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Asheville and Raleigh Make Forbes Best Places to Retire List

North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway Mountains Sunset Scenic Landsc
Each year, Forbes comes out with a list of Best Places to retire in the U.S. This year, two North Carolina cities made the Forbes list, Asheville and Raleigh.


Asheville is the largest city in western North Carolina, and continues to grow steadily. It is a popular destination for baby boomers who have spent years dreaming of having a home in the mountains.

Here’s why Forbes likes it:

Strong economy amid scenic terrain and good weather, cost of living 3% below national norm, average home price $206,000. Abundant doctors. High volunteering culture.


Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, and just inside the Top 50 biggest cities in America. Raleigh is part of what’s referred to as the “Research Triangle” (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill).

The Pro’s of Raleigh according to Forbes:

Hot diversified economy from state capital, tech and colleges (North Carolina State University, Shaw University). Cost of living at national average, median home price $213,000. Moderate climate.

My Beef With “Best Places” Lists

I’ve never been a big fan of best places to retire type lists. As you know, there’s just so much personal preference that factors in to this kind of decision. That’s why I don’t publish a “best places” list here.

I’ve yet to hear one person tell me they chose to retire somewhere because the cost of living was 5% below the national average. But this type of data weighs pretty heavily into how these lists are compiled.

The reality is, these lists seem to get a lot of page views and social shares, and that’s why some publications like them.

That said, here’s the rest of the Forbes list, if you’re interested:

Forbes 2015 Best Places to Retire

*Indicates city was also on the 2014 Best Places List


Tucson *

Colorado Springs

Cape Coral
Port Charlotte



Bowling Green*



Great Falls


North Dakota

Oak Grove


Abilene, TX *
San Angelo, TX*
San Marcos, TX

Logan, UT

Blacksburg, VA*

Casper, WY

You can check out the full Forbes Best Places to Retire 2015 story here.

Bicycle Friendly Communities in the Carolinas

One of the most popular activities for baby boomers relocating to adult communities is bike riding. Whether we are talking about casually riding around town, cruising down the beach, or a vigorous ride deep into the woods on a mountain bike friendly nature trail, there is a lot to love about bicycling. It is also a great way for boomers to stay active while taking it easy on their muscles and joints.

For those reasons, and a host of other ones, communities that are bicycle-friendly can be especially interesting to the baby boomer demographic. If you happen to be one of those boomers that is particularly interested in bike-related amenities, The League of American Bicyclists has done some extensive research for you regarding bicycle-friendly communities in the Carolinas.

Bicycle Friendly Criteria

In order to fairly assess how bicycle friendly a community is, they have broken the concept down into five categories that they consider to be essential. Those categories are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.

Engineering and Education are fairly self-explanatory. The community in question needs to have been designed to accommodate bicycles through bike lanes, bike paths, and bike trails. There also must be adequate bicycle parking in public locations. The Education category simply requires that there be programs in place for both children and adults to improve their cycling skills.

While having a handle on the Engineering and Education categories requires a community to have some upfront investment in place, the categories of Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning require ongoing focus and support. Community members must be encouraged to use their bicycles through events like bike months, the rules designed to protect cyclists must be enforced, and community leaders must diligently maintain the community’s bicycle friendly planning.

As you can see, The League of American Bicyclists does not take their bicycle friendly designation lightly, which means that the communities they recommend will have to be impressive.

Bicycle Friendly Communities in the Carolinas

The Carolinas have a combined 17 Bicycle Friendly Communities, 29 Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and 8 Bicycle Friendly Universities. Out of the 17 communities that made the cut, there were 2 silver level communities and 15 bronze level communities. Let’s take a quick look at the two silver level communities:

Carrboro, North Carolina

Carrboro is a small town community located just outside of Chapel Hill with a population of about 20,000. According to their Bicycle Transportation Plan, which was adopted in 2009, Carrboro attempts to provide all of its citizen with the option of using bicycles for transportation, recreation, and health reasons.

Carrboro is known for having a large number of bicycle paths and bike lanes on many of its major roads. There is also a heavy local focus on developing greenways and educating the public about bicycle safety.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Commonly thought of as a vacation destination, Hilton Head has a population of just over 30,000 and is an incredibly popular community for active adults who are passionate about bicycling. The community is home to more than 20 different bicycle shops, as bicycling is a big business among vacationers.

Because of the relaxed atmosphere in Hilton Head, bicycles are an extremely popular method of transportation and recreation. It is not uncommon for residents to be seen riding bikes to the grocery store or out to dinner.

Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Communities

In addition to Carrboro, NC and Hilton Head, SC, the following communities in the Carolinas have also been designated as Bicycle Friendly Communities by The League of American Bicyclists:

• Asheville, NC
• Cary, NC
• Chapel Hill, NC
• Charleston, SC
• Charlotte, NC
• Columbia, SC
• Davidson, NC
• Durham, NC
• Greensboro, NC
• Greenville, SC
• Raleigh, NC
• Rock Hill, SC
• Spartanburg, SC
• Wilmington, NC
• Winston-Salem, NC

If you have already spent some time researching destinations for your future residence in the Carolinas, you will probably notice that most of these Bicycle Friendly Communities are the same communities that are already popular with many relocating boomers. This is no coincidence.

