It’s that time again…
And, you may have noticed that the once coveted property tax deduction has changed. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 lowered tax rates and increased the standard deductions across the board, but it also placed a $10,000 limit on deductions for State And Local Taxes (otherwise known as SALT taxes). The SALT deduction has been a part of our tax code since 1913 and has cost the federal government trillions of dollars in lost revenue opportunities. As these deductions were most favorable to those with incomes above $100,000, the federal government decided to make some changes.
The standard deduction for singles has been raised to $12,000 and for married filing jointly to $24,000. In order to claim a SALT deduction, you must itemize your deductions.
Consequently, only about five percent of taxpayers are expected to itemize their deductions as opposed to 30 percent in past years. The new regulations are particularly challenging for those who will itemize their deduction and have high income taxes, high property taxes, or both. And, if you itemize, you can deduct property taxes AND state and local income taxes OR you can deduct property taxes AND sales taxes. But, you cannot deduct state and local income taxes in addition to sales tax.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you live in New York where the average SALT deduction was more than $21,000 a year, you would only be able to deduct $10,000. This adversely effects those living in areas with high state income taxes and high property taxes.
So, if you live in areas like New York, New Jersey, or California, you might want to consider relocating to lower taxed states to save some money. The tax savings alone could be used to fuel your new lifestyle. And, for some other good news, the mortgage interest deduction survived. So if you buy a new home, you can deduct the mortgage interest up to $750,000.
You could have a win-win-win scenario by relocating—a new life in an energy-efficient home in a great community, a deduction for mortgage interest, and lower taxes.
10 Lowest State
Income Tax States | No Tax States
Only Tax Dividend and Interest
10 Highest State Income Tax State
New Jersey 8.97%
New York 8.82%
10 Lowest Property | Tax States
#4 New Mexico
#9 West Virginia
#10 North Carolina
10 Highest Property | Tax States
#1 New Jersey
#2 New Hampshire
#4 New York
#7 Rhode Island
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From the Pennsylvania countryside and the Jersey Shore to Delaware beach towns and Virginia’s living history, the Eastern Heartland offers vacation destinations that may have been overlooked and brand new retirement communities that shouldn’t be missed.
EASTERN HEARTLAND DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE
DELMARVA PENINSULA DelmarvaBeachGuide.com
Framed by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, the Delmarva Peninsula includes Delaware and the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia. Delaware’s capitol city of Dover is a center of regional arts and culture, while seaside towns like Rehoboth and Dewey Beach are traditional family vacation destinations. Ocean City, MD, offers fun and games along its famous Boardwalk, seafood fresh from the bay is featured in the Cape Charles area, and the 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is one of the nation’s great engineering marvels.
Colonial Williamsburg is America’s premier living history museum, where you and the grandkids can not only see the sites and observe the lifestyle of 18th-century Virginians, but also participate in hands-on activities with authentic working craftsmen. The Busch Gardens and Water Country USA amusement parks add to the warm-weather fun, as well as side trips to nearby historic attractions at Jamestown and Yorktown. Lodgings within walking distance of the historic sites and at nearby full-service resorts are available.
The Fredericksburg Historic District combines museums and well-preserved buildings with a tantalizing variety of upscale restaurants, casual sidewalk cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops. Lodging choices range from downtown bed-and-breakfast inns to rustic cabins at the Wilderness Presidential Resorts in the adjacent Virginia countryside.
EASTERN HEARTLAND EVENTS TO ENJOY
ASBURY PARK MUSIC + FILM FESTIVAL APMFF.org
This one-of-a-kind annual event celebrates the role of music in the movies, with more than 50 film screenings, dozens of live stage performances, and special celebrity-guest events in the New Jersey seaside town where icons like Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi got their starts at the legendary Stone Pony club.
OCEAN CITY SPRINGFEST OCOcean.com
Enjoy four days of family fun in Maryland on Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk, with arts & crafts, local seafood, special kids’ activities, and music concerts with this year’s featured headliners Night Ranger and LeAnn Rimes.
YORKTOWN BLUES, BREWS, & BBQ FESTIVAL VillageEvents.org
Take in more than two dozen craft beers to sample, a new wine garden for tastings, delicious BBQ platters, and a full day of live blues music on the Riverwalk Landing stage.
PENNSYLVANIA MUSIC & ARTS CELEBRATION PAMusicSociety.org
Hosted over Memorial Day weekend, this free-admission event at the Allentown Fairgrounds features tributes to military veterans, artisan markets, traditional Dutch and German fare, and non-stop music from rock, folk, gospel, and polka performers.
