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When is it Time to Fly South for the Winter?

 

As the warm weather begins to wane, many snowbirds begin preparing, at least mentally, to head to the Sunbelt state of their choosing. For others, being home for the spring and summer around friends and family makes it hard to want to leave. You don’t want to miss the beauty and reverence of a crisp autumn morning; you don’t want to miss spending the holidays with your family; you definitely don’t want to be here when the snow starts to fall. That begs the question: when is the right time to fly south for the winter? As they say, timing is everything, so how do you know when that timing is right?

 

Honestly, that question is really about personal preference, but there are a couple things you might want to consider.

 

 

Location:

Yes, you’re trading in snow boots and mittens for flip flops and sunglasses, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t particular patterns of weather where you’re going that need to be looked into. For example, in Florida, November has the lowest amount of rainfall so that might be a perfect time to head south. The beaches are usually the least populated during the late fall as well. You’ll be able to settle in before tourists arrive.

 

 

 

Method of Travel:

 

Many snowbirds choose to either rent or own a home in both states in which they reside. This makes it easier to readjust to either location. The packing and unpacking is less intensive, there are many cost-effective living options that are designated for dual living, and you won’t have to worry about cross-country travel accommodations. Considering airfare and finding the best prices can impact the time someone might leave.

Buttoning Up Your Seasonal Home

Bidding farewell to a seasonal property is an annual ritual met with differing emotions by countless people. The cooling weather and falling leaves are almost like an alarm clock, signaling the end of summer. If you’re a snowbird, the end of summer means it’s time to close up your seasonal home and head south for the winter. Whether you’re renting out your seasonal home or you are shutting it down until spring, there is a lot of work to be done. That list of chores can seem pretty hefty, especially if all your focus is on the desert air you’re soon to be breathing. Here is a list that should prove to be a great start at buttoning up your seasonal home:

 

First, it’s helpful to break the chores into categories. Start with the outside work as fall weather can be unpredictable. Obviously, everyone’s list will look a little different, but this should help get you started and organized:

 

  • Clean and store boats, lawn ornaments, deck furniture
  • Clean and winterize any gas-powered yard equipment
  • Store fire pit, empty flower pots, drain hoses and sprinklers
  • Rake and remove leaves as well as possible
  • Look for air leaks around wiring and the like
  • Drain water lines to prevent freezing
  • Consider setting up an alarm or home security system

 

 

 

The indoor list is a little less strenuous, but requires a keen attention to detail:

 

  • Turn off all non-essential utilities
  • Dispose of trash and pack or donate unwanted foods
  • Unplug appliances and electronics
  • If necessary, notify the homeowners association of the vacant property
  • Arrange for mail-forwarding and stop any newspaper delivery
  • Strip beds to let mattresses air out
  • Vacuum carpets and floors to ensure that no food crumbs are left to attract vermin
  • Thoroughly scrub, dust, mop, and wash the interior of the house. It’ll collect plenty of dust over the winter, no use in storing the dirt until next summer!
  • Cover furniture with tarps/plastic to protect in the event of a roof leak
  • Organize and arrange for the shipment of any boxes that you plan on bringing with you

 

 

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not going to another planet, you’ll have the opportunity to buy anything you forgot when you arrive at your winter home. That is, unless you are going to a different planet, in which case, we can’t wait to hear about it next summer! Safe travels!

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Reasons to Stay in Minnesota Until it Gets Cold

Minnesota is known for our lakes, which you hopefully utilized all summer long, and for our cold winters. With the summer winding down, snowbirds are prepping to head to their secondary locations for the winter months. That said, there is still plenty of summer left and, trust us, you don’t want to miss a Minnesota autumn. If you’re unsure of what to do as the days get shorter and the weather cools, here are some ideas:

 

Festivals and Fairs

Just because the summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean the Minnesota fun has to stop. There are plenty of festivals and fairs that take place during the treasured last few weeks of summer.

  • The Minnesota Renaissance Festival

 

This beloved Minnesota event goes from August 18th through September 30th. Visitors don’t have to dress in costume (but it’s definitely encouraged!) as they step back into a 16th Century European village. You’ll enjoy shopping, view live jousting, and interact with hundreds of characters as you spend your day feasting on turkey legs and beer. It’s truly a sight to see and an event you don’t want to miss!

 

  • The Minnesota State Fair

 

The Great Minnesota Get-Together, as it’s lovingly referred to, runs from August 23rd through September 3rd. Stroll through the fairgrounds and take in exhibits, livestock shows, shopping, music, vendors, and of course, all the food on a stick you can stomach! If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll recognize the ever-popular Tater Tot Hotdish, but with a State Fair twist: on a stick!

