Southern Living Best Places to Retire

LEXINGTON, KY - Which sounds more like you: enrolling in a course on what happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, learning about bourbon at Maker’s Mark Distillery, or singing in a 115-person choral group? Maybe you’d prefer Nordic walking, film noir, stamp collecting, or yoga? The OLLI offerings at the University of Kentucky (UK) aim to educate and entertain with about 60 different classes available every semester. Retiree Susan Bottom teaches history topics. After working for the military for 30 years, she chose Lexington, saying, “I wasn’t going to move from Tampa unless there was an OLLI program.” Her classes have waiting lists, and her fans say she brings the past to life.

There are also travel opportunities through OLLI— one might take you abroad to Florence, Italy, to study art while another may venture to nearby Keeneland to learn about betting techniques from an expert. UK also offers the Donovan Scholarship for those looking to earn advanced degrees or interact with professors on topics of interest (the starting age is 65; tuition is free).

Moving to Lexington itself widens the learning curve. Aside from the two universities (UK and Transylvania University), there’s the horse culture, the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a stunning opera house, and big concerts that come right to you. “I saw Paul McCartney at Rupp Arena,” says Bottom. “I knew Lexington was a good decision going in. And I feel passionate about the subjects I teach. It’s honestly a hoot.” 

Note: The OLLI program operates at 125 colleges and universities—at least one in every state.

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