by Tom Kepple
Over the last couple of years, as Pat and I have contemplated our upcoming retirement we began making a list of things to consider about where to retire. Frankly, the list started out very broad as in “anywhere we wanted.” Pat’s family is in Tennessee and I had spent 22 years there so that was certainly a possibility. And, of course, there were the customary destinations such as Florida and Arizona to consider. But as we continued to add and subtract locations, the one constant was Huntingdon. In truth, it did drift down the list in the winter but in the summer and fall it shot back to the top. And as we refined the list, college towns also remained a constant. We have had first-hand experience living in several college towns and so we are well aware of the wealth of opportunities that colleges bring to area residents. In the end, after much investigation and contemplation, Huntingdon won. Here are a few great reasons why Huntingdon reigns at the top of the list.
Juniata College’s extraordinary offerings are wide-ranging from the performing arts, to terrific NCAA varsity athletics, to free lectures, to inexpensive courses for those who audit them, to library access, and, of course, sports and fitness facilities. Juniata also provides the services of the Sill Incubator for those who might be interested in starting a business or being a mentor to student entrepreneurs. And the College provides the possibility of part-time teaching or continuing research. Pat and I want to keep our minds active and Juniata provides the tools we need to do just that.
- Huntingdon and Pennsylvania enjoys a relatively low cost of living, compared to many areas throughout the country. An added advantage is that Pennsylvania does not tax retirement income.
- With J. C. Blair Hospital in town and many nationally recognized regional health centers within easy driving distance, it would be hard to live in a better place for healthcare.
- Raystown Lake provides a host of recreational activities from boating to fishing to water skiing to mountain biking; and our local golf courses are terrific and inexpensive. There are many walking opportunities at Raystown Lake, in the Borough of Huntingdon, in nearby state parks, and our favorite various rails to trails locations.
- For those who like to get an occasional city fix, all you have to do is board an Amtrak train and you are hassle free to New York, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. To venture farther you can drive to four international airports (Pittsburgh, Washington Dulles, Baltimore, Harrisburg) within three hours or less and The ever improving State College airport is just 40 minutes away.
- There is relatively little serious crime in Huntingdon. After all, with two prisons located here, who wants to get caught burglarizing a prison employee’s home!
- Huntingdon is large enough to provide the normal professional services retirees require but small enough that those providing the service know your name. There are ample choices for doctors, dentists, banks, insurance companies, investment advisors, lawyers and real estate agents. Shopping is limited but ample for daily needs like grocery stores and pharmacies with a few specialty stores mixed in.
- Westminster Woods is a nationally ranked full service retirement community and Greystone Manor offers a retirement apartment option.
- Maybe best of all, volunteer opportunities abound from Habitat for Humanity, to J. C. Blair Hospital, to the historical society, to the local library, to serving as a friendship family for international students at Juniata, just to name a few.
In the end all of these attributes, plus a great group of friends and professional associates, made Huntingdon the right retirement location for us.
About the author: Tom Kepple is the President of Juniata College, and resides in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where he intends to join his wife, Pat, in retirement soon.