking, golfing, and swimming – year-round!

    by SandyZ — April 24, 2016

  15. Mike, I moved to Tucson 2 years ago. I am about 10 miles from Oro Valley, further north, but I go there all the time to dine and shop. I love it here. It is very hot from mid-May to mid-September, but even then it drops 30 degrees at night, and is cooler in the morning till 10ish. In that part of the year you make your outside plans after dusk or early am; beyond that I stay home with my air conditioner. But the rest of the year is fabulous. And staying home with your air conditioner is much more comfortable than being house bound for weeks because of snow and ice. As someone else said, it is much safer here. I’m not going to slip, or skid, or any of the bad things that happen with snow and ice. And my house is virtually maintenance free as it is not constantly pounded by bad weather.

    by Ginger — April 25, 2016

  16. Thank you all! great information. Husband and I are visiting NC (Southport) in a few weeks. This wil be our second trip,though I have been extemly connected to two great realtors,FB pages,local news paper. What I have learned and know for sure at this point.
    A. I loved the Southport vibe.
    B. I speak to everyone and anyone… have not heard any negative. (yet)
    C. My husband says he could live anywhere…we shall see
    D. We do not need golf or tennis
    E. We love music,theater,walking biking,Antiquing…huge for us.
    F- Weather is very important (being from NY suburbs) as well as my extremely bad RA
    G- No gated community, you just end up paying for stuff you never need, want, or use.
    H- low taxes are a must.
    I- Low Crime
    J- Good Medical
    K- Shopping, Food, Drug stores, Hardware, and lots of local main street shopping.
    L No religious must.
    M- Politics..well at this point who knows…I think we are some where in the middle.

    We have visited Venice, FL many times..our daughter lives and works there….I do not think I could take the heat. Overall have never been in love with FL.

    Any great advice suggestions we are listening.

    by Roseann — April 25, 2016

  17. Roseanne your list is almost identical to one that my husband and I put together! Really the only difference is where we would like to live. We love the other side of the state. We have always loved and spent time in the western part of NC.
    It sounds like you have your list down pat. Enjoy your next visit and I hope all works out for you! I’m hoping that we will come up with somewhere just as convincing.

    by Virginia — April 25, 2016

  18. It was interesting to read some of the perceptions of St George. We moved here three years ago from the Silicon Valley. Of course we had heard all the Mormon stories. And I guess if we were looking for some discrimination we could find it. Our experience has been no different than when we lived in Ca or Az. Folks are generally pretty nice, lots of Ca non Mormons, we live 1 mile from snow canyon state park and Tuachan amphitheater and arts school. The Beach Boys are here this week, Jay Leno two weeks ago, and plays go on all summer with theater troops from Ca and NY. There is a 4 year university, and a hospital that has provided us with top notch care. The Mormon influence on us has been, little or no traffic on Sunday so shopping anywhere is a breeze, theaters and restaurants are lightly used, and it’s oh so quiet. It’s cooler than Scottsdale or Tucson in the winter and cooler in the summer too. A brand new airport where delta and united fly a limited flight schedule to SLC and Denver with Las Vegas airport two hours away. The ironman triathlon is here, the world class and world attended senior games are in the fall, there is a marathon and half marathon. It’s heaven for bicyclist of all types. I could go on but the punch line is the Mormon influence is negative if you are looking for it but advantageous in many real life day to day activities.

    by Gary Luebbers — April 26, 2016

  19. Thanks for the reply Ginger. We are taking our RV down to AZ in summer for visits/scouting for
    retirement. One are we are looking at is OroValley/Oracle and the many Golf and Retirement
    communities such as Robson (Saddlebrooke)…

    If you have suggestions or recommendations for areas and communities to look at let me know.

    Going down in August will give us a chance to feel the summer burn (lol).


    by mike — April 26, 2016

  20. Mike, Checkout The Highlands at Dove Mountain when you come – Tangerine & Dove Mountain. Gated, 50+, golf, full amenities but smaller with just 1297 homes, built out so no builder in control Also in Dove Mountain a new Del Webb community – no golf course but this is just in full swing building if you want a new home. Dove Mountain is north of Tucson in Marana and gives you the perfect location to get to interstate fast, downtown via new connection to I-10, being in the foothills of Tortolita’s Mtn great access to hiking and a really beautiful location.

