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Thread summary:

Coastal town choices for retirees relocating to North Carolina, Edenton, New Bern area, questions on homeowner’s insurance rates, utilities, overall cost of living

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Old 09-02-2007, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Hills of Western Pennsylvania
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If you were to make a choice among the following towns in NC for retirees who are looking for outdoor biking, hiking, bird watching in a friendly, small town that's conservative and religious, would you choose: Edenton, New Bern area, Swansboro, or Supply? We aren't wealthy; looking to buy/build somewhere around $175-200K. Any pluses or minuses on these? A little concerned about the recent homeowners' insurance increase. How are taxes and utilities? Our taxes run about $3500 here in PA and utilities in the winter are killers - anywhere from $250-600/mo, depending on the weather.
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Old 09-03-2007, 06:21 AM
 
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Have you looked at Holly Ridge? It's just inland from Surf City, between Wilmington and Jacksonville and I think it's far enough from either (about 20 minutes) to keep costs low. LeJeune is in Jacksonville if you or your husband have Tri-Care/hospital priveleges. There are beaches at Surf City, Topsail, and Wilmington. I know that the guys down in Wilmington have been building some sweet mountain bike trails. Quick access to I40 is another benefit.

Swansboro is very cool and sits on an inlet. I used to drive through there every other Saturday (sometimes consecutive Saturdays) when I'd drive the coast from Jacksonville to Ocracoke. Swansboro and Cedar Point (next door) are small and quaint with a close-knit feel about them. These towns would often-times host events like clam bakes and oyster steams. Lots of little shops tucked in around here, too. Emerald Isle is just around the corner, which hosts one of the cleanest beaches on the East coast, in addition to more little shops and restaurants. It's been several years, but I'm thinking the aquarium is also on Emerald Isle.

I don't know much about Edenton. I was up there once for some boat races but we didn't see much of the area.
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Hills of Western Pennsylvania
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Thanks, Ceezer. We'll take a look this coming week when we go down that way.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
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Smile Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret are nice spots

Quote:
Originally Posted by mairbryn View Post
If you were to make a choice among the following towns in NC for retirees who are looking for outdoor biking, hiking, bird watching in a friendly, small town that's conservative and religious, would you choose: Edenton, New Bern area, Swansboro, or Supply? We aren't wealthy; looking to buy/build somewhere around $175-200K. Any pluses or minuses on these? A little concerned about the recent homeowners' insurance increase. How are taxes and utilities? Our taxes run about $3500 here in PA and utilities in the winter are killers - anywhere from $250-600/mo, depending on the weather.
You are going to have a hard time beating the Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret area for those things that you listed.

First off there are some great hiking trails in the area. You can check out a number of nice trails like the Croatan National Forest Tideland Trail at my accessible trails site.

We have really enjoyed the egrets (http://coastalnc.org/ourneighbor - broken link)and herons. The marsh around our home is just full of feathered friends.

As to your worries about insurance costs, this is our first year here. Our home in Roanoke, VA was similarly priced to this home which is on the shores of the White Oak River in western Carteret County.

Our insurance costs, including flood since we are on the water, are about three times what they are in Roanoke. However, our property taxes in Carteret County even with the new assessment are one fifth of what they were in Virginia.

The net of property taxes plus insurance for our home is that we are saving over 33% by living in Carteret County. If our home did not sit on the water, our savings would be 42%. Obviously everyone's situation is different, but there is plenty of property in Carteret County that does not require flood insurance.

We have not done the calculations for energy costs yet, but we have been pleasantly surprised at the temperateness of the climate. We ran our air conditioners very little until the last week in June. Most of the late spring, we slept with our windows open at night.

I did some climate statistics for another Pennsylvania escapee. In Cape Carteret, we had a grand total of 19 hours of below freezing temperatures for the whole month of January 2007. We also had eleven days when the temperature got above 70 degrees. I rode my bike whenever I felt like it. We walked the beaches every week and did lots of hiking. Other than a couple of weeks, I didn't even have to wear a coat.

I know what cold is since we lived in eastern Canada for 17 years. The climate here is stellar. This summer we have had three really warm and humid weeks of nasty weather. However, when we went home in July and August to Roanoke which is in the Virginia mountains, we found that each time it was warmer in Roanoke than in Cape Carteret. At our home on the White Oak, we didn't get above 93 or 94 degrees this summer.

This evening it is almost cool enough to ditch the air conditioning once again.

When I get a chance I'm going to do a full energy cost comparison but these are the numbers I have readily available. Our home at the coast is about 2400 square feet. Our most recent energy bill which is for July 5-Aug 6 and includes electric hot water and air conditioning/heat was for $242 dollars. For June it was $189, May $112, and April $94. My guess is that July bill is pretty close to the peak.

In the winter when it is cool, we often turn on our ventless gas logs for a couple of hours early in the morning. Usually the sun warms the house most of the rest of the day. The gas logs were most of the heat we needed except for a couple of weeks in February.

You can find new three bedroom two bath homes (approximately 1600 heated square ft plus garage) within seven miles of the beach in your price range. There are also many other homes on the market.

I have a blog which has my observations on our first year here.

This is direct quote from a fellow Pennsylvanian who visited the area this week. He was looking for a new place to live for some of the same reasons that you are.

Quote:
One thing that sticks out the most about my trip is the friendliest people I ever met anywhere I have been to in my life. And GREAT boating and fishing everywhere.....
You can have a look at the Moderator cut: link removed and the Moderator cut: link removed area profiles to see if you might be happy with the area.


I have a site with lots of slide shows of area events.

This is an album of photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocracokewaves/sets/72157601831610109/ - broken link) that I shot yesterday.

My Homepage has more information on our first year here including a Swansboro travel guide.

I would be glad to try to answer any additional questions about the area. I absolutely love it here. Moving here is one of the best decisions we have ever made from a lifestyle perspective.

Between fishing, walking on the beach, swimming, hiking, boating, kayaking, and going to community events, this area is hard to beat.

We also found a great church which has made us feel very much at home.

-David Sobotta

This is yesterday's sunset taken near the Croatan Tideland Trail on the White Oak just across the river from Swansboro.


Last edited by Yac; 11-02-2007 at 06:31 AM.. Reason: mis-spelled word
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Hills of Western Pennsylvania
15 posts, read 49,808 times
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Thank you, David, for your reply. We'll have to do some real $ comparisons once we get down there next week, talk to some insurance people, etc., but it sounds like even with the increase in insurance, we might save or break close to even due to our high winter energy costs up here. PA's summers are terrific, cool nights for the most part and nice daytime temps., but winters are soooooo gray. It seems like 6 months of no sunlight; told my hubby it's like having your soul sucked out of you.

Our other hurdle is leaving an area we've lived in all of our lives. It's going to be a heart wrencher to leave behind a homestead we've worked on for 35 years, friends, etc. But it sounds like a lot of people do this and are happy. Right now we have to get in the car and drive several miles if we want to bike or even take a walk. Last winter we were in hog heaven in Florida on Cape San Blas at St. Josephs Peninsula State Park. Woke up in the a.m., had some coffee, and hopped on our bikes, back for breakfast, then out again to go for a board walk. What joy that was; we grinned the whole time.

I've been checking out a lot of the links you've sent and your pictures; thank you for the time you take in making these available for others.

The Outer Banks have always been a great favorite of mine. Have you ever gone to their "Wings Over Water" celebration of wildlife in the fall? It's not just for birders; anyone interested in nature, wildlife, botany. A couple of falls ago, we went on several of their expeditions - even to a "red wolf howl" at night and an "owl prowl". Great fun! Check it out if you get bored with Cape Carteret.

We have about 4 places in NC to look at and about 3 in SC (Georgetown, Beaufort and Murrell's Inlet). If only Aiken weren't so far inland; I'd move there in a heartbeat. Quite a nice place and very friendly people.

I'm going to check some more of your links. Thanks again.
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,470,828 times
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Smile Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

Quote:
Originally Posted by mairbryn View Post
Thank you, David, for your reply. We'll have to do some real $ comparisons once we get down there next week, talk to some insurance people, etc., but it sounds like even with the increase in insurance, we might save or break close to even due to our high winter energy costs up here. PA's summers are terrific, cool nights for the most part and nice daytime temps., but winters are soooooo gray. It seems like 6 months of no sunlight; told my hubby it's like having your soul sucked out of you.

Our other hurdle is leaving an area we've lived in all of our lives. It's going to be a heart wrencher to leave behind a homestead we've worked on for 35 years, friends, etc. But it sounds like a lot of people do this and are happy. Right now we have to get in the car and drive several miles if we want to bike or even take a walk. Last winter we were in hog heaven in Florida on Cape San Blas at St. Josephs Peninsula State Park. Woke up in the a.m., had some coffee, and hopped on our bikes, back for breakfast, then out again to go for a board walk. What joy that was; we grinned the whole time.

I've been checking out a lot of the links you've sent and your pictures; thank you for the time you take in making these available for others.

The Outer Banks have always been a great favorite of mine. Have you ever gone to their "Wings Over Water" celebration of wildlife in the fall? It's not just for birders; anyone interested in nature, wildlife, botany. A couple of falls ago, we went on several of their expeditions - even to a "red wolf howl" at night and an "owl prowl". Great fun! Check it out if you get bored with Cape Carteret.

We have about 4 places in NC to look at and about 3 in SC (Georgetown, Beaufort and Murrell's Inlet). If only Aiken weren't so far inland; I'd move there in a heartbeat. Quite a nice place and very friendly people.

I'm going to check some more of your links. Thanks again.
We have always measured our moves by tissue boxes. When we moved from the farm in Canada to Halifax, NS it was a three tissue box move.

Our move from Columbia, MD to Roanoke was only a one tissue box move.

I am afraid when we finally pull up all stakes in Roanoke, Va it might be a five tissue box move.

It is hard to make a move, but we have met great people wherever we have gone. This is only our sixth move in 34 years so we don't move a lot.

I have never made it to one of the "Wings Over Water". Until recently fall has been reserved for sales conferences and meetings. I would much rather be on the Outer Banks. Any spare time this fall is going to be spent fishing since this is my first fall with a boat.

