Retire on a college campus?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Retire on a college campus?
By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

There was an interesting story in our local newspaper today about how many colleges and universities are creating retirement housing for seniors on or near campus. Apparently, there are already 50 plus university-linked retirement communities already and 30 more on the drawing boards. Retirees get access to classes, activities and facilities on campus. So, while you're looking at colleges with kids, you might want to check out a future home for yourself!
A few:
University of Arizona
Ithaca College
University of Notre Dame
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Penn State U
Anderson University
University of Central Arkansas

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 05:52 pm: Edit

Carolyn, which paper?
Can you provide a link?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 06:09 pm: Edit

Carolyn, that is truly a great concept! I had not heard of that before.

While not the same, it so happens that my in-laws live in a college town. In fact, you know I think Skidmore is a good one for your daughter (though I know she nixed it), but that is the town where they live. My hubby grew up there and in his senior year of high school was able to take classes at Skidmore. Anyway, at Skidmore, senior citizens can audit courses for this incredibly nominal fee (I forget what it is but might be $25). My in-laws enroll in courses every semester but just do not write the papers or take the tests. My D's girlfriend is a freshman there and I warned her to look out for my D's grandma and grandpa in class! They also do a lot of Elderhostels which are often connected with college campuses. They have chosen to do one in RI next month so they can go visit my D at Brown and see her school and her.


By Sep2000 (Sep2000) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit

Carolyn-My husband and I have been thinking about this idea because college towns that are set up for walking to a central place, have book stores, theaters, coffee shops, guest speakers, musical performances,etc. do seem like an appealing option. I believe the Boston Globe had an article about this fairly recently and it echoed this appeal. If I recall correctly, they were focussed on alums returning to their college area for retirement. Great for the colleges,too(more loyalty/connection=more donations/networking ops, etc.) Fun places to retire is a refreshing topic, especially on a board for people facing today's college expenses. In a more general way, I think our generation can look forward to many interesting developments relative to retirement options and health care as we age. Thanks for the post.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit

I think a lot depends on the specific college campus. I was aware of the Penn State retirement facility, but frankly, I would not want to retire to a town which was entirely dependent on a college. On those occasions when I've visited State College, I have found the sheer volume of 18-22 year olds overwhelming. Now Ithaca, I could see the point of, since it's a vibrant community in it's own right.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 09:53 pm: Edit

I used to live in Williamsburg, VA, and many people retire there. The small college town plus Colonial Williamsburg plus the three-hour distance from D.C. add up to a pleasant choice for many.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 09:56 pm: Edit

Williamstown is a big retirement destination. Lots of arts events, lectures, etc.

By Mini (Mini) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 09:57 pm: Edit

I actually live in a college town that is also the state capital, and has many of those benefits, but it is pretty cold for me. It was funny - when we visited Scripps/Pomona with my d., both my wife and I thought the town of Claremont was perfect for us, even though the colleges were not quite right for our d. Of course, we'll never be able to afford it, but that's another story....

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Mini, I thought you loved Olympia.
Claremont is too smoggy.
What do you think of Portland?
Sequim Washington?
I really like Ann Arbor, but couldn't deal with the weather.
Berkeley is a little edgy and expensive; otherwise, a great place.

By Mini (Mini) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:23 pm: Edit

I love everything about Olympia, but I am a tropics person at heart -- what will likely happen is that I will split time between Olympia and South India.

Portland is a really neat city, but I am more "Eugene". For me, Sequim is deader than a door nail.

Have to admit, we saw Claremont at its best (early Feb.) Anyhow, it ain't happenin'.... Besides, we are busy with the new building for the opera company in Centralia - we had our first semi-performance yesterday - people had to bring their own chairs (we've just torn out the old seats), and it was the first live performance in the building in around 65 years!

Pagliacci and Cavalleria in April! Ya'all come visit, hear?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:28 pm: Edit

Portland, Olympia, Eugene, what are the differences in the weather? How about the Mount Hood area? Too quiet?
Mini, when you say you prefer Eugene over Portland is it because the people are a little more hippiesh?

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:38 pm: Edit

Dstark: Sequim is getting more and more popular for retirees. In about ten years it won't be deader than a doornail any more. There are more stores going in there and property values are rising. They have sun!

Portland is very pleasant. Their weather is better than Seattle-Olympia and gardening is much better there. Always a little warmer and more sun there. Their downtown is more accessible too, compared to Seattle. Lots of good restaurants and shops and Powell's Bookstore--a city block of books!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit

Bookiemom, Sequim, or Portland, which would you choose?

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:47 pm: Edit

I personally thought Tucson sounded like a great idea. A little far from the ocean, but it's a nice sized city and very liveable. The University of Arizona would be a great place to take classes, attend events, etc.

