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In which country would you (a Hound & more) like to retire?

On the thread about countries with good eats, Veggo mentioned retiring to Mexico.

Where would you like to retire and why? Consider food as the main criteria, but also language, people, mountains, beaches...

If I wanted to cook less and eat out more, I'd retire to Mexico, Vietnam, or maybe Italy. Nice people, on the ocean, great foods - both in restaurants and in the markets. Mexico would be the easiest: Italy is a bit pricey and my Vietnamese is not that good.

If I wanted to keep cooking almost all the time I'm not traveling, however, the US might be best. The land of frozen wonton and rice wrappers, most cheeses, good but inexpensive wines, nori & wakame, aburage, most fruits and vegetables, most rices, most spices, mowt meats (albeit not enough goat, mutton, and organ meats), and so much more.

So, again, where would you like to retire and why?

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  1. Arce' di Pescantina Verona Italy " centro historico " sul Adige
    Already on the plan.Bought the house and land 20 years ago.Spent the first ten making it
    "ours",recent ten for vacation fun and the house exchange.
    <30 minutes to Lago de Garda,Valpolicella and Verona central on my bicycle
    My European roots and ties are very long and strong.That said two of the four places in a tie for second choice would be Mexico and Vietnam.The other two are Argentina and Chile.Too old to butt up against the politics of South America,own property and live there.
    Fluent french and english won't serve enough needs and my vietnamese is weak,leaving
    out the north of Vietnam where the climate wouldn't kill me in a week.
    Also have a house on the Maryland eastern shore that isn't 100% out of the running.Hard
    to compete with the selection/variety of things in the Mid-Atlantic states.So much,so near.
    What we are opting for includes some near family,food,beverage,farming,hunting,fishing
    and the arts not too far away.
    Both of us have family all over the world.45% in Europe,45% the southern hemisphere,
    10% N America and the the islands so we have in work and play tried on many places
    from the inside.All good,just not as good for us forever.Now down to 2 keepers,will likely
    divide the time based on the not so obvious stuff as we go along.

    7 Replies
    1. re: lcool

      I would probably be happy to retire in my own fine country of Canada. Good standard of living, lots and lots of variety. All the fine American/Canadian junk food, large numbers of immigrants from all over the world opening up grocery stores and restaurants all around me, good relatively safe produce and proteins, clean water, reasonable wine. I have to have a lot of variety, and while I would love to spend more time in many places (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, China spring to mind) I would be sad to not have the great variety and range of foods I can get right here at home. I would have to find a way to travel a lot though!

      I'd also love to be in Northern California for the same reasons, great produce, great variety, great wine. Plus you are so close to one of my favorite things in the world, the beautiful Sequoia tree groves.

      Freedom 45! Trying to convince hubbie this is the way to go... work is over-rated! I like my job, but there are just so many things to do and see, I'd really love to get started for real.

      1. re: moh

        moh, been wondering where you were. Yes, as a friend once said, "This 'aint the rehersal".

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Sam, this is a timely thread. I've been slowly increasing the amount of work I am doing, and while it is great to be active again, I miss all the free time to indulge in special interests! So much food, so little time. Carpe Diem indeed...

        2. re: moh

          moh, you have me sold on canada. (and glad to see you back, too!)

          1. re: moh

            There is a big cause of unhappiness here though, called the horrific winters (I live in Montréal, otherwise a lovely place). Not that I need somewhere tropical; just somewhere cyclable year-round. Most of France would be fine, and a place where long-distance sweetie (in Europe) and I would have a fluent language in common. Not necessarily in Paris, but somewhere I could easily access the capital from, via rail.

            I love Italy as well, though sweetie doesn't speak Italian and there aren't enough rooted immigrant communities. When I was studying there I really missed the choice of foods I found here and also in France. Returning to Perugia after 20 years, it was pleasant to see many immigrant-owned restaurants food shops and businesses not relevant to this board, but that is an exception for pleasant, medium-sized cities.

            And let's be frank, as we get older, healthcare is also in issue (though I see good food and lots of fresh vegetables as an important healthcare issue). Healthcare is much better in France than in Italy, unless you can pay. But it is not certain to what extent there is reciprocity between the Canadian and French systems.

            Unlike Moh (who is a local wonder), I don't consider our wine prices reasonable...

            I'd also prefer Europe because of the many destinations in Europe and around the Mediterranean basin to which I could easily travel without using planes. I don't drive a car, so there are many places in North America I can only access with great difficulty.

            1. re: lagatta

              "There is a big cause of unhappiness here though, called the horrific winters (I live in Montréal, otherwise a lovely place)"

              Hee Hee! I was trudging to work this morning during the second of 2 horrible winter storms this morning, and I was thinking, "gee, I'm going to have to warn Cimui about the redunculous winters here... maybe I should revise my choice and go with Hawaii and Northern California". But from Cimui's post below, I'm getting that Cimui would like all this snow for skiing and snowboarding. We are certainly getting our winter wonderland this year!

              Cimui: sounds like we have very similar interests! Vermont is also a place I would consider living in. Fortunately, I don't appear to be lactose intolerant, and I would eat a lot of Vermont dairy products.

              Lagatta, I would agree with your comment about wine prices not being reasonable. North American wine prices are a little depressing. What I meant by my comment that we have reasonable wine is that we have an excellent selection of available wines from all over the place, and there is a wine culture here in Montreal that is a lot of fun to explore. There are a lot of places where wine is not reasonable (for example, Korea isn't so great for wine).

              Vancouver perhaps might be a better choice as far as Canadian cities go. Great asian food, good wine scene, wonderful fish! And not so much snow, but good access to snow sports. The only things that make me hesitate are the crazy house prices and the lack of a great French food scene, including all the great raw milk cheese we have here in Quebec. Oh yeah, I might also miss sunshine.

              1. re: moh

                Well, I hate skiing and snowboarding - not very accessible in town anyway, and I don't have a car. I like cycling, and just stopped with the heavy snow and ice.

                About the only friends who do have cars are those who have the type of jobs that keep them insanely busy 7 days a week, if not we are a bmw (bus métro walk) plus of course bicycle bunch, including some who could well afford cars, such as tenured professors.

                For you, Vancouver would have the benefit of being closer to your country of origin; it is the opposite for me. I can get to Western Europe in a few hours by direct flight from Mtl, though air travel really isn't sustainable. Oh how I'd love to be able to eat wonderful Asian seafood every week though.

          1. Our lakeside log cabin in Downeast Maine for the summer and spend the rest of the time visiting the kids. Bounce from Seoul to Phuket to Austin ( with 2 more kids still not settled). All are hounds and a chance to spoil the grandkids. Pay back time. Still own land in New Mexico for our yurt too.

            Bahia is tempting as is the Adriatic and Aegean.

