Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I Retired To Delaware

The picture to the right is one of the reasons I retired to Delaware, to be near the water. All my life I’ve wanted to work and/or live near the water. As I approached my retirement age, I realized this was one goal I had not achieved. For many years I visited Provincetown, Massachusetts. I fell in love with Cape Cod. However, as much as the Cape was a perfect fit for me, I had to face reality. In Massachusetts the winters are long and cold and the taxes are too high. Delaware’s taxes are low and the winters are milder, with virtually no snow accumulation. Another good reason for moving to Delaware is that it is only 2 ½ hour drive to my Mother’s home in Pennsylvania. The trip to her home from Massachusetts would be a nightmarish sequence of plane trips, taking at least a whole day. The choice was easy. Delaware was my retirement destination. For over 30 years I had been visiting a friend in Sussex County, Delaware. I was well aware of the lay of the land. Another major factor for me was that the Rehoboth Beach area and many of its surrounding communities were gay friendly. Many older gay men and women found a community in Delaware that they could not find in their own hometowns. While the state of Delaware still does not offer domestic partner benefits, many gay retirees have found Sussex County, Delaware (also known as “Slower Lower”) a place where they felt comfortable leading normal lives shopping at Super Fresh or Loews. Same sex couples could go to restaurants and not invite quizzical and sometimes disapproving stares from other diners. In Sussex County Delaware, same sex couples can live in neighborhoods just like any other family. No longer are we restricted to inner big city neighborhoods. Gone are the days when a same sex couple would invoke suspicion and, sometimes, outright hostility by living in a family neighborhood. When I lived in Pennsylvania, for many years I had a neighbor who expressed their homophobic hostility to me and my partner almost daily. They made our lives tense and unhappy. That is all in the past now. I live in a development just two miles from Henlopen Bay. While I don’t live on the water, I do work on the water. To sum up the reasons I retired to Delaware, I work and live near the water, pay low taxes, and live in a friendly neighborhood. I have a great job. I work with wonderful people and love doing what I’m doing, working the front desk at a small bed and breakfast inn on the canal in Lewes, Delaware. That is just about as much as one could ask for. Oh, I wouldn’t mind winning the Powerball lottery this weekend.


  1. I agree with you entirely on the beauty of our area, on the pleasant climate, and on the gay-friendliness of Lewes and Rehoboth. But I do feel the need to point out two less pleasant realities waiting in the wings.

    First, while I am very proud of our gay-friendliness here on the coast, I don't think it extends inland to much of the rest of Sussex County. And I think our taxes are going to have to go up; we can't continue to support the growth in housing in this area on only the realty transfer tax. Especially now that the market is in such a deep slump.

    Not to rain on the parade. I do love Lewes. But I think we have to be realistic.

  2. You are right, the gay friendliness is only on the east side of Rt. 1, the coastal area. Taxes will go up as migration from neighboring states continues. Ironically many of those migrating are retirees seeking to escape high taxation. Hopefully in my lifetime I won't see taxes rise to the level that I was paying in Pennsylvania. All I'm looking for is a gay friendy safe haven, comfortable climate, and affordable place to live out my retirement years. To me Delaware, especially Sussex County, had the most to offer.


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