o
retire
o
o

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

Vol XII   Issue 39     Home     October 2, 2018

o
o
o
o

o
o

In Rolling Western North Carolina, the Genial Hamlet of Rutherfordton Beckons with Its Rich History, Quaint Downtown and Mellow Way of Life

Cost of Living:  Below the National Average

o
o

 

o
o

Rural Rutherfordton (population 4,200) is nestled in the rolling foothills of western North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains and dates from 1787. Named after a popular Revolutionary War general, it is a town proud of its heritage. The state's first school opened here, and, famously, the nation's first $1 gold coin was minted here, 17 years before the U.S. Mint opened. Today, Rutherfordton is sleepy but growing and is a quiet oasis in a hectic world.

Residents are generally conservative, and 45% of them are age 45 or better. Twenty five percent of locals hold at least a four year college degree. Racial diversity is minimal. The crime rate meets the national average, and the cost of living is 10% below the national average.

o
o

The median home price is $145,000. Housing stock includes antebellum homes, A-frames, cabins, bungalows, ranch ramblers and country estates. Older properties in low density, quiet neighborhoods are common, and most dwellings sit on a wooded lot. Sidewalks are few.

North Carolina is somewhat friendly when it comes to taxes and retirement. Social Security is exempt from taxation and some retirement benefits received by state and federal government employees are exempt if the worker had five or more years of service as of August 12, 1989. There is also a tax credit of up to $350 for long term care insurance premiums per year. Real estate is assessed at 100% of fair market value, but people age 65 or better with less than $28,600 annual income may have the greater of $25,000 or 50% of the appraised value of their home excluded from the taxpayer's assessment. The state also has a circuit breaker tax deference program in place for residents age 65 or better. In Rutherfordton, the annual taxes on a $145,000 home are approximately $1,450.

o
o

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rutherfordton's small but inviting downtown has street side parking and is full of historic red, two story brick buildings with awnings. This is the seat of Rutherford County, so government buildings are here and there, too.

The Bechtler House, a town highlight, tells the story of the local mint that produced more than two million in gold coins in the early-1800s. There are some other museums, too, including one that houses early medical equipment and one that is a popular, interactive kids' museum. Several churches, a handful of art galleries, numerous banks, a couple of movie theaters, hardware stores, a CVS pharmacy, an upscale women's store, a Food Lion and the like round out the cityscape.

Restaurants include a sports bar, a steak house, a Mexican place, a seafood place, a diner and others. Livermush and country ham are a staple on many a breakfast menu. Just south of town, Earthperks is a sustainable farm that sells locally grown meats, eggs from pasture-raised chickens and organic fruits and vegetables. For larger city amenities, Asheville (population 90,000) is 40 to 55 miles away (depending on the route).

o
o

Rutherfordton, North Carolina


View Larger Map

o
o

Nearly everyone turns out for the annual Mayfest Arts and Crafts Festival and October's Hilltop Fall Festival, both of which are held downtown. The Lions Club, the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis are active. Isothermal Community College has a variety of classes, although none specifically for older adults. The cozy Norris Public Library has DVDs, CDs, large print books, public computers with Internet access and comfy chairs. Several city parks, including 26-acre Crestview Park, and three golf courses (two public and one municipal) add to Rutherfordton's tranquility. Nightlife is quiet, although a couple of restaurants have bands.

This region boasts sweeping mountain vistas, sparkling lakes and rambling streams. Chimney Rock State Park, 15 miles to the west, is the go to place for outdoor recreation. The Park sits in the scenic Hickory Nut Gorge and provides opportunities for boating, deep water fishing, rock climbing, bird watching, camping, swimming and more. Not far from the Park, Lake Lure has been named by National Geographic as one of the world's most beautiful man-made lakes. In and around town, the eight-mile Thermal Belt Rail Trail draws walkers and bicyclists.

o
o

Rutherford County operates several senior centers, including one in Rutherfordton and one in neighboring Spindale, about three miles away. Hot meals, exercise classes and other services are offered. Meals on Wheels is also active through the Area Agency on Aging.

Rutherford County Transit (RCT) provides fixed route public transportation in town ($1 to ride) and in neighboring towns, stopping at the nearby Wal-Mart, the senior center, etc. With advance notice, drivers will for no charge deviate up to 1/2 mile from a bus stop to pick up or drop off passengers. RTC also has a free grocrey and Laundromat shuttle service, as well as free and low cost scheduled rides for people who are age 60 or better, disabled or on Medicaid.

o
o

o
o

Rutherford Regional Health System, with 143 beds, is accredited by the Joint Commission and has an accredited cancer program. It has been named a Thompson Reuters Top 100 Hospital for several years running and has placed in the top 18% of hospitals nationally, earning the Top Performer on Key Quality MeasuresTM Recognition Award from the Joint Commission Medicare patients are accepted. For military retirees, Rutherfordton has a VA outpatient clinic, and Asheville has a VA hospital.

Sitting in an isothermal belt 935 feet above sea level, Rutherfordton has a more temperate climate than other mountainous parts of North Carolina. Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain and 5 inches of snow each year. On the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, Rutherfordton comes in slightly below the national average. The sun shines 214 days of the year. The water and air quality are both above the national averages.

Rutherfordton does have some drawbacks. The tornado risk is 27% higher than the national average. The town is in a very rural area and not easily accessible. Cultural amenities are few.

o
o

o
o

Despite these downsides, Rutherfordton gets under the skin. It might not have big city amenities, but the retirees that live here seem happy to call this quiet little town their home.

o
o


o
o

Webwerxx, Inc. Copyright (c) 2006-2018. All rights reserved. No part of this electronic publication may be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of Webwerxx, Inc. Reproducing any original part of this publication without written permission from Webwerxx, Inc. is plagiarism. Numerous attempts were made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this website, but some information may have changed since each article and/or report went online, and Webwerxx, Inc. is not liable for inaccurate information contained in its articles and/or reports.

o