Where Would You Like to Live for the Rest of Your Life?

If you could live any place in the United States, where would you live?

Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking of moving away from the Atlanta area and finding a cute cottage someplace where fall and winter still happen, but are short-lived and don’t usually involve snow. I envision an adorable cottage that looks something like this one, only grown-up size. You may remember when I shared this cute cottage in this post: My Dream Home.

Yellow Storybook Cottage


I’ve thought about moving to Ohio to be closer to family, but I’m not sure I would like the winters here. They arrive earlier and stay later than they do in Georgia. For example, in the Atlanta area, you can plant annuals anytime after April 15th–that date is almost a full month later here in Ohio. The weather just started reaching the low 70’s around mid-May. This warm-weather loving girl doesn’t even think about wearing short sleeves until it hits 76°! lol

I would love to stay on the east coast within a reasonable drive to visit family here in Ohio. I’ve even thought about a coastal community, but when I Google distances from the closest southern beach towns, it’s an even longer drive to Ohio than I currently have from Georgia. Ugh.


I often wonder: Do I want to spend the rest of my life living in a coastal community, a mountain community or, near a busy city like I do now? I think I’m ready to move away from big city living and the horrible traffic that comes with it, although it would be nice to remain about an hour or so away from a city with great shopping.

It has been awesome living so close to a major airport and being able to Uber to the airport when flying out of the country, but I’m guessing I’ll be able to fly out of a smaller regional airport to the Atlanta airport the few times a year when I may want to travel.


I’m not sure why I keep dreaming of living in a coastal-beach area because I’m really not that much of a water/ocean/beach person. I love walking along and looking out at the ocean, but I don’t enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, etc… Weird, right?


I think I’m just enamored with the idea of a warm-weather, relaxed beachy lifestyle, but preferably without the threat of a hurricane every few years. I did a little research recently and it turns out there are actually several coastal towns in Florida that have never experienced a hurricane, Naples being one of them. Interesting, huh?

Update: Apparently the article I read about Naples is incorrect from the comments left below.

Beach View Outside Mama's Fish House

Mama’s Fishhouse, Maui, June 2018


I’ve thought about living in a vacation-oriented place–like a beach town, then family could come my way for visits and vacations. But realistically that couldn’t happen very often since there are only so many weeks they could take off from work and school during the year. So that probably shouldn’t even be a consideration when deciding where to live, right?

It would be wonderful to live where you could take walks along a non-crowded beach in the morning, or arise early for birding and hiking in a preserve or natural area. Is there any place here in the U.S. where the beaches look like this?


I would love to live where there are plenty of bike trails through natural areas. I used to find that so uplifting and soul-restoring when I biked several days a week on the Silver Comet Trail.


Evenings and weekends could be spent dining out in wonderful restaurants or shopping in some of my favorite stores. (Dreaming, now! lol)


I’ve always thought of myself as more of a woodsy person, envisioning retiring one day to the north Georgia mountains. Thinking about that now, though, I’m afraid I’d get bored surrounded day in and day out in all that peaceful, woodsy serenity. lol Maybe I’ve lived in a big city for way too long to move to such a quiet place full-time.

Dahlonega, Georgia


Anyone else agonizing over where they would like to spend the rest of their life? I imagine it’s really tough if you have children who live far away from each other or in opposite directions. Or, maybe that makes it easier since where your children live may not factor into your decision at all.

Or, maybe you are already living in your dream locale. If so, please share where it is and why you love it.

Where would you love to spend the rest of your life? At the beach? In the mountains? In a busy city close to everything and with lots of great shopping? In a quiet town that’s a short drive to the beach or the mountains?

How would you spend it: Skiing? Fishing? Hiking? Shopping? Canoeing? Gardening? Traveling? Boating? Surfing? Entertaining? A mixture of any or all of these?

Where would you like to live for the rest of your life?

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  1. Margaret Robinson says

    As you already know, we live in one of the best places on the west coast – on the Monterey Peninsula. Pebble Beach is our smaller community – not everyone here is a multi-millionaire, but everyone is fairly comfortably off and we live walking distance to the Pacific Ocean and lots of small beaches in the area. We are also close to larger communities like Monterey where they have shopping, restaurants, (as does Carmel, Pacific Grove, et al.). There must be places on the east coast that have the same. Good hunting!

  2. Bobbie Allgood says

    I have decided that when it is time for me to make my final move, I will locate to wherever my sons are living. Currently that is Denver and Colorado Springs neither place that I would choose. Denver is crazy busy with traffic, but for now I’ll just stay put in Omaha, Nebraska. I have heard that both Hudson Ohio, and Mariemont Ohio (just outside of Cincinnatti are lovely places to live. You might consider them.

    • Hudson, Ohio is a lovely small town, near Akron and Cleveland. Has an adorable “Main Street” type shopping vibe and is very charming.

  3. Deborah Warren says

    Virginia! Specifically any where within an easy drive of Short Pump shopping. Winters are easy, hurricanes rarely more that some rain to deal with. Williamsburg, Virginia beach, easy drives ;and DC a short train ride.

    • Deborah,
      We must live in the same area. I’m in Glen Allen, Virginia! I am a native Virginian and moved to the midwest for 7 years, moving back about 15 years ago! Did not like the snow, wind, tornadoes, etc.

      I have to say that Virginia weather is generally great. A nice long fall and decent spring. Not too long of the “hot, very humid” part of summer. Winters can be very mild with not much snow.

      I have taken the train to DC and also to NYC to see a show and back the next day. Very easy and doable. My office coordinator is from Ohio and travels there pretty easily a couple of times a year (by car) to see her mom. We are not that far from the ocean and the mountains (or Williamsburg).

      We downsized from a 4 bdr, 3 bath, colonial home to a “cottage like” detached condo (looks like a house) maintenance free, lock and leave home a couple of years ago (I am 61 and my husband is 67) and moved my mom in with us (2 downstairs MBR). There are a lot of those communities here with cute maintenance free housing. I can even do some of my own landscaping.

      I think this is a great location with decent weather with all 4 seasons, great restaurants, shopping (some upscale), museums, art/theatre, etc.

      Love Susan’s idea of a cottage home…we are kindred spirits. I think that is why I have followed since RMS and the start of BTNOP! Best wishes as you figure out your next “home”….so much fun to think about those plans!


  4. Cindy Hummel says

    Hi Susan! Found this post to be on-target for me. My husband retired last August, a little earlier than planned. We had been going through the same things you are and had to move our timeline up. We have settled on Knoxville, TN: 4 seasons with a mild winter, a college town, good medical care, an airport and easy travel access. Plus, the Great Smoky Mountains on our doorstep. We have 3 children, one of whom we will be closer to. The other 2 are not yet settled ~ one is in college and one is just starting her 3-4 year medical residency program. We figure that with work schedules, how much will they really visit? Everything we have read says that they won’t, except for short stays, so don’t base your decision on that. We stayed away from the coast for the hurricane issues, plus it is a farther drive to the Midwest, where we have a lot of extended family.
    We have not actually moved yet, as we are building a home that should be ready at the end of August. Will keep you posted on how we like it once we actually settle in, but so far, the people we have met have been wonderful.

    • I love Knoxville! Lived there in the early ’80s which included the 1982 World’s Fair. It’s a great location because, as you said, the Smokies are right there, Atlanta is less than four hours away, Nashville is less than two, depending on in which part of Knoxville you’ll be living. We frequent Kure Beach, NC which would be less than an eight hour drive. You’ve picked a great location for sure. Just be mindful of when the UT home games are played, assuming they’ll allow fans back in the stadium this fall. You don’t want to be on the road right before or after a game. And you’re right about basing where you live on your kids. I was given a piece of advice not long ago by an older couple who had moved I think three times to be near their kids/grandkids. They said don’t do it. As soon as you get settled the kids get transferred and you have to go through it all over again. Easier for them to come to you. Enjoy your new home and your new city:-).

  5. I will readily admit that I’ve thought you should move to Ohio. You spend a lot of time there and get along fabulously with your dil, and family becomes increasingly important as we age.

    I personally didn’t factor in weather when we decided where we wanted to live ‘the rest of our lives’, although the weather here is Wilmington, NC is close to what you described as your ideal. It was more about the vibe of Wilmington, accessibility to beaches, the opportunity to indulge our hobbies and passions, etc.

    It’s such an enormously personal decision, one that requires a great deal of thought, and one thing I would suggest is renting for at least six months before making a final decision.

