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Best Small Town in Virginia

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We are on a search for a retirement town and are considering VA.

With subzero temps and 36" of snow last Fri with another storm on the way tomorrow, I can't stop thinking about the day we can move to a milder climate!

Our requirements?

Under 50K or so population (although we are open to bigger if there are defined neighborhoods, but definitely under 100K)

Safe (No problem with violent crime)

MILD 3-4 season climate (sick of freezing temps!!) with low snowfall, if any

Cultural offerings - theatre, art galleries, library, possibly college nearby
Recreational offerings

Nice surrounding towns with things to do - not some great town stuck in the middle of nowhere

Within an hour of an airport

Active community

Vibrant downton

Things going on - festivals, house tours, farmers markets, etc.

Public transit (this is a wish, not a requirement)

Walkable town



Moderate housing costs (anything under 375K is reasonable to us)


Good restaurants/shops in town and surrounding (not filled with chains and strip malls)

Good hospital in town

Advanced medical care nearby

Great architecture - we love old historic homes

Good vet, preferably a 24-hr animal hospital

Close to a larger city would be nice, but not a requirement as long as there is enough to do where we live

So far our list is as follows:


Please comment on any of these as to how they relate to our "wish" list.

Please also feel free to suggest others we may not have considered. Let us know why you like places, or why you don't.

We live in a town right now of 20K, which is very historic (1700 and 1800s era), and very quaint, with lots of activities going on. The downtown has brick and cobble streets, with lots of cute shops and restaurants, antique stores, bookstores, etc. housed in historic buildings. There are more historic Federalist homes here than any other town in the country.

We live in a house built in 1795 where we can walk to town, which we love. There's a great library in town, a live theatre, and 5 strip malls on the edge of town which have stores like KMart, CVS, White Hen, Ritz Camera, Marshalls, drycleaners, banks, pet food stores, liquor stores, hardware store, AAA, etc.

There's a very friendly small-town feel, but not so small we feel everyone knows our business. We are 45 minutes to Boston, and 30 minutes to smaller cities where we both work. The towns surrounding us are smaller, but equally beautiful and historic. Although it is definitely a "moneyed" town, people here are not snobby or uppity.

I'm not trying to "duplicate" our town, just the ambience. We want somewhere special. My hubby says despite the cold and snow, we are NOT moving unless we can find something as charming and nice as where we live now.

My husband says I would love the landscape of VA, and looking forward to our visit in April to C'ville. I am also very much looking forward to hearing from everyone.

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