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Old 05-22-2012, 08:04 PM
 
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Here's my biggest worry. If we move down there and i send my 8 yr old daughter to Topsail schools (which sound really brilliant), is she going to get picked on for being a Yank? lol. seriously, how unfriendly are people feeling towards NY transplants these days.

Our circumstances are: single parent, 8 yr old daughter, mother partially disabled.

I grew up in a small farm town in MN and moved to NY at 20. Now at 45 I've had enough and i just want a peaceful spot to raise my daughter. She needs more outdoor space and the schools here are looking rougher everyday.

We are NOT in a good place economically, and I will have a PT job at best. I am currently on disability. (I have skills in tattooing and computer graphics, and a degree in Psych, but obviously I will need to be very flexible or possibly even consider that I may have no work). We will be looking to rent a small 2 br in a quiet safe area, preferably not a condo or large apartment complex. Our budget will be tight, maybe $800-900 for rent and of course the usual $300 or so for utilities a month.


We are good neighbors, I am an artsy type, a gardener and keep things nice. She is a friendly and very bright kid although maybe a bit outspoken for Southern standards.

We are just looking for a quiet safe place to live and a decent school for her. I mean, the beach looks wonderful and will keep her very happy so that is a major plus.

How do you think we will be received in the Hampstead area? Thoughts, anyone? Please don't be shy - any information would be helpful.

Last edited by banshee45; 05-22-2012 at 09:26 PM..
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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The less "Stereotypical Noo Yawka" or "Stereotypical Yankee" (In-your-face, loud, argumentative, and most of all, complaining, all the time, about everything that isn't just like it was Up North and making patronizing, stereotypical remarks to and about Southerners, saying "Why don't you do ____ the way we did it in NY???") a person is, the less problem they will have with being a "Yankee". It's more a personality type than a literal geographic previous home.

But regardless, you should come pay a visit and interact with people yourself and see what you think, before moving anywhere, ESPECIALLY when the reason you're moving is "to be away from somewhere" as opposed to "to be somewhere specific for reasons specific to that place".
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:00 PM
 
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Francois - thanks for your response. Are there a lot of relocated New Yorkers in Hampstead?

I probably don't fit the character you describe so much. I grew up in the Midwest in a very small town, population 2000 and one stoplight. My loud days are long over, lol. And honestly, if I loved how things are in NY I would stay.

It was fine when I was young and wanted to go out a lot and pursue my career. But with an injury and a young daughter I'm looking for a safer quieter place. But not so far out that she would have to struggle to build a future for herself as she gets older.

I would like to visit first, of course. But I have to choose carefully because I will only be able to visit one or two places before I have to make a decision. For financial reasons and because it needs to fit into the summer break from childs' school. It's also going to be a real physical challenge so I have to gather as much information as I can.

Last edited by banshee45; 05-22-2012 at 09:24 PM..
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:24 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,264 posts, read 19,810,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banshee45 View Post
Are there a lot of relocated New Yorkers in Hampstead?
I wouldn't say a lot of New Yorkers. But the area certainly has a lot of transplants, especially retirees. You could certainly look for a job with a tattoo shop, as there are many. There is a large population of young people and tattoos are popular.

Your child may be better off if she learns the distinctions between being outspoken and being polite. Politeness in girls is valued in the South.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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thank you goldenage.

LOL on the outspoken-ness - believe me, I'm working with my daughter on this and she has gotten much better in the last year. We live in an Irish immigrant neighborhood and I have to say this community has better manners than your average in this area. My friends-family all think I'm being a bit hard on her but it worries me. In fact, I requested an extra strict teacher for her this year just for back up. She does have manners and is sensitive to others, and is very friendly and smart, just a bit too loud and quick with an opinion. While I am a midwesterner she is definitely a NYer! Confidence is good, (I certainly didn't have it when I came to NY), but there are times to use it and times to stay quiet.

She passed the grandparent test last week (they are from Ohio and Texas) so possibly I worry about nothing.

I did a bit of googling last night and saw many tattoo shops, artists that were more skilled than me, so that is positive. Perhaps in the summer months I could find a trustworthy babysitter for evenings and get a bit of work in.

So, I know the schools are great - do you experience a lot of noise in Hampstead? (i.e. neighbors loud music, shouting, traffic, that sort of thing?) And I'm just assuming there are no gang problems or violence with the kids...

Do you think the other kids would be welcoming to a child from the North or consider her an outsider? Are there kids there that are into violin, piano, ballet? Or is it more sports-focused?

Also, and I realize this might be a very silly question - in all the photos i see of the beach, I don't see kids in the water. Is there a reason for that or is it just that I'm seeing a lot of tourist scenic photos?

