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Aiken, South Carolina
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Denise
Unadilla, NY

SRS Site - 1/14/2015

I was in Aiken this past August looking for a farm. My husband and myself are big horse people from New York State. I was shocked to find out about one of the largest Nuclear Waste sites in the USA. Everyone talks about how wonderful Aiken is for horse lovers, but nothing is said about SRS. I didn't hear a word about it until I left my hotel in Hilton Head. I was thinking, maybe I should be looking there instead. I stayed in Aiken one night and was out of there the next day. What are some of the views and comments about the SRS? Just wondering if I am the only one that is paranoid about it or horse lovers don't worry about it?

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David
Aiken, SC

Retirement in Aiken, South Carolina - 12/11/2014

Retired in 2002 after 36 years in metropolitan NYC. Established three major criteria for retirement community: 1) Low cost of government (taxes), 2)warm winters, and 3) equestrian focus. Spent two years, including 150 days on the road, evaluating all U.S. east coast equestrian communities, from Cape Ann, Mass. to Wellington, Florida. Aiken, S.C. bubbled to the top: 1)very low property taxes (for seniors), and very low state income taxes (for seniors), 2)beautiful winters, and 3) a very wide range of equestrian activities plus a town (Aiken) with a powerful equestrian history going back to the late 19th century. In addition to these three major criteria, Aiken is 4)a beautiful and vibrant little town with 5)the number one small public university in the southeast, University of South Carolina Aiken. Also, 6)the pace of life is relaxed, 7)there are a surprising number of regular cultural events for such a small town (population approx. 30k), and 8)there are multiple fine golf courses, a reflection of the close proximity of the Masters in August (30 minutes from Aiken) and the Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, the second oldest golf club in the U.S., redesigned in the early 1930's by the same course designer who designed the Masters. In addition to the polo fields, steeplechase fields, racetracks, etc., Aiken has multiple fox hunts, dressage events and a vast equestrian trail network. At the heart of Aiken's equestrian activities is Hitchcock Woods, a 2,252 acre private (in a trust) equestrian preserve with 75 miles of equestrian trails maintained by the Hitchcock Woods Trust. Three activities are permitted in the Woods: 1)riding a horse, 2) pulling a carriage with a horse, and 3)walking. Other than a horse drawn carriage, no other wheeled vehicles and no other activities are permitted in the Woods Hitchcock Woods is not a public park and is not managed by the City of Aiken. It is Aiken's crown jewel. South Carolina's capital, Columbia is one hour north of Aiken. Charlotte, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina are each 2.5 hours from Aiken. Atlanta, Georgia is 3 hours from Aiken. Now the negatives: 1)June, July, August and September are hot, 90's and, sometimes, over 100. Very humid. Many of our friends go north for this period, especially to Saratoga, N.Y., Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, closing up their Aiken homes. 2) Locals are polite but wary of non-southerners. When they speak of "the war," they do not mean WWII. They mean the Civil War or, as they refer to it, the "War of Northern Aggression" or the "War Against the States." The school textbooks to some degree reflect this sentiment. 3) The "Southern Accent" can, sometimes, be difficult for a non-Southerner to fully understand. This problem is compounded by Southern expressions not commonly used outside the South. 4)The local work ethic is not what non-southerners are used to. 5)There is very little professional, gainful employment due to the lack of an industrial base. The major employment from the early 1950,s until the early 1990's was the Savannah River Site or SRS which, at its height, employed over 35,000 engineers, physicists, chemists, etc. It was one of the three most important nuclear sites in the U.S., the other two being Hancock in Washington and Los Alamos in New Mexico. Today, SRS employs approx 8,000 and that number continues to decline. Aiken's main demographic today, consequently, is retired seniors. If you are an equestrian, active or former, Aiken is a retirement dream come true, probably the best on the east coast of the United States.

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Brian
Aiken, SC

Aiken - avoid New Ellenton and omg Graniteville - 6/14/2014

Lived in Aiken all my life - retired now. Glad I live in Aiken, SC. Traveled the USa and world occupationally. I thought about retiring to Florida but Aiken won after the paid professional evaluation. Cheap cost of living and focused on the retirement community, historical significance and horses. The seasons actually change but not drastically too.

