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Which city seems more like what I'm looking for?

  • Asheville

    Votes: 8 57.1%
  • Raleigh

    Votes: 4 28.6%
  • either

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • neither (suggest another southeastern city not in SC or FL)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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· Registered
1,539 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, here's the deal. In May of 2010, DH will finish this accounting certificate program he's working on. At that point, we plan to relocate. Until just the past week or two, we were pretty sure that would be to the Asheville area. We fell in love with it when we were up in the mountains last year for a month. But now, I'm not sure how Asheville compares to Raleigh, and would love some input.

Some things that are important to us:

- pretty crunchy area. We're currently in small town bubbaville SC and HATE it. I need more cultural diversity, more moderate to liberal people, more cultural opportunities, natural foods stores that aren't an hour drive away, a LLL chapter wouldn't hurt, or API, stuff like that.

- decent job availability. DH will be looking for work in the accounting field. I want to either apply into the TEACH program if we think I'll need to work to make it happen and teach high school, OR I'll continue doula work and my WAH business and see about going back to grad school. Which brings me to...

- college where I could do some grad work less than an hour drive away. and...

- good educational opportunities for the kids. I need good public education or alternative charter schools, and if I go back to work a good Montessori preschool for the babies.

- pretty, hilly, not a flat void. That's part of what we liked about Asheville-- mountains, pretty-- not enough of a reason to move there in and of itself, but it didn't hurt our cause. Having never been to Raleigh area, I don't know what the area is like.

Obviously, before we made any kind of decision, we'd head up and visit Raleigh to check it out and all, but for now while I'm dreaming a bit, does anyone have any input?

· Registered
7,957 Posts
I've only visited Asheville and frankly it's been a few years and I live in Chapel Hill. Personally, I would pick Asheville if I could find a job. DH would move in a heartbeat. He's drawn to the mts, though, and that would be nearly enough for him there. I'll try to rate your areas of interest...

- pretty crunchy area. Asheville could make a case for being the crunchiest place in the Southeast. Raleigh definitely has areas of crunch, but doesn't have the crunchy reputation that Ashevegas has. Carrboro and Chapel Hill have a lotta crunch, too. Durham has a fair amount, too. Raleigh is, of course, much bigger than Chapel Hill/Carrboro, and it has the accompanying sprawl, but has cool stuff going for it, too. On a scale of 1-10 crunchiness I would give Asheville a 8.5 (gotta leave some room for the uber crunchy cities like Portland), Chapel Hill/Carrboro an 8 or 8.5, and Raleigh a 6.5 or 7, Durham a 7. My hometown gets a 2, fwiw.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro is very liberal in a college town kinda way (way more Obama supporters than McCain - in fact I don't think I've seen a McCain sticker or sign). Durham is liberal in a college town + blue-collar + African American + urban kinda way. There are more McCain supporters there because it's a bigger town, but it always goes blue and often extremely decisively so. Raleigh is leaning more left lately, but there are plenty of moderates and plenty of Republicans. They're likely to go Obama this election, but Wake county voted for Bush in the last two presidential elections. They have a progressive mayor now.

I think Asheville itself is pretty/very liberal, but the surrounding area outside the city is likely to have plenty of folks like you meet in SC. I just checked on epodunk and Buncombe county (Asheville's county) went narrowly for Bush the last two elections also. Durham county and Orange county (Chapel Hill/Carrboro's home county) went for Kerry and Gore decisively.

- decent job availability. I recently posted a link to an article I read that said 12,000 new folks have moved to Raleigh (not the triangle in general) in the last year. I think the job scene is pretty good here. I've heard it can be trickier in Asheville, but I've no first hand info there.

- college where I could do some grad work . Plenty of those in the triangle. In Raleigh you've got NC State, Meredith, St Augustines, Shaw, Wake Tech, and probably a few others I left out. In Durham you've got Duke, NC Central, Durham Tech. In Chapel Hill, UNC. In or near Asheville you've got UNC-Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Tech, Warren Wilson. Not too far away are Mars Hill, Montreat and a bit further away Western Carolina (WCU might be too far, not sure).

