Today I’m starting a new little series where I share a few favorite places of ours, grouping them by what they have in common with each other to us. This idea was born simply because I find myself looking through old posts and pictures of places we’ve been and dreaming of the day we could go back. To start off the game, I’m sharing about 5 places we could see ourselves “settling down” in someday. I feel like this is something that’s always on our minds when we are driving through different areas – what would it be like to live here? What do we see ourselves doing and enjoying in this area? There have been a handful of places that have made the cut, and you’re about to find out which ones!
As a disclaimer, there are many places we think we’d love to live, however I can’t add them to this list because we’ve never even been there. This list consists only of places we’ve been to together and have discussed living in – and maybe even checked different websites for acreages for sale around them. (I have about 7 properties saved on Zillow currently, stretching all across the country, and I dream of the day that they are in our price range and we’re free to move wherever we want 😉 )
So here’s our top 5 as of June of 2016, counting down to our #1:
Main Street in Abbeville, SC
5. Abbeville, SC: I’m including this one because out of all the places we’ve traveled around the Southeast, this one has been our favorite. We’re convinced that the Low Country isn’t for us, but perhaps our minds will change if we were rooted in the Midlands or Upstate SC. I thought that once we visited Greenville that it would become our #1 in SC, but our brief time there didn’t change our minds about Abbeville. Here, we’d still be closer to the Appalachians, but still be further away from bigger cities. This town is small, but filled with rich history and a unique personality – I mean, who wouldn’t love strolling down a Main Street like the one in the above picture?!
Outside of Ogden, Iowa
4. Small Town, IA: How could I not list our home state on this list? It’s a great place to grow things – both plants, livestock, AND children. I do think that we had a great childhood, and that living in Iowa teaches you both humility and pride. Humility because once you leave, no one knows where the heck Iowa is (and they honestly don’t care, unless the current “Bachelor” is from Iowa), but pride because we know it’s truly God’s country. 😉 If we (I) can accept the harsh, bone-chilling Iowan winters, I think we could really live here and enjoy that peaceful homesteading life we crave so much. Of course, that would mean living far away from those ideal, beautiful mountainous spots we’ve visited, but with time our hearts may change and we’ll dream only of that Iowan farmer life. We have a few cities scattered around the state that we think we’d enjoy – such as Dubuque, Decorah, or Stone City, but we also know exactly where we’d want to be if we moved back to our hometown.
View of the West Elk Mountains seen heading West on West Elk Loop, Gunnison National Forest, Colorado
3. Gunnison, CO: This is just another town that we simply drove through while on our Colorado adventure in fall of 2015, but I chose to put it down as one of our favorites because it’s more centrally located, along a scenic highway, and the day we drove through ended up being one of our favorite days on this vacation. We could never complain about any lack of outdoor opportunities if we lived here, that’s for sure! After driving through, we headed North to Crested Butte and took the West Elk Loop through Gunnison National Forest, and that whole drive just blew us away. To top it all off, we ended up at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – that, my friends, is the adventurer’s dream! I keep looking back at pictures from this day (and ok, the rest of this trip) and just wish we could go back to that day, just to soak in the beauty of the Rockies in all their autumn glory again. That trip wasn’t our favorite because we didn’t have a great plan and were always missing things as we drove, but looking back I see all these amazing gems that we did come across and I wish we had more time to just aimlessly drive around “Colorful Colorado”!
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
2. Torrey, UT: There’s no denying the fact that we’re adventurers at heart and long to be out in the world discovering hidden beauty, and one of our favorite places to do that has been Capitol Reef National Park, and surrounding areas of Southern Utah. If you’re someone who enjoys just wandering around, marveling at size, shape, and color of these incredible rocks with the contrast of snow-capped mountains in the distance, than the Southwest is the place to be. Our time hiking and being “outdoorsy” in the Southeast doesn’t compare to all the exploring that can be done out there. I feel that the whole community of adventurers is different in the different areas of the world, and while there’s no wrong way to enjoy the earth, (without harming it or others) the Southwest has cultivated a community that we feel we are most similar to. I chose to say Torrey specifically because that’s where we stayed when visiting Capitol Reef, but I don’t think we’d be complaining if we ended up near any of the 5 great national parks that Utah has to offer. Of course, homesteading and gardening will be a bit of a challenge in the desert, but you get some you lose some, right?
Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona
1. Prescott, AZ: And finally, coming in at #1, is a great city in our favorite state – Arizona! We absolutely loved living in Tucson for 2 years, and enjoy going back any chance we get – but if we were to move back for good, Prescott would be our first choice. Our main reasoning for this is that there is so much we didn’t get to see in Northern Arizona, and we would love to live here and get to really enjoy all of that – WITHOUT having to drive through Phoenix first! I mean, we could be thankful that it’s there so that we could take advantage of that huge international airport for easier vacations, but Prescott is a comfortable distance away with a smaller town feel (at least, we thought so back when we first visited in 2014). The first time we drove through was April of 2014 with our friend Mitch after our trip to Flagstaff & Jerome, and I think we all declared after 5 minutes of driving through that we all wanted to retire here. Mitch found a country station he liked right off the bat, and we were seeing all our favorite restaurants along the side of the highway, then we also had mountains in the distance and other scenic spots nearby that would make for easy day trips – and so it was decided: we were going to retire there and Curtis and Mitch were going to open up a Nico’s (the only restaurant they thought the town was missing).
Of course, there’s always the chance that we may pick one of the towns on this list, but still use Prescott as our “second home” during the winter…because why choose only one? Or you know, why choose any when you can just travel for a living?? 😉
To wrap up, let me pose the following question: If you could retire anywhere, where would you pick?