    by ljtucson — April 27, 2016

  21. thanks ljtucson for the suggestion.
    i will definitely check out the Marana area. I recall Dove Mtn hosted PGA events.
    besides looking a communities, what other suggestions “to see” (visit, eat, shop) while visiting Tucson area?
    Also, any recommendations on re agents or gathering info?

    thanks again!


    by mike — April 27, 2016

  22. We seriously were looking at Green Valley AZ, but in addition to the potential water problem, every once in a while a comment pops up about valley fever. What’s up with that? Is it a genuine threat to “oldsters?”

    by 56Tbird — April 27, 2016

  23. Mike, Yes, Accenture Match Play was in Dove Mountain for 5-6 years. There are 81 holes of golf at Dove Mountain, 27 Nicklaus Signature at the Ritz Carlton. Coming in August…interesting, it is hot and sleepy. Like Ginger said we go out early or late in the day…but you might be treated to some monsoon activity. Exploring the downtown cultural barrio areas are fun and lots of new dining opportunities downtown. The Desert Museum is terrific, Sabino Canyon, multiple casinos on the reservations, fun shopping town of Tubac south of Tucson, a drive up to Mt. Lemmon (if your not in a huge RV), hiking everywhere but limited hours due to heat, Super excellent Mexican restaurants abound. I visited first in February from cold and snowy Wisconsin and the blue skies and abundant sunshine reeled me in…in February the place was jumping with largest Gem Show in the world, rodeo, golf tournaments, and on and on. Email me at and I’ll forward you a bunch of attachments. I’ve been here since 1998 and have survived every summer!

    by ljtucson — April 28, 2016

  24. 56Tbird, Yes, valley fever is an issue for some people. I’ve lived here since 1998 and I have known a couple of people that got it – they are fine. Most people exposed to it with healthy immune systems will have no problem. But, if a concern, folks should do their research. Quite frankly it seems to effect dogs here more frequently – probably due to their sniffing the dirt on their walks! My dog did test positive and many do but no need to treat as his immune system kept it from developing into full blown valley fever – he is 12 and quite healthy. It is fungus based and therefore when more dirt is turned up and dusty can be airborne. I really don’t give it much thought – I have no real medical insight beyond casual exposure to the subject.

    by ljtucson — April 29, 2016

  25. Turning 65 this year but plan on working to January 2018. Have been following the blogs on this site and have found that others research is saving me a lot of time.

    We are from Michigan and due to husband’s military career, have lived in New Mexico, Alaska, Rhode Island, New York, Washington State, Virginia, Massachusetts and settled in Connecticut after he retired from the Air Force and went on to his second career. Although I like many things about Connecticut, including the weather and four seasons, the high COL will mean that we need to find somewhere less expensive to live once I retire.

    I don’t like heat, humidity and lots of traffic. Due to health issues, we will need to be fairly close to good medical facilities/doctors, and for convenience, near stores, restaurants, services, and entertainment. Our closest relatives are in Florida and after many visits there we are sure Florida and 55+ communities are not a good fit for us. Not interested in golf. So far, I have visited Asheville, NC and Charleston, SC for a week each, especially checking out the towns outside of these main cities. I favor living in a mountainous area where I can find less heat/humidity in the summer and I would not mind a little cold and snow in the winter. My husband is younger than me and will be working for at least 5 more years after my retirement. He works from home for a large company and can live anywhere in the US as long as he has fast and reliable internet through a major cable company. We both want to stay on the East Coast, but he is not convinced of good internet connections near mountains.

    We previously lived in Hampton, VA and I worked nearby at Colonial Williamsburg. We both thought the Williamsburg, VA area was nice but that was 16 years ago. From research I have done, we are ruling out Hampton, VA due to crime and traffic. Williamsburg has a very low crime rate, but I don’t know how much the tourist traffic has increased, especially with more entertainment venues in the area. We are also interested in nearby areas such as Yorktown, Toano and smaller communities north towards the outskirts of Richmond, VA. We are not interested in areas south such as Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Chesapeake, VA.

    We like the idea of Williamsburg, VA because there are multiple military medical facilities nearby, abundance of restaurants, shopping, scenic drive areas inland and on the coast of Chesapeake Bay. My husband is into antiques and already has a small side business with antiques we have found in our travels throughout New England and New York. He plans to expand upon his retirement and likes that Williamsburg, VA is located near a major interstate for ease in traveling (another reason he is against living in more rural, mountain areas). I like that it is close enough to Washington, DC to travel there frequently to fully explore. Also, hopefully with the large military presence in the area, locals will be accepting of a couple from the Midwest with a little New Englander added.

