Why some Coloradans are cashing out of the Front Range and seeking their rural happily-ever-after
January 2, 2018
Gail and Dennis Hendricks set out on a quest to find their future, and its rules were simple: Head east, out of the city, and stop at every town along Interstate 70.
It was in Flagler, about 120 miles from their home in Arvada, where they found the "adorable little community" they were searching for, a quaint and tiny town where "everybody's lawns were mowed" and, more importantly, a place where they could afford to retire. The couple had only ever heard of Flagler from a TV weather report.
The Hendrickses found a "Closed for lunch" sign on the door of the real estate office on Main Street, but as they waited outside, they met a friendly Flagler resident who told them that if they were looking for a rental, they ought to ask for Marie inside the beauty shop. They soon found Marie and quickly agreed to rent a two-bedroom house with hardwood floors and a front porch for $500 per month.
In Arvada, the Hendrickses were paying $1,100 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in a complex with more than 60 units. Rent had recently gone up by $300. Also, Gail fought traffic for an hour twice a day to work in Lakewood, where she was a technician for an eye doctor.
On Aug. 1, they moved to Flagler, where life is slower, friendlier and cheaper, said the couple, both 65. They sip coffee on their front porch and chat with fellow residents walking through town. At the grocery store, people say hello and ask about the wind. Surprising to both of them, Dennis, who grew up in Denver, is happier about the change in pace than Gail, who is from a small town in Nebraska. They miss their grandchildren — but not much else about city life.
"We don't have a Hobby Lobby, and that makes me sad," Gail said. "Other than that, they have everything you need here."