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North Carolina: find a job, cost of living, realtor, four seasons, Masters degree.

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Old 10-04-2007, 03:35 PM
 
51 posts, read 176,900 times
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I have been reading the different threads/posts on this forum for quite a while now to get a feel for what people think and feel about the mountains of WNC. I have a philosophical question for those who would like to respond – what are the most important factors determining where one chooses to live? Is it where they were born & raised, family, friends, a job, cost of living, crime rate, access to healthcare, things to do, scenery, etc., etc., etc. I know these factors change at the different stages of one’s life. For instance, from birth to 18, it’s a matter of where you were born & raised and to whom that determines where you live. For the next 30-40 years, which are the income producing/saving years, your job plays a huge part in determining where you live. Then there’s retirement and different factors come into play. I also know that our likes and dislikes change as we age and that also plays a big part in determining where we want to live.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is a lot of people just get “carried along” by the currents of life and end up in places they don’t really like but because “life happens” they just “settle in” and get tied to an area they absolutely hate. And if you don’t have quite a bit of money, courage, and/or other resources, getting out of that predictament is sometimes very hard to do. I’ve known someone this happened to and the music inside her slowly died. She just existed from day to day because she hated where she lived so much that she didn’t want to get involved in anything or be around anyone because she knew she had such a negative outlook. She was in a situation where she could not change her circumstances. I’ve heard it said “bloom where you’re planted”. But what if where you’re planted is soil that’s not “right” for you. Some plants will NOT survive, much less bloom, if they’re in the wrong soil. I think this kind of applies to people as well. I’ve also heard it said if you don’t like your circumstances and can’t change them to “fake it til you make it”. And if your circumstances don’t change, I guess you just live a “fake” life.

Some people are so affected by their surroundings while others don’t care about their surroundings, only that they have a job, food to eat, a place to lay their head, and loved ones to enjoy. For example, my ex-husband (a physician) goes to work in the dark, comes home in the dark, works 7 days a week, and only sees the inside of a hospital/clinic and his home when he’s there. He could care less about the beauty (or lack thereof) of the geographic location or whether it’s 100 deg. or 30 outside. When he does take time away from his profession, he wants to spend it with his parents and siblings or at a professional sporting venue (football/basketball) so being in a major city with professional sports teams is a must for him. I, on the other hand, want to see beautiful scenery around me when I get in my car and drive to the grocery store, to work, to church, to wherever. To me that beautiful scenery is mountains, specifically the Blue Ridge/Appalachian mountains more so than the western US mountains. In fact, when I’m in my “element”, I am perfectly content just by myself.

So, everybody has different motivations for why they live where they live. I’m just grateful that we live in a country where, if we have the resources, we can move wherever we want. I just feel for those who are “stuck” so to speak. I think where you live is such a huge part of your life and happiness. These are just some thoughts I have pondered lately and if anyone else would like to share his/her thoughts and ideas, I would enjoy reading them.

Regards,
Carolyn
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:58 PM
 
108 posts, read 349,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clgrimes View Post

I guess what I’m trying to get at is a lot of people just get “carried along” by the currents of life and end up in places they don’t really like but because “life happens” they just “settle in” and get tied to an area they absolutely hate. And if you don’t have quite a bit of money, courage, and/or other resources, getting out of that predictament is sometimes very hard to do. I’ve known someone this happened to and the music inside her slowly died. She just existed from day to day...

Some people are so affected by their surroundings while others don’t care about their surroundings...

So, everybody has different motivations for why they live where they live. I’m just grateful that we live in a country where, if we have the resources, we can move wherever we want. I just feel for those who are “stuck” so to speak. I think where you live is such a huge part of your life and happiness. These are just some thoughts I have pondered lately and if anyone else would like to share his/her thoughts and ideas, I would enjoy reading them.

Regards,
Carolyn
Wow, Carolyn... Interesting post! I am currently struggling with this issue, and trying very hard not to settle... but I don't want the music to die in me!!! I don't really hate it here... but I feel like I'm done. In the late 70s, I felt that about Philadelphia and I moved to New England without a single regret. I feel like it's time to move on again.

