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Old 05-15-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for your comments so far. I'm pretty torn between these two regions, even though they're very different.

It feels like it's a risk vs. reward type of scenario. North Carolina is the safe bet: I pretty much know what to expect, and know from the places that I've lived that I can live with its climate and landscape. It's the easy route.

The riskier PNW option is foreign to me. I've never been there. It's on the other side of the country. The possible risk(which maybe I'm being over-dramatic about) is being unhappy because of seemingly endless gray skies and perhaps finding the culture to be a little to hipster/trendy/techie for me. The possible reward (and maybe I'm over-romanticizing it) is a beautiful landscape of lush greenery and forests, and feeling enchanted by the natural beauty all around and feeling inspired by the progressive and creative culture here. Plus it seems like cities like Seattle and Portland completely and utterly blow Raleigh out of the water. Raleigh seems like it lacks a real character and identity and just sprawled out too fast. Either way, I wouldn't actually live in a city, regardless of the region I choose.

I'm not sure if a short visit to PNW will give me enough information to decide either. Weather wise, it seems like the kind of thing you'd have to deal with for a while to truly know if you can handle it or not. I know for sure that I'd love to leave Florida for a week to enjoy some cooler weather.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:35 AM
 
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I lived in the Triangle for more than 10 years and now Seattle for 10 years, and I am still personally torn about which would provide a better lifestyle. The cost of housing is a major factor (MUCH cheaper in NC), we miss access to the East coast, and the college system is fantastic in NC (for our kids). Both areas are great places to raise children. Both have access to incredible nature, though the mountains and beach are a drive from Raleigh. Both have an educated populace, culture, and ethnic diversity (though Seattle is more homogenous). Raleigh and the Triangle is one huge suburbia, while Seattle is an urban system of neighborhoods with a true city downtown.

The PNW feels isolated from the rest of the country, but it is unquestionably beautiful, progressive, educated, full of culture and things to do, and a great place to raise a family. Our city is really a patchwork of neighborhoods, each lively and unique and filled to the brim with kids, dogs, coffee shops, independent stores and restaurants, parks, community centers, libraries, their own farmers' markets and feativals, etc...People here actually can/do live in the city, for it feels akin to suburbia yet much more urban (very family friendly, safe, walkable). People leave work early sometimes on nice summer days to go kayaking or biking. We can walk or bike everywhere. Just an amazing number of things to do. You are absolutely not over-romanticizing the landscape in Seattle. It is drop dead gorgeous, especially the summers. Though the "freeze" can be felt by newcomers in the grey and dreary winter, it melts away in the summer. We have hipsters and a lot of tech people, but by far we are composed of normal everyday middle-class workerbees.

The weather -- it gets to me. I start to feel depressed every winter/spring, despite antidepressants, walks, staying busy, and a sunlamp. Some love it, some are neutral, and others find it to be difficult or even intolerable. We are beautifully lush and green all year long because of the weather (ie. it's a temperate rainforest), but it can feel very dark and grey with cloudcover for about 3-4 months of the year. Then we have various shades of grey with some sun and sprinkling rain, and finally gorgeous summers with bright skies, clear views of the snow-capped mountains, and minimal rain/grey. I never knew that grey comes in so many shades before moving here.

Finally, since you are from Florida...you can actually swim in the Atlantic, but the Pacific is cold and dangerous for swimming. It is rocky, lush, and beautiful on our coastline, but not accessible in the PNW (ie. we have to drive to southern WA or Oregon for some beach access, but nothing like NC beaches for swimming). There are beautiful beach access points throughout Seattle and the PNW for walking, exploring, watching nature, having a picnic, etc...

Last edited by west seattle gal; 05-16-2013 at 12:45 AM..
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:08 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
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Two things I will caution you about the PNW that you mentioned, strong job market and overcast skies. I can't speak about the employment situation in Seattle but in Portland does meet that criteria. It has a slowly improving job market here and there but I don't think anyone would call it a very strong job market.

