Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Mount Vernon, Iowa
One of America's Coolest Small Towns, Friendly Mount Vernon is Perched Atop a Wooded Hill and is Home to a Small Liberal Arts College
Not far from Cedar Rapids in rolling eastern Iowa, friendly Mount Vernon is perched atop a wooded hill and is the home of Cornell College, a small liberal arts college with 1,200 students. The town has been called one of America's "coolest small towns."
Mount Vernon is clean and quaint. It has a well-kept downtown with vintage storefronts. Coffee shops, eight restaurants and locally owned retailers create an authentic small town charm. The farmers' market that is held througout the summer features artisan breads, grass-fed meats, jams, jellies, woodcrafts and live music. The fun Chalk the Walk is an annual event in which 500 artists create a colorful palette of chalk drawings along downtown's Main Street. In September, the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival attracts artists and art lovers from around the region. The Mount Vernon Lisbon Community Theatre has open auditions and also welcomes people who want to work backstage.
Cornell College's beautiful campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a great spot for a soothing afternoon stroll. Nearby Lake McBride and Coraville Reservoir provide plenty of opportunities for water recreation, and Palisades-Kepler State Park is the place for a day hike.
Neighborhoods are tidy, leafy and have bungalows, ranch ramblers, Victorians and others.
Population: 4,500 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 30%
Cost of Living: 13% below the national average
Median Home Price: $325,000
Climate: This area has a humid continental climate Summers temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the teens, 20s and 30s. Skies are cloudy. On average, the area receives 31 inches of rain and 33 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids is 10 miles away and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital is Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids is 10 miles away and is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 65%
Is Iowa Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: The tornado risk is 195% above the national average.
Notes: The town has a definite collegiate feeling and is dependent on Cornell College. Home prices have increased 8% since a year ago, and the population has remained steady during the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Iowa is known for its state fairs, down to earth people, role in selecting a president and often severe weather (it averages 37 tornados and 50 days of severe thunderstorms each year). As if to compensate for the sometimes wild weather, Iowa is one of the safest states in which to live. Its nickname is the Hawkeye State.
Bordered on three sides by rivers, the Mississippi to the east, the Missouri to the west and the Des Moines on the south, Iowa boasts a sweeping landscape of tallgrass prairie and cornstalk fields. Not surprsingly, its economy has been based in agriculture for much of its history. In recent years, though, the state has diversified into financial services, green energy production and manufacturing.
Iowa was a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana during the Colonial period, and its state flag is based on France's flag. The first caucasian settlers arrived in the area in 1833. Iowa joined the Union in 1846 and supported the North during the Civil War.
Interesting sites include the Iowa River Valley, Snake Alley (nothing to do with snakes) and Pikes Peak State Park (nothing to do with the Colorado mountain).
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