THE GOOD LIFE – Seven Couples
It’s time to start living your ideal life today.
The following article features a day in the life of seven couples who have already relocated to inspire you.
Every Day is a New Adventure
A Western Wonderland
by Paul Sage
Peggy and Tom Piccirilli lived and worked in the Denver metropolitan area amidst all the traffic and trappings of a big city. When it came time to look for a place to spread their retirement wings, they looked for a smaller town with a lower cost of living and access to the mountainous beauty of their home state—the Piccirilli’s choice: Homes at Cobble Creek in Montrose in western Colorado. Montrose has a population of just over 20,000 and is 60 miles from Grand Junction. Peggy describes Cobble Creek as “just perfect.” “Sometimes I pinch myself,” she says. Peggy and Tom chose Montrose for its easy access to outdoor activities, from golf to snowshoeing. Because Montrose is in a valley at the base of the San Juan Mountains, the town doesn’t get much snow, and golf can be played almost year-round. Still, the nearby mountains and Uncompahgre National Forest provide classic Colorado winter scenery, endless trails for hiking and biking, and lakes for stand-up paddleboarding.
The Piccirillis are newcomers to Homes at Cobble Creek, a planned community that was started in 1997. The community clubhouse is the place to go for parties, dining, dancing, and drinking, all with a spectacular view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. In addition to an 18-hole golf course and pro shop, Cobble Creek offers tennis and pickleball courts, five fishing ponds, a kids’ playground, and a fitness center with a sauna and steam room.
What does a day in the life of the Piccirillis look like? It might include a round of golf for Tom, a yoga or Pilates class at the fitness center for Peggy, some volunteer work in the Montrose community, and a gathering at the clubhouse with friends. Peggy says Cobble Creek is 70% retired people and that many residents have come here from elsewhere, from California to Maine.
Even when you live in a paradise like Cobble Creek, sometimes you want to get away. The Montrose Regional Airport is served by all the major airlines with direct flights to Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York.
AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA
Southern Comfort for Folks From New Jersey
By Paul Sage
“What are we doing today?” That’s the question Sharon and Scott Johnson ask each other often at their home in Woodside, a gated community of 2,500 homes in Aiken, SC, a 35-minute drive from Augusta, GA. For the Johnsons, there are many answers to that question, and their only challenge is deciding among so many options.
The Johnsons lived in New Jersey, 35 miles west of Manhattan, before moving to Woodside in 2020. One of the first things they noticed was the hospitality of their new neighbors. Sharon noted, “The community is as presented, no false advertising. It’s as friendly as it appears to be.” She describes herself and her husband, Scott, as “Type-A all the way,” explaining that they researched retirement communities in three states. The Johnsons built a spreadsheet to evaluate selected communities against their preferences. “Woodside checked off all the boxes, with good weather and access to good medical care and grocery stores. None of the other communities were undesirable, but they were all missing one important element: we needed to feel comfortable.”
Scott Johnson plays golf three times a week, 12 months a year, at the Reserve Club, one of Woodside’s private clubs with two golf courses, fine dining, and sports facilities. Scott is a member of the Reserve Club Men’s Golf Association, a group that organizes monthly golf events and welcomes those new to the game. Golf, along with the frequent walks the Johnsons take with their two retriever-doodle dogs on Woodside’s trails have helped the couple enjoy good health in their retirement. “We’re in better shape than we were in New Jersey,” said Scott.
For Sharon, living in Woodside is “like going to camp every day. It’s like college with money.” Sharon is an active member of W.O.W., Women of Woodside, a fundraising group that supports the local community with donations of more than $100,000 every year. Sharon also plays mahjong with friends and volunteers every Monday at the local elementary school in Aiken. She helps second graders improve their reading skills.
“[It] is like going to camp every day. It’s like college with money.”
A Quiet Little Town Full of Fun and History
by Paul Sage
Small towns in out-of-the-way places can be hidden gems, taking you back to a simpler lifestyle you might have thought was long gone. The state of Mississippi’s Retirement Attraction Program has certified 14 communities as ideal locations based on these towns’ affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rate, quality medical care, recreational opportunities, continuing education, cultural opportunities, and their warm, welcoming culture. One such town is Aberdeen, with a population of 5,600, located 36 miles south of Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Janet Sotille and her husband Ed wanted a historic home, so last year they bought Lenoir Cottage, one of approximately 500 buildings in Aberdeen on the National Register of Historic Places. For the Sotilles, Aberdeen is a big and welcome cultural leap from where they lived in New Jersey. “We wanted a quiet life,” Janet explained.
Quiet, but not boring. Janet is an active volunteer in Aberdeen, offering her talent and energy to the Main Street Art Gallery and the Save Aberdeen Landmarks Association. “They needed me,” she said. Janet explained that many homes and buildings in Aberdeen that were built before the Civil War have remained unscathed because homes in Aberdeen were used as hospitals for soldiers during the war.