My wife said to make certain that I mentioned Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge to you. It is very impressive.

If you need some guidance in Beaufort, SC, I have a friend working there who would be glad to provide you with information. They love living there. We often compare temperatures, and it is several degrees warmer than it is here.

We also have the son of one of our neighbors living in Murrell's Inlet. He has been there about a year. Make certain you check on insurance availability there, I remember them making the remark that there was some difficulty in getting policies there at the time they bought. Traffic getting there seems to be their biggest complaint.

Speaking of Beauforts, I hope you enjoy your trip to BU • fort (SC), but you should take the time to visit BO • fort (NC).

It is one of the reasons that we enjoy living here. Our Beaufort is about 35 minutes from Cape Carteret. It has a wonderful historical site and a fantastic Maritime Museum. After a visit we often drive back by way of the beach and Pine Knoll Shores where we stop by the North Carolina Aquarium which runs some wonderful programs and has a great collection of finny friends.

I do have a Beaufort, NC travel guide (http://coastalnc.org/beaufortnctravelguide - broken link) and a site with my favorite area restaurants. There is far more to area food than just fried seafood.

One last thought, check out UNC-TV the next time you are in the area. I'm not a big television fan, but we found UNC-TV a pleasant surprise since there is nothing comparable in Virginia, Some of their nature programs in HD are just unbelievable.

Good luck finding your spot away from those cold Pennsylvania winters. I have a friend in State College, and he is always complaining about the snow and cold.

-David
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:51 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Default How is medical care around the Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret area?

From being on the first aid squad in our home town for a lot of years, we've learned the importance of good medical care in the retirement years.

So in selecting a retirement area, our primary concern is medical care. We understand that New Bern has a what is supposed to be a good hospital, and good medical care in general.

What kind of medical care is available in the Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret area?

Regards,.....marc
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Hills of Western Pennsylvania
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Marc,

That's a very good question - I didn't think to ask it. Let me know if you get any answers, please.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
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Smile Medical Care in Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret Area

Quote:
Originally Posted by marc515 View Post
From being on the first aid squad in our home town for a lot of years, we've learned the importance of good medical care in the retirement years.

So in selecting a retirement area, our primary concern is medical care. We understand that New Bern has a what is supposed to be a good hospital, and good medical care in general.

What kind of medical care is available in the Swansboro, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret area?

Regards,.....marc
I have only had to use medical care once in the last year. I hurt my foot and could barely walk. I took advantage of the Eastern Carolina Internal Medicine Unit (broken link) located in Cape Carteret. ECIM has a number of offices in the area. It is probably under ten minutes away from our home.

I was warmly welcomed, correctly diagnosed and treated, so I only have positive things to say about my limited health care experience.

There is another office about twenty minutes away. I have seen a couple of smaller facilities around, but I haven't tried them.

There are three area hospitals. There is Carteret County General Hospital in Morehead City. It is 18 miles away, you can be there in twenty five minutes staying at the speed limit.

Onslow Memorial Hospital
(http://www.onslowmemorial.org/showandtell.asp?id=26815 - broken link) is about 21 miles away and would probably be 30 minutes.

Craven Regional Medical Center is in New Bern about 40 miles away. I have made that trip in 45 minutes.

I have talked to people who have gone to Greenville and Raleigh for specialists. Both are about two hours away.

Greenville is home of Pitt County Memorial Hospital (http://www.uhseast.com/body.cfm?id=26&oTopID=26 - broken link) which is the teaching hospital for East Carolina University.

You are two and one half hours away from Duke.

No having used any of these services, I can only say that I know about them, and I haven't heard anyone complaining about the lack of medical services.

Given the area has a population a little older than some areas, I would expect to hear complaints if things weren't okay.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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Do give beautiful little Edenton, NC a close look. The wildlife-watching from my front yard overlooking Edenton Bay and the Albemarle Sound is excellent, and the Outer/Inner Banks's wealth of winter birding is just an hour east of here. This town reeks of colonial history, the locals are exceedingly hospitable- about half of us 'aren't from here, but got here as fast as we could.' There are lots of ways to amuse ourselves- an active arts community, nature organizations, lots of tennis, golf and boating- sail, power, and kayaking/canoeing are all popular. There are many volunteer opportunities, including building Habitat houses, working in the community food bank, civic groups, gardening and guiding in our historic landmarks, a generous selection of friendly and involved churches, and more. Shopping? Um... depends what you want. Good local merchants are very helpful and I shop here whenever possible. For everything else, there's the Internet, but many people drive the hour-plus to the Norfolk area's malls.

Edenton is a wonderful place to live! The winter weather is usually fairly mild, summers are as hot as everywhere else, the taxes, utility rates, and home/land prices, while they've risen substantially in the last ten years, aren't anything like those in the northeast.

The Chowan Hospital is affiliated with the medical school at East Carolina University, has quite an extensive staff of specialists, and a number of excellent primary care physicians. There's a fine helipad out back for when you really are in a hurry to get to the experts at ECU or Norfolk.

Come. See. You'll find a warm welcome here.
Amelia
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