what do you like about atlanta?
given your posts i would think chapel hill/carrboro would be a great fit. it's very easy to find crunchy people -- just go hang out at weaver street market
. there are also great LLL and API groups as well as some new groups starting up.
i'm sure you could find something for $225 in chapel hill/carrboro although your housing dollar will go farther in durham. chapel hill and carrboro are both small towns, though. like atlanta could swallow them whole and not even burp small. if you like a big city raleigh would be the better bet i guess. i never seem to get over there although i do want to take my kids before summer ends to go check out the museums. i'm not a big city person so you'll have to ask a raleighite about the capital city. we have many advocates for durham here and i know lots of crunchy mamas there. i'll let them speak more about durham or direct you to one of the hooray for durham threads.
you have a ton of school choices in the area. durham has a great charter (free, public) elementary school that supervee might tell you more about. chapel hill public schools have national reputations as high achievers. they're also supposed to be good with special needs populations. the flip side of that, though, is some folks feel their average kids fall btwn the cracks. there are a lot of private options in the area -- waldorf, friends community independent school
. the homeschooling community is large and thriving and well organized with a coop friday school in the spring and fall.
there's a great freestanding birth center in chapel hill. there are also plenty of OBs and lots of standard allopathic medicine since both duke and UNC have med schools and are teaching hospitals. some of the OBs are natural-birth friendly and some not so much, but there midwives who work at UNC, too and i know folks who have used them and been really happy. i loved going to the freestanding birth center, the Women's Birth and Wellness Center, for my second dd. the NC HomeBirth site
has more info on homebirth midwives in the area and there are several of those, too, and i know mamas who've absolutely loved their homebirths, too.
there is lotsa culcha in the area -- art museums, music, art, dance (durham is home to the american dance festival each summer), thriving rock/alternative/americana music scene. i don't know if there's as much "to do" here as there is in atlanta, but i think we could come close. if you're a braves fan there's not a major league ball team, but we do have the durham bulls
who are a great minor league team. i haven't been to a game in years, but it's much more of a community event with lots of stuff for kids.
as far as food, i already mentioned weaver street mkt, but there's also a fantabulous farmer's mkt in carrboro
as well as markets in durham and raleigh and even saxapahaw (www.rivermillvillage.com)
. there are lotsa great "nationally known, locally owned" restaurants (to steal a phrase from the carrboro farmers mkt) throughout the area and some great restaurants that aren't that well known, but yummy yummy yummy. i don't have any trouble finding something to eat. not too many chains in chapel hill.
traffic is not very good in raleigh or so i hear. not too bad in chapel hill/carrboro since we're small. takes about 15 minutes to get all the way across town. if you or your dh will be working in RTP i really don't know too much about your commute since i never drive out there during rush hour and rarely go there at all, but i'm sure some mamas here could advise. to echo finch, what kind of job(s) would you be looking for? the beaches are about 3 hrs away, mountains about 3.5.
personally i think there's a lot to offer in our neck of the woods.