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Symphony, Playhouse celebrate 'Great Places to Retire' feature

Friends and supporters of the Flat Rock Playhouse and Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra are celebrating Hendersonville's inclusion in a USA Today feature on "5 Great (Unknown) Places to Retire." Why? The writeup lists both  as reasons for the area's appeal.


USA Today: 5 Great Places to Retire

The story says that the Hendersonville is the smallest town in the nation to have a symphony. It mentions the Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina, and praises Mission hospital, just 25 miles away, rated a top 15 health care system in one survey. The usual offerings of national forest and parkland and waterfalls get a mention, as do the golf course green fees, which are more affordable than fees at high-end communities.

Here is the writeup on Hendersonville:

Most people know Asheville, N.C., in the western mountains of the state. But, according to Terri King, CEO of Coldwell Banker King in Asheville, people are discovering the outlying areas. Twenty-five minutes south of Asheville is Hendersonville (pop. 13,000) which has many of the qualities sought by Baby Boomers, King says.

She calls the city a "remarkably friendly yet sophisticated social experience." Among the attributes, a 72-piece orchestra (the smallest town in the USA that has one, she says). It is also home to the official state theater, the Flat Rock Playhouse. And it's 25 miles from Mission Hospital, which was ranked in the top 15 health care systems in 2013 by Thomson Reuters.

"It has easy walking, waterfalls and a national forest," King says. "And you are two to three hours from cities like Atlanta and Greensboro.

"It's very conducive to a retired individual," she says. "For Baby Boomers, it has a mild, four-season climate. People retirement age are done with the extremes in life."

Steve Wike, 64, publisher of, and his wife, Mickie, moved to Hendersonville in 2010. "There is everything imaginable to do here," he says. "I wouldn't trade it. I love it here."

"There are over 200 waterfalls in Western North Carolina," Wike says, and you can hike to almost all of them." And, of course, there's golf.

"I don't play golf, but for the guys around here who do, they say they can get on any private course. It's like $35 for 18 holes," says Wike, who grew up in Northern Virginia. "They love it. They say the views and courses are beautiful."