Asheville NC as a final destination

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reisner
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Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by reisner » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:38 pm

Any thoughts about choosing Asheville, NC as a retirement destination? I hate living on the dry, withering, expensive, antiseptic California Central Coast that may be paradise to many but does not, as the Quakers say, speak to my condition. I have a house there right now, and driving Big Sur every now and then and tasting wine isn't enough jazz for me. I am strongly drawn to New England, but Cape Cod where I am hunkering down at the moment is a little bleak much of the year, and I don't make new connections all that easily. I love New Hampshire, the Portsmouth area to live in, but it suddenly struck me I am ignoring, by self-admitted prejudice and intolerance for heat, the South. About the time this light bulb went off, I heard the notoriously cranky writer Paul Theroux on the radio, talking about how as a New Englander he has come to adore the friendliness and quirkiness of the South and is now writing about it.

So what about Asheville for someone like me? 68 and say the word spry and you'll be looking at me from the sidewalk. I need culture; smart, witty, good-looking, in-shape people from any walk of life who adore the semi-colon; walkability; a good library; good air connections; cool breezes; more new old friends, who can be so hard to make. I like reading, writing, chatting, eating and drinking, trout fishing, canoeing, hunting with and without my tricolor Llewellin setter. I can live with just a few visits to salt water and stripers a year, and have dear close relatives within the Beltway. One of the homes for sale in Asheville that I Googled showed a tri Llewellin setter in several photos; I'm not superstitious but . . .

Finances: If alone, I could buy up to $350K, cash. My half of pension and SS would be 46K PA. Another 375K safe for me alone in Vanguard. Medical, dental, and drugs all paid for. Beats a sharp stick in the eye, I know. If "she whom I no longer obey" and I reconcile, you can double those numbers.
Last edited by reisner on Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by jebmke » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:44 pm

I can't speak for Ashville but I have lived in the piedmont of NC and it is hot and humid. I have other reasons why I would avoid NC but I can't discuss them on this forum due to the rules.
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Toons » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:55 pm

Asheville NC is popular retiree destination.About 4 years ago when looking for a place to retire in the mountains with moderate temperatures(was living in Western NY) I checked out the Asheville area.
It offers everything you mentioned in your second paragraph,but I found it too be a little crowded for my tastes,cost of living not bad,
Heading back West on I-26 I crossed into Northeast Tennessee(Tri-Cities area) and found it to be more rural.Upon further examination,cost of living is very reasonable if not "cheap", low real estate taxes,no state income tax on pension,excellent healthcare facilities.Weather wise a couple months in the summer are hot but at night being near the mountains it cools down fairly comfortably.Winters are pleasant,not bitterly cold ,no complaints.70 degrees at the moment :happy
I think you have your eyes on the right part of the country.Take a trip ,take I-26,the corridor between Tennessee and North Carolina,beautiful country. I live about 60 miles West of Asheville. :happy
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Retread » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:55 pm

I had a six-month a year residence not far from Asheville for ten years. We enjoyed it at the beginning, but the lack of many of the amenities we enjoy in retirement finally caused us to sell our log home in the mountains and live in our Florida home year round. I really had to laugh at your statement that you need "culture; smart, witty, good-looking, in-shape people from any walk of life who adore the semi-colon". For the most part, you won't find any of that among the locals in Western NC and in the winter you are only left with the locals, the others having returned to Florida for the winter. I could go on but, as the previous poster noted, it might not be appropriate on this forum. Suffice to say that, from your post, you wouldn't be happy. Maybe I was for some time because, even with my two Ivy League degrees, I'm not always sure how to use a semicolon. :happy
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by mephistophles » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:11 pm

Thomas Jefferson thought Charlottesville was heaven!!!

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Index Fan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:16 pm

Funny, I know some really smart, witty, good-looking, in-shape people who adore the semi-colon in urban settings that are real jerks. Just thought I'd bring that up for whatever reason, at the risk of ruffling the feathers of the prevailing prejudice on this board (which is rather obvious at times, and given a pass constantly).

