Anyone considering Charlottesville as a place to
retire is immediately impressed by the fervor with which residents are devoted to the arts, literature and a love of learning.
This fact is undeniably a tribute to an esteemed lineage that began with such notable personages as Thomas Jefferson and James
New retirees drawn to this college
town are delighted to discover that this tradition continues today and heightened by the influence of the University of Virginia,
a venerable institution of higher learning which significantly impacts the artistic and cultural life of the city and also
provides a tremendous resource for active adults who have an opportunity to continue their pursuit of knowledge.
Located just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with the Chesapeake
Bay only a hundred miles to the east, Charlottesville is an hour from Washington, D.C. and Richmond. The New York Times has
described the city and the surrounding area as a place "where the land rolls away toward the mountains in the west with
a beauty that snatches the breath at the top of each crest and the bottom of each vale."
Described by one observer as an "elegant little city," , Charlottesville
was named the best place to live in America by Cities Ranked and Rated, a comprehensive listing of more than 300 cities throughout
the country. The book says Charlottesville's high housing prices are the only "negative and directly reflect the quality
of life and resistance to sprawl. ... Mr. Jefferson would be proud."
Notwithstanding the price of real estate, Charlottesville remains one of the more affordable places
to retire in the country. With a population in the city limits of 45,000, the city has a history of low unemployment, a reputation
for an excellent education system and outstanding health care facilities. In fact, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance,
it ranks as the second Healthiest Place to Live. And there are several retirement communities here poised to take advantage
of the increasing interest in Charlottesville as a place to retire.
Residents have an incredible selection of artistic and cultural events to choose from throughout
the course of each year. One of the foremost of these is the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, a summer-long series of outdoor performances
of operas and American musicals held on the grounds of Ash Lawn-Highlands, James Madison's estate. Other notable events that
occur annually include the Virginia Festival of the Book and Virginia Garden Week, when many of the city's spectacular public
and private gardens are open for touring.
enhancing the cultural life of the community are the Charlottesville Symphony, several art museums and such well-established
venues for live dramatic performances as the Heritage Repertory Theatre and the Four County Players, Virginia's oldest continuously
Charlottesville's quality of life is not limited to cultural pursuits. Its
menu of outdoor activities is almost as broad and inviting. There are several challenging golf courses, public and private,
any number of parks and woodlands for hiking, biking and mountain climbing and lakes for boating and kayaking. Just an hour
to the south is the ski resort of Wintergreen. For horse lovers, the Foxfield Steeplechase is an annual event, and polo games
are held weekly throughout the summer at the Forest Lodge and the Charlottesville Country Club, while the UVA polo teams compete
regularly during the autumn months.
course, fall also heralds the arrival of weekend tailgating parties and major college football with UVA and its ACC opponents.
Not surprisingly, Charlottesville's reputation as a place with a high quality of life and for
cultural enrichment plays prominently in attracting retirees to Charlottesville. When combined with the opportunities for
outdoor recreation and enjoyment afforded by its natural surroundings, the city's growing stature as a desirable place to
retire is totally understandable. Few other cities in the country can offer such a rich and rewarding sense of historical
preservation in combination with a forward thinking and progressive civic structure.