            1. Sam, I have retired 3 times in the last 12 years. I'm ready for Mexico again, but a plum position with ACIAR is open in Australia....(not for me, maybe you!)
              With mixed feelings and a lot of emotion, I have turned down offers in the last 2 years to manage large scale agricultural projects (rice, palm oil, fish farming), in Kenya, Thailand, and Indonesia, because of the current global sensitivities toward the US, and more compelling is my unwillingness to do business in environments I judge to be absolutely currupt.
              So my German lady-friend's invite for the holidays at her home in Mexico is a siren song...for the moment.
              I think I know too many places to eat in the Yucatan. And when I have reunions with my hermanos in Cozumel, it's 3 days of baked redfish, suckling pig, baby goat, and lots of rum.

              P.S. The butterfies and honey and huitlacoche in Michoacan..the waterfalls in Chiapas..the Eucalyptus in Guanajuato..the sierra mardre to the pacific..the churches in San Miguel de Allende..."Popo" on the drive to Puebla for chiles en nogada..shrimp in Veracruz hanging over both sides of your plate...the pineapples and swimming hole in San Blas...opals in Magdalen...La Paz...Holbox island. I'm just warming up...

              6 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                Ahhh, hermano, in any case we're in it together.

                1. re: Veggo

                  One sister of mine lives down that way.Says the butterfly situation isn't so wonderful.
                  Excessive wood cutting?yes/no
                  Would the mods go nuts if some of us slipped into spanish?I think in french or italian,
                  spanish isn't near the stretch that english is if typing is a major chore.

                  1. re: lcool

                    Icool, your sister's observation about the migration of the mariposas to Michoacan is tragically true. 20 years ago, tree limbs would crash to the forest floor, from the weight of Monarch butterflies. Not any more. The thinning of the forests allows too much cool air to pass through at night, in what was a blanket of stillness and dead air (in a good sense) not long ago. 3 degrees of chill is as devastating to butterflies, as 3 degrees of warmth is to a coral reef. Tragic, and hard to unring the bell.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Veracruz remains a distinct fantasy, especially in direct answer to where to live based on food. After taking a few cooking classes from chefs from Veracruz, I was mighty indriged at the variety of food from this coastal state
                      that flanks seven other states. Ah, to be there, to eat, to see the terrain...

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        Ditto, though I'm going to be making my first trip to Veracruz in Feb. 2009

                  2. Ah, Sam, what an intriguing question. I think that industrial agriculture is heading south pretty soon. North America is not looking good. I think I'd go to Chile.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Chile has been a model agricultural economics case over the past 20-25 years or so. Industrial, rational, predatory, science-based (to the degree that ag econ is science), free market, and increasingly green and fair trade.

                    2. I'm already planning on renting a broom closet-sized place in Nice.

                      1. Aaaah absolutely Italy. Diverse foods, excellent wine whether cheap or expensive, fabulous restaurants cheap or expensive, friendly people, gorgeous countryside, breathtaking architecture, beautiful language. What I'd give to retire to a small village and while away the hours however I pleased with the bounty of pleasures available. Sigh.

                        1. Italy. I visited for two weeks in October, and I am ready to move there! I especially like Sienna and Tuscany. Like I could afford Tuscany. Tuscany reminds me of California. Spent most time in Torino - good food, friendly folks. I am good with the cappuchino in the am, caffe other times...

                          Chile also reminds me of California and I like it.

                          If I could afford it and wanted to stay in the US, then Santa Barbara CA.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: gailr42

                            I am planning to spend a lot of time in Paris, although as an academic, we tend to go on well past normal retirement age (the prof I replaced finally gave up his spot at 77.)

                            1. re: brendastarlet

                              That is a problem. As a research scientist who retired from a "real job" in 2000, but who has been given the best contracts since, there seems to be no retirement because work is way too much fun. I have my beautiful lake front lot on Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon just waiting ... and waiting..

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                We can relate.We reduced our business/work load by ?35% with no reduction of income.Doing what we like best.May be easier to make real changes when the kids are gone and having kids.If you did that part well...as passadumkeg says it's
                                "pay back time".Only sort of one left,the baby 28 going on 50.She is dug in for the long haul in Chile.Working toward even more rational steps forward there.Guess we did OK ,she just passed on a cushy offer in NZ.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  "just wait...and wait"...for those without wealth, or connections, for letters of transit. So much like the opening dialog in Casa Blanca. It should be Sam's Cafe, and I should be Veggo Laslo. We can spar over Ingrid Bergman another day. We'll always have Paris.

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    Ah beautiful Wallowa Lake, Oregon's "Little Switzerland". In the late 1970s when we lived in Eastern Washington we bought 10 acres on the back side of the tramway mountain. We spent one summer there building a cabin and then Mr.BR's boss talked him into going back to work. We got busy and never went over often enough so we sold it and bought property on the beautiful So. Oregon coast where we are now retired. We traded trout, elk and five feet of snow for the bounty of the Pacific Ocean.

                              2. What a choice. I know myself well enough to know that beauty of rural spots only goes so far with me. I need a city. I love a big city (Berlin, Paris, London) but even smaller ones like Amsterdam and Prague have my heart and encourage fantasies of living. I also know there are many more cities where I would like to live at some point. (I have a bad habit of moving rather than travelling. Go know.) (I realise I'm European-based, sorry-- since South America and large portions of Asia are also on lists of enjoyed places/desirable places.)

                                But when I think of a city that will cater to my particular needs in my dotage, I continue to come back to NYC:
                                * It's a city where one doesn't need to drive.
                                * There are beaches and access to nature, or 'nature'.
                                * It's a city with loads of films to watch and many cultural/educational events to keep the mind inspired (I hope it will be that way in the future).
                                * One can get anything delivered.
                                * There are loads of foodways, food shops, restaurants to give the variety I find lacking in many other cities I've visited or lived. That said, maybe this, too, will change as migrations continue in strength and variance.

                                I hope to live many other places before then, and I hope that even as a pensioner, I get to continue travelling. But yes,NYC is a nice place to settle.

                                I suppose I should be rich--or look into buying my future home soon.

                                1. I've been thinking about this since you first asked, Sam. It takes a little extra effort to weigh the possibilities when you already are retired, albeit without much planning regarding where. I can't afford any of my old houses in California, now that they've all surpassed the million dollar mark, but who knows about the future??? There's always the lottery.

                                  Anyway, if money is absolutely no object (yay, lottery!), I would retire in a suite aboard the QE2 or the new Queen Mary2. It's damned expensive real estate, but it includes laundry, dry cleaning, maid service, and all of the restaurants aboard. The biggest plus factor is that you get to see so many countries, and you're free to stay ashore and go where you like for as long as you like, then take a plane and catch her in her next port.