I agree with Dstark about Ann Arbor - I love the concept but couldn't deal with the winter! Dstark, we have also been looking at Oregon and Washington for retirement. One thing I have read about Eugene is that there is limited public transportation. A good friend is from Corvalis, Oregon, another college town, and can't wait to high tail it back there when they retire.

The main things my husband and I have decided are absolutely essential for a retirement town are: good restaurants, decent access to an airport, good medical facilities, entertainment venues, and a few great bookstores. While San Diego has all of these things, we are pretty sure we won't be able to stay in our current home (we have three acres of near continual yard work plus our house is a tri-level and we're out in the boonies...not great for older folks).

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:48 pm: Edit

Dstark, the article was in the San Diego Union Tribune - can't provide a link because you have to be a subscriber to access it online

By Dstark (Dstark) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Carolyn, Arizona is a little too right wing for my wife.
But she may change her mind in ten years.
Your criteria is my criteria.
I want to be able to walk to a great bookstore, or forget it.
Ann Arbor and Berkeley, easily done.
Thanks for the name of the paper.
In a few years, many of us are going to be on the AARP site.
A few years ago, I spent a couple of hours in Corvalis, really liked it, should have paid better attention.

By Mini (Mini) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 11:04 pm: Edit

"Mini, when you say you prefer Eugene over Portland is it because the people are a little more hippiesh?"

there's that - also it is smaller, but with a fantastic music department at the U. and all that goes with it, the Oregon Bach Festival, lots of bookstores, and you can actually walk the whole town! If you live in the right place (not in the burbs), public transportation is pretty good. Sunnier and a bit warmer than Olympia. The feels of Eugene and Olympia are very similar - perhaps Olympia is a little more "hip" and more community (as opposed to university) based culcha.

We are talking about the differences between towns of 50-100,000, and a city with 750,000.

By Mom60 (Mom60) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit

San Luis Obispo. When I lived there years ago it was mainy college students and what I thought of at the time as "old people".
Many people also retire to my present town. Santa Barbara. The benefits of a college but you don't have to live in IV.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:00 am: Edit

We already bought our retirement home in a college town. We looked only at college towns from Missoula to Madison. I think it's a great way to go.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:17 am: Edit

Barrons, which college town did you choose?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

Carolyn, your criteria are similar to mine. Retirement is just in the back fringes of my mind at the moment but I can't deny it's there. Another 10-15 years.... We were out with another couple last night (seeing "Vanity Fair") and I chortled to find I was the youngest of the quartet, promptly lapsing into an absolutely juvenile skip with adolescent attitude down a Hollywood Street.

By Anxious_Mom (Anxious_Mom) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:26 am: Edit

Davis, CA is home to University Retirement Community, which despite having no affiliation with the UC Davis campus, is full of UC Davis alumni, emeriti professors and former staff members. Two years ago, the UC Davis magazine had an article on this very topic, as many people have been returning to Davis to retire.

Davis has a very large and active senior community, with lots of education, travel and other opportunities for older residents. Things such as a large "Senior Center", continuing education courses especially for seniors, an on-call shuttle service (like a taxi, but only costs $1 each way)provides door-to-door service to shopping or appointments, etc., and the opportunity to see free events (by being an usher)at the fabulous "Mondavi Center for the Arts" are just a few of the lures. (For a small town, Davis also has great public transportation - a student run bus system, an Amtrak train station for access to the Bay Area, even a county bus system with a special route to the Sacramento airport, which is 15 miles away, which only costs $1).

It is very common for older family members to move to Davis to retire close to their adult children.

Opportunities are even going to sky-rocket, as UC Davis is progressing on building a new community on campus property that will include below-market cost homes and condos for faculty and staff, as well as apartments for upper-class and graduate students.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:38 am: Edit

Nice to hear you all saying good things about my town, Corvallis! (But that's two l's, folks.) Carolyn, I wonder if I know your friend. It is a very very small world.

My mother always thought she should leave this town and so did I, but here we still are and now it's turning out that people are choosing to retire here. And the place only gets better. We have the most beautiful new riverfront park and esplanade.

Corvallis used to be considered more conservative than Eugene, but I'm not so sure that's true anymore. Eugene has its sister city Springfield right next door, which gives the whole area a split personality.

Sometimes I feel that we're this little liberal island. Especially after elections when we read the results.

And don't forget it was our county that stopped issuing ALL marriage licenses for awhile rather than discriminate against same sex couples.

In general, as a true Oregonian, I hate to advertise the good things about our area, but this place would have been pretty boring for me all these years (I was born here) if a lot of new and highly educated people hadn't moved in over the years. I figure the folks on this CC board would, for the most part, make good neighbors. So get off the freeway and check us out!