EASTERN HEARTLAND COMMUNITIES TO VISIT
Traditions of America features low-maintenance homes for active adults in six Pennsylvania locations, including the new Green Pond community.
Landmark Homes offers innovative floor plans designed for the age 55+ market in Berks, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties in Pennsylvania.
K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons communities in Monroe and Monmouth Woods are convenient North Jersey sites for the active-adult lifestyle.
Noble’s Pond (Dover, DE) is an age 55+ community, with single-family residences and first-class clubhouse amenities.
The Peninsula on Indian River Bay in Delaware features Nicklaus-designed golf among its resort amenities and custom homes by Schell Brothers.
Bayside in southern Delaware’s Fenwick Island area is home to waterfront residences and top-flight amenities like its Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
Fawn Lake near Virginia’s historic Fredericksburg is a private lakeside community with golf by Arnold Palmer and choice homes by Signature Builders.
Birchwood at Brambleton in Loudoun County, VA, is a countryside community with cottage-style homes and clubhouse amenities.
FLORIDA DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE
The welcoming town of Ocala and surrounding Marion County are the “Horse Capital of the World” and there are scores of thoroughbred equestrian centers in the area for visitors to enjoy. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, hunting, fishing, and boating in this area of rich natural resources, while the revitalized downtown Ocala is home to antique shops, art galleries, performing arts venues, and restaurants that feature farm-fresh local cuisine.
ST. AUGUSTINE VisitStAugustine.com
America’s oldest city and an ever-popular visitor destination, St. Augustine features a central Historic District with Spanish-style architecture and the Colonial Quarter living-history museum, as well as new restaurants and inns. The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum is a must for lovers of the game, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall hosts big-name performing artists, and the Anastasia Island beaches offer plenty of oceanfront lodgings.
If you’re vacationing with the grandkids, then theme-park attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando are already on your itinerary. But if you want to explore the other side of Orlando, check out the Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the Morse Museum of American Arts, enjoy a ballet or symphony concert at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and catch an Orlando Shakespeare Theater show. There are also boat and kayak tours, dozens of daily-fee golf courses, dining on Restaurant Row, and nightlife entertainments along International Drive.
DAYTONA BEACH DaytonaBeach.com
The 23 miles of local oceanfront are just the beginning of a trip to Daytona Beach, where auto-racing enthusiasts flock to the Daytona International Speedway and its Motorsports Hall of Fame. There are also historic sites, amusement parks, golf courses, and the 30-mile Ormond Scenic Loop to drive. Among the best free local attractions are the Daytona Beach Oceanfront Bandshell music concerts every Saturday evening from May through September and visits to the Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens.
PORT ST. LUCIE VisitStLucie.com
Port St. Lucie is the heart of Florida’s Treasure Coast region that also includes historic Fort Pierce and 20+ miles of white-sand beaches. Kayaking on the St. Lucie River and deep-sea fishing in the warm offshore waters are popular outdoor activities. There are also nature preserve hiking trails and horseback riding on Hutchinson Island beaches, as well as scores of waterfront dining venues, boutique shops, and art galleries.
The hub of southwest Florida’s Treasure Coast and its 30 miles of beaches, Naples is also the western gateway to the wonders of Everglades National Park. The region’s tropical climate make it an international sport-fishing center and local restaurants serve fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood. Big-name destination resorts dot the waterfront landscape with more than 30 daily-fee golf courses—and twice that number of private clubs that are among the state’s finest.
FORT MYERS FortMyers-Sanibel.com
The River District in downtown Fort Myers features an eclectic mix of waterfront restaurants, pubs, antique shops, and art galleries, while the nearby Edison and Ford Winter Estates are popular historic sites. Sanibel Island is known for its laid-back resorts, seashell-covered beaches, and nature trails in the 6,400-acre Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Sarasota has established itself as the region’s cultural center, with professional ballet, opera, symphony, and theater companies that offer a year-round schedule of performances. Popular day-trip destinations in the area include the beaches of Siesta Key, the shops and restaurants of downtown Venice, and the Village of the Arts in Bradenton.
TAMPA BAY VisitTampaBay.com
The heart of the Tampa Bay area is the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.4-mile stretch of waterfront that’s home to shops, restaurants, and attractions like The Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The historic Ybor City enclave is renowned for its Cuban cuisine, coffee, and cigars. Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays play all spring and summer at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and nearby beach towns are where Gulf Coast fishing adventures begin.
