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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:43 PM
 
27 posts, read 53,479 times
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Hi all,

I am currently living in Boston and have since I was a child. Recently my boyfriend & I went to Asheville to visit family and we loved it. The weather, the mountains, the FOOD! (we are vegetarians and couldn't believe how readily accessible and cheap vegetarian/vegan food is...) We loved how everything is pretty self contained...it seems like you wouldn't need to travel very far to have everything you could need. The sense of community and the support that local artists/musicians/writers/what have you seem to get is pretty extraordinary, especially coming from a place like Boston where that is virtually non existent.
Also, any place that hosts a weekly drum circle where everyone from hippies to older gentlemen in their business suits can get together & dance in the middle of a park is kind of awesome.

We stayed on a side street off of Merrimon Ave in North Asheville and the neighborhood seemed fine. The houses were close enough together for me to feel like we weren't alone in the woods - yet far enough away for privacy.

I was slightly concerned about visiting after reading about how Downtown Asheville was "gritty" and overrun by the homeless, but coming from Boston it really didn't seem too bad....I work in an area of Cambridge where there are dreadlocked kids around my age (25) with dogs literally on every corner asking for change. I had also read on these forums that crime is bad in Asheville, but I didn't feel unsafe like I have in certain parts of Boston.

So my questions for everyone are the following -

Has anyone made the move from Boston to Asheville? thoughts? was it culture shock going from one to the other? hard to adjust? I'm a city girl and am a little hesitant about making the move to a place that is part urban/part suburban/a lot rural.

Thoughts on North Asheville? Specifically around the Spears Ave (street?) area, about two miles from downtown?

How likely would it be for me to be able to get a job in retail or food service?

Thoughts on UNCA?

I also am completely sick of struggling to financially live here. The cheap rent in Asheville looks pretty good to someone who is used to 1 bedrooms starting at $1800/month. My boyfriend & I would have a place to live - one whole half of a duplex - and it would cost us the same amount we are spending now to live in one room with 3 roommates.

Any advice would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of posts about Asheville, but I looked through them and didn't seem to find the answers I was looking for. Thank you all in advance.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:27 PM
 
27 posts, read 53,479 times
Reputation: 21
i guess nobody has made this transition?
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,224 posts, read 8,038,716 times
Reputation: 5256
Give it more than a day...a reader/poster whom may have made that B-A'ville move may come along and respond.
Some of us read this stuff daily; some wander by occasionally.

Back at the move ranch, lots of posters here have moved to "Asheville area" from somewhere else; most seem to like it.

Dunno what any poster, even one with your specific similar experiences, can offer other than have employment, realize A'ville and surrounds are not a northeast city, etc.

Most A'ville rez and anyone that has moved could probably respond to your queries...and, realize that there are literally dozens of 'fishing'/tire kicking/drive by posts per month on this board, about 'moving to Asheville'.
GL, mD
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Podunk, Cackalacky
300 posts, read 569,192 times
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I think the biggest issue for you will be whether you can find work in Asheville. The town is flooded with low-skilled people looking for work, and employers pay the bare minimum because they can do it. I met a lot of people who moved there and went from middle class to minimum wage. If you're just looking for food service work, I think you'll be able to find it. Keep in mind there are loads of people just like you who are looking for those same jobs. I would advise you to have at least a few thousand dollars in the bank before you go, because it is notoriously hard to find work in Asheville. Why did all the hippies move to Asheville? Because they heard there were no jobs!

I was there for 3 months, and I last lived in NYC. I've lived in many places though. It wasn't a culture shock, but I did get bored with it fast. It's pretty small. It's beautiful though!

As far as neighborhoods go, in such a small town it doesn't seem to make much difference. Wherever you are, you're probably just a 5 minute drive from the other side of town. Not like NYC or Boston where that is your 'hood and it has unique character and all your favorite spots, and you spend a lot of time there because the other side of town in an hour away. Wherever you live, it will probably be a residential area, so it's not likely that you'll be chilling all along Spears Ave getting to know the nooks and crannies. They're just other people's houses. You'll probably be driving downtown everyday to do your business. A lot of people like West Asheville because it's more of a hippie/hipster neighborhood. I have to say I found it annoying to hear people talk about Haywood in West Asheville like it was some cool area to hang out in... there are maybe 5 businesses of interest there. I don't get it, especially coming from the city. It's like you walk half a mile and that's it.

