Editor’s Note: We heard back from an unhappy visitor a while back who was disappointed after taking a lengthy detour to visit Maryville, Tn. She wondered how we could have ever recommended such a place, which she and her husband found ordinary and worse. After we explained that her comments would be very helpful in keeping our reviews more balanced, “Ela” graciously wrote back with a very informative note explaining what she and her husband are looking for in a retirement town. It was so good that we asked and she granted permission to reprint it here (Ela is not her real name). Thanks Ela!
My husband and I love road trips. We live in Indianapolis but have friends all over and if remotely possible, we’ll drive. We get around. Often, we will fly to some airport one state or two away and drive to our destination just so we can check out things, always looking for the perfect little city.
We are specifically looking in Georgia (around north Atlanta), Tennessee (around central/southern Knoxville), and Florida (Tampa/Sarasota) in that preferential order.
Most of our desired areas would run along I-75 and/or be within its access. We are tired of dealing with the 4-5 months of snow, having lived in Indianapolis, IN.
So far, no real luck. We’ve seen some cities we liked a few years ago but we were not taking notes and most of them were out west anyway.
The cities that have the “feel” we especially like are “urban” and are like the following, though we do NOT want to live in these areas for whatever reason:
* Winter Park, FL – Downtown WP specifically (restaurants, culture, youth)
* St. Augustine FL, – Old City Downtown (history, restaurants, renovation, culture, youth & artists)
* Carmel, IN – the New Arts District (bike trails, restaurants, renovation)
* Vancouver, BC – we loved it all (but can not live on the West coast as it’s too far from family 🙁
* Asheville, NC – Downtown (history, restaurants, renovation, culture, youth & artists)
* Albuquerque, NM – Downtown (history, restaurants, renovation, culture & artists)
* San Diego, CA – Downtown (restaurants, close to ocean/water)
* Savannah, GA – within Downtown area but TOO hot (history, Restaurants, renovation, culture)
We have not planned properly for retirement, yet it is approaching more quickly than we imagined.
What we are looking for
The things that draw us to a city is it “vibrancy” and it’s “pedestrian friendliness” with lots of restaurants to choose from and old-world ethnicity. A college and something like Indianapolis’s “Monon Trail” (a converted railroad track made into a walking/biking path running many, many miles from north to south that goes through several restaurant/bar/shopping/art districts). We’d also to be within an hour of a major airport and close to a good hospital.
Most of the 55+ communities seem to be in the middle of nowhere and/or have limited amenities. I mean, you can only go to the same restaurant so many times before you get tired of the menu or the same faces around you. We like a lot of diversity.
Tis a BIG order.
If you can point us in the right direction and/or if you have a location service, please let me know.
What do you think?
Ela’s point of view is surprisingly close to ours. We congratulate her and her husband for taking the road trips to find out first-hand what they like and don’t like. BTW, anyone looking for a location service should take our free Retirement Ranger quiz – it’s free.
Add your Comments below- we all want to know what you think.