Author Topic: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?  (Read 18146 times)

James

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My wife and I will be spending next week driving through North Carolina for our vacation, our kids are staying with my parents so we are looking forward to a nice break.  We are hoping to move, probably next summer, and haven't decided where to move yet.   Our top two states so far included NC and CO, we are looking for warmer weather, especially in the winter, and good educational options for my wife who is interested in writing/publishing/librarian.  There is a school in Wilmington my wife is interested in, and it's warmer than CO.  I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy the heat there, CO is more of my preferred climate, but I know I'd get used to it if we moved there.

Anyway, my brother lives in Asheville so we'll spend a little time there, but he doesn't know a lot about the coast side of the state.  I'm interested in options in the Charlotte area, but even more so the Wilmington area.  If anyone know those areas or of other things to do that we shouldn't miss in NC I'd love to hear about it.  I'm talking about places to stay, places to visit and explore, drives or routes we should take, etc.  I just don't want to feel like I don't have a good idea of what the state has to offer by the end of next week.  We'll be driving, so transportation isn't a problem.  We don't like big crowds, we love good Thai food (especially anyplace that isn't fancy but has really good food, doesn't have to be Thai), we like nice little shops and places to just walk and explore.  We like to hike and bike, though we won't have our bikes with.  We enjoy white water kayaking, but that probably something to do in the Asheville area, not out by the coast.

We just made the decision to go to NC instead of CO tonight, so we are planning this on short notice.  We are fine with that, not big planners or too worried about it being the perfect vacation.  Without the kids we are happy just to spend quiet time reading and walking wherever we happen to be.  But we are feeling some pressure since we will have to decide whether to move there at some point and need good info to make that decision.  I'm asking here because we would like a nice mustachian lifestyle wherever we move, so visiting places that are good for that or show how that is possible is important to us.

Thanks for any advice!

MrD

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Just reading your post makes me excited :) I am a long time NC resident and would be glad to help you in anyway. I have lived all over Charlotte (North/South/West), I have lived in Mooresville, and I have spent a lot of time at the beaches here as well as Boone/West Jefferson area in the mountains.

The real thing you need to figure is out is what area you want to live in, this can be tricky just coming down and not really knowing the area. If you are looking for 30s career oriented people I would live within 20 miles of Charlotte in either a suburb of Charlotte, or north of it in the Mooresville/Huntersville/Lake Norman area -- great schools for kids in Mooresville.

Wilmington would be a very different living experience compared to most areas of NC. It is a very relaxed and VERY college town, but if you love the beach it could be a good fit. The only problem I see is that it is so far from other activities, like mountains/rafting/kayaking would be over 6 hours away if not more. You would be only a two hour drive from Raleigh which would be nice, although personally I am not a fan of the area.

I realize my post is kind of all over the place, but it is too early for me to structure this any better. Honestly for your life style I would consider either the middle of NC in the Charlotte/surrounding area or go with West Carolina so you can be near some schools, wild life, out doors, your brother etc. In western area there are some colleges like WCU, App State, Lee's McCray(Spelling may be off).

If you have any specific questions or want to know more be sure and let me know as I would be happy to help.

Side note -- while in college I worked in the library at UNCC for 2.5 years so if you decide to live in the Charlotte area I could probably help you out if UNCC felt like a good fit.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 07:04:50 AM by MrD »

igthebold

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I'll speak some for the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill).

I've been in and around the Triangle area for most of my life, and can say that it's a great place to live. Summer is tough, though, with the humidity and all.

Aside from Wilmington and New Bern, the coast is pretty much all tourism. The eastern part of the state is fairly poor, so it's not until you get to the Piedmont that things start picking up, educationally speaking.

Durham, in the Triangle, is a pretty interesting town with education, startups, tech companies, culture (did you know there's a Durham style of blues?), food, museums, a living downtown area, etc. It's worth a visit.

Carrboro is has the greatest population density, and is the most Mustachian of the towns. Really interesting place. I get the feeling Bakari would like it there. :) Lots of people walk or bicycle everywhere, and they have an amazing farmer's market.

Hillsborough is near where I live and has a lot of history, as it was temporarily the state capital during the Revolution. It also has an interesting downtown area.

Raleigh has good food, the NC symphony, and a bunch of other things you'd expect from a rich, somewhat culturally conservative city. Museums are good, downtown is fairly well functioning, but it has a tendency toward sprawl. It definitely has liveable areas.

