Looking for the perfect town to retire in a la "Northern Exposure"

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Okay, it's times like these (end of the year) that I start thinking about not working. I'm lucky enough to have an early retirement option at my job and my boyfriend and I have always wanted to retire in a town like the fictional Cicely, Alaska of "Northern Exposure" (if you don't remember that show, I feel really, really sorry for you!) Anyway, I have 8 1/2 years to find that perfect little quirky mountain town. The real town that show was based on is Talkeetna, Alaska but I've been there and it's really touristy now, plus Alaska winters are too severe. So where is the next closest thing? I think I'll find it in the four corners somewhere. I'm looking for someplace small, outdoorsy, and quirky (you know, where people are tolerant of each other, lots of interesting, out of the box people live there).

So far here are the suggestions I've gotten either from personal experience or friends:

Springdale, UT (my friend that lives there assures me it's really quirky).
Moab, UT
Flagstaff, AZ
Torrey, UT

I've heard Cortez, CO is awesome but have never been there.

Ruled out: Escalante, UT, Cedar City, UT.

What do you guys think??
 

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,888
Fine question... there are a few small towns in Utah I wouldn't mind but I think you'll get a mixed bag of tolerant outdoorsy folks and closed-minded locals. I guess that's the case anywhere, but I think especially in some small Utah towns. I think I'd look at western Colorado myself. I've heard Carbondale is nice.
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
I like Cooke City, MT...but it's crazy small and you have to use a snowmobile to get to the grocery store in the winter unless you want to drive all the way through Yellowstone!

I'd put Silverton, CO, on the list if it weren't for the dang tourist train coming in for two hours three times a day in the summer.

I like Springdale, too, but that's crazy overrun by tourists, isn't it?

I'm eligible for an early retirement in 9 years, also, and I keep an ongoing list on my phone of cool towns!
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Springdale and Torrey are both highly seasonal as well...
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
Torrey has the advantage of not being near quite as popular of a park. How about Escalante or Boulder?
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Good ideas everyone! Yeah, I've heard Carbondale is extremely cool also. Will have to put that one on my list to check out. Heard Missoula, MT is awesome but that's a little far north for me. I fell in love with Boulder CO when I was there but it's probably one of the few places more expensive than San Diego. Boulder UT I've only passed through. Every time I've been in Escalante UT it's seemed a little too, well, redneck. Springdale has seemed too touristy when I've been there but my friend who lives there assures me there's another side and lots of interesting locals. Kanab is on the maybe list-good for its location but may be a little too religiously conservative (though my friend who grew up there is anything but). I spent a week in Moab last winter and had a blast-was getting local discounts by the time I left. I agree Nick, western CO definitely needs to be explored!

Outside magazine comes out every year with the coolest small towns in America as well. Keith, care to share any of the towns on your phone?
 

blueeyes

ephemeral excursionist
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,109
Palisade or Fruita Colorado

Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
Here's my list as it stands now, in no particular order. Some of them made the list from some weird confluence of events, and may not be that good after all. And some of them are just the closest town to areas that I liked.

Gunnison/Crested Butte, CO
Cooke City, MT
Red Lodge, MT
Dubois, WY
Lake City, CO
Cashiers, NC
Hendersonville, NC
Kalispell, MT
Marble/Redstone, CO
Weaverville, CA
Bozeman, MT
Missoula, MT
Clark, CO
Lake Granby Village, CO
Ennis, MT
Buena Vista, CO
Fairplay, CO
Ketchum, ID
Pinedale, WY
Roan Mountain, TN/NC
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
I hear Colorado City is nice ;)

After we find the perfect town we'll spread the word that Colorado City is where it's at. :lol: I've been there with my Kanab friend and the sheriff really does follow you through town.

I remember going through Fruita, CO and thinking it was charming, but Grand Junction is a pit!

Crested Butte CO is another one for the list, I heard it was the best mountain biking town in the US.

Keep 'em coming, it's going to be fun exploring all these places :D
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Really? I love it here! This was my first choice for a city that I wanted to move to...but I didn't wait for retirement since none of us are guaranteed tomorrow...I'm living my life now :)

Maybe I didn't see the right parts. I spent a few days there a couple years ago and couldn't get out fast enough-lots of run down areas where I was. It's also too large for what I'm looking for.

Agree with the living life now philosophy and do that myself, but if I work this current job until 55 I can retire with lifetime health benefits and a pension from my organization (in addition to my own savings) and I won't have to worry about money for the rest of my life. Probably worth sticking around a few more years :D And living in San Diego until that time isn't exactly hard ;)
 

powderglut

In search of Fresh
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
367
For sure you want to pick one place as your main base. But....I think it would be nice to have a few places to be comfortable at. It would be hard for me to completely leave Steamboat Springs with all the friends, skiing and everything else. Strong ties after almost 40 years.
So.. my list is, more, where I'd like to be at certain times of the year.
Mid April-May; Boulder, Utah. For Capitol Reef and Escalante
End of July- August: Vancouver Island, BC Canada. Time split between the west coast, central mts and northern towns.
September; San Juan Islands, Washington. SJI,Orcas or Lopez. The ferry makes it really easy to get between any of them.
October: Kanab or Page, Az For Zion, the south end of GSENM, Lake Powell, Sandhills and Grand Canyon.
End of December- January: Xcalak, Quintana Roo Mexico. This is the southernmost end of the Yucatan. 7 miles north of Belize. Snorkel, bonefish ,warm water, shorts, and fresh seafood everyday.
Fill in the holes back at Steamboat.
I can dream, can't I ?? :wavespin:
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
That's my plan, too! I can't be still for too long...I want to spend my year chasing Fall around the world!
 

