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Old 10-26-2013, 12:50 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,507,822 times
Reputation: 4545

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Hello

I lived in Jacksonville for over 4 years (husband was in the Marine Corps- we left in December last year) and honestly, there is nothing good about it from my 'city girl' perspective. I would completely take Jacksonville off your radar. The only positive is the proximity to Lejeune (my husband and I lived close enough to base that he could ride his bicycle to work and avoid the traffic).

If DH and I had to move back to Lejeune in the future, now that I'm a mother, I would probably insist that we lived as close to Wilmington as possible. I love Swansboro, but it is even further away from Wilmington than Jacksonville, and US 17 is one boring drive. The suggestion of Hampstead is a good one- it is an area with good schools and wouldn't be too bad of a commute for your hubby (especially if he were to go via the gate at Sneads Ferry) and you would be within a more reasonable distance to everything Wilmington has to offer.

Although Wilmington is lacking from a cultural amenities perspective (in my personal opinion) as far as Galleries, Museums, Theater, etc go, it is definitely far, far, far superior to Jacksonville, and it seems to be constantly improving as far as amenities go. There would definitely be more to offer a family with children in Wilmington.

The other major problem with Jacksonville is that it specifically caters to the population of Marines which are mostly young, mostly single and mostly male. That means that there are a lot of tattoo parlors, strip clubs, and other seedy joints. They aren't just in one specific area that you can avoid, they're scattered all over the place and unavoidable. Although there are some nice new housing developments of new construction in Jacksonville, the less desirable aspects of the town can't be avoided if you need to go grocery shopping or out and about. Actually, I read somewhere that per capita, the greater Jacksonville area has more tattoo parlors and strip clubs than anywhere else in the U.S. Classy!

As far as things to do, there wasn't that much to do there. There are a lot of big box stores, chain restaurants, the before mentioned seedy joints, and not a whole lot of substance. Plus, it's the most aesthetically ugly corner of the world I've ever laid eyes on (and I've been all over the world).

Sneads Ferry may be an option, but activities and amenities there are limited, especially for a family. My vote therefore goes to Hampstead, because even though there isn't a whole lot to do there, it's a much easier commute to Wilmington for you and the kids for activities and events, and still commutable for your husband to go to Lejeune.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:54 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,507,822 times
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Like Goldenage said- the commute due to congestion in Jacksonville is insane! That's a large part of the reason my husband used to ride his bike if the weather allowed. It would take him an hour in traffic to go 7 miles by car, so bicycling was a lot quicker!

As for bad mouthing Jacksonville to make ourselves sound superior- I don't really think that's the case. I think people bad mouth it because it legitimately isn't a very nice place. I do agree though that some of the newer subdivisions and housing developments on the outskirts are very nice... but obviously you don't want to be cooped up in your suburban neighborhood without amenities 24/7!
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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(Glamatomic)

Well we are from Las Vegas so strip malls, tattoo parlors and strip clubs, we are unfortunetly used to.... but we sure as heck do not want to raise our kids here!!! This is mostly the reason he is thinking of taking the job. We did find out the job will be on Rifle Range Rd.....?
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Originally Posted by brooklynsablonde View Post
(Glamatomic)

Well we are from Las Vegas so strip malls, tattoo parlors and strip clubs, we are unfortunetly used to.... but we sure as heck do not want to raise our kids here!!! This is mostly the reason he is thinking of taking the job. We did find out the job will be on Rifle Range Rd.....?
If there is only one road with that name, it is just north of Sneads Ferry, and it's AKA Highway 210. You won't ever have to see the strip clubs in Jacksonville. You could easily live in Sneads Ferry, Holly Ridge or Pender County. (Note, you will occasionally hear artillery firing in Sneads Ferry and Holly Ridge.)
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:04 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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If my memory serves me correctly that is by Stone Bay near the Sneads Ferry gate DH will know for sure but he's at work right now!

In that case you'll definitely be better off down Hampstead way as he will want to take the back gate anyhow

DH and I actually got married in Vegas, btw When you're single or without children, seedy places like tattoo parlors on every block and strip clubs scattered throughout aren't a big deal, (just seedy and tacky) but once you have kids, it's not what you want them seeing on a daily basis! I realize at their age they wouldn't know what they are. .. But still!
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Oh and like goldenage said, if you live south of the base for hubby to go to work via the Sneads Ferry gate, you will *never* have to venture into Jacksonville, just go to Wilmington for everything (which still has some seedy places but not nearly to the same extent as jville imo!)
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
If my memory serves me correctly that is by Stone Bay near the Sneads Ferry gate DH will know for sure but he's at work right now!

In that case you'll definitely be better off down Hampstead way as he will want to take the back gate anyhow
The Marines have been building a big new gate into the Stones Bay entrance off Highway 210. There's a lot of buildings back there which they don't tell the public about.

But, I agree that if the OP wants to live in the Hampstead/Topsail School District, the commute will be easy for her husband. The prices of housing are just a bit more expensive in Pender County than in Onslow County. The property taxes are also higher. But the OP will see they choices when they visit.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:05 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,817,588 times
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Originally Posted by brooklynsablonde View Post
Wow I can't thank you enough for all the info. We lived just outside Boston for a few years and loved all the fairs and festivals that are so common on the east coast. We are country at heart so having to drive to a big city to do activities and go to big box stores doesn't bother us.

I havent read anything good about Jacksonville.....other than what you just wrote. I wonder why that is...

