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Old 03-20-2007, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,793,312 times
Reputation: 18991

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Well, we have completed our quick tour of Davidson/Cornelius. I thought you guys might enjoy hearing our candid reactions. Bear in mind that we have different needs, so your reaction might be different. It’s important to make a trip out here to see what you think—you can only learn so much through the internet.

Who we are: Married couple, age 50+ and without children, fairly well off, looking for quiet place to retire that still has lots of community activities and access to a major city. We now live in Washington D.C. suburbs, and have also lived in Los Angeles and Long Island. Also previously lived in NC ten years ago.

What we liked:

1. The area is amazingly clean. Only saw one bit of graffiti, and next to no trash. Yards are well groomed. There are a few run down sheds (remnants from an earlier era) but they are kinda picturesque--the whole area looks well maintained. It’s hard to believe people smoke here, we saw few cigarette butts.

2. People are (mostly) polite, gracious and helpful. Also, sincere and honest. Although we encountered some real jerks on the road, everyone we met in person seemed pleasant, from the hotel maids to gas station clerks to strangers in line at the supermarket. (And I suspect the jerks on the road may have been transplants from NY… they cut us off and gave us the finger… that doesn’t seem like a Carolinian thing to do.)

CharlotteAgent was kind enough to meet us and take us around the area—I highly recommend him if you are looking for a realtor.

3. Any store you may desire can be found in Cornelius! Yes, there are a lot of strip malls, but I personally like having all those stores nearby. And, for strip malls these places are clean, new, nicely landscaped, and attractive. We had a check list of all the specialty foods we like to eat, and the grocery stores stocked everything (even my gourmet mustards).

4. Libraries are top notch. I had created a list of various items I might want to check out (including DVDs, CDs, research materials, etc.) Using the internet inter-library loan system was a snap and the Mecklenburg Library system passed with flying colors. The librarians were also very helpful and knowledgeable. Extra points—Davidson Library has free concerts on the lawn from April to October.

5. David is a peaceful, green oasis. Lots of big trees, with lots of song birds. We saw plenty of people out walking/jogging, and there are sidewalks and trails. There are lots of nice little parks, and the back neighborhoods are nice to walk around. Lots of nice gardens. College has plenty of cultural activities open to the public. Davidson was definitely the place we would choose to live—the only down side to this ton is that there are few practical stores. They have a soda shop and gift shops and a store that sells gnomes, but you have to go to Cornelius to get groceries or other practical things. There is an organic grocery store, but I bet most residents go to the Cornelius Food Lion or Harris Teeter.

What we did NOT like:

1. The traffic is really REALLY bad (and we’re from L.A.). The problems isn’t crazy highways, it’s all about congestion. Every road imaginable is backed up, and all the construction projects just make it worse. Even at 10:30 a.m. today, a Tuesday morning in March, it was VERY bad congested. I can’t even imagine what it will be like in the summer.

Last night, we tried to go to a 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Carolina Urgent Care on Statesville Road (near Sam Furr). Took 24 minutes to drive 6 miles. Then found out the meeting was moved (due to construction) to the library, which was directly across the street. Unfortunately, Statesville Road was backed up and at least ½ mile and the drivers were not in the mood to let us across. It took another fifteen minutes to cross the street!!!! Then we found out the meeting was cancelled, so we tried to exit Holly Crest Road onto Statesville. It took another 5-10 minutes to find a car willing to let us onto the road.

So we decided to go to Ferucci’s deli, instead. We turned left on Sam Furr, and drove down to Catawba, figuring we would see how the commute was from Vineyard Pointe, a complex we liked. The deli is about 1 mile from Vineyard Pointe, but driving on Catawba at 7 p.m. was a nightmare. Making a left hand turn onto Knox was almost impossible. Lots of people slowing down at each intersection because the street names are on signs that are aggravatingly small and sometimes nonexistent—no wonder people get lost around here. And of course we found out Ferucci’s was closed on Monday’s, so we had to get back in the car and face traffic once again. Took another 20 minutes to get back to Davidson Inn from Ferucci’s (about 4-5 miles)… by the time we pulled in the parking lot we knew we did not EVER want to live in Cornelius. Or shop in Cornelius, which means we decided we didn’t want to live in Davidson, either, even though it is a pretty town.