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KC
New Ellenton, SC

Ready to leave after 10 years, REALLY ready to lea - 5/31/2013

We have been here 26 years and we are trying to move back to the Northeast. We came here for jobs and have had to stay due to the economy. I will try to make this as unbiased as I can. If you are from the "North", or as they say here, a "yankee", they will never fully accept you. Southern hospitality is largely a myth. There are some people who genuinely welcome you, but most do not. People here also do not treat their dogs as they should. The shelters are very busy; the dogcatchers are very busy. People do not keep their dogs safe in a fence or indoors. That southern accent that sounds cute at first will start to drive you crazy. You will get very tired of hearing people use terrible grammar, and the worst part is, you will hear it so much that you almost start to do it yourself. If you have kids and you don't want them to sound ignorant, move someplace else or plan to home-school them. I don't have children but I hear the schools are pretty bad. Lots of people home-school or send their children to private school. Warning: the summers are brutal. Be prepared to spend 3 months inside in the air conditioning. I am talking 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. I get cabin fever in the summer. Another thing they don't tell you is that you will probably need to replace your A/C unit every 10 years, which will cost around $7,000 each time. There are some decent things to do, but if it is in the summer, will you be able to go out in the heat to participate? I cannot. The Aiken mall is empty and dying. They are building way too many things on the south side of town and traffic is getting really bad. Positives: the cost of living is low, taxes are low. The winters are good. If you are a horse person and will live in a horse community, and will be able to go someplace cooler in the summer, then this may be a good place for you, SEASONALLY. Thanks to the Savannah River Site and some other larger industries, there are people here from other parts of the country, thank goodness. They tend to get involved and definitely make things better. These people will be your friends. Good service is very hard to find. Stores and fast food places mostly employee teens or people who do not care. Good service from craftsman is also hard to find. So many times we've had things done to our house that required a second or third visit to get the job right. Be careful if you live in the country as we do. You tend to get neighbors who drag race, speed, let their dogs run and drive a big noisy truck. Most people in Aiken live in subdivisions where you will have restrictions against such problems, but you will have lots of neighbors. Come for a visit first if you can, in July or August. You should see the place at its worst before you decide to live here. I think it would be ok as a place to retire to as long as you can leave in the summer.

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Beverly
Aiken, SC

Overall... - 12/31/2012

If you are looking for a small town than Aiken is a pretty good place to live. The climate is not bad either, mild winters and hot summers. The crime is bad in parts of Aiken but not bad in the nicer areas. However, there is just not much to do here. There is only one public dirty pool which I would not go to, one theater, and one very pathetic mall (I don't know if you could really call it a mall). In order to get to any bigger city the drive is 30 minutes (Augusta) or 1 hour (Columbia). There is only one main road in the bigger part of Aiken (the part where most of the stores/restaurants are) and you would not believe the traffic they have on that road for this being a small town. I am still young enough that I want things to do so my spouse and I (and most young people I know) cannot wait to get out of here but if you are just looking for a small town with a relatively mild climate I would recommend Aiken.

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Jeff
Aiken, SC

Great place to raise kids - 2/13/2012

We have been in Aiken since 1987. This is a great community to raise a family and to live and work in.

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Tab
Port Royal, SC

How is Aiken for A family with kids - 8/31/2011

We are thinking about locating to aiken sc and would love some feedback. We have two young boys and were curious if there was much for kids to do here? We currently live in beaufort sc and they dont have anything for kids to do. All they have is Bars and dollar stores. We love the terrain there and Also have interest in a church in Graniteville called CBC of aiken. We also are curious to where the good areas are to live. My husband is an EMT and works nights shifts occasionly so We are def. looking for a good community to feel secure in being by myself with the children. Please if anyone could share their honest oppionnions with us we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

