Active Retirement Living

Active Retirement Living

In our hunt to find a place to live in retirement, we drove down to the Trilogy community in Monarch Dunes last week. We’ve visited another Trilogy development in Northern California and know they’re top notch but didn’t like the scenery up here, so hoped for more luck further south.

Clubhouse at Monarch Dunes

Our first night, they treated us to an outstanding dinner at their onsite restaurant. We appreciated that it would be awesome to have a restaurant of this caliber right in your neighborhood.

spa at Trilogy in monarch dunes

The next morning we started our day with a complimentary massage at their onsite spa. It was decadently relaxing. A champagne mimosa makes any morning more enjoyable but I was ready for a nap by noon:)

enjoying a mimosa at the spa

After Shrimp Louis at their Bistro, we met with a salesperson who showed us around the community, amenities, and model homes.

Shrimp Louis

The beauty of buying into an active retirement community is there are lots of clubs, groups, and activities to join where you’ll meet and make new friends. Who wants to move and find themselves isolated in retirement? Not us! Everyone was friendly and we could easily see ourself settling in there.

Because this was a construction site we had to suit up in hard hats and reflective vests. Not overly stylish but mandatory.

suited up to walk the construction site

A very fetching outfit, no?

We traipsed all over the construction site to check the angle and views for each lot we liked. The sign on the back of my vest indicates that “Nobody Gets Hurt Today”, but my suede shoes took a real beating in the dirt. Probably not a good choice of footwear on my part.

hard hat for construction

The lots with the best views were out of the price range we want to afford. Could we spend that much? Yes, but we don’t want to have a mortgage and ideally want to bank extra money as a cushion and travel fund. The more affordable lots had no view or privacy. Not what we want.

The upshot is we’ve got more thinking and hunting to do. We’re pretty confident we’ll know the right spot when we see it so the search continues!

Are you considering moving in retirement?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!




  1. Melissa
    May 30, 2017 / 5:04 am

    Kathy Sue from the blog Good life of Design bought into Trilogy at the Vines back in 2015. Her lovely blog documents the swift and very professional journey from bare earth to beautiful home over 6 months of 2015.
    When thinking of moving into a new community I suggest joining a local Rotary club. Rotarians are a delightful bunch of active, community minded men and women of all ages who believe that success comes from what you can do for others. Service above self is their motto. Try a few different Rotary clubs to find the right group for you, they are all different with different meeting times and club projects. Even if you don’t end up joining, you will have certainly got to know your new community better and met some lovely and worthwhile people.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:19 am

      Thank you Melissa! Joining the Rotary club would never have occurred to me. It’s a great idea. I’ll
      Pop right over to check out her blog. It sounds right up my alley. Wonderful suggestions!

  2. Linda
    May 30, 2017 / 5:07 am

    After my husband had cancer, and recovered, we decided to retire to Florida two years ago. We found a nice older home at a lower price and banked our money. Saving that extra money instead of putting it into a home has enabled us to retire comfortably.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:26 am

      I’m glad to hear your husband is ok, Linda. That’s very scary. That’s my thinking too. I’d rather not be stressed about money and feel able to enjoy life.

  3. Donnella
    May 30, 2017 / 6:01 am

    We live in Sun City, Texas, a Del Web Retirement Community that began 20 years ago and is still building out. We love everything about being here.

    Several years ago we were looking for rural property and found an amazing Pine covered ridge with 55 acres on the top with an almost 360 degree view. I wanted that property so bad and even though it was WAY out o our price range, my husband agreed to purchase it for me. We agreed on an offer that was 98% of the asking price and it was refused. Five years later a forest fire destroyed that entire ridge while the property we purchased (with huge Pine trees) just a few miles away was untouched and we made a good profit on it when we moved to Sun City,

    Praying God’s best for you.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:29 am

      Wow, were you ever lucky! We usually get swayed by great views but I want to be really smart about this decision. It has have more than a great view to be the right place for us to live in retirement. We briefly drove through a Sun City community over the weekend. It looked very nice!

  4. Judy
    May 30, 2017 / 6:29 am

    Consider a place with no state income tax:)
    We didn’t know anyone when we built our house 12 years ago in FL. We left the snow and cold up north and retired six years ago to move here. Love it but we looked for the less congested coast. We’ve made many new friends and spend a lot of time traveling the world now.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:32 am

      A less congested coast sounds ideal! We would lovr to be closer to the ocean but it’s too expensive in CA. I do want to travel so spending less is really important to me.

  5. Karen
    May 30, 2017 / 6:40 am

    My DH is retired – I have to work for about 6 more years. Then we plan to move closer to grandkids. I like your comments about an active retirement community – food for thought!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:38 am

      There are more active retirement communities than I ever expected to find. I think it’s because all the baby boomers are retiring! Them seem like a smart move.