If you are just getting started on your search for a great relocation destination in the Carolinas and you are passionate about bicycling, these areas can serve as an excellent starting point for your search.

10 Highest (and Lowest) Average Home Prices in the Carolinas

Between the mountains in the west, the Atlantic Coast in the east, and the major cities in the middle, the Carolinas offer a wide range of possibilities for people of all interests and budgets.

If you have been thinking about retiring to the Carolinas, you might be overwhelmed with the number of outstanding options available. Having a general idea of which areas are most expensive and which areas are least expensive is a great way to narrow down your search for the perfect community in North or South Carolina.

According to a recent Home Listing Report from Coldwell Banker, the average home listing price for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in North Carolina is $229,112. The average listing price for the same home in South Carolina is $214,206.

These statewide averages can serve as a good starting point for evaluating how expensive a market is compared to the rest of the state.

The report broke the two states down into a total of 105 real estate markets. Let’s combine them and take a look at the ten most expensive and the ten least expensive real estate markets in the Carolinas.

The Ten Most Expensive Real Estate Markets in the Carolinas

Here are the ten most expensive real estate markets in North Carolina and South Carolina by average listing price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house:

1. Mount Pleasant, SC – $416,358.25
2. Chapel Hill, NC – $401,765.00
3. Kill Devil/Southern Shores/Kitty Hawk, NC – $395,299.33
4. Ocean Isle Beach, NC – $385, 794.12
5. Sunset Beach, NC – $374,480.00
6. North Myrtle Beach, SC – $369,404.67
7. Oak Island, NC – $348,972.73
8. Charleston, SC – $317,367.69
9. Apex, NC – $315,485.19
10. Cary, NC – $298,708.97

Just outside the top ten were Clemmons, NC, Fort Mill, SC, Hillsborough, NC, and Wake Forest, NC.

Each of these top ten real estate markets is located either along the coast of the Carolinas or near the popular Triangle Area between the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Access to the amenities of each of the three triangle cities is a popular reason that many people want to live in those real estate markets, and the appeal of living in a beachfront community along the Outer Banks, just north of Myrtle Beach, or in Charleston speaks for itself!

The Ten Least Expensive Real Estate Markets in the Carolinas

Here are the ten least expensive real estate markets in North Carolina and South Carolina by average listing price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house:

1. North Charleston, SC – $134,641.92
2. Henderson, NC – $144,112.50
3. Oxford, NC – $151,953.85
4. Kingston, NC – $155,065.00
5. Salisbury, NC – $158,927.27
6. Elgin, SC – $160,548.41
7. Rockingham, NC – $162,221.36
8. Lumberton, NC – $163,031.58
9. Easley, SC – $163,663.86
10. Statesville, NC – $168,459.09

Just outside the top ten where Havelock, NC, Parkton, NC, Lugoff, SC, and Sumter, SC.

Most of the least expensive real estate markets in the Carolinas are in suburban areas that are located more towards the middle of the states. Some of the least expensive real estate markets in North Carolina are located outside the Charlotte area, and some of the least expensive real estate markets in South Carolina are located around the state capitol of Columbia.

Comparing Real Estate Markets in the Carolinas

After compiling all of this data, we find that the old real estate concept of “location, location, location” certainly applies to these markets in the Carolinas. You can almost certainly expect for real estate to be more expensive along the Atlantic Coast and near popular cities like Chapel Hill, North Myrtle Beach, and Charleston.

It is also interesting to note that some of the least expensive real estate markets in North Carolina are not very far from either Charlotte or the Triangle Area, and the least expensive real estate market (North Charleston, SC) in the Carolinas is located right next to the eighth most expensive market (Charleston, SC).

This means that if you decide that you cannot afford to look at a particular market, there is likely one nearby that will fit your budget!

You should also keep in mind that these are just averages, and there are deals to be found in every real estate market in the Carolinas. These prices should merely serve as a general guide on where to direct your search for the perfect home in the Carolinas.

Community Profile: The Coves

The Coves is a mountain community that offers one of the best values in all of the Carolinas. It offers beautiful cottages as well as lots for traditional homes. The community boasts a number of fantastic amenities, as well as a fantastic location with respect to dining and shopping.


The Coves was designed to provide the kind of mountain community that would be able to deliver more than a typical resort-style community. With aspects like a community garden and all of the available outdoor activities, it was clear from the very beginning that this community would offer quite a bit more to its residents.


The home choices is one of the most versatile aspects of life at The Coves. The more popular option is The Coves Cottage Collection, which allows residents to purchase modern cottages that are arranged in small villages throughout the mountain community.

