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Retire in Morganton, North Carolina?
Overview: Buried in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Morganton is about an hour east of Asheville and is the Burke County seat. Its history dates back to Spanish Conquistadors and the mound-building Mississipeans.
Morganton has a hometown feeling and prides itself on its clean streets and healthy downtown. At least two national publications have named it as a great place to live. The town is dotted with dozens of historic properties and sites, including the Quaker Meadows Cemetery, with grave markers from the mid-1700s, the Gaston Chapel, an African Methodist Episcopal church, and the Hunting Creek Railroad Bridge, a stone railroad bridge. The downtown is a nationally recognized historic district with two and three story buildings that house coffee shops, bookstores, wine bars, art galleries, eateries, breweries and more. Events include the Third Thursday Art Crawl, the Morganton Festival, which is held at the historic Burke County Courthouse, the TGIF outdoor concert series every summer and the juried Art in the Hall. The famers' market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from May to October and has live music.
Locals enjoy nearly a dozen parks, two recreation centers, a community garden and an extensive greenway system. Outdoor adventure abounds, particularly at Lake James, a 6,812-acre reservoir with 150 miles of shoreline. It is just 20 minutes from town and is the spot for water skiing, fishing, hiking and camping.
Neighborhoods have a country vibe and boast everything from ranch ramblers, Cape Cods and bungalows to Victorians and Federalists. Sunset Ridge is a small, wooded community with 21st century homes.
Population: 17,500 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 40%
Cost of Living: 11% below the national average
Median Home Price: $180,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures in the 30s and 40s (the elevation is 1,182 feet). The area receives 49 inches of rain and seven inches of snow, on average, per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes .
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is Frye Regional Medical Center, 20 miles away in Hickory.
Public Transit: The county provides a van service.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 26%
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: The poverty rate is slightly above the national average.
Notes: Morganton sits along Interstate 40, so tourists stop in on their way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town has maintained its population during the last decade.
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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