Retiring and Living in A small town

by ET
(Small Town in Alabama)

The day I retired from my job we sold our house that we had lived in for over 21 years. We had been planning this move for a long time and thought we had a great plan. We had built a small retirement home in a small town on a lake in Alabama. Now this town is so small there are zero stop lights.

The town had seemed so inviting and quaint when we were working and trying to get away from traffic, phones, internet, civilization. The quaintness fades quickly after you realize that to get groceries you have to drive 25 to 30 miles one way or that you can't just go out to dinner. No dinner out means an all day trip.

Well we have the time right. LOL!

I always thought of myself as a semi-country girl but now I realize I love suburbia. I miss traffic! If a car comes down our road we know they are lost or trying to find someone else. Our postal person drives really fast, throws the mail in the box and takes off. It is sort of comical, like the postman in the Chevy Chase movie "Funny Farm." In fact I feel like a character in that movie.

There is definitely a different culture here. The town refers to people living on the lake as the "lake people" and are not sure if they like you or not but they sure like to take your money.

Most people we have met are really nice and caring about others.

Coming from a town 35 miles south of Atlanta to "the small town" takes a big adjustment for eating out. There are very few restaurants that are here: we have two Mexican, one American grill (that closes at 3PM in the winter), one Jacks, one Subway, and one pizza place that is open limited hours and days. So don't get hungry in the winter after 3PM, and unless you go to Subway prepare to eat fried food. Okay we live in the south and fried food is a way of life, right. See you have to laugh.

Talk of a new place coming into town causes a lot of excitement but usually they find there is not enough business to survive.

So we drive 30 miles or more for dinner and a movie. My Honda has really had the miles put on it in the last year.

Getting internet and phone service has been a definite learning experience. We never really thought about it until we moved here you just had it and all of the conveniences.

No phone service provider and no internet provider in our area. So we now only have cell phones and satellite internet service and of course satellite TV. Everything works okay unless we have a storm or wind or sometimes a cloudy day. Seriously our service is pretty fair just not as reliable as in the city.

We do save money by only having cell phones and we are fortunate to have a cell tower here on the lake.

Repairs or Help Wanted
We have had to learn the hard way that you can not always count on someone showing up to work for you if you hire them for a project on your house or yard. If it is warm they might decide to go fishing instead, if it is Turkey or Deer season forget it!

So you end up either waiting until they really need the money or you hire someone to drive from the city, charge extra for the trip and work on your project. Really how could we think of interrupting a day of fishing for getting the heat/air conditioner repaired.

County Government
This has been a real learning experience. When we first moved here we thought it was a joke about the Mayor getting into a fist fight with one of the commissioners, during the monthly open meeting.

Not long afterward we found out that the town was, is and will possibly always be ran by the "Good Ole Boy" network. When the president of the association for the Humane Society was asked if her husband would be speaking for her at the meeting, well you can imagine in 2013 that did not go over well with all the ladies in the audience.

Really it is like stepping back in time 50 years!

Now I sound like I really do not like my new home, I do it just takes a lot of getting used to.

Who knows what will happen at the next town meeting. LOL

Comments for Retiring and Living in A small town

Click here to add your own comments

The opposite
by: Anonymous


We did the opposite: moved from the Most beautiful small town I ever lived in (Park City Utah) to a big city. We had 15 acres, on a hill with gorgeous views: now we have a House on a lot, HOA to deal with ... BUT
We are aging and we now can walk to a grocery store, drive a few minutes to dinner, movies, our favorite grocery store and a dog park (that we often walk to: only a mile).

With aging eyes the threat of not being able to drive is looming so the nearness of all amenities is excellent. Also no ice and snow to worry about for walking and driving. So although I miss all the space and quiet, it's been replaced by amazing convenience.

Home Sweet Home
by: Dean

ET, your description of your new digs may save some people from making what could be a mistake. My wife and I had planned to move from from the suburbs of Nashville to the mountains of rural Georgia.

We had a ball prior to retirement planning and visiting these areas. It helped us keep our sanity in the midst of our stressful jobs.

Well, after retiring and paying off our mortgage the old house and location became much more attractive. Things we have to be thankful for are abundant shopping and restaurants nearby. There is a great hospital and our doctor's and dentist's offices are 10 minutes from our house. We have wonderful neighbors and our children and grandchildren are all within a half an hour's drive.
My wife loves to garden and our yard is nicely developed with gardens and a koi pond. I did the work myself and don't think I'd like to do another yard from scratch.

There will come a day when we will have to move but I hope that day is a long time coming!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Housing.