Raleigh, North Carolina opinions?

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mathwhiz
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Raleigh, North Carolina opinions?

Post by mathwhiz » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:31 pm

I'm bored in my current job/location and need to make a move for my career. There's some interesting possibilities in Raleigh for me, but I don't know much about the area. What are the positives/negatives to the area? I do see it regularly on the best places to raise a family and other lists. It seems to be an area with a lot of growth and housing costs are very cheap compared to many places.

centrifuge41
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Post by centrifuge41 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:52 pm

The Research Triangle is a great area. Are you exploring opportunities inside the park itself, in Raleigh, or in one of the other cities?

There's four major cities in the area (Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill) and they are not too similar. Raleigh is big, so neighborhoods can differ tremendously. A lot of the North Raleigh area (generally north of the Beltline, I-440) is more suburban than within the Beltline. Cary is a pretty nice suburb with great schools - a good family town. Durham has good areas, but there are also areas that are a bit higher crime and/or have middling schools. Chapel Hill is an attractive college town, and real estate is a little bit more expensive than other parts of the Triangle. Of course, there's other towns in the area too: Wake Forest, Apex, Garner, etc.

Pluses: there's a little bit of all four seasons - there's typically one or two snowstorms big enough to leave snow on the ground for a few days. There's a lot of employment opportunities, particularly in biotech and computing/high tech. There's a decent amount to do. The traffic isn't bad compared to places such as Atlanta or DC. Housing is still relatively cheap. There's three great research universities in the area, along with a bunch of other colleges. The airport is pretty good, and the flight prices tend to be pretty decent, for a non-hub.

Minuses: the growth in the area is phenomenal. You may or may not like the way new buildings and neighborhoods keep popping up. You tend to do a lot of driving - one study showed the per capita miles driven was higher than any other metro area in the country last year. This may be because it's a good 20+ miles to get from Raleigh or Cary to Durham or Chapel Hill.

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Post by foooozle » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:14 pm

I grew up here (until age 18), and still manage to visit about twice a year.

Housing is insanely cheap compared to elsewhere in the country (on a jobs available-adjusted basis). There is a huge amount of suburban sprawl, with cookie cutter housing divisions. There are older neighborhoods in the core of Raleigh and Durham, but 95% of the housing available is low density, 2500 sq ft house per 1/3-1/2 acre type. There is higher density housing (urban condos) available in the city center, but much of this is of fairly new origin. The central parts of Raleigh weren't really a place to "hang out" in until about ten years ago.

As mentioned, be prepared to drive at least 5-10 miles to any place you go (to work, to a restaurant, to home, to a school, and the like). The weather can get pretty oppressive during the summer, though the winters are very mild and spring arrives early (early March).

The public schools system is decent in Wake County and in Chapel Hill (I guess I did well enough with it), though it has been showing strains of rapid growth over the past ten years. Expect more changes in school redistricting, year round schooling and the like. The local private primary and secondary schools are not significantly better to justify the cost in my opinion.

I think it is a pretty good, low cost place to raise a family, but outside of that, it doesn't hold much attraction (for most friends of mine; your mileage may vary). It tends to still be missing on the map for touring cultural attractions (exhibits, bands, theater productions, and the like). The region hasn't quite moved from third to second-tier status yet, despite the population being there. The spread out nature of the Triangle and lack of any single center tends to work against it.

There are many jobs available, and it is one of the handful of places in the country that continues to grow during the Great Recession.

rocket
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NC is number 1

Post by rocket » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:58 am

I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.

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empb
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Re: NC is number 1

Post by empb » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:14 am

rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
:shock:

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CrankyManager
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Post by CrankyManager » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:25 am

I will be relocating to Raleigh by the end of the summer to join my fiancee. We are getting married in July, and then it's on to NC. I have had the advantage of having my soon-to-be wife working as an "advance scout" in the area for the last four years. :)

I'm coming from a very rural area, so I'm most looking forward to the new opportunities afforded by living in a place where there's a lot happening (both personally and professionally speaking).

It will be interesting to see how I react from moving from a community of under 10,000 people to one with significantly more, however.

After pondering it for three years -- we're not the type who jump into anything -- we both believe that the advantages offered to us by Raleigh far outweigh living in other places. Here's how we got there.

1.) Job opportunities. There are various and many opportunities available to me in my field, or in tangent fields if I'm ready for a change (and I am). An added benefit is that my fiancee, who has a job where the words "budget cuts" have real world implications, would have multiple opportunities should her position suffer a cutback.

2.) Cultural events. Raleigh may be ahead or behind other cities in the country. I don't know because I was born, raised, and have only lived in cities of less than 25,000 people my entire life. Raleigh is a great deal of fun for me.