The cottages are available in six different floor plans that have either two or three bedrooms. They range in size from 1432 to 1949 square feet. The cottages are available in with board and batten, log, or log-sided exteriors. Some of the standard features included with the cottages are GE appliances, Moen fixtures, granite countertops, wood floors, a gas fireplace, and ceramic tile floors in the bathrooms. At the time of this writing the cottages start at $239,000.

If you are looking for a custom built home, there are also a number of lots available. One type of available lot is called a View Lot. These lots all have tremendous panoramic views of the mountains. Another type of lot is the river access lot. These lots provide access to the river and many of the amenities surrounding that area. The Coves has partnered with a number of local architects and builders to offer over 30 different home styles for these lots.

Restaurants & Shopping

One of the biggest selling points of The Coves is that despite feeling like it is way up in the mountains, it actually isn’t that far from a number of restaurants and shops. While there are closer options available, there are some truly outstanding dining options available in Blowing Rock, which is less than a thirty-minute drive. Some of the most popular local restaurants are Bistro Roca, Foggy Rock, and the Storie Street Grille.

As for shopping, there are a number of little shops all around The Coves. Once again, a quick trip to Blowing Rock opens up a world of opportunities. Shoppers will be delighted to find the Tanger Outlets there, which contain stores like Coach, Polo, and Banana Republic.

Active Lifestyle

The Coves offers far more than the average community when it comes to pursuing an active lifestyle. Golfers will be impressed with The Coves Country Club. As a resident of The Coves, you are entitled to play this challenging golf course as often as you like, and you are only required to pay for the use of a cart. The biggest challenge on this course is the incredible changes in elevation.

One of the very unique aspects of The Coves is the community garden. The Coves was designed based on the assumption that people looking to live in mountain communities were likely to enjoy outdoor activities. This concept eventually led to the development of The Coves Garden Club, which allows residents the opportunity to come together to work on and enjoy a fabulous community garden and vineyard.

In addition to the activities available within the community, The Coves is also located right along the Johns River, which offers residents fantastic fishing opportunities. Residents can also find world class skiing at Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain within 45 minutes of the community. Other local attractions include Wilson Creek Gorge and Pisgah National Forest.

Mountain Lodge

One of the most breathtaking structures at The Coves is the Pisgah Mountain Lodge. This 6,000 square foot lodge building sits at the very top of The Coves. It features an impressive library of books that any resident can browse through and borrow from. Residents can enjoy reading at a number of different decks, sitting areas, and fire pits in and around the lodge.


One of the most interesting things about The Coves is that it might have the perfect climate for anyone who is partial to the four seasons. Residents will be able to experience all of the sights, sounds, and smells of each of the four seasons. However, because of its optimal location, the winters are not too cold and the summers are not too hot.


The Coves is located in the western part of North Carolina, about two hours west of Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Heading west from The Coves, residents can get to Asheville in about ninety minutes, and Charlotte is just about the same distance to the southeast.

View The Coves in a larger map

Between the housing options, the amenities, and the location, The Coves is one of the most interesting communities in all of the Carolinas. When you factor in the prices, that deal gets even better!

Community Profile: Jefferson Landing

Jefferson Landing is located in the mountains of North Carolina and was developed based on the idea that residents wanted a gated luxury community that was far removed from the hustle and bustle of big city living. The community offers resort-style luxury living to its residents.


Jefferson Landing was the vision of brothers Eddie and Mark Vannoy. While working on building townhouses for a nearby development in the 1980’s, the brothers decided that they would be better off building their own development.

They spent about two years piecing together the land and in 1988, they began construction on their golf course with PGA Hall of Famer Larry Nelson. The course opened for play in 1990.

Homes and Homesites

The gated community of Jefferson Landing offers a number of options for either buying or renting housing. The stunning views make this some of the most coveted real estate in all of the Carolinas.

If you are looking to build from scratch, there are a number of lots still available. If you would prefer to buy or rent something that has already been constructed, there are a number of condominiums, townhouses, and homes available.

Whether you prefer townhouses or standalone homes, every single property in Jefferson Landing contains the highest level of quality. There are no cookie-cutter homes here.

Restaurants & Shopping

Since the theme of Jefferson Landing is based on it being a mountain retreat, you aren’t going to find a lot of big box retailers in the area. However, the West Jefferson Arts District features a number of craft shops and gift shops that could keep you busy for hours. There are also more than a dozen art galleries and some excellent restaurants there.

Some of the best dining around Jefferson Landing can be found right at the community’s Clubhouse. The Clubhouse at Jefferson Landing serves gourmet dinners in its main dining room. It also serves a more casual menu at the 19th Hole Grille. The Clubhouse also puts on special dinners for different holidays and events.