FLORIDA EVENTS TO ENJOY
WORD OF [SOUTH] FESTIVAL WordOfSouthFestival.com
Held at downtown Tallahassee’s Cascades Park, Word of [South] is a unique annual event that celebrates the relationship between literature and music, with writers who specialize in musical topics and artist biographies, as well as musicians who are also authors.
APRIL 24-MAY 7
STAY IN MAY FESTIVAL StayInMay.com
Two full weeks of eclectic events in Naples that include art shows, short film debuts, culinary exhibitions, and health and wellness programs, plus live music performances from classical to bluegrass and jazz to pop.
SMOKE ON THE WATER BARBECUE FESTIVAL SBDAC.com
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers hosts this sanctioned event as barbecue cook teams from throughout the South compete for the top prizes, plus a full weekend of live music and family fun.
APRIL 27-MAY 4
MINTO US OPEN PICKLEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS USOpenPickleballChampionship.com
On the 50 courts at East Naples Community Park, America’s fastest-growing sport will crown its national champs from among the 2,000 competitors in pro/amateur divisions and age groups that range from 19+ to 80+. The 2019 event also features pre-tournament festivities and network TV coverage of the finals.
ST. JOHNS RIVER FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS StJohnsRiverArtFest.com
Juried arts and crafts shows are the highlight of this annual event in downtown Sanford, with sidewalk exhibitions, Art-in-Action demonstrations, gourmet sampling at the Culinary Arts Court, and acoustic music performers in a variety of genres.
JACKSONVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL JacksonvilleJazzFest.com
One of the nation’s largest and longest-running free music events, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival features headliner performances on outdoor downtown stages along the St. Johns River, and signature activities like the Jazz Piano Competition, the Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch, and Jazz Fest After Dark, plus an artists’ marketplace and plenty of al fresco dining choices.
Florida Communities to Visit
On Top of the World (Ocala) is an active-adult community that offers energy-efficient and solar-powered homes, plus three golf courses, fitness centers, 17 miles of walking trails, hundreds of interest clubs, and a lifelong learning center.
Lakes of Mount Dora is a masterplanned community for age 55+ active adults with waterfront homes and home sites, along with amenities that include resort pools, pickleball courts, a fitness studio, and clubhouse social activities.
Cresswind at Victoria Gardens in DeLand offers gracious age5 5+ living with club amenities like an Aquatic Center, racquet courts, and The Vine Bar & Bistro, plus access to golf, shopping, and medical services in neighboring Victoria Park.
GlenLakes (Weeki Wachee) features estate-size and maintenance-free homes with a centerpiece championship golf course and clubhouse amenities in a Weeki Wachee location with hiking trails in the adjacent 85,000-acre national wildlife refuge.
LakePark at Tradition in Port St. Lucie offers single-family homes and villas, with on-site community features like the fitness center with pool and spa, an event lawn, and a dog park, plus access to all adjacent Club at TownPark amenities.
Cresswind at PGA Village Verano is a 55+ enclave in Port St. Lucie with unique floor plans and clubhouse amenities, as well as free PGA Golf Club social memberships and access to its superb golf courses, and new 27-court Pickleball Center.
Oak Harbor in Vero Beach offers a unique mix of cottages, condos, and luxury villas overlooking lakes and the private executive golf course, with gourmet clubhouse dining, concierge services, and wellness/home health programs.
Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach is a 55-and-better community based on the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle, with a private beach club, Town Center with shops, restaurants, and music venues, and a fitness center that includes Halifax Health services.
Artesia in Sunrise features “Minto Green” residences with Villa Artesia Club extras that include state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a demonstration kitchen, sports lounge, indoor basketball court, tennis center, and pools with private cabanas.
The Lakes at Harmony is a Central Florida active-adult community with choice amenities that include a Johnny Miller Signature golf course, recreation center with racquet courts, fishing lakes, 12+ trail miles, and Townsquare shops.
TwinEagles (Naples) is a country-club community with inclusive golf membership for the enjoyment of year-round play on a pair of South Florida’s best private courses and the St. Andrews-style clubhouse amenities like a complete fitness center.
The Isles of Collier Preserve has single-family homes and luxury villas just minutes from downtown Naples. The new Overlook Bar & Grill, Isles Club social/fitness center, kayak greenways, and a 2,400-acre nature preserve are top amenities.
Verandah by Kolter Homes (Fort Myers) features a complete fitness center with pool and spa, River House community center with cafe and sports bar, nearly 10 miles of nature trails, Orange River kayak launches and private golf access.