I hope this wasn't too negative. Pros: it's beautiful and there are interesting people who really appreciate living there. Cons: hard to find work, very small.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:13 AM
 
8 posts, read 19,837 times
Reputation: 29
I would agree with trinely, work will be the biggest issue. But, once you get past that, and you will find a job eventually, it is a great place to live! I have lived here for 14 years, moved straight after high school to attend UNCA, and it kind of stuck! I have left to travel and live abroad, but always find myself gravitating back, and I love it here.

If you love outdoors activities, i.e., hiking, biking, rafting, etc, you will love it here too. The people are great, for the most part, and you can find your own niche. UNCA is a great school, quality professors/smaller classroom size, lots of great discussion courses, which I prefer over lecture. It is a bit limited, and there is only one master's program, which is a master's of liberal arts, and what the heck would you do with that? Would be a fun master's to get, though.

There are a lot of people in Asheville that are just having fun with life, enjoying themselves and eachother, and the area. I have found that most of my college buddies who were a bit more 'upwardly mobile' have not stayed, because jobs are hard to find, and there is not a great variety of jobs to do here. That being said, you can find a career here, if you can find a niche, as I have finally done. The variety of jobs is sparse, so you'll have to be willing to settle for a 'best possible fit' and work your way up, unless you just luck out and find the best thing right away!

You will find yourself with great people who have great outlooks on life, in my opinion, who are creative, talented and interesting, but sometimes lack a motivation, particularly in your age range. I find in my age range, I am 33, folks are starting to snap out of that and think of the future, going back to school for master's, etc. Have you seen Portlandia? It's a little like that, sort of, in that "it's where young people go to retire". Not a whole lot of materialism, you won't find anyone bragging about the new Lexus they just bought, or the 70 hour work week they just finished, but you will hear them talking about the great new place to hike they just found, or the great deal at the consignment shop they just scored, or the cool new brewery that just opened up, etc.

Crime has increased this summer, in the downtown area, so I have heard, but I never feel afraid to be there. I wouldn't worry about that, particularly if you're coming from Boston. It's a small town--vagrancy is an issue, but I have never had any problems with the folks who wander the streets, most of them, I have found, are there because they typically have some sort of mental health issue that precludes them from working and have no family to help them out. I give them my leftovers or a snack from my purse and they are grateful, I have not found them to be a problem. Just someone down on their luck. And besides, half the time there will be 4 cop cars surrounding the guy who is just trying to sleep the night on a bench Since it's a tourist town, there is a big push to reduce vagrancy, and the police are on it. Trouble is, there are only a couple of homeless shelters and not enough places for them to go.

Anyhoo, I could go on and on about Asheville! It's a great place, and if you are drawn, you should come. But I would take the advice of the above poster and make sure you had a modest savings before coming, it may be a few months before you find a job! Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:50 PM
 
78 posts, read 78,141 times
Reputation: 260
I've been lurking on this forum since early April, when I began researching my own move to Asheville, so perhaps this is as good a time as any for my first post.

My girlfriend and I, both in our late twenties, moved here from NYC a little over two months ago. Like you--and, apparently, everyone in the Milky Way--we visited Asheville and the surrounding areas and thought, "Gee, these mountains sure are pretty! Maybe we should try to live here." I was in the midst of looking for a new job in NYC, so the timing was perfect. I was also fairly burnt out by both the rat race and NYC itself, so the prospect of drinking Pisgah Pales to the tune of an old-time string band seemed even sweeter than it already is. I just needed a job--a point hammered home (and home again) by the City Data folks. Somewhat amazingly, I actually found a job, and one that was a near-perfect match. It didn't take much deliberation before we decided we would move and leave NYC after five years.