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Elizabeth
Aiken, SC

the good and bad about Aiken - 6/17/2011

I have lived in Aiken for a few years now and have seen quite a bit of change. As someone in their 30s I am mostly ambivalent about living here. I don't love it but I don't hate it either.I could commute to work from Columbia or Augusta but don't dislike it enough to justify commuting. It is growing in terms of businesses and people. The comments about it being an old money horse community and a place for retirees I find to be true but there seems to be a rise in family oriented activities (I don't have kids). There does seem to be a class and racial divide here. Housing is not that cheap relative to other parts of the south but the reason is because a lot of people have chosen to live here and there simply was not a lot of housing. New developments are springing up around the city even in this housing market. I do think some of the population growth is families and "youngerish" people. The town is still very conservative but the economy has forced some progressive changes to accommodate what I see as a more diverse age demographic emerging (but there are still retirees coming here too). For example, Blue Laws are GONE- too many people going to GA on Sundays to shop/spend their money. There is a new bar downtown with "scantily clad" (lol- they are not that bad) waitresses. there was A LOT of protest about this bar, and apparently in the past the city blocked a Hooters form coming, but the protest to keep "this sort of thing in Augusta" and keep downtown a family place fell on deaf ears as the city said we have empty store fronts that need to be filled. This place is probably making more money than any other downtown establishment- the bottom line is people were going to the bars in downtown augusta and I think the city realized that once again being too conservative is costing them $. Overall, Aiken is a cute place with beautiful horse farms, nice people (southern hospitality), nice parks, and southern charm. Crime is bad but the police here are making a good effort in my mind and stepping up to the plate- a lot of growth quickly forced them to reassess a bit but they are doing it. Having the horse community and a lot of retirees are not a bad thing at all as long as there are things for all ages and lifestyles which I see more of here than 5 years ago.

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tammy
Graniteville, SC

fu - 5/3/2011

my comments are not being posted

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tammy
Graniteville, SC

only drug addicts like aiken county - 5/3/2011

there is nothing good about aiken county, the people in windsor, s.c. have no transportation offered to them, and they are 20 miles from a grocery store, the roads in windsor are to dangerous to drive on, they need to be paved, there are no jobs in aiken county, and the workers at the employment office on richland avenue know that, they treat people bad, and laugh at them, I lost my job, I have no income, my umemployment was denied, I can't get social security, there are no lawyers in aiken county that will help me, I tried to get food stamps, they told me I have to wait 37 days, I tried to go to acts to get food, they always help every one, they made me wait 2 hours to tell me they can't help me, there should be more help for people in this bad economy, the police officers of aiken county are supposed to answer calls for the windsor area, they tell people to solve there own problems in windsor, all people do in windsor is suffer, and wait to die, there is no help, the home I live in is filled with bugs, and mildew, and cat mess every where, aiken county is not a great place, graniteville, s.c. is a terrible place filled with ghosts that torture people, there is also evil people all over graniteville, the air is polluted bad, most of the people in graniteville rapes young children, aiken county is not a great place to retire, the ambulance service is a nightmare, the workers are not concerned with people's health, they are concerned about giving tickets to innocent people

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Bill
Aiken, SC

Crime rate in Aiken - 1/20/2010

We have lived in Aiken for over 20 years and find it a great place to live. The local governments, Aiken Public Service and the County Sheriff are proactive and do an excellent job. They all are applying greater attention to the crime issue. Things have changed as the area has grown and there are pockets with higher crime. It is just like any other part of the country; you have to be selective on where you live. When I retired eight years ago, we did an extensive search of other areas and could not find a better place to live. I continue to look at all of the places that come out in various retirement listing and still find Aiken the best place for us.

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Ken
Graniteville, SC

Aiken County SC - 2/26/2009

We actually live in a small town called Graniteville which is about 7 miles from Aiken SC and 8 miles from Augusta GA. We moved here about 2 1/2 years ago from Saratoga NY. The things we love about this area are cost of living approx 30% lower, lower crime rate, outstanding weather (many suuny days, Jan. average day time high of 55), choice of many highly rated hospitals, superior road systems easy drive to Atlanta, Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte, Beaufort, Savanna, etc: Lake Thurmond offers great boating, fishing, swimming, and 1000 campsites. Many historic sights to visit and being an RV owner we enjoy camping at the many beautiful state campgrounds ( No Alcohol Allowed). True southern hospitality in the Bible Belt.

