Asheville NC Is The Best Place to Retire—And Become the Artist You Always Wanted to Be

Retirement is about getting to play, grow, and explore parts of yourself that you were too busy or preoccupied to fully enjoy previously. It’s about having free hours to learn new skills and fully immerse yourself in those “night and weekend” hobbies that are no longer relegated to nights and weekends. For many of us, retirement is a chance to finally tap into our most essential and creative natures in a more intentional way. Maybe you’re into painting, but an art career seemed impractical when you were trying to financially support a family. Maybe you dream of woodworking or pottery-making, but you never had the space for a carpentry studio or a kiln. Maybe you had a fast-paced job in a big urban center, that left little time or physical space for gloriously messy side-gigs.

If you’re thinking of trading the urban life for a laid-back, highly livable town, but you don’t want to lose the cultural amenities of a thriving, creative center, Asheville, North Carolina is the perfect retirement city for you. When TopRetirements.com published a “Best of the Best Of Lists,” it found that Asheville was consistently at the top of a host of lists for best retirement towns.

Asheville supports The Arts.

Asheville, NC glass blowing gallery

You would think that in a mountain community, outdoor activities would be the biggest draw for tourists, but according to a 2017 Americans for the Arts survey, over half of Buncombe County’s tourists (about 64 percent) come specifically for arts and cultural events.

Crafts and music have been the lifeblood of the North Carolina mountains for many decades. Before there was the John C. Campbell Folk School (1925), the Penland school of Crafts (1929) and Black Mountain College (1933-1957, with such notable alum as Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, Elaine de Kooning, Alan Ginsberg, and John Cage), the western North Carolina mountains were flush with traditional weavers, ceramicists, carpenters, and musicians.

That creative spirit still thrives in the area today. In 2018, Southern Methodist University released a list of the “40 Most Vibrant Art Communities in America,” with Asheville ranking #5 for “medium-sized communities.” The rankings were based on the number of arts and cultural organizations per capita, how much financial support is available for the arts, and how “pulsating with life, vigor, or activity,” a community seems.

best place for a creative retirement asheville nc

And we agree, Asheville pulses. There is the Rivers Art District, about a mile from downtown, which hosts over 220 artists and their studios. In addition to regular studio strolls and artist talks, the District offers classes on glassblowing, ceramics, photography, painting, jewelry-making, and plenty of other creative pursuits. Other creative amenities include a local quilting guild, an orchestra, a poetry festival, and community dance, choral, and theater programs. So whether you’re into visual or performing arts, Asheville will nurture your passion.

Asheville is a perfect place to build your dream home.

As far as cities go, Asheville is a manageable size (population about 70,000), yet packed with conveniences. It has plenty of restaurants, grocery and shopping options, a lower-than-average cost of living, and is less than 200 miles from several major southern cities—Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, and Greenville.

There are four distinct seasons, but the climate is moderate—hovering around 80 in the summer and spending the winters in the 40s and 30s, with just enough snowfall to be charming rather than inconvenient. And of course, it’s absolutely gorgeous! The city is at the junction of two rivers, on a high plateau, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. This means you’re nearly guaranteed stellar views, so you need to chose a builder that knows how to take advantage of them.

BlueStone Construction LLC custom home builder in Henderson North Carolina

If you’re custom-building your retirement home, take a look at Bluestone Construction’s portfolio, for some ideas of how to make the most of your mountain views. Does your lot include a steep hill? Many lots do in this area. We also have some tips for building on a slope.

Asheville is a great place to be an active senior.

Not only are there 3,000+ miles of trails near Asheville, there are hundreds of waterfalls. (This site narrowed it down to 60 favorites.) Love fishing or kayaking or want to try out mountain biking or white-water rafting? Asheville offers opportunities for all these things.

Beyond that, there’s the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North Carolina Asheville, which has a wide range of non-accredited academic classes, geared specifically towards seniors who want to learn for the love of learning. The Institute has around 1,500 students, who attend classes taught by UNC faculty.

Retirement is a fresh start.

Retirement an opportunity to figure out where and how you want to spend the rest of the rest of your life. And building a customized home—a house that includes your own painting or dance studio, your own woodshop, or a craft room with built-in shelves to store your supplies—is a perfect way to ensure that you have the space and fertile environment in which to spend your retirement feeding your creative soul.

Where and how are huge questions, but for many creative people, Asheville and a custom-built house by Bluestone Construction may be the right answer to those questions.

Bluestone Construction has lots of experience custom-building dream homes for creative retirees. (Check out the woodworking and ceramic studios in this house.)

Whether you need a sculpture studio or a welding studio, whether your passion cries out for an extra large and well-equipped kitchen, an indoor lap pool, or a photography studio, we’d love to built your dream retirement home. At Bluestone, we want to help you make the most of your retirement in Asheville, NC.