Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Hickory, North Carolina?
Overview: Hickory sits along pretty 4,200-acre Lake Hickory in lush western North Carolina. It 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.
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, galleries and bookstores. The city maintains a good balance of culture and recreation, and it is the home of a community college and Lenoir-Rhyne University (2,300 students). The University has 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 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. The Henry Fork River Regional Park has a canoe launch, and Lake Hickory has 105 miles of shoreline and five public access points. Valley Hills Mall is a regional shopping center.
Most neighborhoods are well-tended and have brick ranch ramblers, plantation styles, farmhouses and even some Mediterraneans. Homes line the lakefront.
Population: 41,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 31%
Cost of Living: 12% below the national average
Median Home Price: $170,000
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: Hickory has struggled with the loss of furniture manufacturing jobs and some areas of town have seen better days. Yet, the population has remained steady during the last decade, and the town has successfully attracted new industry in recent years.
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.
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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