Retiring in Williamsburg Blog

Lifestyles, Community Information. Helping you find your new home


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If Williamsburg is in the top 3 to visit – wouldn’t you just rather MOVE here?

Smithsonian magazine has named  Williamsburg, Virginia number 3 on its list of best small towns to visit. The locals know it. The tourists find out about and always want to come back. Why wouldn’t someone want to retire here?

The following is the excerpt about Williamsburg being the NUMBER 3 small town to visit, in America:

The hem of a calico skirt disappearing around a corner, lowering light on the Bruton Parish Church steeple (which houses the same brass bell that rang for George Washington himself), the sound of a door being bolted and, from a tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street, a fiddle: This is Colonial Williamsburg calling it a day, which is kind of what it did after its service as the cradle of American ideals was over and the Virginia capital moved to Richmond in 1780. For the next 150 years the Tidewater town was so sidestepped by time and events that city fathers forgot to hold a municipal election in 1912.

Entering the 300-acre historic district, you encounter people in 18th-century dress actually plying colonial trades such as shoemaking, brickmaking, weaving and blacksmithing. Patrick Henry fulminates against the Stamp Act in the House of Burgesses. Citizens protest that Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of the Virginia Colony, confiscated gunpowder from the magazine after shots rang out in Lexington and Concord.


Apprentice Abby Cox plies her trade in a Colonial Williamsburg millinery shop, where hats and dresses are made with 18th-century technology. (Matt Eich)

Tourists can mingle with re-enactors on the streets of colonial Williamsburg. (Matt Eich)

Tourists can mingle with re-enactors on the streets of colonial Williamsburg. (Matt Eich)

Yet the 21st century isn’t hard to find. Residents hit the Saturday farmer’s market in Merchants Square and take part in Art Month, a fall festival that opens galleries, stages concerts, sponsors Virginia wine tastings and turns Duke of Gloucester Street in the historic village into a fine arts fair. William & Mary has its Muscarelle Museum of Art and Phi Beta Kappa Hall, where the Virginia Symphony Orchestra performs. But there’s no doubt the past is the town’s favorite pastime, even middle schoolers put their video-game consoles aside to perform with the Fifes and Drums.

If that hasn’t roused your interest in living in and falling in love with Williamsburg, there is no hope for me to be your Real Estate Buyer’s Agent! If it has tickled your fancy, pop over to my “Contact Us” page and drop me a line.

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Here are the 10 best small towns (with populations under 15,000), according to the Smithsonian:
1). Chautauqua, NY
2). Healdsburg, CA
3). Williamsburg, VA
4). Steamboat Springs, CO
5). Woods Hole, MA
6). Marietta, OH
7). Beaufort, SC
8). Sedona, AZ
9). Nebraska City, NE
10). Lanesboro, MN

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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My Skill & Heart is Volunteering with the Kiwanis of Williamsburg!

You can tell, by now, that volunteering and service are near and dear to my heart – even though I haven’t actually retired, yet. I am a proud member of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, because we improve our community. Kiwanis clubs focus on improving the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time, giving us the unique opportunity to help make Williamsburg, Virginia a better world, today, while building the leaders of tomorrow.

Service is certainly at the heart of our Kiwanis club, in Williamsburg. Some of our members give money, others give time and many give both. Members come to our weekly lunch meeting, , to socialize with their friends and to listen to interesting speakers. Some of these members have been part of the Kiwanis Club since Williamsburg’s founding, in 1958 – with only 28 members. Today we have over 170! I am proud to be part of one of the largest clubs in the Capital District because we are so active and do so much. I am also very fond of this particular club, for 3 reasons:

  •  I joined this group when I changed careers from a Systems Engineer to become a Realtor. I thought it would be a great networking tool to generate leads for my business. Instead of making me money, it has made me rich in a different way: I made great friends that I admire greatly and these friendships have become my social life, over the years. I have networked, certainly, but more than that, I have found relationships.
  •  In my previous career I traveled much of the time and did not really know Williamsburg. As part of the Kiwanis Club, I quickly learned much more about the amazing community we live in. Kiwanians make an impact, every day, in all parts of Williamsburg and because of our reach, I have learned of activities and support networks that I never would have known about. I have become an expert on this community that I live in and love.
  •  I love the feeling that volunteering gives me – that I have truly helped our Williamsburg’s children and when you give a child a gift (of reading, of friendship, of hope, of a dream), great things can and do happen.

Kiwanis International is home to the largest youth service programs in the world. To reach more people and have a greater service impact on our communities while teaching leadership skills our club sponsors, we have seven Kiwanis family clubs; Builders Clubs for adolescents; Key Clubs for teens; CKI clubs for university students and Aktion Clubs for adults living with disabilities.