Verandah neighborhoods by Neal Communities include new riverside homesites and custom home designs, plus access to two private golf courses and clubhouse social amenities, fitness facilities, bike paths, and walking trails.
Grand Palm features villas and single-family homes in a location convenient to both the Gulf and downtown Venice, with amenities like a lap pool, fishing lake, nature trails, dog parks, kids playground, and courts for tennis and basketball.
Boca Royale Golf & Country Club near the Sarasota County town of Englewood offers flexible membership options that can include championship golf, clubhouse dining, resort amenity center, and social activities.
Milano in Venice is a Tuscan-inspired community with customizable and quick-move-in residences, plus lifestyle amenities like pickleball and bocce ball courts, resort pool, clubhouse social activities, and trails around scenic ponds.
Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota offers a range of home choices in 14 village-style neighborhoods surrounding three distinctive town centers. On-site amenities include three golf courses, a complete Athletic Center, and a polo club.
Indigo offers stylish and distinctive homes in the heart of Lakewood Ranch, as well as a community Activities Director who plans daily classes, outings and social events, plus fitness extras like racquet courts and work-out facilities.
Harbour Isle on Anna Maria Sound near Bradenton is just five minutes from the Gulf Coast, with lakeside homes and Beach Club amenities like four resort pools, a fitness center, kayak launches, and Sky Bar lounge, plus a planned marina.
Medley at Southshore Bay in Wimauma offers spacious estate homes and low-maintenance villas with amenities for active adults that include a private clubhouse, pool with tiki bar, and pickleball/bocce courts near Gulf Coast beaches.
Encore at Fishhawk Ranch is a David Weekley Homes age 55+ community in the Tampa Bay area that offers smart single-family designs, its own Oasis Lifestyle Club social/fitness activities, and access to 25 miles of nature trails.
Southern Hills Manors is a single-family community just north of Tampa in Brooksville. Amenities include Pete Dye championship golf, plus a six-hole par 3 course, clubhouse dining, fitness facilities with a full-service spa, and walking/biking trails.
One Particular Harbour Margaritaville features waterfront residences overlooking Anna Maria Sound with a private beach club, resort pool/spa, fitness center with kayak launch, and a brand-new marina with direct access to Gulf sport fishing.
Latitude Margaritaville Watersound in the Panhandle region near Panama City Beach will open in 2020 as the third Jimmy Buffet-inspired lifestyle community, with “Minto Green” homes, and fun-in-the-sun amenities for age 55+ residents.
GL Homes are found in the most popular masterplanned communities on both coasts of Florida. Since 1976, the company has built warrantied homes that maximize space and efficiency with personalized details and top-quality materials.
Home to some of America’s most iconic tourist and resort destinations, the Lowcountry has long been a pioneer in the development of retirement communities where respect for the natural environment enhances the healthy outdoor lifestyle.
LOWCOUNTRY DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE
Start your Lowcountry adventure in South Carolina’s “Holy City” of Charleston, named in 2018 as America’s No. 1 destination by readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, as well as “The South’s Best City” by Southern Living. The list of must-see sites is seemingly endless: The Battery and Rainbow Row homes, Fort Sumter National Historic Monument, the South Carolina Aquarium, Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, and antebellum plantation gardens along the Ashley River. The entire historic district offers one delightful walking-tour stop after another from unique Market Street merchants to world-class art galleries, museums, and churches, plus award-winning restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and wine bars. Direct flights from most major cities arrive daily at the recently expanded Charleston International Airport, and lodging choices include downtown hotels and nearby oceanfront resorts.
KIAWAH ISLAND KiawahResort.com
Located just south of Charleston, Kiawah Island offers 10 miles of pristine beaches, shopping at Freshfields Market, complete golf packages with play on the acclaimed Ocean Course, and ocean-view suites at the sumptuous Sanctuary Hotel.
The waterfront town of Beaufort is truly the heart of the Lowcountry, with unique restaurants, shops, museums, and bed-and-breakfast inns in a downtown area that’s a 300-acre National Historic Landmark. Among the most popular visitor activities are tours of the nearby Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station and Parris Island Training Depot, as well as kayaking on the unspoiled surrounding waterways and hiking on the Spanish Moss Trail. One-of-a-kind local attractions include the new Pat Conroy Literary Center and the nostalgic Highway 21 Drive-In Theater.
