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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:06 PM
Location: Crownsville, MD
18 posts, read 60,313 times
Reputation: 11


My husband and I live near Annapolis, MD and plan to visit the Western NC and SC areas over labor day to assess them as possible places to retire (in about a year and a half). I like where I live now although it is a bit too expensive for us after retirement. My sister and her husband also plan to retire and move from Austin, TX at the same time. We'd like to compare small to mid-size towns outside the Greenville area in SC and outside the Asheville area.

We suspect (hope) that WNC or WSC would offer us good neighbors, beautiful scenery, four season weather (without being extremely hot or cold) and affordable homes. Our price range is around $275,000 for a one story 3 bedroom home. I live on an acre now surrounded by woods and would like to have a similar feeling of privacy. We all see ourselves living in nice small homes backing up to the woods...and would a pond or stream be too much to expect?

Some questions are:
What makes Western NC (outside Asheville) vs Western SC (outside Greenville) more desirable? I realize Asheville is probably more artsy and eclectic.
Is the cost of living much lower in the surrounding Greenville area as compared to areas around Asheville?
I like to play tennis, hubby plays golf, but we do not need a country club environment--just local play. Will we find it?
My sister is an avid gardener and wants good dirt (remember she comes from Austin...no good dirt there). Is there good dirt?

We want a country-like setting for our homes/community but close enough to larger towns/cities for occasional entertainment, visits, or eating out. We don't mind driving 30 minutes to a city. We are trying to decide whether to buy a large piece of property and build two homes or just buy two homes in the same community. We are open to either.

Any suggestions for towns/communities to visit and important things to consider are welcome. Of course, I'm reviewing all that wonderful data about each area that is available here in city-data and have read many of the previous posts about Asheville and Greenville areas, although I don't plan to live IN either city...rather outside them.

Should I also post this question to another forum like retirement or SC and how do I do that?
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:03 PM
194 posts, read 291,089 times
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WOW! there are so many small, unique towns between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC that it will be really difficult to suggest any one specifically! First , you should have no problem finding tennis courts and golf courses within minutes of either area. As for the soil for the gardener, I believe Western North Carolina would be better as the soil in much of SC seems to be clay and sandy. Anymore there are ingredients to add to soil to bring it up to par. SC is known for it's most delicious Peach Crop! Temps are different as SC is normally at least 10 degrees warmer than WNC. WNC is in the mountains! SC is much flater, but OH! do they have gorgeous lakes and fantastic boating! Since you are familiar with Asheville, NC, I would suggest on your visit here that you take Highway 25 South all the way to Greenville SC ( less than 65 miles) and stop and visit small towns in between. Skyland NC, Arden, NC,
Hendersonville, NC, Flat Rock, NC , Travelers Rest, SC and in all directions along this highway are other, numerous small towns with wonderful, friendly, down to earth , kind people. Being a native here, I suggest you do NOT drive the interstate after once arriving in Asheville, NC. One misses so much by not going the highways. Please try highway 64 East ( Lake Lure, NC, Chimney Rock, NC, Rutherforton NC,) Highway 64 West ( Horse Shoe, NC, Brevard, NC). Highway 176 ( East Flat Rock, NC, Saluda, NC, Tryon, NC, Landrum, SC, Campobello, SC. Also, Salem, SC, and Seneca, SC are neat little towns and so close to Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee, and Lake Hartwell. All these towns are within 30 minutes or less of wonderful restaurants. The distance of the towns I have mentioned are within 2 hours or less of each other from the first town to the last. All of the towns I have mentioned are unique in that they offer different things. If you desire more "country /less people then places like Horse Shoe, Saluda, Salem, Seneca, Landrum, Campobello etc is for you. Hendersonville ( more congested with more businesses, medical facilities, antique shops, ) Tryon ( known for "horse country, ( SteepleChase) and very talented artists. Flat Rock, NC ( Carl Sandburg) and the State Theater). Lake Lure, NC ( Dirty Dancing" was filmed).

Surely, you should post to the SC forums, but I think the moderators want you to post the "same post" to only one location on here. Maybe you could word your question differently???? Who knows?

