The Lynchburg Region is one of the loveliest parts of Virginia. Encompassing 2,122 square miles, the Region includes the City of Lynchburg; the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell; and the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Brookneal.
Quality of life is good, so good that in 2017 the Region was ranked among the top well-being communities by the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. The Region has ranked near the top since 2008.
The Region is ideally located in Central Virginia, 180 miles from Washington, D. C., 110 miles from Richmond, the state capital; and 243 miles from Virginia Beach. The terrain is hilly with sheltered valleys that are visited by early autumns and late spring frosts. The mean temperature is 56 degrees, and in a typical year, rainfall measures approximately 42 inches. Snowfall averages 12.9 inches, although the amount varies with each winter.
Approximately 60 percent of the days have sunshine.
There are hundreds of places of worship in the Region. Most Protestant denominations are represented along with Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Mormon faiths. A Jewish Synagogue is located in Lynchburg as is the Unitarian Universalist Church. The Lynchburg Secular Humanists meet in the area as does the Greater Lynchburg Islamic Association.
Shopping in the Region includes malls, boutiques, antique, and specialty shops. Downtown Lynchburg has seen a spike in trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques, while Altavista is enjoying an increase in boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants. The Forest Community in Bedford County is experiencing growth in its retail and restaurant sector as a result of its booming real estate market. Other popular shopping locations include River Ridge Mall, Wards Road, Wyndhurst, and Boonsboro in Lynchburg.
Every town in the Region has a farmer’s market. The Lynchburg Community Market is the nation’s third oldest continuously running market, opening in 1783, three years before the City of Lynchburg was founded. The “Lynchburg is for Locavores” marketing campaign, which celebrates the Region’s farm-to-table movement, was recognized by the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society. A Lynchburg is for Locavores Cooking Series features a local chef preparing a variety of recipes using local produce on Saturday mornings inside the market.
Public libraries are available throughout the area. Lynchburg’s Jones Memorial Library offers a genealogy and research center as does the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library.
Education plays an important role in the Region as five four-year colleges or universities are located here, offering bachelor’s master’s and doctoral programs. A community college and trade schools provide workforce training.
With an eye toward promoting understanding between people from different cultures, Lynchburg and Bedford participate in the Sister Cities Program. Lynchburg and its two sister cities, Rueil-Malmaison, France, and Glauchau, Germany, have fostered student exchanges, family and individual visits, and organizational visits such as with police and fire departments.
Bedford maintains relationships with 11 communities on the Normandy Coast of France. One sister city, Trévières, France, sent Bedford an exact replica of its own World War II memorial statue, which has been erected on the grounds of the National D-Day Memorial. Bedford also has a Friendship Treaty with Ivybridge, Devon, England.
The cost of living in the Region is below the national average and among the lowest in Virginia, and this is one many reasons why the Lynchburg Region is a popular place to retire. In fact, GreatPlacesTo-Retire.com named Lynchburg one of its top retirement cities. Real estate prices are reasonable, and the market is active, giving seniors a wide range of options. Retirement villages and assisted living facilities are available throughout the Region, many of which go from apartment living to nursing care. The proximity to large metropolitan areas is another p ositive for the Region. Seniors can enjoy the slower pace here but still get to a big city for excitement. All types of leisure activities are available, including outdoor recreation, sightseeing, arts programs, restaurants, and shopping.
Purple Heart Communities are spread throughout the Region. The designation is given in recognition of the sacrifice of Purple Heart recipients and their families and is an expression of gratitude to the sons and daughters of the communities who gave their lives or were wounded in combat while defending the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. Lynchburg was one of the first Purple Heart Communities in the state. A Veteran’s Day Parade is held in Lynchburg in November to honor veterans of all wars.