Well, I do have to add that after being in Northampton, MA, I kind of looked around downtown while I was sitting outside at a cafe having coffee and thought, Gee, where's the cute? We do have a stark absence of all those lovely old buildings they have in New England. Our one claim to civic pride is the courthouse, built in 1888, which is SO OLD for us!

Oh, yes, and a couple of years ago our public library was something like number one library in the country. The usage figures are phenomenal.

We have a lovely little independent bookstore called Grassroots, plus a Borders. Also a nifty little art house movie theatre that's so much fun because you can't go to a movie without seeing people you know. I'm not sure how much of that is a function of having lived here 53 years, but it works for me!

Good grief, re-reading this, you'd think I was a shill for the Chamber of Commerce!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:01 am: Edit

Some of the towns I've been pondering as potential retirement homes have already been mentioned -- Eugene is probably highest on the list right now (although by the time I retire, lol, who knows what it will be like) and I've also thought about Davis (having lived in NoCal for some years in the 80s). Almost anyplace in Calif would be GREAT, but Calif taxes may be too high... and some of the places I'd LOVE to live in Calif will prob be out of my price range...

I'd consider New England, except I'm not sure I can survive the winter ... I don't drive in the snow.

By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit

I'm surprised at all your dreams of moving "away" for retirement. The college town idea has always been enticing. We've talked about the retirement dream as well, but keep coming back to the logistics...finding a new doctor, plumber, service garage, church, neighborhood restaurants (where they know your name), theatre group, etc. etc. As much as I would love the new environment, and better weather, I'm not sure I'm willing to give up all we've built here(socially).

PLUS, I've seen so many retirees move away from their children, only to deeply regret that they've lost a connection with them after many years. Calling on the phone just isn't the same as a hug, a casual dinner out, or the ability to sit around the house with them occasionally and do nothing.

I guess if I only have limited resources, I'd rather be near the family, and spend my travel dollars to visit some of these great places to retire, than to retire there, and need to spend my travel dollars to visit only once or twice a year.

Unfortunately, that puts everything on hold, and makes the assumption that it is even possible in the mobile society we have. Perhaps a good cheap airport might be just as important as that cute bookstore or library!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:00 am: Edit

Kj -- you're right about family location. Both my sisters and their families, and my parents live within a two-mile radius of my house (until recently, when one sister moved out of country w/her family, but will be back after a couple of years).

That does put everything on hold -- I'd like to be at least in the same time zone as D if possible, but of course you can't really predict where your kids will end up! And of course as my parents get older, it would be important to be near or able to get to them quickly.

All these uncertainties ... still, we can dream!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:04 am: Edit

An airport nearby is important. Where the kids end up is important.
And we are just talking right now. Getting ideas.
We aren't committed.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:28 pm: Edit

Barrons - I think you're smart to have already bought a retirement home. One of my big concerns is that all us "baby boomers" will be retiring and trying to sell our existing homes and buy new homes at the same time...might make things difficult and not as financially attractive as they appear right now.

Enjoyingthis - I'll have to tell my friend that I know someone else from Corvallis (Her first name is Marilyn, she moved to San Diego 20 years ago, her Dad still lives in Corvallis and she's back there frequently). It's fun to hear someone else singing its praises for a change. (My friend already had me sold)

Anxious Mom - thanks for the information on the place in UC Davis. I HOPE that when we all retire we will be "interesting and intellectual" too. Hmmm...maybe we should start a CC retirement community in some college town.

Kjofkw- My husband also wonders about the logistics of moving and "starting over." I know it was hard for my mother when she moved from NY out here to Calif. but part of the difficulty was that she waited until she absolutely HAD to move for health reasons and thus was not able to really ever establish a feeling of "home" here. Because of her experiences, I'd like to move and get set up somewhere when my husband and I are in our early 60's so that we can make connections and friends. My daughter is looking at colleges all across the country and I suspect my son will do the same - no guarantee that they will end up anywhere nearby us. And, with the housing costs here in Southern California, it's unlikely that they will return here after graduation unless they both meet fabulously wealthy mates in college OR come home to live with us.

