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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:53 PM
67 posts, read 185,554 times
Reputation: 59


Hello all...we're in a bit of a bind, job-wise, and are curious to other's opinions. Hoping to find people who have lived in both NC and DC.

We lived in Durham 4 years ago and are talking about moving back. My husband is in biotech and his company where we are isn't doing too hot right now.

If we moved back, we'd probably want to live in Chapel Hill or Carrboro so he could get a job at UNC. We have two small children, enjoy riding our bikes places for fun and errands and live more "simply" than most (read: not very consumeristic.) We plan on homeschooling our kids. Also, I salivate at thinking about returning to all our favorite local restaurants! (Fosters Market, here we come!)

He's also considering DC but I'm wavering. I have much fonder memories of NC over DC-- this is a guy who can't deal with traffic (hated his I40 commute with a passion!) and I've seen a doosey or two on the DC freeways.

I'm also concerned with the cost of living there. (We currently live in Texas and NC is much more close to us, $$-wise, than DC.)

Has anyone lived in both the Triangle and the DC area (he is considering the Rockville, MD area)? Pros/Cons of either?

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:14 PM
1,628 posts, read 5,773,289 times
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I think you've outlined some important differences pretty well.

Traffic is nothing in Chapel Hill/Carrboro compared to DC (or most other places for that matter)

Housing is MUCH less expensive here. If you're homeschooling, you could even buy on the Durham side of the Durham/Chapel Hill border and save a bundle. Durham is much less expensive and in some places, one side of the street is CH and the other Durham. People pay more for the schools, but if that's not an issue, could be an option.

Of those 2, I'd pick NC. I love DC actually, but I wouldn't live in that area again unless I had to for work, mainly b/c of housing and traffic.

Of course if you love all the things DC has to offer culturally, that's another story, but all things being equal? NC.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:36 PM
Location: Durham, NC
426 posts, read 1,295,723 times
Reputation: 176
Another thing to consider, depending on your children's ages, is the UNC system. In-state tuition considerably lower and admission considerably easier than out-of-state. UNC is consistently ranked very highly among universities and the other state schools aren't so shabby, either. I don't know about the Maryland university system, but I can't believe that it's a better value for the money.
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:26 PM
29 posts, read 104,400 times
Reputation: 14
I just moved back down from the DC area. I lived in Alexandria, but commuted into DC for work which was a nightmare. We could have never afforded a home there.

We were only there for about 18 months. We just needed to slow down. I wanted to see my kids more (at least 3 hours commuting + 8 hours of work = 11 hours away from home... on a good day when traffic wasn't at a standstill and the trains weren't delayed and I didn't have to work late) and it's great being a homeowner again.

That all said, it's not a bad place to live. There's always something to do. The schools are good in Northern VA and Montgomery county. You just have to be able to handle the traffic if you're commuting and afford the housing.

My husband and I are native NCers - that might make me a little biased, but I say NC.
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:46 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
494 posts, read 1,551,239 times
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Over the last several years we've been down a similar journey. I grew up in Virginia, about halfway between Raleigh and DC... ironically. I moved to Upstate NY about 20 years ago to start a family, and 2 1/2 years ago my job was looking pretty weak and we thought about moving to the DC area. We had lived in the suburbs of DC in Northern Virginia for five years right after I got out of college. We spent a lot of time doing research on it, and spent several days looking at houses and schools in Northern VA and Southern MD. We stayed with friends and had a great time, but elected not to move. House prices at the time were about double what we could sell our house in NY for and the traffic was insane. I was doing government consulting in technology and thought I'd have less travel living there but decided it might take me longer to get to and from a job there than if I had to fly from NY! My job turned around and we decided to stay.

About 4 months ago the weather thing got us and we looked again to move south, but this time we looked at Raleigh. We went through the same drill, but had a much different outcome. To make a long story short, we are in the process of moving. We bought a house and I'm here in Raleigh now, with my wife and the rest of the family following after school is out in about a month. We are very happy with what we found here and plan on being here for a long time yet.

I drove up to NY a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of the traffic. I hit DC around 6pm headed north. I am not exagerating at all... there was a backup headed south that started around Manassas which I think is about 30 miles from DC... up I-95, all the way to the beltway, and then around the beltway and over the bridge into Maryland before I saw a moving car. That is about a 40 mile backup... solid stopped. And that is a regular occurance there. I've hit DC at any hour of any day and its a parking lot.

DC is a lot bigger than the Raleigh area, so if you want that its great. There is also a lot of history there. And gas is a little cheaper I think. But other than that, Raleigh wins on every other front for me.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:27 PM
32 posts, read 82,023 times
Reputation: 21
weather is better here, people in general are more polite, traffic is better here. tell hubby that quality of life is better here.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:57 AM
9,680 posts, read 23,481,401 times
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DC at least has the Metro.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:36 AM
1,840 posts, read 5,125,454 times
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Pretty common theme. The big kickers are cost of living and traffic. If you can afford to live in close (say, Arlington), and can get around on public transportation, DC is awesome and is a great place to raise kids. If you need to do a lot of driving (ie are not in close) it can be miserable.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:40 AM
Location: Ellicott City MD
2,270 posts, read 8,100,367 times
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I've lived in both, but it has been many years since I lived in DC. I enjoyed DC when I was single, but can't imagine being there with a family. We do have relatives in the Silver Spring and the Manassass area right now. We find the traffic in Maryland excruciating; even worse than Virginia. Every time we visit for a weekend we wonder how they can handle the ongoing stress of dealing with that every day. You might want to just visit DC for a short time and see how you feel about the traffic.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:50 AM
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 24,184,139 times
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Originally Posted by saturnfan View Post
DC at least has the Metro.
When I use to Metro commute from Shady Grove to Farragut North, the cost was almost $70 a week with parking at Shady Grove.

After 30 years in the DC area, I chose rural NC. Absolutely, no regrets.
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