Lexington, Virginia

Best Places to Retire in Virginia


Lexington (population 7,000) is located in the west-central part of the state, almost due west of Richmond. It is just two miles west of Interstate 81, the major north-south highway, and 1.5 miles south of Interstate 64. This 19th century community, whose entire downtown is on the Registry of National Historic Places, is both charming and steeped in American history. Lexington is also a college town with two strong academic institutions that date to the 1700s and early 1800s – Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute.

The area is characterized by great natural beauty and vast areas of protected but unspoiled land, and a number of quaint villages. There are many opportunities for scenic drives through farmlands, mountain gorges, or along scenic mountaintops. Lexington has many stocked rivers and streams, and locations where you can canoe or kayak, in either a float trip or in whitewater. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and abandoned railroad lines to explore, plus 65 miles of horseback riding trails that run through the National Forest.

Lexington offers a variety of dining choices, including ethnic foods and fine dining. It also has a number of specialty stores and boutiques, and there are eight art galleries that are part of a gallery tour. And tourists can choose a horse drawn carriage tour of the historic district. The city offers live theater and a many public performances are held at the Lenfest Center at Washington and Lee.

The population of Lexington is well educated, with 42 percent of persons over 25 years having a bachelor’s degree, and 21 percent of that population has a graduate or professional degree. http://www.ci.lexington.va.us/

Arts & Culture

The Theater at Lime Kiln produces works reflecting the indigenous stories and music of the Shenandoah Valley. http://www.theateratlimekiln.com/

Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts at Washington and Lee University is a principal venue that hosts over 125 public performances each year. http://lenfest.wlu.edu/center.htm

Glen Maury Park in nearby Buena Vista hosts over 20 events each year including bluegrass and beach music festivals. http://www.glenmaurypark.com/

Lexington offers art gallery walking tours through the city’s historic district. The tour includes eight galleries, all within easy walking distance. http://www.lexingtonvirginia.com/attractionsb.asp?id=20

The George C. Marshall Museum at Virginia Military Institute traces the illustrious career of this Army Chief of Staff, Ambassador, Secretary of State, President of the American Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense. http://www.marshallfoundation.org/

The Lee Chapel and Museum, on the campus of Washington and Lee University, was constructed in 1867 under Robert E. Lee’s supervision. Lee and members of his family are buried beneath the Chapel. Lee’s office is preserved much as he left it when he died in 1870 while president of the college.

The Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson home is the only home ever owned by the famous Confederate general. He and his wife lived there two years before he rode off to war in 1861. At that time he was “Major Thomas Jackson, professor of Natural Philosophy at Virginia Military Institute.” The home has been restored and is furnished with many of Jackson’s own possessions.


The public works department maintains three large parks, three neighborhood parks, an athletic field complex and swimming pool, and two school athletic fields. It also maintains a 600-acre site on Brushy Hill and a 2,000-acre site at Moore’s Creek Dam. http://www.ci.lexington.va.us/parks.htm

Nearby is Douthat State Park. The 4,493-acre park was opened in 1936 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is in the Allegheny Mountain range and includes a 50-acre lake that offers swimming, boating, trout fishing. It also offers overnight camping facilities and cabins are available. There are 40 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. http://www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/douthat.htm

Washington and Lee University competes in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (Division III). Its competition includes, Randolph-Macon, Denison, Amherst, Guilford, Bridgewater, Catholic, Eastern Mennonite, Emory & Henry, Hampden-Sydney, Hollins, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Sweet Briar and Virginia Wesleyan. http://athletics.wlu.edu/

The Virginia Horse Center is a world-class horse show and event center that has hosted over 300,000 exhibitors and five million spectators since its inception in 1987. More than 40 breeds of horses have been shown or have competed at the center. http://www.horsecenter.org/view.asp?id=home

Natural Bridge, Va., has a number of interesting attractions for all ages. http://www.naturalbridgeva.com/index.html

* Natural Bridge Zoo has the largest and most complete collection of birds and animals in the state. http://www.lexingtonvirginia.com/attractionsb.asp?id=25

* Natural Bridge Caverns offers guided tours through caves as deep as 347 feet below the earth.

* “Natural Bridge of Virginia” is one of nature’s wonders. It is about 90 feet long and 150 feet wide at one end, narrowing to 50 feet at the other end. It is a dramatic site located in a beautiful natural setting.

Vista Links Golf Course in nearby Buena Vista was opened for play in 2004. It is a 72-hole, championship layout and is the area’s only public course. It features five sets of tees to accommodate players of varying abilities. http://www.thevistalinks.com/

The award-winning Rockbridge Vineyard is located about 20 miles north from Lexington in Raphine, Va. The winery offers tours from May through October. http://www.thevistalinks.com/

Shenandoah National Park is in a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the rolling Piedmont country east of the park. The park has more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail. http://www.nps.gov/shen/


Washington and Lee University is a four-year liberal arts institution which dates back to its founding as Augusta Academy in 1749. The school received its first major endowment gift from President George Washington in 1796. Robert E. Lee, the famous confederate military leader, served as its president from 1865 until his death in 1870. Enrollment is about 1,800 undergraduates and 400 law students. http://www2.wlu.edu/

Virginia Military Institute was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first state military college. It enrolls 1,300 cadets from about three-fourths of all the states and from more than a half dozen foreign countries. All cadets must complete an ROTC course in one of the four branches of service offered. About 18 percent of graduates choose a military career. http://www.vmi.edu/

Senior Programs

Buena Vista-Rockbridge-Lexington Senior Center is the location for senior socialization and recreation programs. (540) 261-2500


Stonewall Jackson Hospital is a 50-bed not-for-profit institution whose history dates to 1890 when it was a public infirmary. In 1904 the United Daughters of the Confederacy purchased General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s home to establish a hospital in his memory. Today the hospital has modern facilities and 350 employees, including 30 staff physicians. There is an even greater number of consulting staff physicians. http://www.sjhospital.com/


Lynchburg Regional Airport (about 45 miles away) offers 18 daily arrivals and departures. It connects to both Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina and Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. http://www.ci.lynchburg.va.us/home/index.asp?page=85

Roanoke Regional Airport (about 52 miles away) has 70 scheduled flights arriving and departing daily. It offers non-stop service to a dozen major cities. http://www.roanokeregionalairport.com/

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (about 45 miles away) is located between Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. It has two 6,000-foot runways. http://www.flyshd.com/


The average temperatures for January are a high of 44 degrees and low of 21 degrees. The average temperatures for July are a high of 87 degrees and low of 62 degrees. Snowfall in January averages 6.4 inches, with a near equal amount in February. http://www.wunderground.com/US/VA/Lexington.html


The News-Gazette – http://www.thenews-gazette.com/

Property Taxes

Rockbridge County Commissioner of Revenue http://www.co.rockbridge.va.us/departments/commissioner.htm

State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce


State Aging Agency



Buena Vista – 7 miles
Glasgow – 16 miles
Goshen – 22 miles
Buchanan – 25 miles
Greenville – 25 miles
Clifton Forge – 30 miles
Lynchburg – 49 miles
Staunton – 36 miles
Roanoke – 54 miles
Charlottesville – 68 miles
Richmond – 134 miles
Greensboro, NC – 152 miles
Washington, DC – 188 miles

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