We are making a couple day trip out in Nov. To see what we can and check things out.... I'm actually excited to see Wilmington and now Sneads Ferry is sounding like it might be a good spot for our family. Although the only thing I am concerned about is the Dixon schools compared to the Topsail ones...
As far as the Marine Corps is concerned, Jacksonville is probably te worst palce you can be stationed, especially if you're a city person. We don't have many bases, and Jacksonville is one of the largest. It's counterparts are in Hawaii, Southern California, and Japan. Even myself, who grew up in Cosatal NC wanted to serve my entire career without ever being stationed in Jacksonville. My main gripe being that it was just too many people in too small a space, among others. My best friend is from Jacksonville, and as a young man I would tell her all the time if not for her I'd never set foot in the city. When I was on recruiting duty a lot of my peers (SNCOs) couldn't wait to get back to Jacksonville, and my wife and I (who is also local to Eastern NC) could not understand why. After finally being stationed here, over a decade in, I see it's not that bad at all. Most of things people complain about are a.)overblown b.)how things used to be. Jacksonville was a pretty bad place from the 70's through the 90's. Post Vietnam and when the draft was still in effect and during the period a lot of draftees were still in and around. Back then Court St. was infamous. Well, all of those dens on iniquity taht used to be downtown were closed down and boarded up. Retail and neighborhoods shifted from the older area of Jacksonville, along 17 and 24, to Gum Branch, and the Western Blvd extensions. These older strips along 17 and 24 are also where these older strip malls, strip clubs, and tattoo parlors reside. That is also what most people see when passing through Jacksonville. These places, not coincidentally, all happen to run right alongside the base itself. They don't exist along Western or clse to the newer neighborhoods and retail centers of Jacksonville. There are exactly four strip clubs in Jacksonville (Driftwood, La Mirage, Tobie's, and The Cave) and they all look like night clubs. There are no glaring "XXX" signs and giant neon naked ladies. 3 of them are lose to New River along 17, the other is on 24 by the main gate. Myrtle Beach has way more strip clubs with way more obnoxious branding and advertising. The above poster complains about traffic in Jacksonville, but Wilmington traffic is much worse. As well as the commuter and tourist traffic through Hampstead. Crime in Jacksonville is actually far below the national average and far less than you'd a expect in a town of it's size, and far less than Wilmington. You can check these stats on city data.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Jackso...-Carolina.html
http://www.city-data.com/city/Wilmin...-Carolina.html

I don't want to leave the impression that I think Jacksonville is any place to overly recommended. I just don't think it's a place to be avoided, like some people. Especially traded for a long commute to an area where you would still have to frequent the city anyway. And just like people complain about Jacksonville, you'll find plenty of threads on here with people complaining about Wilmington with HP91 having to play the proponent.

Here is a poster who recently bought a house in Jacksonville you may want to message with questions:
Jacksonville NC

Some more threads where Jacksonville came up in the conversation. You'll probably see the usual suspects in there. Glamtomic as the naysayer, me as the proponent, and Goldenage as the egalitarian, but there are comments from others and some different issues addressed which may answer you questions you have or didn't know you had:

retire to greenville, holly ridge, jacksonville?

Jacksonville NC

Family Friendly area close to Camp Lejeune

Jacksonville Move

Sneads Ferry vs Hampstead vs Holly Ridge vs Richlands

If my husband lands a job in J'sonville...*where* should we look to live?

Camp Lejeune

Moving to the Jacksonville area but don't have a clue!!

Relocating to an area around Camp Lejeune, please help!

Moving to Camp Lejeune

Anyplace FUN/interesting to live near Camp Lejuene????

Moving to Jacksonville, NC......

Relocating to NC (Jacksonville)




Now all of that said, your top choice of places to live IMO, if your husband is working at Stone Bay, is Hampstead, followed by Southwest, then Sneads Ferry. Sneads Ferry would be closer to Stone Bay, Southwest would be closer to the new Walmart in Jacksonville and the retail over there and better schools than Sneads Ferry/Dixon. They are both about the same to Wilmington. Probably about the same to Western Blvd as well, which is Jacksonville's retail center. SouthWest is just on the other side of 17, along 58. Though Jacksonville should not be removed from your list if you find a place/neighborhood you like. It will be an easy commute as you'll be going against traffic. I have a friend who jsut bought a house on the Western Extension who works at MARSOC at Stone Bay. Coming out of the main gate and going to Stone Bay it takes me less than 30 minutes. If I was working at Stonebay I'd be living in Hampstead or somewhere else in North Pender County.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:17 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,817,588 times
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Originally Posted by brooklynsablonde View Post

I havent read anything good about Jacksonville.....other than what you just wrote. I wonder why that is...

Also note that most of the activities and things I listed and linked to are family activities. Jacksonville is literally the youngest city in the US. The median age is 22.9 years old, the NC average is 41. Most Marines are retired by 40. If you are young person, or a young couple with young or no kids, there is not much for you to do here. That is unless you are an outdoors type. Which may be a large reason why there are a lot of fans of Jacksonville among older servicemen, especially those from the South and East Coast.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macjr82 View Post
If you are young person, or a young couple with young or no kids, there is not much for you to do here. That is unless you are an outdoors type. Which may be a large reason why there are a lot of fans of Jacksonville among older servicemen, especially those from the South and East Coast.
I know one classmate from my high-school, a Marine officer, who retired in Jacksonville. He lives in a very nice house near the Jacksonville Country Club, and is involved in volunteering. I also know several other people who retired in Jacksonville after the military. Several neighbors plan to come back to Sneads Ferry after their tours elsewhere. Obviously, some people think the area is desirable.

However, I partially agree with Glamatomic that cultural activities, like play and museums, are lacking.
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