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Retire in Oriental, North Carolina?
Overview: On North Carolina's Inner Banks, Oriental is a quaint harbor town on the Neuse River as the river becomes part of Pamlico Sound. This engaging little community is the self-proclaimed "Sailing Capital of North Carolina," and sailing is a way of life.
Oriental's working harbor is home to fishing trawlers, and its picturesque marina, which has 110 boat slips, is stocked with tall masted sloops and schooners (and even some power boats). Yacht sales, sailing lessons and fishing charters all start here (and there is a general store and a wine shop, too). Residents enjoy boat parades, an annual boat show (with a flea market) and a dozen or more regattas. Oriental is a popular stop along the Intracoastal Waterway, so there are charming hotels, inns and restaurants, many with a nautical theme. For such a small place, community events happen often and include the Chowder Cookoff, the Croaker Festival and a town-wide yard sale.
The Saturday farmers' market happens year-round, and the Oriental Tour of Homes and Gardens happens every April. The Old Theater has movies and community productions, including the Pamlico Chorale. Mom and pop stores, with everything from maritime supplies to pottery dinnerware, are the norm. Village Gallery is a wonderful co-operative fine art gallery.
Community groups include a walking group, an amateur radio group, a rotary club, a women's group and more. Pamlico Senior Services has programs in Oriental, and Pamlico Community College in neighboring Grantsboro (15 miles) has free classes for people age 65 or better.
Housing includes modest frame dwellings, historic solid brick homes and waterfront residences. River Dunes is an upscale waterfront development eight miles north of town.
Population: 1,050 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 70%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $250,000
Climate: This area has a sub-topical climate with summer temperatures in the 80s and 90s and winter temperatures in the 40s and 50s. The average annual rainfall is 53 inches.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No. The closest hospital is CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, about 25 miles away. It accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The closest hospital is CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, about 25 miles away. It is accredited.
Public Transit: No, but Pamlico Senior Services has transportation to grocery stores, banks and the like.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: No, but the county library is in Bayboro, 10 miles away.
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: Hurricane Florence in 2018 brought significant damage, flooding homes and wrecking the town's docks. Hurricane Dorian in 2019 caused less damage.
Notes: Oriental is cute, friendly and has grown by 3% within the last decade. It is, however, isolated. New Bern, the closest town of any size (population 30,000), is 25 miles away.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the lack of a local hospital and limited services/amenities should be weighed.
The Tar Heel State was one of the first to instruct its Continental Congress delegates to vote for independence from British rule. After the Revolutionary War, it entered the Union on November 21, 1789 and started developing an extensive slave plantation system. It became a major exporter of cotton and tobacco. North Carolina was one of 11 states to secede from the Union and to spark the American Civil War.
Bordered by South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Atlantic ocean, North Carolina's geographic regions range from the barrier islands and low plains of the eastern Atlantic coast to the mountainous regions of the west. The rolling hills and waterfalls of the Piedmont lie in between. Because of a wide variance in altitudes, North Carolina's climate can be hard to predict. Winters, especially on the coast, can be warm and mild.
The state has 17 major river basins and is rich in hydroelectric power. Tobacco, sweet potatoes, hogs, trout, and turkeys are a few of its agricultural products. The arts and culture industry has become an economic driver. It supports more than 43,000 jobs and generates almost $120 million in state and local revenue.
North Carolina is the home of several firsts. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville. The Wright brothers launched the first manned, self-propelled airplane from a cliff near Kitty Hawk. Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern. Vernon Rudolph first sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Winston-Salem.
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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