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Old 02-02-2016, 11:06 PM
 
112 posts, read 155,488 times
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Please don't be offended by the title of my post, it's not intended to upset anyone. I have posted other threads here in the Triad forum because I am strongly considering moving to Winston Salem. I even took a trip out there last month.

During my trip I met so many wonderful and helpful people, but I found it awkward to ask the people I just met what were things they don't like about living in Winston Salem as they were so kind and I didn't want to offend. I did ask two people but they said they couldn't think of anything.

This is a big decision and a huge move for me both financially and emotionally, so I just want to make a fully informed decision and it's hard to do that without knowing the con side and only the pro side. I have lived all over the U.S. and no place is perfect, so I just want to know what to expect in terms of the less desirable side of living in WS. Hearing some of the less desirable aspects on WS won't necessarily put me off choosing it, so I hope anyone reading this will understand why it's important for me to ask, and that I will appreciate people being candid.

Thank you.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:14 AM
 
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Coming from a larger city, I personally find the lack of vibrancy/street life outside of 4th Street, Hanes Mall, and Old Salem (mainly tourists) to make the city feel boring even though there are plenty of activities that can be sought out if you look for them. The car-dependency as well (but we've already discussed that one). Summers are hot and humid. I like everything else!

Being a smaller city, W-S may be missing a few things (such as nightlife, sports, and upscale shopping--which you indicated you aren't interested in). However, pretty much all of that can be found in Greensboro, the Triangle, or Charlotte which are all easy to get to. And W-S has an arts scene that is better than those cities. W-S is also in a great location between the mountains and the coast.

Basically, when I'm in a bad mood, I find W-S to be boring compared to larger cities. However, when I'm in a good mood, I remember that it's also a lot more relaxing, peaceful, and stress-free than those places.
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:12 AM
 
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I think you really have to phrase your question as Whats the downside of living in W-S compared to _______ city? Otherwise there is no context. Where do you live now? What do you like and dislike about it?

If you are used to, and prefer, a large city with many high end cultural, entertainment and shopping options, then W-S may seem dull. If you like the idea of a small, but vibrant art scene, minor league baseball and other amenities in line with a medium sized southern city, then you'll like. As with most of its peers, its suburban and sprawly, for the most part. Its largely a family oriented place, but its certainly large enough for singles and empty nesters to enjoy.

I lived in W-S for 8 years and enjoyed it very much. Downtown is even better now than when I left. I don't think there really is a downside of living there, per se, other than living there means you aren't living somewhere else you might like better.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
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I agree that to come up with some "cons" of living in W-S, it helps to compare it to what you're looking for and to other locations. For example, I love San Diego - for proximity to the ocean (and still close to some mountains) and amazing climate. But's it crazy expensive, and wages aren't that much more than here - certainly not relative to the cost of living (mainly housing). And I enjoyed aspects of living in Portland - lots of diversity, great city on a river. But the climate can get to people, and it might be too "weird" for some. Also, I enjoyed living in St. George, UT - beautiful scenery. But it can be challenging if you're not a member the dominant church. Other areas I considered moving to during my last job search were Minnesota (too cold, and gray in the winter); Kansas (wind, and climate isn't great); Washington DC (didn't want to work in the "belly of the beast", also expensive and long commute to be in nice suburbs)/

I really like Winston-Salem. After San Diego, it is my favorite place to live; I've also lived in NYC suburbs; Southern California; Nevada; Utah; Oregon. I wish we had a larger airport in the Triad, but not much will change with CLT and RDU so close. I do love traveling through GSO, but nonstop flights are very limited. Sometimes I wish we were closer to the coast...but if we were, we'd be farther from the mountains, so overall, I love where the Triad is situated. I love being able to get anywhere in the Triad relatively easily.

Growing up in the NYC suburbs, downtown W-S is of course tiny in comparison. But for a city its size, I consider downtown to have a "cute" downtown, and it is one area of significant growth.

I'll add some comments from a friend that visited W-S in her search for a place to move. She thought W-S was boring. Everything was too spread out. Keep in mind, she's coming from the northeast (Massachusetts).
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:29 PM
 
112 posts, read 155,488 times
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Responding to CoastalPlanner and emelvee...