Unfortunately, my husband has lived here his whole life and has no desire to go anywhere. So, I could be leaving more than my house behind. His Mom is my inspiration: when I met her she was 53 years old (younger than I am now), and newly divorced, with her life in front of her. Fast forward 26 years: she is still living in the same house (same ugly shag carpet too), surrounded by the same stuff, complaining about the same things. There has been NO growth, challenges, accomplishments, contributions. And I can see my hubby, now that he is retired, is exactly like her Not how I want to spend the rest of my life.

So, why am I thinking WNC? A few years back, someone wrote that Asheville is a good place to reinvent yourself, and I think that started it all.
Plus, 30 years ago I attended Penland; it was about the best vacation I ever had, and I never forgot how beautiful it was in the mountains! But, there are many other factors. I love the possibilities at UNC (college for seniors) cuz I LOVE to take classes in all kinds of stuff! I love the environmental interest, Coops, organic gardening stuff (none of that here). I love the Crafts tradition and the artsy stuff. The Jazz Society. The fact that the trees are not bare and grey there for 6 whole months as they are here... there are seasons, but winter isn't as long as it is here in CT.
But... I need to get down there, rent a place and spend some time to see if it really is the place for me. If not, I'm really stumped
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:47 PM
 
Location: SC boonies
40 posts, read 143,645 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by clgrimes View Post
I have been reading the different threads/posts on this forum for quite a while now to get a feel for what people think and feel about the mountains of WNC. I have a philosophical question for those who would like to respond – what are the most important factors determining where one chooses to live? Is it where they were born & raised, family, friends, a job, cost of living, crime rate, access to healthcare, things to do, scenery, etc., etc., etc. I know these factors change at the different stages of one’s life. For instance, from birth to 18, it’s a matter of where you were born & raised and to whom that determines where you live. For the next 30-40 years, which are the income producing/saving years, your job plays a huge part in determining where you live. Then there’s retirement and different factors come into play. I also know that our likes and dislikes change as we age and that also plays a big part in determining where we want to live.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is a lot of people just get “carried along” by the currents of life and end up in places they don’t really like but because “life happens” they just “settle in” and get tied to an area they absolutely hate. And if you don’t have quite a bit of money, courage, and/or other resources, getting out of that predictament is sometimes very hard to do. I’ve known someone this happened to and the music inside her slowly died. She just existed from day to day because she hated where she lived so much that she didn’t want to get involved in anything or be around anyone because she knew she had such a negative outlook. She was in a situation where she could not change her circumstances. I’ve heard it said “bloom where you’re planted”. But what if where you’re planted is soil that’s not “right” for you. Some plants will NOT survive, much less bloom, if they’re in the wrong soil. I think this kind of applies to people as well. I’ve also heard it said if you don’t like your circumstances and can’t change them to “fake it til you make it”. And if your circumstances don’t change, I guess you just live a “fake” life.

Some people are so affected by their surroundings while others don’t care about their surroundings, only that they have a job, food to eat, a place to lay their head, and loved ones to enjoy. For example, my ex-husband (a physician) goes to work in the dark, comes home in the dark, works 7 days a week, and only sees the inside of a hospital/clinic and his home when he’s there. He could care less about the beauty (or lack thereof) of the geographic location or whether it’s 100 deg. or 30 outside. When he does take time away from his profession, he wants to spend it with his parents and siblings or at a professional sporting venue (football/basketball) so being in a major city with professional sports teams is a must for him. I, on the other hand, want to see beautiful scenery around me when I get in my car and drive to the grocery store, to work, to church, to wherever. To me that beautiful scenery is mountains, specifically the Blue Ridge/Appalachian mountains more so than the western US mountains. In fact, when I’m in my “element”, I am perfectly content just by myself.

So, everybody has different motivations for why they live where they live. I’m just grateful that we live in a country where, if we have the resources, we can move wherever we want. I just feel for those who are “stuck” so to speak. I think where you live is such a huge part of your life and happiness. These are just some thoughts I have pondered lately and if anyone else would like to share his/her thoughts and ideas, I would enjoy reading them.