What’s worse… lots of brochures brag about how Catawba will improve once it is widened. I guess that WOULD help but I don’t want to live here if they are planning a street widening project like that…it’s going to make it twice as bad.

2. The other thing we really didn’t like was the lack of garages. Now, to be fair, we were only interested in lakefront properties, and those seem to run to extremes. Either you get tacky, poorly constructed condos or mansions. We looked at the condos, and believe me they are not a bargain. They are pretty enough, but they weren’t well built, they had paper thin walls, they were very small and lacked adequate storage, they had settlement problems, etc. etc. Lots of the places had adjoining units with “for rent” signs. And, worst of all, no garages. I’m not about to park my two cars on the street and risk having branches fall on them during an ice storm.

So there you have it. There were many things we liked, but the traffic situation and the poor quality of the lakefront property was enough to convince us to start looking elsewhere. Lake Norman is not for us.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:32 PM
AVA
 
129 posts, read 287,565 times
Reputation: 67
Thanks for the honest feedback.Any ideas of where you'll look now?
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,793,312 times
Reputation: 18991
Not a clue, lots of places have similar problems. Guess I'll have to do lots of research to find our version of paradise. Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands seems possible, also Hot Springs Village near Hot Springs, Arkansas. We've been to both those places, they are nice places to live but have isolation problems (you can't conveniently drive to a big city in less than 1 hour). There are a few places in SC that sound good... and I've heard nice things about TN... but I haven't been to those places. Davidson sounded perfect, too, until I visited, so who knows how those other places will stack up.

*sigh* If I had it all to do again, I would never have sold our townhouse in L.A.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:23 PM
 
254 posts, read 963,130 times
Reputation: 82
there are many back ways to get to the places you were going...I live in Cornelius and go to Davidson often and to be honest I rarely have a problem getting anywhere or get stuck in traffic (except on sundays on rt 21 towards Target) Unless there was an accident on 77 I can't imagine it taking 20 minutes to get to Davidson from exit 28.

I hope you find your paradise Are you only looking for a warm weather location?
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Cornelius
2,314 posts, read 2,110,858 times
Reputation: 287
Normie,

Just wanted to say it was a pleasure showing you and "hubby" around. Thanks for the kind words. Sorry I burst the bubble

Good Luck with your adventures!
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Huntersville,N.C.
286 posts, read 862,958 times
Reputation: 85
Just to let you know something-NOT EVERYONE FROM NY IS RUDE-
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Old 03-21-2007, 12:14 PM
 
132 posts, read 427,825 times
Reputation: 63
As a former NY-er myself who now lives in GA by way of NC....I have to tell you...those drivers were from Atlanta

Sorry you decided against Lake Norman, but it's good you were able to make a clear decision after your visit!

Good luck to you in your decision!

Anita
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Old 03-21-2007, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman NC
47 posts, read 172,161 times
Reputation: 26
We made 4 trips to NC and considered over 40 homes anywhere from Concord, Mooresville to Denver area and fell in love with Cornelius. We work from home so I won't have to deal with rush hour traffic which I can imagine will be tough and I found an easy backway to see my horse at the barn so I am all good. we are close to all amenities, close to the lake, a park, shopping, Berkdale and if we feel like it, Charlotte. So we are looking forward to it. On all of our trips the traffic was reasonable. Busy, but reasonable and I lived in S. Cal for 8 years too. So either I was lucky or Normie just some bad spots at the wrong time. To us, its worth it. I agree with him on the clean aspect. Very nice to be driving through neighborhoods that are that well taken care off, especially off W. Catawba.
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Old 03-21-2007, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman Area
1,472 posts, read 3,662,694 times
Reputation: 1233
Ha! See?

An honest opinion of someone who has lived DC, LA, and NY, and they said the traffic was bad.


Normie, you hit the nail on the head. This is a nice place to live, but there are also many drawbacks, traffic, overcrowding, and over building being the big issues.

My question to you normie is this: Is there no where else in NC you could see yourself moving to?
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Old 03-21-2007, 01:36 PM
 
Location: 3rd Rock fts
747 posts, read 965,516 times
Reputation: 304
Normie,

I'm impressed; you really got an accurate grasp of the situation here.

Good luck!
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