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

Laura

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Oct 1, 2012
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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.

I spend a lot of time in Kanab and like it a lot, LOVE the surrounding area, just worry it may be a little too religiously conservative. Though it seems to be picking up as a retirement destination for the outdoorsily inclined, which may help. If I can afford it I'd spend summers here in San Diego, the rest of the year in a mountain town (to be determined in the next few years!).
 

Laura

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Oct 1, 2012
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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.

It'd still be small to me (San Diego is the 9th largest city in the U.S.). Missoula has the University of Montana (I believe) which would be nice to have nearby. Like I said, it's going to be fun visiting these towns in the next few years and exploring them!
 
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Oct 10, 2012
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Southwest CO ain't bad. We moved to Pagosa Springs, CO about 8 years ago from OH. We are about an hour east of Durango which is also a great town. My son goes to Fort Lewis College and loves Durango. I think the San Juans are the most spectacular range in the Rockies. Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, Santa Fe, Taos are easy day trips. Moab is about 3-4 hours away. Wolf Creek Ski area is 25 miles to the east. Pagosa Springs is home to the deepest hot springs in the world and the San Juan river runs through town. Not bad when compared to OH.
 

JackBurns

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May 14, 2013
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I really don't know anything about the town or the people but I love the rolling cedar covered hills of Dove Creek CO.
I have day dreamed of buying property on the edge of a canyon with a view. Near enough to everything I still have to explore.
 

JackBurns

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May 14, 2013
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I remember an old timer tell me that he would rather be gut shot than live in Milford UT.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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I'd rather live in Utah than Colorado ..............................:) Lived in Flagstaff a lot of years, but it's kinda crazy now.

I actually retired in Ogden.........but building a house and moving to island Park, Idaho
 
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Dec 27, 2015
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I don't know all of those, but I particularly concur with a few of these [edited for my most 'thumbs-uppy' choices]:

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.

Red Lodge, MT
Cashiers, NC
Hendersonville, NC
Kalispell, MT
Bozeman, MT
Ketchum, ID
Roan Mountain, TN/NC
 
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Dec 27, 2015
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What about Stanley Idaho? Population, 20, give or take a dozen. Officially the coldest gawddamn town in the lower 48 (and I so hate that), but man, what a cute little town, with INCREDIBLE access (Sawtooths, WhiteClouds, FrankChuch/BighornCrags, plus the Middle Fork! [Salmon] We got hit with a surprise snowstorm during a backpack there, and had to abort our 70 mile route after about 30 miles, but we were able to soak in hot springs with awesome views of the snow-covered peaks for the remaining days. There are hot springs all over the place there.

If only it weren't so cold...... *sigh*
 

Tater Head

Hoo are you looking at?
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Jan 29, 2014
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236
Some of the best mountain scenery in the country. I spend a couple of weeks in that neck of the wood each summer. I have a cousin (Tom) who lives in Stanley through the summer months. He happens to be a full time gold miner with a couple of gold claims he works during the summer and then he heads to Arizona in the winter to work a couple of claims he has there. He's a colorful fella to say the least. The family joke is you have to say hello before you know who your talking with Tom, Thomas or Tommy. He's a hell of a nice guy. My brother in-law also lives in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area. We do a couple of backpacking trips each summer up that way. I think Tom has is it figured out Summers in the mountains and desert in the winters.
 

John Goering

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Sep 30, 2014
Messages
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After several years exploring most Colorado from I 70 to the WY border (courtesy of the USFS), a couple of years with the Manti LaSal in UT, and scattered jobs in WY, NV, ID, I didn't ponder the question that came out of the blue while in working in Price. Do you want a position at MT State University? Lived the dream the next 35 years in Bozeman and have absolutely no intentions of moving. Not the quaint place it used to be but still very nice and an absolute plethora of outdoor opportunities close at hand.
 

Bob Wire

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Dec 21, 2013
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I'm very thankful my town hasn't made the lists. It's so easy for a nice town to become popular then become a swarming mass of Lycra clad techies
 

Absarokanaut

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Sep 17, 2014
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Moab, UTy
Flagstaff, AZ
Torrey, UT

I haven't been to Torrey in over 30 years but these three don't seem even remotely like the fictional Cicely.

On a real Cicely scale I'll suggest:

Dubois, WY: Pinedale has a major ozone problem and lots of socio-economic problems with all the energy workers. I'm biased and although Dubois is conservative and for the most part anti-wolf it probably has more culture than any other place 75 miles from the nearest stoplight I also think that the stretch of highway from a dozen miles East of Dubois ["Do Boys"] to Togwotee Pass 30 miles West of Dubois is the most diverse landscape of the Rocky Mt. West going from towering red Badlands to the largest glaciers outside of Oregon in less than a dozen miles and under towering Alpine peaks on Togwotee.