  6. Rhonda Bridges says

    Hi Susan! We moved from the Atlanta area last year to St Simons Island, GA. (We’ve owned here several years.) We can fly out of Brunswick to ATL or drive down to JAX to get flights out. We spend a lot of time biking on Jekyll Island – we love it there, very peaceful, but not as many convenient restaurants or shopping. The south end of SSI is beach and coastal feeling, the north end is very historical and green. Lots of wildlife!

    We considered Fairhope, AL (love it there!) but family is still in the Atlanta area so the island is a bit closer to them. Several folks who live here have 2nd homes in Highlands/Cashiers/Sapphire Valley, NC

    • Bren Schilling says

      Rhonda, we had owned a condo on St Simons for 20+ years, and loved coming here for long weekends and Holidays so much, that when it was time to consider moving, we sold our two homes (Atlanta- E. Cobb Marietta and Highlands NC) and we hightailed it here. Being a 5th generation Atlantan it was a tough decision to move away, but small town life grows on you. We love living away from the congestion and over crowding from in-fill communities in Atlanta, and enjoy a sweet idyllic life here on the Coast. We have traveled all over the Country and have lived on the West Coast. I am a real estate Broker of 37 years and serve all over Georgia, and I have looked for many years for the ‘best place to live in our Golden years’, and in my opinion we do have it all, right here in The Golden Isles of Georgia with lovely beaches, trails to explore, houses of worship for all faiths, dining, shopping here and close by in Savannah and JAX, to gardening, golf and water sports, historic tours, clubs and organizations, to travel destination access, many opportunities for volunteer and service are here, which is very important to aging. Our real estate and cost of living over all is much lower than the national norm for the Biggie – ‘Quality of Life’ that we enjoy here in The Golden Isles. I give it a 10!! Why? Because we do not feel we are giving up anything, but instead have gained by living here now in our full time home on the Coast. Susan, my recommendation is to rent short term where ever you decide, and get to know the feel of the place before you leap into action in selling and then later regretting your decision. Once decided you may consider fractional ownership. My fav two places here on the E Coast to live would be Golden Isles and Highlands-both are close to metropolises, great health care, shopping, the arts, dining yet offer the quiet life in the woods and near the water. To be sure Atlanta is a hard place to beat, especially the northern suburbs. Happy hunting! Bren Schilling

      • Rhonda Bridges says

        Hi Bren! We, too, rented for several months a season over a year period to make sure we loved it all year before making the move to the island!

  7. Joyce Howe says

    I know for a fact that hurricanes have hit the Naples, FL area. Irma came ashore at Marco and came right up through there on its way here to the Sarasota area before it turned inward. They have had several impacts from hurricanes in recent years. Perhaps not direct “hits,” but definite damage from them. North and South Carolina might be worth investigating. I loved the Wilmington area of NC and Charleston or surrounding area in SC, are both great. Lots to do and beautiful areas. The drive from NC is not bad to Ohio, straight out 74. Decent flights out of Wilmington, too. Any of those areas can/will have hurricane impact, at some point. Just a fact of life if you live in a coastal area. I moved from Ohio to Sarasota area, and I love it.

    • Good to know, this was the article I read that listed Naples as hurricane-free: https://bestmoversinflorida.com/top-10-hurricane-free-cities-in-florida/
      I like Charleston a lot, too. I know they’ve had extensive flooding from hurricanes in the past. Wonder how far inland you need to live to avoid that kind of thing. Thanks for these suggestions, Joyce!

      • Patricia says

        We live inland in SC and Charleston has been hit
        Horribly with flooding in the 5 years we have been here. SC and NC are ffull of rivers which flood for weeks when the rain is terrible. Doesn’t need to be a storm, just 8 inch rain for several days.
        The Covid statistic for Charleston and Columbus and Greenville SC were very high. And I noticed that social distancing was only followed by older people. My favorite grocery store only wiped down the carts one week and they never required masks. My town though does not have a Publix which is very considerate. So you want to pick a place
        where the stats for Covid were low because it may come back during your lifetime.

        I know people who are moving to Myrtle beach and I know a lot who are moving out of there because it is so crowded all year long, not just during the summer.
        Plus, I hear that areas of Myrtle Beach have been taken over by gangs.

        It is so hard to decide where to settle as we all age but family is vital after 70. Also access to airports and good hospitals. With this shutdown, myself and
        My friends are all thinking that we don’t need the stores but to lose all of them would take away a pastime. I know you shop a lot more than me online,
        But it is nice to walk around a store and try things on or sit in a chair before you buy it.

        On your next ride from Ohio, drive through Pinehurst
        & Southern pines NC, nice little towns with Main St.
        type walking and great activities.! Great Golf and Art. Nice restaurants. Must go to Raleigh for airport & big hospitals. They do have a small hospital which people say is good because there is a high older populations. Libraries, Fresh Market & I think a Publix.

  8. Carolle Graham says

    Hi Susan. We have a condo in Naples and were hit by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The area was very heavily damaged.
    I really feel that every place has it’s pros & cons. It all just depends on what you like & dislike.
    My husband & I are trying to find the right spot for our retirement now. We love any water so that is our priority.
    Good luck with your search.

  9. I can understand completely. But, I know it isn’t an all or nothing. Our 3 children and grandchildren are spread out from the Atlantic to the Rockies. But we visit and zoom. I need hugs from all my babies, the lake, dock, city life and the tropics.
    I’m thinking its multiple smaller places.

  10. Kathrine Schmitt says

    Look at the Cumberland lake area in KY.

  11. This post made me think of Diane from In My Own Style… they chose to live by a lake with beautiful water views.

    Just thought I’d pass that along! Good luck and thank you for sharing all that you do!! I love getting an email that says you’ve posted something new!!

    • I love where Diane from In My Own Style moved to. If I were younger and the kids were closer to that spot I’d move in a New York minute to Lake Murray in SC.

  12. Mary Beth says

    Love this post! As I have sheltered in place for the past couple of months, I’ve been so, so happy that I ended up in my tiny little town right on the water. I love my little house, I love my screened in back porch, I love being able to walk to so many places around town and on the beach. This was a dream five years ago, and I made it happen. You will too!

    • Where is your little town located? Sounds exactly what I’m looking for.

      • This is a timely post! My husband and I have had the same conversations over the past couple of years. We are narrowing it down to the Beaufort, Bluffton, Charleston area. It is not too far from Atlanta for flying, Savannah is near (flying, shopping, restaurants) Charleston has good shopping and restaurants, Charlotte is not that far, nor the Highlands in the summer, and both Washington and Florida beaches are reasonable distances.
        We want to live a more hassle free life, and traffic free life (traffic is such a waste of time), be able to get to the coffee shop easily or get to the beach short time. But still, we want to get to the city for art museums, etc.
        I think it is a booming area but I think that is going to be true of a lot of places now. Taxes look good. Climate may be a little warmer than I would prefer, but like you, if I want snow (which I love), I will go on vacation to see it. Possible hurricanes yes, but there seems to something everywhere…tornados, flooding, drought, and strong storms (snow or rain) that leave you without power. After living a life of having to live where the job is, I think it is time to live where you can do things that make you feel like you are on vacation everyday.

    • Barb Diercks says

      Mary Beth where are you?

    • Where are you? Sounds perfect for me as my family is scattered far.

    • Mary Beth says

      For all who are asking, I live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

  13. Hi Susan:

    I understand completely. We are native Georgians, but as we are getting older and approaching “empty nester” phase, wanting to get away from hustle and bustle of Atlanta. We have been considering both Tennessee (for the mountains) and N. Carolina which has both mountains and coastal. As a true Southern gal, I will NEVER leave the South, but looking for something more tranquil for the next chapter. You will find the right place.

  14. Cynthia Moore says

    Susan, I would prefer to live near extended family. Unfortunately, we are getting older and perhaps having family closer would give you a sense of peace. Climbing ladders and lifting things may not be as easy as now. Living here in Bogart outside Athens has been fun with all the art offerings, music venues and educational opportunities. With that being said I pretty much stay away on football weekends. Alumni, etc come into town Fridays about lunch time and take out on Sunday noonish. Personally, summers are the best. There is a huge retiree population and lakes nearby. Enjoy your search and take your time. Rent first.

  15. I live in Hudson, Ohio. It is a very nice community. The winters can be harsh. Fortunately, we also have a condo on St. Pete Beach. My ideal would be a very small studio near my son, and a lovely cottage in Maine.
    Perhaps you could have 2 small cottages. One near your son and one in your dream spot.

  16. Carol Anne Thompson says

    After I retired (in the Los Angeles area), I moved to Hilton Head Island, SC. I have been here almost 25 years and still never cease to be amazed at the natural beauty of this island. Check it out.

