What is your plan for your second life? When you daydream about that next phase, are you thinking about a change? Whether you are north or south, a change in latitude is the plan of action and Thomasville may be the perfect destination for you. You can be as involved as you choose here under the spreading live oaks where we occasionally turn the thermostat to “cool” on Christmas Day, and sometimes the only sounds in quiet neighborhoods of historic homes are the footfalls of joggers and the sounds of baby strollers wheeling along.
COME FOR A VISIT
Thomas County is home to one of “America’s Castles,” Pebble Hill Plantation, one of over 70 plantations in the area, and The Big Oak, a massive and majestic oak. Known as the City of Roses, Thomasville has many festivals, parades and celebrations throughout the year such as Rose Festival and Victorian Christmas and the Thomasville Fly-In at our airport. However, other communities in Thomas County are welcoming with their own events such as Mule Day, Peacock Festival and the Boston (GA) Mini-Marathon.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Best of both worlds and the roads to get there is a good description of Thomas County’s location. Thomasville’s close proximity to Florida’s Gulf Coast will please fisherman and beach goers alike, especially with a dog-friendly beach on St. George Island. NCAA college sporting events such as football and baseball are also available in Tallahassee, with Florida State University only 35 miles down the road. Mountain enthusiasts do not despair, with our great highways, it is an easy half-day jaunt up to the Blue Ridge foothills.
Entrepreneurs are welcome and encouraged by the Chamber of Commerce which offers small business mentoring. Opportunities abound in our small, but progressive town, and fiber optic cable for Internet access gives Thomasville entry to the dotcom world. Fortune 500 Company, Flowers Foods, started in 1919 as a family business and still has its headquarters located here. Your new business idea may catch fire too. With over 700 Chamber members, a wide range of business acumen provides networking and camaraderie for a new local business owner.
Or, are you a frustrated actor who has always yearned to try your hand at the lead role in The Fantasticks? Thomasville On Stage and Company (TOSAC), open to members of the community, strives to keep the tradition of live theater viable in its Storefront Theater, located in the heart of Downtown Thomasville.
The Thomasville Entertainment Foundation (TEF), founded in 1937, presents a classical and a pop series each season. Many world-famous artists and renowned entertainers have been featured – including Fredericka von Staade, Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis and The Stepcrew. TEF, a completely volunteer organization with a stellar record of cultural events, can always use a hand. Outstanding art may be found in the Thomasville Center for the Arts which displays works of outstanding artists in the gallery, accompanied by gala openings. Art classes, painting to pottery, are available for adults and children or even grandchildren. The Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival held at the Center is a nationally renowned event in November for anyone who loves art and wildlife with a variety of arts, crafts, jewelry, wildlife presentations and wonderful entertainment.
Expand your horizons at the Thomas County Public Library, recently enlarged and located in the center of town. Groups like We’re Booking It, a local book club, and the Wiregrass Rug Hookers meet at the library regularly and are open to the public. The library offers a series of computer workshops and hosts special events to which the community is invited. Should you want to trace your own family “roots,” in addition to the Genealogy Room at the Public Library, there is a very complete Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library located in the heart of downtown across from the courthouse.
Our local bookstore, which offers cupcake treats, welcomes lookers and shares space with an art gallery. We have shops that offer art from local artists, antiques and even a fair trade shop with eco-friendly items.
The YMCA offers multiple locations and an extensive program designed for all age levels. Its facilities (complete with outdoor and indoor heated pools) are favorites for retirees who enjoy participating in water aerobics, floor aerobics and fitness training on a variety of machines designed for such programs. Classes are scheduled for convenience of those attending, and personal trainers are available. In addition to fitness, they sponsor walks, health education, dance classes and other community activities.
Historic Glen Arven Country Club offers a beautiful 18-hole golf course, and has hosted numerous visiting celebrities. Country Oaks, a public course owned by the city, provides an additional challenge. Several tennis courts on school campuses are available for public use. Butterfly and bird watching events at Birdsong Nature Center and Pinewoods Bird Festival, quail hunting and dog trails at local plantations and outdoor concerts are just few of our year-round activities in Southwest Georgia.
