It was a long, long winter last year in South Dakota. Snow was still falling weeks after the calendar indicated that spring was supposed to take center stage. If the pesky white stuff returns early this fall, some of the natives may start getting restless. For those of you who are retired, I can offer a solution to your potential suffering. I'm not trying to persuade all of South Dakota's favorite sons to flee the Heartlands, but I thought some of you might be interested in investigating the possibility of moving south – at least for the winter. I know, you're used to the laid back lifestyle, the beauty of nature, the lack of crime and other factors that make South Dakota a great place to live, especially for those raising children. But there are places where you can get all of that – plus winters that are much shorter and less harsh. Let me tell you about one such place where the summers are even cooler than SD as well.
Fairfield Glade, Tennessee is a tiny slice of Paradise on the Cumberland Plateau. The community of about 7000 residents, which rests about 2000 feet above sea level, boasts 11 lakes and 5 golf courses. Many tourists come to the area just to take advantage of the golf courses. The scenery is breathtaking (check out the picture). The crime rate is low. The people are even friendlier than in South Dakota (I'm serious). Everyone there waves or says hi if they meet you out walking. Most of the residents are retired, many of them from places that have weather milder than South Dakota's. Michigan and Ohio seem to lead the list but many northern tier states are represented in the ranks of the transplants. Many are from Florida, probably people who retired to the sunshine state and figured out that there was too much sunshine. I know it might sound too good to be true. Must be a catch somewhere. High taxes maybe. Real estate prices out of control. Au contraire, Pierre. There are no state income taxes except on income earned on interest. And the property taxes are unbelievable: about $400 per $100,000 worth of home/land. I calculated that my mom's house in SD was taxed almost 10 times more than this.
If you absolutely can't afford two homes, you could consider migrating to Davy Crockett Country. Check out the website for FFG at http://www.fairfieldglade.cc/Home.aspx. The area does not go untouched by winter, but the weather is more like late Fall in SD than winter. If you want some brisk temps but want to avoid piles of snow, FFG is a great place. A typical winter day gets into the 40's, perhaps a bit chilly for a golf game but perfect for a long walk. A plethora of social and cultural opportunities exist locally, but if you want to travel a little, Nashville is less than 2 hours away.
Since this is a column dealing with Christianity, you should know that if you lived in Fairfield Glade, you'd be smack in the middle of the Bible belt. You can hardly throw a rock without hitting a church somewhere. If you're looking for a place to live out your golden years, I can't imagine a better place to do it. This place might be the best kept secret in America, but I aim to give a few more folks a chance to find the good life.