3.) Sporting events. My fiancee and I are both sports nuts, we'll admit it. So we have the Carolina Hurricanes, the Durham Bulls, the Carolina Mudcats, as well as Duke/UNC/NCSt. We're also not terribly far from where my fiancee did her undergrad at Clemson, so we can still enjoy a Saturday football game at her alma mater (or catch them in town playing ACC rivals).

4.) Diversity of the region. There aren't many states we considered living in that have mountains on one side and beach on the other. 8-)

5.) I'm a country kid, and there's probably only so much townhome living that I can tolerate. We're already looking at houses with smaller acreage, and we're finding them to be quite affordable even in our newlywed budget. (I'm talking about a couple of acres, of course, not dozens or hundreds).

6.) Currently I'm nearly 100 miles from an airport that will get you close to "anywhere." RDU will more or less get you anywhere. Her parents are a 14 hour drive to Cape Cod, or a Southwest ticket away. My family is the better part of a day, but it's still only a day away.

I will be interested to see what others have to say, and have read the current comments left with great interest.
"Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?" -- Cicero

Valuethinker
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Re: NC is number 1

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:24 am

rocket wrote: One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
Funny to hear the American South described as a place with 'less blacks' ;-). Still about 30-40% population, no?

For many, the cultural differences between NC and other parts of the USA *might* be a bigger jump ;-).

However that part of NC seems the 'least south' part of the South, if you know what I mean ;-).

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Re: Raleigh, North Carolina opinions?

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:29 am

mathwhiz wrote:I'm bored in my current job/location and need to make a move for my career. There's some interesting possibilities in Raleigh for me, but I don't know much about the area. What are the positives/negatives to the area? I do see it regularly on the best places to raise a family and other lists. It seems to be an area with a lot of growth and housing costs are very cheap compared to many places.
Hmmm.

I would put it this way, based on what I remember of the area (we are going back maybe 20 years), friends who live there, and what is said here.

Pros

- job market especially for professionals
- cost of housing
- climate generally a plus
- access to mountains and sea (a big plus in my view: mountains in summer, sea in winter)
- intellectual environment of all the universities. Highest concentration of Phds in the USA I believe
- indefinable point about 'Southern culture'-- more courtly, more slow, traditional manners etc.
- college and other spectator sports

Negatives

- traffic and parking and probably only getting worse
- lack of a clear urban centre with a 'its happening' vibe
- therefore somewhat lack of cultural events (of some types)
- more suburban/ rural than urban -- less exciting and buzzy for a young person, would suit married couples more, perhaps
- although probably the most 'northern' place in the south (other than Atlanta) some people may not enjoy living in the south for aforesaid cultural or other reasons (weather etc.)

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Post by laughlinlvr » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:32 am

Moved to Triangle on 2003 (although now working in NYC). Stumbled into paradise when I went there.
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tadamsmar
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Re: Raleigh, North Carolina opinions?

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:36 am

mathwhiz wrote:I'm bored in my current job/location and need to make a move for my career. There's some interesting possibilities in Raleigh for me, but I don't know much about the area. What are the positives/negatives to the area? I do see it regularly on the best places to raise a family and other lists. It seems to be an area with a lot of growth and housing costs are very cheap compared to many places.
It might be hard to get cheap housing, good schools, and a short commute in one package. Depends on what you are comparing to.

Notice that you are asking about Raleigh and people are telling you about the Triangle. You might create a nice localized situation if you don't have job hop in the area. But people here typically end up traveling around the Triangle to take advantage of a near optimal work, school, home, and entertainment situation.

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tadamsmar
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Re: NC is number 1

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:48 am

Valuethinker wrote:
rocket wrote: One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
Funny to hear the American South described as a place with 'less blacks' ;-). Still about 30-40% population, no?

For many, the cultural differences between NC and other parts of the USA *might* be a bigger jump ;-).

However that part of NC seems the 'least south' part of the South, if you know what I mean ;-).
2010 NC census: 22% African American. 5.8% Hispanic, 1.2% American Indian

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Post by slug » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:52 am

I was fortunate enough to leverage my NJ salary for a highly paid position in the Triangle which of course has a much lower cost of living. If you can swing something similar, it's a great place to be.
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Post by tadamsmar » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:54 am

Wake County schools are in transition, by the way. It had a good magnet system, which meant good schools but typically a long bus ride. It's moving toward more of a neighborhood system and I am not sure of the consequences. Location might end up being more important than before, I guess.

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Post by marylandcrab » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:09 pm

We opened an office down in that area and my sis and her hubby moved down to work it.

Cary slang = containment area for relocated yankees - lol

What I like about it lots of everything available, with it being such a high tech area it is a well educated population. Still has a more suburban/rural feel in many areas.