leatherman

Huh?
.
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
138
Salida, CO or Driggs, ID both are cool towns IMHO. A few years ago Driggs was #1 on the Outside mag list
 

Antlerking

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
Messages
95
If you want a nice Mountain Town, Pinedale Wyoming is great. More lakes then you could shake a stick at. I love Kanab Utah, that's where I would like to end up, with a summer home in Pindale.
 

AustinCronnelly

Butte Rat
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
131
Missoula is a great place, although much larger compared to the smaller places you are considering. If I ever move back to Montana, I'd like to live in Whitefish. Just a stones throw from Glacier.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Happyidiot Looking for camping spot close to Denver. General Discussion 2
M Looking for bob Marshall recommendation Backpacking 1
U Favorite sites in Glacier in North Fork, Lake McDonald or Cole/Nyack? Looking at mid july Trip Planning 2
Contra Looking at buying a used travel trailer opinions wanted. General Discussion 15
U Favorite Yellowstone Gallatin Mtn Area Campsite? Looking at WD5, WE7 and that area Trip Planning 5
U Glacier North Circle Loop Mid July - Looking for an alternative back-up plan for a 3-4 nighter Trip Planning 0
fossana BLM looking for input on accelerating grazing permits (comment through 6 Mar) General Discussion 2
Benjamin Hayden Looking for good hike away from people in Sedona in mid-February Trip Planning 3
Kullaberg63 Super short notice: Looking for Winds partner Meet Up (Members Only) 4
Perry My First Multi-day Solo this Weekend - Looking for some Beta Trip Planning 0
M Looking for friends and a partner Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
M Novice Backpacker looking for a 5-6 trip in July! Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
sydissoocool Looking for a backpacking buddy for Uinta Highline Trail Noobs: Introduce yourself! 6
swmalone Looking for a new bike helmet Gear 5
Perry Looking at new trail runners: Altra Lone Peak or Hoka Stinson ATR? Gear 22
ADubs Looking for info from anyone who has done the Egypt loop and exited via 25mile wash (Escalante). Trip Planning 3
Jazzy Joe Looking for Escalante Area Short Backpacking Suggestions Early Spring Trip Planning 21
Benjamin Hayden Looking for advice on Maze District, Canyonlands Trip Planning 1
swmalone Looking for Info On How to Access Newfoundland Mountains Trip Planning 1
Laura Looking to avoid photographers Trip Planning 10
Elli Morris Looking for non-petroleum gear options Noobs: Introduce yourself! 4
dhertbag Looking for info on Death Hollow Trip Planning 13
swmalone Looking for Assistance to Introduction to Escalante Area Trip Planning 4
fiber Looking for backpacking/hiking/mtbing partners Meet Up (Members Only) 2
J Looking for backpacking partners Meet Up (Members Only) 3
C looking for the secret society of pictographs ..... Trip Planning 14
swmalone Looking for Softshell/snowshoeing pant suggestions Gear 6
C Looking for HCL 1901 Rock in Old Womans Wash Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Burrito Looking for moderate route in the wind rivers Trip Planning 8
mpuchtel Looking to give and receive trip advice Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Kullaberg63 Looking for experienced seamstress General Discussion 4
P Noob looking for solitary beauty in canyon lands, san rafael, escalante Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Nico Wind River - Looking for fish (of the Golden variety) Trip Planning 9
trantelica Looking for a good trail for scouts Trip Planning 3
Mike Jones Looking to by my first real camera Photography 0
Jenece Mordt Looking for a unique hike Trip Planning 9
natylka New to the site! Looking for people to hike and backpack with. Noobs: Introduce yourself! 11
Michael B Looking for Utah backpacking recommendation for early spring Trip Planning 11
J Back again, looking for different access points for Death Hollow...... Trip Planning 9
jdgibney Quick Southwest trip Jan 14-18 - Looking for suggestions Trip Planning 3
owyhee Noob looking for solo hike advice in Capital Reef Noobs: Introduce yourself! 12
Nick Looking for a place around Joshua Tree? General Discussion 2
Laura Looking for pictographs in the Zion Area Trip Planning 24
Legstrong Looking for Utah wilderness Trip Planning 6
C Looking for good middle priced backpacking tent/gear Gear 18
Laura Looking for a place to take a photograph from the top of the Vermillion Cliffs Trip Planning 4
Colin Parker Looking for a new pack Gear 40
MtnMatt Looking for a nice waterfall hike in Little Cottonwood Trip Planning 10
maniakmedic Newbie looking to start backpacking in April Trip Planning 11
Cor Looking for New Music To listen To.... General Discussion 7

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top