View Full Version : where to retire

Steve Langdon
07-05-2001, 06:52 AM
I've been working abroad for 16 years, and am beginning to think about a place to settle in the States. I'm looking for a small town in Maine or northern California where an average guy like me can afford to keep a small cruising yacht. Where there is a good boatyard and reasonable moorings. I haven't been to either area yet; I've only read about them in magazines. I would appreciate any advice.

07-05-2001, 09:21 AM
I've been overseas working for longer than that....and I am in the states doing the same........and I haven't found any where that's suitable. Land is too darn expensive in most places, you can't afford permanent dock space, no good hurricane holes to hide in while sitting on the hook unless you live aboard and row in to shore. I had planned to snow-bird, New England in the summer and south in the fall....but even that has it's own set of problems, like where to hide during hurricane season. Now I am looking for a nearby offshore spot.......

07-05-2001, 10:28 AM
Try Puget Sound area, Pacific Northwest in general including British Columbia. Remember, no matter where you are the cost of fun keeps going up.

Nora Lee
07-05-2001, 11:02 AM
Eastern North Carolina and it's extensive sound system, access to the Intracoastal and moderate climate has my vote. There are many rivers to hide in during the hurricane season. The area is agricultural in nature and there are still real estate bargains to be had.

07-05-2001, 11:38 AM
I second Nora Lee's choice. You'll need a skinny water boat but there is a lot of protected/semi-protected water for cruising in one.

Steve Langdon
07-08-2001, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the information. We might just stay put in England. There are lots of expensive marinas springing up, but there are also quite a few of the old boat yards with mud berths out front and winter pull out if you need it. Lots of cruising clubs with small subscription fees and members who like to potter about in boats.


07-08-2001, 12:34 PM
I have also been looking for a place to retire several years from now. The fleet includes canoes, sailing canoes, sea kayaks and a Sea Pearl 21 (not wood, but she has wooden spars and a lug rig). I had been thinking of the Cedar Key Florida area, but NC would be a lot closer to family, and possible not as developed. Any specific recommendations (ie xxx county)?



Nora Lee
07-09-2001, 08:27 AM
I have been happily residing in Elizabeth City, Pasqutank County, NC since 1989. We are one hour from the ocean beaches of the Outer Banks and an hour south of Norfolk, Va. Any major shopping happens in that direction.

Elizabeth City is noted for it's hospitality to transit boaters with the Rose Buddies Wine & Cheese Parties, it is called the "Harbor of Hospitality". When hurricanes threaten we move our boat "Sea Fever" up the Dismal Swamp Canal and are safe from any storm surge between the two locks. Since we are on the ICW we have been meeting our new community as they travel through.

Other Counties in the area to consider are Columbia off the Albemarle sound (very remote) or Perquimins & Chowan. The real estate prices are going up,
but as I mentioned previously there are still bargains to be had.

We moved here for less winter and to be just a days drive from family in NJ and Ga, it has worked for us. If you still need to work for a living the salaries aren't that great, but the life style is laid back and we have gotten back to basics, it has worked for us.

Our plans are to use this as homeport, when we finally cut the land anchor. Still warm enough to liveaboard here, if medical problems arise.


Nora Lee

07-09-2001, 11:54 AM
Thanks for the input Nora Lee, I guess I'll have to comw down and take a look around.


Tom Lathrop
07-11-2001, 09:37 PM
It's too hot and humid here. The mosquitoes are hungry and the locals are unfriendly. Hurricanes track right into eastern NC with great regularity. High culture is missing and the locals speak funny. The water is always thin and not just at low tide and the Outer banks get in the way coming from or going out to the Atlantic. We already got our quota of yankees, Californians and Aussies hanging about, plus the odd Brit.

Oh well, my finger is much too small for the hole in the dike.

07-11-2001, 09:54 PM
I spent 18 years in the Caribbean and when my time came I came to Southwest Florida. I live on a wide man made canal just off the Caloosahatchee River (part of the ICW)near the Gulf and dozens of ports, anchorages, restaurants, boat yards and destinations within 40 n.m. The City is Cape Coral with the best drinking water in Florida, no bugs, and we are in a protected area for hurricanes( more about this if you ask me) and you can always take your boat 12 miles up river and hide behind a Corps. of Engineers Lock. Taxes are reasonable, there is a 3% annual cap on real property increases for homeowners and the weather is warm...always!

Tom Lathrop
07-12-2001, 08:07 AM
Mike, Mike,

Now you are letting them in on the good stuff.

