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Ktgrok

research triangle area of NC

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Ok, I know I'm asking about a ton of places. And NC is hardly a liberal state. But I'm also looking for some seasonal changes maybe, and NC is certainly better weather wise for me than going to New England. And way more affordable. And the research triangle area is a tech hub, so jobs for my husband. We have a few friends there. And from what I hear, it's a fairly liberal area, and more importantly, an area that prizes education. Am I interpreting that right? 

 

I have been to the mountains of NC a few times...the Brevard area, Linville Falls, etc and flown into Asheville but never the Raleigh/Durham/etc area. 

 

I see photos of places like apex and go all weak in the knees, lol. Any thoughts? One big concern is, would a progressive Catholic fit in any better there than anywhere else in the south, or am I still going to be in conservative Baptist land, where I have to explain that I actually do believe in Evolution every time someone sees that I wear a cross around my neck. 

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I've lived in the RDU area a few times.  I would say no, you won't have issues in that area.  I grew up in Asheville and as a child, the question was WHERE do you go to church.  Assumed all did.  I never had any neighbors ask me about church in Raleigh.  Sure, many go.  But there are a LOT of northerners that move to RDU and it's a more liberal area than small town NC.  Before kids when DH and I lived there we weren't going to church at that time and I don't ever remember anyone asking us about it or inviting us either.  The second time we lived in Raleigh(with kids) we did go to church b/c I wanted to find a MOPS group being new in the area with young kids.  

Unless it's gotten more conservative in the last decade I think you will find all sorts of people there.  

Edited by tess in the burbs

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Just checked, and trying not to get politidal, but Durham county went 78 percent democrat in this election! My county was one of the blue ones in my state, and still went nearly with an even split. So very different. Now, to see if there are Catholic churches, but I mean there must be, right?

 

What's homeschooling like there? Dual enrollment for high school allowed? Free/discounted/full price?

 

I kind of like the idea of living in a swing state still, so my voice is heard, but in a bit more of a bubble personally. Judge away at that, but I feel like I'me ready for a change. And really wanting some seasons, without freezing to death. 

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I have family there, and have been there a few times.

 

It is very very pretty. Freezes enough to kill the big bugs annually, but otherwise pretty mild. Plenty of interesting shops and restaurants. And yes, highly educated population. Lots of students stay on because they get employed by the local offices of Google, IBM, etc. etc.

 

I think Chapel Hill is pricey for housing. Durham and Raleigh is better. 

 

No anti-Catholic bias that I noticed. And the children's science museum has a dino exhibit where the placards have the standard "million of years..." info. I'm from the Midwest, and it seemed to be a pretty normal place, as far as it goes.

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I'm familiar with the area (we go to church in Cary, we shop in Apex, though we live a bit west).

 

Homeschooling is pretty easy here; submit a letter of intent with the state, annual standardized testing (that you don't have to turn in, just keep on record).  Not sure about the price of dual-enrollment; I know of a few homeschoolers that were also enrolled in Wake Tech but don't have any details on it.

 

A lot of people in the area are transplants, so a mix of cultures/religions/political leanings. 

Apex is nice, but to be honest - that whole area is merging so you've also got Fuquay and Holly Springs that are right there nearby.  Lots of neighborhoods and developments and shopping areas popping up all over.  

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ok, I'm kind of excited by this idea. Google tells me homes in the Durham area are definitely in my price range, possibly some other areas.

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And although google says it only gets 4 inches of snow a year, my kids would love that one snowfall, lol. And it's only a few hours to Boone, or I assume some other places that have snow. And 4 hours to Washington, DC. 

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I grew up in Raleigh. My family lives in Durham so we're there a lot. Raleigh's okay. I have lots of friends there still. Chapel Hill is super liberal. University town. Cary is okay but more conservative. There are some other rural areas dotted around as well... and exurbs.

 

Durham is da bomb. For real. The housing market is going a bit crazy there but it's so good. Downtown Durham is super hip right now. There's an amazingly good science museum in Durham. Good parks. Great farmers markets. Good people. Cool restaurant scene. Sometimes people from the area are down on Durham. Don't listen to them. They're just jealous. ;)

 

It so much depends on what you want though. Within the RDU sphere, you can find pockets of rural living, downtown type living, small town feels, old neighborhoods, exurbs with mega mansions... There's a lot going on.