Regards,
Carolyn

Carolyn, What a marvelous post!
As I read my heartrate kind of slowed down. It was a breath of fresh air.
Originally, I was born and partially raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. I was fortunate enough to travel the world with my parents. It was the finest education.
I never felt rooted to 1 soil like my parents. I've lived all over the country but lived the longest in the Pocono Mountains of PA. Raised my girls there, would do it all over again but due to circumstances unforseen, we made a move to WPB, FL.... Yikes, it was soooo hot....... all the time. I tried to fake living and felt uncomfortable in my skin. With the exception of my youngest childs social activities and school functions, I became reclusive and recognized the deliberate ache in my heart.
Yes, it does take courage to move on and try something new. It takes great courage. Esspecially when you're responsible for your family's happiness as well. I have now lived 2 years in yet another place that doesn't fit the mold. Rural SC. may be for some but not for me. My 2 eldest daughters hated it so much, they mustered the courage to leave. We're a truly close family and it was a difficult decision for them to make but there is so much world to see and life to experience. I'm happy I raised such intelligent and brave children.
So now, it's just me and my 10 yr. old daughter. We've looked for homes in Charleston, the Outer Banks, Salem, MA, NH and have settled on Asheville.
When we moved from Fl, my little girl said, "Mommy, what if you don't like SC" and I answered, "well honey, we'll just move on to another adventure"
This time, knowing that she has had tremendous input in our new home search much to the strange looks my realtor has given us because we discuss everything so openly, things like green construction, topography, interesting architectural features, neighborhood and oh yes, schools. She's every bit as interested as I to know as much as possible and her opinion has been invaluable to me. She's not just a little kid, she's MY daughter.
She said, "Well Mom, if we're making another yucky move, then we'll just go find another adventure." And then she grins, ear to ear.......
It's all good. God has created a beautiful planet and we'll find the soil that feels good underfoot; to US.
There will be some posts that say how sad it must be not to feel rooted and that it must be my fault for not trying to fit in but it's not that at all. As I grin ear to ear.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently,
Fondly,
Starr
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Marshall, NC
442 posts, read 1,348,951 times
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Carolyn: I grew up in the mountains of western PA - spent my childhood playing in the woods - my parents never drove me to a play date - we played with our neighbors. When I was a freshman in HS my parents moved us (five kids) to Illinois - it was so ugly and flat and crowded I truly felt that a part of my soul died. I know myself and I need mountains (if you've ever read Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" you'll understand) I have spent my whole life trying to get back to the mountains and the western North Carolina mountains are where I am returning to. Luckily my husband is on board with getting out of suburban Chicago (he grew up in western PA, too). We are moving to Marshall, NC - it is small and still realtively unspoiled - I am looking forward to being part of my new town and to spending my days on our mountain with our dogs and hopefully a lot of friends and family to come stay with us. We do need to be where our souls are fed and for me - it's the mountains. There are a lot of negative posters on this board that don't want newcomers ruining their beautiful mountains and I can certainly understand the disdain for those that develop irresponsibly - but there are lots of us who want to live quietly and contribute to our communities. Good luck in your search, Carolyn -Liz
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:55 AM
 
41 posts, read 98,674 times
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wow,
very poetic!!!!! brings all my past and desires back to me. I was born in a mountain area, and missed it every single moment of my life. we'll come there and just looking at the mountain I'll know that I am home

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Old 10-07-2007, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Huntington, NY
652 posts, read 2,083,007 times
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Carolyn...Excellent post!! Now tell us how you really feel...lol.
Your post has so much fluid truth to it, it's inspirational.

My wife and I are on the edge of the ledge as where we'll be heading next.
Unfortunatly I finished this house (the Goose Hill Rd Project SEE MY WEBSITE in my profile) as the RE market became a disaster zone...ugh.
We always have invested in....ourselves...for our future. We put all we have...and then some (gulp)...into these projects and pray we can make a nice income from them. Redoing homes as we live through the dust and debris I create (a creative mess is better than an idle tidiness I keep telling my wife...oiy...lol).

