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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:05 PM
 
51 posts, read 56,257 times
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Hello all! I've been lurking around the NC forums for a while now- and after reading many threads focusing mostly on The Triangle area, have narrowed this area down for hopefully planting our roots next year. I have a few questions that I have not been able to find answers to, so hopefully I can find them here!

A little background: My husband and I were raised in Southern CA. Married young. We left begrudgingly with the military and now, looking back, are so glad we did. We have lived in Louisiana (5 years) -lots to love about it, North Dakota (1 year) -not as much to love about it for us, Montana (2 years by the time we leave) - can't wait to get out of this ski resort town, and we have visited family in Florida (I was born there) and even spent a few months in New Zealand -lots to love, but better for vacationing in my American opinion.

Leaving CA really opened our eyes to the variety of lifestyles, cultures and views in the world. We still have family and friends that live there and pay a lot for not much of a lifestyle (again, in my humble opinion). $450K for a 2 bedroom, 35 year old house, in a town where you are the minority, lots of traffic, vanity, etc... but alas, to each his own.

More about us:
We are non-religious/agnostics (raised as Christians and familiar with the Bible belt mentality), independents (left leaning Republican or right leaning Democrat), we have 2 children (5 years and 5 months). Husband has a BS in Physics and is finishing his BS in Computer Science at the end of this year. He will be looking for an entry level software engineer job in the Raleigh/Triangle area after graduation, so at the end of this year. I am a stay at home mom leaning towards the "natural" end of the stick on parenting... cloth diapers, extended breastfeeding, homeschooling (secular), whole foods, etc. My oldest has yet to be diagnosed, but has mild/high functioning autism, but we do not blame vaccines.

How accepting is the community of families like ours?
How is the job market?
Is anyone familiar with secular homeschooling or how flexible the state is of homeschooling in general?
I know NC voted red recently, but seems pretty well divided in half politically. Is there a lot of political tension? I was surprised to hear that Charlotte hosted the DNC!
We've considered Portland and Denver as alternatives, but they are missing the warmth that I love about the South, (and a lot of other things) so how Southern does NC consider itself? My husband said it seems like it's the South of the North and the North of the South. Maybe a good mix of both worlds?

I have really fallen in love with the area and all that it has to offer for families- lots of biking paths, trails, good neighborhoods, nature, etc. I love the humidity, housing is affordable, people are warm, and having the mountains and beaches within a few hours drive seals the deal for us.

Can you be friendly with neighbors without becoming best friends or seeming unfriendly/suspicious? (trying to silence the stereotypes!) I would say we are friendly, but especially since we are not religious, we tend to move slower in making friends than a lot of people we have met- we like to have a lot of common interests, etc. After 5 years in Louisiana, we know that front porches are for more than sweet tea and swinging, and I love that.

What are your complaints and praises for the area? How is the grocery market? Fast food and restaurants? Shopping? Healthcare? Traffic? Gang presence? Crime in general? How is the air quality in the Triangle?

Any recommendations as far as work in the computer science field or good companies to look into?

Thanks for any input and hope ya'll are enjoying your warm weather- we're getting 11 inches (of SNOW) here in Montana today! Ick!

Wholly Mama
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:00 PM
 
1,155 posts, read 2,238,286 times
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You will be fine here. I'm a non religious liberal Democrat (I attended the DNC in Charlotte) and I love it here. I moved to the area about a year ago. There are plenty of homes schoolers and I think the process is fairly straightforward. I've found that people are pretty open and accepting here and many are looking to make connections and friends because they've also moved from somewhere else. So, even though I know some of my neighbors don't share my religious or political beliefs we still have lots of fun together and enjoy hanging out. The area has lots of interesting, educated, travelled people from all over. If you are open and friendly it's easy to find a place here.

I came from Chicago, so to me, we are a little lacking in great restaurants here, but there are some lovely options. It's just that there isn't a great new restaurant to try all the time.

