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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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I have posted this message on the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill forum and after researching Asheville, I'm wondering if this area is a better fit??? I grew up hiking the White Mountains of NH and my husband rock climbs, so the mountains are a big bonus. Also - there is an opening for a Social Worker at the VA in Asheville that i could apply for, however, I don't have know how far in to the city I would need to commute and the thought of city driving (likenening it to Philly) raises major anxiety. Comments on this are also appreciated.

We are a family of 4 - myself and hubby in our 40's with 1yo and 4yo boys. My husband is an Occupational Therapist and has the opportunity of being a traveling OT which means we can pretty much pick a place and with the high need for OTs, its likely we can get a short-term (3 months) placement almost anywhere - so employment is not really an issue. As soon as our house sells we are going to take advantage of this opportunity to live in some other states and see where we truly want to call Home.

We are North of Philadelphia in Bucks County now, and while it is beautiful here it is extremely expensive. Also I don't love the Phili/NYC/NJ harshness that seems to pervade this area. We are NOT city people - instead we are drawn to quaint towns with interesting architecture, good eateries, funky boutiques, friendly locals, family-friendly small events. We are outdoor/nature people and need green space and ample, easy access to parks and recreation.

We are vegetarians and eat fairly healthy, so the BBQ, fried foods and seafood are not a draw. I NEED my fixes of Thai and Indian at least a couple times a month :-) We are big fans of farmers markets, eating local, would like to belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture).

We are liberal in our political and social views; spiritual rather than religious.

We are leaving a home in the woods - beautiful and private but lonely. I want to find a nice development (that has some space between the homes and some trees!) with a pool/recreation within walking distance that is situated in an environment that is open, friendly, more laid back, more affordable (I want to be home with my kids for a couple years) and supports a more relaxed lifestyle.

Thoughts and recommendations?????
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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It sounds to me like Asheville would be an excellent fit for you, though of course you should visit to see if it feels like home. It is a city, but has much more of a small-town feel than the Triangle and is certainly friendlier than the Philadelphia area (I've lived in all three places, and your family sounds very similar to mine). There is tons of outdoor stuff to do, awesome restaurants and a huge local food movement, lots of quaint towns close by, and nothing close to "city driving" traffic. It's extremely vegetarian-friendly, as even many barbecue places have good veggie options. The city of Asheville itself is very liberal, but the surrounding areas are more conservative and have a larger focus on religion. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill does have a lot of what you're looking for, but (in my opinion) this area is prettier and more outdoorsy, and also more relaxed. Asheville is not the most affordable town in this state (actually the most expensive by some reports), but it would still be a nice break from Bucks County. As for specific areas, I really like East Asheville. We live in Haw Creek, which is very close to downtown but has a country feel, and there is a pool in the neighborhood as well as a very good elementary school.

Good luck with your decision! How lucky to be able to live anywhere you want.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: near downtown Greenville, SC (viewing the sunset vicariously at the North Gulf Shore Beach Access)
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The OP presents one of the best scenarios I've read in months - I think their family would make a perfect "fit" in Asheville. I've seen numerous posts stating (in some fashion): "I (or my family) has fallen in love with progressive Asheville and the NC mountains - but, I have no job, few prospects/experience, and no savings - should I move?"

Asheville has one of the worst job prospects in all of NC (perhaps even in most of the Southeast) - and, if job opportunities are of no concern, then Asheville and its surrounds may be perfect for your family.

Note that Asheville (especially the city of) is perhaps the most expensive area of NC - but, this may be cheaper than many parts of the Northeast. Also, as noted above, the city of Asheville is quite liberal - outlying areas are much more conservative.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:06 PM
 
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Thank you for your comments!

Since my posting this morning I have been searching Realtor.com to check out properties and real estate pricing within 10 miles of Ashville . Its still significantly more affordable than here in Bucks county - I searched for $300,000 and below and found some lovely properties with gorgeous views (we can't get a decent townhouse for that!) No community pools, however, unlike the Durham area which seemed to have them in many developments but I'm guessing with all the hills the topography isn't nearly as conducive to this type of community layout (?)