  17. Have you ever considered having 2 spots? Perhaps a condo near your son and a cottage in a location that would be a “drive-able distance away. It’s the best of both worlds!

    *Just noticed Janet has almost almost the same idea!

    • Great article! We moved from New Jersey to St Simons Island Georgia over 15 years ago. We have recently downsized and are selling our North End larger home and bought a cottage close to the beach and we
      have decided it will be our “forever home”.

    • I have thought about that, just worried I would always wish I was at the “other” place no matter where I was. lol That would be a lot of fun, though!

      • Patricia says

        We just sold our second place. And I am relieved.
        A second place was ok when we’re younger but doctors was always a difficulty. My favorite eye doctor or dentist was always at the other location
        When I broke a tooth or lost a cap. Or we might decide to stay longer at one place then have to cancel & reshedule appt.

        I like to bake & I paint, so that means 2 of everything and that is expensive and annoying when you got to the cabinet and realize something, even a favorite sweater, is not there.

        But the costs of insurance, cable TV and internet are always going up, fifteen years ago it was not a big issue. The biggest problem is the storms whic come when you are at the other location and if the electric goes out and it is an 8 hour drive, someone needs to check your house. We had a storm once which blew our refrigerator full of food. Cost of new refridgerator and thrown out all the food.

        I don’t want to be a downer, but it is good to think everything over before jumping. I would advise you
        to not be more than 4 hours apart with 2 residences.

        I am 72 and husband 74, so we are moving closer to our son. Time goes by fast & I know from reading your blog that you get along well with DIL, which is a precious blessing. And your grandsons, son & DIL are precious to you Susan. Ohio has lovely cool evenings in the summer. You can rent in a warmer climate for the winter, anywhere you want.

        My suggestion is to be close to grandsons to watch them grow and sports & school activities while they are young. You have warm coats, & great boots for Ohio. Rent a condo somewhere each winter where you can walk or bike and enjoy warm days. Find your dream cottage, bungalow in Ohio.

        Family is precious.
        Love and Hugs to you, Patty

  18. Susan,
    What a great time to be able to have choices. I think NC, Virginia or KY are in your sweet spot. We live in Charlotte – good airport, 2 hours from the Blue Ridge and 3 hours from the beach. Both of our daughters/families have moved here as well – YA. When you narrow down your list, visit each place staying in a AirBnB away from the touristy places, so you get an honest feel of a regular place a regular day.

  19. Rebecca Egan says

    I have written this same article (in my mind) thousands of times…every word. …and done a fair bit of exploring the whole east coast. Also in Atlanta/Alpharetta…love access to airport and all things shopping and great medical…and worry small town might be a little to small. One daughter in Baltimore and the other in Costa Rica (OK, free room and board whenever..love going the middle of December to February 1) Rest of the family in Virginia (son-in-law from Dayton area..LOL). So, first I don’t see me moving to where my children are…so I’ve been looking at communities (55plus) that have built in clubhouse with ton of amenities (moving where I know no one/instant community) I love St Simons (turns out it’s the same distance to Virginia)..it’s charming and everything on the island you need with bonus everything in Brunswick; Wilmington’s weather is almost like Atlanta because of the Cafe Fear River, Intercoastal Waterway and the ocean… and both Charleston and Savannah are beautiful…with secret (not really) sweet spots like Beaufort, SC., Pawleys Island, Georgetown. I like Naples and Bonita Springs in Florida but I like fall and it being cooler for Thanksgiving and Christmas (I don’t mean air conditioning)…Tampa needs a little more exploring since I have a nephew there now. It’s also hard to leave friends who are like family but I really see the value in being settled and having this be a non-issue. Definitely in the formula is doing more of what I want and less of what I don’t want to do and finishing well. At the end of careers and independent children and grown up grandchildren is building a “new dream”. As a Life Coach maybe I should make this a “dream board” or “Getting Intentional” workshop. Making BIG DECISIONS are made the same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time. Lots to think about…might be time to gather on the porch for a brain storming session…..for now it’s back to the porch with a Southern libation and a good beach book.

  20. We are thinking about this, too. I love the beach and would love to live in a house on the inland waterway. My thinking is that I can go to the beach when I want, but if the weather is bad or I am not physically able to go either due to age or sickness or whatever, I can sit on the porch and watch the boats go by.

  21. Before I retired to Mexico from the Virgin Islands, I was going to move to Greenville, South Carolina. In fact, I bought a house there then backed out of the deal when I had 2nd thoughts. It has a LOT going for it. Smallish City with a nice airport. Nearby mountains provide a pleasing microclimate with the kind of climate you described wanting. Also reasonable home prices and just a really pleasant atmosphere.

    Having lived for 28 years in beachy areas I personally would NEVER retire in that kind of climate. I have been through too many hurricanes and they seem to be getting stronger now. Greenville was close enough to be able to drive to beaches but not close enough that your roof will go flying and you won’t have electricity gone for months. That might be an adventure in your 20’s but hellish after 50. Anyone throwing hurricane parties never went through a bad one.

    Check out Greenville. Maybe go for a long weekend and see what you think.
    PS I didn’t get the email notification of this new post but maybe it will come later. Saw it on Facebook.

    • My husband and I are going house shopping in the Greenville area soon. We also looking at the Aiken area. We are tired of the never ending winters in Illinois.

      • I don’t blame you. I was born in St. Louis and escaped as soon as “I was old enough. I promised myself I would never deal with harsh winters again. Greenville is so pleasant With nice shopping, hotels and restaurants. I hope you like either it or Aiken. There is also a large lake nearby.

  22. Suzy Laird says

    How about Laurel, Mississippi? So many cute little houses, or what “could be”.cute little houses, to quote Erin Napier! And the weather is right. Such a darling HOME TOWN!

  23. Diane D King says

    I am a born and bred Savannahian. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. I live on Skidaway Island where you can golf, play tennis, bike and walk the nature trails. We have two marinas and four golf clubs, maybe more, but I am not a golfer and do not keep up with that scene. We have all sizes of residences on the island, which is only a few miles from Tybee and the beach. We have mega mansions, ranches like mine. condos, retirement homes and assisted living apartments. There are five churches and numerous clubs and groups for people of all interests. We do have the hurricane issue, but hurricane evacuations are a great time for vacations in the mountains. Savannah is a great foodie town, too, and lovely boutiques to feed your shopping habit. Take a trip down and give the Landings Company a call for a tour and maybe a trial stay on the island. I have no intention of ever leaving this paradise!

    • We vacationed there one year and it truly is charming and captivating. I told my husband that if we moved to a “city”, I would love a place like this! Though we live in San Diego with ideal weather, close to beaches and best of all, close to my son and grandson so we have no plans to leave! But we love to travel and see other places as often as we can.

  24. Estes Park, Colorado! Heaven on Earth!

  25. Anne Shaheen says


  26. All I can say this is something you have to really think about and I know you know this. You are so use to the life you’ve had for many years and as we get older if we change our environment it’s a upsetting. Now I know you are a different person and that’s wonderful. You would be able to handle this. If you can, can you rent a house or whatever at a place where you would want to live. I know this will take time but you will know within a few days or 2 weeks if you are comfortable. Just be sure you are happy.

  27. Snowflake281 says

    Personally, I think Naples would be a good fit for you to explore more about. My husband & I became Snowbirds here 1 month after Irma. There is a lot of building going on, which is good & bad. You can find whatever type of living style you prefer in whatever your budget allows here. Shopping galore. Restaurants galore. Yes, hurricanes are to be expected, not to mention fires when it hasn’t rained for a while & the wildlife that are being effected with all the building. But I think builders are very conscious of preserving as much of the area that they’re building in as much as possible. It has many parks & walking trails, but during “high” season there’s also lots of traffic. South part of Naples seems to be a little quieter than North Naples. Lastly, SW International Airport is about 25 min. drive north of here.

  28. Dawne Marie says

    Hi Susan!
    Great topic! I’ve been pondering the same. Tired of SW FL hurricanes, blazing hot weather and tourism. We live close to beaches which we don’t frequent. I love the seasonal weather, however long for greenery, hills and cool weather off season. Been researching the Airstream Interstate van to travel and experience different areas to settle. However, it’s pricey! Also researching VRBO for a TN one month rental. It’s exciting to think about!

  29. B Healthy says

    I would recommend you read the book Stumbling on Happiness. It cautions against assuming that when you move, everything else in your life will stay the same. It never does. You’ll have different friends, your interests will change, and your “needs” will change.

    How easily do you make new friends? How much will you miss your old ones? How likely is it that they’ll come visit you? Will you visit them? We see our old friends MUCH less than we thought we would.

