Help! Where To Move?

sharingsunshine(zone7/VA)February 18, 2008

We're currently in Virginia near Charlottesville. The winters (no leaves for 6 mo.) are too long we want to move further south. We have our own online businesses, so it's just a matter of finding the place. I want a longer gardening season, but not so hot and humid. We're seriously considering NC or SC. We've lived in AL & it stayed hot all night. Don't mind hot days if it cools off in eve. Looking for a more rural or small town location and a housing area that would be next to or near nature trails. Is that a big order? ;-) Hoping some of you have some ideas. Thanks for any information you can offer. We want to do this before Fall comes again. We're into birding and nature walks so a community that is nearby lots of trails is needed.

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I don't really know what is in the rest of this state because we live in Hendersonville and we have not felt the need to mosey around too much. We love it here. cooler summers - lots of state forests for walking, fishing, etc. Asheville is growing big time but that, in my opionio, is nice but I feel it is a nice place to visit but I don't want to live there. I live in Hendersonville (zip code is 28792). I love it. Still small town, but not too small. You can check it out on Wikipedia and also check out it tells you a lot about the demographics of places. Not sure how often they update so check the dates there.

Good luck with your move wherever it may be.

Linda In NC

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:29PM
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Sounds like you'd like the mountains of NC. It sounds like Asheville is located in what is called a mountain rain shadow, so you might want to do one of those city comparison charts for temperature and precipitation amounts to find an area that gets a little more rain than Asheville. Then again I've heard people who live in Asheville say it's a great place to garden.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:35PM
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Oh wow, what a wide range we have in the Carolinas! Do you prefer Beach type of climate or Mountain type of climate? Do you need to be close to a certain area due to your business? You say "online business" and I'm an IT professional so I'm assuming you will need high speed access. Most areas will cover that either in DSL, cable or over satelite. Cost will vary on access for the business. Mountain areas of NC and SC have more snow, more distinct seasons, and lots of rural areas that have access to nature areas. You can find acres of land with a house or building site, and lots of privacy. But they also have subdivisions if you want a regular yard and close shopping. The same applies to areas in the Sandhills of SC and closer to the coast in both states. However, anywhere in the Carolinas have hot, humid summers. I've lived in WNC, central NC around Charlotte for the majority of my life and now in the Sandhills of SC. I recommend you visit several areas and see what really appeals to you. Once you narrow it down a little more, you can narrow your search. My advice is to stay away from the larger cities if you like nature and a more rural atmosphere. That is you can stay within an hour drive of a large city and still have a lot of privacy and nature around you. Keep us posted on your search and good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:39PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I agree with everyone else. You'd like the mountains/foothills area of NC. Perhaps Hickory...Mt. Airy...Boone...Asheville. If I were you I would go to Asheville!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 1:08AM
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WOW! You guys are terrific! I can tell Carolina is where the friendly folks are :-) The colder areas are not an option since I deal with rheumatoid arthritis (one of the main reasons I need to be in a warmer climate). Although hot and humid seems to be as bad as cold.

Hendersonville seemed very congested but I've read a lot of neat things about it and certainly a lot of nice natural areas nearby. Thanks for the zipskinny site!

Didn't know about the rain situation in Asheville, but we're not city folks any more so would rather be about an hour out from a big city.

We do need high speed access so that's my husband's first question :-)

Does hot, humid summers mean no cool nights? Don't mind the afternoon heat if I can garden in the mornings and open the doors at night???

We live 45 min. away from the Blue Ridge Pkwy and it seems to be the reason our evenings are nice and cool. Wondered if that would be the case for the foothills down there also.

Hickory has come to mind more than once so I'm intrigued that one of you mentioned that town. Brevard looks real interesting also. We've enjoyed the college town atmosphere of Charlottesville (we live 25 min. out). Being vegetarian they seem to have places we can dine.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 8:12AM
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Check out Aiken, SC. Hot and dry in the summer but evenings cool down. A bit of frost on winter mornings quickly warming up during the day. Rolling, wooded hills. Recent drought did not affect the area. No watering ban. There is adequate underground water available. A famous, wealthy equestrian area with polo fields, steeple chase and running tracks. A gracious community with excellent housing choices, good medical facilities, a college community and low taxes. It has been discovered by those fleeing the coastal areas of the Carolinas and Florida. The city government is dedicated to landscaping the downtown area and city parks. Beautiful and well cared for. Suggest you add Aiken to your list of towns to explore.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:50AM
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I just moved from Shelby NC, between Charlotte and Asheville. The weather was nice, but in my opinion, could have been more interesting. My mother lives an hour north, in Valdese/Morganton area. It is beautiful! The seasons are distinct, and it is close to both hiking and shopping. A 20min drive on I40 will take you to Hickory, for shopping. In the other direction on 40 is Asheville, and that only about an hour. Valdese is close to South Mountain State park, and also Linville Falls. There is a great nature trail along the Catawba river as well. It is also only a hour and a half to Boone and the "real mountains." Valdese is steeped in history too. It has, I believe, the oldest Waldensian Church in its downtown. Also, the downtown smells wonderful as there is a Sunbeam or Merita bread baking factory right on main street. You can smell the bread clear up the mountians surrounding the valley of Valdese. My mother is a 55 yr old single woman and finds the downtown safe enough to walk alone in the evenings. If you haven't heard of Valdese before, I suggest giving it a gander. Morganton, its big sister neighboring city, was just recently named one of the best places to live in the country, by a source which escapes me, of course. Good luck on your move.
p.s. DSL is available

