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A Small-Town Retirement Dream

Trading the bustle of L.A. for a lively little locale

En español

The Scenario: A retirement home away from the city​

Check out the choices the Louis-Maries' had. 

craftsman bungalow style home in the grass valley california area

Douglas Keister/Getty Images

1. Grass Valley, California - Postcard Perfect, for a Price ($469,000)

Grass Valley looks like a Victorian movie set tucked in the hills, with art galleries, wineries and a farmers market. Near a vast parkland the couple found a 1,349-square-foot, three-bedroom Craftsman home on the outskirts of town.

ranch house in grand junction colorado

Theo Stroomer

2. Grand Junction, Colorado - Charm to Spare ($405,000)

Grand Junction makes lists of best places to retire because of its charming downtown, monthly art walks, riverfront trail system, premier health care and 230 days of sunshine a year. Looking online, Franck and Tracy spotted a yellow-accented brick, 1,679-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house with a three-car garage and a parklike backyard.

ranch style house in portland oregon

EyeWolf/Getty Images

3. Portland, Oregon - Urban Cool ($430,000)

With nearby wilderness, offbeat shops and stellar chefs, Portland draws smart, laid-back types looking to retire or merely grab a microbrew. Prices were soaring, but Franck and Tracy found a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home within their budget.

tracy and franck louis marie at their new home

Theo Stroomer

Their pick: Option 2! Colorado, here we come!

Grand Junction, Colorado ($405,000)

“It feels really good, and not just because the price was right,” says Tracy, who made an offer on the Grand Junction house, sight unseen, after viewing it online. “It’s very bright, the neighbors are friendly, we’re close to town, and we’re within easy reach of over 300 lakes and miles of trails.” “Buying this home is not just a purchase for us,” Franck adds. “It’s an achievement of personal growth, and growth as a couple at this stage of our lives. Reconsidering our future, heading into the unknown, breaking our old Los Angeles habits — it all feels like we’re creating not only our home but a future.”