 

I've never homeschooled there, but I hear the scene is solid. Especially on the Durham-CH end of the world, there are secular groups. 

 

The Catholic thing will make you a slight standout. But not too much. You're looking at an academic area with lots of diversity. No, there's not a ton of Catholics, there are way more mainline and evangelical Protestants. But there are a lot of transplants in general.

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Just checked, and trying not to get politidal, but Durham county went 78 percent democrat in this election! My county was one of the blue ones in my state, and still went nearly with an even split. So very different. Now, to see if there are Catholic churches, but I mean there must be, right?

 

What's homeschooling like there? Dual enrollment for high school allowed? Free/discounted/full price?

 

I kind of like the idea of living in a swing state still, so my voice is heard, but in a bit more of a bubble personally. Judge away at that, but I feel like I'me ready for a change. And really wanting some seasons, without freezing to death. 

 

Have you spent time in New England in the winter?  Because the numbers sound scary, but it doesn't feel THAT cold.  I used to go home to Florida on Christmas break, where the temperatures weren't that far below freezing but it felt MUCH colder than New England and the blizzards. Florida humidity in high wind cuts you to the bone much more so than further North. And the Atlantic moderates the temperatures a bit over there so it doesn't get bitterly cold.  At least I don't remember the temperature going -60F the way it does in a severe cold snap in the midwest.

 

I wasn't the only one either.  I had several college friends from Florida and we'd be walking around in t-shirts in the snow when we went back because it didn't feel that cold compared to one of those really cold snaps that hits Florida every few years.

 

Not that I'd discourage North Carolina.  We have some friends and family that both lived there and have lived there, and they all LOVE it.  Several people said it was their favorite place they'd ever lived.

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ok, I'm kind of excited by this idea. Google tells me homes in the Durham area are definitely in my price range, possibly some other areas.

 

Durham is very neighborhood centered - at least in the old neighborhoods... Trinity Park, Old West Durham, Old North Durham, etc. Depends on what you want though... there are megamansions to fixer uppers. A lot of the fixer upper neighborhoods have booming prices now. My mom bought a couple of years ago in Old West Durham and her house has gone way up in value.

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My favorite part of the years we lived in NC were the one day snow days! We got the fun of snow without the hassle of snow. I lived in Kannapolis not R/D area.

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Have you spent time in New England in the winter?  Because the numbers sound scary, but it doesn't feel THAT cold.  I used to go home to Florida on Christmas break, where the temperatures weren't that far below freezing but it felt MUCH colder than New England and the blizzards. Florida humidity in high wind cuts you to the bone much more so than further North. And the Atlantic moderates the temperatures a bit over there so it doesn't get bitterly cold.  At least I don't remember the temperature going -60F the way it does in a severe cold snap in the midwest.

 

I wasn't the only one either.  I had several college friends from Florida and we'd be walking around in t-shirts in the snow when we went back because it didn't feel that cold compared to one of those really cold snaps that hits Florida every few years.

 

Not that I'd discourage North Carolina.  We have some friends and family that both lived there and have lived there, and they all LOVE it.  Several people said it was their favorite place they'd ever lived.

 

I wondered about that. I know when I visited Wisconsin it was 20 degrees colder than I realized because it was so dry, it just didn't chill you to the bone the way it does in Florida. Made me feel better that I wasn't as big of a wuss as I thought, lol!

 

Honestly, if we could get past the housing cost issue, I'm not averse to new england. But the housing cost is a HUGE issue. 

 

I'm looking at houses in Raleigh Durham area that are under 200K. For bigger than we have now. Versus 400K for New England houses. Plus taxes are lower in NC, etc. 

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Y'all, I'm really kind of excited by this idea. Haven't talked to DH though...not sure what he will think. Like I said, he does have friends up there. One good one, Billy, who he has known since he was young, who works at one of the colleges (not sure which). And I really like Billy, too, which is good. And one of Billy's friends used to come down to visit with him, on his trips back here, and he's nice too. And that guy's ex girlfriend is there, and I'm Facebook friends with her. So maybe he'd be willing. 

