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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    New Jersey
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    Hi All,
    Early on in this thread I mentioned that we were checking out area for possible retirement. So now we are in western NC. It ticked a lot of boxes on paper so we wanted to come check it out. It is a beautiful area of the country. It reminds me of the Adirondacks in NY. There seems to be good trail accessibility and lots of outdoor stuff to do. I am not sure how anyone could cycle here, the roads are SUPER scary.

    The cost of living sure would be a huge bonus for us, but I do have a few concerns about living here, and I do not mean to offend anyone, so please keep that in mind.

    I think it may be a bit conservative for me. Although all of the people we have chatted with have been lovely, there seems to be a very strong religious thread running here and we are not religious at all. Down the road that may be a problem. Also I did not expected to see people flying rebel flags. I know that should not bother me, but on some level it does. So maybe this is too far south for a girl that grew up in the northeast? I do not know.

    Maybe I should not worry about the religion thing but we had a blow up with our best friends of almost 25 years this winter over religion and it shook me. Over the years as they were raising their family they have become super conservative. It never really bubbled up because we have been friends for so long and because we are always doing stuff. And then I showed them a picture of us at 14,000 feet last summer hanging prayer flags atop a peak out west to honor my Mom. And then it hit the fan
    So it has made me gun shy. It probably did not help that when they were saying grace before dinner when the said amen, I said Ommmmmm. I just could not help myself.

    But It sure si beautiful country and they have a kicking farmer's market!

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,130
    I will answer you, based on my personal experience, living in the south and the west, as a northeastener.
    When I moved to Miami as a teen, it was the height of the late 60s. All I saw, sort of blended in to the urban/suburban landscape, were Confederate flags, KKK signs not that far out of town, and other kids telling me I was going to hell because I was Jewish. It was such a culture shock, I didn't speak to my dad for months. Fast forward a few years, when I moved to AZ. That was fine at first. I also had my sheltered little world in a university town and my friends from the Jewish Community Center. Work was full of super conservative teachers and students from one particular religion. I had a great job, a house in a very desireable area, and lots of friends. But in the end, I wanted my kids to grow up with the values I grew up with. It just felt super hard to do it in AZ, as the political climate became increasingly repressive. I think it would have been easier in Tucson, which is more liberal.
    I have been enamored of the climate and other recreational activities in quite a few places I have visited, but I know I could never live there. Hence, my list is very short when it comes to places I could actually live. I love where I live and we decided about 5 years ago, we are never moving. This is why we are now living in a smaller townhouse that is paid for. We will travel and maybe buy a small 2nd home in western MA, but I learned a long time ago that there's more to a place than the scenery.
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  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    but I learned a long time ago that there's more to a place than the scenery.

    Yep. I do like it where we live, we are just concerned that it will not be sustainable in retirement. Oh well, time will tell.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,130
    That is why we have downsized now. We don't have any bills except utilities and our condo fee and our own fun!
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    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
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  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,653
    RnR, as a North Carolinian, I will comment. I totally, completely get what you are saying. I was born and raised in Raleigh, the state capital, a university town, and much more progressive than either western or eastern NC. There are a few well-known "blue" enclaves in NC, and these tend to be much more tolerant of all forms of diversity (in religion, sexuality, etc. etc.) (I am also not religious.) I always thought Asheville, in the western part of the state, and probably where you are looking, would be included on this list, but according to this site: https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are...orth-carolina/, it is not. However, there is a strong artistic community there, and it is always thought of as a diverse and progressive city.

    I have lived in each of the four top cities on the list from the site above, and I can vouch for them. They also have better cycling than the western part of the state, which is mountainous, roads are skinny, most have no shoulders, and very short sight lines. It's absolutely beautiful, but I don't feel comfortable riding in most places in western NC. We own a small piece of property in the NW corner of the state, on a river, and I would not ride my road bike there. I only ride my MTB on the dirt road the property is on, which is very rural and a dead end road.

    The cycling in the Piedmont is much better, though you will still run into the occasional problem with loose dogs, rude drivers (who tend to be driving the huge pickup trucks), etc. The rural areas of the Piedmont are a lot more conservative than the cities themselves.

    So, you might want to check out Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and Durham. I am partial to Hillsborough, as it is the smallest of these cities, but they all have their good and bad points. Durham, to me, would be the least cycling friendly of the four. Chapel Hill and Carrboro have the university, some bike lanes and paths, a good farmer's market, lots and lots of crunchy granola types, runners, cyclists, outdoor activities. I love this area and would certainly live there again if the opportunity arises. Chapel Hill is the most expensive of these cities but probably very decent by your northeastern standards.