                                  For a stationery address, for city lights then New York, Paris, Istanbul, Rome, or London. I know. Terribly mundane, but what can I say? For idyllic country living, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Switzerland, or somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I don't adjust well to having summer during the winter, or having the sun rise over water and set over land. Confuses the hell out of me! After all, I grew up in California, where God had the good sense to arrange things properly: Mountains are EAST, ocean is WEST, and if the mountains are on your right, you're facing North, but if the ocean is on y our right, you're facing South. It's very Feng Shui.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    <<Mountains are EAST, ocean is WEST, and if the mountains are on your right, you're facing North, but if the ocean is on y our right, you're facing South. >>

                                    I had to laugh. We have an apartment in Rio and spent over four months there last year. When we go to the beach, I still have to think about which way is north. I'm So/No. hemisphere challenged, I guess. But no problem except when I see the ocean. Too much time in CA.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Funny! Boston drove me nuts! Whats with sun rising over ocean? I guess I could get used to living on the Cape and having the sun rise and set over water. And yeah, southern hemisphere is like having a left hand brain in a right hand skull. Doesn't fit! Do you think Dramamine could help? '-)

                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                      And the QE2? She's now retired in the Emirates for conversion to a luxury hotel/casino. Last year, we didn't look up her permanent houseguest, but believe that the woman was transferred to QM2...

                                      1. re: Caralien

                                        Then I guess I could settle for QM2. On the other hand, if all of the money that recently vanished in the global financial upheavals suddenly decided to remanifest itself in MY bank account, I could probably make do with my own large private yacht... I'm not convinced I really like QM2's huge dimensions. I suspect trying to water ski off her stern could be a little daunting. '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          So, we pool resources and get a 50 foot catamaran! Stable, lots of space, when you're tired of one million-dollar view, we move on to the next! Shallow draft, you can walk to shore!

                                          Gourmet food on board, or some neat little tiki-hut noshing! Just think, we could sail around and sample each of the 4528 different rums in the world!

                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                            Sounds good to me as long as we don't capsize the cat! Years ago a friend of mine in one about that size was tacking off Point Loma, at the mouth of San Diego Bay, when a sudden gust of wind capsized her. Fiberglass hull and no danger of sinking until the Coast Guard arrived with a floating crane to right her. They dropped the huge hook right through one of her hulls and down she went to meet Davy Jones! For all I know, she may be there yet providing shelter to octopi and Garibaldis!

                                            But I do like your style and you can count me in! But can you water ski off the back of a cat? '-)

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              If the wind is blowing and we are on a (safe) reach........perhaps.......but's there's always the dinghy....a 15 foot whaler with a 70 HP motor!......LOL

                                              The Whaler I've got.........the Catamaran? Not yet

                                              And big Cats Rarely capsize! But if they do, there's still something to stay on and to be found!

                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                Oh, my friend got caught by a freaky wind direction change while tacking. The wind broadsided his sail and over the cat went! Double fiber glass hulls that were supposed to be "unsinkable!" Under normal conditions, they probably were. They just weren't Coast Guard proof!

                                                When I lived in Greece, most of the ferries to the islands in the Aegean were hydrofoils. When they raise to their "squat" position and start shooting across the water they remind me of a downhill skier with his poles tucked under his arms and all squatted down to reduce wind resistance. But I'm not convinced a hydrofoil is "Energy Star" rated.

                                                For all around everything, I don't think you can beat a smallish sailboat, maybe 19 to 25 feet. Close enough to the water that you can reach over and pet the whales when they swim alongside. They're also great for scuba diving. Easier to climb back aboard. And a great great place to eat just-harvested sea urchin! Just remove the beak, dip the shell in sea water to rinse them out, then grab your spoon!

                                                To keep this subject-legal, I have probably eaten at least a couple of hundred fresh sea urchin aboard a sail boat. Out of them all, there was one that was so incredible the taste and smell will be with me forever. No idea what the critter had been feasting on (we were near the giant kelp forest off La Jolla), but it smelled and tasted like fresh spring flowers and an ocean breeze. I think the next 140 sea urchins were an effort to find one that tasted like that again. If I knew what that particular urchin had been eating, I could farm urchins, feed them that, then sell them to sushi bars for a gazillion dollars each!

                                                Hey, then I could buy us a sailboat that could be hauled aboard a cat that could be hauled aboard a hydrofoil and we're off tasting rum...! '-)

                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                            A British friend who is obsessed with ships regularly took cruises aboard the QE2, including her final voyage from Europe to America. The QM2 accompanied her and while this new ship has all of the technology and comforts of the modern cruise ships, he still prefers the QE2. He not only does so for the sake of nostalgia, he was also very impressed with her relative seaworthiness. On her final trans-Atlantic voyage, the two ships ran into some rough seas. While the QM2 seemed awkward as it waivered and bobbed through the wind and waves, the QE2 still cut through the water like a cutless.

                                            Evidently, even the petro-powerkingdom of Dubai is feeling the worldwide economic crunch. I just read an article in the LA Times today about how this "Epcot Center" of the UAE is starting to cut back on some of their projects. The group that is creating residential island neighborhoods that form the shapes of palm trees is scaling back due to the rapid decline in demand. They just laid off 500 workers. It is here that the QE2 is supposed to be permanently moored as a tourist attraction. If things continue to head south in Dubai, maybe you won't have to settle for the QM2. Time to roll sevens... :)

                                      2. I dream of owning a small Greek Island and hiring a captain to go fishing for dinner and bringing home octopus, lobster, sardines, shrimp, smelts, etc and grilling them for my wife and eating them while drinking a bottle of Malagousia under the stars among the gods.

                                        1. I would retire to Vancouver for the Chinese and fresh seafood. I would be able to see my NFL and MLB with a dish and not miss being in the US. But I not sure if the Canadian government wants a lot of outsides retiring there.

                                          I retire to China but the food is wonderful the change in my life style would limit that choice. Not sure if I could handle that.

                                          But the San Francisco Bay Area is home and that is not bad.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: yimster

                                            Vancouver would be a great choice, not only for the varied cuisine, but many other factors. While China has varied cuisines, it's spread all over a huge country. But Hong Kong, there you are talking. Except I cannot even afford a broom closet there.

                                          2. I've already decided I'm going to rent a broom closet in Nice. Close to Italy, close to Provence, a great market, and now TGV to Paris. What's not to like?

                                            1. Well, Sam, from my other post, you already know some of the food countries i like. I think to retire (from here in PA), I might go south to someplace like Wilmington NC. A little bit warmer and still enough interesting food places to eat/buy. Florida is nice, but my wife hates it there.

                                              Barbados is too expensive and too far away, although I enjoy the food there.

                                              For a quality of life approach with at least some food options, Cheshire UK was/is wonderful, but you do need to have money to live well there.

                                              Finally........if it was just me and not the other person who controls 51% of the vote as to where to live/eat, I'd be on a 50 ft Catamaran and just sail to all those great pplaces and when I got tired of the food or the view, I"d move to the next spot!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                Hey, FCF, I thought for sure you'd retire to the coast of Maine so you could dig the tide and have you own fried clams every day!