Wherever you decide to move South, I don't think you will regret it as the pace is slower, cost of living is less expensive overall, but the wages are lower which shouldn't affect you as you are retired.
Since you will be coming on Labor Day, please make your hotel/lodging reservations well in advance as it is a very busy holiday here. I suggest using TRIPADVISOR.com to rate different lodging in the areas. If you are near Hendersonville, NC on Sept 4-7, please join us for the Apple Festival. Just an entertaining, fun event , delicious local apples . Lots of food, drink, crafts, vendors, entertainment. Google : Home

Happy Traveling!
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:00 AM
Location: Crownsville, MD
18 posts, read 60,313 times
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Default Good List

Louise50, thank you so much for taking the time to list some good places for us to check out when we come to the area. Some I had heard of and some are new to me. I will definitely check out as many as I can. Hopefully we will be able to come to the apple festival!
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:03 AM
Location: Canton NC
11 posts, read 45,156 times
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Louise50 gave you some great info. One other thing to think about: taxes. In general, cost of living in SC is less that NC. I don't know about housing in SC, but you may be able to find what you want in that price range in WNC though you will have to make some compromises. Hendersonville is quaint and quite pricey. Are you interested in building? Also check out Haywood County and the Waynesville area of WNC. It is a bit cheaper and less populated than Asheville but only about 30-45 minutes from Asheville. Also, the Weaverville and Fairview areas and possibly even Madison County which includes Marshall, Mars Hill, and Hot Springs. We here in the mountains, consider Tryon/Lake Lure etc to be in the foothills.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:09 AM
Location: Asheville
1,162 posts, read 3,568,211 times
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The Asheville area is more mountainous...whenever you drive back from SC into NC, you can see just how high the mountains are, looming in the near distance. Asheville's cost of living is one of the highest in our state, because this is considered a resort area, but in your price range I think if you look hard, you will find the kind of property and home you want in the county. The two states' tax structure and politics are completely different, and also the weather is different, too. Asheville is not particularly remote these days due to improvements in the roadways, so ANYthing you want to do or buy is here. It's really a matter of what feels good to you, as far as the differences between the Greenville and Asheville areas.

I think if I were you, I'd plan to go ahead and make Asheville your "headquarters" for a few days, and then go to Greenville and do that the same way. Go ahead and start looking online for real estate that interests you (not to buy yet), put up a map and mark areas that have what you want, and see what locations tend to garner the most interest. That way you can make plans to go to those towns while you're up here. In addition, while you're in Asheville, get to know the town fairly well, and then make your outreach trips.

If it was me and I came here for the first time, after getting used to Asheville, the places I'd check out and that will likely have the types of homes you want, would be to drive down Hwy 74 from Asheville to Lake Lure. You will go right through the Fairview area, which has many properties with acreage and privacy with varying terrain, and your trip will end at such a wonderful woodsy lake region. You could do the whole thing and come back in a day. If you are interested in a very small town but really nice, in a morning you could drive to Black Mountain and see what you think. Then in the afternoon, you could go in the opposite direction to Waynesville, and then just when you get back in Asheville, go north via Merrimon Avenue, on by Beaver Lake, and up to Weaverville, and eat at the Weaverville Milling Company. THEN on your way to stay in Greenville, you have to go south, so you will pass right by Hendersonville, so you could visit that town, also go to Flat Rock, and then head into South Carolina.

While you're in Asheville and just getting familiar, some of the places you should visit are the Grove Park Inn, Biltmore Village, also drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway pretty much anywhere and then turn around, and then in the downtown area you should visit the Grove Arcade/Wall Street vicinity on foot. Others will have more tips on what to do in Asheville, so just do a forum search for that, and you'll be able to read lots of ideas. If you go to Biltmore House and Gardens and Winery (and horse stables), it will take you an entire day on those grounds, so not sure that would be particularly productive.

