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Overlooked Retirement Spots
Millions of baby boomers are in retirement or on the verge, and a fair number of them are going to choose traditional retirement spots like Fort Meyers, Fla., or Tucson, Ariz. But if you are looking for somewhere a little out of the ordinary, consider these six possibilities offered by the website grandparents.com.
Huntsville, Ala. With a median home value of $133,000 and a cost of living below the national average, Huntsville offers good value for retirees. But that’s not all it offers. It is one of the 30 fastest-growing metro areas in the country, which means opportunities for culture, shopping, learning – and even building an encore career. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has three separate historic districts, but it also has modern lofts and cutting-edge cuisine. And its warm climate and ample greenspace offer many opportunities for outdoor activities.
Mount Dora, Fla. Although it is in Florida, Mount Dora is neither seaside nor flat. In fact, this central Florida town is one of the highest points in the state, at 184 feet above sea level. Once a haven for the wealthy, Mount Dora offers lovely lake vistas, charming housing options and plenty of shopping, especially for antiques. And with a median home price of $161,300 and below-average cost of living – coupled with Florida’s tax-friendly policies – you can actually afford to buy things.
Sequim, Wash. With a median home price of $267,100 and a cost of living 11 percent above the national average, Sequim is not a bargain retirement option. But it has many other attributes. Unlike its rainy neighbor Seattle, Sequim boasts a delightful micro-climate of blue skies and moderate temperatures. You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, or you can drive to Seattle or hop a ferry to Vancouver.
Dahlonega, Ga. This was the site of the first gold rush in the United States. The nuggets are gone, but treasure remains in the lakes and waterfalls throughout the town and the mountains nearby. It is the center of Georgia’s wine country. And, as the home of the University of North Georgia, it has plenty of educational and cultural opportunities.
Chattanooga, Tenn. A recent redevelopment effort has brought big changes here, including an arts district and a variety of dining options. In addition, there are museums, battlefields and historic districts. And with a cost of living that is 12 percent below the national average, a median home price of $114,800, and a favorable tax climate that includes no state income tax, Chattanooga is becoming a favorite spot for retirees.
Bluffton, S.C. Less expensive than nearby Hilton Head, Bluffton has become a magnet for art lovers and foodies. History buffs also enjoy its antebellum homes and historic churches. But the big draw is what the locals call Lowcountry living – the combination of friends, food and taking it easy.