 

Honestly, I said I'd never move away from my family. And it TERRIFIES me to think about doing it. Tears my heart out. But I also know that my parents make that drive..my mom had cancer treatment at Duke and they still drive back for follow ups once a year, and could come more. And I think you can get good cheap flights back and forth. And if we ARE going to try moving away, I'm realizing we should do it while they are still in good health. We can always move back. But if we don't go soon, we may never go. And I've never lived further north than Tallahassee, ever. I've seen snow on the ground maybe twice? And never seen it actually fall from the sky. (not that Raleigh has much of that). I'd like my kids to experience it a bit. 

 

And honestly, there is no beauty here in Orlando. It's ugly. And that hurts my soul. In South Florida at least I was near the ocean,and the everglades, both of which have a beauty of their own. And in Tallahassee, which I liked a LOT, there were big pretty trees and fresh clean air. 

 

Orlando...none of that. (no offense to those that live here and like it. I just don't. Never have, since I was a kid and would visit here.)

 

Housing wise, I'm seeing 4 bed 2 1/2 bath houses for 200K or even less!!! We could totally afford that, without stress. And trees! And 4 hours to DC for a weekend trip! And 3 hours to ski places!!!!! I've never been on skis in my life. 

 

But leaving my family....sigh. I wanted my kids to grow up close to their cousins. But really, my sister is almost an hour away and my parents more than that. We see each other every 2 months usually. Surely we could manage every 3 if we took turns flying, etc. 

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Tarheel bred (from the Triad - Winston-Salem) but my DH is from CH and I went to school there.  I'm telling you - go and try Chapel Hill/Carrboro or Durham (the old parts as said upthread).  Not Cary (too staid and probably more Republican), not really Raleigh either (ditto).  You'll have everything you have asked for.  The Catholic community is smallish but active.  I never HSed there but from what I can tell it's a easy state.

 

Do more research! I think you will like it.  BTW  the state used to be more Blue - Blue Dog Demos.  It may trend back that way as more Yankees move in.

 

Go Heels!

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It snows once or twice - you;ll learn to go to the store at the first sign of snow to buy your bread and milk.

 

It's so green in the spring!

 

Summer is hot and humid, I won't lie.  But I miss that being up in Boston.

 

Fall is so gorgeous - especially if you drive a couple hours west nearer to where I'm from.

 

Beaches in less than 3 hours.  

 

You can have it all in NC.

 

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Y'all, I'm really kind of excited by this idea. Haven't talked to DH though...not sure what he will think. Like I said, he does have friends up there. One good one, Billy, who he has known since he was young, who works at one of the colleges (not sure which). And I really like Billy, too, which is good. And one of Billy's friends used to come down to visit with him, on his trips back here, and he's nice too. And that guy's ex girlfriend is there, and I'm Facebook friends with her. So maybe he'd be willing. 

 

Honestly, I said I'd never move away from my family. And it TERRIFIES me to think about doing it. Tears my heart out. But I also know that my parents make that drive..my mom had cancer treatment at Duke and they still drive back for follow ups once a year, and could come more. And I think you can get good cheap flights back and forth. And if we ARE going to try moving away, I'm realizing we should do it while they are still in good health. We can always move back. But if we don't go soon, we may never go. And I've never lived further north than Tallahassee, ever. I've seen snow on the ground maybe twice? And never seen it actually fall from the sky. (not that Raleigh has much of that). I'd like my kids to experience it a bit. 

 

And honestly, there is no beauty here in Orlando. It's ugly. And that hurts my soul. In South Florida at least I was near the ocean,and the everglades, both of which have a beauty of their own. And in Tallahassee, which I liked a LOT, there were big pretty trees and fresh clean air. 

 

Orlando...none of that. (no offense to those that live here and like it. I just don't. Never have, since I was a kid and would visit here.)

