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Tell me about North Carolina

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I knw the skiing is marginal. I am at the point, I am happy with a good week out west and a long weekend in VT. Lola and I are thinking about (semi) retiring to the Chapel Hill area. Anyone form that area?
post #2 of 80
Originally posted by Phil Pugliese:
Anyone form that area?
G-d formed that area. Geology is heresy.
post #3 of 80
I'm not from North Carolina but from Tennessee and ski in North Carolina. SkiNorthCarolina.com http://www.skinorthcarolina.com/ will be a good spot to get some info. Although some of the areas open for skiing on Thanksgiving weekend, it’s usually January before they are fully open. By March they are starting to wind down for the season. The weather is just too unpredictable to keep good coverage (machine made snow) and the crowds get too thin to make it profitable to stay open. Weekend can be very crowded by weekdays are pretty good. Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain are the two largest areas. Hawksnest, Appalachian, Wolf Laurel, and Cataloochee are a few of the smaller areas. I’m a passholder at Cataloochee. It’s a good place to bring younger kids because of its smaller size. Its also near Asheville NC. Cataloochee gets busloads of skiers for the Atlanta area on weekends but thin out by Sunday afternoon. Hope this helps. There's a little bit of everything to do in theis area of the country year round. It just depends on what you are into.
post #4 of 80
I lived in Eastern NC for 5 years and never skied the western Carolina areas. Too far for marginal skiing. We traveled to West Va instead...better snow, bigger hills. From Chapel Hill, it's only 3+ hours to Winterplace (not great, but good snow) and probably 5 to Snowshoe (surprisingly good).

The real problem with living in Chapel Hill is the distance. It's going to be almost 3 hours to any of the western Carolina ski areas and almost none of that is on the interstate. Skiing there is not going to be an easy trip for a half day of marginal skiing - think lots of yellow school buses with packs of kids on their first ski outing.

On the other hand, living in Chapel Hill is pretty nice 9 months out of the year (waaaay too hot in the summer for me).
post #5 of 80
"The real problem with living in Chapel Hill is the distance. It's going to be almost 3 hours to any of the western Carolina ski areas and almost none of that is on the interstate."

I'd think wintergreen would be the closest, but yeah, it's gonna be a long flat haul to anything from Chapel Hill.
post #6 of 80
Thread Starter 
Skiing is low on the priority list. I will go west or VT. I will fly to Burlington before driving 5 hrs to Snowshoe. I am looking for input on other areas of lifestyle.
post #7 of 80
Chapel Hill is a nice place to live, like bjo said, 9 months out of the year. The problem is with those 3 months of the year when you wake up to go outside, and just after sunrise it's already 80 degrees and foggy. It's never fun when you start sweating first thing in the morning

As for skiing, your best bet would be to head to WV. It's probably actually cheaper too, even with the extra 1.5 top 2 hours of extra driving you have to do. Most of the NC ski areas are located in Boone, 4 in all, and every hotel in that city overcharges by about 200%. As far as the ski areas go, most of them will be filled with beginners who turn the easy trails into war zones with all the injuries, and the occasional local racer using the downed skiers as slalom gates. Silver Creek, the sister resort of Snowshoe is probably the least crowded of any eastern resort. It's about 3 miles down the road from Snowshoe, and they can be skied on the same lift ticket.

If you want to see some really strange mountains, you can check out our Monadnocks in the Western Piedmont. They formed by erosion, and not uplift. Pilot, King's, Stone, Uhwaries, Hanging Rock are just a few of these. Probably one of the least crowded places in the state are the South Mountains, a section of the Apps that are separated from the main portion of the Appalachian chain. Believe it or not, out mountains are also high enough to receive snow into May.

As far as North Carolina goes, there are lots of golf courses. Down in Southern Pines and Myrtle Beach, they have some of the highest concentration of Golf Courses in the country. Even the lower end ones are just as nice as the 2 private courses we have at my part time job. They have to be nice to be competitive. We actually have some very good mountain biking (there are some real nice greenway trails that run right through CH), and an amazing parkway in the mountains that in the spring and fall can match up with any view out west.

The beaches here.... Well, they suck Too many gaudy colored condos and chain marts for my taste, but there are a few last bastions of real beaches. Try Bear Island for one.

One last thing about CH, due to our airports lack of a major hub, and it's central location between just about all major airlines major hubs makes planes tickets incredibly cheap here. Tickets to Denver, Salt lake, Reno, Sacramento, Seattle can be had for as little as $150, and rarely go over $200 by too much.

