Where I Decided to Retire After Moving 33 Times

September 22, 2022 at 10:05 a.m.
Local author Peggy Cleveland's new book is 100 Things to Do in Tacoma Before You Die
Local author Peggy Cleveland's new book is 100 Things to Do in Tacoma Before You Die

After moving 33 times across the United States and around the world, author, journalist and travel writer Peggy Cleveland chose Steilacoom as her forever home.


The historic town of Steilacoom, which was the first incorporated town in the Washington territory, offers small-town charm but is just a short drive to the big-city amenities of Tacoma.  


This month, Peggy launched a new book about her chosen “territory” – 100 Things to Do in Tacoma Before You Die. The book is an homage to a city she loves. While Tacoma has long sat in the shadow of its more famous neighbor – Seattle – when it comes to being an enticing destination, Peggy’s book offers tips on why visitors and locals alike should explore the region.


Peggy also penned an article about why she chose to retire in the Tacoma area: Where I Decided To Retire After Moving 33 Times During My Life. “One of the most stressful decisions of my life was deciding where to retire and find my forever home,” she writes. Peggy grew up as a military brat, served in the Army for 12 years, and then as a military spouse until her husband retired from service.


She loved the life of a travel bug, and “the idea of settling down in one place and never moving again was agonizing for me. What if I made the wrong choice?” Knowing about all the great places from her travels made the decision even more difficult.


Her husband’s last duty station before retiring was Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the couple found that the area felt like home. They were able to buy their dream retirement home in nearby Steilacoom, a small town with plenty of historic charm. The views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains clinched the decision. Being a retired military couple means they can take advantage of the tax-free shopping on the military base.


Choosing their final destination included the realization that they didn’t want to live in an “ever-sunny” climate with too much heat. Puget Sound’s temperate climate, rain and all, suits them just fine. “I was surprised how much I loved the mild winters and the grey, rainy weather,” writes Peggy.


Their decision on where to retire has all worked out wonderfully well for the couple. The article offers advice to anyone searching for a retirement destination, along what the author would have done differently. When making the important decision on where to retire, Peggy advises that “the key to success is to allow yourself plenty of time to plan and don’t rush into a decision.”


Peggy’s new book, 100 Things to Do in Tacoma Before You Die, offers tips on exploring her new home territory. She includes the area’s “must-see” attractions along with hidden gems. Peggy calls Tacoma the perfect gateway town to explore Mount Rainier, urban kayaking, world-class museums, Broadway shows and so much more – all in one place. She includes suggested itineraries and insider’s tips, such as where to view native son Dale Chihuly’s stunning art glass installations, a guide to Tacoma’s waterfront (which has been transformed from one of the most polluted areas in the country to a magnet destination) and Point Ruston, a remarkable new development that offers a vibrant place to hang out before you explore the nearby “crown jewel” of Tacoma—Point Defiance Park. Peggy is also enthusiastic about Tacoma’s historic neighborhood districts, along with all the shops and restaurants they offer. Tacoma even has a historic connection to famous candy (think Almond Roca and Mars Bars).


You can meet Peggy and learn more about her new book at one of the events below:


Book Signing

Saturday, September 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pine and Moss Small Business Collective

1100 Station Dr Suite 141

DuPont, WA 98327

(253) 302-5071

Free and open to the public


Book Signing

Sunday, September 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Foss Waterway Seaport – Maritime Museum

705 Dock St.

Tacoma, WA 98402

(253) 272-2750

Free and open to the public


Presentation and Book Signing

Saturday, October 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Lewis Army Museum

4320 Main St. and Constitution Dr

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433

(253) 967-7206

Free and open to the public


Book Signing

Friday, October 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Ice Cream Social

5107 Main St

Ruston, WA 98407

Free and open to the public


Book Signing

Friday, October 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dahlman Cellars

113 N Tacoma Ave

Tacoma, WA 98403

(253) 342-9455

Free and open to the public


Book Signing
Saturday, October 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tacoma Nature Center
1919 S Tyler St.
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 404-3930
Free and open to the public. Includes drop-in wildlife activity, nature walk, Adventure Packets for loan, Agents of Discovery interactive AR game and refreshments.

Book Signing

Friday, October 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Dupont Historical Museum

207 Barksdale Ave.

Dupont, WA 98327

(253) 964-2399

Free and open to the public


Book Signing

Saturday, November 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pine and Moss Small Business Collective

1100 Station Dr Suite 141

DuPont, WA 98327

(253) 302-5071

Free and open to the public


Book Signing
Saturday, November 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
W.W. Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park
316 S G St.
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 404-3975
Free and open to the public.

Book Signing

Friday, November 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pine and Moss Small Business Collective

1100 Station Dr Suite 141

DuPont, WA 98327

(253) 302-5071

Free and open to the public


Book Signing

Friday, November 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Kris Kringle Market*

Thurston County Fairgrounds

3054 Carpenter Rd SE

Lacey, WA 98503

(360) 786-5453

Free and open to the public


* The Kris Kringle Market is a family friendly event honoring the timeless traditions of craftsmanship and holiday spirit. The Market features holiday music, handmade goods, wreaths, food trucks and more. Peggy said Northwest Prime Time readers should enjoy the Market event, which is presented by the Spouses’ Club of Lewis-McChord. Peggy will be at the November 18th event, but the Market runs both November 18-19. For more information about the Market, visit Kris Kringle Market.


For more information about Peggy, visit her website: www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com

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