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Movin' On
Aiken, SC

Great town....if you're a golf playing Baptist wh - 3/27/2008

We came here because we had lived here nearly 20 years ago and remembered it as being a great place to live. Wrong. While it has grown larger somewhat in terms of businesses, the minds of the residents have definitely grown smaller. We had forgotten about the idiotic blue laws on Sundays. The Baptists and horse people run EVERYTHING. Any talk of new stores coming (i.e. Sam's Club or Cost Plus,etc)fills the local newspaper with howls of "we don't need no more yankees here." You'll spend all of your time and money in Augusta GA to find anything. You can practically hear the crickets in the dark depressing mall. Don't even consider looking for a job here unless you have the thick accent, know the "right" people,or have a popular last name (read "old family"). This used to be a family town with the median age in the mid-30's. Now it's becoming Sun City - - far too many retirees clogging up the roadways and stores. Having lived in Arizona we can tell you that a big retiree population will soon lead to more car accidents, less money for schools (because they don't believe they should have to pay), less family activities, and attempts to shut children out. Anyone under 65 would do well to stay clear of stores on Wednesdays, "Senior Day." We're in our early 50's and we are far too young for this mentality. We realize we've made a huge mistake and will put our home on the market as soon as we get some work done on it.

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Larry
Aiken, SC

Aiken in Summary - 12/23/2007

Aiken is a wonderfully quaint southern town steeped in history. Thoroughbred is spoken here! This is a small town rapidly expanding. The educational system is wonderful, as are the cultural amenities. New housing communities are popping up all over. What's more - there is something for everyone. If your budget allows $500k+, there's a community for you, but if you are a bit more in the $200k range, you'll find that too in Aiken.

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Marie
Wayne, NJ

To Don't be Lured - 11/16/2007

There are many many towns here in NJ that are racially divided by economics. It's not just the South. I may move there since it's such a beautiful area to live.

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Keith
Aiken, SC

You could do worse, much worse - 6/20/2007

After searching for the best, my wife and I choose Aiken, SC to retire. Four seasons (we travel north during July & August), great golf, large equine community, low taxes, affordable housing, friendly people and access to mountains to the north and the coastline to the south. Is it perfect? No place is perfect, but Aiken sure has a lot to offer. Suggest a visit and see for yourself.

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Tim
Aiken, SC

Schools are great - 6/20/2007

We considered moving into Augusta, GA but found the schools to be much better across the state line in Aiken, SC.

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Michael
Aiken, SC

Don't be lured... - 1/10/2007

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of wonderful, nice people here. There is a nice park known as Odell Weeks that features a great walking track and would be the envy of many twons around. There is ample shopping for the basics. The Center of town is quaint and cute with little shops to check out. But that's the extent of the good here. *This town is still horribly racially divided with a large black community "kept in their place" while rich white retirees run the town. *Crime is starting to spill over from Augusta, GA. * The pollution from the local plants is awful, yet never reported. * There are 4 maintenance workers for the whole town so potholes are aplenty. * The summers are so ridiculously hot you'll want to stay inside for three straight months. * The twon grows, yet traffic congestion has no relief in sight. Hundreds of cars trying to use the main thoroughfare through town crawl down a 35MPH winding two-lane road. If there's an accident you can get stuck for awhile.... The houses may be affordable. The life may be quiet (albeit waaaay too quiet, the town shuts down at 6PM ). The proximity to the nuclear power plant is convenient, but don't be lured.

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Abhd
Frederick, MD

Bi-racial couple - 10/17/2006

I am black and my husband is white. We have a small child and are wondering if we will feel welcome in Aiken...?

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Bryan
Aiken, SC

Aiken's; a growing city with extensive set of amen - 8/13/2006

Interesting city given it's excellent location; 3 hours from many interesting destinations; Atlanta, Charleston, Ashville, Charlotte, home of U.S. Polo, thoroughbred training, steeple chase, fox hunting, golf and growinng set of amenities.

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