Cookeville in central Tennessee, halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, takes its city celebrations seriously. The July Fourth fireworks and Christmas festivals are far beyond what most cities undertake, and downtown has the appealing Dogwood Park. Tennessee Tech University adds to the culture and intellect, yet the setting is blessedly tranquil. One former California retiree reports that during his first night in town, he contentedly fell asleep on the patio.
San Marcos, TX
Austin and San Antonio are less than 50 miles away, but this spot in the Texas Hill Country has beauty enough to stay at home. The San Marcos River, fed by gurgling streams, flows through downtown. Texas State University, which has 39,000 students, now owns the former Aquarena Springs, founded in the 1920s as part of a resort. Master-planned communities are springing up, and the city’s population of 60,000 is growing. Cool shops and eateries are proliferating, too.
St. Augustine, FL
Spaniards landed here in 1565, making this northeastern Florida city the oldest permanently occupied European settlement in the U.S. It’s marked by a charming lighthouse painted with black-and-white swirls. Tourists spend pleasant days on the Atlantic Coast beaches and hopping on the downtown trolley. Meanwhile, locals dive deeper into the year-round benefits of St. Augustine, indulging in golf, volunteer work and continuing education through Flagler College.
Walla Walla, WA
In southeastern Washington, crops seem to grow stronger and sweeter, from grains to vegetables to melons to grapes -- the latter supporting some 140 wineries in the region. The city has both beauty and brains, with three colleges and natural assets like Bennington Lake, with its numerous trails, and the Blue Mountains, which tempt skiers. It’s also a major bird-watching area, with glimpses of rare birds such as the ruddy turnstone and the long-tailed jaeger.
8 Low-Cost Cities
Retirees love nothing more than to flee cities with high prices and land in a place where money has a long shelf life. Put beautiful scenery into the mix and there you have it. These eight cities keep costs low and satisfaction high: Cleveland, TN; Lafayette, LA; Moses Lake, WA; Pueblo, CO; Sierra Vista, AZ; Tampa, FL; Tupelo, MS; and Waco, TX.
Sampling Retirement Lifestyles
“But what is the master-planned community really like, beyond the sales pitches and brochures?” Retirees set out to answer this question by staying a few days and meeting some residents. Many neighborhoods offer programs in which a minimal fee is paid to experience the development -- its amenities, its food, its people -- in real life.
Financial Consultant: 8 Tips for Working at Home
Retirees, perhaps more than any group, find it easy to work from home. Consulting gigs, part-time work and contract projects are tailor-made for those who left a major job to accept lesser demands. But toiling away where you eat and sleep requires some know-how, so your home, time and money work for you, not against you.
Roads to Retirement: Central Colorado: Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs
Best Neighborhood: Regency at Damonte Ranch in Reno, NV