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Looking to move to NC - any info from current residents?

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  • Looking to move to NC - any info from current residents?

    I am currently living just south of the NY border and can't take the winters anymore. The cold, snow/ice and it just lasts so darn long! I feel like half of my year is wasted here with bad weather.

    I'm looking at moving south to Virginia/North or South Carolina. Have specifically been looking at Winston-Salem area or possibly outside of Charlotte. Just want to keep it to a rural area (but not too far from a city/businesses) so cost of living is affordable. Does anyone have any experience with these areas or recommendations? Are there laws about needing certain acerage in order to have horses on your own property(can't decide if I should buy acerage or board)? I'm very open to areas. My main concern is heading south to warmer weather and starting fresh. Planning a trip this spring to check out some areas and not really sure where to start.

    Thanks ahead for any tips, info and opinions.
    '10 Dolce Latte G - Thoroughbred Mare

  • #2
    I live north of Charlotte (Mooresville area) and one thing I like about the horsey scene here is that you can find barns and riders across the spectrum-from Western to trail riders only to casual show/lesson barns to top-of-the-line big time show barns. I'm at a casual eventing barn and love it. I might even try eventing myself this year. There really is something for everyone. I don't know about acreage laws (I board), but lots of people do keep horses at home. There are lots of opportunities for activities from trail riding to horse trials.

    The other half of the equation is what you do for a living...can you transfer within your current job, or do you run a personal business that can be run from anywhere? I wouldn't recommend moving here without a job in hand, because finding a good one is a pretty poor proposition right now. I've been looking for over a year. Professional-level jobs are getting hundreds of applicants for every one position, so it's pretty rough. Not trying to scare you off, and there are jobs in certain areas, but it's been difficult here for most people.

    For entertainment, I love living where I do. There's lots to do, and I'm only a half hour or so from Charlotte and an hour from Winston-Salem. There's lots of sports if you're into that-NFL, basketball, minor league baseball, NASCAR, minor league hockey, etc. There are also tons of museums, excellent restaurants and clubs from casual to upscale, parks and greenways for hiking and walking, etc. There really is something for everyone as far as things to do.


    • #3
      I grew up in NYC, lived in Easton PA; northern VA, Atlanta, and finally acreage between WS and Greensboro for the past 18 years. There are no state minimum acreage requirements, but local zoning always applies. That is county, town or HOA.

      I would suggest you decide acreage or boarding as your first question. Acreage is a life style choice. It comes with many pluses along with mowing, fence keeping, slow internet access (maybe, I've cable) etc. Perhaps boarding at first to learn the area and then purchase acreage. Boarding here is anywhere from pasture board to show barns.

      There are more horses in this area than anywhere else in NC according to the state ag dept. Riding opportunities are plentiful. Weather delightful, nothing too long or harsh.

      PM if you'd like any more than general answers or help with relocation.
      Equus makus brokus but happy


      • #4
        The winters are certainly mild, and seem to be getting milder- it's right at 70 degrees right now. But watch out for the summers! I believe we reached 115 degrees last summer. And oh boy, do we have humidity! That said, there's no where else I'd want to be!
        "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH


        • #5
          If you don't have a pressing reason to buy your own acreage, then I would rent a house, and board the horses for the first six months or year, and spend that time shopping for the perfect area for you. I wish I hadn't bought a house when I moved here, because I have found out that I need to be in town, and resale is a problem in many areas. And that would give you time to look at places that might be foreclosures or short sales, and sometimes they take more time to close on.
          You can't fix stupid-Ron White


          • #6
            I am near Winston-Salem. IF you come down for a look, let me know. The area I am in has great vets and is rural without being out in the boonies. There are some nice horse/residential neighborhoods with some restricitions, but no county restrictions.
            We have good local shows of all types. Plenty of good farriers, accessible feed stores.


            • Original Poster

              Not worried about a job as I am a vet tech as well as a full timer at Tractor Supply. I can transfer through Tractor if need be. If I do that Tractor will actually help me pay for moving costs. I currently commute 40 minutes to work so plan on being open minded as far as a commute to work.

              My horses are on my own property here so I am also not worried about the care it takes to have them at home. It's actually boarding that worries me as I've boarded a couple different places and had bad luck. There's nothing like having them at home but I do like the idea of boarding in NC for a bit until I get settled in an area. Once I narrow areas down I'll probably post here again to pick your brains about facilities.

