Virginia - Experience Retirement Living In Small Town College Environment
In view of the fact that people today are retiring at a younger age, it is not surprising that many of them stay active and involved by opting to live in a location with a nearby college or university in order to take advantage of cultural and educational opportunities which those institutions offer. And no other state has a more appealing array of small college towns than Virginia.
Perhaps most notable is Charlottesville, the picturesque pastoral setting for Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia and a town cited by several sources as the best place to live in the country. Truly, this is a city where the residents are clearly devoted to the arts, literature and the love of learning, and its reputation for a high quality of life and cultural enrichment plays prominently in attracting retirees.
Notwithstanding the price of real estate, Charlottesville remains one of the more affordable places to live in the country. With a population of only 45,000 within the city limits, the city has a history of low unemployment, a reputation for an excellent education system and outstanding health care facilities. Add these factors to the rich beauty of the surrounding countryside and the opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoyment, and the city’s stature as a desirable place to retire is totally understandable.
Williamsburg and the surrounding area is another small town with a sense of history and tradition that is also gaining attention as a retirement destination. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of its funding in 2007, this is community is one of the more unique places to live in the country. Adding to the character and charm of this small town is the presence of the College of William and Mary, the nation’s second oldest institution of higher learning.
Well-known for its historically Colonial area, Williamsburg has, in recent years, witnessed the development of several new master-planned residential golf and active adult communities. With its location near the Chesapeake Bay and the major metropolitan East Coast areas and its mild year around climate, this region can be expected to remain a popular retirement choice for the foreseeable future.
Blacksburg, located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, is dominated economically and demographically by the presence of Virginia Tech, the state’s largest university. In fact, its 24,000 students comprise the majority of the town’s 40,000 residents. Labeled as the nation’s most wired city as a result of its intensive effort to provide wireless internet access throughout the entire city, Blacksburg and neighboring Radford offer the charm and hospitality of small town neighborhoods as well as a strong mix of outdoor-oriented activities.
Paths for biking and hiking lead the way from the campus of Virginia Tech to an ever-growing downtown filled with small businesses and family restaurants. Proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the New River, one of the country’s most scenic waterways, provide great escapes for weekend excursions.
With two colleges, Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee, Lexington, still another picture postcard small town in the Shenandoah Valley, offers a broad calendar of plays, concerts and speakers that is very appealing to retirees looking for a sense of cultural and community involvement. With a quaint and active downtown area, several nearby golf courses and an active arts program that includes musical festivals and an outdoor summer theater, Lexington must be added to the list of Virginia’s retirement options.
Several other small towns that one might want to consider include Salem, Lynchburg and Roanoke, a larger metropolitan center in the southwest portion of the state that is nestled in a beautiful mountain setting. Nearby is Smith Mountain Lake, a recreational and resort area which is home to several new residential complexes and is proving to be especially popular with retirees from the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas.
While home prices in certain Virginia cities can be somewhat expensive, overall the cost of living in most areas is below the national average. Combine this situation with its reputation as a progressive and economically stable state, mild climate, proximity to both the mountains and Atlantic Coast beaches, and Virginia is certain to rank high on the list for many retirees searching for that perfect place to retire.
This Month’s Spotlight City: Charlottesville
For more information on finding your best places to retire, visit