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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:07 PM
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i'm looking for advice on where to live in asheville. i moved to the usa from england in january and we ended up renting a place in black mountain. now, i don't want to put black mountain down as a town, and i know that lots of people love it, but it wasn't for me and i have spent the last seven months going stir crazy, especially as i didn't have a car until last month. having lived in london all my life i think i need to be closer to the city.

so, we are torn between trying to live as close to downtown as we can (we've found a couple of places in our price range on charlotte st) or going out of town a little and getting more space for our money. we have a one-year-old daughter and i like the idea of renting a whole house with a yard where she can run around, but i'm also selfishly drawn to downtown because i am SERIOUSLY having trouble adjusting to the car-centric way of life - i'm used to walking everywhere, doing all my shopping on foot, etc. this is where you tell me that black mountain is perfect for me, after all... but coming from london, it didn't feel walkable in the way i want... i want to be able to walk to a decent supermarket or corner store, walk to a video store, walk to the bakery, then walk home happy and tired, and in black mountain the downtown is mostly tourist and craft shops. it also didn't have the buzz and diversity that i like too. i'm absolutely not trying to make a negative point about the way of life, just a personal feeling.

so here's my question. i don't need to be able to leave my front door and walk everywhere, but i do want to be at least able to drive 10-15 mins and then be able to park up and walk around somewhere, shop, get a coffee, get groceries. areas we are thinking of out of town include arden and fairview. does arden have its own little downtown, even? my husband just got a new job in west asheville too so that's a possibility, and i've heard haywood rd is pretty cool. having only just got a car i still feel like i hardly know asheville, what i really need to do is spend a day driving around all the neighborhoods but unfortunately my daughter screams like a banshee as soon as she's in her car seat, blah.

so any advice on nice neighborhoods, especailly for a young child, is much appreciated. would downtown be a ridiculous idea with a kid? also, where should we avoid due to crime/safety issues?

many, many thanks in advance.
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:57 PM
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Well, I wouldn't look to Fairview for a downtown, and I wouldn't call Arden walkable. I don't think downtown is ridiculous with a child, but if you're wanting a house with a backyard, I would definitely vote for West Asheville. I would check with the police department--some areas of West Asheville can be a little sketchy--but mostly it is *very* liveable, very walkable, places to get coffee, cool restaurants, groceries, etc. Sounds like you're looking for more of the "every day" walk-to-it places, as opposed to artsy-craftsy which would indicate West Asheville over Black Mountain, for sure. West Asheville also has lots of great old bungalows with lots of charm--if we weren't so very settled in East Asheville after all these years, I'd move to West Asheville myself
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:02 PM
Location: Weaverville
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You need to be in Asheville somewhere. There you will have sidewalks for easy and safe walking, bicycle friendly programs, a bus system, and still quick access to shopping.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:42 AM
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Hi, I don't mean to divert your topic but something you stated did catch my eye and I have a question if you don't mind regarding Black Mountain.

I too am looking to relocate to Western NC next year and had placed Black Mtn as a posibility. Would you mind sharing what about the town wasn't for you and what made you stir crazy. Thanks a lot.
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:40 AM
Location: In the Zombie Room
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I've got to agree with JAngel. It sounds like West Asheville may be just what you're looking for.
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:11 AM
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In West Asheville, check out neighborhoods like Malvern Hills, Brucemont, Westwood Place, and Riverview neighborhoods.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:49 AM
Location: Asheville
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I personally like your Charlotte Street choice, because the closest area to downtown is North Asheville. There are a lot of side streets off Charlotte, and also more side streets off the road that goes up along the left side of the golf course, and then further up in there is also Grove Park neighborhoods, all good places to live. Historic Montford may or may not suit you, just steer clear of the few streets close to the freeway, but you can bike from there and into town if you want, I used to. Also, Beaver Lake is at the north end of Merrimon, nice houses on both sides, including the neighborhood off Lakeshore Drive, also both sides. But in all those north areas, while they are relatively close to downtown, you will always have to make a special trip to the grocery store and pharmacy with your car.

