Something I wrote about in the comments on Anna’s blog

In response to Anna’s Top 9 things she needed in a city:

Ok, I can’t help you on #2, as temps here do go into the low 90’s (and sometimes higher) during the summer (though there’s AC everywhere, so it’s not as big a deal as it might be. Also, we get beautiful thunderstorms that really cool things down, so it’s not usually the case that you have >1 week where it’s really hot).

Save that, tho, the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area of North Carolina is pretty swell (IMVHO, of course).

Our winters are great… not too cold, but we usually get 1 “good snow” a year (which down here is <5″, but is enough to make you “miss school” — yah!). [I am ignoring the freak ice storn, as it’s happened once in the almost 35 years I’ve lived here.]

The Research Triangle Park means there are computer jobs (IBM, Cisco, Glaxo-Welcome, etc.), plus there are three research universities (Duke, NC State and UNC-CH). This makes for a very intelligent region (it’s geeky in a good way, if that makes sense).

All kinds of arts things, both bigger (like touring broadway productions) and smaller (several good community theater groups), plus the best band scene anywhere that’s not a “big city”. I’ve seen David Byrne, the Cowboy Junkies, the Flaming Lips, Dar Williams and They Might Be Giants in the Cat’s Cradle, a local club. (See http://www.catscradle.com).

There are Mickey D’s and Golden Corral and so on, BUT they’re ignorable (tend to be right off the main highway). There are also lots of fantastic locally-owned restaurants, both gourmet (“foodie far”) and “home cooked”.

As far as the walkability/public transport, you’d probably enjoy the 5-points area of Raleigh or Chapel Hill/Carborro. They’ve got the requisite small (even organic) markets, plus theaters, bookstores, etc. etc. all within walking distance. You’d need a car to get to work, though, unless you telecommuted or found into a job that was really near your home. We don’t have good public transport *between* the big areas of the Triangle.

As for the big city for bands… well, you don’t need it. We actually get good bands here (the big ones come to either the Dean Dome or the outdoor concert pavillion, and the smaller ones play the Cat’s Cradle or the Lincoln Theater.

I probably shouldn’t even tell you how much I bought my 2-br, 1-bath (1175 sq. ft.) house for, but I’ll say it was <$100K. (This was a decade ago and prices have gone up, but I know you can buy a 3-br, 2-bath 1500 sq. ft. home for <$160 now.) My SO is renting a 1500 sq. ft. townhome (3br, 2 bath) for about $1000/mo.

I dunno; just like everyone else, I think my home is pretty great. I've considered moving (somehow I think I should because it would be good for me, like brussel sprouts), but I have never seen a compelling reason to do so. The Triangle has become much more diverse in recent years .. we've now got Thai restaurants and Etheopian and sushi-galore, yoga classes, gelato, several bead stores, and a real german bakery (for some reason that list sounds eclectic to me). I think if the area hadn't evolved (in ways that are compatible with what I like), I'd have moved, but as it is, I couldn't be happier.

Lemme know if you ever want to visit! :)

-Gina
Gina on August 18, 2003 11:13 AM

Oh, and I forgot … Asheville is the *perfect* weekend getaway at a 3-hr. drive. (Lots of B&B's there… the SO and I've gone twice this year). Of course the fact that you can be in Wilmington NC (beach!) in <3 hrs. shouldn't be ignored either. :)
Gina on August 18, 2003 11:21 AM

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