I tried to keep my initial question general as I didn't want to influence the direction of anyone's answer, but since I understand why you are asking, I will try to provide more information. I currently live in Seattle, but as it's a much larger city, on the opposite end of the country and a different kind of culture I feel it's hard to draw comparisons. Plus, I have also lived in New Orleans, northern NJ suburbs, Chicago suburbs, Boulder, Dallas and several countries. Therefore, I was just trying to look at Winston Salem apart from the influence of all these other places. Maybe it would be more helpful to list the other cities I had considered before getting serious about WS: Astoria, OR, Greenville, SC, Louisville, KY, Asheville or Chapel Hill NC, Richmond or Roanoke, VA, Athens, GA just to name a few.

My initial criteria was no extreme climates (why I left the Midwest and New England out), no super expensive cities (although Asheville and Chapel Hill are less than where I currently am they are too expensive), allergy situations (was hot on Louisville until I found that they consistently rank #1 worst place for allergy sufferers)

I am done with terrible traffic, in fact I initially had hopes to be able to go car free somewhere, but this is rare in the U.S. except for the big expensive cities like mine. I was looking for a place large enough to be interesting, but not too crowded and congested. I appreciate arts and culture, so wanted a city that offers that. Also to be frank I no longer want to live in a place where laws are not enforced (part of the mentality of a liberal city like mine), a place with some natural beauty whether it's mountains or water (I currently have both but knew I would have to give something up), near a major airport not a regional one (I would classify Piedmont as one even if it's harder to get direct flights than say O'Hare in Chicago). A place big enough to have things to do, but not so big that it's hard to meet new friends. A place surrounded by other interesting towns and cities to explore on long weekends if there is not enough in my new home to keep me from getting bored. I am single so not caring how a place is for families, but also not worried about the single scene either, looking for a city with a mix of singles, families, whatever. A friendly city. A city that is getting better, as my own is on a fast downhill slide these days.

I visited WS recently and enjoyed the art district downtown, the friendly people and slower pace of living, was pleased by cost of living, etc. One thing I didn't like was how aggressive drivers were....I actually thought I was a bit of an aggressive myself, but I was a bit terrified there :0 There was also more sprawl there than I like, but that might just be the nature of a town of its size or our modern suburbia mentality.

I only had a short visit there and time was taken up looking at houses more than taking the whole town in, so am trying to fill in the gaps of things I didn't have time to notice, but that would be a downside.

I hope my response was helpful.
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
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I never experienced allergies until I moved to NC at 40 years old in 2005. I don't think my seasonal allergies are as bad as they were when we lived in Greenville, NC, where we first lived from 2005-2009, but I still have to deal with them periodically here in the Triad.

I absolutely LOVE seeing a bright Carolina blue sky in the middle of winter, even if it's chilly - that's something you almost never see in the PNW, even if the temperatures are similar.

I love dealing with almost no major traffic issues.

Based on your additional information, I do think Winston-Salem (or other areas of the Triad) could be a good fit for you and I would highly recommend spending as much time as possible to get a feel for the area.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:14 AM
 
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Honestly? I wish there were more food delivery options. Ha! I'm not sure what that says about me that that's the first thing that came to mind. I lived many years in a huge city, and my wife and I have young kids, so other possible gripes about nightlife or whatever don't really apply to me. On the rare occasion when we can get out for the night, there's plenty to do. And I don't expect the sheer quantity or variety of options to measure up to what I could get in a giant city, so I can't say I'm frequently disappointed.

I could deal with a slightly wider variety of restaurants, in general, I think. More ethnic food.

I'd also like to see a wider greenway and sidewalk network, but that's been in the works for some time, so I feel like it's being addressed, if slowly. That sort of thing. But we love the outdoors and are close to that, love the arts and have good options for that, and have some great options for entertaining our kids, so we're pretty good. And it's all pretty easy and relatively affordable.

(Sidenote: I was legitimately surprised to read your comment about aggressive drivers. Having spent most of my 20s in Chicago and NYC, the drivers in Winston feel downright sedate. Heck, even Charlotte and Raleigh drivers tend to be far more aggressive in my experience. I guess your results may vary.)
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:37 PM
 
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Dear cchip55, I have been thinking about your question since you posted it, and one of the things I was going to mention was also aggressive drivers, so it's so funny that you noticed that! I am a North Carolina native but also lived for eight years in the San Francisco Bay area. I don't ever recall being tail-gated in the Bay Area the way I am here (though usually it's not too bad). So yes, I agree that drivers in Winston-Salem are more aggressive than in the bigger cities of the West Coast. I don't know why that is. I will continue to think of some other things that may be cons.