We wanted to take on another adventure with another project while we're still able and willing but looks we will be a slave to timing...we'll see how it goes with RE and this sale.

We originally considered the area 'tween Black Mt and Asheville but the more I looked (on line) the more I came to realize I couldn't make much...if any money doing what we do here. The prices of well made homes there are CHEAP! At least compared to anywhere else I've looked that'd be a good fit for us relatively speaking.
Its not like I haven't done home renovations for other people b/c that was THE main thing I'd always done. I've been doing this full time for over 30 years and love my work.

Thing is...in N.C how much will my services bring me? Relatively speaking of course? I'm not looking to go backwards either...'specially at 57 y.o.

We also looked on the other end of the spectrum...out west where our 32 yo daughter and her family live. they live in S.F ca. We looked this summer in Carmel Valley, Monterey. A drop dead gorgeous area but equally as expensive as where we are now...maybe even more $$$ but has intense WOWWW factors unlike here. If we could sell this place for what we hoped.....i know, I know..and if I were six inches taller and had all my hair...lol.

I have to agree with you about taking risks...calculated ones. You only get so many chances in life. Its far too easy as I put it..."letting life walk into you...rather than you walking into life".
You also have to weigh out many things..you don't want to bite off your nose to spite your face.
You need to be 110% honest with yourself and not try and "convince" yourself its better somewhere else. Honesty!!!

I'm still open to the Black mtn-Asheville idea...actually I'm open to living in the back of my work van with the way RE is going...lol.
Clifford Renovations & Restorations; Cold Spring, NY is my site with my Goose hill rd project.

Once again...great post Carolyn!

Last edited by andybuildz; 12-21-2007 at 06:14 PM..
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:00 PM
 
51 posts, read 176,900 times
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Thanks everyone for your insights/motivations/desires you shared -- I have enjoyed reading them. Like another poster (jbird22) said on another thread, "this area has been so good for my heart and soul", I totally concur. And from what I have read, it's on yours and a lot of others' hearts and souls as well!

Regards,
Carolyn
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Old 11-10-2007, 01:41 AM
 
Location: East Asheville
758 posts, read 2,109,577 times
Reputation: 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by clgrimes View Post
I have been reading the different threads/posts on this forum for quite a while now to get a feel for what people think and feel about the mountains of WNC. I have a philosophical question for those who would like to respond – what are the most important factors determining where one chooses to live? Is it where they were born & raised, family, friends, a job, cost of living, crime rate, access to healthcare, things to do, scenery, etc., etc., etc. I know these factors change at the different stages of one’s life. For instance, from birth to 18, it’s a matter of where you were born & raised and to whom that determines where you live. For the next 30-40 years, which are the income producing/saving years, your job plays a huge part in determining where you live. Then there’s retirement and different factors come into play. I also know that our likes and dislikes change as we age and that also plays a big part in determining where we want to live.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is a lot of people just get “carried along” by the currents of life and end up in places they don’t really like but because “life happens” they just “settle in” and get tied to an area they absolutely hate. And if you don’t have quite a bit of money, courage, and/or other resources, getting out of that predictament is sometimes very hard to do. I’ve known someone this happened to and the music inside her slowly died. She just existed from day to day because she hated where she lived so much that she didn’t want to get involved in anything or be around anyone because she knew she had such a negative outlook. She was in a situation where she could not change her circumstances. I’ve heard it said “bloom where you’re planted”. But what if where you’re planted is soil that’s not “right” for you. Some plants will NOT survive, much less bloom, if they’re in the wrong soil. I think this kind of applies to people as well. I’ve also heard it said if you don’t like your circumstances and can’t change them to “fake it til you make it”. And if your circumstances don’t change, I guess you just live a “fake” life.