More than just the “Gateway to Hilton Head,” Bluffton is
“A State of Mind” that’s crafting a fresh 21st-century identity with new residential and retirement communities, while Old Town Bluffton preserves its riverfront-village traditions with historic sites, Lowcountry cuisine restaurants, and 30+ art galleries and boutique shops.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND HiltonHeadIsland.org
Hilton Head Island is the Lowcountry’s world-class vacation destination, with big-name resorts along the 12-mile oceanfront like Sea Pines, Palmetto Dunes, Omni, Weston, Marriott, and Sonesta. In addition to the famed Harbour Town Golf Links, there are 24 superb local courses that welcome players year-round, plus more than 300 tennis courts and 60 miles of bike paths connecting public parks and beaches.
Georgia’s “First City” and one of America’s founding ports, Savannah is an unrivaled destination in any season, but especially in spring when the Historic District’s 22 park-like squares come alive with azalea and magnolia blossoms. Take a self-guided walking tour or use the free trolley service, but be sure to check out the renowned Telfair Museums’ art exhibits, the delightful City Market shops, and the scores of exquisite downtown restaurants. Among the best local day trips are visits to the nearby Tybee Island beaches and the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. Vacation accommodations range from full-service hotels to romantic bed-and-breakfast inns, while getting there has never been easier with new non-stop flights to the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.
LOWCOUNTRY EVENTS TO ENJOY
MARCH 28-APRIL 13
SAVANNAH MUSIC FESTIVAL SavannahMusicFestival.org
From classical to country and gospel to rock, the Savannah Music Festival presents 17 days of stirring performances in downtown theaters, churches, and gardens. Headliners for this year’s event include international stars Roby Lakatos, Angelique Kidjo, and Jerusalem Quartet, as well as All-American favorites like Maceo Parker, Ricky Skaggs, and Asleep at the Wheel.
RBC HERITAGE RBCHeritage.com
South Carolina’s only PGA TOUR stop, the 51st RBC Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head Island welcomes the world’s best players to the legendary Harbour Town Golf Links. Special events include an Easter Sunrise Service under the Liberty Oak.
TASTE OF BEAUFORT FESTIVAL BeaufortChamber.org
Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort is the host site for this annual celebration that includes an arts & crafts fair, road races for adults and kids, music concerts every evening, and local restaurants that feature their special local seafood dishes.
MAY 24-JUNE 9
SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA SpoletoUSA.com
The 43rd season of Charleston’s signature Spoleto Festival USA promises to be the biggest and best ever with more than 140 music, dance, and theater performances at a dozen downtown venues. Among the featured events this year will be a new production of the classic Richard Strauss opera Salome, the world premiere of Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai’s Letter to a Friend in Gaza, a rare U.S. jazz concert by the Carla Bey Trio, and three Shakespeare plays by the London-based Globe company. Piccolo Spoleto features regional performers, author readings, art shows, and kids’ events.
BEAUFORT WATER FESTIVAL BFTWaterFestival.com
For 64 years and counting, the Beaufort Water Festival has been the Lowcountry’s premier family-fun event with raft races, water-skiing exhibitions, fishing tournaments, live music and dancing, an Arts & Crafts Market, fabulous food, and a finale that includes the Commodore’s Ball and the Parade of Boats.
SIDE TRIP TO THE MIDLANDS
South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia (ExperienceColumbiaSC.com) features a revitalized Vista District with new gourmet restaurants and art galleries, plus traditional family events like the 46th Annual Governor’s Cup Road Race (May 17-18), and the 61st Lexington County Peach Festival (July 4). Just beyond the downtown area, Saluda River Club offers maintenance-free patio homes in a peaceful riverside setting (SaludaRiverClub.com), while Timberlake Pointe is Lake Murray’s newest waterfront community (TimberlakePointe.com).
THE CHARING TOWN OF AIKEN
(VisitAikenSC.com) is the heart of the state’s “Thoroughbred Country” and hosts a full slate of springtime steeplechase, polo, and horse show events. Woodside is the area’s premier master planned community with resort-style amenities and championship golf (WoodsideCommunities.com). The Mount Vintage community features superb amenities that include a 27-hole golf course and a Town Center & Athletic Club complex (MountVintage.com).
Lowcountry Communities to Visit
K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay features homes and homesites around 300 acres of lakes in the Summerville area, with active-adult amenities like an eight-mile blueway for kayakers and 25 miles of hiking trails.
Cresswind Charleston offers energy-efficient Kolter homes in a quiet Summerville setting with superb clubhouse amenities, 20+ miles of walking trails, an on-site YMCA, and the unique Farmhouse Social Center for community gatherings.
Dataw Island Club is a Beaufort-area community with spacious Lowcountry-style homes amid maritime forests of moss-draped oaks and amenities that include 36 holes of award-winning golf and a tennis center ranked among the nation’s best.
Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head is a new age-55+ community inspired by singer Jimmy Buffett’s laid-back lifestyle with Lake Latitude Club resort amenities and plans for walkable neighborhoods around a lively Town Center.
Logan Homes built the showcase 2018 Ideal Home in Hampton Lake near Bluffton and specializes in custom-crafted, energy-efficient residences for families and retirees in the finest Lowcountry master planned communities.
The Landings on Skidaway Island is 10 minutes from Savannah and residents have all the amenities close to home: six spectacular golf courses, three complete tennis centers, 30 miles of hiking trails, 100+ community clubs, and more.
WaterWays is a 2,300-acre master planned community near Savannah with traditional Southern-style homes, a lagoon system designed for fishing and kayaking, a new fitness center, and a Marina Village centerpiece on the horizon.
The Southern Highlands
If you’ve never ventured west of the I-95 corridor and think you know the South, think again. There’s an entire world of interstate mountains and valleys in the western Carolinas, East Tennessee, and North Georgia that offer unique vacation adventures and a variety of welcoming residential communities.
SOUTHERN HIGHLAND DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY BlueRidgeParkway.org
Starting near the Virginia town of Afton and continuing southward to Cherokee, NC, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile adventure that every American family should enjoy at least once. Along the way are 15 Visitor Centers that highlight each area’s cultural attractions, waterfalls, and hiking trials, plus scores of overlooks where you can enjoy a picnic lunch and the awesome spring scenery. Boone is a great town for an overnight stop, but there are literally hundreds of hotels, inns, lodges, and campgrounds in convenient proximity to the Parkway’s 38 access points.
Asheville is North Carolina’s eclectic city in the mountains that features a delightful downtown area with more than 30 art galleries and lodging choices that include boutique hotels and cozy bed-and-breakfast inns. Unique local restaurants offer farm-to-table menus with libations from craft breweries and regional vineyards. Just outside of town, you can hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, kayak the French Broad River, or fish in the mountain streams. And, every Asheville visit should include a tour of the nearby Biltmore Estate with its 250-room centerpiece castle and surrounding gardens with 130,000+ springtime blooms that include 250 varieties of roses.
CUMBERLAND TRAIL CumberlandTrail.org
The Cumberland Trail is a scenic hiking destination that currently extends for 210 miles along the eastern edge of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. There are 27 completed sections with more than 50 trailhead access points. While some segments can be quite challenging, thoroughly enjoyable but less difficult trails include the 3.6-mile Black Mountain Section and the 7.5-mile Daddy’s Creek Section.
CHEROKEE FOOTHILLS BYWAY Scenic11.com
The Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway is a 130-mile driving excursion on South Carolina Highway 11 through the rolling Upstate countryside. Convenient side trips include popular hiking trails in five state parks, fishing and kayaking along the wild shores of Lake Jocassee, and antique-store shopping in charming towns like Landrum and Walhalla.
Upstate South Carolina’s commercial hub of Greenville has completely revitalized its downtown area with cultural anchors like performance-art venues at The Peace Center and the mid-town Falls Park on the Reedy River with 20+ miles of multi-use pathways. Trendy new shops, galleries, restaurants, and rooftop lounges have sprung up along the route and you can hop on the free trolley for a trip to the Greenville Zoo or just about anywhere else in town.
ALPINE HELEN HelenGA.org
North Georgia’s unique Bavarian-style village, Alpine Helen, celebrates the legacy of both its original Native American inhabitants and its later German immigrants. You’ll find more than 200 specialty shops and restaurants serving Continental cuisine with wines from local vineyards, plus whitewater river rafting, hiking trails to Indian mounds and mountain waterfalls, and Saturday evening music concerts.
SOUTHERN HIGHLAND EVENTS TO ENJOY
ATLANTA DOGWOOD FESTIVAL Dogwood.org
Downtown Atlanta’s Piedmont Park is home to this 83rd-annual community gathering that features 250+ exhibitors in the fine-arts markets, Main Stage live music and unique International Stage performances, a 5K road race, hands-on craft projects in the Kids Village, and fair rides on the Family Midway, plus delicious Backyard Bites & Brews.
Upstate South Carolina’s visual, performing, and culinary arts take center stage in downtown Greenville. View and purchase the featured works of painters, sculptors, photographers, and crafters; enjoy live music, theater, and dance performances; and taste local delights at the Culinary Arts Cafe and the Wine & Craft Beer Experience.