What makes Aberdeen the right place to retire? Tina Robbins, Executive Director at the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau, says people are attracted to her town for its engaging quality of life. Aberdeen had its fourth annual Mardi Gras parade in February, and its 46th Aberdeen Pilgrimage in early April. The Pilgrimage features tours of historic homes, gardens, churches, and public buildings, along with carriage rides and a Boy Scouts Pancake Breakfast. Festivities at the Pilgrimage conclude with a Southern Chic Soiree on Saturday night, featuring live music and wine tasting.
Robbins told us that in the summer of 2022 alone, Aberdeen welcomed 20 new households of retirees from other states, including Utah and Oregon. Retirees in Aberdeen get together at parties and picnics, making it easy to make new friends in a beautiful old town.
Tennessee Lake Living
“We call it paradise. The worst thing about living in Tellico Village is that there are so many things to do, we can’t fit it all in.” Carol (63) and her husband Marty (64) Inkrott started renting at Tellico Village in Loudon, TN, in 2006 and then built a home and moved in permanently in 2017. Coming from Ohio, one of the big differences is year-round outdoor activities.
“If it gets cold in Tennessee, it doesn’t stay cold as long as it did in Ohio. I play pickleball and golf all year round in Tennessee, and I never would be able to do that in Ohio. I just love it. If I’m not doing something outside for a day, I start going crazy because I want to be outside,” says Carol.
Marty says what they do on a typical day varies by the time of year. They live on Lake Tellico and love to spend time on the boat and jet skis in the summertime, especially when their seven grandchildren come to visit. They like to cruise around the lake and share a bottle of wine or stop somewhere with friends to pick up something to eat and just enjoy the water.
When it’s colder outside, they start their days at the gym or by playing pickleball. Marty plays with a men’s group every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. They both play pickleball and golf several times a week. Marty says, “It’s just a matter of what you choose to be involved in. I’m also on our property owners association board. I’m in my fourth year and the president again this year, so that consumes a lot of my time as well.”
All this activity doesn’t even include all of their social clubs. The Inkrotts also participate in dinner clubs and play cards and games with friends. When they first moved in, they joined the New Villagers. Marty says, “New Villagers is one of the great things about living in Tellico Village, and it’s a great way to get new residents acclimated to the neighborhood and meet many new friends in the same situation.”
“Another good thing about Tellico Village is that the whole community really prides itself on volunteerism,” Marty says. “And, we have all kinds of committees like the finance advisory committee, a long-range planning committee, a public works committee, and a volunteer fire department. Community outreach is a big part of the culture at Tellico Village
“There are so many things to do, we can’t fit it all in.” Carol & Marty Inkrott | Tellico Village
Enjoying the Good Life While Working from Home
by Kelly Godbey
Great four-season weather, no sales tax, and little traffic attracted Carlos and Lisette Vazquez to the eastern shore of Delaware in 2021. They had raised their children in Maryland and had also lived in the New York City area, and after the children had grown up and moved out, they started their search from Delaware to Florida. Although they were both still working, they wanted to move somewhere close enough to their kids (they are now grandparents) but also to move somewhere they could retire to. “We started thinking about the future and wanted to ensure we got the most for our dollar. You know, a lot can be said about tax-free shopping.”
They couldn’t be happier that they decided on Plantation Lakes in Millsboro, DE. Carlos said, “Plantation Lakes allows us to be close to the beach but still maintain a quiet lifestyle without all the beach traffic of towns further south. It’s only about 12 miles to Bethany Beach. I am a cyclist, and I love to ride to the beach areas. The roads are very safe and not very crowded.”
Since they are both still working, they see Plantation Lakes as a respite from the chaos of the world. Carlos has worked from home for 17 years, and he knows how to get the most out of his day. He is a runner and starts his mornings with a run around Plantation Lakes. Or, he may go for a morning workout at the community center.
“I pretty much have the gym to myself in the early mornings. And, if I can take a break for lunch, I’ll head out to the golf range. I play golf extensively and can play several courses throughout the area. However, the course at Plantation Lakes is second to none, in my opinion. I take advantage during the work week and especially on the weekends. I also go freshwater fishing sometimes in the evening at a nearby pond.”
“This spring, both Lisette and I want to get into pickleball. But there are so many activities during the day as well as in the evening and weekends that you can be as busy as you want or you can certainly just enjoy the weather and the tranquility. There are so many amenities to choose from that you definitely won’t be bored.”
“We wanted to get the most for our dollar.” Carlos Vazquez | Plantation Lakes
Our Forever Home at the Landings
by Kim Henry
When the residents refer to their home as “Fantasy Island,” you know it must be something special.
“I knew this is where I wanted to live within an hour of being here,” smiles Marguerite Baxter, who relocated to the Landings, near Savannah, GA, with her husband Edward from Washington, D.C., and they couldn’t be happier.