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Passa..at the rate things are going, I have a better chance of getting really GOOD fried clams near the boat industry in Fort Lauderdale FL, than anywhere else. But then, there's always the boat off the Maine coast.....at least from July 20 to Aug 3. Before that, it's too cold; after that, it's too foggy! LOL. And if I'm going to dig my own, give me Menemsha Pond on Martha's Vineyard or some secret places on the Chesapeake, that will go unmentioned.

                                                2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                  Clam! not just some other post! Yours spawned this one. Hope you don't mind!

                                                  I want to be Chinon00's fishing captain. Maybe we meet on the high seas and put in for some great group meals!

                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                    Sam, think of the fresh fish, the warm water lobsters, the bays, the beaches, the great bars! We won't mention the young Wahines! We go where the wind blows and live off the bounty that the land and sea provides!

                                                3. We'll probably stay in the UK but do keep talking about buying a small place in Spain to spend the winters.

                                                  1. Money's no object, just for the food? Give me Paris. France, not Arkansas or Idaho (although I am sure they are lovely),

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                      Arkansas and Idaho are lovely in their special way, but try finding a decent loaf of bread.

                                                      I have picked a small city in the countryside of France. Ten years ago when I fell in love with this city, I could have afforded a small apartment. Then the prices skyrocketed.... with the financial collapse, the prices are in my range.

                                                      But, I think I need to explore the world more before making a final decision. This is a task to which I am willing to dedicate a fair amount of time.

                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                        Funny you should mention a small city in France. We went "through" Strasbourg back in the early 90's. Didn't have much time to stay. We got to go back and spend a week in 2004. Lovely place! And the combination of French and Alsatian menus was wonderful. Now that half the EU group is there, prices have skyrocketed and there's now even more diversity of restaurants. Access to Germany and Switzerland is only a matter of hours by car. Might be a nice spot (except in winter)

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          I so hope you can make that happen. I wonder if you might find a place to let to see if you are absolutely thrilled with it before committing - and to help you scout out the perfect home.

                                                          In the meantime - have you seen "Under the Tuscan Sun" or read "A Thousand Days in Venice"? OK, yes, they are italian adventures - but the theme holds and it IS in Europe.

                                                          Good luck Tucker with your dream and finding the perfect loaf.

                                                        1. Can I have an apartment in NYC and a country place in Mexico? I'd probably have to say either Marseille or Rome, leaning to Marseille because of better access to international food. I'm equally happy eating out of the home or cooking at home in either place, and they both easily supply the ingredients for the sorts of things I cook at home.

                                                          But there's no way I could do Mexico, not unless I get a huge budget for importing wine or I start taking the question of building up a cellar very seriously very quickly. Generally speaking, it's a great food culture, but when I've been there the wine situation was just lamentable.

                                                          Oh, and Istanbul could work, too. I like the mix of asian and mediterranean and middle eastern foods available there.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: tmso

                                                            And I had a decent Turkish wine on a Turkish Air flight recently.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              Sam, I was told by local farmers where I lived (Adana) that that area has THIRTEEN INCHES of top soil! They sort of scoffed at any need for crop rotation. It was at the edge of the fertile crescent. GREAT produce and wines.

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                Yeah, I forgot to mention part of my reasoning for Turkey (although it seems it was obvious from the context): the wine. And not only local wine, but due to the kemalists historical obsession with the occident, good French wine, too.

                                                          2. Spain.

                                                            A total no-brainer for me! I spend every waking moment thinking about when I will get there again!

                                                            1. Wow, this is an easy one. I live across the Hudson from NYC, two of our three kids live in the neighborhood and I fully intend to enroll at the ICE when I retire, so right here in the good old USA for me.

                                                              1. If I could, I would love to sell just about everything I own, buy a Winnebago with a nice little kitchenette, and start in NY --and just drive all over the continent. I'd visit every state/country that this Winnebago would take me. Why stay in one place when you can explore.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: MrsT

                                                                  "If I could"? It can't all be done in one big bite, but I hope you can re-arrange the moving parts in your life to accomplish a good portion of your beautiful dream.
                                                                  There are 86 states and countries between Canada and Colombia; I have 3 to go. But to get it done, you have to cross the threshold of your front door. Get busy!!!

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    Taking the small bites now...very small bites.

                                                                  2. re: MrsT

                                                                    Pick up some of the Hounds on your way down to Colombia and we can move on to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia (where Passadumkeg and I both lived long ago). .

                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                      As long as you chip in for gas & tolls!

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        Despacio, hermano. Hay que andar antes de correr!

                                                                    2. Keep my home in San Diego but live 6 months out of the year in Paris where I do business.

                                                                      1. Right now- Corsica. Ocean, mountains, cheese, charcuterie, fish, decent bread. I can raise my own veggies (not an agricultural island since the mountains sort of rise out of the oceanfront)

                                                                        1. My plan has always been to retire back in the Midwestern US on my own sheep farm. What other animal proves so lucrative in its meat, hide and fur? There'll be plenty of land for me to grow crops as well like the holy basil, bittermelon, long beans, daikon, etc. that I need and that are increasing in demand in farmers' markets throughout the Midwest, while commanding an attractive price. Beef tastes like beef (without costing $20/lb) and I can hunt freely for a variety of game. Grandkids were learn to live close to the land and to appreciate the luxuries as well as the short-comings of modern amenities.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JungMann

                                                                            jm, i just noticed we have practically the same dream retirement. want to move to vermont instead of the midwest and be neighbors? (though i guess sheep might get a tad chilly.)

                                                                            i think the sheep raising might be a winning business proposition, by the way!

                                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                                              Every day I spend in the Northeast, I realize that I am definitely a Midwesterner through and through -- from my food choices, my demeanor to my values. Plus being a flatlander, I don't know if I could deal with the mountains. I get altitude sickness just walking up the hills of Spanish Harlem! And more than anything, I long to move back to a state that recognizes my Second Amendment rights so I can protect my lamb farm from varmints like foxes, wolves and New Yorkers! Care to be my Nebraska neighbor? We can trade shahi korma recipes while shearing the yearlings.

                                                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                                                Nothing says wholesome Midwestern values like Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Sorry I had to go there.

                                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                  To think he was once my congressman. Thank goodness I haven't voted him into any office he's ever held.

                                                                                2. re: JungMann

                                                                                  Jung, your last line is very entertaining and one of the best ever on CH...

                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                    We would be delighted and pleased to have you in Eastern Montana.Sheep country with a real respect for the second amendment.I have much family there to welcome you.Maybe the buttes and canyons exceed the limit on hills.

                                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                                      what kind of shoddy midwesterner are you? you don't like hotdish!!! =D

                                                                                      also, i think i really do need my cold weather with altitude -- and all the skiing, sledding and gravitationally-driven fun & games that come with it.

                                                                                      but i'll definitely come over to help you shear the yearlings and maybe you can herd all the sheep up to visit in vermont for a while. i'll use the wool in my baby socks. ;)

                                                                                3. Maine or New Hampshire. I grew up in NH, but went to Wells Beach, ME every summer. Both hold a very special place in my heart. Going back up there gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that I don't get anywhere else. My dream would to own a 1 room shack on the rocky coastline and become a lobsterwoman. That's Heaven to me.

