Durham earns best place to retire title


Money Magazine ranks the Bull City number one on a national list that includes 2010's 25 Best Places to Retire.

According to the magazine, Durham is the country's number one retirement destination because its affordable housing, access to world class medical care and four mild seasons attracts many newcomers.

Duke University, which is based in Durham, is already a magnet for out of town and local students. And there's one classroom that's no exception, but the difference is all of the students are retirees.

Gloria Howard is one of those students who take advantage of lifelong learning classes. It one program Money Magazine cites as a big reason for Durham's ranking.

"I just finished one, an introduction to China," Howard said. "In about 30 minutes I'm gonna start a class on acting!"

Other key factors considered when compiling the list include year-round cultural and recreation opportunities.

"For golfing there are lots of wonderful places for that," Howard adds. "There are lots of walking trails, Duke Gardens and so forth. So a person would just have loads of things to do."

Nice weather is also a draw.

"We don't have brutally cold winters," she said. "There was someone in the class mentioning that they had moved here from Chicago, and it was because of the brutal winters there!"

Bull City boosters aren't surprised by the recognition. According to the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, more people 55 and older visit Durham than any other age group. Some of them must like what they see and decide to come back for good, including those who move from the northeast.

"A lot of people from the northeast, a lot of people who have come down from New York," said Garry Crites, director of Duke's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I fully intend to stay in this area when I retire someday, and [look forward] to signing up for classes and being in the classroom," Crites added.

He says the program may need more room now that Money Magazine has placed a spotlight on what's attractive in Durham.

Retirees also can make some smart real estate investments in Durham. The Wall Street Journal ranks Durham as America's number one market for investment properties.

Asheville also made Money's retirment list, coming in at number 22.

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