Youngish retirees in Colorado? (Denver, Colorado Springs: real estate, low crime, house)
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Searching the forums have produced some great ideas on towns in Colorado that may have what we're looking for in a retirement destination. Briefly, here's our story and what we hope to find:
We're early 50's retirees, currently living in Ohio. For years, our retirement move was going to be to Michigan.....but I just want to close some other doors before that final choice is made. 30 years ago during college summers I lived in Colorado and fell in love with the area like everyone does, but I never seriously thought about going back until now. Back then I loved the abundance of outdoor activities and also the people.....folks from all sorts of backgrounds, often foregoing better jobs elsewhere in exchange for the lifestyle. And before you think, "here comes two more starry-eyed suburbanites", just let me say that's not us! We detest the mentality that leads people to move to and change areas that are fine just the way they are. We are the rural folks who currently complain about the suburbanites transforming our beautiful area.
It seems that it's mostly front range towns that have caught our attention. La Veta, Canon City, and Salida seem especially promising. To list some of our priorities:
Affordable. Think more towards Canon City, or Salida prices. Not Telluride.
Jobs aren't an issue and we plan to downsize to simple and as inexpensive as possible in order to pursue our interests.
Weather and seasons towards the moderate end of things. That's my biggest reservation about retiring to northern Michigan.....I'm not sure about the heavy snow. Cold is o.k. but 300 in. of snow might be a deal breaker.
Miles of hiking trails, biking, camping is a MUST have. Paddling would be good, too, in the region.
Art and cultural opps. nearby is a plus. Farmers markets are nice.
So can you think of any other towns or smaller cities that might be a good fit for us?
Cortez is a nice community in SW Colorado. It has the usual amenities like Wal-Mart and Safeway, is a fairly mild climate and you can be in either the mountains or high desert within an hour. There is rafting on the Dolores and over on the San Juan in Utah. There are local farmer's markets in Cortez and Durango that are very nice. Housing is cheaper in Cortez than Telluride and Durango. The only downside would be the community can sometimes be a little closed but if you take the time to get involved in local activities (church or other social groups), you will find lots of like minded people.
If I can answer any other questions, let me know!
It seems that it's mostly front range towns that have caught our attention. La Veta, Canon City, and Salida seem especially promising.
Maybe I misread your words, but you should know than not one of those communities really qualifies as 'front range', since they are all well west of the I-25 corridor. Le Veta is closer than the others, but even that is more of a rural mountain town than a front range one.
While you're still back east, go take a look at Asheville and/or Boone North Carolina, or Blacksburgh-VA. My wife and I moved to Grand Junction CO from Virginia Beach a few years ago. We liked all 3 of those eastern towns, but we are still working class heroes dependent on the local economy for employment. We were unable to find jobs in any of those places, or we might be living in one of them now. At the time, real estate was certainly more affordable in those places than in most of Colorado, but the job situation was far more favorble in Colorado.....back then in the good ole days of '06.
Since you are not concerned about jobs, and you do eventually decide on Colorado, check out Paonia. It's one of my favorite little towns in all of Colorado.
sw Colorado, I'll take a look at Cortez. Thanks!
treedonkey thanks for the clarification.....so either front range or small mountain town would be something we're considering.
CosmicWizard, you don't know how many times we've been told by people who know us that we should look at Ashville! It's just that we've never been there and long ago planted seeds of interest in Colorado and Michigan, due to living there and vacationing there whenever possible. I'll google Paonia. Maybe we should take a trip to Ashville......but I can't help but think HUMID/HOT. Thanks!
No doubt about it, the climate in Colorado is drier and sunnier than the climate anywhere in the eastern US. But Colorado does get hot! There is a difference in the heat however. Over here in Grand Junction, 95 degrees under the big blue sky, with dry breezy air, and ovenight lows in the 60s is actually quite pleasant. Back in Virginia Beach, anything above the low 80s was almost intolerable to me. The humidity crept up and the temperature spread between high and low often shrunk to 12 degrees of even less, compared to a 30 degree spread in Colorado. So a high of 92 in Virginia Beach meant an overnight low of 80 at 6AM with air so thick you could almost cut it. Asheville's not quite that bad becasue of the higher elevation. But you're right it still gets relatively hot and humid...compared to anywhere in Colorado. Boone is a few degrees cooler than Asheville because of its even higher elevation. It's also a smaller town.
Buena Vista is also worth checking out, has everything you need, scenic, nice folks, lots to do outdoors in all seasons.
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Just to give you a little more to think about (since choosing a home for the future is a big decision, to say the least) maybe I'll just share with you my own perspective:
Although I am still a long way from permanent retirement, my employment circumstances did offer me the opportunity to live virtually anywhere in this country, and even some places outside of it. I did consoider some of the mountain twns due to their splendid beauty and slower pace of life, but ultimately I chose a small suburban town less than an hour away from either COS or Denver.
Here are the main reasons (in order of importance) why i chose to stay in 'the blob' as opposed to moving wayy out there...
1) Family - We have family right here in the same area and it was really important to us to be as geographically close to them as possible.
2) Plan B Employment - Although my work circumstances show no sign of changing in the foreseeable future, it seemed like a good idea to be in a place where I could at least have a CHANCE of replacing it with another decent income, even if that meant a commute into one city or the other.
3) Hospital - I plan to be here for a long time. i also figure that it's inevitable that one or the other of us may get chronically sick someday. If and when that happens, I would hate it if on top of the trauma of illness, we had to tear ourselves away from our home and relocate just to find a permanent hospital.
4) Airport - As nice as CO is, we still like to travel, and we also love to have visitors from all over, so our (relatively) close proximity to a major airport is a big plus for us.
5) City Stuff - I really love the quiet rural lifestyle I have here, but I do like the IDEA that I can get into a real city and do city stuff occasionally... mainly big-league baseball, the zoo, and an occasional city stroll so far.
6) Shopping (?) - I don't know, I guess that was a factor. I'm not much of a shopper, especially at the big box stores, but my wife does seem to really like the fact that the big outlet mall is scarcely a 20 minute drive. I have a great barber down in Springs, and he's right next to a great sub-shop, so I usually schedule my shopping errands around that. But I can only take that once or twice a month, at the most.
7) It's where the people are - This may seem like a strange one, but to me, it was important to live in a fairly established residential area, with plenty of existing homes to choose from, as opposed to trying to get a big plat of wilderness and then building my dream house on it. I prefer to live where the people live and reserve the high country for relatively low-impact forms of recreation.
I'm not trying to tell you what to do, and hopefully that did not just sound pedantic. But I think a lot of people are in such a hurry to get that multi-acre homesite in the high country that they often fail to consider all of the downsides to living in the remote areas.
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