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Old 05-30-2012, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,625 posts, read 4,006,870 times
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My husband and I are looking at places to retire in a couple of years, and have read in a lot of different places that Beaufort NC is charming.

We'd like to know more about Beaufort - in the end I think we are trying to determine if it is too small for us.

We currently live in a great seaport town on the coast of MA, about 40 min from Boston. We love our town, but we can't afford a house here (we currently live in a 1,100 sq ft "half house") and we are sick of having no space. A 3br/2ba house here runs @ 550K minimum.

Secondly, we are tired of 6 months of winter. We recently got a dog and it is not much fun walking in brutal cold and snow and ice with her. She's from KY and she doesn't like it much either!

Our needs are really simple. A lot of our time is spent with our dog.

We would like a place with a library and bookstore, a couple of good casual restaurants (something other than fried food), some shops, a grocery store, pharmacy and a vet.

Ideally we'd like to be close to a hospital and a 24-hr vet.

Our town has lots of festivals, a farmer's market, a live theatre, a small little old fashioned movie theater, and a vibrant arts community. We like that there is always something going on. We also like that our town has a "real" downtown.

I've attached a link below. We're not looking to replicate where we live, just the "ambience" of it.

The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry

We looked at Wilmington, but it seemed a bit rundown in lots of places, and when I saw the crime stats, I said forget it.

We have visited Williamsburg, VA lots of times, and really like the "vibe" there - it seems vibrant and has a lot going on for a small place, but we figured if we are going to put up with heat and humidity in the summer we may as well put up with it near the water. How bad is the heat and humidity? How many months is it?

We recently were looking at the Charleston, SC area (Mount Pleasant) but I am starting to get freaked out by the palmetto bugs, black widows, cottonmouth snakes, water moccasin snakes, aligators.... Does Beaufort have the same thing? What about hurricanes?

Home prices seem really reasonable, and from the pictures I've seen, Beaufort looks adorable. We'd like to get a house - 1,800 sq ft - 3br/2ba for @ 250K, because I don't know if I could find work (I have a health care admin background and am a paraplanner with Ameriprise).

We are simple people, just want a community we can be a part of and give back. We'd love a place that's dog friendly, that we could walk around town with our dog, and a place that we would feel safe walking her at night.

Does Beaufort sound right for us?
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:29 AM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
5,265 posts, read 10,725,977 times
Reputation: 7189
No.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,625 posts, read 4,006,870 times
Reputation: 1268
Can you explain?
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
13,368 posts, read 27,022,494 times
Reputation: 6980
Coastal North Carolina does have the snakes, bugs, alligators just like Charleston does, but maybe not in such great numbers. And yes, hurricanes can be a risk.

I don't think you will find such a rich cultural environment in Beaufort as you have in Newburyport. We also looked at the area, but the houses we liked were out in the boonies 10 miles from a grocery. The houses in town in Beaufort were either too small or too expensive. Maybe you can find something you like for retirement. I wouldn't count on finding a job in your field though.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:53 AM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
5,265 posts, read 10,725,977 times
Reputation: 7189
Quote:
Originally Posted by macalan View Post
Can you explain?
The "cool" part of Beaufort is expensive. We have lots of bugs, snakes, roaches, and the stuff that Charleston has, and I would say more. We are very vunerable to hurricanes, and as I type we have had about 4 hours of solid, mega downpour from Tropical Storm Beryl...in May... Yikes.

Jobs are scarce, well paying jobs are real scarce, nearest good hospital is 45 minutes,

Trust me, "no" was a good answer. You are just not gonna transport a charming NE seaport to NC at 1/2 the cost.

I would love to live in Beaufort and it has a lot of great things, but it is not what, based on your wish list, you are looking for.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 6,861,998 times
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Hi Macalan

I have lived about an hour south of Beaufort for almost 4 1/2 years, and have often gone to Beaufort for lunch/dinner or to do some 'touristy' stuff (The Maritime Museum has artifacts from Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge).

First off though, disclaimer: I have not enjoyed my time here in Coastal Carolina. It's not the right place for me personally. But that's not to say it's not right for you. Thankfully my husband and I are moving at the end of the year. I'll try to answer your questions though as unbiased as possible!

Dog Friendly: It is and it isn't. Atlantic Beach, which is one of the closest beaches to Beaufort allows dogs on a lead, but not in Lifeguard Protected Areas (which can be numerous in Summer). Emerald Isle which is further down, does allow dogs year round but can get crazy busy during the Spring-Summer months, so it depends on you and your dog whether that would be right for you. As for Beaufort itself, I've never really seen an abundance of owners with their dogs walking around town, and I would assume that they wouldn't be allowed in the shops / cafés as they are in some places although you'd have to double check. I haven't had a dog since I've been in the Carolinas but love them, so definitely plan on getting one when we move again. Another thing I've found to be lacking in this region in general is dog off-leash parks. To my knowledge, Beaufort doesn't have one although that may have changed. I did a quick search on Bring Fido and it didn't come up with any dog friendly attractions within Beaufort itself.

I used to live in St. Louis where a number of restaurants with sidewalk/outdoor dining would allow dogs, and even some shops would permit it! Obviously though, St. Louis is one of the most 'Pet Friendly' cities in the nation, so I shouldn't use it as a benchmark, but it's hard not to!