The second part is the weather. I used to live in Chicago so I know about snow and grey winters. The PNW is different. It isn't the rain that gets people down, it's the many days of overcast skies that can lead, for some people, to SAD. That's Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have seen people who have gotten it. There are special lamps you can buy to control it and sometimes taking extra vitamin D helps. But it can be a serious enough medical illness that needs to be treated by a doctor.

So the good things about the PNW have been already pointed out and they are true. This is beautiful territory and if the weather suits you and you can support yourself it is a good place to be. But you have to make certain that it is a livable place for you. It's a good idea to come out for a visit and look around at any place about which you thinking to relocate.
You can talk to people and get ideas as to how they live and how they deal with the good and the not so good aspects of living there.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Carrboro, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by west seattle gal View Post
I lived in the Triangle for more than 10 years and now Seattle for 10 years, and I am still personally torn about which would provide a better lifestyle. The cost of housing is a major factor (MUCH cheaper in NC), we miss access to the East coast, and the college system is fantastic in NC (for our kids). Both areas are great places to raise children. Both have access to incredible nature, though the mountains and beach are a drive from Raleigh. Both have an educated populace, culture, and ethnic diversity (though Seattle is more homogenous). Raleigh and the Triangle is one huge suburbia, while Seattle is an urban system of neighborhoods with a true city downtown.
While this is still true to some extent, and I would definitely consider Seattle much larger and more urban, Raleigh and Durham have done a lot to revitalize their downtown areas in the past 10 years. There's a lot more activity on the ground and nightlife than there used to be back in the 90s.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:26 PM
 
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I think the right decision for us (for now) is to stick with the original plan of going to North Carolina. I really wanted to fall in love with PNW, but I know neither my wife or I will be able to handle that much gray after living in a place where it's sunny practically every single day. It's sunny just a little too much here in Florida, but I remember flying in from Cleveland in January and the feeling of coming back into the sunshine and warmth was indescribable. It was like breaking out of a dark shell. My energy level and happiness was through the roof. I need some sunshine.

Maybe my wife and I will revisit this idea later and pay the place a visit. We could always just purchase a summer home in PNW and get the best of both worlds.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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I think either is a great choice, hence my own dilemma! The weather thing is significant.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:32 PM
 
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The PNW is beautiful and definitely green; but honestly NC is also very lush and green especially in the Triangle area. The only thing I'd give the edge to for PNW would be access to water. NC doesn't really have natural lakes. There's Jordan and Falls lake in the immediate area, and Lake Gaston up near the Virginia border...but those are all man-made reservoirs. The ocean might technically be closer to Seattle or Portland but NC definitely has more accessible "beaches". The Triangle also has a very robust technology and education based economy. Higher education options for kids (if you have any) are much better in NC (and the East in general) than the PNW.

All that said....I lived in Raleigh for 13 years and the summers were just miserable for me so I understand the hesitation to settle there if you are looking to escape humid summers. We actually moved back to Rochester, NY which has a similar climate to Cleveland. It's cold, grey, and snowy in winter to be sure but late spring, summer, and fall are absolutely beautiful here. You get more "real summer" weather here than in Seattle too.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Isanti County, MN
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PNW is a gorgeous place, but IMO not worth relocating to for someone with no family or other roots there. COL is absolutely outrageous, weather is mind numbingly mundane, and the geographic isolation is way too severe.

Screw that. Carolina all the way. You made the right choice, OP.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Charlotte
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Originally Posted by The Northerner View Post
Screw that. Carolina all the way. You made the right choice, OP.
^^^
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL / Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Northerner View Post
PNW is a gorgeous place, but IMO not worth relocating to for someone with no family or other roots there. COL is absolutely outrageous,
I definitely agree with what was written above. Even though I do like the PNW and will be visiting again this summer, I would pick Raleigh over Seattle to live for several reasons. Some of the main reasons are:

*Change of seasons
*Lower cost of living
*In general, people are friendlier
*Much less congested and much less traffic

Having written the above, summers in the PNW is awesome!
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