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Relocation Charlottesville VA - Chapel Hill NC - Asheville NC - Carmel IN
Old 05-26-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
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Relocation Charlottesville VA - Chapel Hill NC - Asheville NC - Carmel IN

At least a 50/50 chance we will relocate after I retire end of June. I've narrowed the list for my summer relocation exploration adventure to those listed in the title. We want reasonable cost of living, 4 seasons but not too cold, lots of interesting restaurants, a walkable & bike friendly neighborhood, decent medical care and at least one Whole Foods Market if possible. College town has it's appeal too. Wanted to consider Louisville KY, but DW says absolutely NOT! If anyone has comments on any of them, fire away...
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:37 PM   #2
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Wanted to consider Louisville KY, but DW says absolutely NOT!
Let me guess- she doesn't like Rick Pitino?
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:51 PM   #3
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Raleigh Durham airport probably has lots more flights than the others. I think it is closer to beaches than the others as well, though the highway traffic that way can be a bear.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #4
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Raleigh Durham airport probably has lots more flights than the others. I think it is closer to beaches than the others as well, though the highway traffic that way can be a bear.
I read the RDU is #42 and Indianapolis Intl (Carmel) is #44. But no question the others aren't in the same league. Thanks...
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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I only know Chapel Hill and Ashville and, to me, Chapel Hill is a clear winner. Ashville is too small and too isolated for my taste. In Chapel Hill, you would be centrally located (close enough to the beaches and the mountains for a weekend getaway), close to a large city with all the attractions it has to offer, close to a decent airport if you need one, and close to world-class health care facilities. Also, the population is highly educated and diverse (if that is important to you).
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:18 PM   #6
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Wow, Midpack - just about keeled over when I saw your possibilities. It so happens that I will be relocating too. Where? Chapel Hill
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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I love Charlottesville, VA. It would be near the top of my list if I didn't feel the need to stay close to my elderly mom. Lots of reasons...it's beautiful, a small town that has lots of cultural activities and not that far from a major airport. The distance to a big air travel hub might be an issue if you plan to travel often, but otherwise, no biggie. Good luck and keep us posted!!
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:32 PM   #8
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I live an hour from Charlottesville, and 10 years ago lived less than an hour from Chapel Hill.

CVille is as Purron says, beautiful and lots of cultural activities. I'm not a biker but I see a lot of bikers on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is less than 30 minutes away. The roads in town seem a bit narrow and hilly but I know people who bike a lot of places, including work, instead of driving. Mountain biking is pretty big here. Cville has a very small airport, but is an hour from Richmond and two from Dulles, with National and BWI just a bit further. There is a 20 mile loop trail around the whole town (with a few gaps). It has a downtown mall closed to traffic with a lot of restaurants and shops, and an amphitheater at the end with some pretty good concerts.

Chapel Hill is a bit flatter and I think there are probably more bikers there. RDU airport is 1/2 hour away and is in between the size of Richmond and Dulles. Chapel Hill is probably 10 degrees warmer year round...not nearly the winter, and a hotter more humid summer.

Both have a good variety of restaurants and Whole Foods. Both also have the multi lane road with big box stores and McD's and Burger King that I hate driving, but invariably find myself on.

Similar to the airport situation, Chapel Hill is nearer the bigger cities of Durham and Raleigh, with more open land to the south and west. CVille is by itself, surrounded by horse farms and in some areas rural Appalachia, but Richmond isn't that far, and the much more cultural DC is within reach. Charlottesville seems more compact and walkable than CH, and CH seems more road biker friendly with wider roads (but more traffic). Both are good choices and you'd really have to visit both to get a feel for which one you feel more comfortable in.

I know nothing about Carmel, and only a bit about Asheville. My impression of Asheville is that it is a more rugged and less developed mountain town than the other 2, but I understand they have done some downtown renewal (it was pretty dreary before) and it now has more trendy dining and art options. It's certainly beautiful in the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway runs right by it, IIRC.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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I know nothing about Carmel, and only a bit about Asheville. My impression of Asheville is that it is a more rugged and less developed mountain town than the other 2, but I understand they have done some downtown renewal (it was pretty dreary before) and it now has more trendy dining and art options. It's certainly beautiful in the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway runs right by it, IIRC.
The locals call it Carmel-by-the-highway It's nice there but it certainly feels like a 'burb of Indy.... at least to this outsider's eye. You have easy access to plenty of metro attractions. Broadway shows come through Indy and of course you have pro sports teams if that's your thing (well, you have them if that's not your thing too).

I've only been to Asheville post-renewal and I'd have to say it does have a pretty nice downtown. You can never go wrong with any place near or in those mountains. It felt rather crowded during tourist season though, which might be seen as a benefit or curse, not sure. We ate at a vegan place that was out of this world. lots of cool little restaurants and art galleries. I can't comment on the culture scene beyond that.

fwiw, we seriously considered outside of Knoxville, TN (small city / big town feel), east TN (tri-city area), Lexington, TN, and Chapel Hill NC.... before we moved to mid-Michigan (pull of family won out).
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:50 AM   #10
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FD's and RunningBum's comments are right on and describe most of the reasons why Chapel Hill is my choice. The other is many friends live in the area, and that puts a huge thumb on that side of the scales.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:25 PM   #11
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At least a 50/50 chance we will relocate after I retire end of June. I've narrowed the list for my summer relocation exploration adventure to those listed in the title. We want reasonable cost of living, 4 seasons but not too cold, lots of interesting restaurants, a walkable & bike friendly neighborhood, decent medical care and at least one Whole Foods Market if possible. College town has it's appeal too. Wanted to consider Louisville KY, but DW says absolutely NOT! If anyone has comments on any of them, fire away...
Too bad b/c I think Louisville fits your bill and is a decent (and inexpensive) mid-sized city

I think you take a big step down from the city scene and opportunities that come with Chicago but so long as you are open to that I would check it out (heck, it's not far away from Chicago)

I have met a lot of ex-Chicagoans in Louisville - it's sort of a mixed bag but the ones who don't compare it to what Chicago offered them seem to like it fine & have embraced what the city offers

The Highlands neighborhood would be perfect for you

Very walkable, tons of local businesses, etc., close to a great urban park (designed by the same guy that did Central Park), hipster neighborhood, good food scene for a mid-sized city

And Trader Joe's is going to open there (mentioned that since I think it is better than Whole Foods)

But there's a big difference from college town to Louisville & generally as I travel more I think I would prefer not to live in a place where the university dominates everything else
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:36 PM   #12
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Carmel is very self contained. Great parks, dining, entertainment, shopping available without leaving town. Safe streets. Nice homes and condos in the downtown district and everything else for housing from ranch homes to estates. Great highway access. Close to Indy which has better entertainment and dining than the college towns you mentioned. Indy airport can get you to Summit counties of CO orUT for early am skiing. Likewise can get to beaches quickly. Indiana state budget is balanced. Taxes and cost of living reasonable. Hope that helps.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:55 PM   #13
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Lived in Charlottesville 25 years ago and love the area. While a lot has changed(more upscale boutiques, grocery and resturants, some things haven't in that it maintains the feeling of a smaller cosmopolitan area. Expect snow ..probably more than in Raleigh/Durham. Charlottesville/Lynchburg corridor got nailed year before last. Some snows were 15 plus inches..one after the other. Downtown mall is nice. Check out The Boars Head Inn, Farmington area, Foods of All Nations and Barracks Road Shopping Center...when you go.
Check on property taxes between NC and Virginia. I think NC is higher (used to be).
Spent time in Asheville last fall and stayed at Grove Park Inn. Asheville itself seems much smaller to me than some of your other choices.
Expect traffic congestions in any location with a university.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:59 PM   #14
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Check out The Boars Head Inn, Farmington area, Foods of All Nations and Barracks Road Shopping Center...when you go.
Check on property taxes between NC and Virginia.
I played trumpet in a jazz quartet which was the "house band" at the Boar's Head Inn from 1968 to 1971. $7/hour, 3 nights a week, free dinner, free beer.

Where did I go wrong .

Charlottesville is wonderful.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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Hi Rich. Did you? That is awesome! I was there from 1977 thru 1983ish. My friends and I would sometime go to Boars Head on a week-end night. Still remember dancing to "New York New York"! And we were in our 20's back then!! One night I ended up in the pool (and it was off limits at those hours ) LOL !
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