in bucolic central South Carolina (an area known as the Midlands), the historic
town of Lexington (population 18,000) is a suburb of Columbia
(population 130,000) and got its start in 1735 as one of eleven
townships established by England's King George II.
Originally called Saxe Gotha, it was named in honor of the
King's son's marriage to Princess Augusta of the German Duchy of
Saxe-Gotha. Early residents were German and Swiss farmers
who grew wheat, corn and tobacco. The Civil War nearly
destroyed Lexington, and in later years, it suffered two
devastating fires. Each time, though, this Southern hamlet
managed to rebuild.
Today, Lexington retains its rural character, but it is
growing rapidly, increasing its size by nearly 50% in the last decade, and it is
becoming more suburban. The cost of living is 5% below
the national average, and the median home price is $145,000
(some areas have new subdivisions and some areas have mobile
homes). The crime rate meets the national average.
With good schools and an affordable cost of living, Lexington
attracts families, but retirees are discovering it, too (25% of
residents are age 45 or better). Lake Murray, 45 miles long and just down the road, is a
reason why. It has 500 miles of shoreline
and is the focal point of this region (it is also the resting
ground for a number of WWII B-25 airplanes). Boating,
fishing and bird watching, particularly for blue martins, are popular ways to spend the day.
Cultural amenities are limited, but the Lake Murray Symphony
has a Sunday concert series, and the Village Square Theatre mounts
productions throughout the year. Restaurants are in
good supply, with tasty pulled pork BBQ, macaroni and cheese and
fried catfish on many a menu. The city is fairly spread out
with no well defined downtown, and Palmetto palms, azaleas and pines
dot the landscape. Shopping has improved in recent
years, with much of it along Highway 378.
The Lexington County Public Library has an interlibrary loan
computers with internet access and a bookmobile.
Residents are conservative and friendly,
extending Southern hospitality, but many families have been here for
generations and breaking into social circles can sometimes be
difficult. The recent growth is, however, making that a
so. Joining one of the many churches is always a good way to meet new
Lexington and the surrounding area are also
known as being "two hours from everything" (and are almost
exactly half way between Miami and New York City), so it is
usually easy to find something to do. The beaches
are just two hours away, as are the big city amenities of
Charlotte, North Carolina. Just next door, Columbia has a zoo, the main
campus of the University of South Carolina, numerous theaters, a
revitalized downtown, museums, an antique district and the well-attended South
Carolina State Fair each October.
The Lexington County
Recreation and Aging Commission is located in Lexington
and offers exercise classes, a travel club, workshops,
sporting events, medical escorts, legal assistance, home
care, home delivered meals and more.
There is no public
transportation, but Senior Express is a company that
provides escorted transportation to the grocery, doctor
appointments, church, the airport and to other locations
around town. Columbia Metropolitan Airport,
about 10 miles away, is served by major airlines.
Lexington Medical Center (414 beds), located 8 miles away in West Columbia, is
accredited by the Joint Commission and is a Bariatric Center of
Excellence. It is award-winning for its
joint replacement program, and eight-one percent of patients
would recommend it to a friend (a rate well above the national
average). Medicare patients are
The city experiences hot, humid summers, mild winters and warm
autumns and springs. Average annual rainfall is 47 inches, but
snow is rare. Summer temperatures reach into the 90s, and
winter temperatures can dip below freezing. The sun
shines 222 days of the year. The water quality meets
the national average, but the air quality is slightly below
the national average.
as a Retirement Spot?
South Carolina Tax-Friendly for Retirement?
experiencing some growing pains, but nearby
lake recreation, a reasonable cost of living,
affordable homes, a good nearby hospital and
an average crime rate are pluses and make this southern hamlet a place to consider for retirement.
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