More than ever, retirees searching for a new retirement destination are evidencing a growing preference for small town living, a move, no doubt, hastened by a desire to escape the fast pace and congestion found in most big cities. In recognition of this approach to retirement living, developers are heeding this trend by targeting popular small towns for the location of new retirement and planned communities.
horizonsUSA.com, a website providing detailed retirement information on cities and towns across the country, has looked at this trend and designated ten unique and interesting small towns as being especially appealing retirement choices. These are not necessarily considered as the ten "best" small towns, but merely as communities readers may wish to consider in their search for a place to retire. In making these selections, several factors were evaluated, i.e., affordability, quality of living, medical facilities, climate, outdoor recreation, accessibility, etc. The ten are not being ranked in any particular order.
1. ASHLAND / MEDFORD, OREGON
The cultural and artistic reputation of these two small cities, situated ten miles apart, may be unmatched by any other population center of a similar size. Mild weather, small town atmosphere and a diverse mix of recreational and cultural diversions, the most notable being the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, add up to an attractive and exciting lifestyle that often results in this area being cited among the best places to retire by several publications and experts in retirement living.
Surrounded by the Rogue River National Forest, Crater Lake National Park and towering mountain ranges, the list of natural attractions and opportunities for outdoor recreation available to these two communities seems almost endless. There is little wonder why so many people keep putting this area at or near the top of their "best places to retire list." Frankly, we know of no other single location that can boast of such a diverse blend of culture and the great outdoors.
2. BREVARD, NORTH CAROLINA
Although its population is somewhat less 8,000, Brevard's proximity to Asheville, just 35 miles north, affords its residents ready access to city's conveniences, including shopping malls, an airport, and excellent medical facilities. Not to be overlooked is the natural beauty and grandeur of the surrounding environs, which lends an aura to every aspect aspect of life in Brevard and has led to its being known as the "Land of Waterfalls" in recognition of the more than 200 waterfalls flowing from the area's mountain streams.
Add these majestic surroundings to its moderate housing and living costs, fabulous real estate, mild climate, low crime rate and community spirit, and there is little wonder that Brevard ranks near the top of many lists as one of the South's best places to live.
3. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA
Described by one observer as an "elegant little city," in March, 2004, Charlottesville had the honor of being named the best place to live in America by Cities Ranked and Rated, a comprehensive listing of more than 300 cities throughout the country.
4. EASTON, MARYLAND
Having served as a sophisticated summer country retreat for affluent families from Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, Easton has long been viewed as one of the more progressive towns on the Shore and a center of cultural activity. A number of art galleries and museums add to the cultural and arts scene and serve to provide a broad spectrum of cultural opportunities for both residents and tourists year round.
5. SANDPOINT, IDAHO
While Sandpoint may be somewhat isolated by the towering mountain ranges and surrounding rivers and lakes, those living here have no problem finding plenty of activities for recreation and entertainment. With more than forty restaurants, an active theater group and a well-know and long running summer music festival, most residents find their spare time well occupied.
6. GEORGETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA
Residents of this coastal village enjoy a setting of stunning natural beauty and historical significance, with superb cultural and recreational amenities. Situated between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, airports, universities, interesting shops and challenging golf are all readily accessible. Originally laid out in 1729, and surrounded by Winyah Bay, and the Sampit, Black and Pee Dee Rivers, Georgetown, with its incomparable downtown historic district, offers an unparalleled coastal lifestyle... a unique place to live for anyone who appreciates a sense of history and desires to retire near the water.
7.CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA
Chapel Hill has been described as the quintessential college town. The University of North Carolina is located in the center of this small city, where its main street, Franklin Street, serves as the front door to the campus of this great institution. Despite all of the activity and sense of energy created by the presence of the 23,000 students, Chapel Hill remains a quaint community with a village-like atmosphere and an easy pace.
8.ST. MARYS, GEORGIA
St. Marys and neighboring Kingston are today among the fastest growing small communities in the country, with more and more retirees discovering the challenging golf courses, mild winter climate and low cost of living. Just a short drive down I-95 is Jacksonville, with its many new shopping areas, excellent health care facilities and even more golf.
Flagstaff is a historic mountain town of cool summers, spring flowers, fall colors and great skiing... an all-year scenic and recreational paradise. With pleasant summer temperatures that rarely reach 90 degrees, Flagstaff is a mecca of golf, hiking and continuous outdoor fun and has been selected by several publications as being among the best places in the country to live.
10. AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA
With its unique parkways, historic main area, tree-lined avenues and rich heritage, Aiken is a warm and inviting southern community that exudes small town charm and hospitality. Its many golf courses, newly developed residential communities, mild climate and the availability of excellent healthcare facilities have attracted thousands of retirees from across the U.S.
More information on these towns and many other great places to retire can be found at horizonsUSA.com.