Dstark - The airport is very important in my mind. Need to be able to travel without major hassle and have the kids come to visit. Like you, we're just starting to talk about this but I think it's a good time to do so for the reasons I stated above: when all the baby boomers start retiring, choices may be more expensive or more limited.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:42 pm: Edit

Carolyn, I share your concerns.
I am hoping that real estate developers will see a big market here and increase supply so prices won't go crazy.
Have you ever thought of just trading down?
There are many people that would love to retire in San Diego.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:50 pm: Edit

And here is my other idea, if anybody is thinking of trading down, and has a small or non- existant mortgage.
Rent out your house and with the rent money pay the mortgage and fees of your retirement house.
This way,
you can change your mind.
You end up owning more than one house--- great for the kids.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:50 pm: Edit

Carolyn: I have been telling my husband that same thing for years, that all of us baby boomers are going to retire and want smaller, one-story homes in good retirement areas all in the same decade. That is, those of us who are able to retire, which at the moment doesn't seem to include my husband and me!

Dstark: Sequim vs. Portland...hmmm. My sister and her family live in Portland and have such a nice neighborhood there. But I think I would pick Sequim and just visit Seattle and Portland. Have you looked at Whidbey Island or Port Townsend here in WA? Some other possibilities.

I used to live in Ann Arbor and I don't really think that would be a good place to retire unless perhaps you had family there. It's a great place to be a student, not so great as an adult. High taxes, harsh winters, difficult parking, and the university community is rather closed (and I was a part-time university employee).

Corvallis: my neighbors took early retirement and moved there to build their dream home. They like it there, though I thought Eugene would have been a better match for them.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:56 pm: Edit

Bookiemom, how much does a three bedroom 2 bath home go for in a nice area of Portland?
How much in Sequim?
The Whidbey Island and Port Townsend areas don't have great weather. Or am I wrong?

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:45 pm: Edit

Dstark: you are right about the weather. Both Whidbey and Port Townsend are more like Seattle, and today it is gray, rainy, about 55, and my heat is on. Sigh...

Portland is not inexpensive, not much less than Seattle. There are many older, settled neighborhoods with nice, smaller homes. I think Sequim would be cheaper, but I don't really know the price ranges too well. Maybe $200,000 in Portland for more modest neighborhood; $150,000 in Sequim. I am guessing.

A friend moved up to Port Angeles/Sequim and said the prices have increased dramatically in the last few years. I really do think that is going to be a major retirement area for the Seattle region.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:47 pm: Edit

What are price ranges in Eugene? Is the downtown area a good place to live, for someone who doesn't want to drive much and would like to be close to stuff?

I'm a bit younger than the baby boomers, so I'm worried that y'all will have bought up all the good retirement property by the time I retire! (not to mention sucked up all the Social Security, but that's another issue, lol...)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Which areas of Eugene are considered downtown and which are considered near the University?
When I look through
I see areas Ferry Street Bridge, Santa Clara, West Eugene, East Eugene,etc.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit

Those designations don't make a lot of sense to me, but Ferry Street Bridge would be closer to downtown than the others. Santa Clara is farther out--I believe it was actually its own little town at some point. West Eugene gets into the "wrong side of the tracks." I don't know that there's a lot of housing that's considered right downtown. Downtown Eugene was one of the first to have a pedestrian mall but then when Valley River Center went in, the downtown kind of died, street kids hung out there etc. Now they've opened it up to traffic and I think a revitalilzation is underway. I think they're even building new condo-type things. My favorite area of Eugene is probably the area near the campus where the profs live. Beautiful older houses, well-maintained. Well, old for around here! Prices have definitely been going up lately. A lot.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

Enjoyingthis - My friend also mentioned Albany, near Corvallis as a potential place for retirement. Any insights on this area? How far from Corvallis (driving) is it? Looks like the homes are definitely cheaper there.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

Enjoyingthis, what is a lot?
What is the neighborhood where the professors live called?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 03:43 pm: Edit

Dstark -- I too did a quick search and found a lovely little house built in 1931 (old for the West Coast, I guess!) for about $500K. Not very big, I think it was 2500 sq ft or so. It said near UO, I think it also said "East Eugene."

Based on the average temps, it sounds wonderful -- not too hot, not too cold, although more than 1/2 the days in Jan see rain (on avg). My guess is that it's drizzle rather than downpours. After years of DC weather (unbearably humid/hot summers, although this year hasn't been bad, and cold winters, although not as bad as New England), I could deal with some moderation!

Interestingly, I saw a little piece on the Today show a few weeks ago, prob right before Labor Day weekend, and they had someone (from Money Magazine, if I remember right) listing the "top 10" retirement locations. Florence, Oregon, was #1! It's a coastal town, but I remember being there on my way down the coast in August about 10 years ago, and traffic was MISERABLE!!! packed with tourists ... but that was probably high season. I think the Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit

Rhonda63, I looked at a map of Eugene at mapquest and I think you are right.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

Another place I'd love to retire, but probably won't ... Ojai, California. Not far from Santa Barbara, and truly beautiful. But my H (former corporate tax lawyer) is not prepared to live in a State w/such high taxes... darn those practical-minded spouses!

