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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
160 posts, read 257,423 times
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This is a post that was meant to be in response to a thread I started about Independence Day. But it's really kind of off-topic for that thread so I figured I'd share my experience in a separate thread. Feel free to offer your opinions to a possible future resident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJFIVEOH View Post
I went there with the intentions on vacationing, but I went out of my way to take some mental notes on every place I went to with the expectations I may be moving there in the near future. I think I mixed it up nicely, a good mixture of driving, hiking, relaxing, walking through some towns, etc. I ended up putting 1500 miles on my truck, most of it in WNC the rest of it in north GA. I ended up either driving through and/or spending some time in Sylva, Bryson City, Waynesville, Nantahala, Andrews, Murphy, Highlands, Sapphire, Cashiers, Franklin, Brevard, Hendersonville, Burnsville, Black Mountain and Old Fort.

I'm in my mid 30's and single so I think anything west of Waynesville is probably out of the question. It has nothing to do with the towns. But I was very impressed with the Highlands, Sapphire and Cashiers area. It seems to be more of a 2nd home area and big on golf. It's a great area for a day trip to go eat or shop as there is plenty of it. Not sure if it's the best area for full time residents. I looked up the populations of these towns, and the towns look MUCH bigger than there actual population.

I want to say it was the Sylva/Dillsboro area I went through that looks like it may be the next area to grow. Seemed to me there was a big pharmaceutical draw there and many businesses looked very new. The area looks ripe for growth as everything is spread out and there is plenty of room for it, and businesses have already worked there way into the town. For me, too far away from Asheville but I was impressed. I was just driving through on our way to make a big loop from Burnsville to Franklin, and from Franklin to 64 all the way back to I-26.

I think I was most impressed with Hendersonville. It's got a cool little downtown that looks like it was recently rejuvenated. Plenty of places to shop, plenty of places to eat and from what I could tell I nice variety of different types of real estate to choose from. West First Wood Fired Pizza was AWESOME!!! The presence of very few chain stores anywhere in WNC is great! Small businesses were booming compared to down here in SoFL and it left for a real nice choice of dining. Hendesonville is going to be a serious consideration for me if I don't pick Asheville to live.

The day I drove up happened to be the first day that heat wave hit! That was the week I spent in Helen, GA. The next day it hit 106°, but it actually felt pretty comfortable compared to a mid 90's day down here. By the second week when I went to Burnsville (actually south of Burnsville on the Devil's Whip right off the Parkway) the weather completely changed. The cold front moved down and for the last 5 days never got above 70° and pretty much rained the entire time. I loved it! The kind of weather you expect in the fall. A couple of unexpected downfalls put a damper on a couple of hikes, but that's OK. Especially Glen Falls in Highlands. I just reached the very bottom when the skies opened up. But the very cool, foggy, misty weather was a perfect way to end the week.

I'm still weighing my options as far as jobs, but I hope it works out. I'm getting impatient and I may just pack it up and worry about the job situation after I get there. I would like to have it worked out beforehand, but we'll see what happens.

I posted some pics here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/25358749-post195.html

Probably should have started a new thread eh?
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,829 posts, read 15,135,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJFIVEOH View Post
This is a post that was meant to be in response to a thread I started about Independence Day. But it's really kind of off-topic for that thread so I figured I'd share my experience in a separate thread. Feel free to offer your opinions to a possible future resident.

Great photos ! Hendersonville is my favorite downtown, very walkable, it's always evolving, and is a nice clean small City. Both the County Commissioners and the City officials keep a tight rein on budgets and keep taxes low. (Of course that is open to others' opinions as well ), low taxes, just the right amount of shopping and restaurants. The Flat Rock Playhouse (Flat Rock is a village within Henderson County), is awesome (State theatre of NC), the Carl Sandburg home and farm, etc. If you do choose Hendersonville, or within a country location just outside of the City of Hendersonville, you cannot go wrong. You have all of Henderson County to consider. In western NC, real estate searches are done first by county, then by the town/city within that county, and there are many to consider outside the city limits. e.g. Mills River, Etowah, Horse Shoe, Fletcher, Naples, Edneyville, Flat Rock, Saluda, etc.

Thanks for posting the photos, glad you had a nice trip.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
160 posts, read 257,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
Great photos ! Hendersonville is my favorite downtown, very walkable, it's always evolving, and is a nice clean small City. Both the County Commissioners and the City officials keep a tight rein on budgets and keep taxes low. (Of course that is open to others' opinions as well ), low taxes, just the right amount of shopping and restaurants. The Flat Rock Playhouse (Flat Rock is a village within Henderson County), is awesome (State theatre of NC), the Carl Sandburg home and farm, etc. If you do choose Hendersonville, or within a country location just outside of the City of Hendersonville, you cannot go wrong. You have all of Henderson County to consider. In western NC, real estate searches are done first by county, then by the town/city within that county, and there are many to consider outside the city limits. e.g. Mills River, Etowah, Horse Shoe, Fletcher, Naples, Edneyville, Flat Rock, Saluda, etc.