Oh, OP, 'Aheville' in the thread title is spelled Asheville- that's without a semi-colon :)
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Stonebr » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:35 pm

My in-laws retired to the Asheville area in the early 1990s and have been there ever since. They were originally Mainers.
Following are my impressions after many extended visits:
1. Culture -- plenty of it, UNC-Asheville draws a lot.
2. Microbrews - 2nd only to Portland,OR
3. Walkability - yes in the City, but very hilly
4. Hiking - a mixed bag. Smoky Mountains are not far away and are wonderful. Blue Ridge is kind of boring after the 10th time up there.
5. Winters - harsher than you'd think in NC. Elevation makes it more like it's in a northern state. There are times when my wife calls her father and they are getting a snowstorm while things are nice and balmy here in Maine.
6. Summers - more temperate than you'd think in NC. Elevation keeps it a little cooler.
7. Restaurants - plenty. Nice variety of pubs and ethnic.
8. Friendliness - you will need to make an effort to get to know people. Asheville has so many transplants that it's got an urban, urbane feel to it.
9. Cost of living - Asheville has had a real estate boom for a couple of decades. Prices are high. You can probably get a nice place for $360, however, as long as you don't expect a McMansion.
10. A lot of the sprawl around Asheville is in the hills and coves. These houses can be extremely isolated. You basically have to drive your car for everything. [OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
11. Healthcare - excellent hospitals.
11. The city itself has some nice neighborhoods.
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by beardsworth » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:43 pm

It's difficult for me to believe that a person accustomed to Big Sur and California wine is going to be happy in Asheville or any other place in Appalachia.

In both political and social terms Asheville is an island of modest urbanity surrounded by much that is . . . not urbane at all. As with any relocation, much would depend on what you're really looking for and what you bring to it in terms of interests and adaptability, and whether you'll like both the town and its surroundings.

And while Paul Theroux has been talking in the media lately about his discovered affection for Things Southern, about which he intends to write, bear in mind that he still lives in Hawaii, with periodic visits to a family place on Cape Cod.

The chat forums of the City Data site are often helpful for sampling a variety of opinions and perspective about any contemplated living place. Here's the home page:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/

and the one for western North Carolina:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/western-north-carolina/

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by 2comma » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:02 pm

Parents transfered to Asheville just before retirement and stayed. I have visited once or twice a year for over 20 years now. I'll just say that it has the most unusual mix of hippie/artsey and mountain/red-neck people I've every come across.

My opinions on Asheville as a final destination:

Two good hospitals.
The Biltmore estate and the Grove Park Inn are nice places to take visitors.
The Blue Ridge/Smokey mounts are close by - fall leaves are nice but how much hiking do most of us studying for the finals do?
Northerners, especially from New England and New York either find Southerners friendly and helpful or slow and ignorant. They also find the cost of living apealing and the lack of harsh winters attractive.
Airport is small and far away on south side - may need to go to Charlotte for reasonably priced air travel.
UNCA ain't that big, heck, Asheville ain't that big!
Being 2-3 thousand feet up in the southeast won't make the oppresive summer heat, that everyone in the south east experiences, go away.
The only place you'll be able to get around without a car is downtown (a few blocks), you'll have to drive there first; you'll have to drive everywhere else.

I'm biased. Lived most of my life in NC, VA and TN. I'm looking for a place with a cooler/dryer climate where it cools down at night. I'd like good medical care close by, to be near an ocean or at least a large body of water and a large airport for retirement travel. Asheville is nice enough but it doesn't fit the bill for me. Now you've got me thinking about Big Sur!
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:10 pm

Asheville is beautiful but I've never stayed more than 4 or 5 days at a time so I can't speak to that. City is somewhat smaller than many seem to expect.

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Retread » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:12 pm

Stonebr wrote:[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek] call me "nothing but a Florida Yankee" when I didn't buy one of the used lawn mowers he was selling by the side of the road.
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by rustymutt » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:32 pm

My only concern is why did you choose the city/state you're currently living in? Moving to a new place in retirement, isn't the right choice for many retirees. Think about family, job, friends, house, and there are many other reasons for staying right where your at in retirement.
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Padlin » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:48 pm

We went down to look around in Sept.; marked it off our list of potential retirement areas as we're looking for small town life. After reading your OP again I do believe it may well fit your criteria.
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by derosa » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:54 pm

Sounds like you have never been there? Why don't you go for a couple of weeks and see for yourself. It is a nice place but just like Big Sur it is not for everyone.