 

Housing wise, I'm seeing 4 bed 2 1/2 bath houses for 200K or even less!!! We could totally afford that, without stress. And trees! And 4 hours to DC for a weekend trip! And 3 hours to ski places!!!!! I've never been on skis in my life. 

 

 

 

You have me convinced.......... I'm ready to move there. But DC in 4 hours? Maybe in the middle of the night, with no traffic.

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Worse than central Florida?

I doubt that but it would give it a run for the money.

 

You have me convinced.......... I'm ready to move there. But DC in 4 hours? Maybe in the middle of the night, with no traffic.

Really it's five from the Triangle and that's if there is no traffic, which doesn't happen much.

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Oh, and I sense that Durham is the more funky, hip type area?

 

Yes. Most definitely. Also more diverse - all the big African American banks were in Durham back in the day. The state university there is an historically black university. It's been a longtime progressive city. Duke is obviously big business there. The downtown resurgence is... fascinating. Like, I lived in Durham years ago, but maybe four years ago, I went one morning with my mom to get fancy donuts in downtown and there was a line out the door and onto the sidewalk. In Durham. At 10 am. On a weekday. I was like, dang, Mom, Durham has arrived.

 

I've done the DC to Durham run in four hours. But yes, it was in the middle of the night. (ETA: I routinely do it in well under 5 though... it's longer to Raleigh than to Durham so anyone judging from there, you do have to knock off 20-30 minutes.)

 

The humidity is marginally better than Florida. At its worst you won't notice much difference. Fewer afternoon rains to relieve it. But it won't last as long as in Florida.

 

NC is a beautiful state. Mountains to beach. It's kinda the bestest. If I didn't live here, I'd totally move back.

Edited by Farrar
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I doubt that but it would give it a run for the money.

 

Really it's five from the Triangle and that's if there is no traffic, which doesn't happen much.

 

Google lied to me!!

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Dual Enrollment in NC is tuition free for high school juniors and seniors.  There are certain classes you can take.  We don't live in the Triangle area so I am not sure how easy Wake Tech is to work with.  

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Housing wise, I'm seeing 4 bed 2 1/2 bath houses for 200K or even less!!! We could totally afford that, without stress. 

 

 

 
I think this might be pushing it but perhaps it depends on the neighborhood?   We have a ~1200sq/ft house with 3br/2 baths and we paid $135K ten years ago (and we're more rural, between Chapel Hill and Apex areas - our neighbor sold their house for $165K a few months ago, same size house).  I would think the houses are going to be closer to $250-300K.  Unless you look in Chapel Hill.  Then it's $500K+.  
Edited by alisoncooks
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I think this might be pushing it but perhaps it depends on the neighborhood?   We have a ~1200sq/ft house with 3br/2 baths and we paid $135K ten years ago (and we're more rural, between Chapel Hill and Apex areas - our neighbor sold their house for $165K a few months ago, same size house).  I would think the houses are going to be closer to $250-300K.  Unless you look in Chapel Hill.  Then it's $500K+.  

 

 

Apex and Carey seem to be 300K and up, but Durham seems to be 180-250K for quite a few areas. Raleigh has a lot in that range as well. 

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But...DH said he thinks it doesn't make sense. That it would be "more southern" than where we are now, so worse.

 

:(

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Yeah I don't consider Orlando very "Southern."

 

It isn't. But Florida has plenty of "good old boys" and such. Chewing tobacco, huntin' dogs, etc. Just not right in the city. 

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I don't consider Orlando southern but I don't think anyone who visited the RDU area would think southern, either.

 

For funky I'd take a look at Carrboro.

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But...DH said he thinks it doesn't make sense. That it would be "more southern" than where we are now, so worse.

 

:(

 

Definitely not southern here.  You would have to drive an hour or two out of the triangle to find "southern."  Too many northerners and internationals.  I am from SFL, husband is from Orlando.  You don't have to worry about it being "southern."

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Worse than central Florida?

 

It's pretty much the same as Central Florida.  I spent the first few summers here comparing the summer weather to Orlando (DHs home town) and Fort Lauderdale (my home town).  S Fl was consistently 10 degrees less hot in the summer months than here.  Fall temps are lovely.  Spring would be except that you have to deal with the awful pollen.