I have been a very active member for my entire affiliation with the club, but for several years I served as an adviser to the Aktion Club (this club allows adults with disabilities to participate in community service projects and gain leadership skills); this position was very rewarding. I also served as President– that was really fun, as I got to meet and help choose our speakers, and even got to take my lovely wife to the Kiwanis Club International Conference, twice – once to New Orleans and the other to Geneva, Switzerland! Romantic travel with my lovely wife and unforgettable memories of how Kiwanis clubs in 80 countries improve their communities around the world!

Today, I serve as an active volunteer, as the club’s webmaster, co-chairman of the annual Smokin’ Hot BBQ fundraiser, and attend our weekly meetings. Our meetings are very well attended, not only for the fellowship but also for our tremendous speakers. We’ve had Command Chief of Ft. Eustis, Governor of Virginia candidates and VIPs from NASA Langley and Jefferson Labs speak. Each April, every Kiwanis club comes together for a day of hands-on community service that is felt around the world; we call it Kiwanis One Day.

Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg is a community that gives – and knows the value of giving. Besides hours and hours of volunteer hours of feeding, delivering, reading, and visiting, the club stages four annual fundraisers, including: Shamrock the Burg , Kiwanis Club Spring Concert at the Kimball Theater “Let’s Swing into Spring,” the Smokin Hot BBQ Fest, and the Kiwanis Shrimp Feast. These events bring a focus on community and raise money for the many programs we support, the headliners this year being: Avalon, Bacon Street, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. To know that you do more for the world than the world does for you is the true meaning of success to a Williamsburg Kiwanian!

Kiwanis of Williamsburg, Rolf Kramer, Real Estate Buyer's Agent

By The Way, put Smokin’ Hot BBQ Fest on your calendar, for Saturday, April 26, 2014. It will be held at the Walsingham Academy, for $10 admission. Music by Smith Wade Band and Herbie D and the Dangermen. Great cause; great event. I will be there, will you?

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Skill-Based Volunteering, in Retirement – Interview with SCORE Counselor

Mid-February is a great time to review your Bucket List. It is also a time to look at where you’ll volunteer your time, in 2014. Consider your volunteer position as your new career and a way to use your career skills to further the mission of the organization. Today, I am going to highlight a Williamsburg organization called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Funding and assistance comes from the federal Small Business Administration and The Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce.  SCORE is responsible for 8 business-training seminars a year and offers initial consultations and even ongoing meetings to small-business start ups, for free. The mission of the organization is to overcome the percentage of small businesses that fail in the first five years (60%!) by giving them mentors to work with, upfront, before leases are signed and major business-expenses occur. Besides a New Business Start-Up Planning Guide, the counselors are assigned by expertise and skill set to help people in businesses that are floundering and need some assistance or people who wish to start a business and need some direction. SCORE Volunteers are “experts,” Paul Luchsinger of Williamsburg SCORE says, in many fields. “We are owners that have succeeded, failed, bought and sold, or we have served on executive boards of corporations. It is our turn to give back and help someone with THEIR dream. Very often we co-counsel so that we can bring more skills to the table and assist new-business start-ups with their business plan, tweaking systems that are already in place, or helping people network with proper entities to make them successful, faster.”

I asked Luchsinger how the coaching processes works and he responds, “Sometimes I encourage. Sometimes I discourage. Occasionally, I will be mentoring someone and he hasn’t completely thought his plan out; he just has a dream. For instance, he loves to cook and wants to open a restaurant but has never worked in a restaurant. I ask plenty of questions helping him realize that he has no idea what the ins and outs of working in a kitchen are or what the health codes are or how many employees he will need to run this restaurant. We encourage him to find a part-time cooking position, plan his menus, find his vendors, before he ditches his full time job. When this restaurant finally opens, it will have a greater chance to be successful. My hope, always, is that I can intercept someone, at the right and critical time, so that I can be a sounding board that knows many answers and can be a cheerleader WHEN the plan is fully baked. In my opinion a dream or concept has got to be able to self-sustain and pay a new owner at least minimum wage to be deemed ‘successful.’ At every initial consultation we discuss the selling skill. I will ask a new client if they are good at selling and they say “no, this business doesn’t require selling.” That is wishful thinking – because of course he has to sell: his wife, investors, the bank, vendors, employees, and eventually customers. Any entrepreneur has to be a salesperson, on some level – and first they have to sell ME, and I am tough sell (he smiles).”

