Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Home to Preppy Williams College, Pretty Williamstown Boasts a Red Brick Downtown and a Rich Cultural Fabric
Classic New England beauty is the signature of postcard-perfect Williamstown, Massachusetts. A college town essentially in the middle of nowhere, it is the most northwestern metro area in the state, next to New York and Vermont and surrounded by the scenic Berkshire Hills.
Preppy Williams College has more than 2,000 students and is the heart of Williamstown. Residents include professionals, professors and artists who enjoy the picturesque surroundings and intellectual stimulation. Those who are new to town might find that their neighbors are slow to warm up to them, but the college's many community lectures, plays, film screenings and more help the bonding process. The annual Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival brings theater lovers in from around the region, and the Clark Art Institute, a jazz festival and the Williams College Museum of Art add to the rich cultural fabric.
Downtown has red brick buildings, coffee shops, offices, campus buildings, shops, bookstores and very good restaurants. There is an organic market, an outlet mall and on Sundays during the summer, Spring Street transforms into a pedestrian fair with activities, shopping and food.
Population: 7,800 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 40%
Cost of Living: 14% above the national average
Median Home Price: $475,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures are in the teens and 20s. On average, the area receives 45 inches of rain and 60 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but North Adams Regional Hospital is just five miles away and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but North Adams Regional Hospital is just five miles away and is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very liberal
College Educated: 42%
Is Massachusetts Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Notes: North Adams is five miles to the east and has more services, shopping, movie theaters and the like. The Council on Aging has programs for older adults. The city has grown 20% within the last decade and home prices have increased 4% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The Mayflower made landfall here in 1620, and colonist John Smith named the area Massachusetts after a local Native American tribe. After many of the ship's settlers died during the first winter, these Native Americans showed the remaining Europeans how to plant corn and survive the harsh conditions, leading to the country's first "thanks giving."
Harvard University was established in Cambridge in 1636, becoming the nation's first institution of higher learning. In 1692, 19 people were hanged at Salem's Gallows Hill for practicing witchcraft.
The Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the Battles of Lexington and Concord all happened here. The American Industrial Revolution was sparked by Massachusett's textile mills.
A Springfield gym teacher invented basketball in 1891, and, perhaps most importantly of all, the chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1930 at Whitman's Toll House Restaurant.
Today, 80% of Massachusetts' residents live in the Boston area.
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