Short List


We made some interesting discoveries as we travelled.  After years of living in the tropics, we found that we were longing for a cooler climate with lots of mountains and natural beauty.  As with sailing we discovered that our preconceptions about certain places were completely wrong.  At the beginning we thoroughly discounted the mid-west, but as you will see below, we were quite captivated with certain areas.  And, of course, we never even considered Alaska as a viable place for us to settle down!!

Short List of places to live in order of preference


Why we liked it

1)  Homer,Alaska


  • Lots of outdoor activities:
    • hiking
    • sailing
    • canoeing, kayaking
    • cross-country skiing
    • snowshoeing
    • dog-mushing
    • bear viewing
    • hunting and fishing
  • Incredible natural beauty
  • Clean air
  • Cool summers
  • LOTS of wildlife
  • Right on Kachemak Bay
  • Great. friendly community
  • Very active community on all issues that we are interested in such as:
    • Protecting the Environment
    • Impeaching Bush and Cheney
    • Anti-war activists
  • Several cultural programs such as
    • music
    • art
    • small movie theater
  • Airport in town
  • Cold in winter. but not as cold as the midwest.  Temps. avg. 40F to -20F
  • Moderate snowfalls
  • Not close to major health facilities.  They have a small hospital, but the closest large hospital with a cancer center is 220 miles away in Anchorage.  (About a 4 hr. drive.)
2)  New Zealand - do you see any similarities between NZ and Homer, AK? 
  • Incredible natural beauty
  • Clean air
  • Cool summers
  • Mild winters in the Auckland area
  • Very friendly people
  • Many friends
  • Wonderful culture and cultural activities
  • Many outdoor activities
  • Very long distance from our families in the U.S.
  • Heavy traffic in Auckland area.
3 Ely, Minnesota

  • Lots of natural beauty and wildlife
  • Many lakes for canoeing/ kayaking/boating
  • Small, charming town with friendly people.
  • Will enable us to do lots of activities - hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing.
  • Affordable
  • Cool summers (70-80s)- no air conditioning needed
  • Airport
  • Extreme cold in winter
  • Lacking cultural entertainment
  • Not close to health facilities - Duluth -100 miles away.  Minneapolis - 250 miles away
  • Lakefront homes either too expensive or not built for year-round living (Cabins)
4 Door County, Wisconsin - near Green Bay


  • Right on Lake Superior and Green Bay
  • Near to Green Bay, WI
  • Lots of outdoor activities:
    • Canoeing
    • Hiking
    • Sailing
  • Several charming towns along the peninsula
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Cool summers


  • Very cold in winter
  • Most desirable homes out of our price range
5 Blowing Rock, NC


  • Charming town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Very scenic
  • Low summer temps
  • Right on Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Close to Bob's son, Denis
  • Small university located in town with theatrical and music events
  • Not close to any major health facility
  • Except for hiking and skiing, no other outdoor activities
  • Not able to find an available house for sale (in our price range) within walking distance to the village.
6 Bayfield, WI
  • Right on Lake Superior
  • Lots of outdoor activities
  • Beautiful scenery
  • VERY small town
  • No real cultural activities
  • Not close to a city

Other places that may have met our criteria, but were not visited include:

Bellingham, Washington    
Northern California    
Vancouver, Canada