Looking for a place to enjoy your retirement and get real value for your investment? Consider the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Asheville.
“Asheville is a great place for retirement,” says Susan Wilson, of the Council on Aging for Buncombe County (coabc.org). “You can swim in a warm pool, play tennis, enjoy the nice summers and great year-round climate. There are a lot of things to do here if you like being outdoors, such as boating, hiking, camping. And of course, this is a foodies’ dream with the restaurants!”
Susan adds that in addition to the wonderful 55+ communities for active adults, there are a number of services available as people prefer to age in place and are dealing with more significant needs. COABC offers a wide-ranging array of practical services and resources for all seniors, no matter their income level.
Cultural and educational enjoyments such as Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (olliasheville.com), magnificent views, lower property taxes, and a reasonable cost of living are some of the draws to this bustling, creative city in the mountains. Equally so are leaving behind hot, humid summers and heaps of snow that needs shoveling.
Here are 11 reasons that spell out Asheville:
1. Active population.
Find your peeps! Active adults find it easy to stay fit and healthy in Asheville and the surrounding towns. Countless hiking trails with scenic views are easily accessible. If you like boating, camping, or fishing, you will be delighted with the rivers and lakes in and around the region. Fitness, yoga, and dance studios nurture healthy activity as well as community.
2. Street festivals.
Year round arts and craft fairs dazzle the senses, including juried art shows set up in downtown parks, where locals and visitors are entertained by music and dance performances, Vance Memorial park and Pritchard Park. Bands play and craft beer abounds at Downtown After Five on select Friday nights in summer. Cars are re-routed from downtown streets and pedestrians rule.
3. Historical architecture.
Downtown Asheville has an eclectic mix of architecture with styles ranging from Neoclassical to Beaux Arts. Downtown Art Nouveau buildings second in number only to Miami, FL. Among the must-sees include the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade, and Ellington’s Art Deco city hall.
4. Eating and Entertainment
Foodies and craft beer lovers rejoice! Asheville features countless restaurants and world class chefs. Natural food restaurants like the Laughing Seed and Rosetta’s Kitchen and The Buchi Bar serve up healthy dishes with a farm-to-table mindset. More into cooking at home? No problem. Asheville has enough farmer’s markets and co-ops around town to satisfy even the pickiest home chef. Asheville has the most craft breweries per capita in the US, and was first named Beer City USA in 2009.
Asheville has no shortage of entertainment and destination venues, including the Moog Music Factory, Biltmore Estate and the numerous museums and art galleries in the area.
“Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst
What makes for a happy retirement? Meaningful pursuits that enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of others. Volunteer opportunities here are plentiful, creating instant communities as people join forces to mobilize for a common cause. Not sure where you might like to lend a hand? Start by checking out the calendar of activities at Hands On Asheville Buncombe (www.handsonasheville.org).
6. Indy scene.
Asheville is the place to be for all of the culture lovers out there! The area boasts a vibrant Indy art, music, and movie scene. Numerous galleries and many local artists make their living in the area. The River Arts District is a great place to check out over 100 artist studios and galleries. Plenty of music venues around town like The Orange Peel, The Mothlight, The Altamont Theater, Isis Music Hall, and Asheville Music Hall bring a variety of acts and musicians to the area. Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful theaters in the area including the Fine Arts Theatre and Grail Moviehouse.
7. Locally owned businesses.
Asheville supports a vibrant culture of independent businesses. Stroll through downtown Asheville or down Haywood Road in West Asheville to visit unique shops and boutiques. Pop into Malaprop’s independent book store downtown, enjoy a sip of wine at Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, or stop in and try some small batch chocolate at the Chocolate Fetish. Each business adds its own quirky personality to the Asheville community.
8. Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.
Launch your canoe, kayak, or paddle board into the Swannanoa or the French Broad Rivers, which bears the distinction of being the third oldest river on earth. There are many entry points to the river including Hominy Creek Park in West Asheville, Carrier Park, and Jean Webb River Park. Many riverside businesses offer and encourage river access, including Asheville Outdoor Center, Asheville Adventure Rentals, and 12 Bones BBQ.
Asheville is bypassed by the unique Blue Ridge Parkway, with plenty of overlooks and turnouts that offer spectacular mountain views. Trailheads abound offering hikes of varying difficulty from the novice hiker to the most seasoned. Be sure to spend some time at one of the numerous waterfalls in the area including Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls.
9. Eclectic activities.
Whether your thing is mountain biking, shooting the rapids, antique-collecting, volunteering, making art or music, taking classes to expand your understanding and your skill set, or sampling the wares from an impressive number of craft breweries, you can find kindred folks and a place to feel at home here. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate. We’ve got some of the finest!
10. Natural beauty.
Asheville is situated amongst some of the most spectacular natural beauty our country has to offer. From the Pisgah National Forest, the proximity to other National Parks, and access to the Blue Ridge Parkway there is no shortage of natural wonder in the area. The North Carolina Arboretum is nestled into the eastern edge of the Pisgah Forest, as is the grand Biltmore Estate. Depending on the time of year, waterfalls and rushing rivers abound, we do live in a temperate rainforest after all!
Vibrant neighborhoods are made up of people who get to know one another, take an interest in each other and celebrate together, and give each other a hand when needed. Many of Asheville’s neighborhoods work toward creating that neighborliness and community feeling that makes up the heartbeat of a place, and makes a place a home. Some of Asheville’s medical facilities are considered topnotch throughout the state including Mission Hospital, health spas, and care facilities.
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan