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Old 12-16-2008, 10:58 AM
 
4 posts, read 15,166 times
Reputation: 11
Default Hillsborough versus Chapel Hill & Carrboro

My family is moving to the Chapel Hill area this coming spring. We have been set on living in the Chapel Hill or Carrboro area & being able to enroll our son in the CH/C school district. Now I have started to come across a lot of info about Hillsborough and I'm wondering if I could get some opinions. Hillsborough seems as though it could be a good fit for us (not to mention that Real Estate and Prop Taxes are lower) as well, but I've never actually visited that area before. Is it worth my time to check it out?

How would you say Hillsborough compares to Chapel Hill or Carrboro? Here are the things that are important to us.
1. Good Public School System - a school where there are a variety of great programs and activities to choose from and one where the students feel challenged but supported.
2. Music & arts activities that we could enjoy (as adults & as a family.)
3. Overall, liberal minded / accepting atmosphere.
4. A sense of Community / small town feel and we like to buy from and shop in local businesses. We are, or try to be, pretty "green" in our day to day life and would love to live in a town that is on board with their environmental efforts.
5. In general, we really want to move into a "simpler" lifestyle. Right now we live in an area where everyone is "keeping up with the Jones'" and we just want to get as far away from that mentality as possible.

Thanks for any opinions and help!!!
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:30 AM
 
1,596 posts, read 1,665,349 times
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Wow Gaia, I will most likely be moving to the area in about 4-6 months also and I am looking for the same exact criteria you are. Hopefully you get some good responses to your question.

The only difference is that I currently live in St. Augustine, Fl , which has the same vibe and culture you are looking for. Unfortunately, my husband may need to transfer to Cary, so I am hoping to find an area that replicates St. Augustine as much as possible. I have concluded that Chapel Hill or Carrboro would be the best fit for us but was wondering if there are similar areas that maybe aren't quite as expensive.

I don't mean to hijack your thread. I think we are both looking for the same place.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:34 AM
 
1,955 posts, read 3,134,766 times
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Hillsborough is definitely a beautiful little town, and it's only about 15 miles or so from Carrboro, so the drive won't be bad at all. From what I can tell, it has the same sort of vibe that Carrboro and Chapel Hill have, but on a smaller scale. The new Weaver Street Market will probably help ensure that the "keep up with the Jones'" mentality doesn't invade

The school system is Orange County, rather than Chapel Hill/Carrboro. It's my understanding that the quality of that district is still very good, although perhaps somewhat less competitive. I'd go talk to teachers and school administrators when you're visiting.

Good luck!
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:36 AM
 
1,955 posts, read 3,134,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by songgirl View Post
Wow Gaia, I will most likely be moving to the area in about 4-6 months also and I am looking for the same exact criteria you are. Hopefully you get some good responses to your question.

The only difference is that I currently live in St. Augustine, Fl , which has the same vibe and culture you are looking for. Unfortunately, my husband may need to transfer to Cary, so I am hoping to find an area that replicates St. Augustine as much as possible. I have concluded that Chapel Hill or Carrboro would be the best fit for us but was wondering if there are similar areas that maybe aren't quite as expensive.

I don't mean to hijack your thread. I think we are both looking for the same place.
Parts of SW Durham might work for you as well. Although suburban, once you get away from the Disneyland atmosphere of the Southpoint area, it still has a pretty rustic and natural feel to it. SW Durham is known for quality public schools (unlike the rest of Durham).
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:39 AM
 
1,955 posts, read 3,134,766 times
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One area for you both to consider is Pittsboro, although that might be a far drive for you if you need to commute to Cary.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm rather harsh on Cary, but if you stick to the older parts of Cary, you can still live a life that doesn't revolve completely around shopping at box stores and satisfying your HOA's landscaping and paint requirements.