 

 

 

Sporting Events

If you’re not interested in fried foods and jousting, you might enjoy attending some sporting events as we transition into autumn. The new U.S. Bank Stadium hosts the Minnesota Vikings and is sure to be a great time. The Minnesota Twins continue their baseball season well into September and the Timberwolves and Lynx begin their seasons in October.

 

 

Apples, Pumpkins, and Corn Mazes. Oh My!

Visit any one of the beautiful and delicious apple orchards scattered across Minnesota. Whether you’re interested in heading to the Metro or traveling up north, you’re sure to find an apple orchard to visit! September 13th through the 16th is Applefest, the annual apple festival in the southern part of the state. Of course, you can’t think Minnesota apples without mentioning the Honeycrisp apple. Cultivated at the University of Minnesota, these delicious apples are sweet, firm, and best for eating raw.

 

You can go to pumpkin patches and find the perfect Halloween pumpkin. Many pumpkin patches also have interactive corn mazes that are fun for the whole family! Most open up around Mid-September. October 20th is the Pumpkin Fest, a free event with plenty to see and do.

 

As summer days fade into autumn evenings, snowbirds can still find plenty of activities to enjoy well before the snow falls.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Benefits of Post-Retirement Volunteering

Retired friends often ask one another, “What are you up to tomorrow?”  For many, crafting, movie-going, and visits with treasured grandchildren are on the list.  And, for more and more retirees, volunteering is also on the list.  Volunteering is a means of philanthropy that is among the most highly valued by charitable organizations.

Research continues to reveal the win/win nature of volunteerism as it provides tremendous benefits for both the volunteer and the receiving organization.  In 2017 alone, volunteers gave the equivalent of $184 billion dollars with their gifts of time.  Although retirees make up only 31% of the adult U.S. population, they account for 45% of all the hours volunteered annually.

 

Moving from a life structured around work to the non-structured life of retirement can be daunting.  Social isolation and boredom can result in reduced physical activity and depression.  Regularly volunteering can provide structure, a way to meet and engage with others, and opportunities to use long-honed skills or, to learn new ones.  Even winter visitors (otherwise known as snowbirds) are volunteering because this is one of fastest ways to meet people who like and value the same things.

 

Research continues to reveal that seniors who volunteer have lower rates of depression, lower blood pressure and lower mortality rates.  Depending upon the opportunity, volunteering can even be a way for seniors to share important life lessons with younger generations.  Retirement is a hard-earned phase of life and should be an enjoyable and active time.  Volunteering can make a significant difference in the health and wellness of retirees.  It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

To learn more about volunteer senior opportunities in Minnesota, visit http://www.mnseniorcorps.org/volunteering/how/rsvp.aspx

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Supplementing Retirement Income Seasonally

You’re retired, living seasonally, and enjoying the leisurely life you’ve earned. Your summers are spent fishing, boating, and floating on the Mississippi River at Minnesota’s premier seasonal living facility, Traveler’s Country Club on the Mississippi, and your winters are spent soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the warmth of a Sunbelt state. You’re living the life you’ve worked so hard to achieve and you absolutely love it.

 

Then, you realize that something’s just missing from your daily routine or maybe your retirement fund isn’t getting you as far as you’d planned. Either way, you’ve decided it’s time to find a way to supplement some income, but when you spend half a year in one location and the other half across the country in a different state, finding employment can get tricky. Luckily, in today’s society and with technology what it is, there are plenty of options to supplement income without hindering the seasonal lifestyle you love. Here are a few part-time job options that are perfect for snowbirds:

 

Local Resort Jobs:

First, look to your own seasonal park. There are often paid seasonal positions available. And, whether you work for resorts during the summer months or find a great resort to spend your time at during the high traffic times, like spring break, hospitality jobs are a perfect option for snowbirds. You might find work in any number of capacities, from bartender or gardener to parking valet or room cleaner. Niche opportunities abound. If you love golf, there might be openings in the pro shop or as a groundskeeper. Boaters should check out marinas for odd jobs. Gambling fans can investigate Gulf Coast casinos. Fitness professionals such as massage therapists and Pilates instructors may find seasonal jobs with a resort’s spa operations. Plus, you might be able to secure some seasonal living from the resort if you work there.