                                                                                  1. timely post. i'm wrestling with the whole "where in the world do i want to retire" issue, too. current home is in stamford, connecticut which makes for an excellent launch point to the entire northeast corridor (car is ok, plane is ok but i prefer the train or a sailboat).

                                                                                    in a perfect world, i would probably trade northeast winters for the more civilized climate of northern california. i like cities so i'm leaning toward san francisco (condo in soma?) or maybe a houseboat in sausalito. access to the water, temperate climate, good mass transit infrastructure are important to me. vibrant arts community, access to great food and produce also top the requirements list. solid neighborhood bars are a given.

                                                                                    that's the "perfect" plan. the reality is i'll probably only spend six months or so in san francisco. currently, deb and i spend time in the fall in asia. we rent a little apartment in rome in the early spring. we take a number of spontaneous trips throughout the year.

                                                                                    at the end of the day, retirement will be neither cheap nor absolute. i look forward to running into you guys down the road. maybe in a quiet bar in merida or wallilabou. first round is on me.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                                      First abrazos and second round on me.

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          I envison short-ish stints in a variety of places. I'd love to spend the four decent months (June, July, August, September) of every year at my cottage in Canada, then spend the other eight travelling from country to country, but at a leisurely pace -- maybe a couple of months in one country, then a couple elsewhere. If I became weary of moving regularly, I'd tuck in for six months or so in a place I particularly enjoyed. Of course, I'd have to be able to afford the rent wherever I go, but let's assume that that's the case ...

                                                                                        2. re: steve h.

                                                                                          As my Grand-Daddy (or someone's Grand-Daddy) said, "Always buy the first round 'cause the crowd don't get no smaller!"

                                                                                          Happy Holidays

                                                                                        3. While not "exotic" sounding compared to some of the answers here, I'll have to say Northern California, perhaps in San Francisco or near it. Great culture, produce, temperate climate, good diversity of cultures, great outdoor opportunities. But just having arrived from a bitter wet weekend in SF last night, I'm leaning towards spending part of the year in SF and part of the year somewhere in SEA.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                            I have heard that San Francisco seems to have a microclimate effect, and that the surrounding areas are much less dark/foggy/rainy. So it might be possible to live in the Bay Area and not have the weather issues. Yeah, that whole area has real appeal to me (and many others I'm sure). If only the traffic was less of a problem. Plus it would help to have a very healthy investment folio to live on, it is very expensive out there. But all the great food and wine, good ethnic choices, driving distance of sea/sand/mountains/desert, wow.

                                                                                            Hmm. Hawaii... I forgot about Hawaii. I could also totally live there. I would love some poke right about now.

                                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                                              I think I'm in paradise: Napa Valley. Though I fantasize of a tiny apartment in Paris, a small flat in some charming Italian village in Tuscany, a wooden house in Bali...even a pied-a-terre closer by in San Francisco.

                                                                                              Miss Needle, glad you're back in these parts...

                                                                                              Moh, the entire San Francisco Bay Area has its own odd (and wonderful) microclimate. What you'll find in the areas outside San Francisco itself, even just across the Bay in Berkeley, is that there is much more sun, and less fog. Warmer in the outlying regions as well. We do have a rainy season -- November through April, during which we'll receive copious amounts of rain, and no rain whatsoever during the other months. The weather is quite moderate, yet there are distinct seasons, especially where I live in the North Bay wine country. Not as distinct, say, as in the Midwest or East Coast, where I've also lived, but distinct nonetheless. And always beautiful. Such a wealth of natural beauty here.

                                                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                It was great to be back in your necks of the woods, maria. After being disappointed with the cold wet weather in SF, I was really tempted to rent a car and drive up to Freestone to get a piping hot cedar enzyme bath and have some great scones. Unfortunately, we had too many things to do in SF and didn't have the time.

                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                  Next time, call and we'll arrange some hospitality.

                                                                                              2. re: moh

                                                                                                You're right about the microclimate. A few years ago DH and I were driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cold, damp and rainy on the SF side. As soon as we crossed the bridge, we were greeted with gorgeous sunny dry weather!

                                                                                                Oh, how can I forget about Hawaii! And I have to admit it's appealing to my lazy side as I don't have to learn a new language. Unfortunately, both SF and Hawaii can be on the pricey side, which makes SEA more economical. My sister lived in Bali for some time and had a 1.5 hour massage every day (about $7)! She was really spoiled during her stay there.

                                                                                                Nice to see you again, Moh! : )

                                                                                            2. Since a lot of us have to compromise, you might want to try house exchanges. We've been doing it for a year and it's been such fun. We've been to Manhattan, Vancouver BC and San Francisco. We have time "banked" in the Dordogne and in Paris. We exchanged so our daughter and SIL could go to Italy. The site I use (homeforexchange.com) is based in Amsterdam but I huge SO many requests from Paris/France that I'm sure we could stay there for months. Y'all might want to consider this if you haven't already. It's such a winner.

                                                                                              1. It is pleasant to observe that so many persons have had memorable food / living experiences in so many parts of the world. But to have to choose one at the exclusion of all others is a cruel task.
                                                                                                For those of us dealing with an unexpected layer of anguish that Sam has initiated, I think he should, at a minimum, invite us for an asian/CA/ latino/ Indian Ocean/ mid-eastern/Australian chow-fest in Cali.
                                                                                                Just my opinion..)

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  I'll bring the kolbasi, kapusta and pulque!

                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                    Indeed! You are all invited! Cali is beautiful; and I just did some rehab up at the finca.

                                                                                                  2. i joke about moving to a farm in vermont, running a dog/wolf rescue, and making salsa or knitting baby socks for a living with my friends all the time. but it really is one of my favorite fantasies. i'd grow a lot of my own food in the garden, hopefully learn how to forage and hunt (i hate being such a hypocrite about eating meat and would love to eat only the meat i am willing to kill myself), snowboard and ski in the winter, hike and mountainclimb in the summer, paint, write, and of course, eat a lot of ice cream from the nearby ben & jerry's ice cream factory and cheese from cabot farms. maybe i'd have a cow -- a lovely, intelligent grecian or indian cow -- and keep a few chickens, who'd all be on good terms with the dogs and wolves.

                                                                                                    i guess the locale is fairly flexible, though. i've also fallen in love with canada based on moh's posts and maine based on passadumkeg's posts. and i'd consider hangzou, outside of shanghai (hairy crab, fresh produce, rolling hills, rivers and lakes that are still clean). there are mountains and clean air in all of these places, and there's relative proximity to great art and culture should i not be able to find / create it more locally.