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by joe8d » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:08 pm

rustymutt wrote:My only concern is why did you choose the city/state you're currently living in? Moving to a new place in retirement, isn't the right choice for many retirees. Think about family, job, friends, house, and there are many other reasons for staying right where your at in retirement.
:thumbsup
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by The Wizard » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:26 pm

TN is cheaper than NC, I think.
But "final destination" alludes to funeral homes and the like and I've no experience with that...
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by moneywise3 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:43 pm

Lived in Asheville a couple of years. I think very highly of it. But my opinion is biased since we made a great group of friends pretty quickly. That made the whole experience such a pleasure. Downtown restaurants are awesome. Cost of living is not low. But the city has almost all amenities.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:51 am

Personally, as I post, I m posting from East Tennessee on my own search for a place to retire.

Personally, I have used the City Data forums for getting all sorts of data on the communities where I am looking to relocate. They have a lot of basic information on all communities over 6,000. In addition, they have pretty helpful forums usually hosted by locals.

I am not heading to Asheville on this trip as it does not really meet my needs. However, the vibe that you are describing describes PART of the town, not the whole area. Much of the area is quite conservative. I visited several friends in the area over the past twenty years and missed all the vibe.

Don't move to an area without spending several weeks in the area. Since Asheville is a "resort" location where many spend only the summer, you better make visits when the tourists are all gone. You will find that often, many of the activities you enjoy might be seasonal.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Bounca » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:30 am

One of the nicest, cultured areas of the Appalachians. But you'll be bored within a week.

Stayed once at the Grove Park Inn. Amazing place. There’s a section of the hotel with specialized rooms where many famous people have stayed. I slept in the same room that Reggie Jackson once stayed.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Levett » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:50 am

reisner,

You sound ripe for a college/university town.

I happen to live in one in the Great Lakes area, but I'm pretty sure you can find one that might meet most, if not all, of your needs.

Cheers.

Lev

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:21 am

reisner wrote:I need culture; smart, witty, good-looking, in-shape people from any walk of life who adore the semi-colon;...
Does a semi-colon comprise 1.3 commas?

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:53 am

My wife's family has a vacation home in nearby Waynesville that we visit a fair amount. It's a beautiful area with lots of scenic hikes nearby.

I would do a couple of vacations to the area before making any big decisions. You may want to check out Greenville, Charleston, Winston-Salem and Chapel-Hill while you are checking out the area.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by 3504PIR » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:01 am

I find some of the comments both interesting and somewhat odd. We bought our retirement home recently in the Asheville area, a horse farm, and are very much looking forward to getting settled there in the next few years.

Weather is neither extremely hot or extremely cold - when its 95 degrees and 100% humidity in Atlanta, it is 85 with mild humidity in Asheville. For somebody from the south, that is a big difference. If someone from some other part of the country thinks the weather in Asheville is extreme, obviously they have a different perspective - probably based on where they are from.

I also find the comments on the friendliness of the people odd. Being polite and friendly goes a long way in the south. If you project something else like impatience or abrasiveness, you'll be treated accordingly. When you apply words like please and thank you, you'll be amazed at how well you get treated.

Finally, if you have a home in Asheville (which you seem to indicate in your OP) and have spent a reasonable amount of time there, I think you'd be quite happy there. Housing prices there are higher than normal in the south, but property taxes are extremely low. My property taxes in Florida on a similar property were $11k per year and I pay $1100 a year in NC. I recommend it but not without a test drive.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by 3504PIR » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:02 am

add-on:

FWIW I strongly considered Charlottesville, VA in our search - and we like it more than Asheville, but it is a lot more expensive in almost any category.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:05 am

Levett wrote:reisner,

You sound ripe for a college/university town.

I happen to live in one in the Great Lakes area, but I'm pretty sure you can find one that might meet most, if not all, of your needs.

Cheers.

Lev
Levett has nailed it.

East Lansing MI. Ann Arbor MI. Bloomington Indiana? Maybe some of the college towns in Mass? Hanover NH-- a very nice town? Ithaca NY? ( I always feel terribly isolated in that part of NY State, but Cornell is there). College Station PA? Charlottesville VA-- beautiful town? Portland OR? Somewhere between there and Seattle? Madison WI?

