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College Towns Have Active Communities That Are Great Places to Retire

Category: Active adult communities

November 4, 2011 — College towns can be very stimulating places to retire. Having young people around is invigorating. There are sporting events to attend, as well as very nice facilities such as gyms or pools that you might be able to use. You can take classes. The towns tend to be fun.

University Affiliated Communities
Several colleges and universities have set up university related retirement communities, usually Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) as part of their organization. These communities usually have the advantage of offering the closest tie-in to the campus and its programs and facilities. For example, their medical staff might feature doctors and other professionals from the university. You might be able to use the campus golf course and get seats to sporting events. Alumni, university employees, and former faculty often find these particularly appealing. Here are some examples:

The Village at Penn State. This CCRC is affiliated with Penn State in State College

University Commons. Part of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Oak Hammock Attracts Gators. A CCRC, Oak Hammock is affiliated with the University of Florida. Although located on a nice campus just out of town, there is plenty of interaction with the main campus, including its medical staff and students.

Galloway Ridge. This unique CCRC is located on the Fearrington Village campus in affiliation with Duke University. It represents an unusual opportunity for residents of an active community to move to a higher level of care yet stay on the same campus. One drawback is that although it is affiliated with Duke as far as the medical facilities go, it is in the country and not close to any college campus (thanks to Rich Beaudry for reminding us of this).

Academy Village. Located near Tucson, Academy Village has an astonishing array of programs such as the Arizona Senior Academy. It is near, but not officially tied to the Univ. of Arizona.

Longhorn Village. Started by ex-students at the University of Texas (how could you tell!) Longhorn Village offers the continuum of care. It is part of the very interesting Steiner Ranch community and near the UT golf course.

Austin Manor. Located in the beautiful small college town of Delaware, Ohio, Austin Manor is one of the only “inter-generational” communities. It offers plenty of opportunity to learn and associate with students at Ohio Wesleyan.

Active Communities in College Towns
In addition to active communities or CCRCs that are affiliated with universities, many college towns have unaffiliated developments that provide opportunities for connections with the college. Some of these college towns are big – like Athens, GA, which has several active communities, or much smaller like Village on the Cannon in Northfield, MN. You can find communities in well-known college towns like Princeton, NJ, or less discovered places like Wheatland Village in Walla Walla, WA.

Find more college towns
We have written several articles (referenced below) with lists of great college towns for retirement. You can also find them in our State Active Communities Directories (use orange “Find a Community” box at top right of most pages). Or use Advanced Search and choose College Town under Environment; you can also select other criteria to narrow your search.

Going Back to Campus for Retirement (Part 4 of a 4 part series)
Should You Be Applying for an On-Campus Retirement?
Best College Town Retirements

Comments? Do you know a great college town you would considering retiring in – as well as an active community there that is appealing”? Let us know via the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on November 4th, 2011


  1. Living in a “College” town is a primary reason for a large number of retirees who chose Williamsburg VA . With Colonial Heritage, The Settlement and Villas at Five Forks, there are a number of wonderful active adult communities to choose from.

    by John Womeldorf — November 4, 2011

  2. I a gree with John about Williamsburg, VA as a good college town for retirees. The College of William & Mary offers many cultural activities, sporting events, and educational opportunities for retirees. William & Mary College and the Christopher Wren Association is an organization dedicated to the people in the greater Williamsburg area who wish to enrich their lives through learning and fellowship in a collegial environment. Most classes are free of charge or a very reasonable fee.

    by Shirley Kappa — November 4, 2011

  3. It’s hard to believe that Galloway Ridge would be included in this “College Town” article without more clarification. It is actually located about 15 miles south of Duke (actually closer to Chapel Hill) and shares none of the demographic of a college town (although two are within driving distance and Galloway Ridge is on Chapel Hill’s bus route. The Duke Center for Living shares its health club with Galloway and physical therapy is available along with the continuing care services — and, yes, all on the same “campus” with Fearington Village, but this is no “youth” or “college” environment. Don’t misunderstand. Galloway Ridge can be a wonderful place for those with deep pockets seeking extended continuing care from independent living to fully assisted living. It is simply NOT a college town environment.
    Editor’s note: Good call Rich. We got a little carried away looking for university-related communities. Galloway Ridge is that, and it is very nice, but it is not near any campus or large population of youth. Thanks for pointing this out.

    by Rich Beaudry — November 5, 2011

  4. please do not forget that most college communities are politically liberal in nature; if you prefer conservative values and ideas, you will not be happy with activist, liberal professors and students.

    by carol koenig — November 5, 2011

  5. Great comment that Galloway Ridge is in no way a “Retirement Community” and should not share space with college town retirement communities. Yes, some people will need help at some point in their latter years but come on, retirement community? No way!!!

    When we think about college town environments for seniors retirees, we are thinking about a place that has a diversity of people, many age groups around the area, a variety of dining facilities, and potentially good medical care when needed. The allure is that you can attend courses, see games, interact on an intellectual level and yet love the serenity of an age appropriate development near such a college atmosphere.

    by Semi-retired — November 5, 2011

  6. Just saw the artical and would remind the writer from Madison, Ct that the Whitney Center CCRC located in Hamden, Ct is 10 minutes away from 5 universities inlcuding Yale and Quinnippiac not to mention the Yale/New Haven hopsital complex and Yale Med School. Sometime retiring close to home is the best deal.
    Editors note: Yes, we thought of the Whitney Center since we know some people there. Didn’t include because it isn’t officially part of Yale (as far as we know) and it isn’t on campus. But certainly there is a strong connection.

    by greg gravle — November 5, 2011

  7. Can anyone tell me about the Penn State area for retirement? Thanks.

    by Maret Sisas — November 5, 2011

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