    I think we know what to expect in weather (including hurricanes), medical facilities, restaurants, etc. All taxes considered, I think Virginia falls in the middle – not the lowest but not necessarily among the highest. We are going to rent for the first year to see if Williamsburg will meet our expectations. But will we find fairly new homes for sale in the under $225,000 range? What will the traffic be like? How is the overall COL (taxes, housing, utilities, insurance, food etc.)? Would appreciate any information from those out there that might have more current experience in the area (rather than our memories from 16 years ago).

    by BeckyN — April 30, 2016

  26. 56tbird, on Valley Fever….I didn’t know about it till after I moved here, or it might have held me back. Glad I didn’t know. I have been here 2 years. Know a few people that have it; all of them are gardeners. It is raining and wind blowing right now so I’m not going out. After a storm is best time to catch it. However, normal precautions seem to work just fine. Be aware that occurence of VF much higher in Phoenix. Southern CA desert areas have it too. But I have COPD and I’m doing fine.

    by Ginger — April 30, 2016

  27. BeckyN, apart from being on East coast, all your requirements would be met in Northern AZ…Flagstaff sounds ideal. Very low humidity.

    by Ginger — April 30, 2016

  28. Becky N,

    I-95 was a big negative for me when I considered Fredericksburg VA. Recently I also considered Williamsburg VA, but could not find what I looking for (which was 55+ communities) so that would probably not effect you.. But I agree with you that it has a lot of positives. I did find that some of the smaller towns did not have grocery stores convenient for me. I know I looked at Toaeo, but do not remember if that was one of the towns that did not have convenient grocery for me.

    by elaine — May 1, 2016

  29. Take a look at New Kent, Virginia. It’s just east of Richmond and a short hop to Williamsburg. Lots of new development, few tourists. This puts you relatively close to excellent medical facilities in Richmond and right off of I-64 for good connection to I95 and DC.

    by Sandie — May 2, 2016

  30. Thanks for the comments Ginger, Elaine and Sandie. I’ve been looking at the other blogs and got the idea of looking for towns on the East Coast with elevations between 1500 and 2500 ft. because they would be in the South but may offer much lower humidity. I came up with Pickens, SC or because Pickens was a little small, other towns in Pickens County. It is also is close enough to Greenville, SC to provide all that a big city can offer. I’ve read great things about Greenville, but no mention about crime.

    The fact that Pickens County, SC was not close to the ocean like my husband wants was a factor, but it was close to a lake region. From what I saw on the web, it had nice homes reasonably priced and LOW HUMIDITY (or at least lower). Then I looked at the crime stats. Yuck – B&Es, aggravated assaults, suspicious individuals, a lot of meth arrests, stabbing, etc.

    I know there is crime everywhere but the amount of incidents and degree of violence was a turn-off for me. We have had our vehicles broken into a few times (or should I say my husband has had his vehicles vandalized because he did not lock the doors and radio/or GPS removed). But I have never lived where I have been afraid and I have spent a lot of time living alone when he was on military deployments. There have times when I have forgotten to put the garage door down all night, or all day when I was at work and nothing happened. But we lock our doors and leave outside lights on and I am not afraid to go for a walk in my neighborhood day or night. That is what I am looking for. I understand being cautious in store parking lots/malls. I have worked in and driven through very crime ridden areas of Detroit and Pontiac, MI and currently the north end/Upper Albany area of Hartford, CT.

    So an everyday feeling of relative safety is important to me, especially as I grow older and become more vulnerable. It is one of the reasons we will not be moving back to Hampton, VA (as I believe the crime rate has increased a lot since we left there in 1999) and finding somewhere between Hampton or Newport News, VA and Richmond, VA with low crime (especially violent) is important.

    Elaine, I know of Toano, but would like to find out more. Sandie’s suggestion of New Kent, VA had crossed my mind, although from what I have read, it sounds like a newly developed area with new housing, not many stores and possibly young families with children and will eventually need new schools as the population grows (and more school taxes for us). I was thinking that Williamsburg, VA would have a good tax base because of all the attractions already there, but who knows.

    Admin, could I ask you to move my original post dated 4 /30 to another blog topic where it might catch the attention of others that have looked at or now live in the Williamsburg, VA area? Thanks!

    by BeckyN — May 15, 2016

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