I have a friend from southern California who says living in Rochester NY is like living in America 40 years ago (in a good way). Taxes are high, the economy is not in great shape which has brought urban problems all its own (Buffalo is a lovely Victorian city fallen on hard times). A 'great escape' weekend is Toronto. But he does really rate it.

I think Oberlin college has a retirement community they have built?

My general impression of the South in the United States is that people are terribly friendly, but the pace of life is very different from the rest of the USA (we can skip Atlanta in this overgeneralization) and the social attitudes are generally very conservative (with a small c) and you have to be able to cope with that. Also like small communities anywhere, people can be unwelcoming to newcomers particularly who have a flavour of the 'carpetbagger'?

The Midwest of the US seems to have a very good mix of that American openess and directness, without the hyperactive pace and aggression that you sometimes find on the East Coast. Maybe the brutal winter softens people ;-).

I met a lady once, a retired music professor, who lived almost on campus in Houston (not sure if Rice U or another University). In her late 70s she said 'I want to be around young people, making music'. I could have hugged her when she said that-- the way to grow old gracefully is to be young in your head.

If you could get far enough from the commuter belt in the Washington DC area there must be some nice places?

My idea of retirement heaven would be to live within a 45 minute to 90 minute train ride of a major cultural and intellectual centre: Chicago, Washington, Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto (OK I slipped that one in ;-)). Thus avoiding some of the crowding and high prices of same, but giving access to the cultural amenities-- I can skip the rush hour, and have the city as my oyster.

It's big cities that have smart people, Kultur, stuff going on. Sometimes you find small communities that have some of that because they are university towns.

Meeting people? That's always hard. I recommend your local Episcopalian church, in that I've never met an unfriendly Episcopalian American-- kind of the best of the English Anglican manners and American friendliness. I remember the salesman (from Virginia, originally), in Brooks Brothers in New York inviting us to a service at his church in Greenwich Village. Maybe the other mainstream protestant denominations are similar, I don't know.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Levett » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 am

"I recommend your local Episcopalian church, in that I've never met an unfriendly Episcopalian American."

What an astute observation! It never occurred to me but it's true to my experience and present community (I'm a Lapsed Lutheran ;-)).

Maybe American Episcopalians have preserved the tradition of Latitudinarianism (try to say that ten times!).

Lev

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Nowizard » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:48 am

Ashville is beautiful and would meet the parameters you set. As others have mentioned, it has become a popular retirement destination. I would advise checking just across the border in Tennessee and making a trip or two to the area. Writers focus on specific destinations, and comparisons between NC and TN will reveal a higher level of culture, education, etc. in NC than TN. However, that is a generic comment, and there are many communities in East TN that are comparable. You will find that the political environment is more conservative, possibly much moreso, than California, but if you locate near Ashville or Knoxville, you will find enclaves of liberal people if that is important. Tennessee's tax structure is positive. No income tax, just a tax on dividends and interest with substantial deductions. Cost of living is excellent. An interesting environmental comment is that though the area is in the mountains where you think of it being pristine and clean, there is air pollution greater than you would possibly think would exist. It is not a major issue, however, just one that is somewhat different than what might be imagined.

A similar place that is growing rapidly and not quite as well known is the Fayetteville area in Arkansas. University of Arkansas, mountains, low cost of living, good environment, many transplants, culture, etc. WalMart is in Bentonville, near to Fayetteville, as is the new, Crystal Bridges Museum. The Walton family and the Tyson family have added immeasurably to the area.

Tim
Last edited by Nowizard on Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:52 am

