Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Great Places in the Mountains for Retirement by

May 21, 2014 — If you are an outdoor oriented person the chances are you have dreamed about retiring to a town in the mountains. You might love to ski, hike, camp, fish, mountain bike, or just plain admire the beautiful scenery mountains have in such ample supply. This article is a companion to our other articles about great retirements near the water, in cities, college towns, and small towns (see Further Reading at end of article for more about them). When some people think of mountain towns they might be thinking of a small community pushed up against the edge of towering peaks. Colorado and much of the American west have plenty of those. Yet for others the mountains might just mean having some nearby foothills. With that in mind we have tried to present a range of communities in this article. There are so many great mountain towns to choose from that we promise a Part 2 in these series.

For those who aspire to a mountain retirement, here are some of the advantages that come
with them:
- Cooler summers. Altitude means an escape from hot summers, even in some otherwise warm states.
- Lower humidity. Particularly in the western part of the U.S., humidity tends to be lower in the thinner air.
- Beautiful scenery. Any time you look you will see a dazzling array of cliffs, trees, peaks, and more. At the higher altitudes there might even by snow in summer.
- Recreation. Mountainsides are hard to develop. So there is usually plenty of pristine land right outside your door where you can hike, ski, hunt, fish, kayak, camp etc.
- Spectacular home sites. Just as some people treasure a view of a lake or ocean, so do many others enjoy the thrill of big overlooks and distant mountains from every window and deck.

- Colder winters. Take the Blue Ridge mountains of western NC for example, where retirees experience snow and colder temps than do those who live in the rest of the state.
- More difficult transportation. Mountain towns tend to be smaller and more remote, so your car might be more important to your daily transportation needs than you might have hoped. Driving on snowy roads can be dangerous. Likewise, biking can be a challenge (or better buy one of the new models with auxiliary battery power!)
- Fewer cultural resources. This isn’t always the case, but many mountain towns tend to be on the smaller side, which can mean fewer town resources with cultural offerings
- Fires and natural disasters. Of course any location can have its share of natural disasters, but living in the mountains can come with serious hazards. Wildfires, blizzards, and landslides
are just some of them.
- Not so great for older people. Once you get to a certain age you do have to consider the disadvantages of going up and down hills, slippery streets, and thin air.
- Less daylight. One friend of ours thought he wanted to live in a great town in western Colorado, only to realize that the winter sun was hidden by tall peaks until mid morning and disappeared again in late afternoon.

Some of the more popular mountain towns at Top retirements
Based on their popularity with our members,and along with some attempt at regional diversity, here are 10 examples of mountain towns that might be perfect for your retirement: Prescott, Arizona. Located at an elevation of 5400 feet in the mountains of north central Arizona, the City of Prescott (population just under 40,000 in 2011), was the original territorial capital of the Arizona Territory. This old mining town now popular that now attracts so many active adults borders the Prescott National Forest to the south and west.
Talking Rock Ranch near Prescott

Knoxville, Tennessee . Knoxville is particularly attractive because it is home to the Vols of the University of Tennessee. It is a vibrant college town with big-time sports and many cultural events. Tennessee has wonderful mountains and hills nearby.  

Las Cruces, New Mexico.. Las Cruces shows traces of civilization going back 8,000 years. The ancient Anasazi people had communities here, which seem to have disappeared by 1300 A.D. The town is 4000 feet above sea level and claims to enjoy 350 days of sunshine per year.
Lake and mountains in Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, Georgia. This very small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia is located at the very top of the state on the border near where Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina come together. The town has about 1200 residents. Blue Ridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia because of Lake Blue Ridge, the Toccoa River, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The southern tip of the Appalachian Trail is quite close.

Santa Rosa, California. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s wine country. Nearby towns include Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Napa. The city is actively engaged in economic development centered around wine, food, tourism. Residents enjoy the hiking and views in the many state parks surround Santa Rosa.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

10 Worst States for Retirement (Arizona is not one of them)

Photo provided by Kiplinger

Picking the best place to retire is a personal decision that no amount of number-crunching can make for you. However, a close look at the factors that matter most to retirees — in particular those tied to health, safety and economic security — can help eliminate from the running the least attractive places to retire. With this goal in mind, we asked data aggregator Find The Best to help us rate all 50 states in terms of how well each suits the unique needs of retirees.
Our rankings penalized states that have higher rates for crime, poverty and unemployment, as well as higher living costs. We also took into account life expectancy of retirees and the size of the retirement-age population. Finally, we weighed the tax situation for retirees in each state.
After factoring in all of the criteria, we found many Northeastern states near the bottom of our rankings due to high taxes and living expenses, especially related to health care. Retirees hoping to head West may be equally disappointed. The following ten states might be great places to work or visit, but judged purely as retirement living destinations, they hold the least appeal.
All 50 states were evaluated on nine factors: percentage of population over 65, life expectancy, crime, poverty, unemployment, median apartment rent, median home value, health care costs and taxes. FindTheBest collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Economic Policy Institute. Tax rankings were based on Kiplinger's Retiree Tax Map.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