              115 with high humidity might take some getting used to. LOL I'd certainly be happier turning on the A/C though rather than bundling up in 5 layers to go chip ice buckets.

              Thanks so much for your opinions! It is certainly encouraging! I'm thinking March/April for a road trip to take a look around. Any areas I should stear clear from? High taxes, high crime, just plain old crum-bum towns?
              '10 Dolce Latte G - Thoroughbred Mare


              • #8
                Take it from a former Northerner....it is AMAZING how quickly you get used to the heat! I used to scoff at my family all the time when they complained mid 40s and below are cold. Now I'm the one complaining! And I've lived in some cold places - 40miles south of Lake Erie right in lake effect snow zone, and Scotland.

                There's a decent Hunter/Jumper scene in Raleigh & from what I hear in Charlotte too. There's some Eventing too, but not as much as I was used to when I lived in Charlottesville, VA. Maybe steer clear of Durham as far as crime goes. Having said that, I have friends and family who live there and love it.

                I'm actually as we speak moving to Wilmington, NC for grad school. Wilmington was always on the top of my "places to move to" list, and I really liked the School of Education there. When I was looking it kept coming up in my 1st 2 choices. I'll report back when you ask in a few months time, but so far so good.

                You'll love how friendly everyone is here. I literally haven't met a single unfriendly person in the past week, and I've had less than a week to move so its been CRAZY. I've met lots of awesome people both in this area, buying furniture and stuff, and Wilmington, looking at places to live, etc. That is probably the biggest draw for me - I came from Paris, so it was such a breath of fresh air to be smiled at instead of glared at when I walked into a store (even the gas station!).

                Anyway feel free to PM me if you need further suggestions/opinions! I love it here, and having just moved, now I'm like, "phew. I'm going to stay put for more than 6 months at a time. FINALLY!"

                PS - there are lots of awesome COTHERs in the Triangle Area. Jen-s is the best at introducing you around and a goldmine of information when it comes to horsey stuff.
                "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                • #9
                  Charlotte, the highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 1, 2012.


                  I lived in North Carilona in the early 1970s, the social world was then centered around which golf course you were a member.... has that changed any?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by clanter View Post
                    Charlotte, the highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 1, 2012.


                    I lived in North Carilona in the early 1970s, the social world was then centered around which golf course you were a member.... has that changed any?
                    I have not seen this at all in Chapel Hill. Rhe social world as such is shaped around whether you are a Tar Heels or Blue Devils fan :-D. It's basically good natured though. My Dad's colleagues at UNC Hospital joked that he should have worn a t shirt saying "Duke Parent, Fees paid for by UNC" on my sister's move in day. He didn't do it lol.
                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                    • #11
                      I've lived in NC most of my life and love it. Huge variety of disciplines, easy access to trainers in all disciplines, lots of shows within an hour or two. Plenty of good vets & farriers, too, which is nice. The weather is pretty great all year round, we've got fairly mild winters where I am and I think it tends to be pretty mild in most areas in the state.
                      Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                      • #12
                        Honey, it is 68° and sunny on this glorious Sunday January afternoon, come on down!
                        Around Winston-Salem $250,000-$300,000 is going to get you a 10 acre horse farm with the 2000 square-foot house.
                        chaque pas est fait ensemble


                        • #13
                          I'd recommended just over the border in SC. Fort Mill is horsey and extremely close to Charlotte. Plus lower cost of living, lower taxes, gas is cheaper, etc. Let me know if you have any questions!


                          • #14
                            We moved to just south of Charlotte 15 years ago from upstate New York. I won't go back. I won't even visit in the winter. Kwalker's suggestion of SC just over the border is a great suggestion. We are in NC, but 5 minutes from the border, and have seriously been looking for retirement property south of Fort Mill.

                            And there's a Tractor Supply in Monroe, Lancaster, and Rock Hill. Pasture board can run around $250-350, stall board can be had from about $350 up. There is an active H/J scene, a fairly active eventing scene and even dressage shows to do. Lots of trail riding available.

                            And it's 62 outside right now and I'm getting ready to go ride before the rain, so I can ride outside instead of the indoor


                            • #15
                              I'm one of the last remaining "born and raised here" folk.