Active Living

Jefferson Landing
The most popular activity at Jefferson Landing is by far the golf course, which has been rated one of the top 100 golf courses in the Carolinas. In the winter months, skiing takes precedence over golf. Appalachian Ski Mountain, Sugar Ski Resort NC, and Beech Mountain Ski Resort are all located nearby.

Even if golf or skiing is not your thing, there are a number of other attractions and activities around Jefferson. Some of the most popular local attractions include the Ashe County Cheese Factory, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns, Moses H Cone Manor, The Blowing Rock, and Tweetsie Railroad.


One of the things that this area of the Appalachian Mountains is known for is its folk and bluegrass music. Because of that, Jefferson is known for hosting a number of bluegrass music festivals throughout the year. These include The New River Blues Festival, The Ola Belle Reed Homecoming Festival, and The Ashe County NC Old Time Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention.

Another popular item that comes from the mountains of North Carolina is wine. There are two fantastic wineries located near Jefferson Landing. Both Thistle Meadow Winery and New River Winery are close by and offer tastings and tours. If you are willing to drive a bit further, there are many more excellent wineries located throughout the North Carolina Mountains.


One of the major appeals of Jefferson Landing is that there are no major highways anywhere near the community. This is truly a luxury community that is set in the middle of nowhere, which is exactly what its residents wanted. However, if you must get to a major road, driving north will get you to I-81, and driving east will get you to I-77.

Jefferson Landing is truly a mountain oasis that offers residents five-star amenities about as far removed from big city life as possible.

North Carolina Bed and Breakfasts

Bed & Breakfast style lodging can be traced all the way back to Colonial America. Today, many of the high-end B&Bs are beautifully renovated historic mansions that offer a sense of history combined with today’s modern amenities. This type of lodging is particularly popular in the Carolinas. There are literally hundreds of B&Bs across North Carolina.

Here are some of the best luxury B&Bs in North Carolina:

Albemarle Inn, Asheville

Image via

Image via

The Albemarle Inn is a Greek Revival Mansion that was built in 1909. It was originally the home of Dr. Carl V. Reynolds, who was well known for his work treating tuberculosis. In 1920, Reynolds sold the mansion to a private school for girls. This is when the second building was constructed on the property. In 1980, the mansion was purchased by the Mellins family, who converted it into a bed and breakfast. Since then, the Albemarle has changed owners five more times. The current owners are Fabrizio and Rosemary Chiariello.

The Albemarle has eleven guest rooms spread across three floors. Each of the rooms has a private bathroom and is historically decorated. There is also Wi-Fi available throughout the house. The Juliet’s Chamber room on the second floor features a private balcony, and the Vanity Fair room on the second floor contains a fireplace. The Royal Hideaway room on the third floor is the most luxurious, as it features a two-person whirlpool tub.

Lovill House Inn, Boone

The Lovill House is a historic bed and breakfast with an impressive wrap-around porch. It is located just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway on eleven acres of property. The house was built in 1875 by Captain E.F. Lovill. The house has been updated to include modern amenities like flat screen TVs and Wi-Fi. The walls in the guest rooms have been doubled and insulated to ensure privacy.

There are six guest rooms available at the Lovill House. Each of the rooms has its own private bathroom, and most have their own fireplaces. The most interesting room is the romantic Spring House, which is a separate structure that is set back from the main house. This private cottage has its own porch that overlooks the beautiful gardens of the property.

Arrowhead Inn, Durham

The Arrowhead Inn is located on a six-acre plantation between the triangle cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. One of the unique aspects of this bed and breakfast is that the innkeeper is also a fantastic chef. His elaborate gourmet breakfast is included in the standard room rates. In addition to breakfast, The Arrowhead Inn offers a number of dinner options, including an elegant tasting dinner, a personal chef dinner, a lighter meal, or a prepared picnic meal.

The Arrowhead Inn features seven guest rooms in the main house, as well as a private cottage and a secluded log cabin. Each of the rooms contains private bathrooms that are stocked with the highest quality towels and robes. The rooms also feature fresh flowers, writing journals, and fireplaces.

The Verandas, Wilmington

The Verandas in Wilmington is a bed and breakfast that has a tremendous story to tell its visitors. This beautiful Victorian mansion was built in 1853 by Benjamin Beery. The structure caught fire in 1992 and then sat empty and boarded up for three years before the current owners purchased it. Since then, the entire house has been stripped down to the studs and completely restored. The before and after pictures are simply breathtaking.

There are eight large guest rooms available at The Verandas. Each of the rooms has its own private bathroom, as well as modern technologies like cable, phones, and Wi-Fi. Each of the rooms is decorated in a different style and theme.

Did we miss your favorite NC B&B? Let us know in the comments below.

Briar Chapel

Briar Chapel Entrance
Briar Chapel can be found nestled among the wildlife and outdoors just 9 miles away from Chapel Hill. Due to it’s serene setting and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s fast becoming one of the state’s top new home communities. Inside the 1,600 acre community you’ll find everything from mountain biking trails to relaxing pools and social events.