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As far as being southern -- keep in mind that some locals joke that Cary stands for Containment Area for Relocated Yankees. ;)

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And honestly, there is no beauty here in Orlando. It's ugly. And that hurts my soul. In South Florida at least I was near the ocean,and the everglades, both of which have a beauty of their own. And in Tallahassee, which I liked a LOT, there were big pretty trees and fresh clean air. 

 

Orlando...none of that. (no offense to those that live here and like it. I just don't. Never have, since I was a kid and would visit here.)

 

Housing wise, I'm seeing 4 bed 2 1/2 bath houses for 200K or even less!!! We could totally afford that, without stress. And trees! And 4 hours to DC for a weekend trip! And 3 hours to ski places!!!!! I've never been on skis in my life. 

 

But leaving my family....sigh. I wanted my kids to grow up close to their cousins. But really, my sister is almost an hour away and my parents more than that. We see each other every 2 months usually. Surely we could manage every 3 if we took turns flying, etc. 

 

So when I moved here my description of the triangle area was one sprawling suburb in the middle of the most uninteresting part of the state.  It may have been Oviedo or Coral Springs picked up and placed here.  So don't get too idealistic about the area yet!  The change of seasons can make up for some of it.  Also there is tons of new construction everywhere.  The place is growing, and I fear the congestion in 10 - 15 years won't be any different than Central Florida or S Florida.  That said, we have grown to like it here a lot!  And I do prefer it over Central Florida any day!!!!!  (I would still prefer to spend my summer in S FL though!)

 

My husbands 3 sisters all live in central Florida.  We have been here 6 years and only just this past summer did one of them come to visit us.  The grand parents make it here once maybe twice a year.  But truthfully - it's us taking the drive to Florida mostly to see anyone. 

 

If your family is brave enough to fly Allegiant their is a route from Sanford to RDU so that is convenient and inexpensive.

 

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So when I moved here my description of the triangle area was one sprawling suburb in the middle of the most uninteresting part of the state.  It may have been Oviedo or Coral Springs picked up and placed here.  So don't get too idealistic about the area yet!  The change of seasons can make up for some of it.  Also there is tons of new construction everywhere.  The place is growing, and I fear the congestion in 10 - 15 years won't be any different than Central Florida or S Florida.  That said, we have grown to like it here a lot!  And I do prefer it over Central Florida any day!!!!!  (I would still prefer to spend my summer in S FL though!)

 

My husbands 3 sisters all live in central Florida.  We have been here 6 years and only just this past summer did one of them come to visit us.  The grand parents make it here once maybe twice a year.  But truthfully - it's us taking the drive to Florida mostly to see anyone. 

 

If your family is brave enough to fly Allegiant their is a route from Sanford to RDU so that is convenient and inexpensive.

 

 

Thank you for the reality check! What about the downtown areas? How do they compare to say, orlando? Or another FL city I guess...I'm from the Palm Beach area originally. 

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But...DH said he thinks it doesn't make sense. That it would be "more southern" than where we are now, so worse.

 

:(

 

It is more southern. Carolina BBQ, fried foods, southern culture... But if you move to Chapel Hill or Durham or even parts of Wake County... honestly, it's not the politically conservative south. It's the progressive south. 118,000 Durham voters went for HRC. 28,000 went for Trump. RTP is one of the most educated areas of the whole country. There are (or were in the recent past... not sure about now) more PhD's per capita there than anywhere in the nation. It's the best of the south, like Austin or something, but less discovered.

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It is more southern. Carolina BBQ, fried foods, southern culture... But if you move to Chapel Hill or Durham or even parts of Wake County... honestly, it's not the politically conservative south. It's the progressive south. 118,000 Durham voters went for HRC. 28,000 went for Trump. RTP is one of the most educated areas of the whole country. There are (or were in the recent past... not sure about now) more PhD's per capita there than anywhere in the nation. It's the best of the south, like Austin or something, but less discovered.

 

That's what I'm hoping to explain to him. I LIKE a lot of southern culture..including the barbecue, lol. But we are definitely progressive. Maybe if I explain that it's like austin, that will help. 