                                                                                                    1. My 1983 Winnebago Brave has had it - definitely shorting out my longer term plans, and I've been depressed about it for a while. I hit a deer in PA on the way back from the last trip, done in the front - my fiber glass skills aren't good enough for this. I kept that big block chevy running, put on new roofs, swapped out fridges and water tanks and heater and just about everything else... just to get derailed by a critter I would have rather eaten.

                                                                                                      But I've just learned that my FIL's bigger, newer one may be available at a considerably lower price than might have been thought... I have hope again.

                                                                                                      So the goal is to mount the Yamaha Vision (reasonable size/style vintage bike) on the bumper mount, and toad the Spec-V. Load the smaller vertical smoker in one of the slide-outs with enough hickory to last for a while. I'd have to have long enough stops to smoke the butts and the ribs - no problem, I'm in no hurry.

                                                                                                      The goal - come visit all you guys - one bite at a time. I dunno - can you get across the Darien Gap in a Winnebago? If so, I'm coming to Cali, baby. Don't worry, I'll bring nori.

                                                                                                      OK - next big problem - money... No money, no fuel, no pig to smoke. But I'm working on it.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                        You can ship around the Darien! Waiting for you, brother!

                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                          Hey, Sam, do you think we could really do a chow happening at your place? A cook-in where all players bring ingredients from wherever they are, and we experiment? Are there hotel accommodations for us? I would definitely love to play, and suggest the first week of 2010, if that works for you. This could be quite delicious, and the chow event of a lifetime.

                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                            Absolutely, YES!!!!! Hotels are great: the Stein ist gut and close. My insitute has a sprawling hotel if needed (but out in the valley). We can set up both down at the pool at my apartment and up at my finca! And we have time to arrange for some great trips here in Colombia!

                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                              Deal me in. I'm already trying to think of something I can bring that is legal to transport. Sam, remind us again what you can't source in Colombia.

                                                                                                        2. Eating out - right where I am, Bangkok. Good local and international cuisine, reasonably priced and available literally at all hours, even at 4 or 5 a.m. And after all these years, my broken Thai would allow me to at least survive in a local setting.

                                                                                                          To cook......this is a tough one, but if I ignore language then Italy or Provence or maybe Spain.

                                                                                                          1. I have thoughts of living in my old age in Japan, somewhere along the Sea of Japan, like in Ishikawa or Fukui prefectures, or Yamaguchi where I have some relatives. Having access to the seafood from the Japan sea, and enjoying the local produce is like a dream. I'm just not sure I can handle the summers there.

                                                                                                            1. Retiring to Mexico with a small place in the states has always been our dream retirement. We also planned to travel in Europe and SE Asia.

                                                                                                              OK dream to reality. We retired in 2005 and built a beautiful colonial style hacienda in an old peach orchard surrounded by pine and oak forests with a view of Lake Patzcuaro. We are a couple of hours from the beach to the west and to the east a couple of hours to Mexico City. Heaven on earth.

                                                                                                              Then the economy changed. We were lucky enough to sell the house in Denver at the top of the market. Plus, Plus. However our commercial property and our business didn't sell. Minus, Minus. So now with the bad economic conditions we have had to leave heaven on earth in the trusted hands of our housekeeper and gardener and return to the ice and cold of Denver to rehabilitate the business.

                                                                                                              I'm getting to go home for a few weeks in January to pay the annual property taxes ($65.00 US) and the annual water bill ($150.00 US). Lucky me!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Pampatz

                                                                                                                Pam, please e-mail me at my profile address. thanks, Veg

                                                                                                              2. What I'll probably end up doing:

                                                                                                                My wife and I split up more than a year ago and now share our five year old daughter 50 - 50 (she got the new big beautiful house we were building on an acre even farther above the city). So in order to be with my daughter I'm pretty much stuck in Cali for the next 13 years or so. I should do another renovation of my apartment (with great kitchen) overlooking the city. There is more and more stuff available in the grocery stores; and I'm a pro at bringing needed ingredients back from around the globe. Health services are perhaps the best in world here. At some time I have to build the summer house on Wallowa Lake in Oregon.

                                                                                                                Living in a country where the food is not all that great does wonders for your cooking abilities.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                  Sigh. Best wishes. If you pass through Northern California on your way to Oregon, let me know.

                                                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                    I will. Thank you. I've only ever travelled internationally to and from California and Oregon through Fresno, California. I used to rent a car to visit friends and relatives there, followed by visits in the Bay area and then a driving trip north through Eugene, Oregon, and on to the Wallowas.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      All right, then. See you on the next journey through.

                                                                                                                2. Right where I'm at.
                                                                                                                  I have the luxury to be able to fly out/drive anytime I want and find a little diversion whenever needed.
                                                                                                                  Once in awhile it's nice to find a quiet space to wind down but within a few days I yearn to be back in my place.
                                                                                                                  So...I stay put.

                                                                                                                  1. Great topic. Having lived in S. Cal my whole life, the weather and opportunities can spoil you, but I'm leaning towards Spain. Beautiful country, people, food, right to marry.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                      well, hopefully CA will have come to its senses by the time you retire and you'll once again have beautiful country, people, food and the right to marry!

                                                                                                                      IMHO, spanish food is good, but mexican in socal is even better.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                        hopefully. still about 20 years to go.

                                                                                                                    2. If I was to leave the US, I would love to retire to the south of Spain.

                                                                                                                      For the last few years, the wife and I have been planning to get out of my ancestral home, The Republica de Floriduh (aka Snowbirdistan) and move back up to the deep South or to the area north and west of Missoula, Montana.

                                                                                                                      My criteria for happiness to to live somewhere where there isn't a Walmart within an hours drive.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                                        About 20 years ago, my husband referred to me as "the wife" and he never did it again. Sounded just too proprietary for my taste. Kinda like "the car" :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                          It's proprietary, all right. Like "the boss." Only question is who's proprietating (?) whom.

                                                                                                                        2. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                                          Snowbirdistan!!! love it. A small sunny nation of northern ex-pats.

                                                                                                                        3. Well, up until the economy tanked and CALPers took a nosedive, early retirement was only 2 years away. Intended retirement destination was - and still is - Mexico. And not just because of the food. Wonderful people, understanding and recognition that the arts contribute a lot to quality of life, interesting and diverse culture, nice blend of traditional and contemporary, and most of the big cities have really good, vibrant energy. Up until I can move SOB I'm living in the next best place, America's Finest City - aka San Diego, CA.

                                                                                                                          So Sam, how does Colombia shape up as a retirement location. If the narcotrafficantes continue to escalate their activities in Mexico, I may have to consider moving further south.

                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                            Odd, I thought that was even worse in Colombia.

                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                              Colombia has made incredible strides forward in the 15 years I've been here. Kidnapping is way down; the FARC have been weakened; most of the drug violence has moved to Mexico. The people are great. The restaurant scene has been improving. Good fruit and vegetables are plentiful and not expensive.

                                                                                                                              On the other hand, Colombian cuisine is not that great; and one has to bring many international ingredients back everytime one travels.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                Thanks Sam, that actually sounds pretty encouraging.