Now, I have lived in the West Asheville area for many years, too, and I have to say if you were not too thrilled with Black Mountain's downtown, then W Ash will be even worse, plus you gotta fight lots of traffic lights to get into downtown from over there. But I like Blk Mt, so I like W Ash too. If I had to choose to live anywhere in town, tho, and had no children, I'd consider the Grove Arcade condos. They used to have a food market in there, not sure if the old one has been replaced. And I'll always regret not moving to a lakeside house when I had the chance years ago.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gigimac View Post
If I had to choose to live anywhere in town, tho, and had no children, I'd consider the Grove Arcade condos. They used to have a food market in there, not sure if the old one has been replaced.
How much are getting for those? A purty penny no doubt!
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:20 AM
Location: Weaverville
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Yes there is a grocery in Grove Arcade--they grow their own produce in season.

I know what you mean about Black Mtn--if you live close to downtown there really isn't much other than tourist joints. And if you live in one of the neighborhoods away from town then you really need to drive places so what's the advantage? I also agree about the Charlotte St corridor for having convenient access to shopping. Heck we drive over there to go to the Bakery and also the new seafood monger. There also is the farmers market each Sat. morning down on Charlotte St ans well as one over at the UNC campus--lots of housing in the area between Merrimon and Montford and Greenflife is in that area. The North Asheville area on either side of Merrimon offers a lot of walkable convenience with the library near Beaver Lake and the really nice school up there along with Fresh Market and a nice Inlges. You will find though that lot sizes are pretty small in town--many are in the 1/10th acre size so you'd better like your neighbor. However that's also common to most English villages I've visited and I'm sure a large town like London is not graced with large lots. West Asheville just never caught on with me for many of the reason that gigi listed. It sounds neat but driving out there always made me want to turn around and head back over the bridge.
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:41 PM
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thanks so much for your input, everyone! north/west asheville are definitely sounding like an option. i am going to go and check them out as soon as i'm back in town. i am still feeling a little torn between trying to recreate my london living situation (small place in a v walkable, diverse, buzzy but also kind of skeezy area) and moving a little out of asheville where we can get a huge yard and start a veg garden... bah. i just saw two places that look good though, one in west asheville, one off leicester highway, so i'm going to check those out. thanks again for all the advice!

To Booya re: Black Mountain... well... where to start... the problem is I have trouble articulating why it isn't for me, because it's such a perfect little town in so many ways, and almost everyone i know in the area loves it, including my husband. i guess it's partly the issue of it being pretty tourist focussed - most of the downtown is craft and art galleries, which are fun to wander around once or twice but not really the kind of thing i want to see on a regular basis. i love LOVE LOVE art and design, and was so optimistic about being in black mountain with all its arty history, but it feels kind of staid to me, i'm not so into folk art or pottery and that's mostly what you find there. there is some good art that i loved but most of it wasn't my thing. the restaurants too seem mostly geared towards tourists, pretty pricey and mostly pretty fancy, whereas i like my food cheap and cheerful!
it's also the fact that at 28 i felt really young as there are lots of retirees. there are also lots of young families too, though, so it can't be just that, but i guess i felt a sort of underlying conservative vibe that isn't really my thing. i had been told that black mtn was this amazing arty open place and i acutally came across some pretty small-minded attitudes - not talking politics, more domestic stuff - for example someone on our street asked me not to leave my baby's stroller in the basement porch where it could (just about) be seen from the street (but only if you were looking for it), as it made the place 'look like a tenement house' and 'this isn't the kind of neighbourhood where people leave strollers in view'. that whole thing just made me think ugh, this place isn't for me.
but black mountain has so many positives - really safe, really friendly on the whole, some gorgeous houses, the beautiful lake, great restaruants. please don't let me put you off!!

Last edited by hb1981; 08-21-2010 at 02:58 PM.. Reason: removed errors
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