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Asheville, NC?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We are contemplating moving to Asheville...Any insights?  Homebirth, nursing in public, homeschooling, chickens, walkable neighborhoods, bike-friendly, etc.?  Thanks!

post #2 of 9

From where are you considering a move and why? That will be a key insight into whether or not Asheville might be a good fit. We moved from Oregon to Asheville last year and how found it very similar to the liberal and progressive ways of our old community...but it's still the East Coast, still the South and still part of a state that has homebirth and CPM hostility.

Homebirth - yes, though I don't know that as many people are aware that it is an option as should be....especially first-time mamas. There are a few CNM's who will accomodate a family's wishes for a homebirth. There are also CPM's, but they're "illegal", so I don't see them out and advertising everywhere birth-related around town. It seems more word of mouth, though some do have websites.

Nursing in Public - Absolutely (like anywhere, there are some people who get skeeved out, but overall the community is very supportive, even encouraging).

Homeschooling - Again, absolutely. There is a HUGE network of various homeschool groups/co-ops here in the Asheville area. I have a link to all of the yahoo groups somewhere that I'll try to find.

Chickens - Yup

Walkable Neighborhoods - Some, but this was definitely an area of dissapointment for us. There are a few neighborhoods within walking distance to downtown, and then there is West Asheville, but definitely not our favorite city in this aspect.

Bike Friendly - Lots of bike lanes. Lots of hills. Lots of East Coast drivers. I'm too chicken to take on the task, but there is a very active road and mountain biking scene.

This is just the perspective of li'l ol' me, so someone else may see things differently. Feel free to email me if you have more specific questions.  :)


Stacey A. DiMuzio CD(DONA)
Bella Belly Doula Services
Birth, Postpartum, Hypno
Doula & Midwifery Assistant

703.470.2727    828.484.1558


"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.”
-Laura Stavoe Harm

“Whatever way birth happens, it is your rite of passage into motherhood, and that passage is to be celebrated.
Natural childbirth is a passage, cesarean birth is a passage, and birth with an epidural is a passage to be celebrated.
That passage cannot be taken away from you. Every mother’s birth experience is valid, and an act of courage.” 
-Ananda Lowe

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Stacey! Interesting insights for sure, very helpful...We currently live outside of Grand Rapids, MI...DH's job here is not what it used to be so looking at other options, he can pretty much find a job wherever so anywhere is an option, but! we would love for him to work slightly less than full-time and therefore need a city with a reasonable cost of living (e.g., Portland would be great, but we can't afford it)...I never planned on living here (where I grew up)...Pretty conservative city, WINTER ugh!, near my parents (a negative), etc.  Would love to partial homestead (need a longer growing season, more temperate climate), want a walkable and bikeable city, the more liberal the better, etc.  Asheville was suggested to us by quite a few people...Bummed about your bike reflections and what don't you like about West Asheville?  And you lived in OR you say?  DH actually just saw a job posting in Eugene...but I think I might not like the weather there ;) and I am not sure about the cost of living.  Any insight?  Thanks!!!!

post #4 of 9

Oh, I think West Asheville can be great for families. I meant that it is a little more walkable that naighborhoods near downtown. Haywood road runs through West Asheville and there are lots of great restaurants and shops...and some fantastic parks in the area as well. It's definitely a little younger and considered the "hippest", most liberal and ethnically diverse part of Asheville recently. When we moved, that the first area we looked at for housing. Personally, I wasn't impressed with what we could get for our budget. If you have the means to buy an older home that has been totally gutted and remodeled, or the means to do this yourself, that's great, but we could only afford teeny, tiny, moldy death traps. I have recently heard some families complaining about crime in West Asheville. It's definitely still an "emerging" neighborhood that wasn't super nice all that long ago.

We are in North Asheville and absolutely love it (we're actually in a little nebulous area that is kind of Asheville, kind of Woodfin, kind of Weaverville, kind of Alexander).   :)   We're on an acre, 60 seconds from the river, on a no through street with lots of trees, privacy, gardens, etc....but it only takes us 7 minutes to get downtown and 5 to Weaverville. We really love it here...seems to be the best of both worlds for our needs. The only thing we miss about our neighborhood in Oregon was that my daughter could walk outside and play with all of her friends on the street. Here we have to drive to various parks for play dates and community events, etc....not a big deal for us.