Oh yea, one more thing, people tend to wear this disgusting, makes me want to puck, tarhole blue color around there
post #8 of 80
I grew up in NC, and the first place I ever skiied was at Sugar Mountain, NC so I think I can add a little to this...

If you lived in Winston-Salem, skiing in NC would be worthwhile.. about 2 hours away. But if your going to drive 3.5 hours to ski in NC, might as well drive 5 to ski in WV, or fly out west.

The NC mountains have thier share of good skiiers but the resorts are so small that you can't escape the beginners.

As for other activites. Chapel Hill is probably second only to Austin, TX in the live music scene. The BBQ in NC is as legendary as anywhere.

The Research triangle, which is the Raliegh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is consistnatly rated one of the top 10 places to live.

Golf is increadible as jhstroup mentioned.

The beaches.... I disagree with jhstoup here. I love the beaches. I actually prefer them to most in Florida. Not all are over-developed. depends on what your looking for:

Party = Myrtle Beach, SC.
Fishing = the outer banks, such as Cape Hatteras.
quiet, family vacation = Ocean Isle, Long beach
college girls= wrightsville beach (UNC-Wilmington)

A little town near Chapel Hill that is nice is Cary, NC.

The skiing there is underated, but still just OK, although the fishing and golf is second to none.

NC revolves around 3 things:

1. College basketball. Either UNC or Duke is going to be in the Final Four every year.
2. BBQ

I like 2 of the 3. Go Heels! The eastern-carolina style BBQ is better than the western-carolina style BBQ.
post #9 of 80
A few points others missed. Charlotte is quite the banking center. Great big game and small game fishing in the Outer Banks, and solid fly fishing in the mountains, in fact, the number of guides at Banner Elk (Sugar Mountain) will surprise you. The Smokey Mtns Natl. Park is fantastic for hiking, riding and fishing. The mountain areas really are the nicest places to retire; Ashville, Hendersonvile, Highlands etc.. Watch out, though, if you venture deep in the hill boonies, you'll be squealin like a pig in no time!
post #10 of 80
Thread Starter 
We're not beach people so thats nto a concern, although the the beaches down there are much nicer than we have up here. This is a move we will be looking at in (about) 5 years. We are doing a "scouting" trip this summer. gonna check out rt 129 (The Dragon) and the Chapel Hill area.

Looking at the cost of living down there, loks to be 2/3 of what we are paying up here. Thats nice.

I do looove good BBQ too.
post #11 of 80
I'd advise you to check out Boone. I'd just as soon be in Boone, as they say. I lived there for 7 years, and loved it. Lots of hiking, mountain biking, plenty of snow in winter, rarely gets up to 80 in the summer. Beautiful place, super nice locals (as long as you respect their culture, of course), and plenty of non-locals attending the university (App State). The BBQ is second to none. (The PNW doesn't know **** about BBQ, IMO.) There are lots of little rivers in the mountains that have natural swimming holes -- don't find that around here, either.

Yup, Boone rules. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #12 of 80
Phil I see that you list Newtown Square, PA as your home now. Is that the Newtown in Bucks County or the one south of Philadelphia?
post #13 of 80
I grew up in Western North Carolina but went to school in Raleigh and then lived in Chapel Hill for five years. GO WOLFPACK! My brother the NC State/Duke grad traitor married a UNC grad and lives in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is a beautiful town with only the occaisonal nut going wild with a gun. The summers are very hot and humid there. The local insect flora will astound you - don't plan on summer evenings outside unless you have a screened-in porch. Do a Google search on a Green Luna Moth. Gotta be the biggest moth in existence. Chapel Hill is kinda pricey compared to the surrounding area. It is a very small liberal college town. Jesse Helms said they outta put a barb wire fence around it and not let any of the people there escape. In all, Chapel Hill is probably the nicest, most beautiful town in NC behind Oriental, NC. Gee, I miss going to the Cat's Cradle concerts. Oh, one store you have to go to is A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Go hungry - mmmmm.

Hurricanes do make it inland into the RTP area. Witness Hugo, Fran, Floyd. I would check out the Asheville and Brevard areas too - lots of great hiking. Oh, Blue laws still exist in the South. You can't get a beer until after 1 PM on Sunday in Chapel Hill. Some counties still ban alcohol sales altogether. In more rural areas the term "Yankee" is an insult and is still in usage. "Yankee" = any person not from a state that was part of the Confederacy.

