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Thread: NC Road Trip

  1. Default NC Road Trip

    Hi there! My husband and I are driving from NJ to NC in a couple of weeks to check out towns all across the state because we are thinking of moving there. We will start at the shore of NC (Morehead City) and then head west. I'm looking for fun things to do in NC, good places to eat, things to see, etc. Any tips?

  2. #2

    Default What a surprise...........

    ........folks from NJ moving to NC! Who could have guessed?

    Hello NCHereWeCome,

    That subject line and the continuation were typed with my tongue pressed firmly in my cheek. Welcome to NC, in advance. There's lots of room, so bring your friends.

    It will be my pleasure to introduce you to some of the sights, sounds, and such of my home state. Please share just a bit of your likes and dislikes so I can best provide information to you.

    Do you prefer larger cities or small towns? Rural vs urban?

    Do you like proximity to the coast, or are the Blue Ridge or Smokies of interest? Be aware that through much of the mountains the winter climate is more severe than that in NJ. At 3,500 to 5,000', the Boone, NC area "enjoys" a climate like that of lower elevation parts of upstate NY.

    College towns? Music tastes? Recreational preferences (golf, cycling, hiking, watersports, professional sports?).

    Food tastes? Fine dining, wine, microbrews, BBQ, vegetarian?

    Fill us in with a few details, and we'll provide come comments for your consideration.

    Raleigh, NC

  3. Default

    Hi Foy,

    hahaha Your post cracked me up. Big surprise huh? It's pretty much a running joke these days how many of us Jersey folk are heading south. I've lived here all my life and I'm ready to go!

    We are a young couple with a young son. Basically, we can go anywhere in the state we want, we just don't know WHERE we want to move. I was laid off (another big surprise) and hubby can transfer pretty much anywhere with his job, so we are looking for an area that we like and then will go from there as far as me finding a job there. So our roadtrip will be to discover different areas of the state and see what we like.

    We both definitely like the shore, and think we would probably prefer the coast, but I have family in Raleigh and I know it's a good 1.5 to 2 hour drive (which could be a good thing! haha). I also know there are a ton of jobs in my industry (banking) in Charlotte, so you can see why we have no clue.

    We definitely want somewhere that there are a lot of outdoor activities...parks, trails, mountains, etc, but we do not like the cold so we don't want to be living up in the mountains. We would like to be close enough to a major town or city that all our creature comforts and shopping is easily accessible, but don't want to live in the "city", we like our space and privacy.

    Otherwise we're pretty boring. I have a feeling that no matter where we go in NC, there will be something to do, that's what I love about the state! I just don't want to drive around aimlessly on our trip, so I'm hoping we could get some tips on fun places to stop or unique places to eat, etc. (Of course us Jerseys like diners). Just stuff off the beaten path I guess, or whatever you think is interesting. Thanks!!

  4. #4

    Default That narrows it down somewhat


    Glad you didn't take offense to my little quip. Some observations:

    Down here, the interface between land and ocean is "the beach". Nobody calls it "the shore".

    Banking jobs in Charlotte ain't what they used to be, prior to Wachovia being eaten by Wells Fargo, and Bank of America choking on their gobbling of Merrill. Perhaps a better market for bank professionals than NJ/NY, but definitely not what it used to be.

    Living outside of a city while working within it involves a commute, of course. I've lived within 2 miles of my office for 10 years now so am not the guy to comment on commutes. I really don't like them, but perhaps commuting into Charlotte, Winston-Salem, or Raleigh isn't too bad when compared to a NJ/NY style commute.

    Drawing a line roughly between Raleigh and Charlotte puts the beach around 3 hours east/south and the Blue Ridge around 3 hours west/north, so if proximity to each is of interest, the center of the state needs your look-see. A lot of folks like Wilmington, including me. The riverfront downtown is very nice, there's lots of business growth down there, and the beach is at your doorstep. Wilmington enjoys a subtropical climate, with some palm trees, alligators, and very mild winters. Wilson is around 40 miles east of Raleigh and is the original home of BB&T, a solid bank which is still growing. The BB&T headquarters are now in Winston-Salem but I think there are material back-office operations still in Wilson. Rocky Mount was long the home of RBC Centura and its predecessors and is an OK little city not far from Raleigh. I think I can safely generalize the cities east of Raleigh (excepting Wilmington and perhaps New Bern) are still much more of a rural character than those in the center of the state, where the majority of growth over the last 40 years has taken place.

    Of the larger 4 cities (Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, I suspect the latter 2 would be easier to find a home somewhat outside of the city but without a painful commute. Charlotte in particular is developing a rep as "Little Atlanta", which is fine since that's pretty much what they set out to do 40 years ago. In Raleigh, the communities outside of the city are a good 45 minutes to an hour's commute from downtown or the Research Triangle Park (RTP).

    A handful of places to visit in the center of the state, for outdoors-oriented people, would include:

    Raleigh area--Umstead State Park, Raven Rocks State Park, Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston, the Raleigh Greenway trail system, the American Tobacco Trail Rails-to-Trails system, Jordan Lake, Occaneechee Mountain State Park.

    Greensboro area--Uwharrie National Forest, the Yadkin River lakes (High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, and Tillery, Morrow Mountain State Park, the Sauratown Mountains.

    Winston-Salem area--Pilot Mountain State Park, the Sauratowns, Old Salem.

    Charlotte area-- National Whitewater Center, the Greenway system, Mint Museum of Art, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Kings Mountain and Crowder's Mountain, all the NASCAR you could ever shake a stick at, and professional football and basketball.

    All 4 of the areas above have universities and colleges throughout the community.

    So that's a bit of background and direction. Enjoy, and welcome.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    For an area that's not in or near a big city but is growing substantially, you may want to check out the Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Southern Pines area. My folks retired there from NJ in 1980 and stayed till their respective deaths. That area is called the "Sandhills" and has a generally moderate climate. There's just about everything you need locally, but if you have to go to the "big city" it's an hour to Raleigh and 2 hours to Charlotte.

  6. #6

    Default Great catch, glc

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    For an area that's not in or near a big city but is growing substantially, you may want to check out the Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Southern Pines area. My folks retired there from NJ in 1980 and stayed till their respective deaths. That area is called the "Sandhills" and has a generally moderate climate. There's just about everything you need locally, but if you have to go to the "big city" it's an hour to Raleigh and 2 hours to Charlotte.
    I intended to mention The Sandhills (Pinhurst and Southern Pines area, Moore County, NC) but forgot as I was typing. The influx of retirees has brought a "bubble" of private banking and investment advising to the area. For access to Raleigh, US 1 is now 4 lane all the way from Southern Pines to Raleigh, and all but a segment around Sanford is high speed limit modern Interstate style. There are 2 or 3 stoplights on the south side of Sanford, but that's all. It's between 50 and 60 minutes now, tops.

    The Sandhills enjoy a winter climate only slightly cooler than Wilmington.


  7. Default Thanks!

    Thank you so much for your responses. I will definitely be taking them into account for our trip next week. I can't wait to explore the state! Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Definitely Get Some BBQ

    Nothing like that great Carolina pulled pork bbq, be it western state or eastern. Along with sweet tea, cole slaw, and hush puppies, now, that's eating.

    If you get by the Wilmington area (my favorite), check out Paul's Hot Dogs in Castle Hayne or Britt's Donutes at Carolina Beach.

    On the NC/SC border is Calabash for some mighty good seafood.

    Great state to live in. Good luck.

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