No more nine-to-five. No more rat race. Now that you're retired, you may be looking for a change in scenery. There are many beautiful places across the country to move to, but which locations are the healthiest? We've selected a few cities that seem to fit the bill.
"Go somewhere else," laughs Don Wood when asked what he would tell people considering retiring in Durham, North Carolina. He loves the laid back, relaxed, southern civility that Durham offers. "We moved here to escape the congestion and pressures of a large urban area," says Wood. "Obviously as a newcomer, I have no right to tell others to stay away." He encourages family and close friends to consider the area as a retirement spot.
Don and his wife, Marie, lived in the mountains above Malibu, California for 28 years. Prior to that they lived in Honolulu and San Diego. Marie has family in North Carolina, but that was not the only reason for making a move. Don says he believes Durham is a very healthy place to live. "Obviously, the medical facilities in the Durham community are a major plus," says Wood. The couple also wanted to settle in a pleasant wooded area.
If you retire to Durham, North Carolina, you will live right in the center of cutting-edge medical research and outstanding hospitals. The four hospitals in the Durham area are the world-renowned Duke University Medical Center, Durham Regional Hospital, VA Medical Center and North Carolina Eye & Ear Hospital. There are more than 2,300 licensed physicians and interns in Durham, making its physician-to-population ratio four times greater than the national average. This city is also home to more than 300 medical and health-related companies and medical practices. Hopefully, the statistics regarding the City of Medicine will translate into excellent medical care should you need it.
Along with the medical advancements, Durham offers an enjoyable retirement lifestyle. You can connect with events and happenings on three major college campuses: Duke University, the University of North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. You'll find world-class performing arts, cultural events, plenty of golf courses, major parks and fishing. If you're an ACC basketball fan, you'll enjoy seeing the Duke Blue Devils, Carolina Tarheels and N.C. State Wolfpack match up against other teams in the league.
"People pick Durham because it is ethnically diverse," says Reyn Bowman, president of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It is a mid-sized city with all of the cultural amenities, but it has a small town feel. It is the fourth largest city in North Carolina, but it is compactly nestled in the 14th smallest land area and over a third of that is set aside in watershed, scenic byways, rivers, and lakes." Traveling convenience is another plus. Bowman says Durham is within an hour's flight or a day's drive to half of the nation's population.
If you don't mind cold winters—and they can be brutally cold in Minnesota—Rochester is an attractive city for retirees. Like Durham, Rochester's main boasting point centers around its healthcare advancements and facilities with the Mayo Clinic located downtown. Rochester has an impressive statistic to brag about: the Mayo Clinic offers more doctors per capita than any other American metro area.
The area offers a friendly pace that's not too hurried or congested. There are also good shops, art galleries and cultural events to keep you busy. In Rochester, you don't have to worry about bracing yourself against the cold to enjoy the businesses in downtown. Forego the sidewalks, and use the warm "skywalks" that connect from one building to another in some parts of town.
In the early 1900s, tuberculosis patients found relief in Asheville, North Carolina. The great climate, mountain views and healthy lifestyle also attracted the rich and famous to settle here. George Vanderbilt picked Asheville as the spot for his grand Biltmore Estate. Tourists take daily tours in this largest private home in America. The area is now known as a new age mecca, drawing people from all over the world who want to connect with the healthy aspects of this appealing city and surrounding region. Asheville offers excellent healthcare at Mission St. Joseph's Hospital.
With the exception of Miami Beach, Asheville's historic downtown area is packed with more art deco architecture than any other southeastern city. There's a wide variety of art galleries, antique stores, cafes, restaurants, tearooms, and annual outdoor events at City/County Plaza. If you venture around the area, you can explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike the spectacular mountains, breathe the clean air and also take part in almost any outdoor activity imaginable from camping to canoeing to golf.
Many retirees put down roots in the Roanoke, Virginia area and it's no surprise. The area's breathtaking scenery is an immediate draw, and the mild climate lends to a healthy lifestyle. Roanoke is a center for health care, entertainment, recreation and attractions. It has been named an "All-America City" three times and has also been dubbed "Festival City," for its many festivals including Roanoke Festival in the Park, Downtown Roanoke Railway Festival, and The Virginia Championship Chili Cook-off and Strawberry Festival.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is taking time to relax. You can certainly relax in Roanoke where you can set your own pace. Rest while boating and fishing on Smith Mountain Lake, tour the Blue Ridge Parkway, golf, or enjoy the city market in downtown, complete with a farmer's market, shops, galleries, restaurants and special events.