After eating both Western and Eastern Style NC BBQ, the western BBQ is much better. The western is tomato based sauce were the eastern is vinegar based. I can recommend some good joints in the Piedmont area. Check out http://www.dixiedining.com/dixie/northcarolina.htm Lexington BBQ in Lexington is best. College basketball rivalry is very intense there. NASCAR tops the sports news every night. It's a quick 3 hour drive to the beach from Chapel Hill. The sailboat racing scene at the coast and in the RTP area is competitive.

Don't try to ski in NC. Too crowded. Wintergreen,VA is small and crowded. Winterplace,WV is small but okay. Snowshoe usually took 6-7 hours to drive to. Come West as you stated, the skiing is much better here.

I see you drive Volvo's. You'll fit right in with the Chapel Hill local's. You might consider a scooter too.

[ April 22, 2004, 06:18 PM: Message edited by: XX Boarder ]
post #14 of 80
A few comments from a Virginia native who's visited NC many times, but never lived there: The culture of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area (aka Research Triangle) is an interesting progression of academic/science/technology types supplanting good old NC style rednecks. Pretty incredible amount of colleges and universities in central NC. One nice byproduct is good medical and health care facilities, others include a sophisticated job market compared to surrounding rural parts of NC, entertaining local college sports (esp hoops), and college based music/nightlife scene.
Chapel Hill is about equidistant (200 miles) from ocean beaches to the east and 6000' mtns in western part of state. Interstate travel towards west is more direct. Outer Banks beaches are pretty developed (and Yuppiefied @ Duck) and can be nice in their way. Points further south along the lengthy state shoreline can be enjoyably semi-rural. The continuous 300 mile scenic drive along mountain ridges from Shenandoah Nat'l Park in northern VA (Skyline drive) to Great Smokey Mtns Nat'l Park at NC-TN border (Blue Ridge Parkway) is one of the great mtn drives in America and is an incredible way to spend a week in blooming June conditions. Asheville is set in an attractive mtn locale and is gaining favor as a retirement choice because of a better summer climate than lowland areas to the east. Blowing Rock and Boone are fun mtn towns in a scenic and sometimes tacky/touristy sort of way. Nearby Mt. Mitchell (6684') is taller than Mt. Washington, and in fact, is highest point in US east of Mississippi River.
Big furniture making industry in central NC would make furnishing a house real cheap. Good golf, often very affordable, can be found throughout the entire state. The high interest in NASCAR auto racing actually starts about 50 miles south of Wash DC, but gains true supremacy in NC. There are a fair amount of military bases in NC. I've never skied in NC, but know all the areas in VA and WV. Weekend slopes clogged with rookies are not uncommon there too. Tip about cheap airfares out of central NC sounds very useful for ski pursuits.
post #15 of 80
I will add my input, since I have lived in Durham for the past 4 years.

All in all, the triangle area is a nice place to live. The people are nice (all over the south), climate is great. We have nice long springs and falls, with a month or two of hot weather in the summer. I am from Florida and lived in Houston also, so it is not as hot as some here would have you believe.

The costs are not bad, although Chapel Hill/Orange County is more expensive (especially housing) than the surrounding areas. Chapel Hill is a very liberal college town. That has its positives and negatives.

We do ski around here. I mostly go to Wintergreen (about 3 hours from Durham). It has a better advanced area that is never crowded. I also go to Sugar Mtn some. I hate skiing in the east, but I can't afford to go out west every weekend, just a week or two a year. It is worth it to me to go to wintergreen for a day trip to get some skiing in.
post #16 of 80
One other thing... RDU airport is great. It is small enough to be easy to get in to and out of, but there are lots of cheap flights. I really get upset if I pay more than $200 for a flight out west (I usually go to Utah to ski).
post #17 of 80
Originally posted by altalover:
All in all, the triangle area is a nice place to live. The people are nice (all over the south), climate is great. We have nice long springs and falls, with a month or two of hot weather in the summer.
I need to move down to NC. It was 91 degrees here in VA on Sunday.
post #18 of 80
Thread Starter 
We are excited about checking out the area. If flights are that cheap to Utah...2 trips west will be what we will do every year.

I am in it for the golf.
post #19 of 80
How about the best of both worlds. Condo in Myrtle Beach, condo in Summit County.

That's my fantasy if I can hang in there. Ski 100 days, golf 100 days, and work 150 days for some "mad money" to go play with.

Or work as a starter at the golf course and play for free in the PM. Be on the courtesy patrol at the ski resort and point people in the right direction when they get off the lift.

Has to be a way to to get to do what you want with a minimum of aggravation. I always thought driving the shuttle to the airport a couple times a week might be a way to maximise ski time and still make a little bit of money.