Some people are so affected by their surroundings while others don’t care about their surroundings, only that they have a job, food to eat, a place to lay their head, and loved ones to enjoy. For example, my ex-husband (a physician) goes to work in the dark, comes home in the dark, works 7 days a week, and only sees the inside of a hospital/clinic and his home when he’s there. He could care less about the beauty (or lack thereof) of the geographic location or whether it’s 100 deg. or 30 outside. When he does take time away from his profession, he wants to spend it with his parents and siblings or at a professional sporting venue (football/basketball) so being in a major city with professional sports teams is a must for him. I, on the other hand, want to see beautiful scenery around me when I get in my car and drive to the grocery store, to work, to church, to wherever. To me that beautiful scenery is mountains, specifically the Blue Ridge/Appalachian mountains more so than the western US mountains. In fact, when I’m in my “element”, I am perfectly content just by myself.

So, everybody has different motivations for why they live where they live. I’m just grateful that we live in a country where, if we have the resources, we can move wherever we want. I just feel for those who are “stuck” so to speak. I think where you live is such a huge part of your life and happiness. These are just some thoughts I have pondered lately and if anyone else would like to share his/her thoughts and ideas, I would enjoy reading them.

Regards,
Carolyn
Carolyn, we wanted to "bump" your post because for us it's probably the most inspired and intriguing thing we've ever read on the internet!

We hope for more responses to it this time--and for more philosophy from you, please, Carolyn.

Jan
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
485 posts, read 427,759 times
Reputation: 153
I missed this the first time around as it was posted Oct 4 - the day we left for 2 weeks in New England. It is, indeed, a beautiful post.

Ours is a bit of a long tail (tale), but here is why we chose North Carolina for the last years of our life - the place to where we will retire.

I was born in Maine. Pine trees, trout fishing, four seasons (although summer lasted only a couple of weeks, it seems), and small towns. We moved to Massachusetts and then Michigan while I was still a boy and I grew up in Michigan. Still four seasons, but no mountains. I went back to Maine for my Masters degree, but then my first church was in Michigan. In 1981, we moved to Arizona thinking it would be for no more than 5 years... but the boys grew and made friends, we got "entrenched" through many circumstances (not the least of which was a retirement system in which we became vested). And so we stayed.

My wife was born in Michigan on a dairy farm where the nearest neighbor was almost a mile away. Deer in the garden in the morning and evening; raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and birds all around. She was definitely a country girl. Maine was hard enough on her, being miles from her family. Arizona has been "purgatory."

Now we have reached the milestone event in our lives. I retired in January and she will retire in December. Our home is for sale and we are planning the next (and probably final) stage of our residency on earth.

We spent several years talking about where to go when we retired. We knew Arizona was not it - too hot, too urban, water problems inevitable, and too far from family (mostly hers).

My dad is in assisted living in Massachusetts. He has prostate cancer, emphysema, and had a heart by-pass. His years are numbered.

My wife's father is 81 and had a stroke a little over a year ago. He has slowed considerably. Her mother is a couple years younger and is doing well, but age is a factor.

I have a sister in Vermont and cousins throughout Maine as well as nephews in Michigan. My wife has two sisters and two brothers in Michigan and a brother in Raleigh. She also has a sister in Florida.

We each have a brother in Arizona and both our sons are in AZ. It will be hard to leave them, but the age of our parents draws us east.

Why North Carolina and not, say, Michigan or Ohio?

I love mountains, as does my wife. We love trees, rural life, small communities, and all the amenities that come with those things. There is little snow where we are looking (Brevard to Hendersonville), but still all four seasons. There is trout fishing for this old man while I am still able.

Michigan is a 10 hour drive away and Massachusetts is just 15 hours - both manageable in a day.

And then there are the economics - the practical matters. Rural North Carolina's cost of living is a little below that of urban Arizona. Our fixed income will go just a little further there. The equity in our home here should be enough to buy what we need there without the burden of a mortgage. And we will buy a place where we can have our own garden - something we have never been able to do in all the many years of our marriage.

Finally, we visited forums like this one for several places. NO WHERE have people been so gracious, helpful, informative, and loving as on this forum. People are so important and the people here and the people we met when we visited NC last August have been awesome. I believe we will fit in very well (except for the lack of the local accent).