Toons wrote:Asheville NC is popular retiree destination.About 4 years ago when looking for a place to retire in the mountains with moderate temperatures(was living in Western NY) I checked out the Asheville area.
It offers everything you mentioned in your second paragraph,but I found it too be a little crowded for my tastes,cost of living not bad,
Heading back West on I-26 I crossed into Northeast Tennessee(Tri-Cities area) and found it to be more rural.Upon further examination,cost of living is very reasonable if not "cheap", low real estate taxes,no state income tax on pension,excellent healthcare facilities.Weather wise a couple months in the summer are hot but at night being near the mountains it cools down fairly comfortably.Winters are pleasant,not bitterly cold ,no complaints.70 degrees at the moment :happy
I think you have your eyes on the right part of the country.Take a trip ,take I-26,the corridor between Tennessee and North Carolina,beautiful country. I live about 60 miles West of Asheville. :happy
I lived in the Tri-cities area for about 10 years, and climate-wise it was about perfect. Even when it gets hot during the day it usually cools off well at night. I was happy there: good fishing, good hiking, inexpensive. It takes a little doing to get big-city amenities if that's important. One peculiar thing that I remember most about it was that in 10 years I got exactly two mosquito bites--given the amount of time I spent in the woods and near water, I found that remarkable. Had things turned out different career-wise, I would have happily stayed there through retirement. Asheville is nice too, visited there a few times. As you said it's got a bit of a crowded feel compared to a lot of places in the region. But used to love that drive over Sam's Gap (except in the snow, haha, it becomes harrowing then).
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by reisner » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:14 am

OP here. Many thanks for the informed comments. Charlottesville VA is a good suggestion, a very beautiful town. Maybe a tad hotter in the summer than Asheville. Real estate perhaps a little more expensive, and harder to find the kind of small house I prefer. Taxes seem comparably low. California's taxes are brutal and the public seems to get little for the money except bad roads, badly funded schools, and an army of ridiculously paid prison guards (Starting salary in 2005 was 5K a year less than I was making at SDSU as a full professor with 35 years on the job.)

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:37 am

OP if you're a professor, you should check out the Clemson area. Great college town with a low cost of living, and you are 30-45 minutes from some really great hikes. You would be 2 hours from Atlanta, and 4 hours from the beach/Charleston.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Blues » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:14 am

Asheville and environs is an excellent choice for retirement. (We've been living about a half hour or so away for the past 10 years.)

Plenty of culture, arts, outdoor activities, restaurants, pubs, educational opportunities and health care. Some of the smaller towns in the area are also worthy of investigation. (We chose a small college town with good amenities, access to music and the arts, restaurants and services since we had pretty much lived in major cities all of our lives and looked forward to a change.)

An extended visit to the area will provide you with the best information as to whether it's a suitable lifestyle fit for you. It's certainly worth exploring.

The cost of living in the area is very reasonable, especially for those of us coming from major metropolitan centers.
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by bengal22 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:26 am

any place good enough for Thomas Wolfe would be good enough for me. Plus I love the way the girls talk in that region.
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Blues » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:34 am

On the matter of the friendliness of locals...we have found that most folks are friendly and helpful, especially when treated with courtesy and respect.

If one comes to an area as a transplant it only makes sense to have an open mind and an appreciation of the culture that preceded your arrival. Expecting "them" to do things "your way" and being closed minded is a recipe for failure no matter where you go at home or abroad.

On the whole we have found the population of the region, both local and transplant, to be welcoming and accepting, especially toward those who don't come in and try to bend things to their will.
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by abuss368 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:00 pm

I was just there a month or so ago attending a conference and had a chance to tour the Bitmore Estate. Wow!

Really nice area and I wish I had the time to tour more of it.
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:31 pm

Blues wrote:Asheville and environs is an excellent choice for retirement. (We've been living about a half hour or so away for the past 10 years.)

Plenty of culture, arts, outdoor activities, restaurants, pubs, educational opportunities and health care. Some of the smaller towns in the area are also worthy of investigation. (We chose a small college town with good amenities, access to music and the arts, restaurants and services since we had pretty much lived in major cities all of our lives and looked forward to a change.)

An extended visit to the area will provide you with the best information as to whether it's a suitable lifestyle fit for you. It's certainly worth exploring.

The cost of living in the area is very reasonable, especially for those of us coming from major metropolitan centers.
That's an important point-- better to rent for a year and see the *whole* year (most places are a lot tougher to live in in February than September, say, and in the south you want to experience July-August, particularly if you have never lived anywhere that humid before. There's a reason people move *slowly* in the south ;-).

Rather than going both boots in and buying and find out you hate it.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:38 pm

Levett wrote:"I recommend your local Episcopalian church, in that I've never met an unfriendly Episcopalian American."

