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Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC?
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Has anyone retired to either Raleigh or Charlotte NC? I looked through the old threads but didn’t see anything from anyone of retirement age. My husband and I are retiring at the end of this year and are trying to decide between the two places. We live in the Bronx now and visited both last summer and there are pros and cons to each. Would like some feedback from anyone in our age group who lives in either place.


1. Don’t want to drive everywhere – Charlotte seemed to be more suited to this
2. Want a nice bike community – saw a lot of sharrows in Charlotte, but no one riding (though it was about a billion degrees when we were there). Saw more riders in Raleigh/Durham.
3. I’m a personal trainer/fitness/IDC instructor. My training clients are mostly seniors and I'm hoping to continue. And would like to start doing some small tris again. (I’m retiring from my full time “day” job.)
4. I know both places have excellent Masters swim programs.
5. We’re not interested in living in the suburbs and especially not interested in 55+ communities.
Thanks!
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I can't help you with either of those, but I like the Wilmington area a lot! And congrats on the retirement!
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [arby] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks very much! We liked Wilmington also, but for these New Yorkers, it seems a little small - though we may change our minds eventually.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Princess wrote:

5. We’re not interested in living in the suburbs and especially not interested in 55+ communities.
Thanks!

Does this mean you want to be downtown or rural?

I live in north Durham right next to the eno river, and I love it. I prefer it out here because it is more rural though. I'm about 1 mile away from all of the trail running I want. It is not uncommon for me to spook deer or other animals on my run a few times per week this time of the year. My wife works at the hospital and it's only a 15 minute drive for her with bad traffic. For my rides I can ride right out of my house and be on rural farm roads within 10-15 minutes. I typically avoid Raleigh because I hate cities, but they have the Neuse river greenway which is really nice (MUP).






https://www.raleighnc.gov/...NeuseRiverTrail.html
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:

1. Don’t want to drive everywhere – Charlotte seemed to be more suited to this
2. Want a nice bike community – saw a lot of sharrows in Charlotte, but no one riding (though it was about a billion degrees when we were there). Saw more riders in Raleigh/Durham.
3. I’m a personal trainer/fitness/IDC instructor. My training clients are mostly seniors and I'm hoping to continue. And would like to start doing some small tris again. (I’m retiring from my full time “day” job.)
4. I know both places have excellent Masters swim programs.
5. We’re not interested in living in the suburbs and especially not interested in 55+ communities.
Thanks!

Can't really speak to the Triangle area, but I lived in Charlotte from 2007-2016.

1. This is only really possible if you live in a specific area or two of Charlotte. Charlotte is not a particularly bike commuter friendly city. If you live downtown or in South End and maybe Plaza Midwood/NoDa that's probably it as far as bike commute possibilities go. It also depends on where you go to do the things that you do.

2. There is definitely a solid community aspect to the cycling in CLT. That being said, I think that riding IN Charlotte is not good at all. You have to get out of the city to experience anything remotely resembling "fun" riding. (/safe riding). Riding from Huntersville/Davidson, maybe Belmont/Mt Holly, and Waxhaw. But in the latter two options you're not really close to anything IN the city (same thing with H'ville and Davidson I suppose). I was hit by cars 3 times during my tenure there. None of them were my fault or even close to it. I was riding popular cycling roads (Booty Loop for #1, West Blvd back into town #2, and East Blvd towards Booty Loop #3) and obeying all rules but...people just don't care. Or, SOME people just don't care.

3. No idea on how to relate those possibilities to CLT, don't know enough

4. I have swum with both SwimMAC masters (really solid, but located far from where I always lived) in Uptown Aquatic Center masters (very solid, fantastic pool facility at MCAC). Both seem in line with most masters programs I have participated in.

5. Depends on budget I suppose

Actually, after reading and thinking, if I moved back to CLT area I'd probably want to live in Davidson, Cornelius, or Huntersville.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Raleigh area has history, culture, and awesome infrastructure, college events, and rivalries (Tobacco Road). Charlotte has pro football and basketball.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I'm not retired, or anywhere near it, but I've lived in Charlotte, NC for the last four years.
  1. I can't imagine not having to drive at least one hour to go do something on weekends.
  2. Places like Romare Bearden park, and other parks in Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson organize free outdoor summer concerts (aka rain dances). And, tarheeltrailblazers.com shows a list of many local mountain bike trails. Whitewater Center is a pretty awesome place for active people and their families. There are quite a few road cyclists out in these cities, but if you stray too far into rural roads you'll find no room for shoulder riding and the occasional coal-rolling truck driver.
  3. I can't help you there...
  4. I'm only familiar with several YMCA locations, and Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics (50m pool)
  5. I think downtown Charlotte is so small that it doesn't really have much more to offer than the right neighborhood in these local cities, but areas near Dilworth in Charlotte are nice if you're strictly against being far from the "hub".

That said, SoCal 4 lyfe!
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I grew up near Raleigh and it's a much more of a Southern City than Charlotte. The feeling among a lot of locals is that Charlotte is a Northern City transplant, although I hear more and more that Raleigh is becoming that. So if you're looking for a bigger city feel and less "yes ma'ms" then Charlotte is the place.
There's no where you can live in Raleigh and not really have to drive, it's just not laid out that way, but other than that I liked the riding and tri scene more than Charlotte's.
Both areas offer a ton of access to racing and open water swimming most of the year.

