Climate Change Series, by Elizabeth Ford, Director of Sales & Marketing - Legacy At Mills River


Climate Change Series, by Elizabeth Ford, Director of Sales & Marketing

Legacy at Mills River is located in Western North Carolina, which continues to earn accolades and top spots on “best places to retire” lists.  As an Asheville native, I am keenly aware of my community’s dependence on and impact from the retirees that now call WNC home.  For decades our economy has been built upon a thriving retirement industry serving retirees near and far.  As a result, our region benefits from strong healthcare systems, continuing education, and cultural opportunities.

However, lately, we are hearing more about climate change as a motivation to retire to Asheville, Hendersonville, and Brevard.  The extreme weather patterns many Legacy members are fleeing rarely occur in our mountain region.  There is very low risk of hurricanes or tornadoes. Predictable rainfall precludes droughts that can lead to fires. Our mountain elevations allow for lower temperatures.  Western North Carolina has become an ideal place for “Climate Migrants,” as they have been labeled.  While our members have many reasons why they chose Legacy, we do have “Climate Migrants” that would say climate change is on the top of their list.


Week One- Denise & Tom

Originally from the East Coast with long careers in Northern VA, Denise and Tom initially retired to Santa Fe, NM.  They are happy to say that Asheville, NC was high on their original list, but Santa Fe won their hearts and they packed up and moved west.  By their ninth year of retirement, they had begun to dread the specter of drought—the worst in more than a thousand years, according to climate scientists—that plagued the Southwest, and the devastating forest fires that followed in its wake.  “When we first moved to Santa Fe, it was everything you hear about,” Denise observed.  “But by the time we moved, we had experienced way too many close calls with Mother Nature, and we knew it was time to leave.”

As they researched how best to respond to the growing threat of climate change, they revisited the idea of moving to Asheville.  They quickly discovered Legacy, located just 15 miles south of the city that had once caught their attention.  “As we thought carefully about retirement, we realized that Legacy checked all the boxes on our list,” Denise shared, “and Asheville, like Santa Fe, is a culturally diverse city.”  For Tom, the beauty of the surrounding mountains, with their abundance of stunning hiking trails, was a compelling reason for their move. “And with a safer, more predictable climate,” he added.

Denise and Tom made a reservation, sight unseen, and weeks later, put their Santa Fe home on the market.  It sold in five days, and today they are happily renting an apartment near historic Biltmore village, while looking forward to moving into Legacy, with no regrets, when it opens in 2024.

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