    Will you still enjoy gardening, or shopping, or traveling? I know my MIL no longer does. It’s very hard to predict what will be important years down the road….

    Speaking of my MIL and her husband. They found the perfect house in Asheville, NC, which is an ADORABLE town! We love to visit them. BUT…the closest reasonably priced airport is over 2 hours away, flying into Asheville is VERY expensive, and if we drive it’s 2 days each way which limits the amount of time we can spend with them. They like us to visit during the holidays, but we prefer to be in OUR home for the holidays. It’s a constant struggle….. Fortunately, they have lots of friends.

    My FIL on the other hand, just lost his partner, and he’s floundering without her. He’s also a long drive away, and again, it’s all on us because he refuses to leave his home.

    There are so many things consider besides the weather….

    • I do make friends easily, but I’m actually more of an introvert and really LOVE my alone time. It’s always my friends who call and drag me out. I don’t see myself ever stopping gardening completely…or shopping or traveling. Would love to be where I can do more hiking, biking, someplace where it doesn’t rain so much. I had an aunt who lived in Asheville and it is a beautiful area. I’m trying to avoid living where it snows, though. I really dislike snow…can’t state that emphatically enough. lol Would love loooong summers that start in April and go through September…if possible. I’ll check out the weather in Asheville. Maybe spring arrives much sooner than it does here in Ohio.

      • Asheville can be VERY hot in the summer. It’s a great artsy town (and fabulous if you’re into craft beer!) We have a place in the mountains in Maggie Valley (about 50 minutes from Asheville) and it is MUCH cooler, but we don’t winter there because I don’t do snow either. Waynesville, next town over from Maggie has a very cute downtown.

        • but wait…there’s more. When we decided to spend 5 months of the year on the top of a mountain in Maggie Valley, NC I knew that even though I love my hubby, I would have to carve out a social life for myself. I joined a book club, and have made some lifelong friends very quickly. I became friends with local business owners, and I am blessed to have really good friends in Fl and NC where we divide our time. It takes a little effort, butI’m glad I put myself “out there”. You can find happiness anywhere!

        • I love hot weather! The only places I’ve been or lived where the summers were almost unbearable are Savannah and Macon. The humidity will kill you in both places. I remember I visited Savannah once in late May/early June and it felt like August in Atlanta. It was unbearable already. I don’t know if that was a freak summer or if it really gets that hot there that early. That was a bit much even for this southern girl. I love Savannah otherwise though…beautiful area!

      • B Healthy says

        Asheville doesn’t get much snow, but they do get ICE, which I think is worse. You can drive in snow. Ice is treacherous. My MIL lives on a mountainside and they say the summers are bearable. 78 is about the max I feel comfortable. I would die down south!

    • Oh, and I can relate to family who doesn’t like to travel leaving it all on you. My brother and sister were the same way…I did all the traveling down south to see them all throughout the year. They’ve both passed away now, so I am now free really to live where I wish. It’s almost overwhelming having too many choices!

  30. Elaine Carroll says

    I love the question, I was born on Martha’s Vineyard Island, summer’s we’re spent on the beach, a 5 minute ride on our bikes. After day 2 with bad sunburning, I stayed home and my cousin and friends went! I married and moved 1 town over, we built a house across the street from the water, lived there for 40 years, I miss the 4:30 am sunrise and the spectacular sunsets around the corner from our house. Winters can be long and cold, spring spectacular! I miss the fog rolling in, the Coast Guard house down the street, listening to its fog horn, and the Nobska Light answering . I love the sound of bell buoys, the breeze off the ocean, And peacefulness of the ocean. It draws me back always!

  31. Maryann Marshall says

    We retired toWilliamsburg, va. and it was the best decision we ever made, even though we left our son and grown grandchildren in Maryland. We have the best of everything, a small college town, (we volunteer in Colonial Williamsburg) and love it, also close to Richmond virginia Beach, and the mountains. The vest part our son and daughter in law moved here.

  32. There are so many beautiful places in the U.S. to live….. but, you must consider a place with excellent health care!

    • I agree with Debbie about the need for excellent health care – no matter what your current health status is. That is one reason I am still in the Boston area even though I hate Winter – except for snow on Christmas Eve. My husband is in his 70s and has been the SAHD for 25 years. I’m only 60 and still working for at least another 5 years. He thinks he wants us to retire to Texas but I like the idea of the Gulf Coast of Florida. For me, I need to be near the ocean and near top notch hospitals.

    • Patricia says

      I agree with the above:
      after 60 for some people but definitely after 70, health care must be your first priority. If you have a long travel for good doctors and you may need another person to drive you if it is surgery or eye care, then driving for 2 hours to get care is a difficulty if you live alone. Susan, you may be in great health now but things happen when we least expect.

      My second priority is the need for a big airport. My medium size town in SC has a small airport and when we moved there, I though that would be great but a shuttle to Charlotte or Charleston can be a nightmare. Sometimes the late flight to come back to my home area is cancelled and one time I took the first morning flight out, the small jet was loaded but they held the plane for one late passenger and I barely made my flight at Charlotte. Then one time in Charlotte, I had to stay overnight because I missed a plane to home base when my first flight from Philly was late due to weather. So, with your love of traveling alone, which I also do, being stuck in an airport alone is not fun.

  33. Bonnie Brown says

    I see where several people have mentioned St. Simons Island, Ga. I used to live there and I loved every minute of it. I am not a beach person either but I loved the quaintness of the village and the atmosphere. I live only two hours from there now and we visit the island a lot. I think you would like it.

    • I’ve visited there before, a long time ago. I should go back and spend a bit of time there to check it out. Maybe I could travel in the fall to enjoy the changing on the seasons.

  34. Hi Susan,

    Nooooooooooooo. . . you can’t move.

    But I agree with Hilton Head: wonderful spot. I also love the Georgia islands and Amelia Island.

    However, if you’d like to be tad closer to the kids, I recommend suburb of Richmond, VA called Short Pump. By living in Short Pump you have stunning parks, even more stunning history everywhere, you’re only two hours from DC (which the kids will love) and an easy two hour drive to Virginia Beach. (Back in the day, Virginia Beach was a military hang out, but years ago the powers sunk 100 million into the beachfront. And it shows.

    But, really, I don’t want you to move.


    • We used to vacation every summer in Hilton Head for about 6 summers in a row. We loved the nature preserves and often walked through those, keeping a wary eye out for alligators. lol We also liked biking through Sea Pines and shopping in that area. I remember eating so many times at Hudsons…not sure if it’s still there. The beach itself isn’t very pretty at Hilton Head, no white sand, but that’s how many of the beaches are in Florida, I think. If Short Pump is only 2 hours from D.C. that’s probably further north than I would want to live. I would prefer living where it doesn’t snow and has very short mild winters.
      Why don’t you want me to move? I would def miss my screened porch and my paneled living room, but I’m hoping I can recreate or add on a similar screened porch when/if I do move.

      • I’m just being selfish about not wanting you to move. Six years ago I found your blog when we still lived in Richmond, VA. Your blog made me feels so good about moving to ATL (although, truth be told, I’d much rather be in Marietta than Suwanee, but the hub’s job at CHOA is out here). Yes, it definitely snows lightly in Richmond — sounds like that is too far north for you. I semi-agree w/ the poster who said moving when we’re older is upsetting. I moved twice “when I was older” and while — yes, it’s emotionally tough — you adjust. You really do. And I love to think that as I’m learning new roads, new interstates, new stores, new people, new bike paths etc. I might be helping myself to one day avoid dementia. Well, I can hope!! 🙂

  35. The least likely part of Fl to be hit by a Hurricane is the Jacksonville area. My best friend moved to Amelia Island (Jacksonville area) a year ago and LOVES it. They ride their bikes every day, and live about 1/4 mile from the beach. Do you ever read the remodeling blog Young House Love? The writers JUST sold their big house in Richmond Va., and 2 beach rentals, and downsized to the Fl. Panhandle. It’s amazing what they have done to their Fl. house in such a short time. I’d recommend giving it a look. Right now I feel like I have the best of both worlds. We winter/spring in our Fl. home (same house for 29 years) and spend summers and fall in the NC mountains. We’re retired, but who knows how long we can keep this up, so I’ll enjoy it while we can!