Bruce Hooke
07-12-2001, 09:53 AM
My impression (and it's only an impression since the need for a job has kept me elsewhere) is that you can still do fairly well in terms of property and mooring costs in Maine IF you don't feel the need to have your own shore frontage AND you look well "Down East" -- at least east of Penobscot Bay, but better yet east of Ellsworth and Frenchmans Bay. Actually, even shore frontage might be possible in some areas if you don't mind being on a quiet backwater that drains out to mud flats at low tide.

However, you can easily find youself a long ways from what some call "civilization," which in this case means: 'shopping', airports, large hospitals, jobs, etc. Also, not every person can fit in well into small, rural towns where many of the residents have know each other since they were kids. Finally, while it is, in my opinion, one of the best places in the world for sailing, they are not easy waters to sail and the season is short (mid-May to mid-October if you are willing to sail in some fairly cold weather).

Mike in SC
07-12-2001, 10:46 AM
ROFL, Tom and Mike! Now Steve, if you're really thinkin' of Maine (brrr) get a copy of "The Shining" (remember, Steven King is from ME. Coincidence? Not hardlyand.) and see if you can put yourself in a similar climate for 9 months of the year. When it does warm up you have clouds of mosquitos and blackflies to deal with- but don't worry 'bout that cuase they can't find you in the fog, which can be pretty pervasive, but which makes the currents, pot bouys and granit ledges not so scary as you can't see 'em. I lived up there for 8 years and found the land expensive, the taxes outrageous and mooring space at a primium. Some great boat builders though! I've a brother who lives in Glouscester, MA and loves the waters around Cape Ann- though mooring space is pretty scarce there as well. Good Luck!

Bruce Hooke
07-13-2001, 09:05 AM
The funny thing is that some of us look at places like the Carolinas and wonder how anyone can stand the climate there! I live in Rhode Island I sometimes think about moving further north to escape the heat. The nice thing about the fog and the cold up in Maine is that it tends to cut down on the number of reckless fools out on the water (or maybe it just weeds them out once they get there :)).

Mike in SC
07-13-2001, 10:06 AM
Bruce- you, Tom and Mike are right! The climate down here is the pits. Also there are the fetid swamp gases that everyone knows cause various miasmatic fevers- very unhealthy airs. Funny though, when I lived in Maine most people didn't own air conditioners, even though every summer we had to deal with at least two weeks of temperatures in the high 90s. Now Bubba might not be the brightest biped on the earth, but at least he knows enough to get in out of the heat. LOL

Bruce Hooke
07-13-2001, 03:20 PM

07-17-2001, 02:16 PM
Mexico to Alaska.Many small harbors,SF bay and 2000mi of navigable inland river delta feeding the bay,and some very good yards,Newport Oregon,The Sound at Seattle,all in between.
Newport Oregon is a beautiful coastal town,and just 35 mi.inland is Corvales,a university town where prices are comparably lower than many other places,especially along the coast..
Things get less exspensive as you move up the coast from SF,especially around Humbolt bay in far northern cal.

Alan D. Hyde
07-19-2001, 03:54 PM
One way to buy waterfront property more inexpensively is to locate on a river.

Bangor, Maine, for example, was a major seaport in the days of smaller commercial vessels.

Have to watch out for potential mast height/bridge or line clearance problems, though.

Maine is a beautiful place to be, but pretty damn highly taxed and regulated nowdays as a result of the influx of people "from away."

This matters less in out of the way places like Matinicus.

Shifting gears a little, I suspect there are some good buys in the smaller, more westerly seaports of Northern Ireland. The troubles have cooled down somewhat, and are more of a problem in Belfast now than in Derry. The small fishing villages are not bad places.

Here's a map

www.goireland.com/scripts/low/area.asp?areatype=c&areaid=173 (http://www.goireland.com/scripts/low/area.asp?areatype=c&areaid=173)

Why not do some sailing here and there and see what you think?


[This message has been edited by Alan D. Hyde (edited 07-19-2001).]

Quentin Wilson
07-19-2001, 06:40 PM
Columbia River from Portland to Astoria. Some great towns along the way with moderate slip fees in marinas with no waiting lists. Occasional eruptions of volcanos and nuclear power plants but with a heater it's year around living. Lots of little boatyards here and there. There are some efforts in Washington and Oregon to limit live-aboards but not successful so far. Affordable land and homes can be found usually a bit away from the riverfront. There were real bargains a few years ago in Ilwaco, WA as the fishing industry sadly declined. Washington has devised some crazy ways of taxing boats brought into the state permanently. Fog, rain, clouds - always attractive to a sun-baked New Mexican.

Alan D. Hyde
07-20-2001, 12:44 PM
Anyone know what St. Pierre and Miquelon (Grand & Petit) are like now?


