Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Hickory, North Carolina
At the Base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lush Western North Carolina, Hickory Boasts a Lakeside Setting, a Nice Downtown and Relatively Reasonable Prices
Hickory sits along pretty 4,200-acre Lake Hickory in lush western North Carolina. It is a nice town that markets itself with the motto, "Life. Well Crafted," a reference to its long history of furniture manufacturing, a tradition that continues today. Hickory is also home to several fiber optic companies and has been hailed as one of the country's best small towns.
The town core has government buildings, banks, hardware stores, insurance agencies and the like, while attractive, pedestrian-friendly Union Square has awning-draped, red, blond and blue brick buildings with wine shops, music stages, galleries and bookstores. Some of the old textile buildings are now trendy restaurants and pubs. Lenoir-Rhyne University (2,300 students) offers a summer theater, a concert series and Senior Bear, a program that provides people age 55+ with access to a "coordinated and cost-effective range of educational programs, cultural and social activities and athletic events." Residents enjoy a fun farmers' market and festivals such as Hickory Hops and Hickory Alive.
The local furniture mart has a museum and one of oldest furniture manufacturers in the country. The Catawba Science Center includes a planetarium, and the Hickory Art Museum is the second oldest in the state. The Hickory Chorale Society and the Western Piedmont Symphony share a campus.
Henry Fork River Regional Park has a canoe launch, and Lake Hickory features 105 miles of shoreline and five public access points. Swimming, boating and fishing are all popular.
Most neighborhoods are well-tended with brick ranch ramblers, plantation styles, farmhouses and even some Mediterraneans. Homes line the lakefront.
Population: 43,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 31%
Cost of Living: 18% below the national average
Median Home Price: $298,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 50 inches of rain and eight inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 31%
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Notes: The population has grown 8% during the last decade, and home prices have increased 5% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
With its wide range of elevations and its three distinct geographic regions, the Tar Heel State is an inviting place to live or visit.
Its Atlantic Coastal Plain offers two national seashores and more than 300 miles of barrier island beaches. The Chowan, Roanoke, and Neuse rivers find the Atlantic here and provide endless opportunities for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. Seven coastal lighthouses help mark a history of pirates, wild horses, aviators, and Revolutionary War heroes. Downtown Wilmington buzzes with fine dining and nightlife.
North Carolina's Piedmont Region shelters some of the state's biggest cities. Metropolitan Charlotte is packed with galleries, furniture factories, breweries, and gardens. Winston-Salem harbors a a living history museum and sponsors the RiverRun International Film Festival. Barbecue flourishes in Lexington. For those looking to play golf, Pinehurst and the Sandhills beckon. The jewel of the region may be "The Triangle," a triumvirate of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. World-class universities, museums, and college athletics are everyday occurrences.
The state would be nothing without its Mountain Region. Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi is here. Asheville, the foothills, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are here. Biltmore, the nation's largest home, is here. Visitors might boat at Lake Lure or find their way to the top of Chimney Rock and a stunning 75 mile view. Summer in the high country means the Great Smoky Mountains, camping, hiking, biking, and fishing. Winter means skiing at the Appalachian, Beech, or Sugar Mountain ski resorts.
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