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Carolyn-- to be blunt, Albany is like the blue collar stepsister to Corvallis, much as Springfield is to Eugene. It is not a college town. It's on the freeway, so all the malls have gone in there while we have worked to keep our town from being "malled." They do have a historic district of wonderful old houses and the prices are much more reasonable than Corvallis. They have a summer concert series in the riverfront park that's very popular and fun. But it's just one of those things where if you're a college town type, you'd move there and then go "ooops!" One teacher I know said kids in Albany rarely break 1000 on the SATs. Of course that's an exaggeration. Seems like the other day somebody over there scored a perfect 1600. But in general, Corvallis houses a more highly educated population. The two towns are just ten miles apart and we figure a half hour drive, often going there to the movies etc. (Although no more as we just got a 12-plex) At a reunion the other day an old friend who now lives in Albany told me her husband has refused to set foot in Corvallis since he was ill-treated here upon coming home from the Vietnam War. Front page in our paper today said that the NIGHTLY FOR THREE YEARS peace vigil being held down at the courthouse is the longest running in the country, so I guess that says something about us!

Dstark-- not sure of the neighborhood name but think it's something Hill like College Hill and I don't know if it's an official designation or what. As far as real estate prices, I'm not sure where you're coming from but we are definitely cheaper out here than those New England neighborhoods people talk about where they're trying to live near NYC! This is not Scottsdale, Santa Monica or SF. But it's higher than what you'd find in lots of midwest states.

As for the weather. Yes, we're mostly comfortable and I cannot deal with the humidity many of you live with. But the price of this is winter gloom. It's for real. It bothers people who move here from other places and I've heard folks say they've been colder here in the wet damp than they ever were back in the snow. But then, we're not DEALING with snow and all that.

People are starting to retire in Florence and Bandon, on the South Coast. Maybe they're getting better medical facilities going now. For the most part, though, people rarely want to retire full-time on the coast. Beautiful as it is, it's awfully isolated and can be gloomy in the winter.

Actually, none of you mention Central Oregon, which is where the really big boom is on. Bend is getting tons of retirees from California etc. Drier, sunny and snowy in the winter. More culture as $$$ moves in but still not a college town.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:41 pm: Edit


I remember driving through there many times from Sacramento to Walla Walla (where my then-in laws lived).

From what I remember, I wouldn't want to retire there, but that was almost 20 years ago!!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit

I used to spend summers in Sunriver when my children were younger. I really like Sunriver, but it was too quiet to retire.
I haven't been there for 7 years. I wasn't that impressed with Bend.
Maybe Bend has improved in the last 7 years.
I'm thinking of prices of $300,000 to $600,000.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit

My wife and I have done a lot of thinking about the "where" of retirement. One the one hand, all of my family is in Florida, but I was born and raised there and don't care for the place.

We lived in Boulder, Colorado, and loved it because it was a college town. We have friends in Boulder still and would probably be happy there, but the cost is almost prohibitive.

Another alternative that we're looking at is some mountain land here in Colorado not too far from where we now live. We'd have a smaller home built. I don't want to be too far away from things... no more than 45 non-rush minutes away from a decent sized city.

I'm part of the Baby Boomer generation and I've also thought about all of us trying to sell these big, overpriced houses all at the same time and trying to downsize. My wife and I have decided that about a year or so after our son is off to college (2 or 3 years from now) that we'll make our move and unload this house. Hopefully, we'll beat you all to it!

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 08:01 pm: Edit

Rhonda and Dstark-- trust me, you absolutely would not believe Bend nor recognize it now. It used to be the little town we'd drive through to get to our camping place. Now it's quite upscale. Of course, it's one of those things where "improvements" to you might be exactly what the locals feel has been the ruination of the place.

Dstark-- your range would get you a nice house in any of these towns. Might not go quite as far if you were looking at houses in the new, truly upscale developments around Bend.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Enjoyingthis, thanks for all the info. I will probably bug you again.

By Songman (Songman) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

Makes perfect sense for us! My wife likes the suburbs I like the city (music, theatre , museums ,etc. lately we have been discussing retiring in a college town.(although we are too young for that now) I have several clients that have moved near/to williams, Dartmouth and Princeton to obtain a lifestyle as you suggest. Excellent thread I will be bookmarking this one!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Dstark - We have found the following link helpful in looking in the pacific northwest. We found plenty of interesting looking retirement homes in the 200,000-300,000 price range there. Plus, they seem to have more pictures than does.

