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Old 07-06-2010, 11:35 PM
190 posts, read 788,900 times
Reputation: 47


I've just come across Danville thanks to a poster here.

My husband and I have been on a search for a place to retire in a couple of years.

We live now in Northern MA, in a smallish (17K pop) town on the coast about 45 min (depending on traffic) North of Boston.

We love our little town - it is very walkable with a library, lots of non-chain restaurants, 2 independent bookstores, a small movie theatre, a playhouse, safe (97 or so on the crime scale!), lots and lots of festivals throughout the year, weekly farmer's market, lively art community, full-time fire and police, 3 good grocery stores, Marshalls, a hospital, bus terminal for bus to the airport in Boston, beautiful historic homes, and right on the river with a 10 min bike ride to the ocean. There's a very strong sense of community here.

Within a 20 min drive we have a Staples, Home Depot, Lowes, 2 malls, a Barnes and Noble, and lots and lots of other shopping/dining.

The reason we are looking to move is this - housing prices and taxes are astronomical - we have an 1,100 sq ft house right now that is valued at 400K. We pay almost 5K a year in property tax. Our state sales tax is 6.25%.

We also want to escape the winters, but still go somewhere with 4 seasons. Where we live winter is 6 mos long, often with temps below zero, and 100 inches or so of snow a year.

The job market also is very tough here. I am not sure how it is out there. I will still be working while my husband retires (I am a financial advisor) so I would need to be in an area I could at least hope to find a job.

Since we will be on a smaller income in retirement, we don't want to be house poor as we would if we stayed here. We know we are giving up the ocean, but we are intrigued by Danville. We like the idea of a smaller place with access to a larger place (Lexington) nearby.

We found KY by way of Madison, IN which we looked at and liked alot, but it seemed very isolated to us. We looked at Louisville, which was way too big. In driving out toward Lexington one day (we didn't have time to visit) I loved the countryside with the rolling hills and horses. The architecture also surprised me - very, very pretty. We love historic homes/architecture, so want to be in an area with some history and old homes, which is one reason we were drawn to Madison, IN.

We have a couple of questions about Danville.

Does Danville have a hospital?
Are "outsiders" welcome?
Is it a walkable community?
Does it have a "real" downtown?
What kind of shopping/restaurants are in town?
Is a commute to Lexington (for work) doable?
What is the property tax rate?
Is there a grocery store?
Is there a bookstore?
Is there a library?
Are police/fire full-time or volunteer?
Are there things going on - festivals, etc.?
Would it be possible to find a house where we could walk to town?
How far is Cincinatti?

We've read about Berea (also recommended) and although it sounds cute, it is too small for us. We know from looking around that Danville is about as small as we'd want to go.

Looking forward to the info, and we plan to come and check it out soon.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:58 AM
146 posts, read 372,324 times
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For your first question, yes Danville has a hospital. A very good one, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.

As for your second question, a buddy of mine I work with is from Vermont, and he is treated like one of us. I also know several New Yorkers who are treated like one of us.

Driving to Lexington is a half hour (without much traffic) drive. Its five minutes to northern Garrard County, and twenty five from northern Garrard to Lexington.

There is a splendid (newly renovated) library in downtown, with innumerable books, and tons of VHS and DVDs as well as CDs to rent.

Cincinatti is two and a half hours away, Louisville is two hours.
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:16 AM
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,582,802 times
Reputation: 1137
It seems that it has everything you want except for walkability (walking in Lexington, let alone a less planned city like Danville is plain dangerous) and a true downtown (none to speak of).

Anything it doesn't have, you'd find in Lexington. I feel the best blend is in the first ring of 'burbs like Paris, Winchester, and Nicholasville. Close to Lexington/the interstate (for an HOUR drive to Cincinnati if you drive like most northeasterners. I average 80 on the way and do it in about that)

You're not really gonna find walkable anywhere in Kentucky though, you may as well give up on that.

Good news though: Any place around here is cheap.

Bad news: the typical New Englander may not mesh well with the politics outside of the city of Lexington.

