Looking for a small town.
July 28, 2008 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Need suggestions please. The time for our retirement is just around the corner. We raised our family in a small town that is a close cousin to Mayberry. One sheriff, no stop lights and all the crazy nick names for the locals. Looking for a little cooler area to retire to, but still want that small town atmosphere where if it dosn't get done today, well, there is always tomorrow. Also, is there anything you miss after leaving a small town?
posted by ok to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
Alameda Island, in the S.F. area has a very small town feel.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2008

Ithaca, NY! We were just there this weekend and I completely fell in love with the place. Relatively liberal and lots of cool cafes and farm stands to check out as well as plenty of outdoor recreation.

That said, knowing what you're interested in would help people answer this question.
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:37 PM on July 28, 2008

You should specify any climate constraints. Such as might be relevant to Ithaca at some other time of year.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:02 PM on July 28, 2008

We love the rural country life, like parking at the curb in front of the grocery store, the hardware store, pub, etc. We love roadside vegetable and fruit stands and stopping for a lemonade where a couple of kids have set up sheet covered tables in front of their house.
We love going to the local elementary school where the attandance of their Christmas program rivals a tournament basketball final. We love chatting with the neighbors about not much of anything and loving the time spent. We love the scent from a wood burning stove and feeding the birds and being tortured by those fiendish squirrels, hearing the gobble of turkeys and and seeing deer in the yard with an occasional fox, raccoon and possum tossed in for variety. An occasional dinner or breakfast from the local legion or church fund raiser.
posted by ok at 8:07 PM on July 28, 2008

East Aurora, NY.
posted by oflinkey at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2008

Yeah, Ithaca proper might be a little big for you, but there are lots of little towns just outside (20-30 minutes) that are completely lovely. I hear the winters can be rough, though.
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2008

Sounds to me like you should stay living where you are and take great vacations, or get a time share in some hipper area. Alternatively, describe more what you want by way of an alternative.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2008

Many of the larger to mid-sized towns in Vermont could be ideal. I'd look at Montpelier or Brattleboro first, or Burlington if you'd like to go a little more urban.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:18 PM on July 28, 2008

Two votes: Comfort, TX and Boerne, TX. Both are on a great stretch of I-20 west of San Antonio that is an absolute blast to drive (Comfort is 45-55 minutes from S.A., Boerne is about 25.) Comfort is around 2500 people, Boerne is about 6500. Wonderful people in both towns. Awesome sunsets.
posted by mysterious1der at 8:42 PM on July 28, 2008

Anywhere in the Texas Hill Country.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:52 PM on July 28, 2008

I'll expand the Ithaca suggestion to say that there are many, many towns across the country with small colleges and universities, which (with the small towns around them) might provide something like what you want: a bit hipper than Nowheresburg, but still friendly, personal, and rural.

Here's the Wikipedia list of college towns in the US, alphabetically sorted by state.

The above suggestion of Vermont sounds fabulous.
posted by mdonley at 8:57 PM on July 28, 2008

Also in the Bay Area, check out somewhere like Hercules or Pinole. Or up in the Santa Cruz mountains, Boulder Creek.
posted by salvia at 11:27 PM on July 28, 2008

In the absence fo any details, I agree with mdonley to check out college towns. Actually, it sounds like you'd like to live about 4-10 miles outside of town. The Blacksburg Va area has become somewhat popular for retirement, for that reason among many. I can vouch for that, having lived there myself. Nearby are small towns (crossroads) like Pembroke, Newport, Shawsville. I'm sure there are many other college towns with similar attributes.

Oh, and Hercules and Pinole are part of the suburban sprawl of the SF Bay area, definitely not what you want.
posted by TDIpod at 12:13 AM on July 29, 2008

Based on your list of what you love about rural life, I think you may be looking for Brevard, NC. It's a beautiful small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is only about a half hour south of Asheville (what with it's shopping and airport and other city like accomodations).

I grew up in a very small town in Northern Michigan and now live in the RTP area of North Carolina. What do I miss about living in a small town? I miss being able to get rid of the world with a five minute bicycle ride. I miss bombing around the lonely hilly gravel roads that criss-cross the whole region. I miss morel hunting in the Spring. I miss the LSD-like explosion of color in the Fall and knowing where the best places are to get the full effect of the season, a place that the tourists don't go.
What I *don't* miss is everybody knowing other people's business all the damn time.
posted by NoMich at 6:29 AM on July 29, 2008

There are places like this outside of Cincinnati, and other parts of Ohio, if the midwest is your thing. Milford, Newtown, Yellow Springs.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2008

Here´s the rub: you are already a part of the small town you live in now. People recognize you, you´re one of the locals. This has a bearing on your experience in your current small town. It will take some time to get to this point in a new small town. In some small towns, it will take a lot of time.

You will get better suggestions if you clarify what you mean by ¨a little cooler area¨. Do you mean temperature? How cold do you want? Summers or winters? Hipster/modern/less square/less religious? In what way, exactly?
posted by yohko at 7:29 AM on July 29, 2008

My Grandmother retired with her husband in Roseburg, OR. It might be too large (they have a mall, I think). But it's so lovely. On Second thought, the weather might not be as mild as you're hoping for. It's definitely worth looking into.
posted by odinsdream at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2008

I'd tell you about all of the amazing small towns in Montana, but we're not allowed to encourage for'ners, liberals, Californians or other strange folk to move in and raise our property values.
posted by nenequesadilla at 7:41 PM on July 29, 2008

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