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We’re an outdoorsy family looking for a ‘funky’ town where we can eventually retire. Where should we go?

Where does a late-40s outdoorsy household with quirky youngsters transfer to with a long-term objective of retiring there?

I’m an operating-room nurse. As a household we’re all the time outdoors climbing, mountain biking, tenting, climbing, paddle boarding, snowboarding, and many others. I’m searching for a cool, eclectic city with a small hospital for employment. 

We dwell within the San Francisco Bay Area. Funky and eclectic in our space was Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Fairfax. Most of these have been taken over by large tech. We wish to be outdoors 12 months spherical, and communities heavy on climbing, mountaineering and snowboarding are typically funky cities.

Size-wise, we have now lived in each large and small cities, and every has advantages. While we’re on the West Coast, we’re open to just about wherever I can get an operating-room job as a nurse. 

We have fairness within the residence that we might promote and wish to personal a spot outright with a funds round $500,000-$600,000.



Dear Scott,

I can consider many out of doors locations, although what’s funky is within the eye of the beholder. And as you be aware, they will lose that spirit. Some may say that has occurred to Asheville, N.C., for instance.

Unfortunately, even Bay Area housing values don’t imply you’ll be able to simply purchase in nice outside cities. There simply isn’t that a lot provide in lots of the apparent locations, and demand is excessive. So are costs. It’s going to be powerful to discover a residence until you might be OK with a bigger metropolis or are open to less-obvious locations. (Don’t fear, I’ve received some for you!) 

You’re probably already priced out of out of doors havens like Durango, Colo., and Hood River, Ore. 

Boulder, Colo., additionally is just too dear, and the brand new communities bobbing up close by … effectively, don’t search for eclectic there.

If you do have your coronary heart set on a few of these locations, suppose exhausting about how a lot area your loved ones wants. A 3-bedroom residence might squeeze into your funds whereas a four-bedroom place doesn’t, for instance. 

And the place on the precedence listing of out of doors actions is snowboarding? The irritating seek for inexpensive ski cities has been addressed a number of instances. If, for instance, Salt Lake City or Ogden, Utah, meet your standards, you possibly can have superb powder at well-known resorts inside 90 minutes. Other metropolis choices with snowboarding close by embrace Boise, Reno, Spokane and Grand Junction, Colo. 

Unfortunately, residence costs in lots of of those areas have soared throughout COVID.

Read: Behold, the most overvalued housing markets in America

Instead, if downhill snowboarding could be only a weeklong household trip, you’ll be able to take into account hotter out of doors spots like Chattanooga, Tenn., and Bentonville, Ark. Since I hate to repeat myself, click on on the hyperlinks to learn these articles.

Use the MarketWatch “Where Should I Retire?” tool to get county-level recommendations that meet your standards. You can display screen for hospitals, the climate, politics and plenty of different components that you simply haven’t talked about however could be essential to you.

I hope you’ll take the time to discover your listing of finalists with short-term leases that allow you to expertise the group as a resident, not as a customer. Do take into consideration how a lot spectacular outside in your doorstep issues vs. the facilities of a bigger city, whether or not what’s on grocery store cabinets, ethnic delicacies, procuring choices and live shows.

And be open to less-obvious recommendations. Here are three:

New Paltz, New York

Rock-climbing within the Monhonk Preserve outdoors New Paltz.

Grant Taylor, Courtesy of Ulster County Tourism

Smack in the course of New York’s Hudson Valley, this group of about 14,000 individuals is 90 miles from New York City and about an hour to the three major ski resorts within the Catskills (greater ski resorts are about 3 hours away).

You’ll discover a few of the most technically troublesome mountaineering within the U.S. on the Trapps and Near Trapps within the Mohonk Preserve, which you’ll be able to attain utilizing the River to Ridge Trail that begins on the fringe of city. There’s loads of alternatives for climbing, hiking, biking and water sports activities amid the hundreds of acres of preserved open area, 90 miles of carriage roads and trails plus mountain lakes within the Preserve and close by Minnewaska State Park, all a part of the Shawangunk Mountains. 

You also can bike the largely unpaved 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a part of the larger Empire State Trail, north to Kingston, and kayak within the Wallkill River.

More of that offbeat vibe comes from SUNY New Paltz and its 7,000 college students. That retains Main Street stuffed with small, native retailers. Indeed, New Paltz brags that it has no large field shops, nor are any simply outdoors. (You can go to Poughkeepsie and Kingston for that.)

You’ll discover farm-to-table eating places, breweries, distilleries and recent produce from space farms in New Paltz. The Culinary Institute of America’s restaurants, staffed by budding cooks, are a half-hour drive from New Paltz in Hyde Park, N.Y.

For those that need eclectic, plus extra high-end eating, Woodstock, lower than 30 miles north and nearer to these ski choices, would be the better option. Yes, that Woodstock. 

If that’s you, you might have to look more durable to discover a residence in your funds. 

Let’s discuss work. From New Paltz, you will have a number of prospects: two hospitals are throughout the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, reachable utilizing the Empire State Trail while you don’t wish to drive, and one is in Kingston.

As for journey, Poughkeepsie has practice service to New York City. A handful of airlines fly from New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, lower than 30 miles to the south. 

New Paltz has the mildest local weather of my three recommendations: January highs common within the mid-30s. Summer highs are within the mid-80s. You’ll even have 4 months the place you might be prone to have a foot of snow.

The median listing worth for a house was $449,000 in January 2022, in line with Realtor.com, which like MarketWatch is owned by News Corp. Here’s what’s on the market right now.