- good educational opportunities for the kids. Can't speak too much to Raleigh on this, but I think the public schools have a pretty good reputation. The Chapel Hill/Carrboro public schools have an excellent reputation. Durham public schools I've heard mixed things about, but most folks I know who go there are pretty satisfied. They have some interesting charter schools and magnets. Plenty of Montessori to go around. There are a lot of Waldorfy preschools/nurseries around CH/Carrboro/Durham. There's a Waldorf school in Chapel Hill and a variety of private schools in CH/C-Durham. There's also a very big and active secular and inclusive homeschooling community.

On Asheville, I've heard good things about their schools, but couldn't really tell you any details. I'm sure some of the Asheville mamas could, though. I think it's sort of a magnet deal with some schools?

- pretty, hilly, not a flat void. Well, you know about Asheville. Beautiful.

Raleigh's no Asheville, but it has its moments. In general IMHO the piedmont terrain is prettier than the coastal plain/sandhills terrain until you get all the way to the beach. There's a nice mix of hardwoods and pines - definitely more deciduous trees than further south and east (where I'm from btw). There's a thread at city data with pictures that might be helpful - . I haven't looked at them. In general Chapel Hill, especially campus, is very photogenic. There are hills here (a lot in my neighborhood). It's nice-not Asheville-but nice.

hth - I think the triangle area is worth a look, but if I could find a job in Asheville I'd probably go that way if I was just starting out. Right now we've been in Chapel Hill 20 years and I'm finding the thought of moving west a bit daunting, plus I don't like cold weather and it is colder in Asheville. The triangle is hot in the summer (doesn't bother me much since I'm a lizard
) and up and down in the winter (70 one day in January and barely above freezing the next week). You'd get more snow in Asheville and a less hot summer, though still plenty warm (80s most likely, maybe an occasional 90 vs high 80s+low 90s here with an occasional 100+ in Raleigh and the triangle).


ETA: I like for poking around and learning stats on different areas.

· Registered
7,957 Posts
Well, that's all just my opinion. Other mamas may greatly disagree and I would welcome them chiming in and setting me straight! I do like epodunk and city-data for checking places out. epodunk has lots of statistics and city-data has lots of opinions
! Really, you could waste most of a day reading all the threads at city-data.

· Registered
116 Posts
I think Beanma makes a good point that if you have a job in Asheville, go for it. For us that is the most limiting factor. It is so heavily tourist and medical based, that there is not much else careerwise.

I would be hesitant to move there with no job (but then again I'd be hesitant to move anywhere with no job!) A lot of people move to Asheville because they hear it is a nice place. Same with Raleigh, but I think the Triangle has more opportunities in more fields.

Asheville has more of a hippy crunchy feel to me. The Triangle has more of an artsy crunchy feel to me. That is just my opinion though! Both places are really nice and you will find what you are looking for in each place.

Good luck!

· Registered
782 Posts
I live in Asheville & apart from the iffy job market, this place has everything you are looking for.

Crunchiness--oh yeah. Very natural family living friendly--many choices for organic/local/health food shopping, great options for birthing--even an OB who only attends home births, and active LLL group and even an online forum for NFL minded mamas.

College--you could take grad classes via Western Carolina U here on the UNC campus in Asheville. There's a program to facilitate teaching certification for folks who have worked in other fields.

Lots of choices for school, home school, unschool for children--various alternatives including Montessori, Sudbury and a neat experiential Charter school.


As for jobs, it would be best to find one in advance if possible. I don't know much about accounting, but I would think it is the type of field where you could find something--maybe not as high paying as in other places. That's the real problem here--the wages do not match the cost of housing. But it's do-able, even for poor folks like myself...

There are a lot of doulas here, but if you have a good mind for generating business you should be able to get work. There's a local network of doulas:

This is a wonderful place to raise a family. So much to do, and so many other families with similar values.

Feel free to PM me should you decide to look into Asheville more or have any questions.

Good luck!
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