 

Pet Services:

This day and age sees many a pampered pooch. People are reluctant to leave Fido home alone all day while they’re at work. Or, maybe the family is going on a summer trip while the kids are out of school; either way, people are looking for dog-sitters. If you’re an animal lover, this is a perfect opportunity to get some time in with man (and woman’s) best friend and keep active. You can set your own hours, pricing, and the things you’re willing to provide. The possibilities are really rather endless, plus, who doesn’t want to get some love from a dachshund puppy!?

 

Online Options:

Were you an industry expert before you retired? Do you have knowledge that’s just bursting to be shared? Finding employment online might be exactly what you need. There are plenty of freelance tutoring opportunities you can choose from. You can become a blogger or freelance writer and spend your time writing about things you’ve learned to love throughout your life. If you have a way with people, you might enjoy finding a customer service job that you can do from your kitchen table. There are plenty of websites out there that are devoted to helping retirees find jobs that they can do from home and, since your computer goes where you go, it doesn’t really matter which state you’re working from.

 

There are plenty of options available if you want to supplement some income after retirement. Whether you find seasonal work, take advantage of your open schedule, or work from home, you’re sure to find something that will line your pockets and fill your time. Just don’t forget to enjoy and relax now and again. After all, you deserve it!

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Are Snowbirds Healthier?

Cold weather can become harder to endure as we get older. The older we get the less likely it is that we’re out building snowmen and ice castles or sledding down a snowy hill. A slip on the ice is more likely to result in an injury and shoveling snow becomes too taxing. When you live in colder states or Canada the solution to these problems is an easy one for many retirees: seasonal living as snowbirds! There are many health benefits for seasonal living that beg the question: are snowbirds healthier? The short answer is, yes. Here are the ways that seasonal living improves health.

According to a 2010 study, enduring cold weather puts people at a greater risk of heart attack. Older people and those with previous coronary heart disease are more vulnerable to the effects of cold temperatures. Bundling up and cranking up the heat in your home can help but it’s not a long-term solution and it can be costly. Snowbirds live in warmer climates all year round, reducing their risk of weather-related heart issues.

 

As a snowbird, you escape the harsh climate of winter and that helps you avoid the hardships that come with ice and snow. You won’t have to worry about slips and falls on the ice, sketchy driving conditions, or plowing or shoveling. That alone makes for a healthier and more secure lifestyle.

 

 

The snowbird lifestyle also allows for increased recreational activity. For outdoor enthusiasts, it means the opportunity to stay healthier with more physical activity such as golf, tennis, and walking. With beautiful weather comes the ability to get outside and stay active. Warm weather is perfect for swimming and spending the day on the boat or beach. Of course, the health benefits of staying active all year round are tremendous compared to sitting inside during winter weather or, sitting inside due to the hot summers.

 

Becoming a snowbird brings with it a change of pace. You get to enjoy your favorites all year long and you’ll build relationships with the people you meet in each location. A sense of community and belonging is incredibly important and beneficial for mental health. Plus, a life of leisure provides a slower pace and reduces stress that promotes improved mental and physical health.

 

Another health benefit of snow-birding is that your homes in both locations are typically smaller or part of an association that will help take care of maintenance. This reduces stress and alleviates some of the strain and pain associated with yard work and home upkeep. You get the benefit of less responsibility without losing the independence and autonomy you get with owning a home. If you’re an owner at Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, part of your independence includes the right to live in a community where you have some control over its operation.

 

 

These are all added health benefits that come with being a snowbird. With less risk from cold weather or extreme heat and the reduced stress, it’s easy to see why snowbirds are healthier.

How to Personalize your Seasonal Home

Personalizing and decorating your house might just be the most exciting thing you’ll do in your home. One of the challenges of decorating your home is making it look beautiful, be warm and inviting, and still feel like you. When you only live in your home part-time because you’re splitting the year between locations, you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money decorating. Here are 5 tips to save you time and money when decorating your seasonal home.

 

Picture Frames

There’s really no easier way to turn a house into a home than lining the walls with framed pictures. Whether they’re images of friends and family or just framed pictures that mean something to you, this is an inexpensive way to add a personal touch to your home. Plus, photos are fairly budget-friendly to reproduce so if you really love a picture you can have one in each home.

 

Bookshelves

Books are just something we seem to accumulate as we navigate through life. Whether you’re an avid reader or not, bookshelves can add a cozy element to your home. You certainly don’t need to fill your shelves with first editions or rare collections; even hobby books or books of photography add a dimension. Books make great gifts so chances are you’ve received a few over the years. You can always visit a great second-hand bookstore or a garage sale to find books at a low price. Find books that tell a story about you and then find some that guests may enjoy perusing. In this electronic age, seeing a bookshelf full of actual books is almost a statement art piece.

