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Thread summary:

Relocation from Seattle, Washington to North Carolina, family in Charlotte and Hilton Head, information on political differences, demographic change, theatre, culture, nightlife, no club life, places to start health care business

Old 11-01-2008, 11:49 AM
Location: Seatle, WA
16 posts, read 29,918 times
Reputation: 15



I have read numerous similar posts, but wanted to post personally as well. My wife and I left Los Angeles 1.5 years ago and debated on moving to Charlotte or Seattle. My family is in Charlotte, My wife's family is in Hilton head. Being progressive, young (early 30's), active, and connoisseurs of culture, arts, and sustainable communities, we wanted to find a like-minded community. We wanted to get out of LA (crime, pollution, TOO BIG of a city, lots to do, but.....). So, we picked Seattle. I love Seattle. It has everything we could need and want. I don't even mind the weather. Its great for my work and my wife's work. She is a psychotherapist/analyst.

However, as we get older, the heart strings to family grow tighter and living 2500 miles away gets harder every year. As family health problems arise and the desire for children grows, we have made the Big decision....

So, we are moving back to NC.

Now, we visited Charlotte, Asheville, and Raleigh/Durham to see which we liked the best. My family has roots in Charlotte a couple of generations back (Dilworth area). I like it there. But, the rest of the city seemed a bit bland compared to LA and Seattle (and, indeed it is). However, it could be argued that this is, in fact, its very draw. Easy living equates to greater quality of life. Its funny to read folks on this post complain about traffic. LA and Seattle statistically have some of the worst traffic in the US. So, in LA or Seattle you might have more things, more "bells-and-whistles" but the 'enjoyment index' is lower due to logistical challenges.

So, we now that things will be different in NC. We found Asheville wonderful. Culturally, it probably resonates most with where we are at. However, I found the outlying areas to be provincial and economically depressed (Asheville also did not seem that string economically).

Charlotte, at least in my mom's neighborhood (dilworth) is great. But I am a bit concerned about cultural activities in Charlotte (international music, theatre, restaurants). Its not that I think its not there, its just that I don't know. I really like Charlotte's very dynamic economy (pre-economic meltdown). I don't like what I have read about crime. My crime index is different - I lived in LA which is absolute crazy town with regard to gangs, violence, and aggression. Nonetheless, what I have read here concerns me about Charlotte.

Raleigh was quaint, but seemed dead. We were there on a Friday night on the main drag and wow, it was dead. I just felt no draw to raleigh. I know they have a strong stable economy with government, tech, medical, etc. I like that a lot.

Durham - the areas near the schools were "OK" but parts of Durham seemed pretty dumpy.

So, basically, we are trying to decide between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Any and all help I can get from members would be greatly welcomed. Any information on the following is great:

- political differences between raleigh and charlotte
- How raleigh demographics have changed over the last 10 years
- the relative environments for starting a healthcare business (I am in health care and my wife is a psycholgist)
- Theatre, culture, night life - AND NOT club life, singles scene - We want to find other 'sophisticated' young to middle age professionals who care about the community, the environment, social change, sustainability, living well, yoga, eating right, etc.
- Great places in Raleigh to start a health care business (affluent, clean, and upcoming areas)
- If you were starting out in North Carolina knowing what you know about each city, where would you end up?
- Any Seattalites on this post? Can you share your insights?
- Any Angelenos on this post? Can you share your insights?
- Most people in Seattle are in their 30's to 40's, may or not have kids, and are pretty culturally sophisticated. They like to go out, enjoy dinner, a show. What is it like for folks in their 30's and 40's in Raleigh? Is it more subdued where folks are either young and partying playing the bar scene OR married with kids doing the domesting thing? Or do you have folks like us who are somewhere in the middle of those two extremes?

Sorry for the long post, but wanted to get some targeted feedback unique to our situation.