    • Bernie, that sounds wonderful! I’ve never been to Amelia Island but have heard wonderful things about it. I’ve never heard of it being hit by hurricane. The only negative is giving up having all 4 seasons. I’m guessing you don’t have much of fall there. I would love to just have three seasons: spring, summer and fall. lol I wish winter was like 1 month long and gone! 🙂

      • No…Amelia Island (on the east coast) is still Fl. so you don’t get much of a fall. The Panhandle (where my daughter, SIL, and grandbabies live) get more temperature range than I do in Palm Beach County, they are actually in the central time zone. Hotter summers, cooler winters, and beautiful white sand beaches of the gulf. The seasons are “different” and WAY more subtle than up north. So many options!

  36. Susan I live in Savannah and highly recommend living here. Long summers, usually mild winters with rare snow. Close to the beach, lots of history and shopping, theater and cultural events. We have an airport as well. Charleston South Carolina and Jacksonville Florida are day trips. I do think you would like it down here.

  37. That pretty picture looks like it would be Destin Beach Fla. That beach is the most awesome beach..it has soft white sand and beautiful teal water. We have gone there many times. It’s 5 hours 16 minutes from Atlantic. A place you might want to check out.

    • My daughter is in Navarre…right up the road from Destin. And yes, it is beautiful.

    • Patricia says

      Destin is really lovely but Susan likes to drive to Ohio to visit her son, DIL and grandsons; with a full SUV of presents. Destin would be is atleast 16 hours to OHIO.

    • Oh, I need to visit there just to see all that pretty white sand! I would love to visit Seaside one day, too! Thanks, Patricia!

  38. I’ve thought about this also. I, like you in that I love the ocean and like to walk in the sand and look at the ocean, but don’t really like boats or swimming. I think it is because being around water is calming. I think you should live around family but if you can swing it, have a condo or such in a place that is warmer and closer to water so you can escape the cold. My daughter lived in Charlotte for awhile and I thought is was a lovely city. You could live away from the main city and traffic, but close enough to shop.

  39. Wow – we all have a lot to say about this topic! 😉 We’re thinking the same thing at our house, but we love our current home in Portland, Oregon so much that it’s a really hard decision. Plus both our ~ 90 year old mothers are in town here, so that factors. Love reading all about everyone’s favorites – I guess we have some new places to consider! Thanks for the great inspiration and conversation!

  40. I live in the North Georgia mountains and there is PLENTY to do up here. Being close to a college town, there’s always something going on (except in times of pandemic). And there are beautiful lakes, hiking/walking trails, lovely mountain views, and a delightful lack of traffic. I would not choose to live anywhere else in the world!

  41. B Healthy says

    When we were considering a move to Ireland, the locals advised us to rent a place for a year, to see exactly what w were getting into. We realized we’d hate it in the summer, with all the tourists. In retrospect, it was great advice. If you love the place all year long, then it’s OK to move….

  42. Great post! Struggling with this dilemma also so I have no helpful tips for you. I understand not being a beach or water sports person, yet still wanting to be near water. I hope when you find the perfect place that you will share with your followers. But only with your followers, lol.

  43. Jacki Salinas says

    I did a lot of research. We moved from the Dallas area (McKinney) to a smaller city in the woodsy part of east Texas, just a couple of hours away. Taxes were MUCH lower and housing prices were considerably better. But I was so homesick for everything and everyone that I knew, that we moved back nine months later. We do have two children here, but we know that they may not stay. Think it through carefully – it was a very costly experience for us!

  44. Hi there, I live in Marietta GA and am spoiled with the being able to get to the airport and have access to excellent health care like Emory, and be able to see some wonderful gardens. That said I would love to retire to Jasper Ga, particularly Big Canoe. It’s private and gated but has lovely trails, lakes, golf, stables etc and is close enough to Atlanta if I need to get on a plane, go to the hospital, tour the high Museum or do major shopping. Big Canoe built several cottage style homes with just enough yard and trees in a serene setting. I have a friend who lives there and she said they do get a little snow but not for more than a day or two. So, that’s where I would love to retire to.The beach is nice but hot and crowded and too many storms for me.

  45. I currently live on Long Island in NY. We have all four seasons, but I’m so over winter lol. I plan on moving to the Stuart, Florida area next year. I’ll miss spring in NY, but I figure being able to go to the beach all year round is worth the pay off. And I’ll be very glad to pay 1/5 of the taxes I pay now!

  46. Jenny Young says

    We bought our forever home when I was 23 & my husband was 27. We were newlyweds. It’s a simple little 1200 sq foot ranch & we love it. It’s the only home we’ve ever owned or hope to own. We raised our son here & he loves the area so much he & his family only live 5 miles away. Now we enjoy our grandson here.

    We have about 5 acres on a small 500 acre lake in nw AR. We’ve built trails in our woods & along our 600ft waterfront. We added a nice large screened porch to the back & spend a lot of time there.

    We’re also about 20 minutes from a good airport, 45 minutes from any shopping, restaurants, museums or shows we might want to see. Great walking, biking towns. Good farmer’s markets….we love it here.

    I do wish we had more snow. I grew up in mid-Appalachia & I really miss the snow. We do get some cold temps in the winter but rarely get snow.

    I guess the downside would be it’s grown so much since we moved her 30 yrs ago. It’s becoming much more crowded than I like.

    • Mary from Virginia says

      Am I the only one that would go to Maine? Or wherever the humidity was almost zero?? I am certain a bunch of snow would do me in but I would take it over humidity!
      Susan, I thought you’d come around and join your family in Ohio. Their neighborhood looks perfect to me.
      My niece lives in Savannah and loves it, I like it a lot but the summer is too much for me. We visited in April and I nearly passed out.
      Where ever you land I can’t wait to see your cottage.

  47. I’m trying to figure that out too. Our boys will be sophomores in college in the fall. All in different states.
    We live in NJ but don’t want to stay here. Where to go? Too soon to know where our boys will end up.
    I feel the same as you. Not sure if I would like coastal living.
    Transitional time for us but no clear answer.

  48. Michele M says

    If we are just safely dreaming – for me I’d live in a tiny cottage in the NE, probably Maine…..and in the winters I’d live in Naples or even possibly Scottsdale, AZ. My poor joints would love the break from humidity.

    But leave my 3 year old grand daughter? Never going to happen.

    I will tell you I am not a huge fan of Dayton – had to work there for a spell years ago and couldn’t WAIT to get back to Columbus – but Cinci is a wonderful city with rich history to consider if you do decide to be close to your loved ones.

    If you go straight up to Lake Erie you’ll be in my old stompin grounds – and the Erie Islands and the lake is a phenomenal place to visit in the summertime!

  49. OMG, the number of responses! This is the same question I ask myself about every other day, Susan. Most of your readers sound like they are from the eastern part of the country, but I’m a Californian, so the first place that came to my mind was Hawaii, but that would take you even further away from your grandchildren than you are now. The weather is perfection. It’s beautiful. You have shopping, beautiful beaches, places to ride bicycles, hike. There’s shopping. BUT, there is an incredible amount of tourists. It’s expensive, and if you’ve never lived on an island, you might get island fever. San Francisco, where I live, is about a six hour flight. You are really out there in the middle of the Pacific.

    • Hello Lisa,
      When I lived in Hawaii while in the Navy we called it the rock, not sure they still call it that. Yes, you truly are in the middle of the Pacific. I always say great to visit but not to live. The expense is not worth it to me and too crowded for my liking.

  50. Susan, Your decision is a difficult one. Many of the comments have mentioned wonderful places. Yet, consider as you age will your son and dil be able to travel to help you , visit in a hospital etc.? My husband and I recently moved to be closer to our daughter so that she didn’t have to drive 3 hours to our former home. We lived 29 minutes outside NYC and moved 15 minutes north of Albany, NY to SarAtoga! We are in a wonderful community with club house and pool! Think Florida style living but way north! We wanted to be near our grandsons and daughter. Is this my dream home? No! I had my dream home in suburban New York City but 3 level home was getting to us. Most of our family and friends are in Florida but Florida is a nice place to visit but would not be a forever home for us. Think about where you need to be in 10 years. We decided it is best to be near our daughter who is 1/2 hour from us. If we need her she does not have to travel far. We don’t have to worry about her traveling for two hours.

  51. I’d like a collage town near river beaches or a lake near state parks with safe walking and outdoor spaces. Willuamsburg, VA is a good example. a lake community maybe. I’m interested in life long learning adult non credit college classes and vigorous conversations. Reading and discussions. I’m interested in mediation with like minded folks from every faith or no faith. I like nice things so cute shops are good for occasional treats. Don’t need as much now. I love to be near art museums and libraries so a college town might offer that plus theater and other cultural activities. I don’t fit in New York was level dressing or $$$ so a smaller cultured area with lots of beautiful nature suits me. I like winter vs intense heat. Live falls. Virginia and Maryland where I live now offer short periods of every season. I lived in Houston 17 years. Did not enjoy it at all. Some do though and the medical facilities are superb. I missed seasons and the smells of forests. Home is where the heart is in the final analysis. Making a decision to move is complex and deeply personal. But might bring more joy into ones life. Hopefully anyway.

