I currently live in the suburbs, with a little less than an acre of yard, and a big garage to store all our lawn and garden equipment plus the two cars we need because we can't get anywhere in our town without driving a couple of miles.
The suburbs have served me well. I've raised two kids who've been able to play in our yard, go to a decent public school, enjoy the benefits of Little League and lots of other community activities. And to be honest, I like to work in the yard. I like getting dirty and smelling the grass up close and trying to grow a tomato plant or two.
Just not too often; certainly not as much as I used to.
My fantasy house might have a little patch of lawn -- about as big as my bedroom -- and a small garden where I could grow a few flowers and an herb or two. The size of my retirement garden would be the equivalent of about two window boxes.
I think I would like to live in a small town -- not too big or bustling, but with sidewalks and a coffee shop down at the corner where I could walk in the morning. I do worry about the noise. I've had problems with noisy neighbors in the past. But let's face it, the older I get the less I'm able to hear, so maybe the ambient noise from cars and kids and dogs and lawnmowers won't bother me.
I don't really like the mountains that much; they always seem cold and remote to me. I'm a lowlander at heart, used to a thick, humid atmosphere. But I want something different from the generic suburb where I've lived for most of my life.
|Maybe a place like this. Can anyone guess where it is?
But this is a fantasy. So put me near the seashore. Maybe not oceanfront or on the beach, but somewhere nearby, in town, by the harbor or on an inlet, or possibly on a lake.
I do like to play golf, but I don't want to live in a golf community. That's too much golf. And besides, I don't know if I want to live in the bubble of a gated community. But I do want a social life -- so I'd want to go to a town where there are some other newly retired people who are open to new friendships, not a town where everyone knows everyone else's parents and aunts and uncles and have been friends since 4th grade and aren't interested in meeting new people.
I'd nevertheless go in search of a golf course where I could play a round once a week or so, with some of my new friends. I'd frequent the local library -- maybe there's a book club I could join. I'd get to know the proprietors of the local businesses down the street and around the corner, especially the barista at my local coffee emporium. Not a Starbucks. But someplace called Perks or The Beanery or Higher Grounds or Joe's Place.
My house would be an older home -- definitely prewar. Yes, I know that means you have to make more repairs. But the place will have town water and town sewers (I own a septic tank and leaching field right now -- and boy, am I ready to give those up!) And not too big. Two bedrooms might be enough. Maybe three. Enough for B and me, with enough room for the kids to visit but not so spacious that they'd want to stay for too long.
That reminds me, my new town would have to be easily accessible so the kids would visit now and then. Not too far from an Interstate or major airport. With a mild climate -- not too hot in summer or too cold in winter. And if I'm going to get the kids to visit, there have to be some attractions that would appeal to them. The beach perhaps. And some nightlife. A place where there's some live music or live theater. Besides, B and I have taken up ballroom dancing in our dotage, so we'd want a place where we could cut a rug.
Should I insist on a one-story house? That would be hard to find in an older home. Some people say you don't want to climb stairs when you get older. And I have bad knees. How about a compromise? A place with a master bedroom on the first floor, with a guest room or two on a smaller second floor -- maybe bumped out like a dormer. We'd also want a good medical facility nearby, but I think that would come automatically with the kind of place I'm describing.
Is my vision completely unrealistic? Or more to the point, can anyone recommend a place they know that sounds like the place I'm envisioning in my head? Don't worry, I'm not about to move in next door to you. This is still just a fantasy. First, I've got to go cut the grass.