AARP finds spot for Oxford among 'Best Places to live'

OXFORD – The nation’s largest organization of folks 50 and older has chosen Oxford as one of its top 10 retirement destinations for 2009.
AARP places Oxford ninth on the list, which it shares with locales from No. 1 Tucson, Ariz., with more than half a million people, to No. 3 Montpelier, Vt., with fewer than 10,000.
Others in the listings are Greenville, S.C.; Logan, Utah; Ames, Iowa; Northampton, Mass.; Lexington/Fayette, Ky.; The Texas Hill Country; and Walla Walla, Wash.
This year’s list intentionally eschews life in the fast lane.
“The goal was to find towns that truly provide the simple life with great culture, food, picturesque environments and settings that aren’t spoiled by … high costs of living, traffic and congestion,” AARP stated.
Given the tough economic times, AARP magazine editor Nancy Graham said, “People have re-evaluated their priorities, and we wanted to mirror that with a list of communities that offer plenty of perks, but minimal hassle and cost.”
AARP’s top five picks are featured in the magazine’s September-October issue, while others, including Oxford, are described online at aarpmagazine.org.
Oxford, the article notes, is “the quintessential Southern town.”
The review notes its proximity to the University of Mississippi and its cultural and athletic events, along with the area’s plentiful golf courses, fine dining and volunteer opportunities.
“We get a lot of accolades on our quality of life here,” said Christy Knapp, who leads the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation’s retiree attraction program.
Oxford offers social, intellectual and recreational activities in abundance without a frenetic pace, Knapp said.
“We’re a smaller college town, so we have great restaurants and an active cultural life, along with great SEC sports,” she said. “But we live a relatively quiet lifestyle here, and I think Oxford is a great fit for this listing.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal