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Old 12-17-2010, 01:04 PM
7 posts, read 13,225 times
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We are planning to relocate to Wilmington this spring (I think...). We have spent most of our lives in San Diego and are looking for any input, both the pros and cons from those of you whom have made the same trip across country.

What are your likes/dislikes? What types of commodities are less/more expensive? Quality of schools? Is there good surf? The locals-some forums they all sound great, others they don't seem to friendly? How easily adaptable is the humidity? Are the winters comparable to San Diego? Are there alot of bugs? How easy is it to find employment? (I find employment in my field advertising jobs regularily) etc, etc, etc.

Any and all info would be greatly appreciated. We are torn between moving back home to San Diego, where home ownership seems so far out of reach, or a city that seems to be equally as wonderful for much less expensive, and a lot less of a drive...

Thank you!!
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:33 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Have you visited Wilmington yet? From your post, it sounds like you haven't. I can't imagine seriuosly considering somewhere to move to without having seen it for yourself, no matter what a bunch of strangers on the Internet say. Best thing to do is plan a visit, then follow up with concerns you noticed while you were here. It's a FAR cry from a large city like SD.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:18 PM
Location: The 12th State
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:16 AM
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I think Wilmington is a beautiful city and has a lot to offer, unfortunately, you can not tell what a city is really like on a short visit. That is why I was hoping to get any helpful info from someone whom has transplanted from the same area as I, so I can get a better idea of what the city is really like and what to expect.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:55 AM
Location: Asheville
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Dear Take a breath,
This may fall in the category of "too much information," but I want to help, so here goes.

I am from North Carolina, grew up near our beaches, visit there regularly, and now live in the mountains of NC. But I spent two summers and two Christmas vacations in San Diego visiting family. Even tho I was only out of NC for a few months, I think I can thus give pointers on how the two diff parts of the country differ, and tell you a couple things that surprised me when I came back.

BUT I have to say, in your original post, you said you were hoping for a city "equally as wonderful" as San Diego, and I think that place would actually be Atlanta GA, that is the only city, other than in Florida (Fort Lauderdale and points south), that would almost equal San Diego, except minus the ocean close by... it's a few hours away from Atlanta.

With that said, first of all, you will not BELIEVE how green it is here, really fabulous. Also, it rains a lot in North Carolina, and I can recall how I was so used to So Cal, that when it rained the first day my brother and I came back to NC, we were in our 20s, that we were reluctant to go outside! But naturally we got used to everything all over again. And another thing on the green, homes may be built closer in a lot of places, but with trees everywhere, it doesn't feel as crowded.

Another thing you will notice is the totally different culture and architecture and feel of coastal cities in NC, SC, and GA. I find it easygoing, inviting, and charming. The South is a distinctive experience in many ways, the Southern drawls DO exist, the pace is slow from the heat, tradition and manners are important, and many buildings and houses are authentically historic and look that way. Also, you won't see as many high-rises or urban sprawl with East Coast cities... except as I said in Florida and Atlanta.

The contrast between the East Coast and So Cal is so great that you will have to resist the temptation to compare. But I couldn't live anywhere else but the South, and I just love the coastal regions, even tho I've experienced San Diego. So Cal was mighty nice, outdoor malls and climbing down cliffs and playing frisbee in the smooth water and smooth sands of the Pacific, and the WEATHER was incomparable. But I just plain love where I am. So, too, could you become charmed by the area... or not.

As for Wilmington NC, it's great to be near the ocean, and the town has just enough going on to keep you from having to travel anywhere to get stuff or do things, and schools there are like anywhere, some good, some not as good, and of course there's a film studio there, university, hospital, beaches, art scene, lots of water activity. The surf up and down the Eastern Seaboard is totally different from California, altho surfers congregate all up and down the coast. Beaches are a little less wide in more places than not, water is rougher but waves smaller, and the storms are ferocious but evacuation seldom.

You also asked about humidity, and the good weather is the one thing that you cannot get back once you leave So Cal, and occasionally in spring here in NC, I'll say, "Today is just like California." Yes, it's humid, it gets muggy hot in summer but there is usually a little breeze off the ocean, you DO get used to just plain sweating, and it gets colder in winter than So Cal, coats are a must. As for bugs, there are some big spiders, large flying bugs to where you've GOT to have a yellow bug-off lightbulb for your front door, and you must try to get a home with a screened porch out back overlooking a nice yard, so you can cool off outside without getting mosquito bites. There is the occasional alligator in swampy areas, but not in neighborhoods until you get into parts of Florida.

Another town to take a look at is Charleston, South Carolina, also on the coast. So, when you visit Wilmington, also rent a car and drive on down the coast the few hours to Charleston. Now, that town is larger than Wilmington, so it wouldn't be quite as big a change from So Cal since it has so much size, variety and activity. But all other descriptions I've made about the South and Wilmington also apply to Charleston, except it's hotter in summer the further south you go, but likewise not as cold in winter. The Charleston area is also where you begin to really see the moss in the trees, the proverbial live oaks in a row, that sort of definitive old plantation South. And the historic area is a must-see, it is the end part of the peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. The accents are slightly different, too, specific to Charleston, a little sophistication to it, but I am sort of interested in accents and notice them more.

Since I've grown up near the ocean and spent almost all of my life right here in North Carolina, and even tho I live in the mountains of NC now, I have no interest in lots of snow and skiing, which Denver might provide for you. The mountains in NC are also quite a bit smaller than the Rockies, which out West they are some kinda tall and rugged, but we do have ski places in the higher elevations of the Western North Carolina mountains, like up in Boone. I also could not live far from a beach, it's four hours from where I live in Asheville to get down to Charleston, and that is even a tad far for me. So, for that reason alone, I wouldn't want to live in Denver. But I will say this, when you come out to visit North and South Carolina, if you just don't like the feel, well, on the way back, stop off in Colorado and see if it suits you better.

As for employment, others have answered this before, but you could get a subscription to the Sunday edition of the Wilmington and perhaps Charleston newspapers, they both have online versions that are a fairly good substitute, to check out the job listings and get a feel for what sorts of companies there are, pay and openings, and so forth. Also, in North Carolina (not South Carolina) they have the N.C. Employment Security Commission, they have offices in all the cities in NC and also an online "job bank" that you can explore, and in my opinion is THE best source for finding work. SC's job bank goes by a different name, which I don't know. Keep in mind, job pay is lower than California, but so too is the cost of living, especially how much a house costs to rent or buy, which is much less expensive than Calif, so it all evens out...you may get paid less, but your living and home expense is less, too.

Enjoy your visit to the Carolinas and let us all know how things went, if you visit first. You may find it all quite quaint and inviting, or you may not, but better to know before you make any final decisions. At least find photos of Wilmington and other poss areas, do a regular online search with "photos" in it to find a site that has 50 million pics, so you'll be familiar. Also, there are movies that were filmed in various towns in the South along the coast, google them too.
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