By the way, since you live on the water and fairly close to the ocean, you may wish to consider another trip to some of the Southern Coastal regions, which should include Wilmington NC, Charleston SC, and Savannah GA, but all those places will be hot in the summer. But make no mistake, Asheville does get very cold and with snow in the winter, not unlike Washington DC weather, altho snow accumulation usually is not very much, and the temps go below zero just maybe once or twice in winter. And on your way down here, you should consider stopping off at Charlottesville VA, neat little town, and then cut through Chapel Hill when you get into NC, really charming town, too.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:16 PM
Location: Crownsville, MD
18 posts, read 60,313 times
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Thanks for the great suggestions. I was online on Goggle maps just "virtually" looking at the areas. We are flying into Charlotte and will probably drive to Greenville's surrounding areas and then on up to Asheville. I hope to spend a night in Greennville and then the rest of the time in the Asheville area. I will be checking out the towns and places you mention. I don't necessarily want to live IN a tourist town but don't mind living NEAR it so thanks for pointing out which ones might fit. We live near Annapolis and enjoy it more when there isn't the rush of tourists and lots of traffic.
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:44 AM
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My parents moved to Landrum/Tryon 10 years ago and love it (from southern PA), as I have learned to also. I moved to Florida, big mistake. I've been trying to get up there myself however jobs are scarce but a great place to retire. They live on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mtns and can see for 75 miles on a clear day! I like being half way between Ashe and Green but if you like to do major shopping than you would probably like to live closer to one than the other. On the other hand , if you like to town-hop like I do than stay in the center! Their area is like crossing the Eastern Shore with Middleburg, Va! Low key,artsy and horsey. To get your water fix along with academia, don't rule out Clemson...great place near Lake Keowee and half hour to Greenville's downtown, which I love. The Peace Center is there, with lots of shops and restaurants and a revived waterfront...I'm envious!
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:07 PM
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Check out the areas west and north of Asheville. Waynesville is in the mountains and has the best city owned public recreation facility I've ever seen. It's like a really high priced private gym, but cheap. They have tennis courts, indoor pool, weights, indoor track and everything you need. I don't care for golf, but they have lots of public courses.

SC is really, really hot in the summer. We have a house in Waynesville and have been up there several times this summer. The temps always hit 100 or more in SC on the drive. Week before last, we left Florida early Thursday morning, hit some 100 weather in SC and then it was 54 degrees on our porch Friday morning.

Having said that, I think the very western parts of SC are probably cheaper and probably have a pretty nice 4 season climate. Clinton has a small college, which is always nice.

On the NC side, check out Mars Hill, due north of Asheville, Canton, which is west of Asheville and Waynesville. I know you can find something in the price range you are looking at in Canton and still be just 30 minutes or so from Asheville.

I look forward to the day I can convince my wife we should be up there year round!
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:40 AM
Location: Crownsville, MD
18 posts, read 60,313 times
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Default Is there much Tennis in WNC or in Greenville SC?

I want to thank everyone for their suggestions on some small/mid-size towns near Asheville and Greenville. Many of you suggest Waynesville and that is now on my "for sure" list to look at. I'm especially interested in the public rec facility you mention, 67walkon. I play a lot of tennis. Wonder if many people play USTA tennis in that area.

I love the idea of a great view like the one you mention, JZB1119...75 miles on a clear day near Landrum/Tryon.

A.Curvin I've added your suggestions of Marshall, Mars Hill and Hot Springs.

Our trip is the first week of September and I'm hoping I will find out whether the areas of Greenville and/or Asheville feel like a good new home for my retirement years.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:50 PM
Location: NC High Country
3,751 posts, read 6,267,802 times
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I know you posted this in the WNC forum, but you've asked about SC as well. I'm beginning to feel like a broken record (is anyone here old enough to know what that is?) ... I'm a life-long North Carolinian who moved to Greenville, SC last year. We still have our weekend place near Banner Elk, so I'm still a Tarheel at heart, and NC taxpayer.

I want to put a plug in for Travelers Rest, SC... just north of Greenville and an easy, quick drive into Greenville's wonderful downtown. It's quite rural and hard up against the flank of the Blue Ridge escarpment (I think that's the correct terminology). Travelers Rest has attracted a lot of outdoors-focused folks because of its convenience to the mountains, as well as SC's Paris Mtn State Park. The Swamp Rabbit Trail, for walking and biking, is being developed from Travelers Rest into downtown Greenville, and is already gettng a lot of use. The northern end of the trail in Travelers Rest was paved a month or two ago.

I'd guess that property values in Upstate SC are more reasonable (with notable exception of the very upscale Cliffs communities) than just over the line in NC because it's not as tourism oriented.

Wherever you decide to settle, NC or SC, you can't lose... you've picked a wonderful corner of the country.

Anyway, just my 2 cents' worth.

P.S. Forgot to mention that my hubby joined Riverside Tennis Club in Greenville last year and LOVES it. He plays USTA mixed and mens doubles, and combo league. Even though he could play super seniors, he's resisting so far.
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