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North Carolina Relocation Thread

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: There have been a lot of people seeking relocation advice on this forum (ie, asking the typical questions about crime rate, home costs, best schools, etc.) That isn't really on-topic, as this is a forum for discussing urban development and issues rather than suburban relocation.

All such posts will be moved to this thread to avoid cluttering the forum. If I get tired of people coming in and milking us for info and not contributing to the discussion, I may delete this thread and prohibit such posts altogether. But it stands for now.

orulz

Hey my family is looking to move to N. Carolina in the spring. Just stuck between towns, Cary, Wilmington, or possibly Charlotte. Each town has it's own set of lures. Just curious if anyone can give advice, on schools, towns, etc...I've been doing my own searches, the problem is all I'm finding is base statistics. I just don't completely believe base numbers. Looking for a small town feel, where we can finish raising our family(4 children 15, 13, 12, & 10). I'm currently a chef for a small chain, so a town that has decent to nice restaurants would greatly benefit our families income. Hey I guess we just want to get out of Michigan. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS

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Hey my family is looking to move to N. Carolina in the spring. Just stuck between towns, Cary, Wilmington, or possibly Charlotte. Each town has it's own set of lures. Just curious if anyone can give advice, on schools, towns, etc...I've been doing my own searches, the problem is all I'm finding is base statistics. I just don't completely believe base numbers. Looking for a small town feel, where we can finish raising our family(4 children 15, 13, 12, & 10). I'm currently a chef for a small chain, so a town that has decent to nice restaurants would greatly benefit our families income. Hey I guess we just want to get out of Michigan. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS

Welcome to the Forum angeleyes. Wilmington is by far the smallest of these cities. Cary would be your next largest but attached to a large metro area( Raleigh), but can still give you the small town feel. Charlotte on the other hand is a large city with only a handful of surrounding small towns. Cary and Charlotte will have your better selection of higher end restaurants than Wilmington. and their schools are about the same. You will find your cheapest housing in Wilmington followed by Charlotte , with Cary being the more expensive area. I hope this helps you inyour decision. I am biased...so I would choose Cary

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Hi, welcome to the forum. Glad you've chosen North Carolina, it's a nice place to relocate to (and it seems a lot of other people think so too.)

There's a big difference between a real small town, and "small town feel." And some peoples' definitions of small towns vary widely. I understand and appreciate genuine small towns, but I'm not a fan of cities with a forced "small town" image and attitude.

Cary, for example, tries very hard to keep up its "small town feel" - but a city of 110,000 people is not a small town no matter how you slice it. Cary is a large, sprawling suburb, with its own traffic problems and a complete lack of walkability. Once again, not a fan.

---

I understand that relocation can be daunting. But the truth is, asking for relocation advice is off-topic for this forum. I tolerate it to some degree, but these posts are getting more frequent and the time is drawing near to say "no more" before UrbanPlanet turns into a forum for advice about relocating. This forum is to discuss urban development and urban issues facing the state of NC, not suburban relocation, and it's best to keep some focus to the discussion.

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Looking for a small town feel, where we can finish raising our family(4 children 15, 13, 12, & 10).

Tell us more about what you mean by this, and we can give you better answers. What's a "small town feel" to you? What do you consider key elements to properly raising your children?

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While it's smaller than Cary in terms of population, Wilmington actually is a city. It has a nice downtown that has a neighborly feel to it with nice cafes, a lot of independent, good restaurants, beautiful old neighborhoods and the Cape Fear River. And, of course there's the beaches.

Cary, on the other hand, is a suburb of Raleigh that has grown into a bigger suburb - but if you want to go to something with a town feel (walkable streets, density, mixed-use area) you have to go to Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill.

And, based on your criteria, Charlotte is probably too big of a city.

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Wilmington has a great feel, a beautiful downtown, and is growing rapidly. There are fewer "fine" restaurants there, but this will change as the growth continues. It is also warmer than the other two, and of course, there's the beach. The schools there do not have a good reputation. The other thing to consider is the seasonal population of the coastal communities that lock down the traffic in the summer.

I do not find Cary to have a small town feel at all. It is suburbia on steriods, and way over-priced. Wake Forest, north of Raleigh, still benefits from Wake County schools (consistently ranked among the best public school system in the nation), has a much nicer small town feel and has not yet exploded into one big suburb like Cary (although it's well on its way). The towns in eastern Wake County: Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon-- are all bedroom communities for Raleigh (they'll yell about that, but they are). Each has, though, it's own charm, and the property values in those places are getting ready to go through the roof.