Alas, you have Wake County Public Schools to deal with (decent quality-wise, I suppose, but I guess a nightmare in terms of administration and reassignments).
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:44 AM
 
3,155 posts, read 6,597,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaia912 View Post
My family is moving to the Chapel Hill area this coming spring. We have been set on living in the Chapel Hill or Carrboro area & being able to enroll our son in the CH/C school district. Now I have started to come across a lot of info about Hillsborough and I'm wondering if I could get some opinions. Hillsborough seems as though it could be a good fit for us (not to mention that Real Estate and Prop Taxes are lower) as well, but I've never actually visited that area before. Is it worth my time to check it out?

How would you say Hillsborough compares to Chapel Hill or Carrboro? Here are the things that are important to us.
1. Good Public School System - a school where there are a variety of great programs and activities to choose from and one where the students feel challenged but supported.
2. Music & arts activities that we could enjoy (as adults & as a family.)
3. Overall, liberal minded / accepting atmosphere.
4. A sense of Community / small town feel and we like to buy from and shop in local businesses. We are, or try to be, pretty "green" in our day to day life and would love to live in a town that is on board with their environmental efforts.
5. In general, we really want to move into a "simpler" lifestyle. Right now we live in an area where everyone is "keeping up with the Jones'" and we just want to get as far away from that mentality as possible.

Thanks for any opinions and help!!!
Gaia, I will let others comment on Hillsborough as I do not have a good feel for the town. It does have a lovely, small historic district.

I do want to share that if you are looking outside of CH/C for the above criteria you might also want to consider Pittsboro (South of CH) and Durham right next door to CH.

I think overall Orange Co Schools (Hillsborough), Chatham County Schools (Pittsboro), and Durham County Schools are comparable. Keep in mind you will not see the same scores in these districts as you see in CH/C. But these districts have A LOT more economic diversity than CH/C schools.

Durham is the largest of these, so you will find more in the way of music and art. But I know Pittsboro has an active art and music community. And I believe Hillsborough does as well.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:22 PM
 
1,489 posts, read 3,551,640 times
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I like Hillsborough a lot, and it is definitely where a lot of people look who are trying to find something more affordable than Chapel Hill, and can't see past the bad press that Durham still gets. Honestly are school systems here are all very good, and offer plenty of challenges, it's best to visit and decide what the best fit for your children will be. Also, our towns are not that separated, so you can enjoy the great things each area has to offer.

I grew up in Chapel Hill, but chose to live in Durham b/c it has a better restaurant and cultural scene, and more diversity, plus it's right in between Chapel Hill and Raleigh. I also prefer the school system due to the fact there is more choice and flexibility.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:35 PM
 
1,596 posts, read 1,665,349 times
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Thank you StoneOne! Which area would you consider to have the most character, architectural variation and interesting places such as art galleries and live music venues?

Schools are top priority but mom and dad have to have fun too

Hopefully, we will be able to remain in St. Augustine and my husband will be allowed to continue to work remotely. The company my husband recently found a job with is giving us "4-6 months" to sell our house before we move up to NC but anyone who is familiar with Florida real estate realizes that virtually nothing is selling no matter what price you list at. We would have to attempt to rent it , most likely,and then rent ourselves in NC.

I'm not looking forward to this potential (likely) move because I think we will be financially screwed for awhile and I would miss the historical ambiance and laid back atmosphere of St. Augustine but I'm sure we could be happy in NC too if we find the right niche. Our situation could be a lot worse.

Thanks for your advice thus far. I will look into the areas you mentioned and try to keep a positive outlook!
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Parkwood!
121 posts, read 238,892 times
Reputation: 70
StoneOne is dead on.
The only thing that I disagree with is that other parts of Durham don't have good schools. There are some really good public schools closer into town like Morehead Montessori and DSA.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:11 PM
 
4 posts, read 15,166 times
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Great tips and advice! I'm not sure that it makes it easier though... they all sound like they have great things to offer! But I am thankful for that. We are so excited to get there. We have been living in an area that we really dislike for far too long. Everything is just subdivision after subdivision here. One shopping center looks like just the next 2.5 miles away and it makes me just want to scream!!! This has been a long time coming for our family and we just can't wait to settle in there.
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