HISTORY and LOCALITY
Amherst County, Virginia was formed in 1761 from Albemarle County and was named for Sir Jeffery Amherst, a hero of the battle of Ticonderoga during the French and Indian War. It is bounded by the Blue Ridge to the west and the James River to the south and east. The boundary encompass 470 square miles. The Town of Amherst nestles along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and maintains a subtle colloquial sense of living in the South. It has a rich history of old architecture and is the home of the County seat. Our new Courthouse is not only beautiful, but exceptionally functional as well. The County offices are located in the Administration building complex. Keeping up with local events is a snap, because the excellent area newspaper, The Amherst New Era-Progress, is published weekly and appears each Thursday throughout the County and surrounding locales.
Along with the Town of Amherst, the other major business district in the County sits about 12 miles south on Route 29 in Madison Heights and just minutes north of the city of Lynchburg. It supplies the rest of the ever-expanding support structure businesses and residents need. There are various shopping centers, restaurants, and lodging facilities in both communities. The county is located near the geographic center of Virginia. This places it strategically adjacent to Lynchburg and within 50 miles of Charlottesville and Roanoke which enhances the local commerce and educational opportunities. The states capital, Richmond, is 100 miles to the east and the port of Hampton Roads and the nations capital, Washington, DC, are within 200 miles. Other distances: Atlanta, Georgia is 485 miles; Chicago, Illinois is 682 miles; New York, New York is 400 miles; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is 308.
Elevations ranging from 500 feet to 4,000 feet provide the County with spectacular rolling countryside. Water is abundant from the James River and the many streams originating in the Blue Ridge. Woodlands cover approximately three-fourths of the land, and most of the northwestern portion of the county is part of the George Washington National Forest. The climate is mild as evidenced by an average annual temperature of 56 degrees. The four distinctive seasons experience the following average temperatures: winter 37 degrees, spring 60 degrees, & fall 65 degrees. Rainfall averages 40 inches annually, and snowfalls average 19 inches per year.
Amherst County has a 2011 population of 32,139. Half the population is located in the south central portion of the county near the City of Lynchburg and around Madison Heights. The other half lives in and around the Town of Amherst, which serves as the county seat. The population of Central Virginia, which includes the counties of Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, and Appomattox as well as the cities of Lynchburg and Bedford is 220,600.
COST of LIVING
Living costs in the region are approximately 8% below the national average and are among the lowest in Virginia. Taxes in Amherst County are low, compared to the nation and Virginia. Each locality sets it own rates. There are no special taxing districts within local jurisdictions. The average family gross income for the county is $37,700.
Three hospitals serve the region - two in Lynchburg and one in Bedford. More than 330 physicians representing all major specialties practice in the area. The region is consistently ranked as having one of the highest quality, lowest cost health care systems in the state. There are several other hospitals within a 50-minute drive, most notably the University of Virginia Medical School and Hospital located in Charlottesville. There are two nursing homes in the Town of Amherst.
Accomodations of all shapes, sizes, and prices abound in Amherst County and include townhouses, apartments, farm houses, first-time family homes, and restoration and remodeling projects. We are surrounded by lovely established neighborhoods, large elegant estates, new subdivisions, mountain views, lakes, and farms. There is something here to fulfill each and every dream, from just starting out and raising a family, to luxury estates, to holiday retreats or retirement. Below is a view of the Blue Ridge and the George Washington National Forest looking west from the Amherst traffic circle. 2001 Dana L. Bordvick