Here is a link that might be useful: Valdese home site

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:56AM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

Since you have an on-line biz, your internet access is going to be key. We too own an internet based biz and split our time between the western Carolina mountains (about an hour west of Asheville in Whittier, just outside the GSMNP & NNF) and the eastern south Florida coast. We discovered that high speed internet access is only available via satellite (if your terrain allows) or cell phone (not such high speed). I have family in Anderson SC and that is a lovely area you should check that out. The winters aren't near as cold as they are up here in the hills, but the trade off is the summer is warmer. Another area to think about is Cullowee. It is a college town, so you get that vibe, and you would have a better chance of getting your high speed internet through more traditional means, such as cable. The beauty and climate of the mountains are awesome, but the trade-offs in remoteness are the little things like tv reception, internet access, and having the state only plow up the road so far up. My sister has RA and she lives in South Texas. She finds the winters are mild enough and the summers while hot, are bearable. You might look at that part of the country as well. She lives not far from a very pretty beach and when her RA allows (her remissions are lasting longer with the new treatment) she has beautiful gardens.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 3:31PM
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This is so exciting to be able to know exactly where to check. I sure needed some focus cause looking online with searches had me really confused. I love woods and forests since I can't be in the sun much. Foothills seems to be the general area we're drawn to. Morganton does sound familiar - may have read the article. And Aiken is a city I'd heard about too. It's nice to hear something more than once ... kinda makes you think that might be the direction to go in. Good info. Y'all are so kind. Guess it comes from getting to spend so much time in the garden! :-)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 3:43PM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Hi Sunshine,
My husband and I moved to NC from Atlanta 5 years ago. We are in Stokes county on the VA border about 35 minutes N or Greensboro. We are what I would call very rural. Have lots of birds. Land and homes here are very inexpensive with very low property taxes.

We bought our 1940 brick farm house with 4 1/2 acres for $58,000. It was a foreclosure prop but even props not in forclosure are very low priced. Where you don't have to commute to work it would be a perfect area for you.

Best Wishes in your location hunting.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 6:08PM
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The foothills are beautiful. I love the area around Tryon and Henderson but the realestate is getting a bit pricey. I'm not sure of the internet access there but I did have cable when I lived in Hendersonville, it's been years since I lived there. Morganton is also beautiful, it does cool down nicely in the summer evenings and has some beautiful state parks around it. If you decide on looking at the Sandhills, Camden is beautiful. It's big horse country and they have steeplechases there every year and it's a huge event. There is a lot of history around this area, and some nearby state parks and interesting nature. I know a lot of the area is covered here by DSL. But it's hotter. I'm in Kershaw about 30 minutes away from Camden and it's swealtering in the summer, not overly humid for the carolinas but darn hot! And the area is very small town! You mentioned dining out, I am guessing you would be hard pressed to find a spot that would offer vegaterian dishes, but you would find a lot of small diners and spots with good fresh "veggie plates" which consist of home cooked, country style side dishes of the season. For good dining choices you will want to be in an hour or so of Charlotte, Columbia, Asheville, Hickory, Statesville, or another medium to large city. And for the absolute best dining, don't skip Charleston SC. The humidity is horrid in the summer, and I doubt you would want to live there with your RA but keep it in mind for a weekend get away. And the gardens and historic houses are absolutly outstanding!! :-)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 6:54PM
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Don't overlook Upstate SC. Lots of walking trails and things to do. Winters are mild. Saturday here was 70 degrees.

