Thinking about retiring in the south!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by recoveringenabler, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, we just returned from a road trip through the southern states that SO & I had not spent any time in. The two cities I wanted to hang out in were Savannah, Georgia & Charleston, South Carolina. The first few minutes we were in Savannah, we just loved it. Yes, it is hot, but both SO and myself have lived in hot environments before, and part of the allure is that heat and the balmy evenings. Northern Ca. is generally in the mid 80's in the summer during the day with 0 humidity and it can be chilly in the evening, you always need a blanket at night.

    We loved the city itself, the old colonial buildings, the beautiful 'southern' look to everything, the moss hanging from the trees, the friendly, "how yo'all doing?" from many folks on the streets, the food, the proximity to the water, the squares or parks all through the city, the evening walks..........all of it. What really pushed us over the top was visiting Tybee Island, which is about 20 minutes from Savannah and is like a tropical island, the beach was great, the water warm, the beach town just like some Caribbean areas or the Keys. We loved it.

    We also liked Charleston a lot, it's different then Savannah but just lovely. We went to Sullivan Island, to the beach and loved that whole area too. We've got some time before I retire and GD is settled in college, so we're thinking of going back next year for 3-4 weeks and really checking it all out. We both love the idea of just exploring possibilities as we go along. We were both surprised at our reactions, we didn't expect to fall in love with the area.

    I know some of you live in the southern states, or perhaps have.........if you would like to share your perceptions or knowledge or whatever, I would love to hear about it. We're not attached to any one idea, originally we were headed to Kauai, which we LOVE, and seems like a wonderful place to retire. We also love it right where we are...........we could possibly live 1/2 a year here and 1/2 a year in another city, there are all kinds of creative options, we're completely open. We're looking at it like a new adventure, one we can explore together when our last little 'bird' flies on her own..........

    I know Savannah and Charleston experience hurricanes and I talked to some folks about what the winters are like and how hot the summers get, so there is much to research and learn. We have earthquakes out here too, so I guess wherever you live, there is something to deal with. We won't need to figure out employment so that makes it somewhat easier, we'll both be retired.

    I moved from the New York/Connecticut area to the San Francisco Bay area 30 years ago and it was a terrific transition.......perhaps it's time for another move? Any thoughts? Advice? Similar kinds of moves?
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's nothing like the West Coast. It's pretty, and it's greener than you'd think. If you like your food fried and/or brown, and you don't mind that there might be a half empty half condemned trailer park right next to your nice house and three miles of dead unplanned urban ghost towns between every "town", you'd like it here. Plan to gain at least 30 pounds unless you want to skip meals or take up a new sport. IOW, it takes some getting used to.
  3. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    As for eating yes many things are fried in the south and if it isn't fried it has sugar oth vegetables are or can be fresher then other parts of the country. If you cook for yourself its not an issue. The cities you mentioned offer a bit of both southern charm and city life. I'm a bit nostalgic for the south right now and will stop talking cause I don't want to make it sound like the land of Oz just because its my home. I will say I've been through a few hurricanes they aren't as common as they are in Florida in savannah or charleston they don't always hit the same place like tornados in tornado alley car 1 and 2 which is most of them is just a bunch of rain and wind not very destructive.
  4. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks! Witz, we noticed that same thing all through N.C., S.C. and Georgia, as we drove, mostly on 17, there would be a beautiful home and literally next door, a run down, dilapidated, trailer which may have been abandoned. I'd not seen that before, you don't see that in CA. or in Connecticut or N.Y. So, yes, we did notice that. We loved the green, lushness of it. We mostly ate seafood. I don't really like fried food and I'm a pretty healthy cook, mostly protein and veggies, fruits and smoothies, so that would likely stay the same.

    we drove through Myrtle Beach and had lunch in Georgetown, SC. where I had a long conversation with a woman in a dress shop all about the area. She gave me an enormous amount of local information. She was so friendly, I loved that little town! For the most part, people were really friendly. We stayed in the Beaufort Inn and drove all through the Outer Banks, which was a nice ride, especially the ferries over. We went to Kitty Hawk and The lost colony site on Roanoke Island. My mother and brother live in Asheville, which we enjoyed a lot too.

    What about hurricanes? Prices? We noticed gas was about $.50-1.00 a gallon cheaper then No. Ca. Witz, how about the price of groceries compared to this coast? How about housing? Utilities?
    Lasted edited by : Jul 10, 2013
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Dixie, I appreciate the hurricane info, I was a tad concerned about that. I would love to hear your views on the Land of Oz, who better to give info then someone who lived there and loved it!! We met a young woman in the Atlanta airport who was about as friendly a person as I've ever met, she told us a lot too. She was from Atlanta but went to school in Savannah, so she was full of ideas and fun thoughts. She was trying to convince my granddaughter to go to SCAD, right in the heart of Savannah. That would be cool, but GD has her own ideas about her education right now. All the seafood was fantastic. The gardens were beautiful, all that rain and sun made the flowers gorgeous. What about growing vegetables?
  7. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I've lived in Georgia and Alabama most of my life. I never met a veggie that wouldn't grow in the south.

