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Old 10-24-2006, 12:10 PM
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 6,222,974 times
Reputation: 2606


Hi, I am 58-1/2, female, and hoping to retire in about 2 years. I lived in Boulder in my 30's, but now in almost my 60's, I realize it is a whole different ballgame.

I am currently in Central California, however, I live in a "starter" home (meaning I won't cash out with those huge amounts of equity that many others get in CA) and want to sell that and get something affordable (affordable to me is no more than $160,000 max, preferably lower, as I hope to pay it in full so I have no mortgage, as my income will be low and fixed until I can start drawing Social Security in those 5 years). I could possibly work part-time.

So far I am looking at Colorado Springs, Boulder, Ft. Collins and Grand Junction (although GJ is kind of on the "back list" as it is clear across the state, but it always had a nice vibe). I lived in Denver a short while and did not like it -- too much pollution and spread out. I'm a bit worried about the Christian fundamentalists in Colorado Springs, but don't know how that would impact a retired open-minded person.

I enjoy the high altitude, clear skies, the infrequent but beautiful snow, the low humidity, and lack of bugs. I enjoy hiking trails, pottery, I am not religious (but spiritual), and I want a place where I do not need to own a car. I would like someplace walkable or busable for shops, groceries, galleries, bookshops, etc. For a couple of years in Boulder I did not have a car and got by fine.

I'd like a neighborhood that is a bit more liberal, but doesn't have to be liberal like Boulder -- that can be too extreme. I like a college nearby because it helps the economy and brings in more cultural events.

I am a social worker by training, and also teach art in the evenings. I am divorced, and have a 16-1/2 year old daughter who will be in college by the time I relocate, and she will be on her own.

Anyone in this situation, or have some advice? Thanks so much.
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:44 PM
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,814,977 times
Reputation: 13244
Ft Collins, Ft Collins, Ft Collins.
Yeah, I know, back in the day Ft Collins was just the aggie/cow town; it was all about hipster Boulder. Things have changed.
Ft Collins is Boulder without the pretentions, without the attitude--and without the high cost of housing.
You might also think about Durango (Ft Lewis), which is now like Ft Collins was 25 years ago.
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Old 10-24-2006, 02:28 PM
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 6,222,974 times
Reputation: 2606
Thanks. I've been thinking about it. Yes, I do recall folks from Ft. Collins making fun of Boulder and colonics and massages and things like that! But I tend to ride in the middle of the road -- not quite left, not quite right -- so for me a balance of each feels better. So, in that way, Ft. Collins is a happy mix of each, it seems.

I did think of Durango, but I think it's a bit too small -- I thought it got pretty pricey recently? Plus, I would want at least bus accessibility to Denver for once in-awhile trips.

What do you think of the Springs? I like the Garden of the Gods, and the larger population, although the fundamentalists do scare me -- and it could cut down on social functions.

Thanks for your feedback.
I guess I need another trip out there.
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:25 PM
1 posts, read 9,890 times
Reputation: 13
Default Monte Vista, CO

A small town in SW Colorado that has some substance. Creede and Pagosa Springs are about 60-70 miles from Monte Vista. Both are very walkable but might be out of your price range. Creede is artsy and has a world-recognized rep theater with performances through the late Spring and Summer. Pagosa is artsy also and has hot springs. You can make friends and car-pool from Monte very easily. Pagosa is on the other side of Wolf Creek pass from Monte and Wolf Creek is a ski area. Monte vista is in the San Luis valley at about 7000+ feet and is flat but gets cold and snow in the winter. Creede is at 8800 feet. Monte is a very clean and cute town with very nice people. It's about 15 minutes to Alamosa, a small college town that has the only Walmart in about a 200 mile radius. It's about 3 1/2 hours to Denver, 2 hours to Pueblo, 2 1/2 hours to Durango. Good luck!
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Old 10-25-2006, 04:05 AM
827 posts, read 4,625,439 times
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Wisteria, Durango has grown a lot in the last few years. It has bus service and a good airport with straight flights to Denver. I would think though if you want an even larger city, Ft. Collins would be the answer. It isn't too far right or left. The university balances it out, I think. Colorado Springs is another option. All are great places to live. Colorado Springs has so many new people moving there, by the thousands, that I don't think it would be much of a factor on if you are a liberal.
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Old 10-26-2006, 01:15 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
1,312 posts, read 6,892,472 times
Reputation: 710
FWIW, I live in C springs and it's NOT as bad as people make it out to be. I have my own family trying to make me a good christian girl and so far they haven't succeeded.