Luchsinger gives a modest amount of time to SCORE: one monthly meeting with the other counselors and the consultations, themselves, that are set between his clients and himself at mutually convenient times. They meet at coffee shops, at the Chamber of Commerce, or even over the phone. Commitments are not confining and the SCORE volunteers can control the number of hours they work.

Why does Luchsinger feel like this is the ideal volunteer opportunity for him? Although he had many successes in his career years, he got his PHD in “losing” and now he can payback all the very talented people that helped him bounce back from his loss to avoid future mistakes. SCORE is Luchsinger’s chance to make the dreams of next generation come true!

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Romance lives – after Valentine’s Day

Here it is March and Valentine’s Day has come and gone. We joke that Valentine’s Day is for the florists to get rich and that romance shouldn’t be saved up for only one day a year. Romance lives – in first loves, young love, second-chance love, and in married-for-years love. But, how DOES love endure, year after year? As we face our golden years and our “best of times,” in retirement, romance is more important than ever. Agreed?

Romance after 50, active retirement, Rolf Kramer, Real Estate Agent, Williamsburg, VAMy wife and I have a mutual affection for those elegant, elder couples who’ve loved for years. Still holding hands, looking at each other when they speak, and clearly enjoy each other’s company. They have figured it out. I believe it is the little things that show love:

  • Love appreciates.
  • Love gives undivided attention.
  • Love takes care to not use hurtful words or asks for forgiveness, when failing this.
  • Love is tolerant and has given up trying to change the other.
  • Love means being friends.
  • Love means having a life, separate from each other.
  • Love means just listening, sometimes.
    • Love means remembering romantic details (dates, wearing gifts that the other gave, a favorite dish).
    • Love means telling their mate that they are seen in the way that they want to be seen (beautiful, strong, handy, or a fabulous cook).
    • Love means remembering what your partner role is and living up to it.
    • Love means taking time for connection, whether it is in the kiss good bye or the touching-base phone call.
    • STILL – it is the little things – public affection, ordering for each other, picking up after each other, bringing each other a second cup of coffee – those are the things that show closeness and respect and help love endure.

After all this thinking about romance (difficult for my engineer mind), I am exhausted. YOUR turn:  What does your partner do that makes you feel appreciated? What special “little thing” makes you feel loved?

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Skill-Based Volunteering, in Retirement – How to Choose an Organization

Coping with the loss of your career identity, replacing support networks you had through work, as well as spending more time than ever before with your spouse and finding new and engaging ways to stay active is what happens in first stage of retirement. Weirdly, many of the very attributes that made you successful in your work life & career will often work against you, in retirement. Why? Being driven, detail oriented, and juggling many things really WORK when you have goals and deadlines… but in retirement, you don’t have deadlines or sale’s goals.  You can fill that void, responsibly, with a skill-based volunteer position that draws from those attributes.

Skills-based volunteering, Rolf Kramer, Real Estate, Williamsburg

It’s important to make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit and that your commitment is small, at first. This helps gives you the opportunity to shift gears, and refocus, if you need to. Take some time before committing to an organization by researching how your personal skills fit the positions needing to be filled, because skill-based volunteering makes a huge difference to the organization, to the community, and to own your self-esteem.

Skills-based volunteering, Rolf Kramer, Real Estate, Williamsburg

Make no mistake about it – volunteering increases life satisfaction and provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, once your job identity is “retired.” A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. A recent study using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) showed that a modest amount of volunteer activity lowered the risk of hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, renal failure, and cognitive impairment (Burr, Tavares, and Mutchler 2010). Volunteers reported that they read more books and magazines, chose more active and mentally challenging activities (such as crossword puzzles), and watched less television after they had started their volunteer commitment than they had previously.

Here are a couple of links to help you find volunteer opportunities, in Williamsburg, Virginia

http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/city/Williamsburg/VA/

http://www.volunteerwilliamsburg.org/

http://networkwilliamsburg.org/

So get out there and start researching organizations that need YOU and YOUR skill set. It is great for you, good for you community, and we need to be happier and more fulfilled in retirement, because retirement is supposed to be “the good life!” Make yours GREAT!

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Skill-Based Volunteering, in Retirement – How to Serve

In retirement the dream is to take care of our parents financially, spend more time with grandchildren, and to have lots more time with siblings, friends, and our hobbies. And of course we choose to volunteer many hours to worthy organizations. This article hopes to help you serve your community in a satisfying way, when you choose to Retire in Williamsburg.