Good weather most of the time - a huge plus if you are a golfer or outdoor lover, but hotter than the dickens in the summer.

I personally love the Wilmington area for the beaches - not too far of a trip if you are on the eastern side of Raleigh.

Friendlier, more laid back area than other larger metro areas.

Many people have discovered NC and many retirees coming to the area.

I can tell you the demographics I see from my business - many retirees, and way higher unemployment than my area, way more people unemployed and living in poverty.

If you leave the city area you will be in some deep country southern areas. And they sure love their pork and their barbecue - lol.

Bojangles seem to be on every street corner, yet we've had some of the best sushi there too.

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by detroitbabu » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:22 pm

rocket wrote:One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
By cultural differences if you mean being open minded vs not being open minded, then yes I agree.

jacksprat
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nice, but overrated IMO

Post by jacksprat » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:37 pm

Pros: diverse economy, good healthcare & education

Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.
not much of the south left here.
urban sprawl taking it's toll ( traffic and strip malls.)


It's kinda funny when you hear after moving here, someone complaining that their neighbors are from where they escaped from..


Bottom line. It's nice but not as nice as those 'places rated' magazines and their numbers think it is.

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:33 am

By cultural differences if you mean being open minded vs not being open minded, then yes I agree.

Personally I blame it on all those Germans. Start with Baron Von Steuben at Valley Forge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Frie ... on_Steuben

And surely some men of Wisconsin and Indiana in the Iron Brigade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Brigade

Spread down the Mississippi, and ruined America ;-). Eisenhower. Friedman. Siegel's Corps in the American Civil War (the officers would address their troops in German apparently). Damned Krauts ;-).

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tadamsmar
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Re: nice, but overrated IMO

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:51 am

jacksprat wrote:Pros: diverse economy, good healthcare & education

Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.
not much of the south left here.
urban sprawl taking it's toll ( traffic and strip malls.)


It's kinda funny when you hear after moving here, someone complaining that their neighbors are from where they escaped from..


Bottom line. It's nice but not as nice as those 'places rated' magazines and their numbers think it is.
Durham (one of the points of the Triangle) made U.S. News list of top ten best places to live, and I know locals who will not set foot in the town for fear of being mugged or worse.

Does not include me, BTW. I go to Durham for entertainment, but I am not sure about raising kids there depending on the location.

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Post by bmb823 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:16 am

I don't have anything specific to say, other than that we love it here! We live in North Raleigh. We moved here two years back. Summers are brutal, but the spring, fall, and winters make up for it (we moved from Utah; I don't miss the freezing winters).

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Re: nice, but overrated IMO

Post by RobertAlanK » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:51 am

tadamsmar wrote:
jacksprat wrote:Pros: diverse economy, good healthcare & education

Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.
not much of the south left here.
urban sprawl taking it's toll ( traffic and strip malls.)


It's kinda funny when you hear after moving here, someone complaining that their neighbors are from where they escaped from..


Bottom line. It's nice but not as nice as those 'places rated' magazines and their numbers think it is.
Durham (one of the points of the Triangle) made U.S. News list of top ten best places to live, and I know locals who will not set foot in the town for fear of being mugged or worse.

Does not include me, BTW. I go to Durham for entertainment, but I am not sure about raising kids there depending on the location.
I've lived in Durham for 10 years and we are raising our 4-year-old daughter here. I'm actually very impressed by the progress this city has made in just that time period. Particularly the downtown has been revitalized and Durham is becoming a mecca for good food, entertainment and local brews.

The city still has a ways to go - East Durham (low income and minority neighborhoods) remains especially troubled. But I continue to be very happy that I chose Durham over Raleigh, Cary or Chapel Hill.

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Re: nice, but overrated IMO

Post by schwarm » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:52 pm

jacksprat wrote:
Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.

I guess hot and humid are somewhat relative. I'd move there for the more temperate climate.


:wink:

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Re: nice, but overrated IMO

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:21 am

schwarm wrote:
jacksprat wrote:
Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.

I guess hot and humid are somewhat relative. I'd move there for the more temperate climate.


:wink:
;-). ;-).

Yes completely relative. I'd always thought that anywhere south of Virginia, unless in the mountains, is just completely mad.

Or rather, to quote a friend of mine about Houston's climate:

'would you quit complaining! It's 72 degrees in Houston 365 days a year, other than the 30 seconds you are outside your car, your house, your office or the shopping mall' ;-). ;-).

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Post by redarmymembe » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:03 pm

Is Barney still in law enforcement there?

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by Go Blue 99 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:13 pm

rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
Please do us all a favor and never leave Alabama.