In NC, I love Flat Rock and Landrum. They are within 30 minutes of Upstate SC.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:14PM
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I'm living in a small town called Easley, just about 20 min. outside of Downtown Greenville, SC. We have a short spring, long summer. It gets pretty warm and humid, but most nights cool off enough to enjoy sitting outside. We have a long glorious fall and winter is chilly, but not usually lower than the 40's during the day. Things are beginning to get warm again in late March. Gardens can be a 4 season activity if you want. Right now I have hellebores and pansies blooming outside and the daffodils are up and blooming. Greenville is a lot of fun and most large neighborhoods have DSL or high speed through Cable service. Have fun looking around!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 4:53PM
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Mudqueen, we are going to be in your area later this year - haven't settled on a town, yet, but it will be within striking distance of Greer. I've never been to SC, but DH likes it, and so far all the press has been good enough that this Northerner is looking forward to the move.

4 season still, my heart! :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 6:42PM
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We chose the upstate of SC as well. Real estate is much cheaper than the NC mountains. Our land is out past Travelers Rest, yet only 15 miles to downtown Greenville (a beautiful little city, BTW). We plan to build in 2 years or so- we're slowly getting a driveway cut in, etc.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Thanks so much! I've been out of town but been avidly reading the emails full of so many nice ideas and helpful links. It has certainly given me a list to work on and I will be checking weather and proximity of natural parks, etc. This is really a great group of folks! I don't do forums much but my husband uses them all the time and tells me how helpful they are. Now I've got my own wonderful experience :-)

How long do you actually get to garden in your areas? I know the mt. areas of NC would be about the same as where we are now. I've already checked Asheville temps and weather records. But if you're nearer the center of NC or SC what mo. do you NOT garden there?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 5:55PM
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I garden 12 months a year in the sandhills of NC. Specifically in Carthage, Moore County, which is about 10 minutes from Pinehurst. I usually plant perennials into the fall and woody shrubs and trees all winter long. I work for a nursery so am always popping something in here or there. As for the months that are more than a bit uncomforable with the bugs, the heat and humidity, I would say end of July and all of August would be my least favorite months to garden but I still manage to do so though usually before 12 noon and after 5 in the evening. Adele

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:25PM
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I live near Brevard and love the area. There are a few things to keep in mind in the area in general... certain areas get a lot of rain, with Transylvania County (Brevard) being the wettest east of the rockies. Asheville is dry. When you get nearer the Tennessee border and higher elevations, the winter weather is more severe with more snow and cooler summers.

I moved from the chicago area and love it here. The summers are a bit cooler and less humid, but the best thing is the cool nights.

You can't beat the area for things to do in the outdoors. The Parkway is accessible from Brevard via the Pisgah Forest. DuPont Forest has lots of hiking trails and further south in the county there are tons of natural areas for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Feel free to email me if you'd like more info.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:59AM
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uncgardener(7b NC)

I just bought a house in Pittsboro, NC (Chatham County) and I love it. Pittsboro is a historic quaint little town with very friendly people. It has a co-op grocery store with mostly organic stuff and lots and lots of people are into gardening and self sustainable farming. I am even taking a gardening class through the Chatham county extension that has been wonderful so far. It is about 20 minutes from Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina and Jordan Lake and the Haw River are literally right down the road for camping, sailing, canoeing, hiking, etc. Beautiful would be worth you checking out.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:56PM
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I'm from SC living in NC Piedmont Triad. Being from the coast (SC and NC), I can honestly say this area could hardly be better climate-wise. I love the coast, but the humidity in the summer is oppressive. Here, it's not as humid, and it cools down in the evening. We are right between the mountains and the coast, so we get mountain-type plants as well as coast-type plants. On the other hand, I've heard this is bad for allergy-sufferers, because it's a double whammy.

I'm sure you are already looking at such things, but I'll just warn you that NC is a lot more expensive than SC: taxes, doctors, auto insurance, groceries, etc. - that's comparing coastal and piedmont NC to coastal SC, though groceries were less expensive in coastal NC than piedmont. So it's just a generality, I suppose, but even in a large SC city, doctors and insurance were lower than in this NC city.

Good luck to you.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:36PM
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Upstate SC is very good as was said earlier/ The Landrum/Campobello are is a well situated area. 20 minutes from Spartanburg 20 from Greenville and also from GSP airport. Atlanta is 3 hrs by car and charlotte nc and columbia sc are 90 minutes. It is 6 miles from the nc border and near to Hendersonville Asheville. Also Caesars Head Park containing many, many miles if hiking trails is not far off.
Wherever you settle Welcome..

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 11:03AM
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I am biased. I've lived in the piedmont of NC all my life.I was raised in Albemarle, NC which is 45 mins East of Charlotte. 3 hours to the beach and 3 hours to the mountains. It's a landscape of gently rolling hills. It's lush and green with very little sand. I now live in Indian Trail, which is STILL rural but with Charlotte excitement 20 mins away. I'm still young and I love the city (TO VISIT)... Spring usually (USUALLY) beings around april and it doesn't get chilly until late November. Frost usually isn't a problem until mid December. We almost never get any snow! That's one of my fav parts. =D

If I was just moving here. I wanted rural. I would choose one of these places.