    I know you are a trail runner, and I think you would find places to run in all of these communities. I suspect Umstead Park (which is in Raleigh) is the nicest park for trail running (I've MTB'd there but not run), but I am sure there are many others I am not even aware of.

    If you have any questions I can help with, feel free to ask!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    Thanks Emily. I am sure there will be lots and lost more discussion and searching for us before we make a move. I will check out the places you have mentioned.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    Moving to the south has been a huge cultural shock for us. The religious aspects are difficult because the separation of church and state isn't adhered to down here; go to any public school event and they will open and close with a christian prayer. The rebel flags and the culture attached to them is ubiquitous; the conservative political views are also dominant and freely discussed... in the grocery store by a clerk, by the guy at the tire store, coworkers, etc.

    Electra Townie 7D

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    A current NC person chiming in here.

    There are definitely isolated pockets that are more progressive - but as soon as you get outside of them, the culture shock is real. I live in CH. I used to live in Durham. In town, it's mostly OK. I think for day to day cycling (except a very small core in the center of CH), Durham is actually better for biking now. Chapel Hill has won all sorts of awards, but my bike commute sucks (and that's not really unusual). There just aren't safe connectors from some parts of town to other parts of town. Carrboro is better, but very small. Once you get out into the country (where you would do long rides), there is a lot of cyclist hate. Someone told me (though I haven't been able to verify it) that a pace line was shot with pepper spray recently. My DH was hit by a car last week in Wrightsville Beach, NC. On another forum I frequent, a poster was hit on the same day in Greensboro, NC (and the driver was planning to leave the scene). There's a group in the rural areas outside Chapel Hill that absolutely hates cyclists and have been working on advocacy to keep bikes off the road (Schley Grange).

    TL; DR: After I finish medical school (residency at the latest), we plan to get the heck out of NC. There's just too much cyclist hate in addition to other hate (HB2, anyone?).
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    "The rebel flags and the culture attached to them is ubiquitous; the conservative political views are also dominant and freely discussed... in the grocery store by a clerk, by the guy at the tire store, coworkers, etc"

    Though I am not religious, I do have some degree of tolerance if the person holds conservative views but their heart and actions to others outside their community, consistently demonstrate openness to learn, inclusive for all, and to be compassionate nor do they prosthyletize to me.

    I live in a Canadian province that is more gun supportive than some other provinces (but still pretty tame compared to some of the U.S. states which continues to bewilder Canadians with NRA's tactics), also a province that still has a lot of people not trusting govn't at all especially if they can't benefit personally. But interestingly, we have several Muslim and Sikh Canadian politicians at the provincial and federal govn't level so one has to define "religious" when these people have given a lot of themselves in the general public.

    On a long term basis, it is doubtful I would find it liberating for myself to live in an area with rebel flags, ant-immigrant sentiment and patronizing attitudes. My attitude is: life is short and I wish to make life easier on myself and give the best of myself in an environment that is more open, less hostile.

    Sometimes it's tiring especially for someone like myself who has worked for 3 different government organizations in 3 different Canadian provinces over the past 3 decades. (also worked for small, national and global private firms) I think I know a little by now, about how govn't functions, why it has its flaws (because it has people) and areas where govn't can be good and helpful.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,653
    Everything Blueberry says is true. We lived mostly in the rural area of Orange County near Hillsborough, and we did experience some "cyclist hate" incidents, but very few given the 1000s of miles we rode over the years. However, loose dog incidents were more common, and that's exactly what caused my accident in '05 where I fractured my pelvis and have never been the same (though I've come a long, long way). Despite leash laws, there is a pervading mentality in the south that dogs are for protection and should not have to be restrained. I agree with not chaining dogs, which is cruel, but to leave them free to roam is another matter entirely.

    That said, on our recent RV trip through SC, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, being terrorized by loose dogs was a whole different level than rural NC. I knew within every mile or so cycled on rural roads in the aforementioned states, we were going to be chased by at least one dog, if not a couple or three together. I got to where I didn't even want to ride other than on bike paths or in park boundaries. Since getting into the midwest/plains (not really sure what to call it, but Missouri/Iowa), we have not had ONE dog incident. And we almost never have had problems with dogs anytime we've ridden in the western US. Pepper spray is a must when riding in the southeast, sadly.

    All that said, I was born and raised in Raleigh and know many, many educated, progressive, artistic, amazing people. None of my friends or family would ever fly a Confederate flag! I am as liberal as anyone I know, and I wouldn't hesitate to live in Hillsborough, Carrboro, parts of Raleigh, parts of Chapel Hill, or parts of Durham. Even in the rural areas, there are enclaves of progressive types. Our neighborhood of custom homes on 10+ acre lots in Orange County was full of university professors and their ilk.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    One of the reasons we were attracted to the area is that we do want winter, and the sports that go with it. So I think moving east will probably negate that. Someday that might change but for now, we want to ski and snowshoe.