Enjoyingthis -- thanks for the info. on Albany. Will keep that in mind. At some point, we're hoping our daughter will agree to look at some schools up there so we can check out the area. LOL!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Whoops, forgot the link:

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:10 pm: Edit

Living in a college neighborhood truly offers a tremendous amount of culture for little money. We always lived in a "student ghetto" when we did not have any money. Even in cities where the neighborhoods were not so good and rents are too high, there is usually a pocket of houses and apts near a university where you can find safer housing with students around all of the time and the universities tend to be good to their neighbors. Dollar movies, plays, performances were all high quality and cheap on a college campus. In fact when we lived in Oakland, we used many of Pitt and CMU's resources. In Baltimore, we lived near Hopkins, in Cleveland, Case and in Chicago, Uof Ch. Only in NY, we did not do this as the concept did not work so well as the Village is very expensive and we did not like the area around Columbia. We bought and have been renting there, the housing has appreciated but it did not seem like an area we wanted to make our home.

I know that H loved the area near St Mary's College of MD and they do alot of outreach to the community and close friends of ours bought a second home right near Middlebury in Vermont.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:41 pm: Edit

Carolyn, thank you for that site.
For some reason the prices are better too.
Now, I always have to push it.
Do you have any sites like this for Tucson, Davis Ca or Santa Rosa California?
The John L Scott site is so much better than

By Barrons (Barrons) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

We chose Lynchburg, VA. Not the ultimate college town though it has 3--RMWC, Liberty U, and Lynchburg College. We had selected Charlottesville but my wife did not like the homes and neighborhoods as well as I thought she would. This way we have a nicer home in a nicer neighborhood than any we saw in C'ville and we can be up there in an easy hour's drive. Lynchburg has the best homes for the $$$ and very low taxes. It leaves us enough $$$ to look at buying more homes there as rentals and we could live off the income in the future. Currently we have the home leased out and we get a nice tax writeoff.

If anyone wants to do some window shopping here's a realtor link to the MLS. Check the homes in the 24503 zipcode.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:54 pm: Edit

And Portland people, how is Lake Oswego?
Can you walk to bookstores?
Any college campus nearby?
Any areas of Portland you would recommend?

By Anxious_Mom (Anxious_Mom) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:55 pm: Edit

For Davis (and surrounding areas) try

By Iska (Iska) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:59 pm: Edit

Sorry. Off-topic:

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 11:29 pm: Edit

Barrons, Lynchburg looks like a great place to live. I've been thinking of buying a place and renting it out while I wait for retirement.
Anxious_Mom, that is a great site.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

Dstark-- bug away! I don't have much to offer on this board in terms of info about colleges and how it all works, so I'm glad to be of help on local real estate.

Lake Oswego is about the toniest zip code in Oregon. Lewis & Clark is on the hill adjacent to it. There's a little village downtown area, but I'm guessing there's not a whole lot of walking to bookstores down from the gorgeous houses on the wooded hills. Dunthorpe is the old money estate neighborhood. I'll bet most of the people there are oriented toward downtown Portland.

Portland has a lot of different beautiful old neighborhoods on both sides of the Willamette. Laurelhurst, Portland Heights, Westmoreland. Those are the old houses. The West Hills has the newer stuff. If you want to be downtown where you can walk to Powell's Books, try the Pearl District, which has recently boomed with loft redevelopment, art galleries.

While going to L & C, my husband lived across the river in funky Sellwood, but now that has become more gentrified and has a terrific stretch of antique shops.

I love Portland!

Oh, I shouldn't forget the 23rd St. district, which is kind of between the Pearl and Portland Heights. Lovely old homes and a street of the most upscale restaurants and bookstores in walking distance. New condos in old mansions etc.

By Spoonyj (Spoonyj) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:32 am: Edit

I know that people tend to think in terms of the coasts, but, believe it or not, there has been an influx of retirees to Lawrence, Kansas. It's a little small for me, but I can see the allure: cute university town, very artsy, strong sense of community, vibrant downtown, major airport/city only 40 miles away. I guess the allure of the college town holds true, even in the sticky Midwest.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

Enjoyingthis, when I go to click on Oregon, I get 5 Portland choices.
When I click on one of these choices, I get many more choices.
Do any of these areas match up with areas you like?
I don't need to live downtown, if I could walk to bookstores and other stores. I just don't want to drive everywhere. I am sick of driving.
I am trying to reconcile what you say with the choices on the real estate sites.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:57 am: Edit

Sorry I can't be more helpful about that site but I'm not sure which areas you mean. This is only one realtor, you realize.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:09 am: Edit

Dstark: check out the Sellwood/Eastmoreland area near Reed College. There are smaller houses near the Sellwood shopping area. There is also a rhododendren garden near here and the Reed campus is nice. They have good public transportation in Portland too, so you could just hop on the bus and get down to Powell's.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:26 am: Edit

I am trying to find Laurelhurst, Portland Heights, and Westmoreland by using the site. Those areas aren't mentioned.
Now I will also try to find Sellwood/Eastmoreland also.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:34 am: Edit

Try this:

Scroll down on the left side to the "places to live in the city" section.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:41 am: Edit

Bookiemom, thanks. I will. Just my luck, deciding to look at a place with 90 neighborhoods.
So far I have figured out the Pearl District and Lake Oswego.
PS: Bookiemom, great site.

