“Where to Find the Simple Life” is a big feature story in the September/October issue of AARP Magazine. It provides some interesting information on five small cities that AARP touts as having “rich culture, great food, low stress.” I have a better title for the story: “Five Trendy Places to Live.”
“Who wouldn’t want to call these affordable cities home?” AARP asks. And I agree, all five of the small cities chosen for the AARP spotlight sound like charming places. Probably affordable too, but affordability is a relative thing. AARP’s demographic information is from Bert Sperling’s bestplaces.net.
- Tuczon, Ariz., population 525,500; median housing price, $155,500. “Buzz of downtown — with its plentiful restaurants, funky Fourth Avenue arts district, and world-renowned annual Mariachi Conference.”
- Greenville, S.C., population 59,000; median housing price, $151,080. “The Greenville area claims one of the highest international-investment-per-capita levels in the nation.”
- Montpelier, Vt., population 7,800; median housing price, 159,060. “Norman Rockwell, with a twist of politics.”
- Logan, Utah, population 48,000; median housing price, $143,860. “Travel writers call Logan’s Bear Lake the Caribbean of the Rockies, because of its bright turquoise color and white-sand beaches.”
- Ames, Iowa, population 55,000; median housing price, $159,270. “Broad lawns, leafy neighborhoods, pretty parks and ponds.”
Hmmm. Montpelier is the only one of these towns I’ve been too, and I agree. I’d like to live there. Burlington, Vt., is a nice city, too. Vermont is one of the most beautiful and charming states. If you’re looking to live frugally, as I am, Vermont might not be the best place. I could be wrong on that.
Tuczon and Greenville sound like up-and-coming sunbelt cities to me. Simple living and affordable lifestyle? I would need convincing.
Now, Utah seems to be a likely place for simple and affordable living. I’ve never been there, but I’d like to visit. Never been to Ames, either. Iowa sounds promising, especially if you want to do some farming.
These five sound like wonderful small cities. I doubt any of them are as affordable as the places I’ve posted about in North Dakota and Maine. On the other hand, all five of AARP’s cities would have a decidedly more moderate climate than the northernmost reaches of the U.S.