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Thread summary:

Recap of visit to North Carolina area, too much rush hour traffic, great shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall, not as excited about area as previously thought

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Old 06-09-2008, 04:41 PM
22 posts, read 122,253 times
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Thanks in advance to all of you who respond. You all have been a wealth of information in the past.

We visited last Thursday & Friday. First observation - "wow this place is hilly!" I guess I didn't realize how un-hilly Coastal SC is, but having grown up in NoVa where there were plenty of hills, it was a nice change to flat and boring! And then, lots & lots of trees! It seemed like they went on forever!

So, we stayed near Crabtree Valley Mall - next observation, traffic. I've been out of NoVa 16 months and forgot about traffic and I don't wanna go back. Now, I realize it was 5pm when we were in the area of Glenwood & Lead Mine, but I thought we'd sit forever at the light! The mall was gorgeous, and lots of options for shopping! There was another stip mall with mostly restaurants & a grocery store close, but plenty of housing in between. Down Glenwood was nice older homes with (again!) trees. The on-street parking threw me off a little, and then we headed into downtown. A little scary for someone new to the area, but lots of cool buildings to see. We headed back up Glenwood toward Brier Creek and I have to say, of all the areas we visited, I liked this the best, but I wonder with the growth if the shopping plaza there now (where Target & Dick's Sporting Goods is) won't be the beginning of that area, rather than the beginning and end all in one, as it appeared to be now (keeping in mind that we didn't go but a few streets past that intersection at Glenwood & Brier Creek). It reminds me much of Reston, VA (for those old NoVa folks on here!). It was a few businesses & houses, now it's called the Silicon Valley of the East because it's so built up - traffic is awful and house prices are through the roof because people wanna be close to work or good roads for commuting. I see that happening in Brier Creek.

Anyway, I didn't fall in love with the area. I think I thought I'd get there and be like "ahhh, this is it!", but I didn't. I mean, I liked Brier Creek, but I"m a lowly EMT and don't make enough to live in Brier Creek and just didn't like the feel of the other areas we visited (throughout N. Raleigh, down Strickland, Lead Mine, Glenwood, Capital Blvd, Six Forks.) really jumped out there for me... but I have another dilemma.

My DH hasn't worked for a while b/c here in SC, it's kinda the good ole' boy network in certain fields. I am in medicine, so it's not as bad, but for him.. he doesn't know anyone and can't get many to even call him back (he has plenty of work experience, not a convict or anything) but we can't get Lowe's to call him back (lumber, not grocery). So, there are definately plenty of options in the Triangle for him and work. He's a deck-builder by trade and would love to go back to that right away, but we'll take anything for now! Secondly, we have a rising 4th grader who has excelled in school from early on. He has scored in the top percentages of standardized testing and is above grade-level in his class for reading, math & science. SC Schools are ranked at about 48 of 50 in the US and our county is opening it's FIRST magnet school for math, engineering and science this coming year (I'm afraid to even think of how it will work out - it's frightening... really!). So, NC and the Triangle would have plenty of options for him to be challenged (even if there he's not in the top %'s, I think he'd be challenged more b/c they rank higher overall!). So, I'm perplexed because while all things point to moving to somewhere that would be better for work for us and a school for a child that needs the challenges and has PLENTY of options for magnets and great post-secondary schools (I know I"m thinking way ahead.. but I'm afraid I have to with him!), I just didn't find what I was hoping for.

So, I like Brier Creek because of the "newness" of it. New stores, new large apartments (we'd rent for a while), and it's close enough but far enough away (ie. not downtown, but a manageable drive to do plenty of stuff) but I just can't afford it. So someone suggested Wake Forest or Cary. Any recommendations from you folks here? As far as pricing, schools, etc.

PS. My grandmother informed me yesterday to look at Durham because her cousin is the (most likely former now) school superintendent and she thought their schools had ranked well over the last few years. Anyone know about their schools vs. Wake Co. for a student excelling in math, science & technology?

Thanks again all.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:42 PM
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Brier Creek is very overpriced in rentals. We live in a great apt community next to Triangle Town Center, Northridge Crossings. You may like it.

Plenty of retail if that's the kind of work he wants until something better comes up. Super Walmart opening in a few months.

The new apts mainly give very little square footage for the rent.

Take a look at us if you come through. We're right off Capital but no crime issue.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:57 PM
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I live in Durham and have a rising 3rd grader at Creekside Elementary. The superintendent is Carl Harris. I think this is his 2 or 3rd year.

Durham does not currently have any elementary math and science magnet schools. It does have several other magnets, but it's pretty difficult getting in after Kindergarten. The City of Durham is home of the NC School of Math and Science, which is a public, resident high school, that draws top performing math and science students from all over the state.