07-20-2001, 01:16 PM
It seems that there are a few places within the U.S. to drop the hook, and a helluva lot of places outside the U.S. that are cheap if you aren't hung up on U.S. conveniences. There is a rather large American presence in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to the coast, about 10-12,000 people, most retired military, there is a groing presence in the area around Istanbul, the Greek Isles and I am one of several Americans that spend a large amount of time in Odessa and Sevastopol, Ukraine. The have some nice Yacht clubs there and welcome American cruisers these days.

07-23-2001, 05:25 AM
That is very true also...except fo finding keel deep water. If you somehow aren't connected to shore you seem to be regulated out. Everybody wants a buck and they will figure out the way to get it from a "Yachtie".

Roger Cumming
07-24-2001, 08:56 AM
This discussion reminds me of a similar one I observed of New Yorkers talking about other places where they could imagine themselves living. One said, "well, there's Paris, of course, but they speak French...".

Ed Harrow
07-24-2001, 11:49 AM
This may be another vote for Turkey

"It is a very cheap country to visit as their economy is a mess and the currency devalues almost every week.
3 weeks ago I bought Turkish lira and got 1.54 million to one UK pound.
Last week it was 1.89 million to a pound! You need big pockets for all the notes as the largest banknote is only 10million. A large beer costs less than a dollar, and you can eat a great meal for about 5 dollars. Its a nice feeling to go out for a meal with a few hundred million in your pocket, now I know how Bill Gates must feel !!!
I highly recommend the place, but it is very hot, especially at night. Daytime temperatures were 35 to 42C at night it was normally about 25C. One advantage is that you can drink loads of beer and never go near a toilet! just as well as Turkish toilets have a notorious reputation."

This from a Brit co-worker just back from two weeks in Turkey.

Steve Langdon
09-20-2001, 02:00 AM
I won't need to find a place;I can spend my retirement checking out all the places you recommended.I grew up as an Okie. We have wanderlust in our genes. We're going down to Cornwall next summer to look around. West coast of Scotland after that. West coast of the States after that... Thanks for all the advice.

09-20-2001, 06:57 AM
Wander all over Oklahoma and keep the boat just about to Webbers Falls and you can make it out to the ocean or live cheap as an Okie. (Been there, Done that, Have the "T" shirt and still an okie)

09-20-2001, 07:15 AM

On your UK trips check out two of our favorite places:

Look into Salcombe when you're heading toward Cornwall (and there was an article about Salcombe yawls in a WB issue a while ago).

See Scourie when you visit (north) Western Scotland. Absolutely gorgeous.

Good luck.

Peter T S
10-19-2001, 09:05 PM
How about Sweden?

The Swedish west-coast, from Goteborg to Norwegian border is among the most beautiful in the world with thousands of islands.

The USD is strong so its a bargain!

True Love
10-20-2001, 01:35 PM
How about the Great Lakes? It's beatiful up on Lake Superior at the Apostle Islands; the Door County peninsula on western Lake Michigan (just east of Green Bay) is expensive but great sailing; Traverse City, Michigan is beautiful; and that's just naming a few. Marquette, Michigan is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, we have real winters in these areas but the sailing in spring, summer and early fall is great! You can snowmobile in the winter and ice fish - what more could you want?

10-21-2001, 01:07 AM
Price-wise, the Pac Coast is outtasight. Some people - like the editors at MSN.com - favor Mexico.

Ken Hall
10-24-2001, 03:41 PM
Seconding somebody's Northern Ireland idea, you might look into coastal Donegal (which is actually the Republic, but it's right next door). Not a lot of development there, as I understand it, so prices might be reasonable.

My personal retirement dream is Duck, OBX, NC, on the Currituck Sound.

Ken, plotting Ken

Wild Dingo
11-11-2001, 10:52 AM
Of course you could forgo all those ideas altogether and come on downunder and get value for your dollar in fact the way its going you could retire here rich by bringing very little from over there the exchange rate is brilliant... your end...

Now my dream retirement is the little island nation of Naru (sp) peacefull, beautiful place, with beautiful people, the Aussie $ is welcomed and worth something other than for use as toilet paper and the weathers glorious year round... imagining living in a shack by the beach my wee wooden boat out the front and just kicking back go fishin go divin go sailing and knowing the weather forcasters got to say one thing "fine warm and wonderfull" http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

Hey while your down around Cornwal drop in and say gidday to john his missus and the lovely Lulu

Take it easy

11-13-2001, 06:31 PM
I know you said the US, but have you considered Eastern Canada, specifically Nova Scotia? My family and I moved back from the middle east and have finally found a place we can truly say we love. Great bays for sailing, reasonable real estate (i have a good real estate person if you are interested in learning more about the area). Quick geography lesson; I know this sounds grewsome but i live near where swissair 111 went down a few years ago (St. Margaret's Bay) Having said that, it is a beautiful place. Good luck in your search...