  52. Sheri Stritof says

    I have found where I want to spend the rest of my life – and I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years. The Long Beach Peninsula in Washington state. It has a 28-mile long beach to the west and a beautiful bay to the west. Where I live, the peninsula is two miles wide. Often when I go to the beach, I’m the only one there – except for the birds. Snow is once a year and only about 2 inches which melt in a day. Shopping is across the Columbia River in Astoria/Warrenton Oregon. No sales tax in Oregon. No income tax in Washington. There are also many pine trees and a lovely bird-watching area at the north end of the peninsula. It’s a great small community with lovely small towns along the 28 miles. There are 3 stop lights. Heaven.

  53. My husband and I are from Knoxville, Tn and love it there. We lived in Savannah, GA for 35 years and always thought we would move back to an area around Knoxville, However, both of our daughters were in Acworth, Ga with no plans to move. That is also where our grandchildren are, so we moved to Acworth, very close to Lake Allatoona. We LOVE it here! Small town, close to Atlanta for shopping, airport, concerts, plays, but away from the fray of the traffic. Weather is great with 4 distinct seasons. Knoxville is very similar in the seasons so we do not regret our decision

  54. I moved to the Jersey shore two years ago near Long Beach Island and love it here! There are two places I would highly recommend you consider in NJ: Cape May and Spring Lake.
    If I could live anywhere, where would I choose to live? Why, in your house, of course! I drool over that sun porch and paneled living room….just sooo cozy!

  55. Trish Euler says

    Hi Susan,

    I just sold a house that I love and which I fixed up so that it’s almost exactly the way I want it. However, my children have been after me to move to Las Vegas to be near them. Now I HATE the heat, but I LOVE my children and grandchildren and, although I was traveling to see them five times/year from here in Reno prior to Covid-19, I felt I was missing out just hanging with them whenever I wanted. Last Summer I made the decision to move to Summerlin (one of the nicest parts of the city), because it’s cooler at 3000 ft. I’m excited about my decision although I will miss my “perfect” home, my church, and my friends.

    I am in contract to buy a home which needs a LOT of work, but I know I can make it mine. I see from your posts how much you LOVE being with your family and watching your grandsons grow up. You are SUCH a great grandma!! Maybe you would find living in Ohio not as bad as you think because it will be mitigated by the joy of watching the boys grow up and being an integral part of it.

    Reading your post, living at the beach is not your style. If I were you, I would try to find a smaller home on the outskirts of the city where you could still see family at the drop of a hat, but could enjoy the four seasons. As far as snow, I have it here and LOVE the four seasons. AND there is always some enterprising teen who would LOVE to shovel for you while building a nest egg for something special like his first car. As you grow older, you will find comfort in having your family nearby in case something “big” happens. Like I always say, no one is getting out of here alive….it’s a 100% mortality rate. It’s not WHERE you live as much as the relationships you build. It is a proven fact that longevity is connected to relationships which is why those in the poorest countries are the happiest because of their close family ties.

    Just something to think about and maybe pray over.


  56. Hi Susan, I grew up in the most perfect place to live in California, Pacific Palisades. If I ever hit the lottery I’d want to move back there. You can walk to the beach and you have everything else. We moved to Paso Robles 13 yrs ago to be able to keep our horses on our property. As we get older though the horses will be too much work for us. I’d love to live in a cottage in Cambria, CA. It’s a 45 min drive from where we are now with perfect weather and a very charming town. There’s never snow in the winter but it gets chilly enough to keep your fireplace on. The West Coast of CA has dry weather which I love. I can’t take humidity. We’re also in the middle of the state on the West coast so the traffic is minor compared to Los Angeles or San Francisco but both big cities are 3 hrs away from here. I think the central coast of California is the perfect place to live but like you, I’m an ocean lover so that’s where I’d love to be.

  57. Cyndi Raines says

    Oh goodness Susan, I was wondering when this question would really come to the forefront, especially since you have been spending so much time with your family and enjoying it so. No easy answers. Now that we are in our 60’s it is a complicated decision, especially considering you want to see your grandchildren grow up and be with or near family for fun events and holidays. Not to mention if there was a medical situation for either of you, or like now with this crazy pandemic. I think you would adjust to the Ohio weather for the 3 seasons and maybe during the hard part of winter, January -March, you could go south and rent a place staying in Florida or Savannah so you could be near water and in warm weather. I really don’t see you buying a place near water especially since you aren’t a boater, swimmer / sun bather/ beach type person. Our spring, summer and falls are very nice, you will discover that if you stay longer. I think the advice mentioned above to rent a place for a year is good advice to see if you really like it.
    One thing I know for sure, family is very important and the time spent with them is special, creating wonderful memories. You can always travel to a warm spot for the winter and be a snow-bird.

  58. Jane Recchia says

    My husband and I went through this very situation a few years ago, and I can truthfully say it took us 5 years to figure out where we wanted to be. In that time, we visited many areas both east and west coast, midwest, southwest and northern pacific. Each had elements that drew us to them. By then, we were completely torn and paralyzed!
    So .. we concocted a checklist of elements that were important to us. Location (by a major airport; drivable to a major city); One story condominium in over-55 community; home overlooks a view (not another home); close to stellar medical care; There were other elements as well.
    We then ranked what we had already seen and had a moment of truth – we were already in the location we wanted to be! We were needing to downsize to an over-55 condo, not begin a whole new life somewhere else.
    You may find a similar checklist/ranking system very helpful for you to narrow things down and pinpoint exactly what you want/need for your next 20+ years.
    Good luck – can’t wait to read about your adventures as you decide!
    Thank you for all you do – I really learn so much from your blog!

  59. Johnelle Winter says

    My husband and I have had this same conversation of “where” to settle over the last few months. Although we are still a ways off from retirement (late 40’s and early 50’s) it is such a big decision. We currently have two homes, one in Minnesota and the other in northern Idaho. I was born and raised in Idaho and currently work there and my husband was born and raised in Minnesota. I travel between both states as work allows. My husband is an over the road truck driver, so he is able to stop and “visit” when I am in Idaho working. I have to admit, although I am a winter lover, I am not a fan of the flat, windy and humid midwest. The winters are terribly cold. The closest big town to us in Idaho, is Coeur d’Alene. I must say, I could never live permanently where it is humid. Guess I am a true west coast girl! Coeur d’Alene has all four seasons, a beautiful lake, endless hiking/biking opportunities, and wonderful dining. It has grown substantially over the past few years as people have discovered our special little area. 🙂

  60. I was born in KC Missouri and raised in S California. I moved to Oregon in 1998 and absolutely adore living here! Had always been a dream of mine growling up. Here where I live we rarely get snow. But mountains, beach, desert are all within 1 hr drive!!! So perfect. Only out of country options for me are Canada or Scotland.

  61. Helen L Dehner says

    Right here in beautiful Bend Oregon … with the option of travel to exotic places whenever the urge strikes!

  62. Susan, We have been through exactly what you are expressing & our wants were pretty much the same as yours. We have lived in MI, CT, CA and FL throughout our life. We are originally from Michigan & love Spring, Summer & fall there & MI is a pretty benign state but we did want to escape the longer, dreary winters! We loved living in MI and CT but West Coast was not for us. We also love the beach but are not boaters same as you. We have vacationed over 40 years in the Outer Banks of NC & the FL Keys. We love both but not necessarily to live year round. As one ages you will want good health care close, major hospitals and international airports near you so you can make your travel less stressful!
    After much investigation we relocated 6 years ago from MI to Naples, FL. The good news is that it is a very social community with lots to do, good roads, infrastructure & restaurants & we have made the “best friends” here. However, we have evacuated twice for hurricanes, our pool equipment has been hit by lightening and it has gotten hotter for longer every year!! So we knew we were going to have to move again. We would be “half backs”. If you have not heard that term it is folks who move to FL and have issues like we did but do not want to go all the way back North so they go “half way back” to Carolinas or TN or even GA. We reevaluated and said OK we love the coast but have to worry about evacuating and higher wind/water insurance. Some areas we planned to visit were flooded and we could not even go there…so we said we can vacation at the beach or mountains but live inland. We visited every major area in North & South Carolina. Decide TN winters colder than we wanted so no interest there. We looked city & rural and decide we wanted a small town atmosphere like we had in MI but close to large, easily accessible city. We are going to relocated to a small town called Waxhaw, SE of Charlotte NC near the SC border. It has hot Summers but MUCH shorter than FL, long Springs and Falls and some cooler for a Winter season but but rarely snow! Charlotte has major shopping, hospitals and an international airport! We hope you can benefit from our mistakes & have fun with it al. IF you can rent before moving its great but I have to say that when you rent it seems more difficult to get as involved in the community but………that may not always be true! Make it an adventure if you can!!