                                                                                                                              2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                My wife and I (is that non-proprietary enough?) lived in North Park for a couple of years when we first met (1977) and in Lucadia (back when it was all macrame and surfers)for four.

                                                                                                                                America's Finest City is indeed the finest place I've ever lived. If I ever hit it big, I would love to move back.

                                                                                                                                To sit out at Fort Rosecrans and stare out at the Coronados is heaven on earth. You are fortunate indeed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                                                  Don;'t worry about hitting it big. The housing market as plummeted like a stone, it's starting to get mostly affordable again. Foreclosures are readily available. You don't need to use your heater/furnace much, though water isn't too plentiful and you'd be taking your life in your hands drinking it out of the tap, you can be easily entertained for not very much $$$, and the food scene is getting better each year.

                                                                                                                                  The pace and quality of life here are such that, in the long run, not much else matters ;-)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                    'The pace and quality of life here are such that, in the long run, not much else matters ;-)'

                                                                                                                                    Exactly, my sister DD!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                      On the other hand, there are consequences to growing up in San Diego! From about age four to around age twelve, my mother always held my birthday parties in the San Diego Zoo. I began formally studying art at age five, and frequent visit to the Museum of Art to see the Mondrians, Modiglianis, Rembrandts and Picassos was an every day thing. In high school we had annual New Year's Eve swimming parties behind the Hotel Del. (Try THAT today without being wrapped in a really thick layer of neoprene!) And since San Diego was such a small city on the national scale when I was a kid, I assumed that bigger cities had even more great stuff than San Diego!

                                                                                                                                      Other than Tijuana and a bit more of Baja, I was never out of the state until my first husband and I eloped to Yuma when I was 21. Then we began traveling. The first time I saw the Cincinatti Zoo, I cried with disappointment. Except for Central Park in NYC, and Golden Gate Park in SF, other city parks are.... well, let's just say disappointing. Count your blessings! '-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                        "Count your blessings! '-)"

                                                                                                                                        Ah, trust me I do :-). I'm a native San Diegan. If that makes me small-town and unsophisticated so be it. In retrospect growing up here was not a bad experience.

                                                                                                                                        I've lived elsewhere, places where the lights are brighter, the lifestyle more cosmopolitan, but no other city has had the sense of space and place for me that San Diego has. The only place to come close has been the central highlands of Mexico :-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                          San Diego was "small town" when I was a child back in the 1930's. Today it is quite sophisticated. Somewhere I have a photo of my father's father in his San Diego Padres uniform in the 1920s! At least I think it was the '20s. Very early Padres, in any case. San Diego has grown so much since my childhood there are few (if any) places outside Balboa Park that I can walk that are relatively unchanged. I *THINK* Ron Hahn preserved the old fountain in Horton Plaza when he and his dad developed that area into the "Horton Plaza" of today. But I understand the old traditional movie "palaces" that faced the square are gone now. The Hahns did that shortly after we moved from Del Mar to El Paso.

                                                                                                                                          I read the San Diego board every once in a while. There is now an Otay Lakes shopping center that gets some good reviews on its eateries. The last time I was out on Otay Lake was in a row boat with family and friends, and I caught the largest ugliest cat fish possibly ever known to man! And from the boat on the lake, you could not see a single building of any sort. Well, except for the dam if you were in the right part of the lake. During those same years, I cut my foot on live coral growing in the cove at La Jolla! The currents have changed and the water is now too cold.

                                                                                                                                          I would expect that Fort Rosecrans is not too different today. My Padres playing grandfather is buried there in a lovely spot that looks down on the submarine docking area where they used to train dolphins for warfare (and still may, for all I know.) I used to make excuses to go put flowers on his grave because there was a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Point Loma, that made a huge giant humongous tacos in a crispy fried 12 inch flour tortilla and filled it with all of the great taco fillings and fixings known to man, including great black olives which are relatively unknown in TexMex cooking.

                                                                                                                                          In no way did I intend to imply that growing up in San Diego was a bad experience. Much the opposite! The bad experience came with the major disappointments from visiting places I grew up thinking must be so much superior because their population count (back then) was so much greater. That was shocking!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                            No, no, no. Caroline, I was not upset at all with your comments about SD. It was a very small town at one time - even when I was growing up here in the 50s and 60s - and remarkably still retains some provincial qualities. It's part of what makes San Diego, San Diego.

                                                                                                                                            My mom's been here 62 years and my dad is buried at Ft. Rosecrans, except his view is of the Pacific. Age is the great leveler. I couldn't wait to get out of this town when I was young, as I got older, I couldn't wait to get back :-)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                                                      Yes sir! The perfect amount of non-proprieatariuness ???

                                                                                                                                  2. Mexico is my current choice, but that may change over the next 30+ years before retirement! Reasons include varied but warm weather, extending the value of our savings, as well as, of course, the food. My husband is very much in agreement on this one. If cost were not an issue, coastal Italy, France, or Spain. Neither of us speak Italian, his Spanish is slightly better than mine, and I've forgotten most of my French.

                                                                                                                                    Still, I can't really imagine not cooking regularly with whatever is readily available, wherever we end up. In Germany I had to go to a larger town to pick up mushroom soy sauce (at an Arab store), but there I also fell in love with Quark, which I have never found in any other country. Mexican grocers have improved greatly over the past few decades, so I wouldn't worry too much about variety at the larger grocers.

                                                                                                                                    1. Interestingly, the coast of Maine has become an upscale retirement destination. Despite the harsh winters, Bar Harbor, blue Hill, Belfast, Freeport, Yarmouth, all have sizable retirement communities. There are many small organic farms around, lots of fresh seafood and easy connections to Boston and New York.The spring, summer and autumn seasons are beautiful, but I feel, however, that a major reason for these upper-middle class surburban, escapees to retire in Maine, is that Maine is quiet, safe and white.

                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                        There are many roads to Mecca. Quiet, safe, and white bores me to death. I was born a Connecticut WASP, and I was anxious to try something new at around age 12. But I had to wait it out for 6 years.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                          I'm not advocating Maine, it is merely an observation. I returned to the States to put our kids through high school and college. These retirement communitites must be boring as hell. I eat Mexican half the time (just finished big pots of posole and another of squash and grean chile soup. Green chile enchiladas tomorrow. One son whom is presently teaching in Thailand (but has an Ecuadorian girlfriend there) has a goal of teaching for the long haul in Columbia. I might wind up there or w/ a cattle ranch in the Beni of Bolivia (w/ a lucrative sideline). I caught my wife looking at small hotels for sale in Bahia, Brazil, on line! Our cabin here in Maine is enough for summers, but not year round.