ALSO - are the kids there able to safely ride their bicycles and go to each others houses without being constantly guarded by an adult? I have this dream of giving her the childhood that I had - but not sure if that world still exists even in a smaller town...

And, last but not least from the daughters perspective - I hear great tales about the quantity and size of the bugs, LOL. How bad are they? I was hoping with a bit of ocean breeze they wouldn't be such a problem.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,264 posts, read 19,810,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banshee45 View Post
So, I know the schools are great - do you experience a lot of noise in Hampstead? (i.e. neighbors loud music, shouting, traffic, that sort of thing?) And I'm just assuming there are no gang problems or violence with the kids...

Do you think the other kids would be welcoming to a child from the North or consider her an outsider? Are there kids there that are into violin, piano, ballet? Or is it more sports-focused?
Hampstead is a nice, middle-class area, with houses on quarter acre lots. Since I don't have kids in school, it can't answer specifically about gangs. But she should certainly be able to ride her bike and visit other people's homes. It's a safe area, but she should have a lock for the bike, as they are easy to steal.

I don't think she would be targeted because she is a Yankee. There are many transferred people here, including people in the military who have lived all over the world.

Some suggestions for your daughter on getting along: 1. Don't criticize other people's religions. People take faith seriously in the South. 2. Don't get into politics, as most folks will be conservative.

Regarding the picture with no kids in the water: they are tourists shots. Of course kids go to the beach.

Regarding bugs: Yes the mosquitoes are bad in the summer. The town might spray, but many people who own houses have their lots sprayed by a mosquito control company, or they have a screened porch. The breeze has to be fairly stiff before they stop flying, 3 or 5 miles per hour?

Last edited by goldenage1; 05-23-2012 at 08:56 AM..
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:10 PM
 
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Thanks so much - that was very helpful.

I think she's safe on the religion and politics, she's only 8!

she is used to going to school with kids of all different nations and religions - i cant imagine that being a topic of conversation. I suspect the teachers discourage that sort of talk actually.

And great to hear the waters good for playing!

Mosquitos we are used to -

I appreciate your answers - I am still a bit shocked about this move and trying to get a picture in my head is really helpful.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:46 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Hi Banshee

Right now I live about 30-40 minutes from Hampstead and know the area reasonably well.

For starters, this part of the NC Coast doesn't fit the typical Southern stereotype, mainly due to the amount of transplants (Hampstead is between a couple of huge Marine Corps bases to the north, and UNC Wilmington to the south). In the last 4+ years in the area, I've found that transplants are generally the 'norm' and people who were raised here on the coast are more or less the exception.

For this reason, I wouldn't worry too much about your daughter not assimilating.

I do understand your fears however. My husband moved around a *lot* as a child, due to his father's job. When he first moved to 'The North' (Ohio) at the age of 8, from living all over the South, he definitely got picked on for being a Southerner, even though he has no trace of a Southern accent now.

On the flip side, my mother-in-law is a New Yorker, and still largely has an NYC accent but hasn't ever spoken of any prejudice from Southerners, and seems to prefer the Southern states.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I think the Jacksonville-Hampstead-Wilmington area sees enough transients to not be as judgemental as some of the smaller towns inland may be.

That said, I won't make any secret of the fact that I'm not a fan of this area, and can't wait to move away.

I do understand and respect your position however- wanting the best for your child is definitely admirable. If/when my husband and I do start a family, a more suburban environment to raise children in would definitely be preferable to an inner city.

Depending on what your personal priorities are in a place (what will make *you* happy, in addition to your daughter), Hampstead may very well be a fit, even if coastal NC is not for my husband and I.

I wish you the best of luck! It sounds like you're a great Mom and I fully commend you
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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thank you glam - very helpful and supportive.

yes, what you described going on with your husband happened very much to my little brother when we moved from OH to MN as children. And worse, he was behind in reading and we both had picked up a mild Appalachian twang to our speech.

They actually removed him from class for Special Ed just for his speech - which may have been well-intended but when you're new and the other second graders see you leaving the room for Special Ed, you're gonna get tormented. Poor kid.

I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen to my one in a place like Hampstead - she has lived all her life in an Irish immigrant community. Yet her grandparents and extended family are TX, MN, OH rural type folks and also inner city NYers - Jewish, Italian, etc.

She is very outgoing and happy (and smart!) and i see it very likely she will drag me into new friendships more often! It sounds like there's actually a mix of kids there anyhow.

How small is the Catholic population? I was raised Baptist but we are now Catholic.