43 Things to Do in Prescott, Arizona: 

Nestled in the conifer forests of the Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott is a historic city boasting much in the way of adventure and culture. Golfers flock to its six pristine courses, while outdoors enthusiasts find exciting hiking trails, secluded picnicking spots and adventure on the waters of its five lakes. Discover the history of the Old West in the city's museums, historic railways and the Pioneer Home Cemetery, where "Big Nose Kate" Elder, wife of Doc Holiday, found her final resting place. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Save the date for the 127th World's Oldest Rodeo® in Prescott, Arizona

By Tricia Lewis,

PRESCOTT: Crews are already preparing for Prescott's most anticipated event of the year...the 127th
annual World's Oldest Rodeo® held in a venue that has been the home of this nostalgic event for
over 100 years, the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. Each year, attendance reaches new records, several
sell-out performances occur and the entire Prescott area reeks of western culture that draws
people from all over the world.

It is a time of celebration of traditions that includes eight heart-pounding rodeo performances over
one week; the second largest rodeo parade in Arizona that draws over 40,000 people to downtown
Prescott; a rodeo dance; kiddie parade and much more!

The event dates are June 30 to July 6 and tickets are available now.
This prestigious event is ranked among the top 40 best rodeos in America and traditionally attracts
the top names in the sport of rodeo from all over the U.S. Many top cowboys and cowgirls make a
special effort to attend and compete in Prescott in the World's Oldest Rodeo® because it's a well
respected rodeo due to the long-standing history and because it draws such a large fan base.
2014 Rodeo Performances begin at 7:30 PM - (unless noted with a *, begin at 1:30 PM)

Monday, June 30 – 7:30 pm – Daily Courier
Tuesday, July 1 – 7:30 pm – Wrangler – Tough Enough to Wear Pink
Wednesday, July 2 – 7:30 pm – Country Bank
Thursday, July 3 –7:30 pm – Jack Daniels
*Friday, July 4 – 1:30 pm – Murphy's Restaurant
*Saturday, July 5 – 1:30 pm – Ram/York
Saturday, July 5 – 7:30 pm - Coors/Canyon Distributing
*Sunday, July 6 – 1:30 pm – TBD

Happy Hearts Rodeo for Exceptional Children
June 30 – Prescott Rodeo Grounds
Rodeo Dance
July 3, 4, 5, 8:00pm-1:00am
Kiwanis Kiddie Parade
July 4, 8:30 am - Cortez & Goodwin
Prescott Frontier Days®, Inc. Parade
July 5, 9:00 am – Courthouse Plaza - Sponsored by Pepsi
Rodeo Days Fine Arts & Crafts Show
July 4, 5, 6 – Courthouse Plaza -
Cowboy Church
July 6, 8:30 am – Prescott Rodeo Grounds
Cowboy Capital Bull Riding
August 23, 7:30 pm – Prescott Rodeo Grounds

For more information, for a list of the specialty acts, details about any of the listed events, or
sponsorship opportunities please visit Tickets are now available by
phone (928-445-4320) and on the website, or at the gate. Purchasing tickets in advance is
encouraged as sell outs are possible.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prescott, Arizona: How the West is Done!

Prescott, Arizona: How the West is Done

                                                            Photo by Franz Rosenberger

For at least a century, intrepid adventurers have sought the now mythical Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, just east of Phoenix. In spite of the amount of time and energy dedicated to the task, this lost mine rich in gold has yet to be found.
It should come with some relief, then, that not all of Arizona’s treasures lie hidden or lost amid the rocks and cacti. Just 90 minutes north of Phoenix is Prescott, itself a veritable trove of history, art, outdoor activities and Western heritage and culture. Even better, visitors can leave their pick-axes and dynamite at home and may travel freely without worry of legendary guardians or enigmatic curses.
Prescott was so named for historian William Hickling Prescott in 1864, and declared as the Arizona Territory capital the same year. The community prospered as a largely mining and ranching town. Many of the old buildings such as the Yavapai County Courthouse, the Palace (Arizona’s oldest restaurant and saloon), the Elk’s Opera House and the first Territorial Governor’s Mansion have been preserved with great care. 
Beautifully restored Victorian homes with carefully manicured lawns line quiet, shaded streets, and are among the more than 800 buildings on the National Historic Register. Prescott’s rich past can be explored today along historic Whiskey Row. Once home to over 40 saloons, much of it has been transformed into a thriving shopping district.