Chapel Hill is like Raleigh, but full of rich Democrats who drive Land Rovers and Minis and shop at Whole Foods instead of rich Republicans driving Ford Excursions and Lexuses (Lexi?) and shopping at Harris Teeter. That's something of a cheap shot, but it's how I think of the place. :)

I live in a small town west of the Triangle and spend most of my time here. Very quiet, very provincial in many ways, despite being a bedroom community. I find it very bikeable, but I work from home, so a commute isn't an issue for me.

As for things you shouldn't miss, it depends on what you like. Mebane, Hillsborough, and Carrboro are all worth wandering around a bit, but they're places to live, not visit, usually. We have a number of nice state parks, like Pilot Mountain (near Winston Salem, but a ways from I-40), Hanging Rock (also out of the way), Carolina Beach (near Wilmington) and a Whole Lot More! Nice museums in downtown Raleigh.

The trouble is, whenever someone comes from a long way off and asks what there is to do, I have a hard time answering. It's more of a nice place to live than a nice destination.

I'm happy to answer specific questions. I love living here. :)

PS - Asheville is very nice. You'll enjoy it.

MrD

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Something I forgot to mention -- if you talk with someone from Charlotte area they will not think highly of the Triangle, if you meet someone from the Triangle they will not think highly of Charlotte. This is not 100% but the majority of the time, and if someone is a transplant and living in Cary just don't listen to anything they say ;).


igthebold

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Ha. I just don't know what there is to do in Charlotte, besides Discovery Place and Ikea. :) I don't think badly of it.

MrD

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Ha. I just don't know what there is to do in Charlotte, besides Discovery Place and Ikea. :) I don't think badly of it.

We have sports / bars / restaurants / white water center and park / as well as many parks. :)

My brother is a Chapel Hill grad living in the Triangle so we feud a lot :), I hate the Triangle.

bogart

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Something I forgot to mention -- if you talk with someone from Charlotte area they will not think highly of the Triangle, if you meet someone from the Triangle they will not think highly of Charlotte. This is not 100% but the majority of the time, and if someone is a transplant and living in Cary just don't listen to anything they say ;).

Too funny.  I went to grad school in the Triangle area and then worked in Charlotte ... I used to say (and believe!) there was nothing in Charlotte worth the time it took to get there!  In fairness, this was some years back (late 1990s), and I think the city has grown up and developed a good bit since then (I no longer live there).  Still lots of sprawl!

jpo

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I moved from Ohio down to NC (Triangle) and like it a lot for a couple reasons:
  • Centrally located - a couple hours to the coast and a couple hours to the mountains
  • Better weather than Columbus
  • Falls Lake/Umstead/Jordan Lake/etc
  • Job market is great for software engineers

James

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Thanks for all of the helpful advice, my wife and I spent time yesterday going through and looking up areas that were mentioned here and following up on the leads.


Having read quite a bit, we are a bit soured on the whole coast...  we really don't like the tourist scene.  But I think it will be good to spend some time there and find out for ourselves.  I'm sure there a pockets of really nice areas that would work just fine, it would be mostly a matter of finding them where we wanted to live.  I think we'll spend some time in Greensboro, and maybe spend more time than planned in Asheville since we already know we love that town.  I want to spend a little time in Charlotte, though I really doubt that would be a place to settle down for us.


Again, thanks for all the help,
James

MsGuided

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 02:32:43 PM »
James,
I have read many of your posts b/c I find you to be thougtful in your responses to others & also b/c your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine.  I wonder, if you don't mind sharing, what you've decided to do about moving & also, what factors went into you considering a move?  Are you ready to stop ft work & pursue more of the volunteer work you enjoy?  What about your kids' & leaving the school community they are familiar with?

I'm not trying to be overly invasive, it's just I sometimes dream of moving to a more rural/affordable place, but have never really pondered it b/c of the community my family enjoys and the good public schools they attend.

Thanks!

tooqk4u22

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 02:58:56 PM »
James,
I have read many of your posts b/c I find you to be thougtful in your responses to others & also b/c your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine.  I wonder, if you don't mind sharing, what you've decided to do about moving & also, what factors went into you considering a move?  Are you ready to stop ft work & pursue more of the volunteer work you enjoy?  What about your kids' & leaving the school community they are familiar with?

I'm not trying to be overly invasive, it's just I sometimes dream of moving to a more rural/affordable place, but have never really pondered it b/c of the community my family enjoys and the good public schools they attend.