Not a very good match? What about Rutland, Vermont, suggested here?

Kalispell, Montana

Downtown Kalispell.

Courtesy Discover Kalispell

This possibility, recommended by MarketWatch’s “Where Should I Retire?” tool, retains you out West. Kalispell has near 25,000 residents, nearly 1 / 4 of Flathead County’s inhabitants. The large attraction is Glacier National Park. But there’s extra public land close to Kalispell, together with the two.4-million acre Flathead National Forest.

You’ll discover mountaineering at Kila Crags about quarter-hour west of Kalispell. Flathead Lake, 10 miles south of city, is the most important pure freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Or head 15 miles north to Whitefish Lake and Whitefish Lake State Park.

For winter sports activities, head north to Ski Whitefish Mountain Resort or south to Blacktail Ski Area.

If an above-average variety of breweries within the county is a optimistic way of life signal for you, then Kalispell checks that field. The median age of residents right here is under the median for your complete U.S. – however be aware that its share of each these 18 and youthful and 65 and older is above the nationwide price.

Unlike New Paltz, the field shops are on the town: suppose Costco, Walmart, Target.

As for work, you’ll be Logan Health Medical Center, previously referred to as Kalispell Regional Medical Center. It made Chartis Group’s list of the highest 100 rural and group hospitals in 2022. Logan Health – Whitefish (previously North Valley Hospital) was named to its listing of prime 100 Critical Access Hospitals.

Montana may appear fairly remoted in comparison with the Bay Area. However, Glacier Park International Airport is served by main airways in addition to smaller ones. Amtrak stations are in close by (and smaller) Whitefish in addition to East Glacier, a part of the Seattle-to-Chicago service.

Although Kalipsell is way additional north than New Paltz, the local weather right here isn’t a lot cooler. January highs common slightly below 30. Average summer season highs hit the low 80s. Perhaps surprisingly, solely two months common greater than a foot of snow.

COVID has pushed up costs right here, and leases could be exhausting to seek out. The median listing worth for a house was $472,950 in January 2022, in line with Realtor.com. However, it was $570,000 or extra for the earlier three months, so take all of it with warning. Here’s what’s on the market now.

An different: the faculty city of Missoula, 120 miles south and suggested here.

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Snowmobilers on a path close to Minocqua.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here’s my wild card, a do-you-dare selection as a result of winters in Wisconsin’s Northwoods are lengthy, snowy and chilly. 

But in case you’re able to embrace winter, Minocqua and the neighboring cities of Woodruff and Arbor Vitae, with a mixed inhabitants of greater than 10,000, could be a spot for you. And I imply embrace: it is best to anticipate six months with a mean of a minimum of a foot of snow every month and common January highs of simply 20 levels. (July highs common within the higher 70s.)

Still, can an outdoorsy household resist a powder-filled ski space that warns a lot of its terrain is “very advanced or expert only, even by Rocky Mountain standards” – no freshmen allowed – and has opened a (comparatively simpler) new space referred to as Voodoo Mountain?

Granted, Mount Bohemia is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a number of hours from Oneida County (38,000 individuals) and neighboring Vilas County (23,000 individuals). Powder spots nearer to Minocqua are Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort and Big Snow Resort’s Blackjack and Indianhead mountains, additionally within the UP, and Whitecap Mountains in Wisconsin.

Switch it up with Minocqua Winter Park, a cross-country ski middle with 54 miles of cross-country trails that wind by way of 6,500 acres of forest a dozen miles west of city. Or experience a fats bike, snowshoe and ice skate there. 

There’s but extra outside to embrace on this space surrounded by lakes and forests. Public lands embrace the 236,000-acre Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest, which has greater than 900 lakes and miles of trails and previous logging roads for climbing and mountain biking. And after all, cross-country snowboarding.

Choose between two longer bike trails: the Bearskin State Trail – a 26.5-mile crushed stone route from Minocqua south by way of forests and previous many lakes – and the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System, with greater than 52 miles of paved path to the north and east.

What you received’t discover right here is mountaineering. Is that important? Or be ready to drive three hours for a few of the best rock climbing in the Midwest in Devils Lake State Park, outdoors Baraboo, suggested here.

Quirky? Start with dinner on the Little Bohemia Lodge a couple of half-hour north of Minocqua, the place John Dillinger and his gang escaped from the FBI in a shootout in 1934. And costume up in your greatest cow-themed attire for Minocqua’s Beef-A-Rama on the ultimate Saturday in September, a road competition with nonstop music and the place native companies compete for who’s greatest at cooking 10-pound rump roasts.

Then there are Wisconsin supper golf equipment – leisurely, retro largely dinner-only eating places, no membership required. You’ll get a starter tray – every restaurant has its personal take – then transfer on to your generously portioned meal (suppose barbeque on Fridays and prime rib on Saturdays) and finish with an alcoholic ice cream drink like a Pink Squirrel.

For work, begin with the 2 space hospitals: one in Minocqua and another in Woodruff, every a part of bigger networks.

The draw back of this abundance of nature is its remoteness – greater than three hours to Madison, nearly 4 hours to Milwaukee and greater than 4 hours to Minneapolis. Your field shops are just about restricted to Walmart and Tractor Supply Co. (and some extra 30 miles away in Rhinelander, which additionally has a small airport).

Broadband entry, whereas quickly bettering, isn’t on the stage you’re used to within the Bay Area.

The space attracts loads of weekend owners. The median listing worth for a house was $349,450 in January 2022, in line with Realtor.com. Here’s what’s on the market now.

Readers, the place ought to Scott and his household transfer? Leave your recommendations within the feedback part.

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