Danville attracts retiring seniors for obvious reasons. With beautiful rolling countryside in all directions (and a population of only 42,000), it’s a quiet and laid-back place to live, but it also has many of the advantages of larger cities. That includes two hospitals, three colleges and a baseball team! It’s also affordable, with Places Rated Almanac magazine ranking it 11th for the lowest housing costs in the U.S., and Yahoo! Real Estate naming it a top retirement spot.
But according to Cindy Jones of Danville Parks and Recreation, Danville also appeals to retirees for a reason that’s not quite as obvious: its moderate weather. While the city has a change of seasons, typically the temperature doesn’t get above the 80s in the summer or below the 30s in the winter. And the snowfall is negligible. But truth be told, locals wish it would snow more! One transplanted New Englander was surprised to discover people in town breaking out their sleds after only an inch or two of snow.
Whatever your interest …
Once living here, seniors find a whole lot more to love about this city! That includes the 11.7-mile Riverwalk Trail along the Dan River in the revitalized downtown River District. Along this paved walk, you’ll see people of all ages walking, running or biking.
Also downtown is the Crossing at the Dan, home to the Carrington Pavilion, an 1,100-seat venue for concerts and other events, plus local favorite, the Danville Community Market that hosts a farmers market, which is open from May to October, and a wide variety of festivals to appeal to every taste. The Danville Science Center is also located at the Crossing at the Dan, where a popular tourist attraction is the Butterfly Station and Garden, one of only a few butterfly greenhouses in Virginia.
For baseball lovers, you can watch the Danville Braves, an advanced rookie-level team and farm team of the Atlanta Braves, play most weekends during the summer. If you’re not into baseball, Averett University has a full athletics program—from football to cross country—with many loyal local fans.
Danville is also home to the historic North Theatre, a beautifully restored performing arts venue where you’ll find stand-up comedy, music tribute shows, magic acts and more. The city even has a symphony orchestra and a museum of fine arts and history, which is pretty uncommon for a city this size. On Danville’s streets, you’ll also see some of the best examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in Virginia and North Carolina, not to mention Romanesque, Late Gothic Revival, and Tudor Revival.
What makes Danville different?
How many cities in the country can claim to have a tank museum? Danville’s AAF (American Armoured Foundation) Museum has more than 120 tanks on display as a living memorial to the tank and calvary soldiers of the world. Danville is also known as “the city of churches,” with more churches per square mile than any other Virginia city.
Down the road about 30 miles, in Alton, VA, is the Virginia International Raceway (VIR), a 3.27-mile track for auto and motorcycle racing.
“That’s a huge draw! It was just recently chosen one of Car and Driver’s top six road courses in the nation,” explains Jones, who is Danville’s recreation grants specialist and senior transportation services coordinator.
Location. Location. Location.
Situated on the Virginia/North Carolina border, Danville is also very centrally located—just a 45-minute drive from Greensboro, NC. and two-and-a-half hours from Richmond, VA. In Danville, you’ll also have easy access to the mountains and the water. Pack up the car and drive 30 minutes across the North Carolina border to Hyco Lake, an hour to Smith Mountain Lake and two hours to the Blue Ridge Parkway. For a beach vacation, you can reach either Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach in an easy, four-hour trip.
Taking care of you.
If you need medical care, Danville is home to one of the most comprehensive sources of healthcare in the Dan River region of Virginia and North Carolina, Danville Regional Medical Center (DRMC). Partnering with Duke Medicine in Durham, N.C., DRMC has the surgical capacity and advanced capabilities typically found only at large teaching hospitals. Also serving the area is Centra Danville Medical Center, which opened in 2016. The new facility offers primary care, urgent care, cardiology, mammography, plastic surgery, sports medicine, urology, physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Getting around town.
If you don’t drive—or simply need an alternate source of transportation—Danville has an excellent mass transit system. The city also offers a senior transportation service for those ages 60 and over to get to medical appointments, stores, congregate meal sites and more.
If we haven’t convinced you of all the things Danville has to offer, we’d suggest you come and see for yourself!