In Wake Co the test scores are better than Durham Co. IMO, it's mainly due to socio-economics... there are more blue collar / working poor families in Durham, which impacts scores. I have friends in Wake Co and have seen the math and science cirriculm there. It is very similar to what Durham Co offers. The state mandates much of this. My child excells at math and science and I honestly have not been impressed w/ the math and science cirriculms that I've seen here (nor the ones we had in Oregon). We supplement a lot at home. Most public elementary schools have to focus so much on literacy that math and science take a bit of a hit. Both Wake & Durham counties do have excellent AIG programs that can fill in the gaps some too. But I would love to send my child to a math and science magnet and I'm sure he would love that too. I'm not sure if there is one in Wake Co.

You might also want to look at Johnston County... I think it's a bit more affordable, but it's still very close to Raleigh.

Good luck with you research!
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:59 PM
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Just a couple of days is not enough time to know if you would like the area or not. You only saw an over congested area that has some appeal in parts and total lack of appeal in others. You really need to make several trips here and target a different area each time. You will find areas that are newer with shopping, as you like, but have much less traffic. Your husband should easily find some work here, either at Lowes or Home Depot or in the building industry to start. There are so many Lowes and Home Depots so close to each other here, they can never get enough help.

Bottom line is to look around more. Check out Durham, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina and maybe even the Wake Forest area.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:58 PM
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I completely second Wake Forest area as that may have a little more of the down-home and cozy feel you may have missed with the area you saw. Also, the shopping is building and coming further and faster that way than ever so finding work shouldn't be a problem. We are really close to WF ourselves and my teenager is at Wakefield High and has had differing levels of "challenging" math and science at school. I think to some degree that is really up to you to keep an eye on what is offered and if you think the assigned course is enough for your child to keep him occupied.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:54 PM
Location: Apex, NC
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I've been here for 4 years (Apex), and it sounds like your short stay was centered around a very busy area! Depending on what you like, that may be fine. For a bit more suburban feel, try Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina (southwest of Raleigh), Cary, which is a little closer to Raleigh and a larger town with a ton of shopping (Walnut Street, CaryTown Center Mall), and I don't know other small towns in the north and east of the city. Morrisville is growing but still kind of small town, I think. It's close to the Durham/Wake border, near the RDU airport.

I agree with the Johnston Co. advice. A little further away from Raleigh and less expensive, a little more of a country setting, I think, and it's growing too - well, I think everywhere around here is growing!

I hope you find this helpful!
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:35 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
12,475 posts, read 31,028,473 times
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I'm going to agree and say that two days is not enough time to really scope out the area. Even when I have clients that can only stay 4 days, we are constantly moving but in 4 days, we've seen Holly Springs to Apex to Cary to North Raleigh to Wake Forest and that is pushing it!

I'd suggest you view more of the area, looking at homes, even if you are not ready to buy and then rent in the area that you prefer. That way, your kids will not have to change schools again.

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Old 06-10-2008, 07:49 AM
Location: Durham, NC
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Check out Southwest Durham - there are apartment complexes with similar "newness" to Brier Creek and it's slightly less expensive...plus, the Southpoint mall (if you loved Crabtree) puts Crabtree to shame in terms of aesthetics.

Saturnfan is correct in stating that Brier Creek is one of the more expensive areas to rent. There are also apartment complexes within a mile or two of Brier Creek that are much less expensive - so long as you are off of Brier Creek Parkway, prices go down.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:19 PM
Location: Clayton, NC
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I agree with what everyone else is saying. There are so many different areas in the Triangle. I would plan on many trips each focusing on a different area. Alot also depends on what sort of commute you might have and how long is acceptable to you. We really wanted 20 minutes tops but ended up buying Johnston County (Clayton/Wendell) where my dh's commute is 50 min. We love the area, schools and you get more bang for your buck.

But there are so so many nice areas that might fit the bill. We really liked Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, had plans to check out Pittsboro and many more.

I think finding an area you like is tougher than finding a house. We rented first also, once dh had a job here. It was harder having to change schools but I can't imagine us doing it any other way as we visited many neighborhoods/areas each weekend.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:45 PM
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The first time we visited the area we put over 500 miles on a rental car in 3 days and never left Wake County. If you spent most of your time on Glenwood between Crabtree and Brier Creek you really saw very little of the area and you certainly did not see many of the areas that people would define as being great ones to live in.
If you like Brier Creek you could look in Apex-the Beaver Creek Commons area has a lot of the same types of shopping/dining but with less of a city feel than the Glenwood area. There are nice rentals along both NC 55 and Highway 64 that are more affordable than Brier Creek. That's just one of many possibilities but based on you indicating that you liked Brier Creek it's the first one I thought of.
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