The unique aspect about Briar Chapel is the active outdoor lifestyle it offers. There are miles of walking, hiking and biking trails to be explored and they’re all in your backyard(but without any of the maintenance).


By design, Briar Chapel is set up in a way that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition, the community also promotes social interactions with neighbors, friends and the local community. Most of Briar Chapel’s outdoor amenities are reserved for use by its residents but there are certain areas available for public access.

Throughout the community, there are many opportunities to reach out and interact with neighbors and meet new friends. Whether you’re the type to sit back and lounge by the pool or take a walk with a spouse on one of the many hiking trails surrounding the property, there’s really something for everybody.

On-site, there is an activities director who presents a monthly calendar of events to promote community involvement. These events can range from art classes and exercise sessions to special events like concerts and fairs. The community intranet aims to keep everyone informed of all the events taking place on a daily basis and residents can also use it as a bulletin board of sorts to communicate with each other.

Go Green

Briar Chapel has made a large effort to ‘go green’ and preserve the local habitat. Many of the local species of trees, streams and open space have been preserved in order to maintain wildlife habitat and the pristine nature of the area. Over 50% of the entire area has been designated as open space. And with the use of innovative home building techniques, many of the trees and boulders that were moved during construction have been re-planted or re-integrated into the community.

The Great Outdoors

The great outdoors is something that Briar Chapel takes very seriously. There are approximately 24 miles of hiking and biking trails weaving through the 900 acres of preserved space to prove it. One of the most popular features are the mountain biking trails which were actually designed with the help of TORC(Triangle Off Road Cyclists) and stretch over 15 miles on an 18 inch wide trail. You can explore on your own or meet up with one of the many mountain biking clubs and go for a group ride.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a porch enthusiast, you’ll love the fresh air and open space that the community has to offer. Due to its proximity to Chapel Hill, you’ll get to enjoy the outdoors lifestyle but still have a connection to the local city flavor and amenities.

Discover a Quiet Oasis at Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State ParkWhile there is certainly no shortage of excitement in the Myrtle Beach area, sometimes that excitement can become a bit overwhelming. One of the best-kept secrets in all of the Myrtle Beach area is the calm and quiet peacefulness of Myrtle Beach State Park.

Located off of Hwy Business 17, just three miles south of downtown Myrtle Beach, the park is a rare oceanfront forest that provides a perfect escape for anyone looking to get away.

About The Park

Opened in 1936, Myrtle Beach State Park was the first state park in South Carolina. Its undeveloped beachfront forest is extremely rare and has been declared a Heritage Trust Site. The forest is comprised mostly of oak and southern magnolia trees and is populated with a number of rare wild animals.

Some of the best experiences at the park include ice cream cones from the gift shop on the pier, the self-led scavenger hunts, and searching the beach for seashells and shark teeth.


One of the biggest reasons people come to the park is that it offers some of the best shore fishing in all of South Carolina. Fishing can be done right from the shore or from the parks impressive pier.

When fishing, visitors can expect to catch flounder, king mackerel, whiting, trout, and Spanish mackerel. There is plenty of information available on the pier to get you started, as well as a bait and tackle shop. You can even rent fishing rods right there, so there is no need to lug your own gear with you.


Camping is another reason that many visitors are attracted to the park. With 66 full hookup sites, there is plenty of room for everyone. All campsites are located close to hot showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities.

Of course, the best thing about camping at Myrtle Beach State Park is that the campground is only about 300 yards from the beach. More information on rates and reservations can be made through the park’s Ranger Station.

Nature Trails

Another popular aspect of the park is the walking and biking trails. There are nature trails that run throughout the park and they can be used for walking, running, or biking.

Birdwatchers will love the trails, as they will have the opportunity to see a number of popular South Carolina birds. Spring and fall are the best seasons for bird watching.

Scavenger Hunts

One of the most fun aspects of Myrtle Beach State Park is the self-led scavenger hunts that are available to visitors. These adventures take about an hour and walk visitors along trails that total about one mile. There are currently two different scavenger hunts, and each educates visitors about different things.

Scavengers will be led around the park’s nature trail where they will stop at various points along the way to read educational signs. The information contained in these signs will answer the questions on the scavenger hunt. More information about these hunts can be obtained from the park’s Nature Center.

In addition to the two scavenger hunts, visitors can also play Nature Bingo! The Nature Center provides two different bingo cards, where each spot on the card is something visitors can find in the park. The goal is to complete a “Bingo” by finding the different nature items.

Whether you’re looking for great fishing, quiet camping, relaxing nature trails, or just some plain old peace and quiet, Myrtle Beach State Park is a literal oasis in the middle of a bustling community. This is one of the reasons that Myrtle Beach can provide both excitement and relaxation, making it an ideal place to live.