As for vets, I know that Carteret Animal Hospital is in Beaufort but I'm not sure if they're 24 hours or not. My guess would be that your closest 24 hour vet would be in Morehead City but somebody else may be able to confirm that for sure.

Library & Bookstore: I'm an avid reader too so these things are imperative for me, wherever I go! Beaufort has a couple of small bookstores in it's old/tourist section but they're quite lacking in selection and a tad expensive. They're okay for the odd book every now and again, but they are more geared toward the tourist trade in my opinion. Your closest 'decent' bookstore would be Barnes and Noble in Jacksonville, about an hour drive south.

As for libraries, before moving to Coastal Carolina I have lived in Brisbane (Australia), London, and St. Louis. Personally, as a devoted reader with a few different library systems to compare, I've found the systems on the coast to be quite lacking in selection and scope. Almost everything I want, has to be ordered in (which they are willing to do if it's within their system), but with the length of time it takes I'm better off buying the book off Amazon and having it delivered to my house (much quicker). Subsequently, I've kind of given up on the library system here as it doesn't suit my scope or needs.

Restaurants: There are some nice restaurants in Beaufort. It's one of the predominant reasons my husband and I like to go there. You wouldn't have a problem on this front!

Festivals: Beaufort itself doesn't have an awful lot. For a large number of events, you have to go down to Morehead City (not so far, but it's not Beaufort. Additonally, Morehead City is quite sizeable so it wouldn't be a walkable distance). Here is a Calendar of Events for 2012 in Beaufort. As you can see though, almost everything is elsewhere!

Farmers Market: As far as I know, there isn't a Farmers Market in Beaufort (although this may have/ may be changing). I know for sure that there is one in Morehead City though.

Theatre: There are a couple of live-theatres in Morehead, but I don't recall any being in Beaufort. With that being said though, the theatre in Morehead isn't really to my personal standard/ taste (no offense anybody). If you're okay with amateur theatre though you may enjoy it.

Movie Theatre: There isn't one in Beaufort at all. There are (awful) multiplexes though in Havelock, Morehead City, etc though. I hate/despise the large, modern, multiplex cinemas and in 4+ years haven't found a quaint, old fashioned cinema in the region to suit my needs I know it's this way in most of the country now however. Such a shame!

Always something going on: Not in my opinion, but like I said, my opinion could differ greatly from the next person depending on their experiences. Personally I've always found Beaufort a little sedate for my liking. It does get the 'tourist trade' in the Summer months, but there never seems to be a constant flurry of things to do. My husband and I regularly check upcoming/ ongoing events within 2 hours of where we live (we don't like to just sit around the house on weekends!), and something decent happening in Beaufort doesn't seem to arise all too often. I do admit though, that I was spoiled for choice in Australia, London, and even St. Louis (you'd be surprised at how much that so-called-crime-ridden midwestern city has to offer!) so my time here has been an awful bore in comparison.

You're right in that Wilmington has far more to do, a lot more going on (it definitely has a larger, more vibrant downtown than Beaufort) but it does have a higher crime rate.

That said however, I wouldn't discount Wilmington entirely on it's crime rate. My husband and I are in Wilmington at least every week or two, and we've never personally had a problem / seen a problem. Like anywhere, it depends on where you go within a city how the 'crime element' will affect you. It also depends on your street smarts.

Personally, I would rather take a city with more amenities, and more to do, but risk a higher crime rate... over a city with fewer amenities with a sleepier vibe, albeit a safe one. That obviously though, is just my personal choice. Sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good!

Anyway- weigh up your options, and come to the area to visit and see what you think. The best time to come is the middle of Summer (July/August) to see if you can really withstand the heat/humidity down here! Keep in mind though, that this would be the tourist season, and Beaufort isn't as busy/buzzing year round. You may want to take another trip in December or so, to see if it feels any different to you.

Whatever you choose though, good luck in your search! Hope that has helped a little!

P.S. This area does have a lot of bugs and creepy crawlies unfortunately. The water bugs are dreadful! And yes, there are alligators seen this far north (Beaufort area)
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,625 posts, read 4,006,870 times
Reputation: 1268
Thx all, very helpful. I appreciate everyone's honesty. You've all reinforced my gut feeling, that it would be too small with too little going on compared to what we are used to.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
13,368 posts, read 27,022,494 times
Reputation: 6980
Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
Personally, as a devoted reader with a few different library systems to compare, I've found the systems on the coast to be quite lacking in selection and scope. Almost everything I want, has to be ordered in (which they are willing to do if it's within their system), but with the length of time it takes I'm better off buying the book off Amazon and having it delivered to my house (much quicker)......
You're right in that Wilmington has far more to do, a lot more going on (it definitely has a larger, more vibrant downtown than Beaufort) but it does have a higher crime rate.

That said however, I wouldn't discount Wilmington entirely on it's crime rate.
Agreed. The library systems are small, and ordering out of the county costs $5 now. You might as well buy a used copy on the Internet, or download an E-reader copy.

I also agree that Wilmington might be a better choice for the OP. There are plenty of safe, upscale neighborhoods. I just realized Wilmington has an art museum, a few art galleries, and there are pottery classes I plan to take. I would call it a lively arts scene.

You just won't find the small, quaint towns rich in amenities that you have in New England.
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