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Retire in Bardstown, Kentucky?
Overview: Friendly Bardstown is Kentucky's second oldest city and the first stop on its Bourbon Trail, a promotional program that lets tourists visit the state's bourbon distilleries. The town is nestled in the bluegrass pastures of north central Kentucky, and it is known as the "Bourbon Capital of the World." Rand McNally has also named Bardstown as the "Most Beautiful Small Town in America."
The well kept downtown, with its historic red and blond brick buildings, including the old courthouse, is much of the reason why. The Old Talbot Tavern, the historic (haunted) mansion Wickland, the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum, Old Bardstown Village, the Basilica of St. Joseph and two distilleries, Heaven Hill and Jim Beam, are all testaments to the rich local history. Residents enjoy an opry, a community theater, an arts society and the popular Kentucky Bourbon Festival. The restaurant scene is made up of family diners, delis and steakhouses. There are some box stores, including Walmart, but many merchants are locally owned boutiques and galleries. Neighborhoods have a rural quality, and although there is new construction, many homes are older brick ranch ramblers.
Just outside of town, Federal Hill is the centerpiece of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, which features the mansion that inspired Stephen Foster's song. It also has an 18-hole golf course, an amphitheater and a theater company. Although heavily regulated, boating and fishing are allowed on nearby Sympson and Barton Lakes.
Population: 13,500 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 36%
Cost of Living: 15% below the national average
Median Home Price: $155,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 49 inches of rain and 13 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Louisville, 30 miles away.
Public Transit: The downtown area is served by a trolley and a tourist-oriented carriage company.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Kentucky Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 125% higher than the national average.
Notes: Bardstown has a nice reputation and has nearly doubled in size during the last couple of decades. Although the local hospital is not accredited, it has been named a Top 100 Hospital by Thomson Reuters.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the distance to an accredited hospital should be weighed.
Kentucky was originally part of Virginia and became the 15th state to enter the Union on June 1, 1792. Early settlers noticed a dark grass growing from the rich limestone soil and gave the area its nickname - the Bluegrass State. Daniel Boone blazed a trail through the state's Cumberland Gap, and many pioneers followed.
Bounded by the Ohio River and the Appalachian Mountains, the state has five divergent geographic regions. Rolling meadows, plateaus, mountains, flat lands, valleys, and coal fields are all found within state borders. Because of its diverse geography, Kentucky has four different and distinct seasons with considerable fluctuations in summer and winter temperatures.
Although the Bluegrass State is noted for its Bourbon Whiskey, racehorses, coal, and tobacco, it is gaining a reputation for health services, auto manufacturing, transportation logistics, and biotechnology. Eight well-endowed public universities keep pulling the quality of life forward.
Kentucky also boasts the longest cave system in the nation, and it has the highest per capita ratio of deer and turkey. Fort Knox holds almost 150 million ounces of gold for the U.S. Government. Other items it has held include the Magna Carta and the crown of St. Stephen.
Population - 4,436,974
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 84%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 22%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 2%
White persons, not Hispanic - 85%
Median household income - $43,749
Median home value - $123,200
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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