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Old 06-03-2010, 06:56 AM
3 posts, read 6,374 times
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My fiance and I are planning a move to NC within the next two years. That might be a little too much planning ahead for some people but the catch is we haven't seen much of it with the exception of the outer banks area that I visited many summers ago. We are planning a road trip in august of this year (2010) and I wanted to know how one should go about exploring NC and getting a "feel" for it? We have about two weeks to spend there and naturally, we won't get to fit in everything, but anything we feel we missed out on can be done at a later time. For right now I am just open for suggestions.
What draws us to north carolina in the first place is the variety it seems to get as far as weather (you get all four seasons!) , as well as having both beaches and mountains.We are twenty-somethings from Miami and are not into the big party scene that reigns down here. We would love to go somewhere that is slower paced, with lots of nature related activities. A place where there is a sense of community, and safety and that married-with-kids kind of vibe. (okay, maybe that is a little 50's-ish wishful thinking of me, but I hear that places similar to that exist out there in the real world).
My fiance is really into racing off-road remote control cars and we've seen that Charlotte has a pretty big scene for that, in which big races are held at thier tracks often, so that is defenitly one place we will be visiting. But besides that we really don't have any plan of what to do. I want to know what the locals do and where you eat and what the best part of living in NC is for you, as opposed to picking up a travel guide and doing just tourist things. Coming from Miami I know very well that a vacation here is extremely different from living here, nothing bad about being here but it isn't for everyone, and you wouldn't be able to figure that out by just vacationing. So I figure the same thing applies for every other place. As time passes we will be narrowing it down and focusing on the whole jobs and budget part of it, but for now we don't even know where to begin looking, we just want to explore. Granted, I know the experiences and opinions will be different for many people but I would love to hear from as many people as possible, all suggestions welcome!
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:02 AM
Location: Efland
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Well, I would either start your trip in Asheville or Wilmington depending on if you would like to start in the mountains or the beach. Since you have already been to the Outer Banks you can skip that to save time if you'd like. Since you don't want the touristy advice, I will skip things like the Biltmore and the battleship.

I don't know anything about living in Asheville, but visiting downtown is a must. We liked eating at Tupelo Honey Cafe, 12 Bones Smokehouse, and The Lobster Trap. All very good food! I would also take the trolley tour because it will be a relaxing time to see downtown and some of the older surrounding neighborhoods. Black Mountain is also a nice little town worth visiting nearby. I'll leave it to the locals to add everything else.

Then I would visit Charlotte, from Charlotte I would visit the Triad, and then from the Triad I would visit the Triangle. All of these metro areas have A LOT to see when trying to narrow things down. I know you are just trying to get a feel for things, but it will be quite overwhelming. I'm from Durham, so I will focus on what to check out while here.

In Durham we are known for our food, and Duke of course. Downtown has had a lot of revitalization with lots to do. I would go to a Durham Bulls game 2010 Durham Bulls Baseball Club and visit the American Tobacco Historic District American Tobacco Historic District Homepage which is right there. Also visit Brightleaf Square Brightleaf Square :: Fine Dining and Shopping in Downtown Durham . I would check out Duke Chapel, Duke Gardens and 9th St. together. Durham and Chapel Hill are known to be foodie destinations. They were voted America's Foodiest Small town in 2008 http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2...est_small_town here's a list of a few restaurants http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandfo...cas-foodi.html We are also having a food truck festival this weekend I am going to check out! http://blogs.newsobserver.com/food/f...st-this-sunday

In SW Durham it is more suburban and has the nicest mall in the state, Southpoint. In that area you can drive through Woodcroft and some of the newer neighborhoods to get a feel for it. Closer to downtown and Duke check out some of the historic neighborhoods like Trinity Park and Watts-Hillandale. Durham is a great city with a very strong sense of community. It’s a very diverse and educated city that has many jobs in healthcare and research since it is home to Duke and RTP. We have great hiking at Eno River, and urban trails like the American Tobacco Trail, and the wooded trails that run through Duke Forest. Nearby is a great little historic town called Hillsborough that is worth checking out. It’s convenient to both Durham and Chapel Hill, and close knit community with a lot going on for its size. Check out the restaurants and shops downtown, as well as Ayr Mount and the Poet's Walk.

Others can tell you more about Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and the surrounding towns. There is so much to look at. The Triangle area is known for our top notch universities. From your description of a 50’s family vibe you will definitely want to check out Cary. Cary is a town (actually a small city) near Raleigh and RTP that is known to be full of transplanted families, very suburban, and some say it’s very Stepford like. Lots of kid friendly neighborhoods, parks and trails, safe. I would also look into Wake Forest which is also a family friendly town that is growing much like Cary has over the last 20 years. South of Raleigh is Clayton in Johnston County which is a growing town where you can get more for your money. From Clayton I would head to Wilmington.

In Wilmington I would definitely check out downtown and head to Wrightsville Beach. I lived in Wilmington for a while but its been a few years and a lot has changed, so I’ll leave that area to the locals.

So pretty much the metro areas I would definitely visit are Asheville, Charlotte, the Triad, the Triangle, and Wilmington. That should give you a good feel for the state. Of course in the end it will be where you all can get jobs. Jobs are harder to come by in Asheville and Wilmington. Visit each forum to get more specific answers on each area. You will definitely keep busy over those two week. I would probably spend about two days each in Asheville and Wilmington, and AT LEAST three or more if you can in the other metro areas. Good luck!

Last edited by DanielleNC; 06-03-2010 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:38 AM
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You can follow the route of this guys travelogue

North Carolina: All things bright and beautiful - Telegraph
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:23 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
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It is really hard to characterize "NC living" as if it were homogeneous. The lifestyle on someone in the mountains is very, very different from that of someone on the coast. Or the lifestyle of someone in Raleigh or Charlotte is very, very different from someone in a rural town. You have stated some preferences, like a slower, more rural and "family-friendly" kind of place, and you mention speedways, so it sounds like the Western Piedmont area (near Charlotte or Hickory) is a good bet, but Charlotte itself is a very urban area and the suburbs thereof are spreading like wildfire, so what was "rural" even 5 years ago may not be now.

It's impossible to see everything in NC in a short trip, so if the things you describe are your preferences, I would concentrate my search in that general area--sort of in the area between I-85 and I-95, between Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Fayetteville but closer to the Charlotte area. It's the dead center of the state, equidistant between mountains and beach, but near the stock car stuff that's more prevalent in Charlotte. Salisbury is a smaller city/town not far from Charlotte, for example. Davidson is a tiny college town where you'd find younger people, but I don't think the "party vibe" is strong there.

Of course, a high priority will be where you can get jobs--NC's unemployment is high and you can't necessarily presume you'll be able to just move somewhere and snap up jobs the first week.
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your advice! I really appreciate it you have given me alot to work with
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:26 PM
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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The official 2010 travel guide, go on line visitnc.com. has great information about every section of N.C. tells a little bit about the whole state. Also, for Western N.C. check out The free guide for the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway - Home. It also tells about towns close to the Parkway. Both are beautifully done in my opinion. There is a magazine called Our State North Carolina, that you may want to subscribe to. Someone gave me that one as a gift one year for Christmas. Tells about the people, places, and things of interest all over the state. Have fun on your visit and give us a report.
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