Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Banner Elk, North Carolina
In the Scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of Northwestern North Carolina, Banner Elk is a Vacation Destination with a Cute Downtown
Overview: Banner Elk got its name from the man, Martin Banner, who founded the town in 1848. It is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, not far from the Tennessee border, and today is a popular tourist destination and home to Lees-McRae College (1,000 students), a private, four year college associated with the Presbyterian Church.
Vacationers come to ski at two nearby slopes in the winter and hike, bike, zipline and explore caverns in the surrounding hills during the summer. Banner Elk's cute downtown, which has just one stop light, boasts art galleries, ski shops, boutiques and a craft beer brewery. The 11 restaurants range from upscale bistros to New York-style delis, and many have a loyal following. The Banner Elk Winery specializes in blueberry and ice wines. It and the Grandfather Vineyard and Winery are just outside of town and open for tastings. Two day spas are also a fun way to spend an afternoon.
The FORUM Cultural Series, in conjunction with the college, hosts speakers, workshops and more during the summer. Residents also enjoy the Woolly Worm Festival, Art on the Greene, summer concert series in the park and a magical Christmas celebration.
Most homes are nestled in the woods and have a large lot. Styles include ranch rambler, cabin, chalet, farmhouse, arts and crafts and others. Mountain views are standard.
Population: 1,600 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 25%
Cost of Living: 1% below the national average
Median Home Price: $303,000
Climate: The elevation is 3,740 feet above sea level, so summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the 20s and 30s. On average, the area receives 55 inches of rain and 42 inches of snow each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital is nine miles away in Linville and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital is nine miles away in Linville and is accredited.
Public Transit: The county has an on demand van service. Twenty-four hour notice is needed to schedule a ride.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: No
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 38%
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: Winter roads are sometimes treacherous.
Notes: Banner Elk has grown by 55% within the last 10 years and has some racial diversity. This is a rural area - the nearest interstate is 25 miles away. Winter tourism helps keep the feeling of isolation at bay when the snow begins to fall.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
"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.
The state is situated in the Southeastern region of the United States and 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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