Address: 4401 South Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575
Phone: (843) 238-5325

Check Out the Famous Harbour Town Light on HHI

Harbour Town Lighthouse
Whether you are looking for a vacation rental or permanent relocation, Hilton Head Island offers some of the most exclusive beachfront properties in all of the Carolinas. Despite having more than 20 championship golf courses and over 250 restaurants to choose from, residents and vacationers will never feel crowded here. The entire island offers an unprecedented level of serenity and a true feeling of escape.

One of the most famous attractions in all of Hilton Head is Harbour Town Light. This beautiful red and white lighthouse has become the unofficial symbol of Hilton Head Island, and you’ve likely seen it on a number of souvenirs. It has also become famous for making an appearance on television every year during the Heritage Golf Tournament, which is a PGA Tour event that is held at the Harbour Town Golf Links. It is famously noted that Jack Nicholas assisted in the design of the course.

The Harbour Town Golf Links has also been a featured course on the popular Tiger Woods video game series. When playing the course in those games, the Harbour Town Lighthouse can be seen standing in the background. The signature 18th hole is famous for its extremely narrow fairway. The best strategy for this hole is for golfers to aim their tee shot directly at the lighthouse in the background.

The lighthouse is located in the Harbour Town Marina, which is part of the Sea Pines vacation rental community. Visitors to the marina can shop at a number of unique and interesting shops, or watch all of the impressive boats come and go.

Unlike so many of the lighthouses up north, Harbour Town Light is open to the public. In exchange for a very small donation, visitors can climb all 114 steps to the top of the octagon shaped, red and white striped lighthouse. During their climb to the top, they will be entertained by walking through a museum that details the storied history of this iconic lighthouse.

The tour starts with a brief history of Hilton Head Island that covers the early settlers and the island’s importance in the Civil War. As visitors climb higher, they will learn about Charles Fraser, who designed Sea Pines, Harbour Town, the golf course, and the lighthouse. Many years ago, he had a compelling vision for what Hilton Head Island could be, and his work has produced one of the most intimate harbor communities anywhere.

The tour also highlights each of the lighthouses on Hilton Head Island, but clearly emphasizes the importance of the 90-foot Harbour Town Light. Its construction was privately funded by developers of the Sea Pines community, which is extremely rare. It is not an official navigation lighthouse, however it is still vitally important in helping boaters find their way back to Harbour Town. The lighthouse was completed in 1970.

After the tour profiles a few more local lighthouses, visitors will arrive at the top of the lighthouse where they can make use of the observation deck or look around in one of the most unique gift shops in all of the Carolinas. From the observation deck, visitors will have a beautiful view of the marina and golf course. Inside the gift shop, they will be able to purchase a number of exclusive souvenirs that represent some of the nicest collections in Hilton Head.

Whether you are passionate about golf, a lighthouse enthusiast, or just someone who enjoys pretty views, Harbour Town Light on Hilton Head Island is an attraction you absolutely much check out! For an extremely minimal price, you can read about history, see one of the most beautiful views in all of the Carolinas, and shop at a number of interesting stores. Everyone should make a point to visit Harbour Town.

Bojangles – A Carolinas Institution

BojanglesNo trip to the Carolinas is complete without stopping at a Bojangles Restaurant. You can work up quite an appetite running around and checking out all the attractive communities the Carolinas have to offer, and there’s no reason to go hungry.

Based in Charlotte, Bojangles is famous all across the Carolinas for its Cajun-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. Stopping at Bojangles has become a tradition for millions of families visiting the Carolinas on vacation and an addiction for many people who relocate to the Carolinas.

One of my favorite things about Bojangles is the fact that they serve breakfast all day. During my college tennis days at Wingate University (30 mins. outside of Charlotte) we’d make trips to Bojangles after practice for Bacon, Egg and Cheese biscuits.

History of Bojangles

The first Bojangles store was opened in 1977 by founders Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas. They believed that there was an opportunity for a quick service restaurant to sell high quality fried chicken and sides. They insisted that everything be made from scratch to ensure the quality of their product.

A year later, in 1978, the first Bojangles franchise store was opened. After that, it was off to the races. In 1984, the company opened its 200th restaurant. After catching its breath for a few years, Bojangles opened its 300th restaurant in 2002. The company hit 400 restaurants in 2008 and has since surpassed 500 locations, including an international location in Honduras.

Despite this incredible growth, Bojangles has managed to stay true to the core beliefs of its founders. While there have been a number of additions to the menu over the years, all of these additions met Bojangles’ high level of quality standards. After almost 40 years in business, Bojangles’ best sellers are still its original chicken and biscuits.

The Menu

Because of the high quality of their famous biscuits, Bojangles has become an excellent place to stop for breakfast, and as I mentioned they serve breakfast all day! You can get your biscuit stuffed with bacon, eggs, sausage, steak, spicy chicken, or ham. They also offer biscuits that are topped with sausage gravy, which is a southern favorite.

