Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Fourth Anniversary of Living in Monticello, Utah!!!

Four years ago, May 18, 2009, my husband and I moved into our current home located in Monticello, Utah (founded in 1888).  Originally we had planned on moving to Moab, Utah, but while housing prices plummeted in Pennsylvania, they remained quite high in Moab.  After revisiting the area in 2008, we settled on a second choice in case Moab stayed out of our reach; the small city of Monticello.  Now after living in large populated areas in New York and Pennsylvania, Monticello seemed far out of the definition of city with a population still under 2000.  Nevertheless, we purchased a home that had been severely neglected; put tons of love, and cash, into its revitalization; and here we still remain.  There is so much more we would love to do with the rebuilding of the home, but until we hit the big lottery jackpot...

Traveling South from Moab, Utah on Route 191 you begin to see the outskirts of Monticello.  The speed limit throughout town is 30, and you better abide by it.  Center and Main Streets are the crossroads for Routes 191 (leading to Blanding, Bluff and eventually, Monument Valley) and 491 (leading to Colorado).  The town is under-established business wise with the majority being hotels and motels.  Most residents, whether they admit to it or not, do much of their shopping in Cortez, Colorado (only one hour away on Route 491) which has two major supermarket chains and a WalMart.  For tourists, there is The Hideaway Golf Course for those interested in golfing, but the largest attraction is Canyonlands National Park which features The Needles, and many other breath taking formations, arches and Indian ruins. 

The Abajo Mountains
Monticello is 7100 miles above sea level and sits beneath the watchful eye of the Abajo Mountains.  It is normally 20 degrees cooler than Moab which is wonderful during the summer months; winter is a whole other story though.  A paved road leads up to and throughout; eventually leading out to Route 211 to Canyonlands or back to Route 191.

The scenery up in the Abajos is so beautiful; mountains, forest, brushland (aka prairie, range), desert, grassland work in perfect harmony.  There are trails to be hiked, rocks to be climbed, places to picnic and you are surrounded by, not just sheer natural beauty, but absolute quiet.  You can hear your own heart beat while breathing in the crisp, clean air.

Loyd's Lake
Foy Lake

   There are three lakes in the Abajos; Loyd's Lake, Monticello Lake and Foy Lake; along with many camping areas around the  lakes, or nearby.

Monticello Lake

What has taken my breath away, simply astounded me even to this day is the sky.  The most perfect blue sky I have ever seen; not that pollution filled sickly bluish-green, but BLUE!!!  The clouds are brightly white and so puffy.  The stars at night are as bright as diamonds; when the moon is full it's as if you could actually put your hand up and touch it.


Monticello, Utah is not a perfect town; yes, it needs to come into the 21st century by providing more business, not just for its residents (which means employment too), but to attract more tourists and their dollars.  Instead of many places closing down for the winter, they could remain open if winter sports areas were established in the mountains.  Monticello needs to grow and I am not the only resident who feels this way; but we all agree that it cannot expand too rapidly or largely.  Keep the quaint town feel, but make sure all those storefronts are open for business!

As to residing in Monticello, I certainly encourage anyone who wants to live in a beautifully scenic environment to purchase a home here.  The big city?  Visit if you need to, but don't live there if you want to remain sane and healthy.  Sometimes someone will ask me if I ever intend on going back to the East Coast...OH HELL NO!!!

Mary Cokenour


  1. I agree with you about the growth. Not like Moab. We need a new mayor too.

    1. Tim Young has proven to be an excellent mayor.

  2. Mary, we are considering moving out that way from RI. What did you mean when you said (comparing winters to Moab winters) 'Winters are another story.' Are they bad out there? Thank you!

  3. Mary, we are thinking about moving out that way from RI. Can you elaborate a little more when you mentioned winter (comparing it to Moab) and said 'winters are another story.' Thank you!

    1. Hi Christine, I would say Yes!, move out here. The geographical landscapes out here are wondrous, pure blue sky, clear fresh air, and plenty of room! As to our winters, I've been here 6 yrs now and each winter has been different, from 6 feet one year to barely a foot in other years. The winters in Moab used to be very mild, but they have been getting hit harder than Monticello in the past 2 yrs, and we're at a higher elevation with mountains behind us! Anyway, whether you are retiring, or have family coming with you; Monticello is a quiet town and am very happy we moved here instead of Moab which is noise, noise, noise during the tourist season. Hope this helped you out; if you need a realtors name and number; email me at and I'll give you my best contact.

  4. Mary thank you for your quick response. My husband are both semi retired and last years winter here just about did us in. LOL, I don't want to spend another winter even thinking about loading a wood stove. I was surprised to hear the winter temps out there (I forgot about the mountains). I thought it would be a bit warmer. Anyways, one by one, I'm looking at the towns around Moab --Blanding, Bluff, Mexican Hat, etc. My husband's daughter just moved to Moab and we were so hoping to get out that way but as you said, houses are extremely high. I appreciate your blog and any input. Anything else you would like to offer is greatly appreciated.

    1. Retirement would be perfect for you then; the new senior center was just built and it's lovely! Have your step-daughter come up to Monticello, go to the Welcome Center on Main Street, and ask for me. Also, I've written so much about all the towns you've mentioned, and personally (remember, I'm biased), Monticello would make you happier; especially being semi-retired, like I am. :)

  5. Hello Mary,
    My soon-to-be husband came across your blog and passed it on to me. We are also in the process of wanting to move out to Moab (from Wisconsin) and finding it challenging to find housing in our price range. So in looking at other options, Monticello has come up. I was wondering, since you've lived there for a bit, if you would ever be open to connecting about what it is like to live in Monticello. My to be husband and I are both in our mid 30's and wondering what kind of community Monticello is. My name is Susie. Hope to connect with you! Feel free to email me at

    1. Hello Susie,
      To reassure you, your husband and you and one of several that have used my blog for a guide into moving into the area; so soon I might be saying, "Welcome to the Neighborhood". I will email you shortly with the name and number of one of the realtors here; real down to earth man. Regards, Mary

  6. Hello Mary,

    My wife and myself are also thinking of moving to Monticello. I had the same questions about the community? You can email me at