Kind regards, MRL
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:13 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA
181 posts, read 410,828 times
Reputation: 134
I'd recommend checking out Carrboro; it's got a very progressive, laid-back vibe. You'd be among like-minded people there.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:23 PM
978 posts, read 1,973,301 times
Reputation: 762
Culture shock.
That's what you'll feel when you come back here. I lived in the Seattle area (Woodinville) and can tell you that the vibrancy, culture, stunningly beautiful scenery and all that the city of Seattle has to offer will not be found anywhere in NC. There's nothing close.

You know what the air and summertime weather are here compared to there, so that won't be too much of a shock hopefully.

After I visited Asheville it was easy for me to see I wouldn't want to live there. For some of the reasons you mentioned, plus I felt I was in the middle of no where. My opinion only.

Have never been to Charlotte so probably shouldn't comment.

Good luck deciding. It's not easy!
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:25 PM
9,452 posts, read 24,623,880 times
Reputation: 9362
You didn't mention anything about jobs. Are your jobs portable or will you need to find a new job in NC? Depending on what it is you do, one city or area of NC may vastly outshine another in terms of opportunity. All the other metrics go out the window if you can't find work.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:40 AM
Location: Seatle, WA
16 posts, read 29,918 times
Reputation: 15
Yes, our jobs are portable. We are both in private practice and will be starting new private practices (new small businesses).

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Old 11-02-2008, 10:19 AM
920 posts, read 2,363,921 times
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Have you considered Chapel Hill? To me, it feels most like the PNW in terms of progressiveness. For a town its size, it has a lot of cultural offerings.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and have lived in Eugene and Portland. I like the cultural mix in the Triangle area. It's well-educated and leans slightly liberal politically. Personally, I find the people a little more friendly and willing to strike up conversations with strangers. The infamous "Seattle Freeze"/"Portland Freeze" is nice to be away from. NC is a lot less smug and pretentious than LA, and I like that too.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:54 AM
86 posts, read 183,692 times
Reputation: 44
I was born in LA (Sherman Oaks), lived in Seattle for 6 years (University District), and now live in Chapel Hill!!
I don't know much about Raleigh or Charlotte, but if you're interested in something slightly smaller I really suggest you look into Chapel Hill -- I love it
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:03 PM
Location: Back in the ROC
675 posts, read 1,523,034 times
Reputation: 561
Durham - the areas near the schools were "OK" but parts of Durham seemed pretty dumpy.
Don't necessarily rule out Durham. I can show you some pretty dumpy places in just about every town and city around here.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:17 PM
2 posts, read 3,929 times
Reputation: 10
We moved to RDU from Issaquah 3 months ago, glad to be away from the "Seattle Freeze" but miss the beautiful public parks, bike lanes and walking trails. (We also moved back to be closer to family.) I'm still navigating the area but Morrisville/Cary/Apex seems to be like the Bellevue/Eastside area. There are a lot of nice new neighborhoods and new retail, especially toward Apex, but not so much of the arts, political activism, etc. My understanding is that is found in Chapel Hill. I've also heard the Chapel Hill schools are high performing (or high stress depending on your perspective). The Southpoint area of Durham is very nice (near Chatham county line). There are tons of young couples here. I like shopping in the Brier Creek area but I feel very old there (I'm mid 40's), lots of families with preschoolers. I miss Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound, but the beach is only two hours away and warm enough to swim in! My biggest complaint is that this area is pedestrian hostile, so you might want to spend time observing neighborhood traffic patterns before buying in that's important to you. Before Seattle, I lived in OC. As far as traffic, I've found rush hour to be as bad as my OC commute and my Issq-Bellevue (5 miles, 25 min) commute. However, the nice part is there doesn't seem to be a traffic problem during the weekend or non-rush hours, (unlike OC and Bellevue). Hope this helps.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:49 PM
Location: Chapel Hill
1,246 posts, read 3,750,592 times
Reputation: 312
Originally Posted by ncnewby View Post
I've also heard the Chapel Hill schools are high performing (or high stress depending on your perspective).
I have a daughter who goes to high school in CH. I think the schools are as high stress as you want them them to be. It is your choice whether you take the honors classes and the AP classes. They are there if you want to take them but if you prefer you can just take the regular classes which are not so demanding.
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