The perfect blend of community, university
For many retirees, especially those searching for a retirement location that offers
the opportunity to combine life in a small university town with a passion for golf, the Auburn / Opelika region on the eastern
edge of Alabama, may be a great choice. Although Oliver Goldsmith penned the phrase "Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village
on the Plain" years before the founding of this small town, it has been said to be an appropriate description of this
charming community, where each year colorful azaleas and magnolias are welcome harbingers of spring.
Here, one has ready access to the educational and cultural facilities afforded by being near Auburn University,
while at the same time living near some of the best golfing facilities to be found in the Southeast.
In fact, one publication has gone so far as to describe Auburn as "... the perfect blend of community, university
and tradition..." designating it "...a small dream town, offering high quality of life to all residents."
Marked in recent years by rapid growth, Auburn is currently the fastest growing metropolitan area in Alabama and the nineteenth-fastest
growing metro area in the United States. Although the municipality itself has a population of only about 50,000, the
surrounding market area, including Opelika and nearby Columbus, Georgia, encompasses a population approaching 276,000.
Adding to the cultural scene in Auburn is the Telfair Peet Theatre, which offers a series of plays
and musicals each year, ranging from classical to modern productions and including five productions September through
May, summer dinner theatres and the annual autumn haunting of the theatre.
From an architectural
standpoint, the area remains a jewel of historical preservation, with more than fifty examples of Greek Revivalist and Victorian
structures in Auburn and historic Downtown Opelika enjoying a return to the center of life for the community following a major
renovation project that has restored the buildings and streets into a beautiful revitalized shopping district with a turn-of-the-century
The excellent quality of the health care facilities is a major factor in the region's
high ranking as a place to retire. With hundreds of physicians located in Auburn and Opelika and the presence of East Alabama
Medical Center (EAMC), a 352-bed acute-care regional referral center with an active staff of 132 physicians, located in Opelika,
the health needs of area retirees are more than adequately met. Retired military personnel appreciate the fact that
they have easy access to the army hospital in nearby Fort Benning, Georgia.
Seniors who plan
to spend a great deal of their retirement on the fairways are certain to appreciate both the quality and quantity of the golf
courses available to them in and around these sister cities. In fact, Golf Digest, in a 2005 survey of the best cities
for golfers nationwide, selected Auburn / Opelika as the top American metropolitan area for golf among all cities, regardless
Perhaps the best-known and most spectacular of the local links is Opelika's Grand
National Golf Course, one of the collection of golf resorts included in Alabama's renowned Robert Trent Jones Trail. Altogether,
in addition to the 54 holes in this facility, there are more than 100 more holes of beautiful golf available to retirees at
very reasonable rates. And for those who desire the exclusiveness of a private club, there are several top notch layouts
in the vicinity, including the challenging Martin's Mill Club, with fairways carved out of the rolling terrain and native
hardwoods of the Alabama hillsides.
Non-golfers will also find plenty of opportunity for
outdoor recreation in and around Auburn and Opelika. In Auburn, the city has created an impressive network of bike trails,
as well as 16 parks with numerous multi-use trails and several lakes. For those who prefer water sports, Lee County
Lake is a great fishing hole, and Lake Saugahatchee, adjacent to the Grand National Golf Course in Opelika is a favorite spot
for canoeing. Boaters and waterskiers can head to nearby Lake Harding or Lake Martin.
a short one hour drive away in Pine Mountain, Georgia is Callaway Gardens, an award-winning, 14,000-acre gardens, resort and
preserve nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
to escape harsh northern winters find the area's winters to be very mild by comparison with average highs between 55 and 60°F
and average lows between 35 and 40°F. Autumn and spring are normally very comfortable, although summers can be hot
and muggy. Since Auburn is less than 250 miles from the Gulf Coast, tropical breezes and storms can impact local weather