    As for the politeness factor it's hit or miss I think. Southern people used to be very mannerly a lot of hospitality warm southern voices, there used to be a marked difference when traveling from a northern place to a southern place. Doors being held open for a stranger, saying hello, smiling. Now adays not so marked a difference at least in the bigger cities of the south just my opinion. I like sumac and I like dilapidated barns that have probably been there for a 100 years and are being taken over by the earth. I don't like cookie cutter towns, I LOVE old houses that have a porch and a 100 year old tree in the front yard, the south every part I've been in has those things. Spring and summer blend together and winter just doesn't last too long. People go crazy when it snows cause it doesn't happen too often. NC is a bit different it does get very cold there.
    I like humidity it does horrible things to my hair but I love it. I like walking outside at 9pm and its still 80 degrees and I love fire flies. Gas is cheaper then a lot of places up north but I wouldn't call it cheap.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I loved the south when we vacationed there, but I don't think I could get used to the cultural differences. Maybe go spend some quality time there for a few months and see if the transition from SF to SC is a good one for you. If it is...go for it! :)))
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Oh, hon, I didn't mean that, lol. Where I live we have lots of rednecks, But it IS different. I would move there, but I'd want to live there for a few months first. I'd want to see how my family (interrarcial) was treated and if I could be around so many political conservatives and not blow

    But I basically love the south. It's beautiful and so friendly!!!!
    Lasted edited by : Jul 10, 2013
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    It will be fun to hear about what you decide, Recovering! We loved Savannah. Did you have a chance to watch the river tides while you were there?

    For right now, we live in a little cabin in northern Wisconsin during the summer, and down in Florida for the winter. Before we decided on Florida, we spent a few months in Texas. We found we were happier in Florida. Before we put down roots there, we rented for a year. We still did some traveling and looking into other areas, but eventually decided Florida was where we wanted to be. We've been doing this for five or six years, now. It's like living two different lives. Different friends, different music, different clothing and foods.

    There are so many beautiful places to live in our country.

    And I agree ~ Southern cooking rocks!

  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There was a saying we heard while in Savannah, something like. "here in Savannah, we live everyday as you do when on vacation." I loved that! I left the east coast for the west coast for a more relaxed environment 30 years ago. I worked in Manhattan, so moving to a small town was a huge transition at that point! Now, Kauai represents that more quiet, peaceful does the south, it has that southern charm and a much more relaxed pace, exactly what we are looking for. The balmy nights and warmth, that moist air along with the proximity to the ocean are so appealing. That friendliness and the general ease of living are a big draw too. Having had so much stress with my difficult child family for my entire life has caused me to always seek out peaceful and quiet environments. I have been drawn to tropical islands because of the relaxed pace and have often traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Greece, places surrounded by water...........

    I have loved living here in No. Ca. it has been the place where I have done a lot of healing from my family of origin and where the last couple of years have disconnected me, (for the most part) from my daughter and her choices. Once our GD is closer to her adult life, making a transition to a new, more peaceful, slowed down environment seems like a representation of this part of my life ending and a new part beginning. I've worked very hard to liberate myself from my family and from my daughter's issues and free myself of my own patterns which kept me stuck, so this new beginning is very exciting and fun to consider. I appreciate all of your thoughts about the south and welcome any further ideas or suggestions or information.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My computer just saved you from reading a five paragraph response! Sigh. Maybe later. DDD
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Darn DDD, I would love to hear your response, I hope you give it a try later. Florida will be another road trip for parents lived in Florida until my Dad died and my younger sister lives on the Gulf coast, so your neck of the woods is another option............
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    My daughter, sister in law and grandson live in Summerville, SC, a suburb of Charleston, and I have fallen in love with that area. The city of Charleston has so much character and tradition, so much history everywhere you look, beautiful old architecture, wonderful restaurants and shopping. Right in Charleston, property is pretty expensive and even more so the closer you get to the historic district. But in the suburbs and "bedroom communities" ... not so bad. My daughter and sister in law both work in Charleston, not a bad drive at all from their house. And right in their community they have everything they need, lots of nice shopping areas, pretty parks and good schools. It does get hot there in the summer but not oppressively hot, and it does get cold in the winters but it only rarely goes below freezing at night. I've visited there often and from what I've seen, prices on things like gas and groceries there are just about the same as they are here in middle Tennessee where I live, not nearly as bad as some other areas. My sister in law was born and raised there and from what I've seen, the people are all so nice and very friendly. I absolutely love Charleston and wouldn't mind moving there some day. But I have the old dilema of having one kid here who would never move and one kid there who would never want to move back here!
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My parents talk about retiring to the North Georgia mountains when they retire. They had a weekend home in Dahlonega when we lived in the metro Atlanta area. My mom hated metro Atlanta, but she loves the North Georgia mountains. Personally, I have no desire to return. Savannah and Charleston are more touristy, so it's going to be different than living in just some generic southern town.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-the others, especially that Savannah and Charleston are more touristy. But they're not bad ... not like Orlando (which is gorgeous but totally commercial).
    I've lived through several hurricanes, and would add that if you buy property, check it out with-the neighbors before you sign. Ask them what sort of flooding there is during a hurricane, for example.
    And I totally agree about the food. Fried, fried, fried. We were thrilled when the first sushi bar opened here.:)
    One thing that really got me was the cultural transition from North to South. Things have changed a lot in the past 25 yrs, to smooth the edges and differences, but there are still a lot. It's just a totally different experience. In our area of VA, for example, people take years to make a decision on whether to change doctors or grocery stores or even buy a painting. In Minn, in the Twin Cities, it was a speedier decision. Also, nobody in MN ever sat on their porch in a rocking chair all day, and there are people up and down the street in SE VA who do that every day. They don't sew while they're rocking. They don't read. They just sit there. I haven't figured that one out yet.
  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It really is an issue if you are used to the food that they sell in grocery stores in Northern CA or WA or OR. The raw food ingredients and it's availability is entirely different here than it is there. And if you want to go out to dinner there just plain isn't a selection of restaurants to choose from. If you're lucky you'll find one that's a little similar to what you have in the NW.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It rains pretty hard in the summer, although we have only had one tropical storm since we've been here. We've gotten about 6 inches of rain over the weekend, and at 90 degrees it's a bit muggy. You'll want to stay inside where it's air-conditioned most of the day and get a screen porch so you can enjoy the evenings. The winter was very pleasant this year.

