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Old 07-13-2011, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainrose View Post
NEGirl,
I am interested in your impressions of Asheville compared to the nice VA towns you mentioned. How did it rate? I am interested in many of things in a community that you are, and I miss New England terribly, but can't handle to weather anymore nor the Lyme ticks (I am a serious gardener and outdoors person)
We just got back from checking out Boone and Blowing Rock areas (WAY less humidity!), but only had 2 days in Asheville (more humidity than BR area, also more culture) so want to go back for more investigating.

Lovesautumn: Would also like your impressions/comparisons of the two areas if you have been to the high country of western NC. Does it compare well to the nice areas in VA you recommended?
I think I may have gotten out on the wrong side of the hotel bed when I landed in Asheville, b/c I didn't relate to it at all. This came as a shock b/c I went there on the advice of an older friend whose 3 very best friends in the world live there, and all she could do was rave about it. I also knew it was a real "lifestyle" area with natural whole foods, body work, tai chi, arts & culture, so I was hoping for the best.

First, traveling from eastern NC to Asheville was on one major route, that goes by Greensboro. It goes right to Asheville. I started out around 6 pm from Raleigh it was hot as blazes and there was some kind of accident that kept the traffic at a standstill on that route for several hours. The car crawled along that route slowly into Asheville, and I remember thinking wow, one route to get there! (probably back roads but I wouldn't have taken those). Then it didn't help that the motel fire alarm system went off in the middle of the night and the entire motel had to evacuate at 3 a.m. after the trauma of being awakened to blaring sirens and strobe lights! I had never been to this part of the country before so I wasn't off to a good start!

It was dark when I arrived--arriving in a totally unfamiliar place at night was daunting. The outskirts seemed kind of shabby, like most American cities,miles of commercial business loop. It seemed heavily touristed, ran into lots of bikers at that hour. My feeling was it was not for me, the scale was bigger than I wanted, so that most likely colored the whole experience. I was looking for a small American town that's 20 years behind the times! What I saw was interesting but not a spark that said it was a match. I later read that a lot of "skinheads" and homeless unemployed youth are a significant presence there (I didn't see this, just read it), which wouldn't have registered a few years back.

The remoteness from the rest of the state felt a bit unsettling for me in my situation, too. I think if I were 20 years younger I would have responded differently. That said, I'm sure there are many retirees there who love it. I did like Black Mountain, a small nearby town but could see how remote that could be in the winter months.

I don't think I really gave Asheville a fair shake, as I am prone to first impressions (usually tell a book by its cover)--but remember I was looking for something very specific I had in mind and Asheville wasn't it.

Last edited by RiverBird; 07-13-2011 at 03:17 PM..

 
Old 07-13-2011, 06:01 PM
 
7,983 posts, read 11,673,230 times
Reputation: 10484
The only places I know of that feel like they are 20 years behind the times are places in Nebraska, Dakota's, etc. but they are not 'lifestyle' areas. I lived in Omaha from 2004-2007 and its a nice city. Not necessarily a retirement destination city but full of very polite people
 
Old 07-13-2011, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
The only places I know of that feel like they are 20 years behind the times are places in Nebraska, Dakota's, etc. but they are not 'lifestyle' areas. I lived in Omaha from 2004-2007 and its a nice city. Not necessarily a retirement destination city but full of very polite people
That would be a relief. I've had rather enough of lifestyle areas.
 
Old 07-14-2011, 12:06 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,556,181 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
The only places I know of that feel like they are 20 years behind the times are places in Nebraska, Dakota's, etc. but they are not 'lifestyle' areas. I lived in Omaha from 2004-2007 and its a nice city. Not necessarily a retirement destination city but full of very polite people
What does good retirement area have to be a retirement destination city. I feel that a normal city without any big attractions that has polite people, low crime, good healthcare and public transit would be enough for a retirement city.

I now have realized that these untrumpeted and unheralded and little known towns, cities are the best places to live and the best places to stay in place for retirement.

I do live near Denver. Denver and Colorado is the big destination for people. Young people and retirees are streaming here. Perhaps I have done my little part in making it a more of big sensational place in showcasing its good qualities. When, I came here over 32 years ago, it was not necessarily the top destination cities.

But I live in Arvada. Arvada is not really the big attractive area as Boulder, Denver proper and other well known suburbs of Denver--so perhaps I will be safe from the crowds. These older western suburbs of Denver that is Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Arvada have more long term residents and natives. It makes for a more sedate, quiet and peaceful area that the other glitzy suburbs of Denver.

If you are looking at a larger popular thriving metro area, any city or town, perhaps it is better to find the place that is the "runt of the litter"--that is the area you should embrace.

Livecontent
 
Old 07-14-2011, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,222,880 times
Reputation: 6866
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I think I may have gotten out on the wrong side of the hotel bed when I landed in Asheville, b/c I didn't relate to it at all. This came as a shock b/c I went there on the advice of an older friend whose 3 very best friends in the world live there, and all she could do was rave about it. I also knew it was a real "lifestyle" area with natural whole foods, body work, tai chi, arts & culture, so I was hoping for the best.

First, traveling from eastern NC to Asheville was on one major route, that goes by Greensboro. It goes right to Asheville. I started out around 6 pm from Raleigh it was hot as blazes and there was some kind of accident that kept the traffic at a standstill on that route for several hours. The car crawled along that route slowly into Asheville, and I remember thinking wow, one route to get there! (probably back roads but I wouldn't have taken those). Then it didn't help that the motel fire alarm system went off in the middle of the night and the entire motel had to evacuate at 3 a.m. after the trauma of being awakened to blaring sirens and strobe lights! I had never been to this part of the country before so I wasn't off to a good start!

