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Two Georgia cities named South’s best retirement towns

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Ah, retirement. For many Americans, it's a faraway dream. But whether you're getting serious about finding a home to live out your golden years or you're stuck at work daydreaming of a sleepy mountain town and barrier island comforts, Southern Living's 2019 list of best retirement towns in the South is a solid starting point.

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Cultural experts at the Southern publication put their heads together to determine where retirement dreams might come to life. They came up with 26 top towns in the South based on recreation, cost of living, volunteering opportunities, part-time gigs, access to medical care, transit and continued learning.

Historic Abingdon in Virginia made it to the list for its popular Barter Theatre, annual Virginia Highlands Festival and the Creeper Trail, which leads you to the peak of Whitetop Mountain.

Two Georgia cities earned a spot on Southern Living’s list: Athens and Blue Ridge.

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The magazine highlighted Athens’ famous music scene, its James Beard Award-winning chefs, nature galore and, of course, “Georgia Bulldog everything.”

If you want to get lost in the mountains, the trees, wineries or orchards, Georgia’s Blue Ridge is another mighty fine town to call your new home, according to Southern Living. You can also volunteer to build sets for the community theater or take up a part-time job on the railroad car before indulging in some local eats around East Main Street downtown.

Here are Southern Living’s best retirement towns of 2019:

  • Abingdon, Virginia
  • Athens, Georgia
  • Auburn, Alabama
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Blue Ridge, Georgia
  • Brevard, North Carolina
  • Dunedin, Florida
  • Easton, Maryland
  • Fredericksburg, Texas
  • Granbury, Texas
  • Havre de Grace, Maryland
  • Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Lewisburg, West Virginia
  • Madison, Mississippi
  • Maryville, Tennessee
  • Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • New Bern, Louisiana
  • Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  • Onancock, Virginia
  • Ormond Beach, Florida
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Pawleys Island, South Carolina
  • Rogers, Arkansas
  • San Marcos, Texas
  • Summerville, South Carolina

If you're looking for someplace a little bigger around Georgia, both Augusta and Atlanta were named among the top 100 largest U.S. metros to retire in U.S. News & World Report's April ranking.

This story has been updated. A previous version referred to the Southern Living report as a ranking, but cities were listed in alphabetical order.