My family and I have been going to Myrtle Beach for over twenty years. The comments about the abundance of really good golf courses at moderate prices(summer time rates) is very true.

I like to play at Carolina Shores in Calabash, NC. In June its $25 with coupon which includes a sleeve of balls and a hot dog and a coke and a replay coupon for a $15 round the next time you play. Its a very good golf course as well. My brother in the law the golf snob reluctantly admits it , but points out to me one or two of the greens are in bad shape. Who cares!

That's the equivalent of complaining about a couple of scratchy ice sections on your favorite ski hill.
post #20 of 80
I am surprised noone brought up kiteboarding, windsurfing in this forum. Killer conditions for these on the OBX. It blows 20kt SW under sunny sky right now, Classic Hatteras, for almost a week now. I would say that's the equivalent to 5in fresh overnight, every morning. Except... Fresh tracks all day.
post #21 of 80
Ahh, yes Canadian Hole. Is Hatteras Island still cut in half from last fall's hurricane? I'm not being malicious, just curious. Don't get much news from the beach here. I've sailed out to Ocracoke Island many times. Beaufort - The Net House, SAYRA, the bar at the Harbour Master's Office, fellow rowdy sailors....the understanding cops. I'm getting too old for all that. Besides, my folks sold their Hans Christian 38.
post #22 of 80
Thread Starter 
In-laws are hang gliders so we are familier with the outer backs. Again, we aren't shore people we prefer artsie towns and mountains to the shore atmosphere. But the course/slope work routine is one of the things we were thinking about. Having a ski shop back gound, I would have no problem working is a golf shop to get some free/discounted golf.
post #23 of 80
Originally posted by Ugli Pupferknick:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Phil Pugliese:
Anyone form that area?
G-d formed that area. Geology is heresy. </font>[/quote][img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

sad but relevant
post #24 of 80
NC is a great state that offers many different lifestyles based on your preferences. In fact, in the East it's one of the few states that in my opinion has it all, at least somewhere in the state. If you've settle on NC, shop around and get the best deal for yourself both economically and socially.

As to the OBX, it's great. Up until july of last year we owned an oceanfront house on Hatteras Island in Avon which is a few miles north of Canadian Hole. My take on the Outer Banks is that it's a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Half the year you deal with about 2 million visitors and the other half it's damn near vacant with very little open for business. Great place for a rental property though if you can swing the cost. Oh, and the cut in Hatteras has been filled in.
post #25 of 80
After eating both Western and Eastern Style NC BBQ, the western BBQ is much better. The western is tomato based sauce were the eastern is vinegar based.
don't mean to start another civil war, but I much prefer the vinegar-bases BBQ sauces.

a favorite snack of mine is oven-warmed frozen french fries with some Sauer's BBQ sauce used where other folks use ketchup (or, if they're from Montana... ranch dressing : )

Sauer's has that nice vinegary taste that I like... but then I like vinegar on all my greens, too... especially spinach, kale and beet tops.
post #26 of 80
Thread Starter 
I am ambidexturous.. I can eat both kinds of sauce.
post #27 of 80
And on collards,too, Gonz? [img]smile.gif[/img]

I much prefer the sweet, smoky BBQ sauce from Longhorn in Spokane, WA. I like the tangy ones too, but Longhorn sauce is an incredible taste. I had my daughter bring a gallon with her in March..it rode in her backpack on the plane. Poor kid. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #28 of 80
Anybody know the name of the fast food BBQ chain in NC? They're all over the Greensboro area, or at least they were when I lived there 18 years ago. They had the best BBQ of all time. Ever.
post #29 of 80
haint nevuh eeten them collards queenie
post #30 of 80
I agree with Coach13's characterization on Hatteras Island.
My take is that basically the further South you go starting from Hampton Roads (in VA) via Curituck and Dare Counties the windier it gets, but at the same time more dominated by tourist influence.
Isabel Inlet is filled up again. Some places have surprisingly little damage. AFAIK, Avon fared surprisingly well. North Rodanthe on the other hand has suffered pretty bad, dunes down, like much of Pea Island. Also the dunes at Oregon Inlet which are getting chewed on by Noreeasters. Sand has been pushed back to regenerate the dune line, let's hope vegetation takes over to stabilize everything before the next storm (propably not...).
Sound side launches are in operation, from Nags Head down to Frisco Wood. Further South I don't know. The only concern right now is development of two waterfront lots at Emilie's... But that propably works out as it looks right now.
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