The best thing I could recommend would be looking into some of the river cities in northern Kentucky. They have a lot more "focused" areas along the river, small towns like Newport and such. They're still fairly cheap too, all while being near Cincinnati (don't dare walk/bike the bridges though unless you have a deathwish or balls of steel)

Newport, KY, a charming little river town with something always going on. Urban amenities right across the river with a hint of peace in the nearby hills.

I've been promoting it a lot because I absolutely love the place, but the closest thing to a cheap, walkable small town I know of would be Athens, Ohio. It fits everything you ask for, but with an extremely crazy student population. If you can live with them, it would fit your bill perfectly. I will add that the hospital is well rated and it's very near Cincinnati, Columbus, and West Virginia.


If you want to be closer to a major city, Royal Oak and Berkley, Michigan are cheap, safe, walkable, and have a lot to offer as well. Finding work in those towns would be tough though. If you want walkable AND small in the south/midwest though, you'll mainly be looking at college towns, the best of which I can think of are Athens, Champaign-Urbana, IL (may be a bit big), Madison, WI (same for this one)

(Royal Oak)

Last edited by UKUKUK; 07-07-2010 at 02:25 AM..
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:57 AM
Location: Lexington Ky
891 posts, read 2,815,616 times
Reputation: 519
I don't see how one could say it would be dangerous to walk in Danville or Lexington unless one were to walk in the middle of the street. Danville has a compact but nice downtown. Norton Center for the Arts draws great shows. Lexington -it's true you need to live near downtown (Bell Court, Chevy Chase, Ashland Park, Hollywood) to walk. I lived in Ashland Park 10 years and there were many weekends that we never got in our car. There were 10 restaurants within walking distance, a grocery, liquor store, dry cleaner, veterinarian, etc. It is dependent on neighborhood but definitely possible. Danville is much more compact so I would think it would be easily walkable, again depending on neighborhood proximity to downtown. If I'm not mistaken Danville is in a "dry" county.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:58 AM
190 posts, read 788,900 times
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Wow. Thanks for the info - and the pictures.

I guess I am a bit confused. Does Danville not have sidewalks downtown or does it not even have a "downtown"?

I like the looks of some of the places above, but I think MI and IL are out - we are trying to escape the snow/cold much of the year.

Not sure what the impression is of politics in New England - can anyone elaborate on that comment? As an aside, MA (where we live) is ultra liberal - we are not. Nor are we bible belt people.

I guess I should explain what I meant by "walkable". Right now we can walk out our door, walk 2 blocks and be in "town". We have one main street with the library, movie theatre, restaurants, coffee shops, book store, misc. clothing stores, Starbucks, bars, a local playhouse, art galleries, and businesses like insurance agencies, banks. There are 5-6 side streets that shoot off of main that contain more businesses and shops like a dog bakery, post office, yoga studio, antique stores, etc. Here's a couple of pics of where we live. We are by no means trying to recreate where we live, just would like to have a similar "walkability" if that makes sense.

nwbryprt 2005 07 pictures from massachusetts photos on webshots
nwbryprt 050924 05 emair pictures from massachusetts photos on webshots
nbryprt shops 050101 01 emair pictures from massachusetts photos on webshots
newburyport harbor 03 emair pictures from massachusetts photos on webshots

We certainly have to get into our car to do grocery shopping (about a 10 min drive) or go to the doctor, dentist, vet.

I know someone mentioned nothing in KY is "walkable" but we were just in Louisville, and walked all over Old Louisville. It was our favorite part of the city - St. James, Belgravia, 3rd Street, 4th Street. Wide sidewalks, big trees, Central Park. It was beautiful, just way too big a place for us.

Can anyone post pics of "downtown" Danville for me?
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:11 PM
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,582,802 times
Reputation: 1137
By my comment I meant that it's very unlikely that you'll live within walking distance of the amenities you asked for. It's a tiny community that is almost a bedroom community of Lexington, and is laid out in a sprawling manner even for a city of its size.

As for the politics, you won't find many Starbucks drinkers or yoga-doers. Looking at the pictures, Danville probably won't be able to offer you what you want. Also, Kentucky winters hover right around freezing as well, the only difference is that when it does snow (and rarely stays there, it's usually grey for most of the year), the entire city will shut down.