What an astute observation! It never occurred to me but it's true to my experience and present community (I'm a Lapsed Lutheran ;-)).

Maybe American Episcopalians have preserved the tradition of Latitudinarianism (try to say that ten times!).

Lev
All generalizations are suspect.

Maybe we could say all generalizations are false? ;-). Especially one by a lapsed Anglican ;-)?

So anecdote does not prove the assertion. As Karl Popper would point out, we only need one rude Episcopalian. But there is a sense of Episcopalianism being 'patrician' and 'genteel' (in a way Anglicanism is not in Canada, say, to the same extent-- there's that tug of war in Canada with Scots Presbyterianism v. English Anglicanism).

In the days when I travelled into the south with my parents, we would often wind up, somehow, at a social function of some kind (coffee morning etc.) sponsored by the local Episcopalian church. When I thought of that salesman in Brooks Brothers many years later, it threw me back there. And when I visited Darden at U of Virginia I chanced upon the same phenomenon.

I don't suppose Carlisle Pennsyvlania is such a thrilling place. But it has the US Army War College Library, and that is *utterly* fascinating ;-). Spent a happy couple of days there once.

We should probably add somewhere outside of Philadelphia to our happy list? I gather the taxes/ cost of living situation is not benign, and you do manage to have *both* a hot and sticky summer and a lousy winter. But you have access to Philadelphia, no mean city, and New York, and Washington. Philadelphia has a very extensive public transport system, so as long as you don't keep commuter hours... you can benefit from that.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:42 pm

reisner wrote:OP here. Many thanks for the informed comments. Charlottesville VA is a good suggestion, a very beautiful town. Maybe a tad hotter in the summer than Asheville. Real estate perhaps a little more expensive, and harder to find the kind of small house I prefer. Taxes seem comparably low. California's taxes are brutal and the public seems to get little for the money except bad roads, badly funded schools, and an army of ridiculously paid prison guards (Starting salary in 2005 was 5K a year less than I was making at SDSU as a full professor with 35 years on the job.)
I think you have had good feedback on Asheville and you need to check it out, seriously-- to the extent of living there for a year even.

Draw a big circle around Washington DC (paying attention to how hard it would be to reach your relatives from Ohio, say). See what comes into it: one would find Virginia and Pennsylvania for sure (perhaps a map of the route marches of the Army of Northern Virginia ;-)).

Probably within 60 (80?) miles of Washington is death-- traffic and high cost of living. Outside of that?

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tadamsmar
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by tadamsmar » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:51 pm

Since you are interested in walkability, you should check specific addresses here:

http://www.walkscore.com/

Asheville will have high or low walkability depending on the address. That's probably true of most towns.

You should perhaps look at mass transit too.

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Toons
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Re: Aheville NC as a final destination

Post by Toons » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:57 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Toons wrote:Asheville NC is popular retiree destination.About 4 years ago when looking for a place to retire in the mountains with moderate temperatures(was living in Western NY) I checked out the Asheville area.
It offers everything you mentioned in your second paragraph,but I found it too be a little crowded for my tastes,cost of living not bad,
Heading back West on I-26 I crossed into Northeast Tennessee(Tri-Cities area) and found it to be more rural.Upon further examination,cost of living is very reasonable if not "cheap", low real estate taxes,no state income tax on pension,excellent healthcare facilities.Weather wise a couple months in the summer are hot but at night being near the mountains it cools down fairly comfortably.Winters are pleasant,not bitterly cold ,no complaints.70 degrees at the moment :happy
I think you have your eyes on the right part of the country.Take a trip ,take I-26,the corridor between Tennessee and North Carolina,beautiful country. I live about 60 miles West of Asheville. :happy
I lived in the Tri-cities area for about 10 years, and climate-wise it was about perfect. Even when it gets hot during the day it usually cools off well at night. I was happy there: good fishing, good hiking, inexpensive. It takes a little doing to get big-city amenities if that's important. One peculiar thing that I remember most about it was that in 10 years I got exactly two mosquito bites--given the amount of time I spent in the woods and near water, I found that remarkable. Had things turned out different career-wise, I would have happily stayed there through retirement. Asheville is nice too, visited there a few times. As you said it's got a bit of a crowded feel compared to a lot of places in the region. But used to love that drive over Sam's Gap (except in the snow, haha, it becomes harrowing then).
LOl,,glad you mentioned the "lack" of mosquitoes,,it is true indeed :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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EternalOptimist
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by EternalOptimist » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:58 pm