The Phippen Museum (4701 North Highway 89) features an extensive permanent collection of Western art and throughout the year features a number of traveling exhibits and shows. The Phippen’s main annual event is the Phippen Museum Western Art Show & Sale, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend on Prescott’s tree-lined Courthouse Plaza. Over 200 of the country’s best Western artists display and sell their artwork in what has become one of the Prescott area’s biggest attractions. For more information, call 928-778-1385 or visit
The Sharlot Hall Museum (415 West Gurley St.) is the crown jewel of history museums in Arizona. Named for historian, poet and journalist Sharlot Hall, the museum is built around the site of the first Territorial Governor’s Mansion, which acts as the center-point for seven other historic buildings. An extensive collection of artifacts dating beyond Arizona’s early territorial days brings the past to life for visitors. Lectures of a cultural and historical nature, as well as living history performances and presentations, are produced throughout the year. One of the museum's major annual events is the Prescott Indian Art Market in July. For more information, call 928-445-3122 or visit
The Smoki Museum (147 N. Arizona Ave.) documents early Native American history of regional tribes through a variety of basketry, pottery, weavings and many other artifacts. The paintings of Kate Cory, who lived among the Hopi for seven years and did a great service to posterity in helping to document their myths, are one of the museum's more popular attractions. The Smoki also hosts informative lectures throughout the year. One of the Smoki’s biggest annual events is the Navajo Rug and Indian Art Auction in July. For more information, call 928-445-1230 or visit
Fort Whipple Museum (500 North Highway 89), located on the grounds of the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is housed in one of the 1909 military officer’s quarters. The museum traces the history of Fort Whipple with Living History programs (third Saturday of February, May, August and November) and exhibits that include medical instruments, Army weaponry, the Buffalo Soldiers, maps, photographs and memoirs written by those stationed there. Exhibits and events are coordinated and operated by Sharlot Hall Museum. For more information, call 928-445-3122 or visit

Rodeo & Western Heritage
The first “contemporary” rodeo took place on July 4, 1888 in Prescott. A group of prominent local businessmen and merchants formed a committee to plan the event.  The members included Buckey O’Neill, later to become a captain in Roosevelt’s Rough Riders; George Ruffner, later a long-time pioneer sheriff of Yavapai County; and Morris Goldwater, uncle of former Senator Barry Goldwater and future mayor of Prescott for many years, and voted “Man of the Century” during Prescott’s Centennial celebration in 1964.  
The main cowboy events included bronco riding, steer roping and tying and cow pony racing.  Merchandise and cash were given as prizes.  A cowboy named Juan Levias walked off with rodeo’s first professional title and was documented in the subsequent edition of the Arizona Journal-Miner.
Today, the annual rodeo in Prescott is called The World’s Oldest Rodeo and celebrates 124 years this summer with eight performances from June 28-July 4. In addition, several additional events will be taking place: the Rodeo Dance gives visitors a chance to kick up some dust with fellow rodeo fans and rodeo contestants June 30-July 2. Stake out a spot on Prescott Courthouse Plaza the morning of July 2 to see the annual Prescott Frontier Days parade, the state’s second-largest parade (after the Fiesta Bowl). Peruse the wares offered by artists and artisans at the Prescott Rodeo Days Fine Arts & Crafts Show, July 2-4, on Prescott Courthouse Plaza. Tickets for the 124th Annual World’s Oldest Rodeo are still on sale, and can be had by calling 866-407-6336 or going online to
Two more decidedly Western events take place each year. Later this summer is the 6th Annual Shootout on Whiskey Row, July 23 & 24. The Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies proudly present this annual re-enactment competition, costume competition and vendor showcase. The Shootout will be held on Cortez Street in downtown Prescott. Learn more by visiting their website at
The Prescott Western Heritage Foundation, Inc., in partnership with The Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies, will host Prescott Western Heritage Days this September 16-18, an event that showcases Prescott and Yavapai County from 1864 until 1912. Prescott Western Heritage Days will host the largest gathering of re-enactors in Arizona at the state's Centennial kick-off celebration. Learn more at