    Generally food prices seem pretty much the same if you shop at the lower end markets like Food Lion or Bi-Lo or Lowes (not the home improvement Lowes). If you go to someplace that has what we might be used to with a fresh baked bread section and bulk foods (New Seasons, Whole Foods, Zupans in the NW) you'll pay at least 30% more here. There are a few Whole Foods here, but their stock is different. There are also a few Trader Joes. These are both very expensive. You just plain won't find a decent loaf of bread anywhere, and their sausages are really greasy and bland. It is difficult to find the ingredients for foods I usually cook.
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm going to try one more time, lol. Really I believe the South is a great destination for your consideration. "The South" is really diverse so I'm glad you are taking your time exploring possibilities and even happier that you are going to do more than quick visits. The State of Florida is similar to a combination of mini States. South Florida is uniquely multi-cultural and as a result there are a zillion dining choices, shopping choices, activity choices....and homes that likely cost a zillion dollars in 2013! :) If I win the lottery (not likely since I don't play) I'm heading South.

    The two coasts of Florida are very different. The west coast is usually preferred. Orlando is Orlando but just below, just above you have small towns, horse farms etc. North Florida is different from the rest with Tallahassee due West and Jacksonville due East and Gainesville in the center. I believe almost anybody could find a perfect spot for themselves in our State.

    My suggestion is to spend time trying to envision what lifestyle you really anticipate. If cultural activities are important do avoid anywhere in the rural South unless you are in a town with a great college where art, music, theater are pursued and open to the community. If you like volunteer activities start now checking out the cities you are considering to actually see what opportunities are available. Use the net to check out the demographics so you can see socio'economic diversity.

    Even though it is a "downer" my most important suggestion is to thoroughly check out the medical care available in each of your possible new hometowns. I don't mean to be melodramatic, sigh, but sincerely we would be afraid to use the medical services where we live for anything important. The older you get the more important it all becomes. Most of the medical people here have "off shore" diplomas. I drive ninety minutes to the closest facility that I am comfortable using. They are not top rated but I do like my MD's. on the other hand, husband literally leaves home at 5 AM and drives to Jacksonville to the Mayo Clinic because they have given him top notch care with some serious issues. At 81 it is worth it to him to be gone all day and get back home in time for a late dinner.

    My last suggestion is this...when you "think" that you know a few places that may become home, subscribe to the local newspaper and follow what's going on. For a few bucks you'll be able to see events, temperatures, real estate offerings, political issues etc. Then when you go to visit you'll know alot about the area and be able to explore what is most of interest to your family. Hugs DDD
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Lots of good advice from DDD. Definitely check out the availability of things of interest to you. Small towns here are much smaller here than elsewhere. I think it may be because of all of the income diversity, and what I said about living next door to a mansion and a trailer park. Charlotte is quite metropolitan, but it closes down very early. There are very small neighborhoods that I would move to in a heartbeat if we didn't have the dogs and could downsize.

    Read a newspaper from where you are thinking for a few weeks and see what kinds of entertainment there is. You'll also understand the crime in the area better.