Porches with rocking chairs are plentiful in Four Seasons Country, but for retirees who would rather stay busy, the region has much to offer.

The two counties include four colleges that provide ample opportunity for lifelong learning—Concord College and Bluefield State College in West Virginia and Bluefield College and Southwest Virginia Community College in Virginia. "Learning Never Retires" is the motto of Bluefield State College’s Creative Retirement Center, modeled after the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement in Asheville. The center enables students 50 and older to take classes in subjects such as computers, creative writing and genealogy, and schedules trips to historical and cultural sites in the area.

Cultural opportunities in the two counties are numerous and varied, including symphony concerts, museums, dinner theaters, storytellers, lecturers, and more. Community groups such as the Summit Theater in Bluefield and the Richlands Area Citizens for the Arts (CART) together with the four colleges offer entertaining and educational events featuring local talent and guest speakers and performers.

Outdoor enthusiasts might have difficulty choosing among the many activities made possible by the area’s rugged mountains and rushing rivers. Every season offers its own opportunity for enjoying the natural beauty of Four Seasons Country. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, boating, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, golf, and bird watching in the spring, summer and fall are joined by skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Baseball fans in the region are proud to live in the only place in the nation with two minor league baseball teams competing in the same league.

graphicThe Bluefield Orioles have been affiliated with Baltimore since 1958. Their historic Bowen Field was built in 1939 and has had more than 60 players advance to the major leagues. The Princeton Devil Rays, an affiliate of theTampa Bay Devil Rays, play their home games at Hunnicutt Field, the Appalachian League’s newest stadium.

For the avid shopper, Mercer and Tazewell Counties feature everything from unique, locally-owned shops to malls filled with nationally-known department stores. Whether you prefer shopping in modern stores all under one roof or strolling through a small town with antiques and crafts displayed in shop windows, you’ll feel right at home in Four Seasons Country.

A strong religious heritage dating back to the 1700s has continued throughout the region’s history. Landscapes in the towns and countrysides are dotted with churches of all sizes representing a broad range of denominations. Many of the congregations reach into their surrounding communities with programs that provide opportunities for retirees to gather for "potluck" dinners and programs, travel together to interesting destinations, or volunteer for church-related projects.

In addition to churches, retirees willing to volunteer can offer their time and talents to other organizations such as hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, food pantries, and schools through such programs as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Friends, Habitat For Humanity, Foster Grandparents, and others. Nationally-known civic organizations in the area also welcome men and women willing to devote their time, energy and expertise to a wide variety of projects.

Whether your time is spent enjoying the view from a porch rocker or taking in all that the two counties have to offer, your mind will be put at ease with the knowledge that you have retired in an area with a surprisingly low cost of living and one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. Safe, affordable, and fulfilling—that’s Four Seasons Country.

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