Boone, North Carolina
A former frontier outpost that has lost its rough edges
Daniel Boone's time as a pop icon may have peaked back in the 1960s, but he's still hot stuff down in Boone, N.C., named for the legendary frontiersman of Appalachia who explored the mountainous region in the 1760s. Boone's legacy is commemorated every summer with performances of the Revolutionary War drama Horn in the West at the outdoor Powderhorn Theatre.
But the area isn't quite as rough and tumble as it was back then. Boone, about 100 miles west of Charlotte, is close to four ski resorts and five public golf courses. The Jones House Community Center offers free concerts, and at least 10 art galleries promote free or low-cost admission. A regional bus service, AppalCART, provides complimentary transportation.
Sanna Gaffney, 85, who moved to Boone from Lake Park, Fla., likes the lower cost of living. "We got a house for a very modest price," says Gaffney, a retired teacher who does genealogy research at the public and Appalachian State University libraries.
"Boone has a very southern feel," says Lizzy Scully, managing editor of FindYourSpot.com. "People are incredibly polite." Dick Oehser, 77, experienced this firsthand days after moving to Boone from Jacksonville, Fla. Oehser picked out pastries at a doughnut shop, only to realize he had forgotten his wallet. The clerk told Oehser, "Take 'em, and when you're in town again, come back and pay me."
Median home value: $185,500
Age 65 or over: 7 percent
Cost of living: 11.1 percent below the U.S.average
Maximum state income tax: 8 percent
State sales tax: 4.25 percent
This story appears in the June 11, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.