  6. Joanna
    May 30, 2017 / 7:07 am

    We downsized into a home with no stairs in a community by the sea. I grew up on the east coast and only feel “right” when the sea is close. I love the fresh air and refreshing breezes. We picked the west coast though because the weather is milder. While there are a lot of retired folks here we opted to not move into a ” retirement community”. I believe young people keep us feeling young.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:41 am

      I totally agree about living near the water. The waves and beach calm my spirits every time! Good point about living amongst younger people. If we don’t move into an active retirement community I want to be sure the town is small enough that we feel connected.

  7. Joanna
    May 30, 2017 / 7:11 am

    I found a great way to meet people and join groups is by joining Newcomers. It brings together new arrivals and mostly retired ladies, who want to stay active, involved and make connections. Do you have Newcomers in the US?

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 7:49 am

      We did in New Jersey. I joined when we were relocated there for 2 years. You’re right! I met lots of ladies that way. Great idea!!

  8. May 30, 2017 / 7:56 am

    I cannot imagine moving too far from our children and grandchildren…
    we are still happy in our bungalow and enjoy the garden but know that at some point we will need to downsize…I would consider a smallish condo or a town home but the real estate market here in Victoria is CRAZY and there is very little on the market right now.

    Good luck and Happy Home Hunting!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 9:02 am

      Thanks, Leslie. You’re lucky to have them in the same spot! Ours live in different countries so that makes it tough. Yes, the real estate market in Victoria priced us right out.

  9. May 30, 2017 / 8:21 am

    We sold our condo in Palo Alto, CA and bought a brand new double wide manufactured home in a “class A” park for 55+ just north of Santa Rosa. New mobile homes are quite nice. We added a sun room. The space rental is $700month.

    It’s a way to stay 1 hour from San Francisco and we’re only 45 minutes from the sea, surrounded by wineries and the beauty of Sonoma County. We fly out of the Santa Rosa airport.

    Check out The Orchard in Santa Rosa. All those homes have garages and space between the homes. Great landscaping, pool, tennis courts and more.

    We have loads of hobbies and just plugged into the local groups. I joined a community garden and there are more hiking and social and volunteer opportunities than you can imagine. Performances at Luther Burbank and Greene are world class.

    Good luck in your search!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 9:06 am

      Fabulous location!! Santa Rosa is a great spot. I would love to be that close to the ocean and wine country. Our friends on Vancouver Island just bought a double wide. It’s in a really pretty neighborhood and they love it! We will check it out because that whole area if just fabulous. Thanks for the tip, Marian.

  10. Sheila
    May 30, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Jennifer, you wear the hard hat well!????‍♀️ Although I live on the “other coast” in South Carolina, we traveled to Paso Robles while we were visiting in the Santa Barbara area. I noticed that is very close to your home area. It is so very beautiful and I dream to visit there again. I lift a glass of Daou vino to you and your retirement ventures. ???? Sheila

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      Thank you Sheila! It is a gorgeous area so our hunt continues.

  11. May 30, 2017 / 9:20 am

    That’s a fabulous area, and you’re also near a lot of nice beaches and other communities. I used to live in Arroyo Grande, not far from there.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      It is a stunning location!

  12. Roxanne
    May 30, 2017 / 10:35 am

    When we designed our home 25 years ago, we made it handicap accessible (long before universal design became a buzz word). We hope to live here the rest of our lives if at all possible. Some of my friends are already looking ahead and thinking all the stairs in their homes are a big problem. Never dreamed I’d need the handicap part early when I fell off the ladder and couldn’t walk for 5 months! When you find he location that was meant for you, you’ll know it!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your fall. I hope you’re ok now. We are only looking at 1 story homes. I need a hip replacement and my husband needs a knee replacement so single story is on our agenda:)

  13. May 30, 2017 / 11:13 am

    Thus far, ten years into retirement, we’ve stayed in the home we raised our family in in the little prairie town where we’ve lived for over 40 years. Moving is something we’ve been considering, but we haven’t made up our minds yet. There are definitely pros and cons. None of our children live here, so we wouldn’t be leaving them behind if we moved. We’d love to be nearer to the amenities of a city (2 hours drive from here), but real estate is much more expensive as you move closer. We own our house outright and like you, we don’t want to get back into a mortgage. The house itself still meets our needs… bigger than we absolutely need, but not so big that we feel pressured to downsize. If we do decide to move, I can’t imagine myself in a 55+ or retirement community though. I love being part of a neighbourhood that includes people of all ages. Good luck in finding the place that is perfect for you!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      It’s so interesting to hear this Elaine. There is definitely value to a mixed age community. My second choice is a college town with all the amenities that includes.

      • May 31, 2017 / 12:44 pm

        That’s a choice I would love! In addition to having all the amenities, I would love to be able to take a few college courses just for fun and we would also consider offering home stays for international students.

        • Jennifer
          May 31, 2017 / 12:48 pm

          Having the amenities right on hand is such a huge benefit of these communities. Plus, everyone is reaching out to make friends so you find new interests through that too!

  14. Tracey
    May 30, 2017 / 11:59 am

    We searched the eastern part of Canada (where we are from) such as Niagara-On-The Lake but then after spending years in the west, looked at Vancouver Island (didn’t want to deal with the ferries) and then to the beautiful Okanagan area of BC. Finally found just the size of a detached home (one level with garden) in a gated golf course community in Kelowna (with lovely village amenities plus great golf) and LOVE it. To live amongst the orchards and wineries is terrific (though the winters can be cool). Best of luck and you will know when it is right!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      We’re visiting the Okanogin next month. Can you share the location? We’d love to see it. Being Canadian… it would be easy for me to move back!

      • Tracey
        June 29, 2017 / 3:44 pm

        Hello Jennifer, Just getting caught up on my reading as we’ve been away on a Baltic cruise (wonderful!). It is Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna (www.gallagherscanyon.ca). We still feel that we are ‘on vacation’ living here. Winters are quiet as many residents head to Arizona (or California) but so far we are fine with a week or two getaway. We like to travel but for only a few weeks at a time as we love our home! Good luck in your search.

        • Jennifer
          June 29, 2017 / 8:49 pm

          Thank you, Tracey. It sounds like you’ve got the best of all worlds!

  15. Jane Ayers
    May 30, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    We live in a Del Web called Festival outside of Surprise AZ. It’s fantastic. I never thought this Oregon girl would like it so much. You should check this area, you might be surprised and you get a real bang for your buck here and nice view.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:23 pm

      Thank you, Jane. My husband and I have decided we’re going to pack up our trailer this fall and check out Arizona! So many have suggested it we want to do it. Festival will be on our list:)

  16. Jill
    May 30, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    It is important to think about moving to a place where you won’t be isolated should your husband die. This is grim, I know, but we moved to a rural area and my husband got ill and died within three years. I could not sell the house without taking a huge loss so remained.
    I have adjusted to country life and am happy. However isolation may not be O.K. with many people.
    It is also wise to know what medical care is available and what would you do if you could no longer drive.

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband! Those are excellent points I need to keep in mind. I want good medical facilities nearby.

  17. ruth
    May 30, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    You should check out Hot Springs Village, AR. It is the largest gated community in America…..and has everything that you could want. Nine lakes to live on, nine golf courses…..and very, very inexpensive cost of living. You can buy a fabulous home for very little money….and have money to enjoy all the clubs and activities your heart desires…..look it up!

    • Jennifer
      May 30, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you Ruth. I’d never heard of it but will check it out. It sounds really amazing. It would be wonderful to live on a lake!!

    • Angie
      May 31, 2017 / 10:58 am

      Thanks Ruth for that comment, I live in Russellville Ar. We have been wanting to check it out but had forgotten about it.

  18. May 31, 2017 / 2:34 am

    Sounds idyllic but the costs seem to be in line with those kind of developments in the UK. As you say, it’s good to bank money – not have a mortgage again when you have done with all that! We have another 6 years to go before retirement since our wonderful government changed retirement age. However, with no mortgage and a large house, we could probably downsize and enjoy life without work. Difficult decision to make when you are used to lots of space. If we didn’t have my parents to care for, I would opt for an apartment somewhere warm and a motor home big enough to live in for long periods touring Europe. One day! Hope you find your ideal retirement complex soon.

    • Jennifer
      May 31, 2017 / 7:40 am

      Caring for your parents is a lot of work Gilly, and I know how hard you’re working at it. Good for you!! We love having lots of space but do not need it. Touring Europe sounds fabulous. Good luck! Xx

  19. Diane Caird
    May 31, 2017 / 6:41 am

    You are always so “on-point” with me ! This is a great topic ! My husband and I are just beginning our search.
    Look forward to always reading your posts !

    • Jennifer
      May 31, 2017 / 8:19 am

      I wondered if my readers would be interested because I do share so much fashion. I’m thrilled to discover you are! Thanks for your kind comments Diane. We will be looking during our summer holiday so there’s more coming.

  20. Donna
    May 31, 2017 / 7:03 am

    Good luck on finding the perfect retirement home. Your readers have lots of good ideas to explore.

    • Jennifer
      May 31, 2017 / 8:26 am

      Thanks Donna:) My readers are hands down, the best! I learn from them all the time. They’re smart, sharing and caring. I’ve been googling every suggestion and we have mapped out a few trips in our RV to check out these spots.

  21. marlene alves
    June 5, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Jenifer, again I will recommend Oakmont; it has everything you say you want, including college classes within blocks of the homes there. The Osher LifeLong Learning classes are well-attended, various and lots of fun…you really must check it out, as it seems to give you what you seek…physically, environmentally, culturally, medically, etc. etc. etc. Ocean an hour away & right in the middle of Wine Country, too! Financially, you have to contrast & compare, of course, but my guess…less than what you’d sell for in your area of California.

    • Jennifer
      June 6, 2017 / 7:52 am

      Oakmont sounds too good to be true! All that in the beautiful California wine country would be a dream come true. It’s definitely on our list to see this summer! I sure hope it is something we can afford because it sounds ideal. Thanks so much for telling me about it, Marlene. Do you live there?

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