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  1. Default From Newport News, VA to Raleigh? Best routes, must sees, retirement?

    Hi Folks,
    I stumbled upon this site while trying to plan a road trip from VA to NC. Here's the deal, we're traveling from NYC to VA to visit relatives and then since it's not so very far away, we decided that we'd tack NC onto the trip. Why NC? We think we might want to retire there in 20 yrs or so. Yes, I'm a planner. We were thinking of buying a small (2-3 BR) house, co-op, condo sometime in the next 3-5 yrs and renting it out until the time comes for us to pack up and head south.

    We'd like to do a couple of things on this trip: 1) Check out the Triangle, since we're not sure where we want to live (Cary, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham?), and 2) Make the trip memorable for our children (1 pre-schooler & 1 early middle schooler, big split in age, I know) Take in the sites and such.

    As we look towards retirement, we really want to be someplace with milder winters than NYC and since we're in the thick of the rat race, we'd like to settle somewhere with a pace slightly slower than warp 9. We love the beach, but don't want to deal with the kinds of storms that hit the coastline. Although we'll be retired when we make the move, I can't really see us slowing down completely. The plan is for me to teach part-time (hence the Triangle area, lots of colleges, right?) and DH would like to open a barber shop or some other small business.

    So I'm asking for advice on the trip we'll be taking in two weeks (what town to stay in, good places to eat, sites, etc.) and suggestions for where to look for retirement properties. I can't see us being old folks, even when we are, so I'm not interested in settling in a town with a large population of nothern retirees. We like to get out and go to movies, plays, festivals, the occasional museum. Hope that's enough info.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Good Choice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My sister and brother-in-law retired to North Carolina several years ago for many of the same reasons and with many of the same 'requirements' that you seem to have. They chose Davidson in western North Carolina for a number of reasons: close to a large metropolitan center (Charlotte) for ease of access, in a college town for the intellectual stimulation, near a body of water (Lake Norman), etc. When finding a job, particularly in a limited field, is not among your criteria the world really opens up. So I would urge you to go into this with a completely open mind. The Research Triangle is a lovely area, so besides the 'big cities' be sure to take a look a bit farther afield at towns like Pittsboro and Siler City, or something nearer the shore such as New Bern or even 'on' the shore like Manteo. 'Mayberry, RFD' country is also not that far from your target area around Mount Airy.

    As for specific recommendations for your upcoming trip, I wouldn't stay in just one town. I'd probably try to stay in several, and in B&Bs at that. I'd then pump my hosts for all the local intel I could get out of them about places that meet your requirements. They'll know a lot more than we do.


  3. Default

    Thanks so much for the advice. Okay, so I have a question to ask and there's no diplomatic way to ask it, so here it is:
    We are a family of color and we're lifelong northerners with little or no experience traveling south (I don't count Florida, lol). Racial tolerance and diversity are clearly a priority and therefore we tend to look at the larger cities and college towns, figuring that those would be the most tolerant and diverse areas. Would you still recommend that we branch out to those same areas you mentioned?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It Wouldn't Hurt to Look

    I would suspect that you will be a whole lot more sensitive to racial tolerance (or in-) than I would. So there really is no better advice I can give you but to at least drive through some of those areas to see if at least the countryside aoppeals to you. Have your meals in random small diners where the locals eat and judge your reception. The 'South' has changed a lot in the last 30 year or so. Yes, there are still pockets of prejudice and just plain stupidity, as there are everywhere (after all, I live in Arizona), but I wouldn't let your preconceptions limit your search without at least some on the ground evidence.


  5. Default Good advice

    Thanks so much. It's a tricky thing. I have friends who live in the south and I know things have changed quite a bit. It's not like we don't encounter ignorance of this kind here in NYC. Thanks again. I'm really looking forward to this trip and learning more about NC.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If anything, I'd be more concerned about coming across as a stereotypical "brash New Yorker" than I would be about racial issues. Not saying that you are one!

    It's the older generations where you will find more racial attitudes. I doubt you would have many problems with your contemporaries. My mom was a bigot - if she were still alive, she would be 90 years old in August. I felt the same way as her when I was growing up, through no fault of my own, but I made a conscious effort to cast away that attitude as an adult when I knew better.

  7. Default

    Hahaha. I too, loathe "brash NY'ers." I understand what you're saying and I get the generational thing. I guess it all boils down to bad press and the unfamiliar. Thankfully, there are sites like this one, where I can get feedback from other folks. We intend to take several trips to NC over then next 2-3 years, to various areas. I'm sure we'll find a place that suits us. Thanks again.

  8. #8

    Default Bigotry knows no boundaries

    Hello Brooklyn,
    As a lifelong resident of North Carolina and Virginia, I've marveled at the depiction of my homeland as the primary bigoted portion of the country. The decades-long neighborhood racial turf battles in the NYC boroughs, in Boston, in Chicago, Detroit, LA, and many other cities normally portrayed as "more enlightened" bear witness to the "no boundaries" in the subject line of this post. End of editorial.

    Here in central NC, I think anybody would identify Chapel Hill/CarrboroPittsboro and the whole of Durham/Durham County as racially/ethnically diverse communities. Closer to the Capitol Square, downtown Raleigh is enjoying a resurgence, North Raleigh is nice and modern, and Cary didn't earn the acronym as "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees" for nothing.

    As he always does, glc hit the nail on the head in noting the greater chance of encountering transplanted New Yorkers than natives as you look around the areas noted. I doubt the presence of > 25% natives in large swaths of our community.

    So come on down. There's plenty of room and plenty of folks of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I think we get along far better than mixed communities in the "enlightened" parts of the country.


  9. #9

    Default Newport News to Raleigh: routes


    The most direct route is to cross the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on I-64, follow it to its end at Bowers Hill, near Suffolk, thence US 58 to Emporia (beware of the world-class speed trap which is the whole of Emporia). From there, I-95 south to US 64 west at Rocky Mount, NC. Without material traffic delays on the Tidewater end, it should be around 3.5 hours door-to-door.

    A fun diversion might be to take the Jamestown, VA area ferry across the James River, and a bushwhack from the south side to Emporia or points north of there on I-95, then south down 95.


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