Fit For Life
Archbold Medical Center is a four-hospital, three nursing-home system with 540 beds. It employs more than 2,500 people and boasts an outstanding medical staff of more than 160 qualified specialists. The John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia is the flagship hospital with 264 beds. The recent expansion of the eight-story North Tower and a new oncology center has added new medical facilities, specialists and treatments. Archbold provides high quality, compassionate medical care using cutting-edge technology. It sponsors free periodic lectures by staff members and partners with the YMCA and other groups for public health related events. Archbold Integrative Medicine offers alternative medicine therapies such as diet counseling, massage and physical therapy, yoga and Tai Chi. A healthy benefit for the area is that Thomasville has the second largest farmer’s market in the state. Farmers offer fresh fruits and vegetables along with local products. Other selections are available at the Green Market and the Organic Market. Pick up locally made cheese and some organically grown tomatoes to keep in tip-top shape.
Recently expanding its local campus and adding to the world wide campus with more classes in China, Thomas University (an accredited liberal arts university that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees) is a growing institution with a broad-spectrum curriculum. Retirees may audit courses of their choosing at TU based on availability for a nominal fee and those over age 70 are free. The university sponsors various community events and cultural opportunities available to the public. Georgia allows residents age 62 and over to audit classes on a space available basis in any state institution, which would also include Valdosta State University.
Southwest Georgia Technical College offers a variety of courses and a 99 percent placement rate for local college students, but their adult education courses provide for lifelong learning.
A Place Apart
We enjoy a heritage that is unusual, and it has continued to influence the area into modern times. If you are a history buff, this is an exciting place for you. The Thomas County Historical Society maintains an interesting museum in the heart of one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, and presents lectures featuring outstanding historians and speakers. Historic homes are venerated with our historic districts and you can even visit a National Historic Landmark, Victorian Era Lapham-Patterson House. Pebble Hill Plantation also offers tours. Be sure to stop by the Thomas County Courthouse, built in 1858, remodeled in 1889 and recently renovated. It is one of the oldest courthouses in Georgia continuously used for county government activities.
Volunteers are appreciated, and will find a wide variety of opportunities. You can be involved in our Thomas County Medbank, dedicated to those in need. The Thomas County Humane Society and Miss Kitty Feline Sanctuary, a no kill cat sanctuary, both use volunteers to assist animals. Local docents at the Thomas County History Museum and Lapham-Patterson House and Pebble Hill Plantation (open to the public for tours) meet world travelers. They share anecdotes about fabled plantation experiences and the opulent lifestyles of wealthy northern industrialists who found this area so attractive as well as the regular local folk, both of whom have generations of descendants who still love this area.
The many churches of the area sponsor interesting activities for all age ranges, and offer unlimited opportunities to reach out to the community – including the food bank and being involved in local schools. Mentors are encouraged for school children in reading and tutoring programs. The kids love it, and one of them, upon spotting her tutor arriving, shouted to others present, “She’s mine!”
If you like to swing a hammer or are into painting, Thomasville Landmarks (an organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, some of which are listed on the National Register) welcomes participation by volunteers. You can also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, where a cross-section of citizens pitch in to make renovation a dream come true for some of our deserving citizens.
If you want to volunteer, but just are not sure where, we have the answer. Hands On Thomas County is a volunteer clearinghouse that pairs the skills and time of volunteers with our many nonprofit organizations that need assistance, making for a very successful and rewarding community partnership.
Come to Stay
Sights, smells and sounds of Thomasville are some of the best reasons to consider changing your latitude and jumpstarting that new life here. The sights include our Thomasville Rose Garden, historic districts in our Great American Main Street City (1998) and our annual Victorian Christmas celebration. Smells include the Flowers Bakery that oozes with the aroma of baking bread or the pine-scented air touted as far back as the 1880s. Then there are the “southern sounds” such as hellos from new friends you meet on the street, bands playing in the Rose Parade or the distant train whistle as you drop off to sleep at night.
Don’t take our word for it; consider that Thomasville has been featured on a CBS News report where Consumer Reports identified Thomasville as one of the “Perfect Places to Retire.” Both USA Today and NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams identified Thomasville as a retirement location for Boomers. More recently Thomasville was named as a “Top Ten Best Places to Retire” in Georgia by Retire in Georgia Magazine and on RetireSouth.com. When you are considering your ideal retirement, check out Retirement Lifestyles Magazine (August/September 2007) article describing Thomasville called “ACT II: Rediscovering Yourself in Retirement” and picture yourself here.
Inviting shops abound, and our downtown is one of tree-lined streets, vintage buildings beautifully restored and quaint restaurants with umbrella-shaded tables. We’ve saved a place for you. Come have a seat, drink a glass of tea and enjoy Thomasville with us.