I've never been crazy about Charlotte, but they've done some great things with their downtown core. it's the state's largest city, though, so doubt you'll be able to feel much small town-ness. I don't know anything about Mecklenburg schools. If you want a small town there you'll need to look at Davidson, Cornelius or York, SC.

Welcome to the forum and to the state of NC.

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I can't tell you much about Cary or Wilmington, but I can about Charlotte...

I used to live in York, SC. It's awesome! (it has small town feel). It is right outside of Charlotte.

Cary is almost always ranked as one of the safest cities in America. It is expensive though.

Wilmington has the beach, so... yeah... I love the beach :D. But it is kinda a party city with UNC-W (University of North Carolina at Wilmington) and all. So it has a high crime rate....

I like Charlotte, but it wouldn't really give you a small town feel. It has a high crime rate like most urban areas. There are a lot of nice restaurants though. People complain about the schools a lot. There are about 17 or 18 high schools and about 5 are schools where you WANT to send your kid... only a few are terrible though.... But overall, I wouldn't give Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools the best grade. :unsure: The school cops use taser guns like it's a game, and there is a big case of "white-flight". The average high school in Charlotte scored lower than the average of North Carolina. But there were two schools that were higher than the average-- Myers Park and Providence. There are a ton of malls (Eastland, South Park, Carolina Place, Freedom, Northlake, Concord Mills, *new* Bridges at Mint Hill). It's a very diverse city (about 55% white, 35%black, 10% hispanic). In some places you don't have to speak English to live there. It's not very expensive... but in some places it is (south park, ballantyne), and some places it isn't (East CLT, West CLT).

So the only things that you really need to look out for in Charlotte are the schools and crime.... But it's a great place to live :D

Edited by EastSideResider

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Cary's got to hold the world record for most "gated communities". Anywhere in the world would be better to finish raising your family in my opinion. They should change their name to Sprawlsville.

Of the three, I'd recommend Wilmington. Charlotte seems too big for what you aim to do, unless you and your family are accustomed to big city living. Wilmington has a charming downtown and waterfront area, is close to the beach, and hey, Dawson's Creek was filmed there: those kids turned out OK, right?

Interesting side note: some locals refer to Cary's name as an anagram (acronym?) for Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees.

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Interesting side note: some locals refer to Cary's name as an anagram (acronym?) for Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees.

I always wondered if more northerners lived there than southerners after I heard that.

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I always wondered if more northerners lived there than southerners after I heard that.

not certain of the exact breakdown of "place of origin" but since the vast majority of Cary's current residents didn't live there 10 or 15 years ago, the chances are high that there is a majority of northerners, many of whom have relocated to the area to work at the big RTP companies, and chose Cary because of its proximity to the park and the historically squeaky-clean image of suburban bliss.

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Ha, squeaky-clean suburban bliss. That'd be a great album title.

What's interesting is that on older maps (1980s and 90s), Cary is barely a speck - it appears it would be the size of Statesville or Hillsborough. On newer maps, it's got a dot and typeface about the size of Wilmington's or Greenville's.

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Ha, squeaky-clean suburban bliss. That'd be a great album title.

:lol:

hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, let's market it through one of Carrboro's alternative labels.

What's interesting is that on older maps (1980s and 90s), Cary is barely a speck - it appears it would be the size of Statesville or Hillsborough. On newer maps, it's got a dot and typeface about the size of Wilmington's or Greenville's.

It's true; and it makes sense in that it's as large or larger than those places, in both land mass and population.

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Gee, I remember it well when Cary's population was about 50k. I somehow got turned around a bit in Raleigh and ended up exiting in Cary going down some street that finally turned into another exit for the beltway.

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Sorry, I just read another thread that you would prefer people not to ask about relocation, so I have deleted my inquiry. I'll look for a place where I can ask away without bothering you all.

Thanks!

Edited by CaliMom

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Sorry, I just read another thread that you would prefer people not to ask about relocation, so I have deleted my inquiry. I'll look for a place where I can ask away without bothering you all.

Thanks!