Renting for a while is smart. Try these sites for short-term rentals:

http://www.vrbo.com
http://www.airbnb.com
http://www.homeaway.com
http://www.tripadvisor.com

Am going through a similar process with Florida. Good luck
"When nothing goes right....go left"

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soaring
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by soaring » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:10 pm

While there learning about the area be sure to eat at Moose Cafe & 12 bones. You will not regret it!!
Desiderata

blueridge
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by blueridge » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:24 pm

bengal22 wrote:Plus I love the way the girls talk in that region.
+1000

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Barefootgirl » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:51 pm

Not sure of any musical tastes you might have, but the city holds great allure for me, due to a wonderful annual event:

http://www.xmasjam.com (and there are similar events year round)

but I probably lie outside of this board demographic…female, free spirited, live and let live, all people have something to contribute to the patchwork quilt of life.


BFG
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by rotosound » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:17 pm

I currently live in Chapel Hill, NC which is about a 3-3.5 hour drive from Asheville. I really like living in Chapel Hill and this area would also be a great retirement destination, but my ultimate goal is to move to Asheville in the next few years. If you are into biking, hiking, outdoors in general, it is a fantastic place to be. Great music and food. Friendly people. Good weather.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by reisner » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:37 pm

OP again. What we like about a place is also conditioned by what we don't like about other places.

For example, going on Trulia for Asheville, I was absolutely charmed by the bungalow-style architecture of many of the smaller places on offer and the lovely interiors. By contrast, my part of the California Coast underwent considerable development as houses were exploding in size; any smaller place is likely to be a mess in a messy neighborhood. Also, taste in many cases went out the window. There's a stretch of mainly second homes of 4000-6000 square feet and over a million in price, where the architects seem to have been in competition for ugliest exterior and the greatest use of gaudy granite countertops inside. Not to mention a hodgepodge of styles from Moorish Gothic to Italian wedding cake. What were they thinking?

Another example. I need a certain amount of heterogeneity. A little funk next door to propriety. Corn planted in the parkways. A neighbor selling barbecue out of his front yard. Software engineers rubbing shoulders and shooting pool with plumbers. I find that sadly lacking where I have a house on the Central Coast. And yet there is no payback in a lower crime rate or social services.

Perhaps this should be another thread, but what are your favorite livable towns? In California my vote goes to Sebastopol in western Sonoma. But a move there got vetoed by Mission Control: too far from the Pacific (not true) and a terrible traffic snarl in the middle of town (alas, too true). Otherwise perfect, except for exposure to earthquake and failure of the Sacramento Delta levees--a minor consideration.

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bltkmt
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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by bltkmt » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:08 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:OP if you're a professor, you should check out the Clemson area. Great college town with a low cost of living, and you are 30-45 minutes from some really great hikes. You would be 2 hours from Atlanta, and 4 hours from the beach/Charleston.
And/or the previously mentioned Greenville area...very nice places to live, both of them.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:08 pm

reisner wrote:OP again. What we like about a place is also conditioned by what we don't like about other places.

For example, going on Trulia for Asheville, I was absolutely charmed by the bungalow-style architecture of many of the smaller places on offer and the lovely interiors. By contrast, my part of the California Coast underwent considerable development as houses were exploding in size; any smaller place is likely to be a mess in a messy neighborhood. Also, taste in many cases went out the window. There's a stretch of mainly second homes of 4000-6000 square feet and over a million in price, where the architects seem to have been in competition for ugliest exterior and the greatest use of gaudy granite countertops inside. Not to mention a hodgepodge of styles from Moorish Gothic to Italian wedding cake. What were they thinking?
Beware. Unless you live in a historic preservation district, this can happen anywhere. Anywhere desirable that has an influx of people and rising housing market. I don't know about Asheville, but I think Charlotte has plenty of 'American standard' suburbs and doubtless inappropriate home styles. Friends of mine who live in Chapel Hill area (which is lovely) complain about the traffic (which is horrible) and the parking (ditto).
Another example. I need a certain amount of heterogeneity. A little funk next door to propriety. Corn planted in the parkways. A neighbor selling barbecue out of his front yard. Software engineers rubbing shoulders and shooting pool with plumbers. I find that sadly lacking where I have a house on the Central Coast. And yet there is no payback in a lower crime rate or social services.
Most places I have been there is class segregation: obvious or not. Software engineers don't shoot pool with plumbers anywhere I know. A lot of the 'blue collar' people may be hispanic. College towns often have a good mix by virtue of having young people.