For my personal happiness - HA! whens the last time THAT was important, lol. My wishlist is:

-quiet - i actually grew up in farm country/woodlands
-good schools
-safety - freedom for children to play without having an adult down their neck every second
-people that are accepting of me/us
-people that are not going to judge me for being a single parent and not working regularly
- a nearby population that has a need for tattoos/i can only do that occasionally due to physical condition and parenting
-fresh air
-good bookstores
-a semi-hip artist community within reasonable range, just in case i miss NY more than i think i will
-good colleges nearby for her future
-the ability to get her good music/dance lessons
-the ability to OCCASIONALLY go to the orchestra or ballet
-we absolutely need a swimmable natural source of water
-a Native American population nearby is a plus


with all of that said - i am somewhat conservative politically. which i realize is strange for a single Mom artsy type.

if you feel comfortable saying, what are the things that you personally are not happy about in this area?
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:13 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I forgot to mention that Jacksonville (the military town before mentioned) has a TONNE of Tattoo Parlors... I once read somewhere that there were more tattoo parlors per capita in Jacksonville NC than anywhere else in the U.S. I'm not sure if the statistic still applies, but there are always new Tattoo Parlors popping up (the Bombs Away franchise is by far my favorite!).

A couple of days a week in Jacksonville for work as a tattoo artist wouldn't be too difficult- depending on where in Hampstead you lived and where in Jacksonville you worked, the commute would be anywhere between 30-45 minutes up US 17.

As for Native American population, there is nothing in the immediate area to my knowledge. The only federally recognized Native American population in NC is the Cherokee which is way out in the Western portion of the state. My hair stylist however is Lumbee, and is from the Pembroke / Lumberton area (an hour + from Wilmington) originally. Other than that, the only ones I can think of are two or more hours away, but somebody may be able to assist you further on that.

I personally wouldn't think you would have trouble finding acceptance in Hampstead due to it's proximity to Wilmington, which is more progressive than the Southern stereotype town.

Coming from NY however, you may be bored. I grew up in Australia but have lived in London and St. Louis (boring compared to somewhere like NYC but far more to do there than here in Eastern NC) before coming to NC and I'll be honest... I'm bored to tears out here.

I enjoy art galleries, museums, culture, local music, performing arts, writing, good food, libraries, second hand books, architecture, and all things mid century modern.

In Hampstead, I can't think of any of the above off the top of my head (although people who live in Hampstead may have a better idea)... Wilmington does have some but doesn't have enough for my tastes and long term needs.

What the area does have however is:

-Quiet (reasonably)
-Safety
-Accepting people (I'd assume so. Like I said, there's a large transplant community by any means)
-Nearby population with need for tattoos (Jacksonville, NC)
-Non Judgemental People (you're going to get some out of the bunch everywhere, but this part of NC isn't as conservative as other areas of the South)
-Fresh Air
-Good Colleges; UNCW in Wilmington is a good school, and if she's willing to move a few hours, there are a lot of options in Raleigh / Durham (NC State, Chapel Hill, Duke, etc)
-Swimmable Water, the beaches are gorgeous

As I don't have kids yet, I'm not sure about music / dance lessons, but would assume they would be available in Wilmington. Wilmington also has some cultural / theater / music events, but Raleigh is only a few hours away for this if you don't mind the extra drive.

There is Barnes & Noble in Wilmington, and a handful of neat second hand book stores, but the amount of book stores is definitely less than what you'd be used to. You may find the amount still passable though

As for me personally, the reasons I've been unhappy out here would be:

-Lack of walkability (you have to drive *everywhere*)

-Traffic (the only interstate going into the area is I-40, and traffic in this region is frequently a problem)

-Cost of Living (although it will be cheap to you coming from NYC!). Compared to other areas in the country, it's expensive to live out here. Not enough bang for your buck as far as I'm concerned. Wages are low, low, low, and the cost of living doesn't reflect it.

-Lack of cultural amenities. As I mentioned before, I need more, especially when I have children. My mother was a single mother as well, and to her credit, ensured that I had a very culturally rich upbringing through theater, performing arts, galleries, museums, opera, ballet, etc (whatever was going on, I went to it!). Even now in my late 20s, I get stir crazy pretty quickly if there isn't somewhere to go out a few nights a week, or something to do on weekends that fulfill my cultural cravings and artistic side.

-Weather. I'm not a warm weather person, I prefer the cold. The Humidity here is painful, and the Summers are too long for my liking. That is totally personal preference though. I know that some people love the climate.

-Isolated. With I-40 as the only outgoing interstate, I've always felt 'isolated' in the region because it takes hours on the US Highways / Backroads to get anywhere. I guess I just prefer larger cities, even though I enjoy green space as well.

-No Whole Foods! The closest is in Raleigh. That's always been crazy to me! (that's not a big reason obviously but it's still vaguely frustrating haha!).

Anyway, I hope that helps! If you don't mind me asking, why are you choosing Hampstead? Do you have friends/ family there?

Seriously though, BEST OF LUCK! I think that if somebody wants to make a place work enough for them, it will work
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