This multi-generational, certified sustainable community is on the tranquil Skidaway Island, making it easy to see how it earned its term of endearment. With 30 miles of bike trails, six championship golf courses, two marinas, eight restaurants complete with award-winning chefs, and over 100 groups to join, the Landings provides entertainment, leisure, and most importantly, a thriving social life for all ages.
“Of all the places we visited, The Landings was the most welcoming by far. We also love the peace and beauty, but it was also important for us to access a cultural scene,” explains Marguerite. Being just 20 minutes by bridge from downtown Savannah means choosing between the SCAD art gallery, the local philharmonic orchestra, dynamic theatre, and vibrant festivals, including an iconic three-day book fair attended by authors such as Stephen King.
“We can have a fabulous night out and then come back to our floor-to-ceiling windowed home overlooking the beautiful lagoon, and it’s just perfect,” shares Marguerite, whose average day may consist of a round of golf, lunching with her book club, relishing some peace and quiet, and then meeting friends for a cocktail party in the evening.
The community garden is so abundant that it gives food to local charities, the court sports are on point with pickleball, tennis, bocce, and croquet, and the intracoastal waterway flanks the miles of lush green spaces.
“We love that this is an integrated community. Our two grandchildren can swim in the pools, go to the play park, meet other children, enjoy the marina, boating, and nature – it’s like our very own Disney World.” There’s no doubt Marguerite and Edward have found their forever home. Just a few months after moving in, the couple helped host a Christmas party — for 90 people, which speaks volumes about the friendly atmosphere of this premier community.
“The only way I’m leaving the Landings is in a box,” laughs Marguerite!
Los Cabos, Mexico
Where the Desert Meets the Sea
by Kelly Godbey
Did you know that over 1.6 million Americans live in Mexico either as part- or full-time residents? And, this number has been increasing every year since the pandemic. The appeal of fabulous weather, great food, and lower cost of living draws Americans and Europeans to the clear blue waters and white sand beaches.
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes, you’ll find Los Cabos, Mexico, at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. With both sunrise and sunset views, tourism is back and better than ever. Los Cabos is emerging as one of North America’s biggest second-home markets. Known for its bustling nightlife, Los Cabos has become a playground with fine dining, golf, big game fishing, and the arts. Fine cuisine, culture, and art abound. Los Cabos is not a typical Mexican town; it has more of a California-like Mexican style. All this, and you can watch scores of migrating whales from late November until April every year.
“We’ll watch the sun melt into the ocean every day.” Michael said, “I wake up smiling because every day will be a Saturday or a vacation day.”
Michael and Gloria Sabbath of the Chicago area have visited the Cabo San Lucas area for over 12 years. They previously had a three-bedroom, two-bath timeshare but recently decided to move permanently. Tired of cold winters and high taxes, the Sabbaths have opted for a life of luxury in Quivira, a 1,850-acre paradise in Cabo San Lucas that has three award-winning resorts, two 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf courses, five-star spas, more than 29 restaurants, and a $7-million new beach club.
“Every night at 5:00, you can watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from an infinity pool. The sun turns from orange to red in that area. The twilight sky is really quite lovely. We’ve been going down there once or twice a year and keep falling in love with it. We always said, ‘How do we stay longer?’.” After their kids were out of college and on their own, they decided it was the time to move permanently. They wanted to downsize and live in a maintenance-free villa. The housing prices had been rising annually, so they decided now was time and locked into a unit on the first floor of a new tower, where they have views of the new golf course and the ocean beyond that. The Sabbaths will permanently move to Quivira in May. “We’ll watch the sun melt into the ocean every day.” Michael said, “I wake up smiling because every day will be a Saturday or a vacation day.”
He says, “People go to Cabo San Lucas to vacation because they feel vibrant and younger there. You can make yourself as busy as you want in the Quivira area. Nearby you zipline in the hills, can ride dune buggies, or even ride camels on the beach. You can surf, hike, or ride bikes. It’s truly amazing.”
“At Quivira, we plan to go to the beach club, where they have an infinity pool that is maybe 60 yards from the ocean. Quivira also has what they call the Q Life, which includes cooking classes, Spanish lessons, yoga, pickleball, tennis, and great golf. They have social networking events where they have artists bring their art, and we can hang out and meet new people. You can even watch sea turtles hatch and crawl to the ocean. It’s really quite cool. And, there’s plenty of good hospitals.” When asked if they feel safe moving to Los Cabos, he said, “I’m actually more afraid in Chicago than I am in Los Cabos.” When asked if the language barrier was a problem, he said, “Gloria is from Peru, so she speaks Spanish. But if she didn’t, everyone in Cabo speaks English and is eager to help.”
Michael concluded that he encourages people to “go down there and kick the tires, and you might see what we’re talking about. New hotels are popping up all the time. As I look back to when we first visited the first properties that they built, the prices were low compared to what they are today. But again, real estate is all timing. Even though the prices have gone up, you’ll save money on the cost of living, property taxes, and probably healthcare.”
Reposted from an article in Ideal-LIVING Magazine, 2023 Spring Issue –THE GOOD LIFE