Moving after retirement was something that I never thought we would do. I’d hear of folks moving south and thought “Why would they do that?”. I pictured us living in the Maine woods as we grew older – watching the wildlife wandering through our backyard (or dooryard in Maine-ese). We pretty much were settled on our 27 acres in Charleston where we had lived for almost 30 years. In the photo below, you will see two red roofs. The one to the left was our home and the other was a large garage/outbuilding. As you can tell, neighbors were few and far between. The driveway was 900′ long. It was twenty-some miles to town (Bangor). Life was good!
A funny thing happened though as we reached our 60’s. We still loved it but it was a LOT of work to maintain the home and property. Things that were easy when we were younger, were not so easy anymore. Winters especially, got to be very trying. That nice long driveway that looked so pretty in the summer, didn’t look so great in the winter when it was crowded in with the snow banks or worse yet, a glare of ice. I think winters are what made us start to think about a move after retirement. Life was still good…just more tiring.
Thinking of moving didn’t happen all at once. It’s one of those “dreaming” things that kind of progressed over a few years. A health problem started us talking about maybe “someday”, moving to a place with only one floor which would be easier as we aged. Then we talked about how living closer to town and medical facilities made a lot of sense. Public transportation would be a plus in case there came a time that we were unable to drive. We said “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to live in a neighborhood with both young families and older folks”. Sidewalks would be nice…and on and on we went. Just dreaming – but still dreaming of being retired in Maine, just in another home.
Then we went on vacation in Florida. Warm beach weather in January. Whoo-hooo! Maybe a warmer place to retire wouldn’t be all that bad. The first time we stayed in Florida for two weeks and then the visits got progressively longer. About that time the hubby read about the Great American Loop and we bought a 42′ trawler (that’s another story). The dreaming went on.
In 2010, we came back home to Maine from a visit to Florida. While we liked Florida for visits, we thought that North Carolina would be more to our liking for a place to live. We had looked at different towns in North Carolina each time we drove back and forth from Maine and we kept coming back to the coastal area. Why North Carolina? It has seasonal changes and snow is rare. Weather is almost always nice enough to get outside and go for a walk and you don’t have to worry about slipping on the ice or trudging though the snow. 😉
In May of 2010, we decided to put our home on the market and figured that with the poor real estate market, it would sell “some day”. That day happened just a few months later instead of years later like we had anticipated. Now the dreaming part was over and we had to get serious. By August, we were moved out of the house and into our small camp on Nicatous Lake in Maine. Most of our belongings had sold and what was left was in a storage unit. Who would have thought that it would sell so quickly in such a poor market?! We still had a camp on a lake and a boat large enough to live on. Life was good but a bit uncertain.
November of 2010, found us leaving camp and heading back to the boat which was in Florida. We spent the next six months in Florida and then cruising to Wilmington, NC as the weather warmed. Leaving Wilmington in May of 2011 to head back to Maine, we once again looked over coastal North Carolina. I knew by this time, that I wanted a house again. The hubby was happy living on the boat but I needed the security of a home on the land. We had pretty much decided that we would like to make coastal North Carolina our new home. We kept coming back to the Swansboro area.
Hubby flew down to check on the boat after hurricane Irene (August, 2011) and he spent time looking at real estate in the Swansboro area. By this time, retiring out of Maine was a given and coastal North Carolina fit the bill. We arrived back in Swansboro in November of 2011. By Thanksgiving, we had purchased a new home. It is not as remote as the old one but we still live in a wooded area. We have neighbors close by and it is only 5 miles to the grocery store! We don’t have public transportation or sidewalks. We do live in a neighborhood with both young and older families (more young than older though). We are close to the beaches. There is fishing, boating, kayaking and lots of outdoor things happening here even in the winter. Our home is now one-story (except for the FROG), and we only have 1/3 of an acre (easy upkeep). There is a cow pasture behind our home and we are in the Croatan National Forest so we still have the feeling of being in the “woods” that we were used to.I decided to write this post today as I was thinking about our move. Did we get everything that we dreamed about. The answer to that would be yes and no. That’s because when we really started getting serious with house hunt, we discovered that living in a city or a condo was not for us, at this time. That meant some of the amenities that we had talked about (i.e. sidewalks, public transportation) went by the wayside. We went through another period of time discovering what we really wanted and what didn’t matter right now. When dreams become realities, they sometimes change a bit.
If you are contemplating dreaming of a move in your retirement years, do your homework first and check the area (area’s) that appeal to you. A lot of research can be done on the Internet but visiting and maybe even living there for a time might be advisable. Check out statistics that matter to you – weather, crime rate, taxes, etc. Do your homework before moving and you won’t become one of those folks that move and then are unhappy with the move.
As for us – we’ve been in our home for over a year now and are happy with our choice. We love living here and we still have that camp in Maine where we can spend the summers. We also have the boat, and now that I have the security of a home, we are planning our Great Loop adventure again. I am one of those people that sometimes has to have a “security blanket” because I think about “what if’s” WAY more often than I should. 😉 Having a place to come back to “if” anything goes wrong is my security blanket. We miss our family and friends but with the Internet, they are only a click away.
Is it different from Maine? Yes! Are we glad that we made the move? Yes! Will it be our last move? Who knows!! For now, we are in the right place at the right time of our life. We know that things change though and maybe this won’t be the last place we live. If and when that time comes, we know that we can do it. Being retired is great. Life is good!!