It was dark when I arrived--arriving in a totally unfamiliar place at night was daunting. The outskirts seemed kind of shabby, like most American cities,miles of commercial business loop. It seemed heavily touristed, ran into lots of bikers at that hour. My feeling was it was not for me, the scale was bigger than I wanted, so that most likely colored the whole experience. I was looking for a small American town that's 20 years behind the times! What I saw was interesting but not a spark that said it was a match. I later read that a lot of "skinheads" and homeless unemployed youth are a significant presence there (I didn't see this, just read it), which wouldn't have registered a few years back.

The remoteness from the rest of the state felt a bit unsettling for me in my situation, too. I think if I were 20 years younger I would have responded differently. That said, I'm sure there are many retirees there who love it. I did like Black Mountain, a small nearby town but could see how remote that could be in the winter months.

I don't think I really gave Asheville a fair shake, as I am prone to first impressions (usually tell a book by its cover)--but remember I was looking for something very specific I had in mind and Asheville wasn't it.
I don't know about that. WAY before I began thinking about retirement, I "visited" Asheville with my youngest son. He was still in college, so this would have been around 2002 or 2003. My daughter had earlier worked and lived in Asheville for a summer and had raved about it. I thought I would love it - "laid back" town in the mountains of North Carolina. Well, surprise. I had an almost immediate dislike of it. Over-the-top dislike. Visceral reaction - "Get me outta here."

My perception was that there were a lot of "fake" hippies hanging around the town. I like hippies, really. But these weren't hippies, they were trustfarians pretending to be hippies. And even the "homeless" seemed off, somehow. It's hard to explain. The whole scenario just kind of flipped me out.
 
Old 07-14-2011, 08:38 AM
 
6,433 posts, read 3,364,582 times
Reputation: 6618
Thanks guys for the Asheville feedback.

We are going to investigate it one more time, but I have many of the same concerns you all raised. The Boone and Blowing Rock area was a lot more peaceful and manageable with most of the lifestyle needs, hardly any crime, easy access to good medical, minimum humidity, yet worse winter conditions----not as bad as New England though. I am not a big city person, so the 2 hour drive to a big city is not a real problem for me as long as I have the basics--farmers markets, good health food, good community feel, low crime, medical, etc

I will check out the VA areas recommended here.

The one thing that REALLY drew us to NC though was the warmth, kindness, politeness and genuineness of the people--plus it is drop-dead gorgeous country for nature lovers.
 
Old 07-14-2011, 09:42 AM
 
Location: zippidy doo dah
895 posts, read 1,333,110 times
Reputation: 1928
i'll jump in as the virginia rep here. I have been running back and forth between NC and VA, wrapping up the loose ends that i affectionately call "my life"....... and yesterday I made a major step in deciding - I got my driver's license switched back to Virginia so I think I have made, in a sense, a decision.

I love this state in many ways and have spent hours upon hours in thoughts of pros and cons on it. While I can't be an expert on ALL of the state ("commonwealth" for the purists amongst us), I do have a pretty good native perspective, having lived in NoVA, Spotsylvania, Richmond and Tidewater with jaunts to various other locales. I like NC but I still find that Virginia tugs me back again and again. Maybe I have grown to accept that this is what I know and the familiarity feels, well, familiar.

More and more, I believe this is where I'm settling for good. I've been to many places and know that no place is perfect. The question is finding the right place/affordability mixed with convenience, safety, variety of things to do and having some classy aspects without being a bastion of wealth which I don't possess and don't desire.

I'll keep you all updated as I zero in on the "where". And as they say, "you have a friend in ........" opps , that's PA not VA - well, either way , you do have a friend in Virginia
 
Old 07-14-2011, 10:36 AM
 
6,433 posts, read 3,364,582 times
Reputation: 6618
Mzfroggez,

Congrats on finally deciding where your home is going to be! What a huge relief that must be--I am envious!

Since you know VA so well, can you advise me if there are any areas in the western mountain areas (higher, less humidity, hiking& outdoor activities) that might be worth investigating--money is not a big problem, but I don't want mega-wealth, snobs, perfectly manicured lawns and finger nails---looking for REAL community with access to what I mentioned in last above post.

Also, do you feel the people in VA are as warm, kind, and helpful as in NC?

Thanks so much!
 
Old 07-14-2011, 01:57 PM
 
4,575 posts, read 7,067,487 times
Reputation: 4227
I've never been to Asheville...the photos look beautiful, but it's been "discovered" and got expensive. I keep trying to talk myself into NC but it's just not happening. Virginia is about as far south as I could go...
 
Old 07-14-2011, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveautumn View Post
I've never been to Asheville...the photos look beautiful, but it's been "discovered" and got expensive. I keep trying to talk myself into NC but it's just not happening. Virginia is about as far south as I could go...
If I remember right Richmond has a big Naval base. And Eastern VA doesn't draw me.

I love the corridor between Harrisonburg and Abingdon in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Western VA. Salem is nice but a bit plain.

Abingdon is my idea of a no frills American town and it has the famous Barter Theater and so much history, hospitality, and the annual Virginia Highlands Festival.

Attractions in Abingdon, VA at Frommer's

Barter Theatre

I'm going to have to get back down there for another visit! i resonated much more with VA than NC, but there are many great places in both states.
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