The lunch menu contains sandwiches and salads that feature the famous chicken in a variety of ways. There are Cajun chicken filet sandwiches as well as grilled chicken sandwiches. There are also three different styles of salads.

Of course, the main focus of Bojangles is their fried chicken. This is available in boxes of 12 and 20 pieces that come with or without biscuits. If you are just ordering for yourself, there are a number of dinner options that include chicken and biscuits.

One of the more recent additions to the Bojangles menu are the Chicken Supremes. This offers customers a boneless version of Bojangles famous chicken flavor. These Chicken Supremes can be ordered in a 12-piece box, or as a four-piece combo meal.

To go along with your chicken, Bojangles offers a number of excellent “fixin’s” as side items. You can choose from Bojangles’ famous Cajun Pintos or Dirty Rice, which are the most popular. They also offer Bo-tato Rounds, Coleslaw, Green Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Picnic Grits, and Seasoned Fries.

Bojangles puts their own twist on desserts as well. They offer a Bo-Berry Biscuit, Cinnamon Pecan Twists, and a Sweet Potato Pie.

Finding a Bojangles

With so many Bojangles Restaurants populating the south, it’s almost impossible to drive anywhere in the Carolinas without running into one. However, if you are looking for the closest one to your retirement location, the Bojangles website has an excellent search feature on their website.

The Ridge at Chukker Creek

The Ridge at Chukker Creek in Aiken, South Carolina is an ecologically friendly community that makes an excellent choice for families, especially those planning for retirement. This master planned community is family owned and has been meticulously designed to coincide with nature. Homes here are green-built to maximize energy efficiency and many owners’ utility costs are lower than the norm by 50-70%.

Using what is called a ‘double green’ approach in the landscape and design of the neighborhood, The Ridge at Chukker Creek has caused many ecologically aware individuals to take notice. The community boasts a fully operational home utilizing hydrogen fuel cell technology, causing many sources to consider it “the greenest neighborhood in the country”. Homes start in the 190s, with a variety of floor plans and amenities available, and custom building is offered for those considering using plans of their own.

Shopping in Aiken is conveniently located throughout the town, and the Aiken Mall offers a wide variety of department and specialty shops. The downtown area features several designer boutiques and dining options. Dining choices in Aiken include foods of many ethnicities and are close by for resident’s enjoyment.

The Ridge at Chukker Creek is an equestrian lover’s paradise and the neighborhood features accommodations for horses and allows residents to build their own stalls if desired. Nearby, Hitchcock Woods offers more than two thousand acres for horse enthusiasts and hikers to enjoy.

Golfers will enjoy the close proximity to several local courses including The Augusta National Golf Course, which is home to Master’s Tournament and the Palmetto Golf Club, one of the oldest golfing clubs in the United States.

The neighborhood features hiking/equestrian trails, a planned community garden, a fishing dock, and a private athletic center and workout room. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Aiken’s year round mild climate, which allows residents to enjoy a vast range of fitness activities such as polo, tennis, biking, hiking, and swimming.

For anyone seeking to spend their golden years in a community that is safe, ecologically conscious, and full of activities, consider choosing The Ridge at Chukker Creek.

Three Runs Plantation

Finding a new community to live in, regardless of your age, can be a difficult process. While there are many communities to choose from, there are very few that provide all the amenities which most people look for. Those who are looking for an equestrian community may have an even more difficult time. Luckily, the Three Runs Plantation has all of the amenities that a horse loving person could want.

The Three Runs Plantation is a 2400 acre private community located in Aiken, SC. The community is perfect for anyone who owns horses or even loves being around them. The equestrian based complex has more amenities than any other in the area. The equestrian center has competition level dressage and jump arenas as well as a grassed training area w/cross-country jumps. There are over 30 miles of trails with gallop areas, cross country jumps and picnic shelters along the creek side trails. Another equestrian training area is under construction. It will include an arena for flat work and stadium jumps.

While the community is ideal for equestrians, there are plenty of amenities beyond the equestrian kind. The equestrian center also includes a beautifully appointed clubhouse overlooking the riding arenas, an outdoor pavilion area which is perfect for hosting parties, a pool and cabana. Future plans include a recreation center with lap pool, tennis courts and a fitness center.

One of the biggest drawing points to the community is the temperate weather. Aiken, SC has reasonably warm winters and cool summers, which makes being active and outside ideal all year round. The city of Aiken also has plenty of shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities which can be enjoyed by residents. The city is also located within a short drive of other major cities including Augusta, GA, Atlanta, GA, and Columbia, SC.

Heritage Preserve

It can be difficult to determine the most suitable retirement community for your specific needs. Popular retirement destinations feature a broad range of characteristics, from quiet getaways to bustling tourism cities. The ideal location for you will depend on a number of different factors, such as your preferred level of activity and your favorite natural environment.

