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Retire Here, Not There

Nov. 1, 2014, 12:14 p.m. EDT

Retire Here, Not There: New Mexico

A cultural melting pot with a friendly year-round climate—and a friendly price tag

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By Anya Martin, MarketWatch

Continued from page 3

Mimbres Region Arts Council
Catching the show at Pickamania!, a free bluegrass, folk and roots music festival held in Silver City.

Silver City

Peggy Hutchinson had intended just to stop for lunch in Silver City on her way to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. But when she saw the Spanish-architecture campus of Western New Mexico University and the vibrant Main Street beyond, Hutchinson knew she had found where she wanted to retire, says the 64-year-old former senior vice president of operations at Conseco, Inc. Hutchinson moved here from Carmel, Ind., a suburb of Indianapolis, in July 2009. She was struck by the contrast to the shuttered downtowns of small towns in Midwest and East Coast where she had lived before. “I was flabbergasted,” Hutchinson says. “This was the original main street still alive, and all these beautiful buildings had current stores in them.”

Southwestern architecture abounds in Silver City, but Hutchinson settled on an early 20th century brick house that had dark wood accents which matched her furniture. Since relocating, she has found the people friendly, the arts community vibrant, the nearby wilderness “breathtaking” and volunteer opportunities plentiful, including helping with the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, which features more than 50 writers and publishing experts annually. That’s just one of many yearly events intown from acclaimed arts and music festivals to Chocolate Fantasia, when restaurants celebrate the sweet treat, to the Silver City Tour of the Gila, which attracts world-class bicyclists. “Everybody from every walk of life has a place here,” Hutchinson says. “And there’s always something to do.”

Hikers and mountain-bikers have the almost 3 million-acre Gila National Forest in their backyard, says Georgia Bearup, broker/owner of United Country Mimbres Realty. High-quality health care can be found at Gila Regional Medical Center, with helicopter service to major hospitals in Albuquerque, El Paso and Tucson. Grant County Airport has two daily flights to Phoenix, but many residents drive to larger airports in El Paso or Tucson, both about three hours away.

By the numbers:

  • Population: 10,315

  • Median home cost: $152,000

  • Cost of living: 6.8% lower than average

  • Unemployment: 6.9%

Source: Sperling’s Best Places

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