GARDEN JUBILEE FESTIVAL VisitHendersonvilleNC.org
The North Carolina mountain town of Hendersonville hosts this 26th-annual event with more than 260 vendors on Main Street, offering thousands of vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants, including hard-to-find heirloom varieties. Handmade furniture, yard art, and birdhouses are also featured, along with presentations from gardening experts and craft exhibitors.
MAY 31-JUNE 1
NINE LAKES WINE FESTIVAL NineLakesWineFestival.com
The East Tennessee town of Oak Ridge hosts this springtime sampling of more than 100 distinctive wines from 15 area vineyards, plus farm-fresh food, bluegrass music, the one-of-a-kind Barrel of Fun Charity Race, and local lodging discounts for festival attendees.
SOUTHERN HIGHLAND COMMUNITIES TO VISIT
Rock Barn Country Club & Spa (Conover, NC) in western North Carolina is home to 36 holes of top-rated golf, multiple dining venues, an equestrian center, and
a full-service day spa.
Cullowhee River Club in the North Carolina highlands offers riverfront and mountainside sites for cabin/cottage-style homes in a regional paradise for fishing, hiking, and skiing.
Fairfield Glade (Loudon, TN) is an East Tennessee community with access to 11 mountain lakes for boating, kayaking, and fishing, as well as five of the region’s top-rated golf courses.
Tellico Village near Knoxville, TN, is a 5,000-acre waterfront community that features active-adult amenities like a yacht club, wellness center, and three golf courses.
Jasper Highlands (Chatanooga area) in southeastern Tennessee features custom-designed homes and scenic multi-acres homesites, plus a resort pool with adjacent tennis/pickleball courts.
Keowee Key (Salem, SC) offers lakeside neighborhoods in Upstate South Carolina with private and community docks, a fitness center with spa, and a George Cobb-designed golf course.
Cresswind by Kolter Homes offers two Georgia active-adult communities located north and south of Atlanta, respectively: Cresswind Lake Lanier features a private marina and 17 racquet courts, while Cresswind Peachtree City is an award-winning development on 400+ woodland acres with resort-style amenities.
Hartness (Greenville, SC) is a new Upstate South Carolina community near Greenville with park-centered neighborhoods along green pathways that converge at the Village Center.
West of the Mississippi
In six featured states west of the Mississippi River, you’ll find intriguing spring vacation destinations and new retirement communities in enticing locations.
WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE
Arkansas offers a number of unique visitor attractions, from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville to Murfreesboro’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, the world’s only place where the public is invited to dig for the precious stones. Driving tours include the 300-mile Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway and the Talimena Scenic Drive, which meanders along the ridgetops for 54 miles through the spectacular 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest. In Hot Springs, you can luxuriate in the natural thermal waters, enjoy the spring blooms at Garvan Woodland Gardens, and tour historic sites where, from the 1880s through the 1930s, gangsters like Al Capone gambled and baseball legends like Babe Ruth played spring training games.
Everything’s big in Texas, including the list of vacation destinations that range from relaxing beach towns on the Gulf of Mexico coast and historic sites in San Antonio like The Alamo to the the vibrant multi-cultural nightlife in Houston and the funky arts-and-music scene in Austin. Natural adventures include kayaking in Big Bend National Park, exploring huge underground caverns, and saddling up at a guest ranch for an authentic Western experience. And you’ll never lack for sustenance on your travels because Texas restaurants serve up some of America’s juiciest steaks and spiciest ribs, washed down with wine from the state’s 20 vineyards and craft beers from microbreweries in nearly every city and town.
Utah is a four-season destination with ski resorts like Alta and Snowbird near Salt Lake City, where you can take a guided tour of historic Temple Square. Park City has its own ski slopes and annually hosts the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival. Visits to the Dinosaur National Monument and the new Natural History Museum of Utah highlight the state’s fascinating past, while southern Utah in springtime is the ultimate outdoor destination: St. George is the gateway to the unparalleled Mighty 5 National Parks and other natural wonders in Snow Canyon State Park and Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Drive along the scenic byways, bike on mountain trails, kayak on hidden streams, and camp out under star-filled skies.
The energetic and culturally rich city of Denver is the first stop for most Colorado visitors on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the Front Range and beyond, you’ll find hot-springs resorts, mile-high golf courses, dude ranches, fly-fishing streams, and top-of-the-world trails for hikers and bikers. In the state’s central region around Colorado Springs are historic Pike’s Peak, inspiring drives on the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway, and kayak adventures on the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon National Monument. To the southwest is the Four Corners area near Durango, which features Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and the 116-mile parkway that connects them.