So far it's mostly been a success. I love my job, and while there was an initial moment of culture shock moving from a company of 500+ employees to one with 15, I'm happy. We live right downtown, and drive only a few times a week, if that. Nearly every weekend I bike to the farmer's market. We are indeed living the dream of Portlandia, in Asheville: we are young, and have gone to retire! (Well, not exactly...but we have stepped off the corporate treadmill.) I do realize, however, that this good fortune is exceedingly uncommon: finding a good job...and in my field (which is particularly small)...and during the recession...and in Asheville...is, from what I'm told, up there with finding a unicorn at the end of a rainbow. My girlfriend has not been so lucky; like a lot of talented young people here, she is well overqualified for her retail job. She's being patient, but it may take months for her to find work in her field, or maybe longer. If one of us hadn't been able to line up a stable gig, we would, alas, not be here.

Though it pains me (sort of) to admit, pound for pound Asheville may be the most complete Bobo utopia I've ever come across. There are more top-flight concerts, ethnic restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, organic markets, and, of course, demonstrations, than cities much larger. Because of this, I think, any culture shock stands a better chance of being mitigated, or at least minimized. (At least, if you live downtown. It can get much, much quieter even just blocks north of I-240, the divider between downtown and North Asheville.) That said, it is obviously different here than Boston, or NYC, or really any big city with important people. Keeping this in mind will make life quite a bit easier. No, won't get your latte as quickly...but you can get a tempeh reuben. Take a breath, and smile: you're in Asheville, remember?

In response to your specific question, I think North Asheville is a great place to live. With the exception of downtown it's the most pedestrian and bike-friendly area, particularly Montford and the neighborhoods around Charlotte Street. Also, after West Asheville it probably has the highest concentration of young-ish people. (We considered West Asheville, but a) I wanted to be able to walk or bike to work, and b) it reminded me too much of Brooklyn/Austin/Portland. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but we wanted a new experience.) With the caveat that I have only been here for two months, I've found concerns about crime downtown to be somewhat overblown. A woman was attacked in a parking garage near Pack Square two weeks ago, but she was alone and it was after 3 am. With common sense precautions--no doubt finely-calibrated after your time in Boston--I think you will be fine.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:25 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,762 posts, read 15,029,478 times
Reputation: 9538
Excellent post Cheboludo; and welcome to the area. We cannot repeat often enough to anyone who wants to relocate to western NC, not only Asheville: If you need a steady income, do not come without a job.

If you do come without a job, adjust your expectations and make sure you can sustain yourself for a minimum of one year; and be prepared to accept a job below your pay grade just to get a foot in the door. Do plenty of "home"work.
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Arden (Asheville), NC
2 posts, read 6,181 times
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Good luck with all of your plans, Milsoe90.

I guess my story is similar enough to comment here.....change Bahstin to North Jersey/NYC metro area and there you have it. I was also very worried about culture shock. To be honest, it wasn't too bad. You learn to deal with what's not here and take advantage of what IS here. There is definitely a hip/urban edge that is familar to city folk. It feels lively and vibrant and that to me really helped in shaping my views of the city early on. Overall, I love AVL. The pace...the scenery...the food....all great. It's not perfect, but it has a lot to offer.

I like North AVL. It definitely runs the gamut (urban the closer you get to downtown, then a bit more suburban and into rural/countryside up by the lake and beyond and in the Grove Park area. A little bit of everything...which is part of its charm. If I could afford a house, by all means any neighborhood up there would be fine imho.

Quilter Chick is spot on.....you might want to be a bit more open to lower wages if you do come here. I was making all sorts of money in NJ being a Medical Transporter. A job here that was quite similar was offering literally almost $6.00 per hour less. The job scene is very, very difficult here. Make sure you line something up. Food service is strong....plenty of great restaurants, gourmet food trucks, etc. Hopefully you'll be able to get your foot in the door. Good luck!
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,310,401 times
Reputation: 39844
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheBoludo View Post
I've been lurking on this forum since early April, when I began researching my own move to Asheville, so perhaps this is as good a time as any for my first post.