There are other factors, mostly small, but still positives that add up to North Carolina being the best place for us to live out our lives.

We will give back to the community, as we do everywhere we live, though our caring clowning, my Santa Claus, and other volunteer activities. The availability of such things and the warm communities tell us that we are "coming home to a place we have never been before."
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:31 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
168 posts, read 640,318 times
Reputation: 119
Default Fantastic Thread!

I was reading this thread and didn't recognize any names....thanks Jan!

Now, on to my life story...and our reasons for moving to WNC...

As many of you know, I was born and raised in a small farming community in East Central Illinois. Hoopeston, Home of the Cornjerkers (another story, but I'm glad to tell it because I'm very pround of my "hometown"). For 16 years, I took for granted heavy snows (the kind you could make a snow cave in!) during the winter, corn and soybeans as far as the eye could see growing in the most gorgeous black earth God created, abundant flowers during the spring and and plethora of fall foliage that is nearly unmatched. Then my father took early retirement from the company that he had worked for since he was 15 years old and decided to move us all to NE FL. I was at the end of my junior year. I can tell you, that for a 16 year old girl, the ideal thing is not to move her 1000 miles away from every friend that she's ever known to a new school...not to mention a new boyfriend! I made my distaste of the situation known and my father told me, "You don't want to move because of that boy! You won't even remember his name in 6 weeks!" (Side note: Hey Dad, his name is Kevin and we'll be married 10 years on November 15th! I never fail to rub that in to my dad's face! )

Anyway, my parents moved me (and 2 of my 3 sisters) to NE FL and I instantly knew what I was missing from IL...a change of seasons! That, and the fact that grass does not grow voluntarily! (Oh, the things we take for granted!) Sand, sand, and more sand....couple that with the mountains of Live Oak tree leaves and you've got a disaster! I NEVER felt at home there...I longed to be in IL again. It was my hometown, the place that I grew up in, where nearly every close relative I had, lived! So, in 2000, Kevin and I, along with our 1 year old son, made the move back to our hometown...thinking that we would be in heaven from the time we moved our first box into the house. But, we were mistaken...life had moved on in that little Midwestern town. No one knew who I was other than "Paige's sister" (my oldest sister who had remained behind in IL)...or "John and Mae's granddaughter". I wasn't my own person, with my own identity. Strike 2...we don't feel at home here either.

Fast forward to 2004, my hubby got the opportunity to open a brand new Lowe's in a city about 30 minutes from my parents in FL...so, unhappy with our IL life, we moved back to the hot sandbox. I was determined to make it work this time...I would be happy, I would make my own happiness! After all, we'd never need our heavy winter coats, we were hours from Disney, Universal Studios, ect., we were a short 20 minutes from the BEACH!Such lofty dreams...I wasn't my own person here either... I was known as "Herb and Diane's daughter" or "Teresa and Michelle's sister"...it wasn't their fault...all of them are heavily involved in the EMS service in the county. They were simply better known than I. They'd established their lives in FL and I'd moved away.

Fast forward to 2007...hubby and I decided that we'd had enough of the sandbox. We were going to take our lives in our own hands and carve out a life in a location where no one knew any of our relatives. We decided on North Carolina. We'd been to Charlotte for races and Greenville and the Outer Banks and we were in love. The right climate and the right distance to friends and family (one days drive to IL or one day's drive to FL). Hubby applied to several different stores throughout NC...South Raleigh, Monroe, Banner Elk, and finally Hendersonville. Neither of us had ever been west of Gastonia, but we thought, "What the heck!" In September, hubby was offered the H-ville store and a new adventure. WOW! That's all I have to say when someone asks me how I like WNC. WOW! So now, a month into our new adventure, we are settling in to community where we already feel at home. I've never been to such a perfect location...gorgeous surroundings and a thriving community. Many would say that we're still in the "honeymoon" stage of our move, but I can tell you, I have moved enough in my relatively short life to know when a place feels like home...and this place feels like home!
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