Athens is home to the University of Georgia, a large public university, and is situated in the North East corner of Georgia. In many ways, Athens is the quintessential college down, with a vibrant downtown, leafy streets and a stimulating ambiance. About hundred 18,000 people call this appealing town home, and the city has been growing during the last decade. The cost of living is just below the national average, something not often found in a college town, and the median home price is roughly hundred and $150,000. The median household income is below the national average, but the crime rate is below the national average. Athens also has a poverty rate higher than the national average, but this may be attributed to the large student population. It is a useful metropolis; just 23% of the population is age 45 or better.
Athens is named after the Greek capital, with founding fathers hoping to create a another great center of learning. The land for the University was donated by an early trustee in 1801, and the early buildings were little rustic to say the least. Today, the University of Georgia is the country’s oldest chartered State University, and Athens is known as the “Classic City” thanks its Greek-style architecture.
Downtown is the center of life in Athens, and much of it is reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. Restaurants, shops, bookstores, cafés, banks and other retailers lined the streets. Music wafts from various venues. The city also has other shopping venues, including a major mall with national retort retail stores such as Sears and J. C. Penny’s.
There are wine tastings and a community orchestra. Fortunately, Athens was spared during the Civil War and so fourteen neighborhoods and 35 other structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Three golf courses are on the outskirts of town, and if you think this is just a college town, think again. The University offers free classes, taught by local professors, to anyone over 62.
Neighborhoods are mostly well-kept and streets boast tree canopies. Close to downtown and near the University older neighborhoods have homes from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Newer homes can be found on the edges of town where much of the recent growth has taken place. There are some gated communities including Kingston Greens, a golf course community which is about 20 minutes north of the city, and Laurel Shoals. These are not age restricted communities but tend to attract a more mature demographic.
The Athens Transit System provides bus service around the city, and the University has its own bus system for students and faculty.
At an elevation of nearly 800 feet, Athens has a relatively moderate four season climate. Summers are hot and humid, and winters are cool and mild. The average summer high temperature is in the low 90s, and the average winter temperature is in the low 30s. Snow is rare, 215 days of the year. On the comfort index, a combination of humidity and temperature, Athens comes in below the national average. It also has a tornado risk that is 70% above the national average.
Athens is a regional healthcare center and has two hospitals, including St. Mary’s Healthcare System with175 beds and Athens Regional Medical Center with321 beds. Both hospitals are award-winning and accredited by the Joint Commission. Athens Regional Medical Center accepts both Medicaid and Medicare patients.
With its lively atmosphere, low crime rate, reasonable cost of living, historic architecture and intellectually stimulating atmosphere provided by the University, Athens is a place to consider for retirement.