Skills-based volunteering, Rolf Kramer, Real Estate, Williamsburg

Typically, when it comes to volunteering, passion and positivity are the only requirements, but the key to creating satisfaction in a volunteer position is to put your talents and professional skills to use. Let’s look at HOW you could serve others:

  • Take your neighbor to the market.
  • Mow all the lawns in the neighborhood.
  • Serve food to the homeless at the shelter.
  • Help out at the thrift store.

More than half of all volunteers collect, distribute or serve food – certainly serving the less fortunate has many feel-good effects. But, let’s say that before you retired, you were an executive, a decorated officer, worked on Wall Street, owned several small businesses, dealt in investment real estate, or were a web developer. How would these skills translate to pro-bono volunteering, in skill-Based Volunteering:

  • Help retiring military personnel revamp their resume for the private sector.
  • Help someone download virus protection or back up photos.
  • Teach other seniors how to use MS Word or MS Excel.
  • Counsel substance abusers at the homeless shelter.
  • Teach money management to young couples in serious credit-card debt.

Choose to use your career skills, because skill-based volunteering provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry the next generation into success and even entrepreneurship. Volunteers are often the figurative glue that holds a community together and if the right people are volunteering, the system works smoother, more is done, and more of an impact is made on the community – making your city a better place to live.  Realize that as a retiree, you have the kind of life experience that can DO more, so give more of your education and life experience to change the direction of the next generation!

Here are a couple of links to help you find volunteer opportunities, in Williamsburg, Virginia

http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/city/Williamsburg/VA/

http://www.volunteerwilliamsburg.org/

http://networkwilliamsburg.org/.

Lastly, if you have just moved into your retirement city, volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends, broaden your support network, and expose you to neighborhood resources and activities. Invest time in the ‘where’ of your retirement (obviously, I hope you’ll choose to Retire in Williamsburg, Virginia!), but spend just as much time in researching your pro-bono work and community service to figure out the best place to volunteer and serve, in your new community.

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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An Old Dog CAN Learn New Tricks

 

Old Dog retirement, Rolf Kramer real estate Virginia“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” refers to humans learning new things once they’ve become “set in their ways.” Of course, older people can learn—and do so, all the time! Take a look at the number of small business start ups over the last few years and you’ll find boomers leading the parade – especially in technology and health. As a near-retirement aged, experienced employee and real estate agent in Williamsburg, I don’t see myself as an old dog; I see myself continually rising to new challenges. 

Yes or No? Continue with the new routine. Rolf Kramer, Real Estate Agent VirginiaWe should always, especially at retirement age, be willing to try something new (and stick with it!), even if it feels uncomfortable, at the beginning. But, how to stay motivated, on off days? The answer is in motivation. The problem with this is that motivation often comes after starting. Here are your steps to overcome lack of motivation, Old Dog!

1) Make your first step of the new-routine so easy that you cannot say “No!”

  • Studying starts by putting a glass of water on the right side of your books.
  • Exercise starts by putting on running shoes and checking the Weather Channel.
  • Cleaning starts by putting on rubber gloves and getting the pail of cleaning supplies out.

In other words, the single most important step to ANY task is the start. That’s why your first step needs to be incredibly simple. The example above (studying) routine could be started by filling up a water glass, so that when you don’t feel like studying, you can simply say: “I just have to fill up my water glass.” The wheels are in motion and your routine continues from there.

2) The second step is to get physically moving toward your end goal

If your routine can include physical movement, add it to the beginning, because it is difficult to “think” yourself into getting motivated. Why? When you are unmotivated, you are slumped and looking down (and melting into your easy chair!) so to add movement to the routine continues the forward motion. There’s no decision making and you simply follow the pattern you’ve created.

3) Do the new pattern the same way, even when the routine is established

Your purpose of creating a pre-routine routine is to create a series of tasks that happen before you do a specific task. These specific tasks tell your mind, “I do this before I ___.” Eventually, the routine becomes tied to your performance; you are pulled into a mental state that is primed to continue. Therefore, you don’t need motivation; you simply need to start your routine.

Don't say no, anymore. Continue with the new routine. Rolf Kramer, Real Estate Agent VirginiaBuild small routines and patterns to overcome the daily motivation battles and even if you aren’t feeling up to the challenge at the beginning of your new routine, by the time you finish your first couple of steps, you’ll be in “game mode.” Look at the top performers in sports, theater or CEOs – they always start the task the same way, whether it is a free throw shot, live television, or public speaking. Are they always motivated? No, but they use their pre-game patterns or superstitions to pull them into the right mental state.

At the time of the year where everyone else is feeling guilty for not sticking to their 2014 New Year’s resolutions, you have the secret. You can and WILL learn new tricks.

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455

Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.

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