Another thought I had was that I do believe the Southern hospitality is real. On the West Coast, there is more of a live-and-let-live culture, but here, people are more likely to be in your business, but in a genuinely friendly and interested way. I'm talking about acquaintances that you may meet here and there. Friendliness, though, does not equal friendship, so there is always a question of whether or not you will find "your people" here, but I think you are off to a good start with many of the activities you plan to pursue.

Also, of all the neighborhoods in Winston-Salem that I can think of, Washington Park reminds me most of the West Coast. There is a funky, eclectic, artsy vibe there. There are also pockets of crime nearby that sometimes seep into the neighborhood, so if you do end up there, get a good burglar alarm system and possibly a dog, but I do love that neighborhood and know a number of people there who love it, too, and are committed to staying there. I think you could do some backyard gardening there and also walk to the farmers' market at Old Salem, which you would likely enjoy. Again, good luck in your search.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:31 PM
 
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Regarding my comment about aggressive drivers, I was really taken by surprise because everyone I met was so charming and sweet, but then when I would get in the car and drive somewhere people were majorly tailgating me and I am a fast driver...also, when I was on I-40 and trying to change lanes or exit with my signal on, no one was letting me get over even when I tried to smile and wave to beg someone to let me over. It was a very Jekyll and Hyde experience as when I would stop in a shop, art gallery, etc. and chat with people they were so nice, but then something must happen when people get into their cars unless all the people tailgating me were from out of town! lol I used to travel the whole U.S. for several years for work, so I have driven in all kinds of cities and states and the only place that unnerved me as much as Winston Salem drivers is Boston. The experience had me thinking that if I do move there, I will only drive on back streets and no major roads and certainly avoid I-40. Or maybe you just get used to it. So far that probably the main downside I noticed.

I guess the other one would be that as SanMateo Mom mentioned there see to be pockets of crime right up against what seem to be a nice house or neighborhood, so when looking at houses, it was hard to tell what I might be getting into. Where I live now it's not like that, there is a much more solid and obvious division between a nice neighborhood and a bad one, it's easy to know where to go and where to avoid. For example, Ardmore seemed very safe without bad pockets, but I did see quite a few properties that fit a lot of my wants in West Salem, but that's one of those places hard to tell how safe it is from one street to the next. I was told that it used to have real issues, but I met a wonderful woman who is very involved in the community and has been quite an activist and that neighborhood has apparently come a long way. My hope is that with its proximity to Baptist Medical Center, the Innovation Quarter and the revitalized downtown and arts district, that West Salem will increasingly become safer and a good place to live. Any thoughts on West Salem?
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Old 02-12-2016, 06:50 PM
 
112 posts, read 155,488 times
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@UnderTheLiveOaks now that you mentioned food delivery, I have to say in general I was surprised that for a city of a quarter million, that WS did not have more restaurants. Oh I saw plenty of fast food places, but I didn't see a whole lot of ethnic food, particularly Thai or Vietnamese....in fact I think I only saw one listing for a Thai place when I looked online and that is my favorite food Even in the downtown area, there weren't hardly any restaurants...I did have breakfast at Mary's Diner, lunch at Sweet Potatoes, and dinner at Mozelle's, but it feels like I covered all downtown dining with that! I was thinking about this as I left work last night in Seattle and really noticed the sheer number AND variety of restaurants here...I actually think we have too many restaurants whereas I would like to see more of other types of businesses as these days the only new buildings that go up are restaurants and condos. Yes, people need a place to live and somewhere to eat, but they need businesses to work in to have the former. Unfortunately, the volume of restaurants and competition does not lead to lower prices, not when Seattle has raised the minimum wage to $20/hr another thing that doesn't make sense. Personally, I don't believe that unskilled work like flipping burgers should make that wage when I have friends who are teachers with degrees who don't make that for work that is frankly more important. It's also not sustainable as what do restaurant owners do, charge high prices to cover such high wages. When I was a student I worked these kinds of jobs, but they were not meant to be permanent jobs to raise a family on...but the mentality of Seattleites insist low or no skilled jobs have to be paid this highly.

Enjoy the holiday weekend good people of Winston Salem!
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