 

 

Create Color

Add colorful touches around the home in different ways to add a fun spin to your surroundings. If you spend half the year in a Sunbelt state and your summer in Minnesota, you might want to bring some of the colors you see in each place into your home space. The combination of colors and textures will add an eclectic feel that will be uniquely yours. Try colored vases, throw pillows, tapestries, or wall colors. You’ll be able to find fun items at many second-hand stores too.

 

Tell Your Travel Story

You live in two locations or maybe you travel half the year and spend your summer at home, either way, you’ve been places and seen things; use that to decorate! Maybe you have shot glasses from every place you’ve been, or you found some beautiful art on your travels, fill your space with mementos! They’re conversation starters when you have guests and it’ll bring a smile to your face when you walk past the porcelain elephant you lugged across the country with you.

 

Area Rugs

Add layers to your décor with area rugs. They definitely give the space a homey feel and you can decorate around them. Try different rugs of varying size and use more than one in each room. Rugs bring all the elements in the room together.

 

Things to Avoid:

  • House plants—when your time is divided between two locations it’s unlikely the plants will survive your absence and they’re tricky to travel with if you’re trying to bring a plant with you to both places.
  • Big Renovations—again, when your time is divided you may not want to spend half (or more) of your summer taking on huge renovation projects. Small updates are often more manageable.
  • Large Décor Pieces—chances are your seasonal home is going to be a little modest in size because you’re either renting or you own another house somewhere else. Don’t clutter the space with huge decorations and giant pieces of furniture.

Affordable Seasonal Living in Minnesota

 

Choosing a house to make into your home can be a stressful process. When you’re trying to find affordable seasonal living, it adds another element altogether. The endless opportunities for water recreation, affordable housing, and the beautiful spring, summer and early fall that you expect and love from the Midwest is why Minnesota is the perfect place for seasonal living. Still not convinced? Here are some great things about Minnesota and why it’s the best place for affordable seasonal living.

 

Water Recreation

Whether you’re floating on the Mississippi River or boating/fishing on any of the many lakes, Minnesota has plenty to offer in the way of water recreation. Enjoy a day in the sun with swimming or catching that night’s supper with some great fishing. You’ll catch plenty of smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike. You’ll catch more than fish as you enjoy sunning on the water so pack some sunscreen! Minnesota is known for its beautiful watery landscapes. You can also enjoy the beauty of the nature around you with hikes along the shoreline. Hit some bike trails then cool down with a swim—there’s so much to do here you’ll wish the summers were longer! You’ll fall in love with Minnesota summers and the summers will love you right back!

 

Affordable Seasonal Living

With a relatively low cost of living and a high median household income, Minnesota is a great place to call home—even if it’s just for part of the year. With the abundance of waterfront properties, Minnesota is also a great place for seasonal living. Many seasonal living facilities have extra amenities that are included in your association fees so, even if you don’t want to go out on a lake or the river, you’ll have plenty of activities to keep you busy! Traveler’s Country Club on the Mississippi has a 9 hole executive golf course, Pickleball, heated swimming pool, among many other activities, that’s free to residents.  As a result, you don’t have to spend extra money to do a lot of fun things. Minnesota’s strength in terms of low cost of living and affordability, low poverty rates, and high education really prove that it’s the best place to live—seasonally or otherwise.

 

Minnesota Magic

Whether you’ve lived in Minnesota all your life or you’re new to the state, most everyone can agree that there’s something magical about living here. Minnesota is a place to grow up and grow old. Part of what makes it so special is the people and way of life. We enjoy rural living here but we also have culture in the Twin Cities. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier atmosphere; imagine actually liking and becoming friends with your next door neighbor!? That’s not so strange in Minnesota.

 

If you’re looking for the peace you’ll find in nature, plenty of fun water activities, affordability, and great people, Minnesota is exactly what you need. You may come for seasonal living but you’ll never want to leave!