From parasail races and dinner cruises along the Lake Tahoe shoreline to boating and fishing in the nation’s largest reservoir at Lake Mead—plus the man-made wonder of Hoover Dam that created it—Nevada is filled with cool places and activities for springtime travelers. Among them are kayaking expeditions on the Black Canyon Water Trail, off-road driving treks in the Mohave Desert, and late-night ventures on the Extraterrestrial Highway just outside of top-secret Area 51. And with lively Reno in the north and iconic Las Vegas in the south, Nevada is in a class by itself for luxurious spas, top-celebrity shows, and destination casino resorts.
Start your Arizona spring adventure at breathtaking Grand Canyon National Park, but be sure to include on your itinerary other natural wonders like the Petrified Forest, Kartchner Caverns, Monument Valley, and Meteor Crater. You can hike, bike, or ride a horse on one of the 43 passages of the 800-mile Arizona Trail or cruise with the top down on legendary Route 66. Explore historic mining towns and witness a gunfight at the OK Corral, then mosey over to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area for trendy food and beverage venues, major-league sporting events, and more golf courses than you can shake a club at.
WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI EVENTS TO ENJOY
CLARK COUNTRY FAIR & RODEO CCFair.com
The town of Logandale just north of Las Vegas hosts this annual Western-style celebration that includes professional rodeo competitions, main-stage entertainments, hundreds of arts & crafts exhibitors, and Midway rides, games, and food.
SCOTTSDALE CULINARY FESTIVAL ScottsdaleFest.org
An Arizona spring staple since 1978, this year’s event features a kick-off party, the finest dishes from more than 35 local restaurants, beer garden, vodka lounge, wine and chocolate tastings, and live bands on three Scottsdale Civic Center stages.
ST. GEORGE ART FESTIVAL SGArtFestival.com
This Southern Utah tradition since 1980, set amid the fountains and gardens of St. George Town Square, showcases original works by more than 100 of America’s finest artists in a dozen mediums, plus live music and special events for the kids.
DURANGO WINE EXPERIENCE DurangoWine.com
A full weekend of fine food and drink in downtown Durango, CO, features top-chef cooking demonstrations, libations from some of the world’s best wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and a Grand Tasting finale event.
KAABOO TEXAS KAABOOTexas.com
Enjoy all the comforts inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington for performances by 20 all-time favorites like Sting, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The B-52s, plus comedy from Dennis Miller to Brad Garret, art shows, spa services, and skybox dining with fine wines and craft beers.
HOT SPRINGS MUSIC FESTIVAL HotMusic.org
This two-week festival in Arkansas features classical music performances by the110 artists from around the world, including rare sneak-peek open rehearsals, creative-mix chamber ensembles and full-orchestra symphonies in churches, ballrooms, and open-air settings.
West of the Misssissippi Communities to Visit
Hot Springs Village is America’s largest gated community, with amenities that include nine golf courses, 11 recreational lakes, and 30 miles of nature trails, plus a performing arts center, 100+ clubs, and a new 14-court pickleball complex.
Elements at Viridian is a new age 55+ community in Arlington that features single-level homes with expanded outdoor living spaces and lifestyle extras like an amenity center with pools, tennis courts, and walking/biking trails.
The Glacier Club features homes and sites with spectacular mountain views, plus two top-ranked golf courses with clubhouse dining and a complete spa/fitness center with indoor pool in a southwest Colorado location just north of Durango.
SunRiver in St. George is a premier active-adult community featuring amenities like a picturesque golf course with fine clubhouse dining, fitness facilities with indoor/outdoor pools, 50+ social clubs, and new pickleball courts at the tennis center.
Red Ledges is a mountainside residential community near Park City that features play on its award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and unique golf park with 12 par-3 holes, plus an equestrian center, and ski trips to nearby slopes.
Cordero Ranch offers low-maintenance Freedom Homes by D.R. Horton, age-55+ lifestyle amenities like a community clubhouse, and a fully equipped fitness center with two pools in a convenient location south of Las Vegas in Henderson.
Ovation at Mountain Falls in the town of Pahrump near the California border is a new active-adult community with its own private recreation center and Mountain Falls amenities like award-winning golf and a huge pool complex.
Mountainside at Victory in the Verrado community near Phoenix welcomes age 55+ residents with home styles inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and lifestyle extras like resort pools and spa, hiking trails, clubhouse dining, and golf access.
Victory at Verrado features energy-efficient homes and fairway homesites with play on two golf courses, community clubhouse, fitness center, and water park in Buckeye near the attractions and services in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.