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by ThinkingRunner » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:55 pm

rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
One of the things I really like about *not* living in Alabama is ... :wink:

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Post by bh » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:55 pm

in my opinion it is an excellent area if you can tolerate the traffic and summers

the research triangle provides alot of technical employment and raleigh being the state capital (plus the home of NC State University) seems to ride through bad economic periods better than the rest of the state due in part to the nucleus of stable government jobs

NC State/Duke/ and UNC offer alot of good college athletic event outings

beaches are approx 2 hours away and mountains a bit longer

any idea which city you would prefer?

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Post by tadamsmar » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:07 pm

redarmymembe wrote:Is Barney still in law enforcement there?
You can see Barney at the Mayberry Days Festival an hour or so N (edit:west not north) of the Triangle in Mt Airy:

http://www.visitmayberry.com/
Last edited by tadamsmar on Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by HomerJ » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:53 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
By cultural differences if you mean being open minded vs not being open minded, then yes I agree.

Personally I blame it on all those Germans. Start with Baron Von Steuben at Valley Forge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Frie ... on_Steuben

And surely some men of Wisconsin and Indiana in the Iron Brigade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Brigade

Spread down the Mississippi, and ruined America ;-). Eisenhower. Friedman. Siegel's Corps in the American Civil War (the officers would address their troops in German apparently). Damned Krauts ;-).
Germans make great Americans... They just make lousy Germans. :)

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Post by schwarm » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:05 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
redarmymembe wrote:Is Barney still in law enforcement there?
You can see Barney at the Mayberry Days Festival an hour or so N of the Triangle in Mt Airy:

http://www.visitmayberry.com/
Mt. Airy is closer to the "triad" (Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point) than the triangle, and it does seem like a nice place to retire.

Valuethinker, I also draw the line at Virginia, but I'm staying on the other side. :)

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by Ruprecht » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:57 pm

ThinkingRunner wrote:
rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
One of the things I really like about *not* living in Alabama is ... :wink:
...because an anonymous guy on the internet fully represents the opinions of over four million people. :roll:

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by jayars35 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:34 pm

However that part of NC seems the 'least south' part of the South, if you know what I mean ;-).[/quote]

No, what do you mean.

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Post by somanaut » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:00 am

I live just south of Chapel Hill. For the southern US, it is hard to do better than the RTP area. Two hours to the beach, two hours from the mountains. Lots of smart people doing interesting things. A fairly youthful vibe. Decent restaurants, and a great music scene.
On the downside, the air quality is not great, due to pollen, ozone, and, quite often, forest fires further east. Traffic is pretty horrible. The architecture is pretty boring, and there are no dramatic vistas immediately nearby.
Chapel Hill is a great town, but taxes are relatively high, and it isn't the best place for business. Durham is up and coming, especially if you like an urban edge, but still has issues. Raleigh is a nice, if non descript, small city. Cary/Apex is where most business professionals call home. It is well manicured and safe, but rather boring. Still, I'd rather live here than Charlotte, Atlanta, or Memphis any day.

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by ThinkingRunner » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:22 am

Ruprecht wrote:
ThinkingRunner wrote:
rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
One of the things I really like about *not* living in Alabama is ... :wink:
...because an anonymous guy on the internet fully represents the opinions of over four million people. :roll:
Forgive me, I couldn't resist the dig -- not least because I belong to one of the categories that that poster can't bring himself to adjust to. :wink:

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Re: NC is number 1

Post by Deacon Mike » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:55 am

ThinkingRunner wrote:
Ruprecht wrote:
ThinkingRunner wrote:
rocket wrote:I am a sometimes Appalachian Trail (AT) hiker. The AT in NC is beautiful. Weather in NC is good. If I ever moved again, I would move to NC. My opinion is NC is the best state; N AL where I live, is the number 2. One of the things I like about NC you do not have to adjust to cultural differences, they have less East Indians, blacks, and illegal aliens.
One of the things I really like about *not* living in Alabama is ... :wink:
...because an anonymous guy on the internet fully represents the opinions of over four million people. :roll:
Forgive me, I couldn't resist the dig -- not least because I belong to one of the categories that that poster can't bring himself to adjust to. :wink:

This strikes me as quite funny, since I live in greater Raleigh. I have Blacks, East Asians, and South Asians living on my short little Cul-de-sac. And I'm fairly certain that illegals do a lot of yard work in my neighborhood, too.

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Re: nice, but overrated IMO

Post by Daffy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:08 am

jacksprat wrote:Cons : HOT. Very HOT and humid in the summer.
not much of the south left here.
urban sprawl taking it's toll ( traffic and strip malls.)
I concur. I live in Raleigh and the 95-105 average temps between Jun-Sept are brutal. I would not be surprised if this area of the country becomes the next desert in 100-200 years. During the summer it seems that 95% of the rain that comes out of the mountains to the west dries up before it ever gets to Raleigh. You can only enjoy the climate here between October-March.

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