The idea that “college towns may be the best places to retire” has been around for a while, but the benefits of having a university or college nearby just recently dawned on me.
Our Del Webb Active Adult Community is not technically in a college town, but for all practical purposes, it is. Nearby Gainesville is home to Brenau University, North Georgia College, and Lanier Technical School. Brenau University is only about 20-25 minutes away, and North Georgia College and Lanier Tech are even closer. The University of Georgia, the state’s largest university, is only 45 minutes away. Believe it or not, I’ve gotten benefits from each one of these institutions since moving here over two years ago. Here are just 8 of those.
Gainesville Theater Alliance is a nationally acclaimed collaboration between the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, Theater Professionals, and the Northeast Georgia Community. My wife Mary Ann and I went to see their production of “Crazy For You”, and it was one of the most enjoyable plays we have ever seen. We’ve been back and have tickets to future plays, as well. 97% of their season sold out. We have run into many Deaton Creekers and noticed retirees make up a large part of the audience. Their tickets are reasonably priced, and there’s plenty of parking.
Last weekend I participated in the Dempsey Dash 5K to raise scholarship funds in the name of a beloved dean. There were people of all ages and the community spirit was in full view. I plan on doing this one again next! Of course, the Dempsey Dash 5K is just one of many community events. I’m excited to participate in the future.
I attended a fair at Brenau University recently and got a free massage. The students enrolled in the massage therapy program were giving them free to the public. In recent memory, they’ve also had art talks, a Christmas event, and more!
University of Georgia; Courtesy of Robert Fowler
I signed up on georgiadogs.com for discount tickets. I got one in February for the Lady Bulldogs championship basketball team tickets…for $1. Yes, you read that right—$1 to see a game. I’ve also driven over for a UGA football game. So long as you’re flexible on the dates, you can get some really cheap tickets, as well.
Recently, my wife and I went to the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University. In Athens, there’s also The Georgia Museum of Natural History and The Georgia Museum of Art, both open to the public. More than one person has told me I check out the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a part of the University of Georgia. The Garden is 313 acres of Displays, natural areas, and Conservation. I think I’ll have to take people on that recommendation soon!
Brenau University has The Center for Lifetime Study that provides opportunities for lifelong learning, leadership, and cultural exploration to mature adults throughout northeast Georgia. This includes BULLI, which offers a wide range of courses from each of four categories—academics, the arts, self-improvement, and health and wellness. Several older adults in our community take these classes in Gainesville and Braselton. Even I’ve been taking free online university courses that I found out about in my writing class!
I spoke with an official of Lanier Technical School about using one of their students to help me with my websites. Immediately, they put me in touch with the head of the computer science department. There are also volunteer and charitable opportunities for retirees. So, if you’re looking for a little bit of enrichment in retirement, check out the closest college near you. You might just be surprised at the opportunities you find!
It goes without saying that college towns are lively! From hip new eateries to longstanding coffee shops to trendy boutiques, it seems like new businesses pop up by the day. Of course, this is great for more than the college kids. It also gives us retirees a lot to do! When I moved to our active adult community, I didn’t know about the benefits that would help me enjoy my retirement that much more. If you are looking for a place to retire, you may want to start looking into some college towns. Believe me when I say that the benefits are practically endless.
Originally published July 24, 2023