You live in a nice area! We lived near Woodstock NY from '77-82. So I
can relate to getting to an area with a lower cost of living. To say
nothing about nice weather.
Now about AZ.
There are several different types of climate & life style (& cost of
living) in AZ. Generally, the Phoenix area is most congested & highest
priced. The next large area is Tucson, about 800,000. However, Tucson
is more laid back & not as cosmopolitan as Phoenix. After that comes
Flagstaff & Prescott. Flags’ in Northern AZ, about 100,000. Can’t
comment on the cost of living.
Climate wise Flag’s cooler than Tucson or Phoenix. It’s about 4500
ft, so they get snow every winter & some serious storms. In the summer
it’s about 20 deg cooler than Phoenix. Tucson is about 2400 ft &
Phoenix about 1400. Prescott is about 100 mi N of Phoenix at about
3500 ft. Sedona is about 50 mi So of Flag, about 4000 ft. They get
snow as well.
From what I’ve heard, the Sedona area is undergoing quite real estate
boom. Lots of folks from CA are moving in. There are a lot of
developers doing condos & timeshares as well. It’s starting to get a
high priced rep. BTW: Jim Kaufman (intarsia) lives in the Sedona area.
Prescott is also growing, ( hell, all of AZ is growing) but not as
fast as some areas. All of the folks I’ve talked to that live there
seem to like it. Not many negative comments.
have all the benefits of a large metro area & few of the hassles.
Tucson is home to the U of AZ, Davis Monthan Air Base, the Desert
Museum, Kitt Peak Nat Observatory, Raytheon Missile Systems, IBM, many
small hi tech cos & not to be forgotten, the Feb Gem show! There’s
also some very good hiking, rock hounding & gold prospecting within a
1 hr drive of Tucson. If you’re a skier, Tucson’s got the most
southerly ski slop in the US
The cost of living isn’t too high. The colder months (Nov- Apr) see
lots of snow birds. Many of them are looking for things to do & indulge
in new hobbies. There are lots of active artists (all disciplines, but
many lapidaries & metalsmiths) in the Tucson area. There are 2 local
clubs( Tucson Gem & Mineral, Old Pueblo Lapidary) that have club
houses & regular meetings & classes. The county & city parks & rec
depts have studios & offer classes. There’s a statewide organization,
AZ Designer Craftsman, for the artists/craftsperson. There groups
within it for the various disciplines.
Another area you might consider is Sierra Vista. It’s SE of Tucson
about 1 1/2 hr. It’s the home of Ft. Huchuca. Of late there seem to be
a lot of folks retiring there. Can’t tell you much about it. It’s
about 3000 ft & about 75,000 (I think).
If you’re looking to set up a school & want something to do when
you’re not teaching, just about anywhere in AZ would fill the bill.
If you’ve got any specific questions, fire away. I’ll try to answer
So you’ll know where I’m coming from. My wife & I were both born &
raised in Iowa. I started working for IBM there. They moved me to NY &
then to AZ. I retired in AZ in '91. Both our kids (& grand kids) live
in Tucson. If I had it to do all over, I’d do it again. AZ (Tucson) is
a great place to live!