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Old 05-07-2015, 05:37 PM
 
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Hi, my fiancé and I are planning a 5-day road trip to coastal NC this June to start exploring possible places to retire in NC. We’re from NJ. I’ve been reading posts in this forum for quite a while, reading magazine articles, etc., to see what towns have received favorable reviews. Just when I think I’ve identified some really nice places in coastal NC to not only visit, but to possibly retire – such as Wilmington, New Bern, Edenton, Washington, Beaufort, Swansboro, Southport, Morehead City – I learn that most of these areas are considered ‘high crime’ areas (with a rating of D or F in ‘crime’ according to areavibes.com and also many people’s postings in this forum) that I’m very confused about what towns are good places to visit with our limited vacation (we both work). I’m hoping those of you who live in these towns (either as natives or transplants) can shed some light. We’re interested in coastal (or near-coastal) towns that are safe to live, are quaint with charm, have decent shopping so you don’t have to drive far, things to do (e.g., parks, movies, indoor/outdoor concerts, beach, shopping, etc.), are year-round (not desolate in winter), and reasonable housing costs. It looks like only Swansboro, Southport, Trent Woods have low crime but are higher in housing and/or pretty desolate in winter. Where we live in NJ is very safe and near the beach but housing, taxes, etc., will be prohibitive for us when we retire. Thanks for your thoughts on coastal NC – hope you have some good ideas for places we should consider on our trip!
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Southport
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Southport meets all your requirements, and while things quiet down a little in the winter, its a looooong way from desolate. In fact, we've found it necessary to make reservations at our favorite restaurant for weekend nights in the winter. The year 'round population has grown dramatically in the past few years.

Wilmington's crime rate is inflated by the shenanigans of college kids, and by drug/gang activity which is pretty localized in certain areas. Its pretty easy to avoid both.

I don't know a whole lot about Beaufort/Morehead City, but I have visited a good bit. I don't think of it as a high crime, dangerous area at all.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summergal15 View Post
It looks like only Swansboro, Southport, Trent Woods have low crime but are higher in housing and/or pretty desolate in winter.
If I were looking today, I would look at Swansboro/Cape Carteret and Morehead City/Beaufort for retirement. We chose Sneads Ferry in 2011, but it is a little too quiet and has too few amenities.

Don't worry about the crime statistics. There are a few pockets of drug and gang activity in the urban areas, but they don't affect most places where retirees are likely to settle.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:09 PM
 
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Summergal, Do you have a favourite beach destination in NC?
I ask because the NC coast offers 300 miles of beautiful beaches but it is very different from area to area and very different from the Jersey shore.

We chose our retirement area visiting up from the south, so we started in the Myrtle Beach area moving up into NC.

Couple of years ago we headed down to NC from NJ traveling down Hwys 13 and 17 (along the coast).
We did this in Oct. didn't want to run into the summer crowds. Parts of the OBX
(Duck, Corolla), Kitty Hawk (the Wright Brother Museum) which were wonderful but not a Jersey Shore experience.

From there down to Sunset Beach was touch and go. Very desolate to mildly populated. We stayed a night in New Bern (a Comfort Inn I believe on the water), walked the downtown and ate at a local place.

Anyway, all that drivel is to say that the NC coast varies differently from mile to mile and is vastly different from the Jersey Shore. The one similarity is that the proximity to the water will cost you way more than the inland locations.

People value the water and drive the prices even in NC.

You have a very limited time to travel, plan it carefully and have fun!
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Originally Posted by goldenage1 View Post
Don't worry about the crime statistics.
Another big factor on the Areavibes site is the amount of theft. That number is blown out of proportion because of the shoplifting from stores by kids and tourists in the summer. Also, the seasonal houses are vulnerable to burglaries during the winter season. It is not something a year-round resident has to worry about. I would just suggest having a security system if you expect to be away from the property.

Another example is that there was 1 murder in Morehead City in each of 2011 and 2012 in the City-data statistics. When you compare that to the year-round population in Moreead City, the percentage looks much larger. Again, not something to worry about, as it is just a fluke of the seasonal population.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:00 PM
 
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Thanks for the above ideas! I've also recently heard good things about Sunset Beach - but I wouldn't want to be on a barrier island with the common threat of hurricanes - but just in-land, perhaps, in Carolina Shores or Calabash. Are these places worth seeing during our vacation to coastal NC to consider for retiring based on what we're looking for (in my initial posting)?

So far, it sounds like possible recommendations are to take a look at: Southport, Swansboro/Cape Carteret, Morehead City/Beaufort, maybe Wilmington - is that right? Did not hear endorsements for New Bern (or Trent Woods), Edenton, Washington, Williamston. Sounds like we should not be put off by crime stats in the towns I've mentioned.

Thanks for your ideas and more thoughts if you have them!
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Southport
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I would focus on Southport/Wilmington and Swansboro/MC/Beaufort areas. I haven't been to Washington in a while, but I don't think its what you're looking for. Edenton is beautiful, but tiny and isolated. Theres something about New Bern that I can't put my finger on, but it just doesn't appeal to me. I don't think Calabash is quaint or charming.
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:26 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
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New Bern has lots of problems, but crime is not one. Crime is isolated to several areas. We recently had three immigrants in Habitat housing murdered by their neighbor. That will spike city rates. While tragic, but no impact on most of us.

The routine murders in public housing also make New Bern's crime numbers high.

If you stay out of public/very low income housing, a non issue,

New Bern's principal issues are exorbitantly high electric rate, and a very mentally challenged political class. The rates are supposed to get much better.

I have no such hope for the politicos!
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Old 05-10-2015, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summergal15 View Post
We’re interested in coastal (or near-coastal) towns that are safe to live, are quaint with charm, have decent shopping so you don’t have to drive far, things to do (e.g., parks, movies, indoor/outdoor concerts, beach, shopping, etc.), are year-round (not desolate in winter), and reasonable housing costs.
You don't say how old you are, but another thing to consider is the availablity of medical care. In our area, there are very few internal medicine practitioners but many family practice doctors. There's a limited amount of specialists in Wilmington and Greenville. If you might need a cardiologist, nephrologist or endocrinologist, think carefully about where you locate. For very serious problems you may have to travel to Duke or UNC Chapel Hill. If you locate in Edenton, you might also have to travel to Norfolk or Virginia Beach for specialists.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:09 AM
 
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That's a good point, Goldenage1.

Medical care is/will be an important consideration for us. I'm nearing retirement age. I would want to have more than just family practice doctors in the vicinity - such as quality hospitals and specialists (as I'm already seeing some specialists). I thought Wilmington had this (according to a friend who moved there) - is that not true?

Are you saying the places that have been recommended for us so far - Southport/Wilmington/Sunset Beach and Swansboro/Morehead City/Beaufort do not have these facilities? Does New Bern area have access to good medical care? If not, that makes it hard to consider living in coastal NC without adequate medical care and facilities.

Also, I've read on some other postings that the "utilities" costs can be really high in some of the towns I've mentioned (because you have to pay 2x in some cases - once for the town and once for where you actually live on the outskirts of the town?) - is that true - and if yes, for which areas? Also, do all the areas I mentioned need extended homeowner's insurance for wind/flood (hurricane) coverage?

Trying to find a good "match" can get so complicated! This is helpful to hear your (and everyone's) thoughts and experiences. I want to educate myself on 'what's what' and I appreciate hearing from those who live there.
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