Orange City Featured in Great Places to Live by AARP

The following is a feature written by Carrie Truesdell for the AARP Magazine Great Places to Live 2024 Edition.

DUTCH-INSPIRED storefronts with swooping rooflines and colorful shutters. Coffee shops bursting with pastries and conversation. A central park where children run and play among reproduction windmills and beds of tulips. What sounds like the set of a Hallmark movie is life here.

In 1869, settlers came to this area in search of rich farmland. They
named it after the royal House of Orange. Today, Orange City still swells with charm, but it is also a modern community. The corporate headquarters for Diamond Vogel paint and the Pizza Ranch restaurant chain are located here, as is a small but thriving liberal arts college.

All of this means that Orange City enjoys amenities that other small towns may lack, including access to comprehensive medical care. The Orange City Area Health System is part of a network that includes senior living facilities. Condos for adults not ready for traditional retirement housing also have been developed. “The continuum of care we provide – from birth care to senior care draws all kinds of people to live, work, raise kids and retire here,” says CEO Marty Guthmiller.

Cindy Jacob moved to the area with her husband in 2022 after one of their children landed here. “Everything we need is within 2 miles of our house,” Jacob says. The average commute time is 7.3 minutes, according to Vibrant Life, the community’s campaign to attract new residents. A public ride service is available for those who need transportation assistance. “This is a terrific choice for those looking for a place to land in their later years,” Jacob says.

Orange City’s best-known attraction is the Tulip Festival, annual celebration of the town’s Dutch heritage. For three days in May, the downtown is filled with parades, shows, food vendors, and locals dressed in traditional clothing, plus
about 50,000 tulips in bloom.