                                                                                                                                          ps Just not a lot of Mercury, please.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                            With my attendant fleetness of foot, just call me the winged mercurial one.
                                                                                                                                            Let me jump you before Sam does: the country south of Panama does not have a "U"... :)
                                                                                                                                            Veggo HG Hermes

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                              Between the Spam and the Agent Orange, what can you do?? Abrazos to you both!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                I can juggle 5 raw eggs over your Persian carpets, after 3 glasses of Chilean wine.
                                                                                                                                                You asked.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                  <<I can juggle 5 raw eggs over your Persian carpets, after 3 glasses of Chilean wine.>>

                                                                                                                                                  This I must see. Rugs at the ready. Wine cellar at your disposal.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                  And hey, after 3 years in a uranium mine, 5 normal kids!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                      No, I glow at night; no night needed. Especially when I have aglow on.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                  Speling has never ben my strong soot. tyoping either.

                                                                                                                                          2. Great thread. I grew up in Northern CA, dove the north coast, lived in Wallowa County Oregon, now live in Walla Walla, WA in the heart of the WA wine and food country. Wallowa County is beautiful but not much for restaurants or markets. And horrible winters. Walla Walla is a nice scene and would be good to retire. However, for a combination of food availability (inclujidng capturing fresh seafood), restaurants, and overall beauty, etc., my choices would be the northern California coast near SeaRanch/Gualala, second, Vancouver BC, third perhaps the Chilean coast.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rene Erm

                                                                                                                                              We have a large, old painting of the Harmon Camp on the Gualala R.by Annie Lyle Harmon on our living room wall. A Maine - '49 gold rush connection. I was just googling the Gualala last night for a trip this summer. We want to kayak the river, looking for the scene from the painting. Visit retired cousins in Santa Barbara and Walnut Creek too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                Every year my wife, kids and I rent a house at Sea Ranch for a week. I spent a lot of time on that part of the coast when I was younger. I was in school at Davis and I was a scuba instructor, and its nice to get back in the water and collect the various goodies that await. Nothing better than abalone and une that was happily existing a few hours earlier.


                                                                                                                                            2. I've been lurking on this thread and wondering how I could limit myself. I think I've found the answer for me/us. And since we're already doing it, makes it easier. I think the "country" to retire to is California! We were traveling from SoCal to NoCal and talking about all the diversity. Mountains, oceans, snow, sun, every color and sexual preference, languages, restaurants, local foods. And, of course, still travel.

                                                                                                                                              1. I've started and scrapped this response about four times now. So many retirement fantasies, but will any of them come remotely true?

                                                                                                                                                Mexico (Patzcuaro? Miguel Allende? San Luis Potosi? So many choices...) - reasonable cost of living, wonderful climate if you pick the right place, friendly people, and great food. But outside the DF and a few other big cities the diversity of food is somewhat limited. I'll make my own risotto and coq au vin, but where would I find a bowl of bun bo hue or some bibimbap?

                                                                                                                                                Vietnam - ditto, but now I'm jonesing for tamales.

                                                                                                                                                Hawai'i - Paradise. Perfect weather, the friendliest people in the world, and a melting pot of so many cultures and cuisines. But oh, the cost of living.

                                                                                                                                                France - the country or the city? Either one presents so many great options. A tumbledown house in Provence? A small apartment in Montparnasse? Italy - same. But it ain't cheap, there's a new language to learn, and it seems like it would take a LONG time to be accepted by the locals.

                                                                                                                                                Looking around the neighborhood, it appears likely that we'll stay in our house in Sacramento forever. The folks across the street moved in in 1959. The next door neighbor, 1968. Occasionally somebody moves out, but it's more common that a house becomes available when the owner dies. Lots of great food in town, and even more when there's time to make a day trip to the Bay Area. The weather sucks for a couple of weeks in the summer, but Graeagle and Bodega Bay are reasonably close by and always cool. And it's plenty easy to get on a plane and be in Honolulu or Hanoi or Guadalajara or Rome by tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                Then again, with the current state of the economy, it's an open question whether retirement will ever arrive. Maybe more exciting fantasies are in order.

                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                  As I read and realized you were in Sacramento, I immediately said to myself, "Not a bad place to be at all - Mendocino County is within striking distance... Sacto sucks in the summer - still remember almost fainting in my tux as I stood near the alter of my friend's August wedding in an old Catholic church in Sacto about 20 years ago - it was 106 and humid as - better watch my tongue - it was a Catholic wedding... besides, August in Tomales Bay is sweater weather - the high was 64 degrees when we visited this past summer"

                                                                                                                                                  I just hope as you do that the economy hits bottom sooner than later, and that we all are willing to take our haircuts where needed and pull up our collective bootstraps so we can get walking again...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                    Ah, you're in Sacto? Too hot for us - we're at Tahoe. Have you had dim sum at New Canton on Broadway? We had it there a year or more ago and it was great! Not cheap but well worth it. Sacramento has become very impressive, hasn't it? If you're up our way, let's get together. I know a great burrito joint in Kings Beach.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                      Sacramento can sure get toasty in the summer, but Tahoe in the winter - you gotta REALLY like snow. Moving here from Ohio, one thing I don't miss at all is having to clear the driveway.

                                                                                                                                                      We used to make it up to the North Shore more often, but our friends who had places up there sold them, so we don't have as much motivation to make the drive any more. Maybe someday one of those big old houses in Brockway will be ours, but in the meanwhile we still make it up at least once or twice a summer.

                                                                                                                                                      New Canton has been one of my favorite haunts for more than a decade. For a more limited (but much less expensive) selection of dim sum, we'll go to Happy Garden on Stockton Blvd. So much food, so little time.

                                                                                                                                                      Next time you're down the hill, give a shout. Likewise if we cross Donner Pass headed east, we'll definitely need to check out that burrito place together...


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                        We're retired so the snow isn't as big a factor for us as for some. If it's bad, we just stay home. I don't ski but my husband does. Tomorrow's his birthday and his Homewood season pass is already in the car :) What we really don't have here is good Chinese food so we make periodic trips to SF and feel duty-bound to stop at Ikea in either Emeryville of W. Sacramento.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          All's well that ends well. May your good fortunes continue!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                            Steinbeck sure loved it. Besides the biggies even his pot boiler, The Magic Bus, is set in the central Valley.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                              The searingly hot and dry summers - in which we always had to work back then - followed by the cool nights. The flatness of the valley and the distant foothills backed by the Sierras, looming up blue and grey. The thick fog in the winter - and seeing Christmas lights through the fog. Pruning the peach trees in the fog was the only job associated with peaches that was actually pleasant. The cold, the rows of trees fading into the fog, moving the aluminium ladder. The assurance of knowing how to prune. The 20 guage there for the straying dove or pheasant. So long ago that I grew up when there were tumbleweeds and puncture vines and befor fast foods and chains. The summer heat and the winter fogs are all that remain today.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                Very loving described, Sam. And I DID see plenty of tumbleweeds :)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                              We had lunch last week in Fresno, really great carnitas. We were looking for a divey place and this place (can't remember the name) seemed NOT to be that. But the meat was SO delicious. They had obviously coated it pretty aggressively with chile powder before browning and then cooking. It was terrific.