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Lewisburg, West Virginia
Nestled in the heart of southern West Virginia's rugged Allegheny Mountains and not far from three national forests, charming, 239-year-old Lewisburg (population 4,000) covers just four square miles. It is known for its artsy vibe and 1860s structures, many of which still have visible Civil War bullet holes. The National Trust of Historic Sites has named Lewisburg as one of the country's best small towns, and several national publications have noted it as a great arts town.
The cost of living is 28% below the national average. Of the population, 52% is age 45 or better. The crime rate is below the national average, and politics lean to the right. Forty-nine percent of locals hold a four year college degree, and racial diversity is minimal. The town has grown by 3% during the last decade.
Neighborhoods are leafy and rural, populated with bungalows, cottages, ranch ramblers, Cape Cods and other styles. The median home price is $198,000, a 4% increase from the previous year.
Tourists come to stroll through the five-block historic downtown district area and enjoy its art galleries, studios, quaint shops and farm to table restaurants. A particular point of pride is the beautiful four-story Georgian-revival Carnegie Hall, one of the few remaining Carnegie Halls still in continuous use and a showcase for live performances by international artists. It also presents classes, workshops and fine art exhibits. Down the road, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre is home to year-round live performances and special events.
The Greenbrier River and its walking and biking trail make it easy to get out into the splendor of the Alleghany Mountains. Nearby White Sulphur Springs is home to the renowned 5-star Greenbrier Resort and its world class golfing facilities. A little farther outside of town, the countryside is chock full of narrow winding roads, picturesque ponds, covered bridges, rolling bluegrass pastures and magnificent mountain vistas.
There is no actual senior center, but Shepherd's Center of Greenbrier Valley, a church-based program, provides a number of services, including a weekly hot lunch, transportation to and from the Center, homebound visits, computer classes, assistance with bill paying and more. The county operates a senior center in Rupert, just 15 miles down the road, and the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services manages programs throughout the state.
The county provides limited bus service in town and to surrounding towns.
The Greenbrier County Public Library is housed in an imposing Federal-style building on a hill and has a good menu of services.
Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is just five miles away in Ronceverte. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, accepts Medicaid and Medicare patients and is award winning for its emergency medicine. It also has two programs designed for older adults, one a volunteer program at the Medical Center and one a services program for those age 50+.
Winters bring cloudy skies and temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. The elevation is 2,100 feet above sea level. On average, the area receives 41 inches of rain and 27 inches of snow each year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is West Virginia Tax-Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Lewisburg is rural and remote, but its abundant historic charm, active arts scene, good hospital, reasonable prices, safe neighborhoods and bounty of outdoor recreation make it a contender as a great retirement spot.
The Mountain State was one of only two states to enter the union during America's Civil War. It is the only state to form by seceding from a secessionist state (Virginia). West Virginia's sovereignty became official on June 20, 1863.
Known for its tree-covered mountains and river valleys, West Virginia is relatively small and can be divided into two major land areas. Roughly 1/6th of the land belongs in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region. Running from the northeast to the southwest and marked by parallel ranges and river valleys, this zone is dotted with caves, underground streams, and some of the highest mountains in the state. The Appalachian Plateau covers the state's western majority and is characterized by flat-topped highlands and rounded hills.
West Virginians often experience hot, humid summers and cold winters. The state is known as one of the foggiest locales in the country. High evapotranspiration rates from expansive forests and cold air drainage into mountain valleys combine to cement that reputation. Tornadoes are infrequent, but flash flooding and thunderstorms can be a common hazard.
Although coal has played a significant role in West Virginia's development, the state's economy has diversified. Forestry, tourism, banking, and the manufacture of chemicals contribute to revenue. Federal R&D facilities like the National Radio Astronomy Observatory employ local residents. The state's energy portfolio includes natural gas, wind, and hydro-electric facilities.
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