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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Morganton, North Carolina?

Overview: Burrowed in the lush foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, Morganton's history dates to Spanish Conquistadors and the mound-building Mississipeans. It has a hometown feeling and prides itself on its clean, safe streets and quaint downtown. At least two national publications have named it as a great place to live.

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Morganton hosts two music festivals, Friday night free concerts, a monthly art crawl, and CoMMA, the municipal auditorium, attracts national acts to its main stage and "back porch." The aquatics center offers kayak rolling classes, and the city's extensive greenway system includes paths along the Catawba River (upon which rolling a kayak is a good skill to have). Catawba Meadows Park has both a disc golf course and a zipline, and the immediate area has three traditional golf courses. The Berry Archaeological Site contains relics from the Native American Joara and the Spanish Fort San Juan. Exploring Joara promotes the Site and adds to the city's cultural landscape with an annual pottery festival.

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Dining options are primarily casual, but downtown has a wine bar, a brewery, art exhibits, a farmers' market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and free wi-fi on the courthouse lawn. Outdoor adventure abounds, particularly at Lake James, a 6,812-acre reservoir with 150 miles of shoreline. It is just 20 minutes from town and is the spot for water skiing, fishing, hiking and camping.

Homes are generally modest but in good shape and include brick ranch ramblers, bungalows, Cape Cods and town homes.

Population:  17,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 40%

Cost of Living:  14% below the national average

Median Home Price: $110,000

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures in the 30s and 40s (the elevation is 1,182 feet).   The area receives 49 inches of rain and 7 inches of snow, on average, per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission?   No. The nearest accredited hospital is Frye Regional Medical Center, 20 miles away in Hickory.

Public Transit:   The county offers a van service.

Crime Rate:  Meets the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Very conservative

Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Somewhat

Cons:   None except the distance to an accredited hospital.

Notes:    Morganton is racially diverse. It sits alond Interstate 40, so tourists stop in on their way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. A chicken processing plant is a large employer.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, although the distance to an accredited medical facility should be weighed.

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