By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 08:53 am: Edit

Friend of a friend researched the US and chose Ashville NC. She was not near retiring, but looked at that in her future. I've only been through Ashville once, so I cannot offer too much advice, but she chose it for a combination of reasonable RE, health care, university town, gorgeous geography, good schools, taxes, weather, etc.

...just another town to add to the list...

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit

Another NC town that we think would be a good retirement location is Wilmington. We bought a vacation condo on Topsail Island (about 40 minutes away from Wilmington) a couple of years ago as an investment. If we play our cards right, maybe we could "retire" there and qualify for in-state tuition for youngest at UNC-Chapel Hill.

She will be looking at colleges in five years. Unfortunately, we won't be able to afford retirement by then!

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 09:21 am: Edit

Forgot to mention: Wilmington is also a college town. UNC -Wilmington has a student population of around 10,000 undergraduates.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:19 am: Edit

I would say that Ann Arbor is probably one of the best places to retire. It was rated one of the top 5 cities to retire in by both Forbes and Money magazines. Given its incredible hospitals (University of Michigan and Beaumont), quiet pace of life, safe streets, quaint naighborhoods, excellent cultural offerings etc..., Ann Arbor is a great place to retire. There are two only two downsides to Ann Arbor:

1) It is very cold in December, January and February and pretty cold From Mid October to December and from March to mid April.

2) It is very expensive.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:39 am: Edit

is ann arbor really that expensive? how much would a 3-bedroom house go for in a nice neighborhood (not necessarily a big new house, just a decent sized house in good condition).

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit


By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit

Taxes in Ann Arbor are also quite high--not too much industry there, so the burden falls on the homeowners. It's also difficult to find employment in many fields as so many graduates of UM want to stay in Ann Arbor and there are many highly educated spouses living there with UM grad students or professors all competing for the same jobs.

Winters are cold and icy and they have problems with their roads because many of the roads were laid down over old brick streets--constant huge potholes in the winter and constant repairs in the summer. When I lived there the city had a special fund to compensate citizens for damage done to their cars from the potholes.

Parking downtown to get to the cool restaurants and bookstores and shops is hard.

I found it a hard city to live in and very disappointing. Many of the residents also have an "attitude" about Ann Arbor, as though it's the greatest city in the world. I thought it was really a difficult place to feel at home in, even though I had gone to grad school there and worked for the university.

If you had lived there for a long time, it might be OK to retire there, but coming in from somewhere else would be hard, I think.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit

I think this might be true of a lot of the "bigtime university" towns with strong ties to the school. You better be a fan of the school and interested in its workings to enjoy it. There is often lots of turnover as faculty come and go but that's pretty true everywhere these days.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:13 pm: Edit

Ha! $300K sounds cheap to me here in San Diego. That's about the average price of a condo here.

Dstark, I find that if you do a google search, in quotation marks, for the name of the city and real estate, you can generally turn up realtor links. i.e., "tucson real estate"

Do report back on what you find. By the way, my husband thought your idea about renting out current home to "try" a new area was a good one.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit

300K sounds cheap here in the close-in DC suburbs, too. I think for those of us retiring from high housing price areas, the sticker shock won't be so bad!

By Garland (Garland) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:37 pm: Edit

I would retire to Ann Arbor in a heartbeat except for one thing.

Not the cold--I didn't mind it the four years I was there.

Not the costs--it beats NJ by a long shot.

It's just that it's not on the coast, and I'm an ocean person at heart. The whole time I was there, I felt landlocked. I have to drive 40 minutes to get to the ocean as it is, and that's too far.

(MI people: Great Lakes don't count, as lovely as they are.)

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

Garland -- I agree with you about the ocean thing. But I think the cold in AA would be a problem for me -- I remember when my H was in law school there, one day it was 60 below zero with the wind chill!

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Great Lakes--No Hurricanes

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

Carolyn, I don't know Tucson at all.
When I look at real estate prices there I see many homes for under $300,000.
Then I see web sites like this...
I guess the Sam Hughes Neighborhood isn't too expensive and it is near U of A.
The following is my favorite Tucson web site where you can actually see homes for sale.
Retirement homes outside of Tuscon can be had for under $300,000.
Nice homes in nice areas of Tucson look more expensive.