The Arts
The bustling art scene in Prescott prompted writer and former art critic for the Arizona Republic John Villani to include Prescott in the book “The 100 Best Art Towns in America: A Guide to Galleries, Museums, Festivals, Lodging and Dining,” (The Countryman Press, 4th ed., 2005). Prescott boasts a wide variety of venues featuring the visual arts, with some galleries such as the Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery (228 N. Alarcon St.) offering classes and workshops.
In addition to private galleries, Prescott College maintains a student gallery at the Sam Hill Warehouse at 232 N. Granite Street, and Yavapai Community College has a gallery as well as a sculpture garden at their campus at 1100 E. Sheldon Street. For more information about art galleries throughout Prescott, go to
Eighteen area galleries participate in the monthly Fourth Friday Art Walk which, as the name suggests, take place on the fourth Friday of the month. These galleries extend their hours for an open-house atmosphere including live music, food and beverages. You can pick up maps at participating galleries, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce or online at   
The performing arts are also a vibrant force in the community, as the Prescott Fine Arts Association (208 N. Marina St.), Sharlot Hall Museum’s Blue Rose Theater (415 W. Gurley St.), the historic Elks Opera House (117 E. Gurley St.), the Yavapai College Performance Hall (1100 E. Sheldon St.) and Tim’s Toyota Center in neighboring Prescott Valley (3201 N. Main St.) present a variety of dramatic, musical and comedic stage performances and concerts throughout the year.
Speaking of concerts, the City of Prescott is again hosting and producing the Downtown Summer Concert Series, running June 1 through September 8. Prescott's picturesque Courthouse Plaza hosts free, live entertainment five nights a week, from karaoke singing to dance lessons to band performances. Prescott's Downtown Summer Concert Series aims to offer something for everyone in its expanded evening programs. The events will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, on Courthouse Plaza's north lawn on Gurley Street, and will include 65 evenings of free entertainment.
Upcoming signature arts and musical events in Prescott include Tsunami on the Square on June 18, the 30th Annual Bluegrass Festival June 25 & 26, the Prescott Indian Art Market at Sharlot Hall Museum on July 9 & 10, Summer Rug & Indian Art Auction at the Smoki Museum July 22 & 23, the Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery Summer Arts & Crafts Show August 13 & 14, Clint Black in concert at Tim’s Toyota Center on July 14, the 11th Annual Prescott Jazz Summit August 26-28, and the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering September 15-17.

Outdoor Adventure
One might think that Arizona is an arid moonscape dotted with cacti and other prickly plant life, but Prescott is a mile above sea level and enjoys four mild seasons and blooming flora. The City of Prescott boasts 16 parks and three lakes; with kayak, canoe and bicycle rental at Watson, Goldwater and Willow Lakes via Prescott Outdoors (
If you’re in the mood for an outdoor odyssey of trail trekking around Prescott, we've got you covered. The Prescott area offers more than 450 miles of groomed trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Mile-High Trail System contains approximately 28 miles of trails, including Rails-to-Trails projects along the former Santa Fe Railroad, the Prescott Circle Trail System, and the Greenways Trails System. The Prescott Circle Trail is a network of trails that continues to expand, and which will eventually encircle all of Prescott. The Greenways Trails are urban trails along Granite and Miller Creeks that run through downtown Prescott.
It just wouldn't be a true Old West adventure if you didn't sit astride a worthy steed among the scent of sage and mesquite. So whether you're a seasoned rider and wish to haul your horses to Prescott, or are a beginner, looking to rent some horses and receive basic instruction, Prescott can pleasantly accommodate your riding needs. Popular riding locations include the Williamson Valley Trailhead, Thumb Butte, Spruce Mountain and Granite Basin.
With over 360 species of birds confirmed in the Prescott area, your binoculars will be performing overtime. Popular sighting locations include Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Granite Basin Lake, Thumb Butte Picnic Area, Granite Creek Park, the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve (just south of Watson Lake), and the Watson-Willow Lake Ecosystem Important Bird Area (IBA). In addition to Watson and Willow Lakes and their surrounding uplands, a two-mile stretch of Granite Creek immediately south of Watson Lake that encompasses the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, is part of the IBA.

To learn more about events, activities, attractions, special offers and lodging and dining in Prescott, call 800-266-7534 or go online to Contact John Gorden, Prescott Commerical and Residential Realtor at 928.308.0101 or