"outlying areas are much more conservative."
Does 10 miles out count in your estimation?
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:44 PM
 
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There are plenty of swimming pools here, but as far as I know they're not usually tied to particular developments as they are in Durham. I don't know of a pool you can use in the Durham area unless you're somehow paying for it throughout the year, either through a club membership or housing association dues. In the Asheville area there are six public pools that are part of the Buncombe County Parks & Rec Services and open to everyone for something like $3 per use, with no membership fee (though you can buy passes that make it a bit cheaper if you go often). There are some private pools (e.g., the East Asheville pool in Haw Creek and the JCC in North Asheville) that you can pay to join, but they're not tied to any particular development. The only pools I can think of that are part of a housing development are associated with apartments, not houses. There are probably some that I don't know about.

You're probably fine 10 miles out if you're looking for a more liberal mindset. In fact, you're really fine anywhere in WNC in the sense that there's a prevailing "live and let live" philosophy, but if you want to live around like-minded people you're more likely to find it the closer you are to downtown.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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Hi all - just read Mommalove's first post, and thought I would jump in. We are also in Bucks County, PA, and are looking to relocate to either Boone or Blowing Rock within the next few months. We have a young family and would like to live in an area or neighborhood with kids for them to play with. Also, how are the schools, both public and private? What would local insiders recommend? Thank you!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:20 AM
 
Location: NC High Country
3,857 posts, read 6,634,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoxiePA View Post
Hi all - just read Mommalove's first post, and thought I would jump in. We are also in Bucks County, PA, and are looking to relocate to either Boone or Blowing Rock within the next few months. We have a young family and would like to live in an area or neighborhood with kids for them to play with. Also, how are the schools, both public and private? What would local insiders recommend? Thank you!
I'd suggest that you start your own thread for Boone/Blowing Rock..... a totally different world from Asheville.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by roadpony View Post
I'd suggest that you start your own thread for Boone/Blowing Rock..... a totally different world from Asheville.
Great - thank you!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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We moved do Asheville from Delaware 18 months ago - NO regrets at all. It felt like home after only a couple of months and I will never go back to where we moved from.
I think it's a kind of paradise for vegetarians and people, who are into healthy, local food overall.

we are not vegetarian yet (half of the family is) and never had trouble finding good options around here (besides the Grove park Inn, lol, surprise )

what I like about Asheville is the european vibe you can find in down town. music, sidewalks, ice creme, cafes, drumming circle, street artists, cute shops and restaurants. you park you car and walk around. very often cities with the same size have pretty much offices, banks and a couple cafes .. not asheville. I love our lively downtown and I am there in 10-15 minutes.

We live in an older neighborhood (as you described it), can see neighboring houses, but the distance is great. we are lucky we landed here, since we found lots of families with a similar mind set and get together a lot.

well, there is a down side of course. the pools. we left our (hubby actually built it) pool behind since I as well heard about those public pools where you can go with no membership attached and homes with their own pools are rare (remember, mountains ).
first it mostly is not in walking distance, second ... they are really boring, just waterholes with no slides or other fun stuff for kids.
the summers here are comparable to our delaware summers, just not that hot and that humid and nights are way cooler.
so on hot summer days we'll go to rivers, swimming holes, water falls, lakes ... but I still miss a waterpark/nice outdoor pool at times (greenville has THREE, operated by the city ... not sure, where ashevilles money is going ....)

biltmore park has a pool (expensive neighborhood, but you can walk to cafes, pool, bookstores, movies, toy store ...) as well as park avenue (right next to our neighborhood), not that expensive and they have a neighborhood pool. both are in south asheville.

the pool in haw creek (east asheville) is nice, but also not really walkable. streets are narrow and no side walks.

when in comes to schools, I would try to stay within TC roberson school district. I am not sure, if I was really spoiled (my kids went to a small charter school in DE), but I am not overly excited when it comes to schools around here- but there are options ! Your kids are young, so I would try to get them into evergreen charter (east asheville) or artspace charter. they offer K-8 and right now there is a plan to open a (outdoor activity oriented) charter middle/HS in south Asheville. Buncombe county has the best schools around here, but PA is well known for pretty good schools and it will be hard to find a school that meets those standards. sadly. On the other side the whole move was not too easy for my kids, at least the new schools did not cause any trouble, since they were far ahead. Elementary schools around here seem to be pretty good (mine went to Estes and we really liked it), but when it comes to intermediate school age, it's not easy to find what I call a 'great' school.
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