What comes across first as rural 'authenticity' can grate after a while. When your neighbours front and back yard become scrapheaps, etc.

A friend of mine moved from Berkeley to a college town in the south. Neighbor's rottweiler was running loose and he was concerned about his children's safety. Rang the sheriff's office and got the reply 'y'all got a gun, don't ya?'.
Perhaps this should be another thread, but what are your favorite livable towns? In California my vote goes to Sebastopol in western Sonoma. But a move there got vetoed by Mission Control: too far from the Pacific (not true) and a terrible traffic snarl in the middle of town (alas, too true). Otherwise perfect, except for exposure to earthquake and failure of the Sacramento Delta levees--a minor consideration.
I think that there have been threads on this very topic.

I wonder if you are better off searching for somewhere closer to where you are now. California has the almost ideal climate. I agree cost of living and crowding issues may mean that it's no longer appealing.

If Mission Control doesn't want to be too far from the Pacific, they are going to hate a lot of the places we have been talking about, which are inland. And beaches on the US East Coast are *crowded* in the good months (and after recent storms, I wonder how good an idea it is to live in an Atlantic front community?).

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater on this one. Proceed cautiously, doing a lot of research and spending a trial period in your desired destination.

And don't idealize anywhere. They've all got their downsides and upsides.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by Nowizard » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:38 pm

A key issue is what environment was your childhood one, and what environment is the one in which you lived predominantly as an adult? We change in our dreams and fantasies, but never underestimate what I call the power of the familiar. If you are certain what you want to "go to," that is one issue, but if you are more focused on what you want to "go from," that is another issue entirely. When we want to get away from something, anyplace is likely to be "better," but a geographic cure to an issue is temporary. The key is knowing yourself. If you have been happy where you are but have had the same ideas for a long period of time about what you want in retirement, great, but friends, healthcare and access to those things we enjoy are important. Possibly the best advice is to visit at various times of year and see if the general environment of culture, climate, healthcare, etc. is amenable to your preferences. If so, you can develop friends. As a professor, you have had intellectual stimulation. People who have the option to relocate are likely to be educated and in the same situation as you, so friendship should be attainable.

Tim

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by reisner » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:45 pm

Valuethiner wrote:

"Most places I have been there is class segregation: obvious or not. Software engineers don't shoot pool with plumbers anywhere I know. A lot of the 'blue collar' people may be hispanic. College towns often have a good mix by virtue of having young people."


I'll name one such unsegregated place, Rizotti's (AKA Alpine Inn), a state monument, the oldest place of continuous refreshment in the state, Woodside CA. Famed for its cheeseburgers. A software engineer and I once beat two Hell's Angels at eight ball. Good feelings all around. Such interactions have been common there, although lately the Angels don't stand a chance.

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Re: Asheville NC as a final destination

Post by reisner » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:47 pm

Nowizard wrote:A key issue is what environment was your childhood one, and what environment is the one in which you lived predominantly as an adult? We change in our dreams and fantasies, but never underestimate what I call the power of the familiar. If you are certain what you want to "go to," that is one issue, but if you are more focused on what you want to "go from," that is another issue entirely. When we want to get away from something, anyplace is likely to be "better," but a geographic cure to an issue is temporary. The key is knowing yourself. If you have been happy where you are but have had the same ideas for a long period of time about what you want in retirement, great, but friends, healthcare and access to those things we enjoy are important. Possibly the best advice is to visit at various times of year and see if the general environment of culture, climate, healthcare, etc. is amenable to your preferences. If so, you can develop friends. As a professor, you have had intellectual stimulation. People who have the option to relocate are likely to be educated and in the same situation as you, so friendship should be attainable.

Tim

Very well said.

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