    • Wow, thanks for all this great info, Susan! I’ve been worried about FL due to hurricanes and super high insurance. I have USAA and a few years back they told me they would not even insure my home if I moved to FL…they told me they wouldn’t insure any home in FL. Not sure if that’s changed or not. That says a lot to me about the dangers of living there. I just don’t want the hassle of evacuating, even once every few years. Charlotte area is such a nice area! I can’t wait to hear how you like Waxhaw! I just hate cold weather sooo much. Fall even makes me sad because I know what’s coming next. I was thinking today, since the only thing I like about fall is the changing of the leaves and the decorating, I should live someplace warm and not worry about trying to experience fall. I can always visit family in Ohio to see the changing of the leaves. I just want to get up every morning to a place where it’s sunny and hot most days of the year! lol

      • If it’s sunny and hot you want, Fl. may be right for you. I’ve lived in Fl.for 58 years and only evacuated once. And that’s only because a relative already had booked a hotel room and wasn’t going to use it. On our return, our house was fine. It’s only if you live near the beach that you are in an evacuation zone (we are 8 miles away). USAA still insures in Fl. Whether you can get a NEW policy, is something you’ll have to check out. You get discounts with a wind mitigation inspection, what kind of roof you have (hip is better than gable), and whether or not you have Dade County approved shutters, or impact glass windows. ALL homeowners’ insurance is going up. There is a separate “wind” deductible. Yes, the homeowners insurance in NC is cheaper, depending on where you live, but there is no personal income tax if Florida is your primary residence. It MUST be a good place to live because people are moving here in droves!!

      • I have lived in Charlotte for 28 years. The traffic is not Atlanta but is getting worse. We have several small towns on all sides. Belmont is a lovely growing community. Waxhaw has grown so much and is nice. We are from Kentucky and have had to make the 8 -9 hour drive several times a year to visit family. I’m almost refusing to drive and splurge on a quick flight. Charlotte is American hub and can be pricey but all of that may change now. We are expecting a population boom with young adults moving here from large cities after their sheltering in place experiences. I love some of the Kentucky towns and Bowling Green and Lexington are nice.

    • Donna
      We live in Indian Land, SC and know Waxhaw well. It’s a darling town but is in NC where the taxes are higher than SC.

  63. You need to check out 30A in destin Florida….a hwy of little seaside communities! You get it all…ocean, restaurants and shopping galore, walking trails. Most travel from community to community is done by golf cart.
    You would LOVE it!!!!!
    My bff just bought a house in the sweetest gated community and it’s perfect!!!

  64. Elizabeth says

    I thought about this…..check out New Bern North Carolina on the East Coast. Its quite an interesting place. It was my husband’s home town. If my grandson didn’t live within 20 miles of me in Auburn ( yes, that Auburn) I’d move to New Bern in a heart beat. I am in West Point GA and also like it!

  65. Hi Susan. You selected a good topic that lots of people are thinking about. We have been looking into a lake community.
    We found this : https://www.twincreekstfl.com/
    The lake front community offers cottages and just south of Nashville, TN. You would be within an airport, great shopping, Nashville night life, great hospitals and a days drive from Columbus. No state taxes. Here is the location: https://www.twincreekstfl.com/
    This would be a calm and relaxing place but still be within a small community.
    Good luck on your search and keep us up to date….we all might move.

    • Dawn Celiberti says

      Hi Georgia!
      I live about 20 minutes from Twin Creeks. It is a great, small little community, we go there to eat at the restaurant on the water. Just know that it is about an hour and 1/2 drive,either way, to an airport (Nashville (BNA) or Chattanooga (CHA). There is a small town nearby, Winchester, with Walmart, Home Depot, grocery stores, etc. but if you want “more” shopping options the closest is Murfreesboro which takes about 40 minutes or so to get to. We have lived here in Middle, TN for 16 years and it is close to so many things and places, mountains, within driving distance to the Panhandle of Florida, Atlanta, etc.
      I think about this subject all the time, not sure where we will end up but it has to be somewhere near a beach, Gulf Coast preferred. Clearwater, FL is home to us (his parents, siblings and our oldest daughter live there) and I have been saying for years I want to move back there….but now with reading all of these comments, not too sure. Dunedin, FL is a cute little town snuggled next to Clearwater but the traffic over the years has gotten so bad in that whole area. Hmm…..lot’s to consider.

  66. carol springsteen says

    Susan if your family will be in Ohio for sure than move and be close to them. You can always travel after Christmas for several weeks and then return back for the spring. The area they live in is beautiful and charming. I left a neighborhood on Long Island and now it is so expensive I could never go back because of the taxes. My mother use to tell me they never made a rebel of me and I wold say the south will rise again because the Damn Yankees can’t afford the taxes and hate the winter so they come south. Family is more and if they would like you to come don’t put it off.

  67. carol springsteen says

    Susan this is a P.S. make new friends but keep the old one is silver the other gold. You can always travel or visit in the winter months…

  68. Hi Susan, We’re thinking about where to retire as well. Access to good health care is important, availability of things we love to do, reasonable traffic, weather/seasons: everything that comments already include.
    One thing to add — renting is a very good idea, and rent so that the lease includes the time when the area has its very worst weather. You’ll know what to expect, and whether or not you can “weather” it…

  69. We moved from Middletown Ohio to Worthington, Ohio ( Columbus) to be near our children in 2004, and it is the best decision we could have made. The grandchildren are a joy, and they keep us young,
    the holidays are always celebrated. We help each other out, always someone
    around to help if needed. I find the bigger city is helpful for finding
    tradespeople and certainly for medical care. The Winters here are not that bad and easy to plan for. After this year staying in two or three days during
    the Winter doesn’t seem that bad. Best of Luck with your decision.

  70. Hi Susan. What an interesting post, I’ve enjoyed reading the responses. Without question, if we could live anywhere it would be Carmel California, but it is very expensive, sadly too expensive for us. Sea Island Georgia would be our second choice. Mild climates in both places, lovely shopping, friendly people, walks on the beach.

  71. You might consider buying a place near your son and dil and then snow-birding, renting, for two or three months in Florida during the winter. If you return to the same area each winter, you’ll make plenty of friends. And your family will definitely want to visit.

    Look at the Kings Point section of Sun City Center, Florida. The entire town of around 18,000 people is age-restricted to 55 years and older. Benefits include:
    Great weather
    Over 200 clubs
    Several swimming pools
    Good access to medical locally and nearby in Tampa
    Great access to cultural activities within a hour’s drive – Tampa, St Petersburg, Sarasota and Clearwater
    Airports in Tampa and Orlando
    90 minutes from orlando with Disney World and Universal
    Gulf beaches within an hour’s drive
    Upscale shopping in Tampa and Sarasota

  72. Lake Norman, NC!

  73. I’ve lived in Louisville for 59 years and Nashville for 6. I’ll be moving back to Kentucky, but I’ll be out in the country just at the border of Cox’s Creek and Bardstown, Kentucky. I can’t wait to make the move next year. I will love being able to drive a half hour into Louisville if I need but still be out in the fresh country air. That’s my rest of my life plan. I’m building a simple 3 bed, 2 bath home in a subdivision that exists already but new homes are going up on the front of the property. Heaven!

  74. Brenda Lawrence says

    Not weird at all Susan, I love seeing the ocean, but I don’t get in the ocean, just dip my toes in the surf, hate sand, but love to sit in a rocker to read and look out over the ocean. Nice place to visit but don’t think I would like living there. I’m a country bumpkin and don’t do big cities on my own. lol I love farming/rural areas. Not sure if mountains would be my thing or not. I do know I love the south because the winter’s aren’t as long as they are here in PA. So I’d love to go south. It’s trade off, long winters or long brutal hot summers? sigh Hugs, Brenda

  75. Deborah D says

    We just returned from our Camp on a lake. If I could live anywhere, thats where it would be. I absolutely love sitting on the screened porch drinking my morning coffee. Its so resentful and quiet. I love it looking through the trees to the lake.