Minnesota Snowbirds: Places to go and Things to See

Minnesota: the Land of 10,000 Lakes. As snowbirds settling back for the Minnesota summer, you’re ready for some outdoor adventures that only Minnesota has to offer!  In summer, it’s not as hard as you’d think to take a fun trip when you’re on a budget either. Many of the great travel experiences in Minnesota can’t be bought anyway — hiking amid old-growth white pines, paddling through bluff country, listening to loons in the Boundary Waters. Here’s a list with a few of Minnesota’s summer hotspots that might pique your interest as you settle back in for the summer. Whether you’re interested in the busy city life or a slower pace, Minnesota has it all. We’ll start in the metro area and head north with this list. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

 

U.S Bank Stadium:

Home of the Minnesota Vikings, this stadium was just completed in 2016. This stadium isn’t simply a location; it’s an epicenter of excitement and experiences. But the stadium is not just the home of the Minnesota Vikings, it’s a facility that will host major national and international events that create economical, fiscal, and social benefits to the region. There’s always something to do at the U.S Bank Stadium!

 

 

 

Museum Central:

If sports aren’t your cup of tea, the Twin Cities Metro area is packed with museums. Check out the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, Children’s Museum, or either of the zoos: Minnesota Zoo or The Como Zoo.

 

Continuing north to St. Cloud, Minnesota, you have to check out Munsinger Gardens:

These gardens are St. Cloud’s pride and joy and a must-see along your northern adventure. The site was originally a sawmill. In 1915 the city purchased the area to use as a neighborhood park. Located along the Mississippi River, visitors to Munsinger Gardens can enjoy the peace and tranquility of this garden. The garden takes advantage of its shady location by featuring mainly shade loving plants; including a wide variety of Hostas and ferns. Visitors can also enjoy the many geese and ducks that have made the garden their spring and summer home.

Named after a former superintendent of parks, Munsinger Gardens continues to be a jewel of the city.

 

Brainerd, Minnesota:

The Brainerd Lakes Area – Explore It. Live It. Whether you are looking for a Minnesota adventure or for relaxation, you will discover endless options year-round in the Brainerd lakes country. World-class golfing, fishing and boating, biking, snowmobiling, shopping – even bird watching or kayaking – are just some of the reasons people choose to visit the Brainerd Lakes Area.

 

Duluth, Minnesota:

Duluth has it all: museums, water sports, nature walks, culture, the North Shore, and history. As a major port city, Duluth is a place like no other. It has an endless horizon where the largest freshwater lake in the world meets the sky. Enjoy the rocky cliffs and pristine forests where you’ll find miles of trails to explore. Duluth is a thriving community where you can take in a show, explore nature, enjoy a meal and stay in comfort no matter where your plans take you.

 

Regardless of what your Minnesota summer looks like, you’ll have no shortage of excitement! Whether you’re looking for some city action or to get in touch with nature, Minnesota has what you’re looking for! If you call Minnesota home or if you’re just visiting, you’ll fall in love with what we have to offer! Welcome to Minnesota Nice!

From Fairway to Fair Game: A Solution to Minnesota Golf Course Closings

Golf enthusiasts around Minnesota are finding it harder and harder to fuel their love of the game as golf courses around the state shut down. As we transition into, and become acclimated in, the age of technology, are the youth of America enjoying golf games on their preferred mobile devices instead of getting out on the green? Whatever the trend, popularity of the game is dwindling and causing many golf courses around the country to shut down; Minnesota is no exception.

 

Having hosted 3 PGA tours and 17 U.S Golf Association Championships over the years, Minnesota has a history rich in golf. In fact, more people play golf in Minnesota per capita than any other state in the union. Approximately one resident of every five in the Gopher state hits the green each year. Given golf’s popularity in Minnesota, the fact that so many courses are forced to shut down should speak volumes.

Fairways are turning into front yards in the Twin Cities Metro area. In 2017, the region traded in 900 acres of golf course for housing developments. In less than 20 years, Minnesota has closed the doors on nearly 70 golf courses, some of which originated in the early part of the 1900s. With fewer golfers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify keeping golf course land allotted for golfing. Many city officials wonder if golf courses should get turned over to the private sector.

For busy Americans, it might also be getting more difficult to carve out three or four hours to play 18 holes. There’s probably some natural ebb and flow in the sport’s popularity, similar to what tennis, skiing, and racquetball experienced. In this day and age, we’re seeing a different set of priorities and interests. And, Millennials don’t seem as interested in playing golf as their baby-boomer parents either.

In Minnesota, there’s another major factor: weather. A good weather year with warm spring temperatures can be a boon for a golf course. On the flip side, a rainout weekend can be devastating.

 

Solution:

Whatever the reasoning, if you’re a golf lover in Minnesota, you don’t have to mourn the loss of your golf course quite yet. In fact, you can play for FREE as a member of Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, conveniently located at the bend of the river in Clear Lake, Minnesota. There are still many golf courses available for your scheduled tee-time.