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Retire in Highlands, North Carolina?
Overview: This cozy Appalachian Mountain resort town is within the boundaries of the Nantahala National Forest and brims with charm. It started out as a trading post in 1875 and became a golf destination in the 1930s when the Highlands Country Club was built.
Today, Highlands still draws golfers, as well as vacationers, second home owners and Floridians seeking escape from the summer heat. The downtown, though small, has red brick sidewalks and is packed with touristy, attractive shops, art galleries, antique stores and award-winning restaurants. The summer farmers' market takes place here, too. Locals enjoy three theater groups, a performing arts center and the Highlands-Cashiers Music Festival. The Bascom, a center for visual arts, offers exhibitions and workshops. The Center for Life Enrichment collaborates with the Bascom and has a full catalogue of continuing education courses. The Highlands Biological Station has a nature center, workshops, and symposiums.
Several in-town lakes and an extensive greenway provide recreational opportunities. The Cullasaja River, dammed near Highlands, boasts stunning waterfalls. Most residences sit on a secluded lot and are nestled in the trees.
Population: 1,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population 45 or Better: 58%
Cost of Living: 26% above the national average
Median Home Price: $405,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the 20s and 30s. On average, Highlands receives 83 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? Yes
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average (violent crime is practically non-existent, but property crime is high)
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: The town has lost 1% of its population within the last couple of decades.
Notes: Highlands is a cute but seasonal community and is quiet in the winter. Four roads run in and out of town, but this is a remote place.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the remote location and higher than average property crime rate should be considered.
"Esse quam videri" is the motto of North Carolina, also known as the Tar Heel State. It was the 12th state to be admitted to the Union, joining the other states on November 21, 1789. North Carolina was also one of the Thirteen Colonies and was originally named the Province of Carolina. It was the second to the last state to declare its secession from the Union during the Civil War.
Situated in the Southeastern region of the United States, North Carolina is bordered by South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. The capital is Raleigh, but the largest city is Charlotte.
The historical people of North Carolina include the Chowanoke, Roanoke, Pamlico, Coree and Cape Fear Indians. The Revolutionary War impoverished the state of North Carolina for several years.
Charlotte is on a rapid growth streak thanks to its banking industry. North Carolina is also home to several universities, including the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University.
The state hosts more than 80% of the NASCAR racing teams and is the site of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Carolina Panthers represents North Carolina in the National Football League, and the Charlotte Bobcats play in the National Basketball Association.
Population - 10,147,788
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 25%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10%
White persons, not Hispanic - 63%
Median household income - $46,868
Median home value - $162,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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