Buena Vista, CO: A bit bigger than Dubois with lots of ammenities and an incredible area between Leadville, and Salida.

Crestone, CO: Tiny but a great community with more religous tolerance than you may see anywhere else in this country. Growing, some decent restaurants, etc., but IMO the most spectacularly beautiful town in all of Colorado with some of the greatest hiking I've ever done rising spectacularly to the East in what I think is Colorado's most spectacular Range. My disagreement is of course respectful; the Juans have some nice places, but I'd never stack the Needles or any other part of the Juans up against most of the Sangres, Tetons, Winds, Absaroka, etc.

Westcliffe, CO: Other side of the Sangres from Crestone. Bigger, and only an hour to Pueblo and hour and half to the Springs if you want more culture within your grasp.

Saratoga, WY: Just west of the magnificent Snowy Range, just north of Colorado's Gore Range and more.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

More in line with your initial list:

Salida, CO: IMO the greatest town of the Rockies. Larger, incredible area.....
Silver City, NM: Warm winters, just south of the ....
Pagosa Springs, CO: Although I'm not a bigger fan of the San Juans the Upper Rio Grande and the "Why men ooch" are awesome.
Santa Fe, NM: With Flagstaff on your list I see this as a better alternative with a much greater variety of outdoor recreation.
Livingston, MT: Just watch Rancho Deluxe.
Jackson, WY: Lots of people in Wyoming say they hate us but most of them are just jealous or put off by us being a "blue" county. Traffic can be bad some weekends in the summer, but NEVER as bad as Taos, NM. This area has more culture than any TOWN I've ever been to. If all you can see is traffic and tourists then it's not for you. If you like superlative dining, a great Center for the Arts, a truly giving community, and arguably the most spectacular gateway to the greatest mammalian habitat of the Temperate Zone .

Bob, don't hate me for my honest disagreement. We're all different and with all due respect there is no way in Hades I'd rather live in Utah than Colorado. Utah has more Bundystani whackjobs than any other state IMO, lots of people deceitfully raising money to purportedly get control of Federal Lands they darn well know they will NEVER be able to do. Although Salt Lake City is an exponentially better city than it was not long ago Colorado has one of the country's best economies and the progressive thinking of the Front Range outside of Colorado Springs makes for serious culture far beyond anything Utah has ever offered. In short, IMO Colorado is far more conducive to people invested in community and that don't appreciate the self-absorbed. If you're a teabagger Utah is a good choice outside of SLC just as much of Colorado is beyond the Front Range and Summit County. The influence of LDS in Utah is something quite unAmerican and IMO should alarm anyone that truly believes they are a free thinker.
 

kimbur96

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Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
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 :)
I admire your not waiting for retirement. I want to move from Florida to either CO or the pacific nw (family up there). But it's a huge undertaking and big risk. I hope i find the courage you had to make the move sooner rather than later.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,345
What about Stanley Idaho? Population, 20, give or take a dozen. Officially the coldest gawddamn town in the lower 48 (and I so hate that), but man, what a cute little town, with INCREDIBLE access (Sawtooths, WhiteClouds, FrankChuch/BighornCrags, plus the Middle Fork! [Salmon] We got hit with a surprise snowstorm during a backpack there, and had to abort our 70 mile route after about 30 miles, but we were able to soak in hot springs with awesome views of the snow-covered peaks for the remaining days. There are hot springs all over the place there.

If only it weren't so cold...... *sigh*
Sun Valley/Ketchum/Bellevue.......not much farther to the things you list... Go the other way about 4 hours and it's Island Park.... then Yellowstone, Tetons, Bitteroots, Gallatins, Tobaccos, etc.....
 

Curt

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Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
410
I've actually given some thought to this too. I grew up in NM and have given thought to going back, but unless you're within reasonable driving range of the Rio Grande valley any place there is remote. In my experience, remote in NM isn't really like remote in other places. Outsiders usually aren't very welcome and I don't really want to deal with that. I think my preference would be somewhere on the western slope in CO. Although its a tourist place I really like Glenwood Springs. But Grand Junction and Montrose would definitely be on the list for consideration. Its not really on the western slope, but I like the San Luis valley. All of the towns there remind me of NM, and it feels like home whenever I go there. So, South Fork, Del Norte, Monte Vista, and Alamosa. Since I grew up a short walk from a hippie commune, I feel right at home in Crestone with all of the kindred spirits there. That would have a lot attraction for me since I think the Sangres are the best mountains in CO, but I probably couldn't afford to live in Crestone.
 
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