Thanks for posting the photos, glad you had a nice trip.
Thanks! Unfortunately Hendersonville was a last minute stop and didn't get a lot of time to check out anything outside of downtown after dinner. The crowds seemed kind of sparse but it might have been an off night. I did drive through a couple of those towns. If anything does happen and I end up moving to WNC, most likely it will be right in Asheville or Hendersonville. I'm still single and would like to be near some kind of night life. I think that is one of the few things that scares me about moving to WNC, I'm used to a large metropolitan area. Being single and in a small city kind of scares me.
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
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JJFIVEOH,
Interesting trip report, impressions and cool pics!
Good luck on whatever you decide...
BR, mD
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
160 posts, read 257,423 times
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Weather and climate have always been a hobby of mine. With the extreme weather we get down here it's tough not to be up on it. But I've always read that the area southeast of Highlands just north of the SC border, near Cashiers, Sapphire and Gorges State Park averages 10-30" more rain than the rest of WNC. It must have something to do with the rainshadow effect from the hot, humid southeast air and that area being the first line of high elevation mountains. But going through there is unbelievable. Everything is so green! Just a completely different mixture of trees, between that and the moss it's something I could only compare to the Pacific Northwest. That first pic I posted was atop Whiteside Mountain which is right on the outskirts of the rainy area. If anybody is up for a really long but scenic drive I highly recommend a trip from Franklin along 64 all the way into Hendersonville passing through Cashiers and Sapphire and maybe stopping at Gorges State Park and Lake Jocassee along the way.
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:55 PM
 
Location: near downtown Greenville, SC (viewing the sunset vicariously at the North Gulf Shore Beach Access)
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My wife and I stayed in Highlands, NC at a local B&B during the weekend of July 21st. The high temp that Saturday was only 68! The temperature difference between Upstate SC/Piedmont NC areas and the High Country of Western NC is just amazing.

As for Appalachian Temperature Rain Forests, here is the Wikipedia entry:
"Temperate rain forests in the eastern USA are limited to areas in the southern Appalachian Mountains where orographic precipitation causes weather systems coming from the west and from the Gulf of Mexico to drop more precipitation than in surrounding areas. The largest of these forest blocks are located in western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and far eastern Tennessee, largely in the Pisgah, Nantahala, Chattahoochee National Forests and nearby Gorges State Park. In addition, small areas in the highest elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains also receive substantial rainfall, with Clingmans Dome, for example, collecting about 2000 mm of precipitation per year. Although the highest summits of the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Mount Katahdin in Maine receive over 2000 mm of precipitation per year, some of these locations have alpine environments and whether or not temperate rain forests exist in these regions is subject to debate. It is possible for small blocks of temperate rainforest to exist along the slopes of these mountain ranges below the tree line where annual precipitation is sufficient for such forests to thrive."

Last edited by drfranklin; 07-31-2012 at 06:10 PM..
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
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And, one of the driest spots in the state is the 'plateau' that the AVL airport sits on, not far from those very wet areas; part of the reason for the WLOS weather guessers always showing that the 'official' rainfall is usually a inch to several 'below normal' YTD. Don't know when the AVL area ever had 'normal'...maybe during 'Canes Ivan & Francis in 2004.

Fwiw, we got 2.6 inches up here on the Mtn today; it was supposed to be a chance of a late day shower, but it started raining on me on my walk up the mtn walk at 6:30 AM. Very variable conditions here in the Mtns vs the Flats, in my experience. Some of the previous weather 'forecasters' used to admit that; the current crop seems to disregard much of western NC and talk about A'ville and lots of far away places in South Carolina.
GL, mD

Last edited by motordavid; 07-31-2012 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
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The driest (Downtown Asheville) and wettest (Lake Toxaway) weather monitoring stations in the state are only 50 miles apart.

State Climate Office of North Carolina
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:59 PM
 
103 posts, read 177,995 times
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The mountains are indeed like a laundry wringer for the clouds. You can drive through a hail storm and be greeted with clear blue skies on the other side of the ridge. In the winter, it greatly affects the snowfall. Some areas will get slammed when others not to far away will only get a dusting. It all depends on how the storm approachs the region.

At the National Climatic Data Center on Patton, we used to have a museum. One of the displays was a piece of plexiglass on top of a large raised relief map showing the region's terrain. On the plexiglass was circles to denote the average rainfall across the region. As you might expect, the higher elevations had the tighter circles with more precip. What was interesting, though, was how much the rainfall markings made the plexiglass look like a topographical map itself.

Our heaviest snows tend to be in the beginning or end of the cold weather months. This is largely due to the still relatively warm and moist air from the Gulf running suddenly into the cold mountain temps. Of the handful of +2ft snowfalls we've had since moving here, all have been in either Nov/Dec or mid-late March.

Sorry for rambling. I have a fascination with weather patterns, too.

Thanks for posting a review of your trip here. I think its nice to read about people having a pleasant time while visiting the area.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:00 AM
 
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There is a map somewhere online that shows the outlines of the area that is considered temperate rain forest in WNC. The rain forest area is oval shaped if I remember correctly. The northern end is in Transylvania County and it extends into parts of Jackson and Macon County.

There is in excess of 80 inches of rain in the rainiest parts. That's why you will see so much moss and wild and crazy mushrooms in those places.

I recently stopped the car several times going between Highlands and Cashiers on a deserted back road to look at the emerald moss around tiny waterfalls right next to the road.
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