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July 9, 2023
Forbes Magazine released its list of the top 25 places to retire, including Winchester, Virginia. While those of us who reside here are well aware of the many benefits of living in this quaint, historic town, now Forbes readers and beyond will also be familiar now. Winchester is surrounded by Frederick County, so the combined population is 139,000+. This location is a perfect hub for traveling with access to Interstates 81 and 66 and routes 7, 37, 522, and 50. Dulles, National, and BWI airports are one and two hours away, plus the Winchester Regional Airport is available for smaller aircraft.
Nestled in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area for hiking and camping in Shenandoah National Park and canoeing, fishing, and rafting on the Shenandoah River. History buffs love the battlefields and museums, as Winchester changed hands 72 times during the Civil War. Shenandoah University (SU) brings students from all over the world who thrive in our midst and savor the rich old town area with its outdoor dining venues and opportunities for listening to a wide variety of live music. SU, once a musical conservatory, continues to provide world-class entertainment through plays, ballet and jazz dance performances, and fantastic concerts, some of which are free.
The beauty of the architecture is a draw, and many ghost stories attract visitors to the downtown area, where spirits have often made themselves known. Those living here experience all four seasons with reasonably mild winters, and the cost of living is 35% lower than in Washington, D.C., just 90 miles southwest.
Winchester was once known as the "Apple Capital of the World" and has hosted the Shenandoah Valley Apple Blossom Festival for 90+ years. The feature parade draws crowds of 200,000 plus to view floats, bands, and celebrities. As for apples, families can venture out to orchards for a pick-your-own experience or to one of many farmer's markets in the region. This unique town is an excellent place to raise a family and retire.