My girlfriend and I, both in our late twenties, moved here from NYC a little over two months ago. Like you--and, apparently, everyone in the Milky Way--we visited Asheville and the surrounding areas and thought, "Gee, these mountains sure are pretty! Maybe we should try to live here." I was in the midst of looking for a new job in NYC, so the timing was perfect. I was also fairly burnt out by both the rat race and NYC itself, so the prospect of drinking Pisgah Pales to the tune of an old-time string band seemed even sweeter than it already is. I just needed a job--a point hammered home (and home again) by the City Data folks. Somewhat amazingly, I actually found a job, and one that was a near-perfect match. It didn't take much deliberation before we decided we would move and leave NYC after five years.

So far it's mostly been a success. I love my job, and while there was an initial moment of culture shock moving from a company of 500+ employees to one with 15, I'm happy. We live right downtown, and drive only a few times a week, if that. Nearly every weekend I bike to the farmer's market. We are indeed living the dream of Portlandia, in Asheville: we are young, and have gone to retire! (Well, not exactly...but we have stepped off the corporate treadmill.) I do realize, however, that this good fortune is exceedingly uncommon: finding a good job...and in my field (which is particularly small)...and during the recession...and in Asheville...is, from what I'm told, up there with finding a unicorn at the end of a rainbow. My girlfriend has not been so lucky; like a lot of talented young people here, she is well overqualified for her retail job. She's being patient, but it may take months for her to find work in her field, or maybe longer. If one of us hadn't been able to line up a stable gig, we would, alas, not be here.

Though it pains me (sort of) to admit, pound for pound Asheville may be the most complete Bobo utopia I've ever come across. There are more top-flight concerts, ethnic restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, organic markets, and, of course, demonstrations, than cities much larger. Because of this, I think, any culture shock stands a better chance of being mitigated, or at least minimized. (At least, if you live downtown. It can get much, much quieter even just blocks north of I-240, the divider between downtown and North Asheville.) That said, it is obviously different here than Boston, or NYC, or really any big city with important people. Keeping this in mind will make life quite a bit easier. No, won't get your latte as quickly...but you can get a tempeh reuben. Take a breath, and smile: you're in Asheville, remember?

In response to your specific question, I think North Asheville is a great place to live. With the exception of downtown it's the most pedestrian and bike-friendly area, particularly Montford and the neighborhoods around Charlotte Street. Also, after West Asheville it probably has the highest concentration of young-ish people. (We considered West Asheville, but a) I wanted to be able to walk or bike to work, and b) it reminded me too much of Brooklyn/Austin/Portland. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but we wanted a new experience.) With the caveat that I have only been here for two months, I've found concerns about crime downtown to be somewhat overblown. A woman was attacked in a parking garage near Pack Square two weeks ago, but she was alone and it was after 3 am. With common sense precautions--no doubt finely-calibrated after your time in Boston--I think you will be fine.

WOW, that's what I call an informative post Great job!

So glad it's all working out for you
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,333 posts, read 17,356,004 times
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I never lived in Asheville, but lived over in the Tri-Cities and took numerous weekly "lunch breaks" to Asheville while in college in Johnson City. The food, particularly downtown at restaurants like Mela and Bouchon, is superb and better than you will find in many larger, more serious cities. I have yet to find Indian food in all the places I've been in the Midwest (Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Lincoln, Omaha's "Mother India" comes close) as good as Mela. If you like beer, Asheville may be the best city in the country for you. Bruisin Ales downtown features a world class beer selection and there are all kinds of breweries in the region. Outdoor activities are second to none.

Yes, Downtown has some bums and druggies, but it's no Philly or south side of Chicago. Trouble won't likely come to you down there unless you're looking for it and have some basic common sense. The job market is bad, but I do have some friends who grew up where I did making it in Asheville. They certainly aren't wealthy, but they are providing for themselves. Depending on your preferences and how low of an income you can handle, the move may be well worth it. I can't imagine you'd have a harder time in Asheville than Taxachusetts unless you're doing very, very well there.
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