Boone Named one of the "10 Best Places to Retire in America"

Article by Adam Orr from Jefferson Post

Neighboring Boone has been ranked one of the ?10 Best Places to Retire in 2012? by U.S. News and World Report, and Ashe County could reap the rewards of that honor.

?If active retirees are drawn to Boone, NC through this recognition,? said Ashe County Manager and Head of Economic Development Pat Mitchell, ?I believe the spillover to Ashe seems natural and logical.?

U.S. News and World Report, the prestigious national news magazine known for its ?America?s Best Colleges? rankings, draws more than nine million web hits a month.

The report labeled Boone an ?affordable mountain town,? for retirees looking for gorgeous mountain vistas and outdoor fun, without the price tag that comes with Aspen or Vail in Colorado.

?Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone boasts three nearby ski resorts as well as trails for cross country skiing, winter hiking, and snowshoeing,? read the ranking, available at ?Residents of this small town of 14,000 also have access to one of the country?s most scenic roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway.?

The ranking also included the AppalCart bus service, access to Appalachian State University, and a 2010 median home price of $215,000 as further draws for retirees.

Mitchell said she thinks Ashe can benefit from retiree growth in Boone, and that active retirees looking to make their home in Watauga will also find their way to Ashe County.

?I think regionally, individuals come to areas and explore neighboring areas,? said Mitchell. ?Active retirees look for things to do. We have two state parks and the New River, many entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway, wonderful arts culture as well as the Florence Thomas Art School, (and) we are known for hiking and biking. And great music within our hills too.?

Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cabot Hamilton said the recognition from the ranking is a positive for the entire High Country.

?We?re such close neighbors to Boone, to Watauga County,? said Hamilton. ?As people do start to look around and make their retirement plans, our closeness to Boone could be a draw.?

In compiling their ranking, U.S. News and World Report considered Boone?s population (14,493), crime rate (low, on a relative scale, compared to other cities on the U.S. News and World Report list), cost of living (high), median home price (high), and median income (high).

The ranking also took into consideration Boone?s proximity to Charlotte (81.23 miles), and average commute time (13.11 minutes), as well as seasonal temperature variations.

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