Transylvania County has been a destination for retirees and second home owners for many years, but more recently it’s begun attracting young individuals and families who are drawn to the county’s unique blend of small town charm, vibrant cultural scene and unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park, where they can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, hunting and more. Roughly 41 percent of the county’s land is dedicated to recreation, and the county also has a new foot-traffic only parkland – Headwaters State Forest – which encompasses roughly 6,700 acres in southern Transylvania.
Along with outdoor attractions, Transylvania has many cultural ones — from a thriving arts and crafts community to a diverse musical scene, including the world-renowned summer festival held at the Brevard Music Center. Transylvania County was founded in 1861. Roughly translated, Transylvania means “on the other side of the woods.”
The county’s unofficial name is “The Land of Waterfalls,” and, with more than 250, it’s easy to see why. In its early history, the timber industry, forestry and forest conservation all played major roles in the county’s development. Manufacturing then became the county’s primary economic driver, with Ecusta producing paper for cigarettes and Bibles, and DuPont producing X-ray film. Those plants closed near the turn of the century, and today the county has a diverse economic makeup that features niche manufacturers, food and organics producers, and companies that support the outdoor recreation community.
The county’s largest three employers are the school system, Transylvania Regional Hospital and county government. According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census, Transylvania has a current population of roughly 33,956, including 7,890 in the city of Brevard.
The median household income for 2013-2017 was $44,559 for the county and $40,232 for Brevard. Per capita income for the past 12 months was $26,037 for the county and $24,194 for the city. Those considered to be in poverty were 15.2 of the population of the county and 13.6 percent of city residents.
The median value of owner-occupied housing units in Transylvania County between 2013 and 2017 was $202,100, according to the U.S. Census. The county’s current property tax rate is set at $.6360 per $100 of value; the city of Brevard’s rate is $.4950; and town of Rosman’s is $.4400.
For those looking to raise children in Transylvania, its surroundings make it a great place to put down roots. Its school system has been recognized as among the top-performing in the state. The district includes four elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools and one alternative school.
The county also has a charter school — Brevard Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy — and is home to Blue Ridge Community College and a four-year institution, Brevard College. The county sits in the 11th Congressional District and is home to four elected bodies: the Brevard City Council, Rosman Board of Aldermen, Transylvania County Board of Commissioners and Transylvania Board of Education. At the state level, the county sits within District 113 in the House and District 48 in the Senate.
In a county with so many waterfalls, it makes sense that it’s the wettest in the state, averaging about 70 inches a year. Temperatures in June average in the lower 70s. The year-round average temperature is 54.9. The county is also conveniently located near Asheville Regional Airport, a 25-minute drive away. The city of Asheville is 25 miles away, Greenville, S.C., is 59, Charlotte is 115 and Atlanta is 204.
For more relocation information, visit the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce at 175 E. Main St. in Brevard or call (828) 883-3700.
For more information about all local activities, go to www.transylvaniaexplorer.com.