Those who are looking for an area that features a moderate balance of these features might want to consider the community of Heritage Preserve. This collection of homes is located in scenic Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Many retirees have moved to Heritage Preserve due to its access to many different leisure time activities.

Heritage Preserve itself possesses an overall aura of natural, green beauty. The area is dominated by tall oaks and is dotted with innumerable bodies of water. Many residents appreciate the areas quietness and reigning serenity, and Heritage Preserve is noted for its tranquil, unhurried way of life. However, when residents are looking for a change of pace, the busy town of Conway and the crowded shores of Myrtle Beach are only a few minutes’ drive away. It can be very difficult to find such a unique combination of starkly contrasting lifestyles, all available to residents of a single area. Residents of Heritage Preserve partake regularly in activities as diverse as late-night city adventures and relaxing swims at the local pool, which is kept in spotless condition for the benefit of all community residents.

Heritage Preserve is also noted for its remarkably reasonable housing prices. You can purchase a fairly large home for a relative steal in this neighborhood. Home sizes average at three to four bedrooms and two to three baths with about 1,500 to 2,500 square feet. Property lots in Heritage Preserve are quite spacious, although they are not so big as to be a burden in terms of maintenance and upkeep. The cost of most Heritage Preserve properties falls in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range.

Heritage Preserve homes are also outfitted with a slew of amenities that are normally encountered only in more expensive housing developments. Special features include gourmet kitchens, hardwood flooring, and modern bathrooms. In terms of monetary value, Heritage Preserve is virtually unrivaled by other retirement communities.

Callawassie Island

Everybody wants something different in their retirement home. Some people are looking for a lifestyle that is rife with action and adventure; others would prefer a more tranquil, serene environment in which they can relax and repose. For potential home buyers who are looking for an abode suiting the latter description, Callawassie Island might be the ideal location. This secluded community offers a quiet, peaceful location in which residents can enjoy South Carolina’s natural beauty.

Callwassie Island is part of Beaufort County, which is noted throughout the state of South Carolina for its lush foliage and spectacular year-round views. A causeway connects the island to South Carolina’s mainland, giving residents easy access to abundant shopping centers and dining options. However, some home owners rarely even leave the island because plenty of amenities are offered right on Callawassie’s shores. Two luxury pools and several different beaches offer swimming opportunities. Residents can partake in fishing, boating, and fitness clubs. A number of different restaurants are available for the benefit of home owners, and a health care center ensures that all island dwellers are kept safe and healthy at all times.

Callawassie Island’s most famous amenity would be its 27-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio. Three nines of varying difficulties are available for golfers of all experience levels, all of which are bordered by abundant South Carolinan scenery. The Fazio Golf Course attracts many sportsmen to the island throughout the entire year.

Prices range from the $200,000 realm up to just under a million depending on the home’s lot size, location, and age. Most homes are situated on large lots and possess at least 1500 square feet, but larger residencies can be found with 4000 to 5000 square feet. Some houses offer special access to the island’s golf course, beaches, or shopping area. Potential buyers also have the option of building their new home from scratch. Callawassie Island usually has a large selection of empty lots to choose from, allowing buyers to choose their perfect location and construct their homes according to their personal tastes and needs.

The Vineyards at River Landing

Retiring baby boomers are drawn to coastal North Carolina because of its four well-defined mild seasons, making it ideal for a variety of recreational activities, plus its attractive cost of living. Located one hour and 15 minutes south of Raleigh and a 35-minute drive from historic Wilmington is the small town of Wallace, NC (population 3,344 per the 2000 Census).

Wallace prides itself on its small-town charms – the restored train depot that houses its Chamber of Commerce; friendly residents that own and operate antique shops, boutiques and eateries; summer concerts at the outdoor Wanoca Theater; and its farmers market featuring local produce, herbs and flowers. Golf is a big draw, and for enthusiasts, there’s a 36-hole championship course within Wallace’s 1,700-acre, private, gated community of River Landing, on the banks of the northeast Cape Fear River.

The Vineyards is the newest neighborhood in River Landing, and boomers who are ready to enjoy the ease and amenities of a private community can choose one of four model home styles – the building sites of which are centered around River Landing’s vineyard.

River Landing boasts more than just golf, although the golf course is attraction enough! Members can enjoy the state-of-the-art sports and fitness center, three subterranean irrigated Har-Tru tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, access to miles of trails and a River Lodge where you can launch a canoe or kayak. The River Landing Clubhouse serves lunch and dinner daily, and can accommodate events and weddings. Guest suites are also on premises, and members are encouraged to stay there as their home is being completed.

The Vineyards homes all boast large windows, screened porches and patios to enjoy Wallace’s climate. Then from there you can choose the floor plan and price point that fits your lifestyle. The homes range in size from 1,800 to 2,700 square feet, are designed for one-story living and include a spacious master suite. The four home styles include the Bianco (starting at $334,900), Rosa (starting at $348,900), Verona (starting at $373,900) and the Siena (starting at $418,900).