If you’re considering where to retire, you’re probably looking for a place without a lot hustle and bustle but with plenty to do, a reasonable cost of living but a variety of options for care and support. A climate that’s not too hot or too cold is also a boon.
The Shenandoah Valley offers all this, along with the added benefit of breathtaking views and natural wonders in every direction. But don’t just take our word for it! Forbes named Harrisonburg, located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, one of the “25 Best Places to Retire in 2017.”
So what’s the appeal?
Cradled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, the Valley, as the locals call it, stretches approximately 200 miles from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to Roanoke, Virginia. While Washington, D.C. is only about 80 miles from Shenandoah County, the lifestyle in this string of historic small cities and towns is a far cry from that of its metropolitan neighbor to the east.
The people are friendly, the traffic manageable, and the communities filled with history and natural beauty—all features you’re probably looking for when you put down retirement roots.
But there’s also no shortage of things to do and see when you retire here. Topping that list is the Skyline Drive, which runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is the only public road through the Shenandoah National Park.
People come from miles around to enjoy the beautiful mountain vistas from the 75 overlooks along this 105-mile mountain byway. U.S. National Landmark Luray Caverns in the town of Luray also offers a natural show of its own, with its towering stone formations, sparkling pools and the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ.
But Mother Nature isn’t the only attraction in the Valley. You’ll also find plenty of history and culture to go along with all the natural wonders. Experience the life and times of America’s 28th president at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum in Staunton, Wilson’s birthplace. One of the most popular objects in the collection there is the President’s restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow limo.
The city is also home to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Just down the road at the Harrisonburg Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center, discover the central Valley’s role in the Civil War and map out your visits to historic sites throughout the area.
Brisk winters and comfortable summers.
The Shenandoah Valley boasts four seasons, with average highs in the 80s and lows in the 20s (the area gets about 20 inches of snow each year). Thanks to this climate, you can get outdoors all year-round, engaging in snow sports and outdoor activities in the winter, gardening come spring, enjoying summer cookouts and outdoor festivals, and experiencing the iconic foliage show in the fall.
A lifestyle made for retirees.
If your idea of retirement living is a quaint, small-town setting, you’ll definitely have your pick in the Valley. From one end of the region to the other, there are friendly, welcoming communities, which are not only steeped in history and hospitality but also filled with eclectic architecture, one-of-a-kind craftsmen selling their wares, impressive dining experiences, and charm galore.
You may also want to retire to the Valley because of the reasonable cost of living. According to the AreaVibes Livability Score, the cost of living in many of the towns and cities in the Valley is at or below the national average. That affordability definitely factored into Harrisonburg’s place on the Forbes “25 Best Places to Retire in 2017” list.
And when you’re ready for a more supported lifestyle, the Valley offers a variety of care options and senior living communities, like Kendal® at Lexington, the picturesque retirement community featured on the cover of this issue. Throughout the Valley, you’ll also have easy access to senior-targeted services—everything from home healthcare to downsizing and moving.
From its breathtaking views to its variety of attractions to its laid-back lifestyle, the Shenandoah Valley is a natural choice for retirement. Come for a visit and see for yourself!