By Garland (Garland) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 03:07 pm: Edit

True Barrons, but I've lived in the NE all my life (except 4 yrs in AA), and never found hurricanes to be too taxing (Fla and other Southern areas are different, obviously.)

Anyhoo, when I was in Michigan, we had tornados.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 04:23 pm: Edit

"Where to Retire" magazine has very good summaries on various towns each issue. Tucson is one this month. I recommend it highly. So was Chico,CA and about 15 other towns and cities.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 06:37 pm: Edit

Barrons, thanks for the "Where to Retire" magazine tip.
Enter the city and real estate for sale.
Some cities have more listings than others.
For a city like Eugene you would go to
Go to the right of the screen and click on Portland (Closest city).
Then click on real estate for sale
Then enter Eugene in keywords.
That is it .
Not too much in Eugene.
Plenty in Portland.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 07:56 pm: Edit

Ironically, I just returned from the dentist's office where I snatched a copy of Where to Retire off the rack. Very interesting magazine with good coverage of tax issues too. Tucson really looks good to me. But the article on Chico was interesting as well. Here's a link - you can order back issues that have specific locations or get a free issue:

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 07:58 pm: Edit

By the way, Dstark, they said that the Green Valley area outside of Tucson has reasonably priced homes and is a pleasant area. I've always enjoyed Tucson when we've visited - it's kind of like San Diego used to be: a big city with a small town feel to it. Much, much nicer than Phoenix. Maybe Arizonamom will read this and comment.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 08:05 pm: Edit

I was excited by Chico until I saw how hot it gets. I like 4 seasons and the Blue Ridge style mountains with great fall color. I also like being within 3 hours of a lot of interesting places--Cville, DC, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Chapel Hill/Duke, etc.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 08:32 pm: Edit

Carolyn, I have never heard of Green Valley.
You probably have seen this web site.
If that is the picture of Green Valley, it looks pretty nice.

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 08:36 pm: Edit

if you want to retire in arizona definitely dont go to Tucson. I lived in arizona the last 10 years before i went off to college this fall and tucson is definitely the ugliest pseudo-city in arizona. Go to phoenix, or a phoenix area suburb like scottsdale or chandler.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

When we retire, we will most likely stay put here in Madison, WI. If you can handle the winter, I think it is definitely worth considering. A vibrant arts scene, lots of outdoor recreation, easy to get around downtown. The airport is very accessible (although it is not a hub). There is also easy access to Chicago when you really want to get to a big city. The unemployment rate is low and the city is safe. Downsides, besides the winter, are high taxes and difficulty parking downtown, but if you live downtown or take the bus, parking doesn't have to be an issue.

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:49 pm: Edit

Eugene is horrible. Stay away. Your feet will rot, the hair on your chect will grow (men too). And, you must be a vegan to purchase a house or own a car. Seriously, stay away.

ps. If you really must come, I'll sell you my house at California prices.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Concerneddad, you forgot to delete all your old posts about Eugene.

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

No, I remember what I previously said, but that was about raising a family here. This is different. I don't know about you, but I am not retiring with kids. I'll leave that for aging Hollywood stars!

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 12:27 am: Edit

"I don't know about you, but I am not retiring with kids. I'll leave that for aging Hollywood stars! "

Now, THAT's funny!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 12:45 am: Edit

Concerneddad, where would you retire?

By Pyewacket (Pyewacket) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 12:05 pm: Edit

Brown U's alumni magazine advertises Laurelmead--a nearby retirement commnuty.

If you retire near a college and you need some household help, you could also recruit a student in need of some financial aid.

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

Dstark, I am not sure. My wife and I talk about that often. She needs some place with sun, but I hate the heat (unless an ocean is nereby). We both love Hawaii (Hanalei to be specific), but with costs being what they are, and Island fever, we could not see ourselves living there year round. We have talked about seeking another couple, or two, from a geographic area that would like to be gone in the Summer and Fall months (like Arizona) to half, or third share a condo on Kaui. And then continue to live in Eugene in the Fall & Summer, and Hawaii in the Winter & Spring.

But, with 15 year old twins looking at college in the next 3 years, and the son aiming for med. school, retirement is just a wistful dream right now.

By Perry (Perry) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 02:56 pm: Edit

People should also consider Colorado. Mild and dry climate, lots of recreation, low property taxes, growing arts scene in Denver, high tech industry, lots of sun, and a neanderthal state legislature (but not everything can be perfect).

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:30 am: Edit

Perry, and the ocean is only 1,500 miles away.

By Shibbalnom (Shibbalnom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:52 pm: Edit

at least you can find a job

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