Albemarle NC
Standfield NC
Troy NC
Mt Gilead NC
Rock Hill SC
Indian Trail NC
Waxhaw NC
Mineral Springs NC
New London NC
Norwood NC
Wingate NC

Anything east of Elerbee NC is too sandy for my tastes.

If you want Humid free move to Arizona. =D It's hot and wet over here.



    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:00PM
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LOVE LOVE LOVE South Carolina!

We moved to the Powdersville area (between Greenville and Anderson)almost two years ago and I feel like I died and went to gardener's heaven. I have lived in IL, KY, and MO......... I was happy everywhere but SC is by far my favorite place to live! I have thoroughly enjoyed year round gardening. I think the only month I did not plant something was January. It has been so enjoyable to see things blooming year round. Summers are warm but not any hotter than the middle of MO. When we go anywhere I make my husband drive so I can take pics with the digital and come home and research what I see! I thought I knew a lot about plants but there is always something new to discover here.

Greenville has a great vibe, the college atmosphere in Anderson is fun, the mountains are not far, and the beach is doable on a weekend. And the people are so friendly.

Sadly, my husband recently lost his job and we may have to move. So everyone say some prayers that we get to remain in paradise! At the very least I hope we get to stay through the summer so I can finish landscaping the yard. =)

Good luck with your search and enjoy the journey!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 12:14AM
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That sounds so grand, Lisa! I just put a post on another forum a few days ago to say thanks to everybody for all these ideas. ALL of you who gave me such great input!

I really spent a lot of time studying these posts for over a month, checking out the areas mentioned, and finally decided that the Greenville area looked like a good fit.

Would've liked to have been a bit more south for the warmth but all that's going on around Greenville is very appealing to us. The revitalized downtown and free entertainment is great and the proximity of the state forests and parks is really cool. Love the long list of waterfalls since we have fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mts. on the VA end also.

I actually booked a hotel for next month to check it out in person.

Wishing the green housing movement was a bit further along since that's what we really want. Chemical allergies have made my life pretty miserable for quite some time -- I do better with pollen and outdoors than indoor air. A green home sounds VERY VERY appealing! :-)

We want to be more rural as mentioned but with all that goes on in the city, it would be nice to be within 20 min. if possible. We're 25 min. out from town now and that's the Charlottesville downtown area where I shop. Box and mega stores are at least 40 min. away depending on traffic, but we only head in that direction maybe every 3 mo.

What we're thinking is finding some land with a home we can move into and then build our green home on the land. Then we'd have a retreat rental since I'd like to progressively develop a retreat with organic gardens, trails, etc.

Dreams take much too long to fulfill. I can see why so many people give up ... but what is there to life if you don't have a dream, right?

I hope you get to stay. If you garden year round you don't mind the cold. I've been tracking the weather comparison between Palmyra, VA and Greenville, SC and it's rarely but 4 degrees warmer hi/low and sometimes cooler than we're having here. Supposedly, we're in an odd pocket of zone 8 instead of the usual zone 7 for VA. Something to do with the huge lake that's in the middle of the community.

So .. don't know that it's an area that will be warm enough for us to make the move ... but I've already fallen in love with all that is there and the closeness of the mountains.

We shall see how we feel when we get there next month. One thing is certain that I want to be further south (closer to friends we had living in AL for 18 years).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 8:46AM
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Hi There.
We just moved to Wendell, NC just before Christmas. We are in a rural setting and just love it. We are a 2 hour or less drive from everything. We were looking for a small lot and wound up with over 2 acres. The people here are just great. And DH's blood pressure has dropped since we have been here. And no snow!!! As you can tell by my name, we are from IL originally.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 11:16AM
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One thing that I can tell for sure is that you folks are real friendly down there! the more I read, the more excited I get. It seems to be an easy area to get a piece of woods to tuck a small house into. I can't be in the sun, so forests have become my refuge.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 1:54PM
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Lately Greenville has become more aware of "green" homes.
I know you would be able to find someone that would be able to build a "green home" for you.
This link is one example of a Green showcase home near Greenville.
If you do a google on Greenville SC Green homes, there are several articles on homes that have been built green.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Living showcase home

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 3:38PM
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If you would like to be about 20 minutes from Greenville, You have lots of options.
Greer, Easley, Travelers Rest, Simpsonville, Fountain Inn, and Powdersville come to mind. I am sure there are more.
We are in Greer and can be in downtown Greenville in 15 - 20 minutes.
We bought land about 10 years ago in a rural area but in the past few years, it has developed around us.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 3:45PM
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