  76. martha k murphy says

    Hi Susan I know you said you prefer the east coast but I would like to put my 2 cents in for the Hill country in Texas. I don’t live there but have visited many times. The area north of San Antonio and Austin and close to the Georgetown area is some of the most beautiful cities ever. There are hills, lakes, small quaint towns and larger metropolitan cities within a close driving distance, plus you would get a shorter milder winter and a hot summer but spring and fall is the best weather anywhere. Worth a look.

  77. Bobbi Duncan says

    So many nice places listed, many of which I’ve visited or lived in. Are you now more confused than ever? lol! We found it most effective to make a list of the priorities most important to us. No matter how much we love a place, if it doesn’t make that list, it’s eliminated. You can always vacation at the places that don’t make the list, but it’s important to know that you love where you live the rest of the year. Nantucket is gorgeous and quaint, but we’ve decided we don’t wish to take a long ferry ride every time we want to see something new on the mainland, so it ‘s on our vacation list. Moving back to Williamsburg is still an option for us. It has everything we love except the surrounding countryside can’t begin to compare to our present location in the Brandywine Valley of SE PA., nor does it offer as many things to do. It has really been difficult for us to find a better location than our present one, as this place checks all the boxes on “the list”. We can either be at a ton of great beaches in NJ or DE within 2 hours or the mountains in 2.5, we have some of the nation’s best medical facilities, an international airport 35 minutes away, big city life of Phila. (45 mins.), NYC (2.5 hours), or DC/Alexandria (2 hours). Because we sit on the border of PA, MD, DE and NJ, there are more events that take place here than one could ever fit in each year. We have numerous gardens, cultural activities, tons of historic sites (very important to us) and loads of shopping available. We love the many historic inns and taverns for dining, the beautiful rolling hills that surround us with their peaceful back roads on which to view forever preserved landscapes (probably why we haven’t committed to Williamsburg’s flat terrain). We are much warmer than most of PA; the rest of PA has winters more like Ohio, which were too frigid and long for me when I lived there. Ohio has some adorable towns though, and you could always rent elsewhere for January and February. You may want to think about living near your family; health can take a big turn as we grow older, and you’re on your own at present. Another place we’re considering is Cape May, NJ; no rolling hills, but what a gorgeous place and makes the grade otherwise (see my Pinterest for lots of pictures). You’d have your ocean and the only town in the US whereby the entire town is on the National Historic Register! You could probably live there year round as the weather is similar to Marietta, except the ocean affords breezes in the summer. Sperling says 12″ of snow but that hasn’t happened in many years, more like a dusting every now and then. We supposedly average 23″, but we only got two dustings this year and really haven’t had much snow since a bad storm in 2014, I believe it was. I always hope for snow at Christmas, but we get most of our snow the first two weeks of Feb. Lots for you to think about, but you do know exactly the home you want. A yellow cottage with white picket fence and a lovely garden with a gazebo is my dream too. Hope we both get our dream! Hugs!

  78. Wow. A lot of opinions and places to check out. There is no place like home and you love your home and all that Atlanta has to offer. Build build a cottage in your son’s back yard or maybe a condo there. Maybe they could move near you ? We get so use to conveniences. I love the small city I live in near Disney and everything I need daily is within two to six miles because my lifestyle is different now. As we get older, medical care is important. I couldn’t live in some remote place. I do not envy your decision. Selling your home is forever but renting somewhere else is temporary.

  79. Pamela A says

    Good Morning all – Reading through all the comments this seems to be a big topic of conversation for many people. We currently live in PA close to the MD line. I’m still working full-time in MD (currently WFH) and will be able to draw my full SS in November. After being home now for a few months I now have the time to fully enjoy our home. My “home” time has always been limited to weekends and I must admit that I’m enjoying being close to home more than I thought I would. When we moved 4 years ago we decided PA, the state doesn’t tax your retirement which is a great benefit but the school taxes are getting out of hand. Reading through the comments I was surprised that Delaware wasn’t mentioned. There are a number of 55+ communities that being built that offer community centers, pool and some are very close to the beach. Those closer to the beach have a higher $$$ price tag. Delaware doesn’t have sales tax, doesn’t tax your retirement, has low real estate taxes and the winters are fairly mild. I don’t look forward to packing up another house and down sizing. My husband would love to live out in the middle of no where. It is a lot to think about and consider a choice for the upcoming years to come.

  80. Here is a thoughtful way to make a decision: Make two columns, Pro’s for moving to ?, Con’s for moving. Begin listing points, everything you can think of. Close to family, too far from airport, etc. etc. Then as you do that, you begin to cross off those that aren’t as big of factor to narrow down the truly important points. THEN PRAY. God will bring clarity. Hope this helps as it’s an important life change. Also, I suggest any major changes be made sooner rather than later. We’ve watched friends make changes too late in life and then the change is soooo stressful. We have decided to stay put until we transition to Heaven mostly because we are near our son and with a reverse mortgage on our home, it makes the most sense financially (thankfully we are in a perfect size retirement home, all one level). But watching people try to transition in their 70’s or 80’s it seems it becomes so much harder and waiting until some catastrophic health issue FORCES a change is not ideal. Do it sooner rather than later is my advice!

  81. Kay Eidem says


    I wanted to write more because I think we are long lost sisters – but for now, here is my idea of a perfect cottage

  82. Hi, Susan. What an interesting question you posed! We have lived in Atlanta area for about 30 years. We built our Dream Home about 20 years ago in northeast Atlanta suburbs. We loved the location and floor plan as well as our sunroom with cross ventilation making it like a yearlong porch. Then five years ago our daughter suggested we move near them into a large beautiful subdivision south of Atlanta. It has been great getting to go to ballgames, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and a wedding. All together I’ve moved about 40 times in my lifetime. Recently “Victoria” magazine asked the question something like this, “Where do you consider home”? I had to think about that one and decided that the old saying, “Home is where the heart is” is true. Years ago my husband gave me a card that said, in part: “ it’s not the pictures on the wall nor the stuff within it, but whether you are in it.” So o o
    What is home to you? Warmer weather is here rather than just an hour and a half north of here, so have you considered Macon? Have you thought about flying to visit your children rather than driving? Wherever you are, as several readers have mentioned, be near quality healthcare! Is a forever home even possible in today’s world~I’m thinking of my MIL in Texas and my Dad North of Atlanta. You’ve gotten so many great comments! You will discover what’s best for you!

  83. Hi Susan, been reading your blog for a long time – luv it! I was raised in Honolulu and left home at 28. When anyone asks me where my home is, I always say HNL but I hate the traffic, don’t like how built up it has become, and there are too many snooty northern Californians there now. I don’t want to feel like I’m in CA when I’m back home! I have lived in IN, OH (Aurora right up the road from Hudson), VA (bought a second home near Quantico when we lived in OH so we could be closer to family stationed there), NC (Winston-Salem with a second home on Lake Norman near Charlotte and we also did 6 mos stints living in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh during that time), CA (Silicon Valley), and PA (currently have a home in Montgomery County and one in New Hope and another in NC between Raleigh-Durham and the coast. I think I was a southerner in my last life b/c I would choose Charleston SC to retire to permanently. I love everything about it, great bike rides, restaurants, weather, gardens, historic sites, beaches nearby, water everywhere, hospitality, people, history, etc… Winston-Salem is also a wonderful little town with great shopping, food, healthcare, airports, Old Salem Moravian community, Wake Forest University, UNC School of the Arts, close to High Point, bike rides, gardens, winter is literally 2 mos with not much snow or ice, and the drive to visit your loved ones in OH is not far. The coast is a drive depending on traffic and which route you take. I think you would love Hudson OH (headquarters of Joanne Fabric, the store is huge) until winter hit you, although driving is very pleasant b/c OH maintenance during winter is superior. I used to shop at the Aurora Outlets in blizzards. Another place I love is Wilmington Island GA where Paula Deen lives, gorgeous place and if you live on the river there are dolphins and you can catch flounder, crabs, shrimp, lobster, etc… right off your dock in your backyard. Good luck with your decision and best wishes!

  84. I made that decision a year ago. I wanted to stay close to my family, near a major airport in a one-level home, large enough to have family over but small enough to clean easily. I want my grandchildren to know my face at their events rather than remember me as a name in a card with money inside. Author Dave Barry sums it up best, “If our lives were Cheez-It bags, we’d be at the stage where you hold the bag up and tilt it into your mouth to get the last crumbs.”

  85. I am happy where I am. I have a woodsy surrounding, 2 /12 hours from the beach and about the same time to the mountains. My drive to shopping etc is mainly on back country roads. Live near a major airport and lots of great shopping and cultural events. And the bonus is that I live near ou son and family.
    I am enjoying our new one story home.

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