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9/3/2016

 

Short Review of Lexington, South Carolina

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Situated 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 program, 16 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 little less so.  Joining one of the many churches is always a good way to meet new people.  

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 accepted.

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.

 

Recommended as a Retirement Spot?

Yes

Is South Carolina Tax-Friendly for Retirement?

Yes

Lexington is 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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