Again, if you want the kind of walkability you'd find in a New England town, you'd be better off looking in a place like Murray (fairly walkable), Athens, OH, Morgantown, WV, places that cater to college students (people who walk). Louisville is fairly walkable in areas, but the city as a whole is not. Unless you're willing to pay a price premium, you won't live in a walkable area in the 'Ville anyways. Danville is certainly not a place I'd want to walk, and I know walkable, spending MANY years in downtown Chicago during my early years and teens.

I've heard good things about Evansville, just across the river, but I've never been so someone will need to verify that for me.

Murfreesboro, TN is walkable around the campus area, and there's no income tax in TN if you're thrilled about that. It's also within driving distance of Nashville.

One town I found fairly attractive was the little Ohio river town of Gallipolis. It's got some denser development near the river, all of it being very old, historic, and with sidewalks throughout the town.
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:11 PM
190 posts, read 788,900 times
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Thanks again.

We don't really need to live within walking distance as we do now. We just want to be able to get to town and then have a nice walking town. For example, we love Williamsburg, VA (one area we are considering) which is mostly alot of subdivisions, a VERY busy main road (Richmond Rd) but then you have Merchant Square where you can park nearby, go get a sandwich, sit outside, go shopping at Williams Sonoma, etc., or drive to New Town, see a movie, walk to dinner, and walk to the shops there.

What we don't want is just sprawl and no discernable downtown at all where the only shopping is malls or strip malls. We have strip malls here as well where the grocery stores, Marshalls, Pak Mail, McDonalds, Wendys, etc. are, but the downtown adds a sense of community, is pretty vibrant, and serves to anchor the community.

I'll check out the other areas you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestions. Is Murray in OH?

One other clarification - did you really mean "Grey all year"? or grey all winter? Is your winter really 6 months long? We know it gets cold - we don't mind. We just want a shorter winter and less snow to shovel!!

Would we be better off looking at one of the "walkable" areas of Lexington? What exactly is the population of the core city, not the outlying area as well. I can't seem to find accurate stats.
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:23 PM
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,582,802 times
Reputation: 1137
Our winter isn't 6 months long, but when it gets cold, everything dies and stays brown and grey for a good 5 months. You will rarely ever have snow to shovel, and as a person who went from no snow to snow (Lexington to Detroit), that glistening white stuff can definitely make a place.

Murray is in western Kentucky, home to Murray State University. Either way, southern Ohio and central Kentucky share a lot, climate wise.

Danville has a lot of big box stores, Lexington is really no different. The core population of the city is just below that of Pittsburgh's, with, if I am not mistaken, just under 300,000 residents. Most of Lexington's downtown is fast food and offices, with no boutiques, clothing shops, or much else to take note of besides a few overpriced stores in Rupp Arena and some around the campus area. Lexington is a very spread out city designed to accommodate those who don't mind driving 10 minutes to their next destination. It's very impersonal and hardly pedestrian friendly.

If I had to live in Lexington and desired walkability, it'd be in the corridor where Tates Creek meets Euclid on the northeast side of UK's campus, but it still wouldn't be my cup of tea. Again, I'm used to Chicago so when I think walkable, I think Michigan Avenue, not walking on the poorly maintained sidewalks of Danville or Lexington, where there actually are sidewalks.

When in Lexington, I was driving 2 miles from the post office to the pedestrian mall, then another 4 miles to get a good bite to eat where a lot of restaurants are clustered, then had to drive to another mall to find a reasonably priced bookstore. That's the kind of distance you could expect. Fayette mall isn't the Godsend that people make it out to be, everything is far from everything else. As is the Lexington way.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:38 PM
Location: Kentucky
2,927 posts, read 7,758,364 times
Reputation: 1334
I love Danville, I think anybody would really, if you like small town USA that is.

Other suggestions:
Bowling Green
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:21 PM
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,582,802 times
Reputation: 1137
I totally forgot Bowling Green. Last I heard they were making a lot of progress with that city!
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