Thanks!

This is a good Q - but to not hijack this thread I will start another one for discussion.

HeidiO

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 06:12:12 PM »
I spent my teen years in Durham.  I would personally consider living in either Durham or Carrboro, very nice areas w/ cool downtowns.
I agree with the satements that they are nice places to live, but not so impressive as travel destinations.
Heidi

James

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 08:02:14 PM »
James,
I have read many of your posts b/c I find you to be thougtful in your responses to others & also b/c your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine.  I wonder, if you don't mind sharing, what you've decided to do about moving & also, what factors went into you considering a move?  Are you ready to stop ft work & pursue more of the volunteer work you enjoy?  What about your kids' & leaving the school community they are familiar with?

I'm not trying to be overly invasive, it's just I sometimes dream of moving to a more rural/affordable place, but have never really pondered it b/c of the community my family enjoys and the good public schools they attend.

Thanks!


We spent two nights in Wilmington and 4 nights in Asheville.  We have pretty much decided that Asheville is where we would want to go if we moved to NC.  Having said that, we haven't decided yet when/where to move, and it's really a hard decision to try and work through.  We have three kids, 8th grade, 5th grade, and 2nd grade.  Moving them half way across the country is certainly a big deal, and we don't want to do that lightly.  I know plenty of kids get moved around, but we don't want to move and then move again, so we want to be sure.  It would also be nice to move before the oldest is in HS, which would mean moving next summer.


As far as work, I'm less than half way to FI, so I need to continue full time (or close to it) work.  Financially we would be best off staying in northern WI, with high salary and low cost of living.  But we value other things more than money, so moving is definitely on the table.  At the absolute least we would probably move after the kids come out of HS, but that is 10 years away.  If we move we would need to have a lower spending level in order to maintain our path to FI, and the moving expenses would probably also push FI out.  But I like my work and can do pretty well wherever I can get a job, so I'm not too worried about the money.  Of course there aren't any position for my line of work in Asheville right now, so moving there would depend on getting a job in the next year.


We are going away from the rural/affordable location toward the city life.  We also want to get away from the cold winters up here in northern WI.  The other location we are considering is the Boulder area, but we haven't even visited there yet.  I guess we simply have a ways to go in figuring it all out, with many many other factors I haven't mentioned coming into play.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 07:59:38 AM »
James - it sounds like you are right about the same place as me overall - my kids are a bit younger though.  Also funny because last week i was looking online at Ashville also Charleston SC but I have always focused more on CO.  Aside from changing the way of life my biggest reservation is moving my kids, as you say people time and they adjust fine - but I moved a lot as a kid and don't want to do that to them because I want a different way of living.

BTW - Boulder is pretty cool but expensive, I was there last year and I can't believe how built up it is compared to the last time I was there.  My sister lives in Louisville (just south Boulder and less, but still, pricey) it is pretty cool area with a small town and short drive to Boulder and Denver and a lot of open space/running/bike trails. Very much suburbia so if that is not your thing maybe not for you.


James

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 12:25:51 PM »
Boulder does cause me more concern regarding the suburbia types, but I'm sure it's a big enough town to provide locations a mustachian could get along just fine as well.  I'd personally like someplace a bit smaller similar to MMM's town, but we'll see.  We really love the feel of Asheville, very much a place we could go without cars for the most part and bike everywhere.  Lots of local activities, great climate.  My brother lives there which helps.  We have friends who are looking at Boulder, so we might have a connection there as well.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2012, 06:19:09 PM »
Was the lack of bike-ability the problem with Wilmington--or just the heat?

James

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2012, 08:23:06 PM »
Just didn't get a great vibe there, lack of bike-ability was huge, city was really spread out, flat, just didn't call to us at all.  Even the old part of downtown just seemed lacking, and lots of big money was very obvious.  Nothing other than beach to do near by, and I don't really like the beach.  My wife would love the heat and probably likes the beach more than I do, but the area didn't appeal to her either.  And not knowing anyone there doesn't help.

bogart

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Re: Considering move to North Carolina, advice on what to visit/do next week?
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2012, 08:36:58 AM »
Nothing other than beach to do near by, and I don't really like the beach.  My wife would love the heat and probably likes the beach more than I do, but the area didn't appeal to her either.

Right, and in Asheville you're just ~4 hours from any number of beaches (including some that are less developed), so if you want to spend some time at the beach, short trips are totally feasible (well, assuming a car!).