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We had planned to look at Raleigh, and did. DH interviewed for 2 jobs in Raleigh.


He was offered a job in Charlotte. He took it. The county is still roughly 66% democrat. It is larger than Raleigh, and there are so many transplants I sometimes forget I am in the South.

Several Catholic churches. Our HS group has Catholics and Protestants.

Just something else to look into.

 

ETA:  We moved here from Los Angeles.  It was an adjustment for sure.  But I will tell you that for the most part, it is a great place.  But interestingly enough, many of my friends also moved here from CA.  We just kind of found each other.  But many are not.

Edited by DawnM
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I know nothing about the area, but it is/was on my list of places I was thinking about.

 

You bring up some great things to think about before moving to an area, that I hadn't thought about before.  So thank you for that.

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I think you should go up for a weekend trip and see how it feels.  I bet it's a lot like any Florida city - drive 20 minutes out in the country and you're surrounded by the deep south, but in town I bet it's a bit more like Gainesville, with all those colleges.

 

I wonder if your DH feels like things just got settled at his new job and he's afraid to shake things up?

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I think you should go up for a weekend trip and see how it feels.  I bet it's a lot like any Florida city - drive 20 minutes out in the country and you're surrounded by the deep south, but in town I bet it's a bit more like Gainesville, with all those colleges.

 

I wonder if your DH feels like things just got settled at his new job and he's afraid to shake things up?

 

Maybe. He seems worried about moving away from my family and feeling guilty about that more than anything. 

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Maybe. He seems worried about moving away from my family and feeling guilty about that more than anything. 

 

You might have times you regret moving.  Dh and I moved across the country early in our marriage.  I loved the adventure.  Our family did not.  Once I started having kids I wanted to go  back.  Once back closer to family we weren't seeing them any more than before.  It took us 10 years to get back to the west coast, but I am glad we are here.  I miss my family.  Some days a LOT.  There are no jobs where either of my parents live.  So it's not like I could move back and be down the street.  And at least once a year they do something that reminds me that being 3k miles away can be good.  Holidays are hard.  We have no one over for Thanksgiving.  We like it quiet, but it's lonely too.  No one here for Christmas...too expensive then.   Overall I am happy we are doing this adventure with our family.  And if the missing family becomes more than holidays we can try to figure out how to go back.  Right now I don't see that happening.  If my kids end up settling here we will stay. 

 

If you are in driving distance I think it can be good.  But yes, the longing of the heart does get to you from time to time.  Not every day.  

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Yeah, we would still be in possible driving distance..my parents drive to Duke a few times a year. I can't see skipping holidays, we'd have to make that work. 

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Worse than central Florida?

 

No. It's not in a swamp.

 

Seriously...  :D

 

 

Thank you for the reality check! What about the downtown areas? How do they compare to say, orlando? Or another FL city I guess...I'm from the Palm Beach area originally. 

 

I lived in PBC for a while. RDC is younger. And nicer.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, there were things I loved about PBC. The beach, the palm trees, even the heat (I love heat!). But there were things I didn't like....

 

I can't imagine living in Orlando. Sorry.

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No. It's not in a swamp.

 

Seriously...  :D

 

 

 

I lived in PBC for a while. RDC is younger. And nicer.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, there were things I loved about PBC. The beach, the palm trees, even the heat (I love heat!). But there were things I didn't like....

 

I can't imagine living in Orlando. Sorry.

 

Thank you for understanding. At times, I wonder if it is just me that dislikes Orlando? 

 

So you would say the RDC area is nicer than Orlando? Prettier? How about traffic? I very hate the traffic here, which is SO much worse than northern Palm Beach County. 

SaveSave

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Traffic is getting worse every year. You aren't the only person who wants a moderately priced, liberal neighborhood in the South=.  :)

 

You really should check it out.  It won't be as pretty this time of year (fall going into winter) and if you love palm trees, RDU is not that area.

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Traffic is getting worse, yes.  Looks like we may be getting some light rail and some public transport over the next 10 yrs (thankfully).  Hoping it will help ease some congestion, and offer options for people who don't want to or can't drive.

 

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