Okay, great! I guess this is where I was supposed to be since someone moved my post here. Just signed up today, so I apologize for the confusion. My family is set to relocate to Wilmington from Los Angeles in early 2006. We are originally from Orlando and want to move closer to family, but not too close :whistling:. Anyway, we visited Wilmington about 10 years ago and loved it, but there wasn't enough opportunity at that time. From what we are reading now, it has grown a lot. I want to raise my son somewhere with a more hometown feel. We enjoy the coast, live about 3 miles from it now. My questions are, how is the crime rate and school system? I have read that there is a high crime rate, but what exactly does that mean. Is it major crimes or petty thefts and such? A few of the schools that looked appealing were Eaton and Holly Tree...anyone have any information on them?

Thanks in advance!

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Okay, great! I guess this is where I was supposed to be since someone moved my post here. Just signed up today, so I apologize for the confusion. My family is set to relocate to Wilmington from Los Angeles in early 2006. We are originally from Orlando and want to move closer to family, but not too close :whistling:. Anyway, we visited Wilmington about 10 years ago and loved it, but there wasn't enough opportunity at that time. From what we are reading now, it has grown a lot. I want to raise my son somewhere with a more hometown feel. We enjoy the coast, live about 3 miles from it now. My questions are, how is the crime rate and school system? I have read that there is a high crime rate, but what exactly does that mean. Is it major crimes or petty thefts and such? A few of the schools that looked appealing were Eaton and Holly Tree...anyone have any information on them?

Thanks in advance!

check ncreportcards.org for school info :)

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check ncreportcards.org for school info :)

Thanks, I have checked that out, which is how I came down to the two choices of schools, they both have great ratings. But I am looking for personal experiences, anyone that has their children enrolled in one of those schools, etc.

Also, if anyone can answer my question about the crime rate, I would really appreciate that. Again, I have done the research and see it is a high burglery rate, but am looking for the overall feeling one gets when walking about...do you feel threatened or anxious while walking around the riverwalk or downtown areas?

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do you feel threatened or anxious while walking around the riverwalk or downtown areas?

I was hoping more Wilmington people would be around to answer your question but since Wilmington is a smaller town there just are not as many Wilmington posters. I can give you my opinion as a person who has visited Wilmington many times though. My over whelming response to the question posed above is no. Especially in the areas you mention. Those areas feel more quant, almost touristy to a certain extent. The restaurants and stores in that area tend to appeal to a demographic that is more likely to be seen on an HGTV show than COPS. This is also the area where there are other touristy things like the Battle Ship where elementary school kids from all over the state are brought for field trips. I thought the downtown was nice, it didn't have a tremendous amount of "hustle and bustle" but never the less had a nice historic charm to it and a fair amount of retail. When walking around this area it felt very much like the "TV Wilmington" that you would see on one of the shows filmed there. The historic residential streets were beautiful with large oaks lining the way draped in Spanish moss; it has a very "Southern" feel. You can take some nice tours of the city in this area. Outside of these areas the city felt rather ordinary with your run of the mill shopping centers and more suburban style housing options. UNC-W is a nice university but still rather ordinary as universities go. I've personally never felt threatened anywhere in the city. The beaches are good and bad depending on where you go. Some beaches felt more family oriented while some felt a bit rundown. The beaches outside of the city get quiet natural and undeveloped. You can find some really beautiful spots to yourself out there which tends to be popular among the surfers. The new state Aquarium is nice as well. This is just my opinion from visiting.

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I am resisting the urge to open a thread in the CLT forum to ask my questions to avoid undue posting lameness :blush:, but hopefully this will be seen by the CLT crowd here.

I am in the position of taking a job in Mooresville here soon and would like some advice from CLT'ers on areas to live since I'd prefer to locate in the CLT area, not Mooresville, but given the commute I probably need to avoid anything east of uptown, and my own experience with CLT is primarily East/Northeast. Anyway, advice is appreciated, I'd love to go ahead and jump into an urban experience (and enjoy the reverse commute) but not sure that is a doable yet both in terms of availability and a budget under $200K, but am open to suggestions. Thank you in advance.

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Thanks, I am going to time the drive from GSO this weekend (where I will be commuting from until our house there is sold), and in the process make a quick drive through of these areas, though my impression of the Lake Norman area as a child was a negative one, I am guessing it has changed a lot sine then.

At any rate, I will eventually employ a realtor, though value the advice of UPers as a first step of getting things narrowed down much more so than a realtor. Preference is older urban areas (such as brownstones I so love), though I've had to bend a little on that lately due to children (space, safety & school requirements) and costs, not to mention being in the wrong part of the country for that. Thank you again for the reply.

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