                              -this weekend was 70 degrees with a nice breeze blowing
                              -horse country can be found across the state -- Southern Pines, Tryon, etc.
                              -mountains on one end, Ocracoke on the other
                              -reasonable real estate prices if you shop around and know what you want
                              -down east style pork barbecue
                              -vet school at NC State in case your horse needs their services

                              -summer heat and humidity, but I'll take it any day over ice and snow
                              -in winter we have more ice than snow, which causes power outages from fallen trees and limbs
                              -snow shuts us down for days... I won't start on the people who think they can drive in it...
                              -hurricanes can and do hit our coast, but they can also come inland and do a lot of damage (Hugo in 1989 missed the coast, but wrecked the Winston-Salem/Piedmont area... then there was Fran, followed by Floyd)
                              -western style barbecue

                              While I have traveled the US extensively and been out of the country as well, this will always be home for me.

                              If you decide the Raleigh area is on your list of choices, let me know.
                              Alis volat propriis.


                              • #16
                                bluemooncowgirl hits the nail on the head. You will find more moderate temps in the foothills (near where Shea'smom is); Southern Pines IS wonderful and if I was moving somewhere just to do horses, that would be where I'd live and also if money was no object. LOL Was down in November and gas in Sanford was a full 40cents cheaper per gallon! hahaha

                                I live in a little village/town between Greensboro & Raleigh areas (we're closest to the booming metropolis of Burlington - ha). We farm so the dirt is important and we're in a great place. Hauling for horse shows etc has never been an issue b/c we are close to the interstates and can be in any direction very easily.

                                Life in pretty darn great in NC. You know where the TSC stores are - figure out which ones look most appealing and post some specific questions about those areas. You gotta be able to have a decent work life - I'd be picking the store with the best management, etc. I'm pretty sure unless you pick some WAY out place, you'll be able to find horse property WELL within 40 minutes of work.


                                • #17
                                  I work over much of the state -- started out living in Charlotte and was transferred to a small town N of Raleigh. Thank cod. Charlotte has HEINOUS traffic and I hate cities. I had a great group of friends there and there was a lot to do, but holy congestion batman. Poor city planning and resource management has made a mess of it.

                                  I much prefer the northern Piedmont, slightly less hot, still humid though. I'm still an easy drive from Southern Pines (I event) where my trainer lives and where I often compete. Lots of great trails in all regions of the state. Both W-S and Greensboro area will be cheaper than Charlotte. Of course, if I had my choice, I'd live in Southern Pines, but I can't afford it and it'd be a helluva commute.

                                  I love living here, but it IS very, erm, red state (not my demographic and we've got a BAD mix of governor and legislature right now; since I'm a state employee, I'm very sensitive to that). It's relatively expensive, especially in Charlotte (I moved here from TN, LOL, ow). Zoning restrictions will depend on city/county regs.

                                  I use Southern States, but the closest Tractor Supply to me is in Youngsville/Wake Forest and I occasionally stop in if I am driving by -- nice and with very friendly staff, they just don't sell what I feed. As for property size, generally, public banks and our credit union prefer to finance properties 10 acres or less. So if you want more than that, look to FarmCredit or similar.
                                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                  We Are Flying Solo


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by turningpointequine View Post
                                    Thanks so much for your opinions! It is certainly encouraging! I'm thinking March/April for a road trip to take a look around. Any areas I should stear clear from? High taxes, high crime, just plain old crum-bum towns?
                                    Several towns in NC have a cruddy side. I live near the NW side of Greensboro. It is beautiful and very horsey (close to Summerfield and Oak Ridge). However there are parts of Greensboro that my hubs (LEO) does not want me to go to alone (SW and S). Durham has both cruddy and beautiful areas. Same for Winston Salem. I'm sure towns all over the US are the same. There are a lot of small poor communities as well that tend to have some crime. Some towns (Yadkinville) are incredibly religious and conservative, while others (Greensboro) are fairly liberal.

                                    For the most part, I love NC. I've lived in the Triangle, Greensboro, and Boone. I've worked in Reidsville (tiny town N of Greensboro) and now Yadkinville (western NC). The weather is beautiful, and horsey activities of all sorts are plentiful.


                                    • #19
                                      We are hunter/jumper and looking to move to Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area within the next 3-5 years, depending on hubby's job. SO, so so so excited! Goodbye cold, cold winters. Just hate living in "production ag" where there are no trees.

                                      Would love to hear more as well!


                                      • #20
                                        I live on the Outer Banks and it is most defninitely not horse friendly but it has been "home" for many generations. I attended college and law school in the Piedmont and loved it there. If I had to chose a city in NC, it would be Winston-Salem.