Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of essays written by a recent retiree to North Carolina. If you would like to share your story, please send it us at: Essay. Please limit to 500 words. Your full name will be kept confidential.

Why I Retired to North Carolina

Elizabeth G., Oriental, NC

For as long as I can remember, I've longed to wake up and see endless amounts of crystal blue water surrounded by sand. I've always been entranced with the undulating fashion of how the waves always come back to the shore. To me, the water is what brings happiness and makes me feel most at home.

I haven't always lived near the water. In fact, I am used to seeing rolling hills and snowy mountain tops accompanied by chilly weather and placid, serene lakes. Although my husband and I have lived in the mountains throughout our childhood to present day, our many trips to the eastern North Carolina sealed the deal on where we decided to retire.

Both my husband and I longed for the view of an infinite skyline, with sunrays bouncing and glinting off of the beautiful Neuse River. Imagine waking up and being able to see sailboats dance across the water, speed boats flint back and forth, kites dance in the sky and children and families laughing and playing in the sand. This is what I've come to be able to be a part of everyday by retiring the North Carolina coast. Not only have I met numerous incredible people, some retirees and others not, I've learned to fish and sail! Something I have always wanted to accomplish.

Although we are used to quiet surroundings, living on the Neuse River gives me sense of serenity that the mountains lacked. There is a sense of community and love, as though we are all tied together through the water. Watching the clouds roll in before a hot summer's day thunderstorm becomes an event in which my friends and I sit on our rocking chairs on the porch and sip a tall glass of cold, sweet lemonade. Life has become more intriguing, each day the weather brings a new happiness and the environment affirms our decision to retire to North Carolina.

We looked at various other river locations, as well as oceanfront homes. But what it came down to for us was the sense of community we found and the beauty of the Neuse River during every season. Not only is the river and its surroundings beautiful in the summer, but also in the fall, spring and winter. Each season offers a different opportunity for activities that we never have had before. There was no question after we found this spot to retire to on the Neuse River -- it has provided us peace of mind for years to come.