    We were driving a bit on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday and chatting and I said to my DH, we really need to stop pressuring ourselves. We are a few years out from retirement and a permanent move would not happen right away, so we have lots of time. We need to enjoy the process and not feel disappointed if a place does not work out. And as much as he would probably ignore what bothers me and move for location, he said that I/we must be 100% comfortable wherever we end up.

    All that being said, it is lovely here and he FINALLY got to have some good bbq last night. He just can't get the really good stuff at home. And like I said, we have chatted with some lovely folks.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    774
    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollgirl View Post
    ...We were driving a bit on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday and chatting and I said to my DH, we really need to stop pressuring ourselves. We are a few years out from retirement and a permanent move would not happen right away, so we have lots of time. We need to enjoy the process and not feel disappointed if a place does not work out.
    That is what I keep repeating to husband. We're 2-4 years from retirement and we know we are moving out of this big house and Montreal suburbs. Since all is still so far away - even if it will come sooner than later - there will be a lot of water going under the bridge. It is useless to create scenarios, etc...as we don't even know where we're heading at that time. We'll worry when we get closer to the objective. We know winter will be as snowbirds. Just don't know where. And for the rest of the year, it will have to be somewhere in Canada. Fulltimers in a motorhome...or deciding to buy a modular home on a campground somewhere. Time will tell.

    For now, I try to concentrate on living the moment. Needless to see too far ahead.
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    the Minuteman Bikeway
    Posts
    111
    Quote Originally Posted by emily_in_nc View Post
    Everything Blueberry says is true. We lived mostly in the rural area of Orange County near Hillsborough, and we did experience some "cyclist hate" incidents, but very few given the 1000s of miles we rode over the years. However, loose dog incidents were more common, and that's exactly what caused my accident in '05 where I fractured my pelvis and have never been the same (though I've come a long, long way). Despite leash laws, there is a pervading mentality in the south that dogs are for protection and should not have to be restrained. I agree with not chaining dogs, which is cruel, but to leave them free to roam is another matter entirely.

    That said, on our recent RV trip through SC, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, being terrorized by loose dogs was a whole different level than rural NC. I knew within every mile or so cycled on rural roads in the aforementioned states, we were going to be chased by at least one dog, if not a couple or three together. I got to where I didn't even want to ride other than on bike paths or in park boundaries. Since getting into the midwest/plains (not really sure what to call it, but Missouri/Iowa), we have not had ONE dog incident. And we almost never have had problems with dogs anytime we've ridden in the western US. Pepper spray is a must when riding in the southeast, sadly.
    It's funny, I've always heard about loose dogs being a problem, but I've never come across an issue here in New England somehow - now I see where all the loose dogs are!
    rocknrollgirl - I just saw my former next door neighbors, who just moved to NC (Hillsborough) and their biggest culture shock is how non-walkable it is - they have to get in the car to do anything! YMMV of course, depending on where you are coming from.

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,653
    Quote Originally Posted by obie View Post
    rocknrollgirl - I just saw my former next door neighbors, who just moved to NC (Hillsborough) and their biggest culture shock is how non-walkable it is - they have to get in the car to do anything! YMMV of course, depending on where you are coming from.
    This is true to a large extent, but the more of a cyclist you are, the less limited you are in this way. Sure, if you want to go to the mall, Costco, etc. you have to drive, but we managed to cycle to the farmer's market, food co-op, library, post office, etc. We are definitely on the "fringe", though. Heck, we even cycled to Costco in Kansas City (MO) from Prairie Village, KS. Not many would do that, I realize. LOL!

    Downtown Hillsborough is very walkable and historic with sidewalks, etc., but once you get to the outskirts, it is more of a haul. Chapel Hill is nicer for those who aspire to drive less -- the bus system is free, and we used to take it all over when we lived there.

    But yeah, RnR, if you want to ski, there is a lot more winter in the NC mountains than in the Piedmont. Some years the Piedmont gets a snow or two, but they tend to be of the 1-3" variety. Although in 2000 we got 22+"! But that's very rare. We did enjoy winter hiking there as it can get quite cold, but then often warms right back up to what you would consider spring temps in a day or two. DH still finds NC to have too much winter for him.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    The glorious Michigan U.P.
    Posts
    23
    Sounds to me like you really want to move north, but just don't realize it yet. I highly recommend the U.P., if you want skiing (both kinds) & snowshoeing, plus mountain biking, road biking, trail running,...... The biggest Great Lake,.......

 

 

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