I LOVED living in Oregon...and I love the PNW in general. My partner grew up in Seattle so he was fairly familiar with the area. We lived in Bend, Oregon, and chose Bend because its weather is very different from cities like Portland and Seattle. People think all of Oregon and Washington is gloomy and misty, but everything East of the Cascades is actally high desert and very, very arid. Bend gets a good amount of sun, but it is at 3700 feet elevation in the Cascades and also gets lots of snow. I was not prepared for the amount of light during the winter months, nor was I prepared for winter lasting 8-9 months. There is no place I would rather be than Bend during the months of July and August. AMAZING. Hot and dry during the day. Light until 11pm. 40's at night so that you can open your windows. Anyway, I digress, we couldn't grow much there, even with a greenhouse and the year before we moved, the first snow of the year was October 2nd, the last was the end of June and the last frost was the end of July. I was in a coat and gloves on July 4th. Once I birthed my daughter, I couldn't handle being cold so often and not being able to share gardening food with her. Job prospects are pretty bleak, but they are in Asheville as well. We've been super lucky and grateful to have transitioned easily, but many others are severely struggling. Eugene is a progressive town with a liberal, college atmosphere. My best friend grew up in the Valley and now lives in Bend. She says she doesn't know how she lived with grey for so long. The Valley is a little more temperate than Bend, the growing season way longer...lots of great produce and wines come from that area. And it's nice to be able to drive over the Coastal Range and hit the ocean...a super cold ocean, but gorgeous! I personally couldn't handle the grey and short days of winter, as I tend to get Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if it doesn't bother you (and it might not since you're from Michigan), then the PNW might be a really great fit for your family. If there was ANY way around a few of the major issues, we would never have left.

post #5 of 9

For Homebirthing with Legal Midwives, meaning CNMs, there are a few of us that serve in the greater Asheville area, the CNMs at New Dawn and my practice near Hickory, BirthTender Midwifery. All of us CNMs here in the western end, and most in the whole state have worked in teaching about and supporting homebirthing for many years. One of the CNMs at New Dawn was a direct entry midwife for many years before going on for the CNM. One of the other midwives there is a CPM & was a co-owner of New Dawn, and she may still be?  Not sure who New Dawn's supervising OB is, Mine is one whom is supervising for about 8 homebirth CNMs in NC, and he is really wonderful, and our protocols are the same as New Zealand's Midwives.

Karen Benfield, CNM & Owner of BirthTender midwifery,

a homebirth, well woman/gyn, family planning, primary care midwifery practice Covering 2 hour radius around Hickory, NC

Edited by BirthTender - 6/4/12 at 3:06pm
post #6 of 9

also thinking of moving to asheville! from baltimore in march!  trying to find out which neighborhoods would work best for us!  the idea of some land and a small house is appealing! so is a more "urban" stead.  i do want to be able to walk, though parking and walking isnt a problem for me.  i dont want to be a SAHM who falls into the cracks of never leaving my house and getting really depressed. 

post #7 of 9

you can check out the iwanna newspaper online for the most realistic view of rental prices in the area.  Good luck with your choice!  oh, and biking sucks here.  Unless you're talking mountain biking - but city biking is best avoided esp with kids!  A randomly bad thing about an otherwise fantastic area :)


~ Julie




post #8 of 9

rustydaisies: we moved to Black Mountain (20 mins east of Asheville) from DC proper 4 years ago -- so we're quite familiar with Bmore (DH went to Loyola). We moved when DD1 was 6mo and I had an unintentional unassisted home birth 16 months ago with DD2. But, OMG, it was fabulous!


Where to live is still a question for us, now that DD1 will be attending 1st Grade in a couple years and the school we'd like her to attend is in West Asheville -- which is 23 minutes from our house with NO traffic. Pretty much. Ever. Especially compared to DC/Balt areas.


We love our house and our neighborhood -- but sometimes wish we were closer to downtown Asheville. But around these parts, you can find farm & acreage within Asheville City limits -- it's crazy how you can be driving on dirt roads within the city limits.


So anyway, if you have any particular questions, you can check out Asheville Mamas or send me a PM. 


good luck to everyone!

post #9 of 9

I LOVE that you had "an unintentional unassisted home birth 16 months ago with DD2. But, OMG, it was fabulous!"!!!




Stacey A. DiMuzio CD(DONA)
Bella Belly Doula Services
Doula & Midwifery Assistant

Placenta Prints & Encapsulation
703.470.2727    828.484.1558


"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.”
-Laura Stavoe Harm

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