Healthcare is excellent! Lots of great doctors and hospitals. I feel that there is very little crime here. I live in Cary which is generally a very safe area. I suppose there are gangs somewhere around but I am not aware of them at all.

Traffic is minimal to me, compared to California or Chicago it's non existent.

Plenty of good grocery options with new ones opening. It's a growing area so plenty of new shops, restaurants, etc. Always opening.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:56 PM
 
600 posts, read 1,221,503 times
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Agree, this area will probably be a good fit for you. For all the talk of bible belt, I can't remember the last time anyone just started talking religion to me really. Certainly not strangers, but I don't even know all of my friend's beliefs for that matter. There are plenty of hippie/granola/natural/crunchy whatever you want to call it kind of people here and we have a strong music scene.

For software jobs, keep your eye on dice.com as well as the others.

Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:47 PM
 
51 posts, read 56,257 times
Reputation: 33
Thank you both for replying and for the encouraging words. It is good to hear that church is not the first thing you're asked after your name!
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:03 PM
 
513 posts, read 1,605,716 times
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you will fit right in the chapel hill area....good luck!

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 01-13-2013 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
13,374 posts, read 27,064,631 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whollymama View Post
How is the job market?.... Any recommendations as far as work in the computer science field or good companies to look into?
Overall the job market is fairly poor (see various discussions about NC ranking 47 in employment among the states). But, if one of you has in-demand job skills in the computer field, it could be better. One big employer I know of in Durham is Fidelity Investments. Check the job market on Indeed,com, but be aware that 2 dozen brokers will post for one real job opening. Companies will generally not pay for relocation costs, and some specify "local candidates only".
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:57 PM
 
533 posts, read 1,199,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whollymama View Post
Thank you both for replying and for the encouraging words. It is good to hear that church is not the first thing you're asked after your name!
I've been here 3 years, and I've yet to have someone ask me the church I attend. Based on your description, I think this area could be great for you.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:27 PM
 
384 posts, read 596,333 times
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I live in California and visit Raleigh quite often. I am sure you will be accepted there.

I am not sure where people get the idea that certain parts of the country are one long conversation about politics and religion.

There are countless people who seem to think Raleigh is like the fictional town in "Footloose" or something.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:46 PM
 
384 posts, read 596,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenage1 View Post
Overall the job market is fairly poor (see various discussions about NC ranking 47 in employment among the states). But, if one of you has in-demand job skills in the computer field, it could be better. One big employer I know of in Durham is Fidelity Investments. Check the job market on Indeed,com, but be aware that 2 dozen brokers will post for one real job opening. Companies will generally not pay for relocation costs, and some specify "local candidates only".
This is misleading and happens on here often. Although the OP asked about the Triangle, the NC state employment ranking is used.

In Nov. 2012, the Raleigh-Cary unemployment rate was 7.2 and Durham-Chapel Hill was 6.9. That is below the National Average of 7.8.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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We are a family like yourselves. We moved here from California 5.5 years ago and haven't looked back! We moved to Chapel Hill first, then recently moved to Durham to avoid Chapel Hill taxes and to build a bigger house. We are similar to as you describe, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering (well, I did give up after a year with #2 in CDs), whole-foods-eating, non-religious folk. We are harder to the left politically but that's been totally fine. It's actually kind of invigorating living in a swing state where your vote definitely counts (not that they all don't!).

Feel free to DM me. My husband works in the park, I stay at home with my girls, and we have a 2 and a 5 year old. Moving here has been the best decision we've ever made. Incidentally, friends of ours have lived both here and in Portland, and ended up moving back here finding Portland waaaaaaaayyyyy too over the top (very put a bird on it, if you know the reference). Even for my cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural mothering friend.

Oh and homeschooling is definitely accepted down here. I don't personally know any homeschoolers so I can't comment on how large the community is, but it's definitely not unheard of.
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