However, with that said, having lived in Grand Junction, if you can afford a junk car, it might be what you need. They do have bus service but never went that route as I was a sales rep at the time.

GJ is quite the nice place. Lots of people from all kinds of walks of life if you can deal with the farmers that like to drive 35 in a 55.

Then there are those areas surrounding GJ like Montrose, Telluride - if you have that kind of money-, to Delta.

There's also Glenwood Springs which is devine in its own quirky way.

Take a trip to the Western Slope of Colorado and see what might strike your fancy. You can always rent for a bit to see if the community suits your needs but I think the Western Slope might do for you what it did for me. Make me want to go back even though I can't at the moment.
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Old 10-26-2006, 01:47 AM
827 posts, read 4,625,439 times
Reputation: 510
You are right COflower. Colorado Springs isn't as bad as some people suggest on being so conservative. I have even heard that a Democratic candidate might win there, in which it has been held by Republicans all these years. Also right, Grand Junction is a nice city.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:09 AM
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 6,222,974 times
Reputation: 2606
Thanks. I always liked the feel of Grand Junction. I lived in Boulder for 5 years, so I got around the state a lot, which is why I've kind of narrowed it to the eastern slope, but might consider GJ. I have a car, I just absolutely hate driving!! I'm more an urban girl who happens to adore mountains -- weird combination. But Denver was pretty boring, and the pollution way too bad!! (I lived there for six months.)

Durango seems pretty out of the way. Even GJ is. I have to admit, I like the size and layout of Colorado Springs, the low cost, and the proximity to good hiking and a bus ride to Denver. I have heard from people both sides of the issue -- the fundies can be difficult, but there are those who say there's enough liberal-minded people to make it doable. I'm kind of confused about it.

I may go back and check out Grand Junction again -- I haven't been there for years. I hear the downtown is getting nicer.

I just don't want to move all over the place again, so I'm trying to narrow it all down. But, no, I couldn't afford Telluride or Aspen or anyplace like that. I did think of Steamboat Springs, but that is pretty out of the way, too. Seems like I'm narrowing it to Grand Junction area or the eastern slope.

Anyone else have feedback on Colorado Springs? Thanks COflower and Crackerjack for your input -- it helps to break those stereotypes.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:44 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
649 posts, read 2,689,093 times
Reputation: 184
I think Colorado Springs is probably about 60/40 on politics. Leaning on the conservative side. I do feel that most people are respectful of everybody's view, atleast I am. Everybody is allowed to vote the way they want and you learn to agree to disagree. bashep
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:33 AM
11 posts, read 55,202 times
Reputation: 14
Hey there Wisteria

Castle Rock, Colorado might be your best bet for laid back small town community living, about 30,000 people and everything you need right in the small community, althought it is growing... I lived in downtown Castle Rock and had the historical atmosphere all within walking distance, library, restaurants, and even the clean air shuttle which is free and takes you all over Castle Rock if you have no car, although, it stops running at 5:00 p.m. The housing prices in Colorado are not as low as $160,000 anywhere now, but new condos are at about $160,000 in that area. The weather is not bad at all, the snow melts within a day. Check out B&B Cafe, just like walking into and old era with the marble counter for the coffee crew and the high 10 ft ceilings, (and they left the bullet hole in the ceiling from an old gunfight). Castle Cafe on 4th and Wilcox has a historical ambiance, with the best fried chicken around, I know, I used to live above the restaurant with the wonderful aromas.....Check it out!

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