Having said that, there's no way I'd ever moving back after having lived in western states.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I've spent 2 summers in Raleigh, plus a fall and part of winter and a few days in CLT.

Neither place is super easy to ride out your front door but Raleigh is the better option. I know many people in CLT that have given up riding on the roads except for weekends. Get used to driving to ride/run for the most part. This was a big killer for me when I was living in Raleigh. Especially since I can run/ride out of my house 399/400 workouts here in Tucson.

I might also check out places around Raleigh like Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Morrisville, (although these are suburbs of Raleigh, but you're going to have to drive anyway so...) as well as Durham. I think if I gave it more time I may have settled on one of those vs Raleigh proper. But no matter where you live Raleigh is a car dependent town.


Lot's of great racing in the area. My friends at FS Series put on a ton of races as does Setup events, Trivium Racing & Jones Racing. There are multiple weekends with multiple races.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
twitter & IG = @accelerate3
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I have been in CLT almost 2-years.

The cycling is so super sketchy with traffic on roads not built for such high volume and texting drivers that I have taken up mountain biking.

I am just 4 miles from swim mac, which is great but again due to traffic it can take me 20-30 minutes to get there.

The running is decent, but I agree with the others that have written above, the roads in Huntersville, Davidson, and even Fort Mill (SC) are much better.

I have only been in Raleigh for the 70.3, so not really sure about things out that way.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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If you're looking for a bike community, have you considered chapel hill/carrboro? It is much (much!) friendlier towards cyclists. Also very quick and easy to get out to good cycling roads.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I live in Apex (just outside Raleigh/Cary), and love it. Nice suburban area, easy access to great riding around Jordan/Harris Lakes, and quick (like 25 min or less) drive into any of the 3 downtown areas (Durham/Raleigh/CH). Great area.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like the Raleigh/Durham area might be more to our liking. We're taking another trip down to check it out.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [crazyarm07] [ In reply to ]
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crazyarm07 wrote:
I live in Apex (just outside Raleigh/Cary), and love it. Nice suburban area, easy access to great riding around Jordan/Harris Lakes, and quick (like 25 min or less) drive into any of the 3 downtown areas (Durham/Raleigh/CH). Great area.

I'm in Raleigh and I love it here. Tons of racing, easy to get out of town to go ride, and it's a great area.

I can give you 25% off Roka Sunglasses! Message me for details! Currently 1 code left! Code must be be redeemed by December 31!
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [crazyarm07] [ In reply to ]
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crazyarm07 wrote:
I live in Apex (just outside Raleigh/Cary), and love it. Nice suburban area, easy access to great riding around Jordan/Harris Lakes, and quick (like 25 min or less) drive into any of the 3 downtown areas (Durham/Raleigh/CH). Great area.

There is great riding north of Raleigh and Durham also. Not uncommon to see 20-30 other people on a morning ride.

(Hey dude, hope you're doing well!)

Team Zoot - Mid-Atlantic
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [BryanD] [ In reply to ]
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I grew up in Charlotte and am now in East Harlem so I'm close by! The whole driving thing you're going to have to get used to. It's not as inconvenient as it sounds as the infrastructure is set up that way in the South in general. One of the guys mentioned something about Huntersville/Davidson for better riding - these are your best bet. You don't need to be in the city - there are places right outside of the city center of Raleigh/CLT that have these "strip malls" (for lack of a better word) that allow you to have everything you need close by. This may be the suburbs (the S word here), but it doesn't come with the drag that it would coming from the logistical inconvenience in NYC. Plus, CLT taxes are high, you can get GREAT value from surrounding areas and new construction is still booming.

Lot of good triathlons in both cities (you'll be driveable from either one).
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Princess wrote:
Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like the Raleigh/Durham area might be more to our liking. We're taking another trip down to check it out.

If you are looking for more of the city thing down here I would take a look at the condos they are building in downtown Durham. Cool restaurants, DPAC, Duke University, the AT&T trail and of course the Durham Bulls. There's great biking in Orange and Alamance county.

What I do: http://app.strava.com/athletes/345699
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Printer] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks! We stayed in Durham last summer when we were looking around. I did like it - especially Rise Biscuits! I used the Y for the few days and really liked it as well. It's a lot to consider.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [commendatore] [ In reply to ]
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commendatore wrote:
If you're looking for a bike community, have you considered chapel hill/carrboro? It is much (much!) friendlier towards cyclists. Also very quick and easy to get out to good cycling roads.

I agree with this. I live in the triangle (Apex) and my wife and I often discuss living in Chapel Hill upon retirement. University atmosphere, lots of good restaurants, etc. and very active on the fitness front. Very easy access to great riding.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Ugh!!! Traffic is HORRIBLE in both of those areas. They are great areas that are growing fast with the resulting traffic issues. IMO there are MUCH better and friendlier fitness communities. I am in Winston-Salem and LOVE it . . . from home I am 3 minutes from my office and 3 stop lights and I am out in the country.

David
* Ironman for Life! (Blog) * IM Everyday Hero Video * Daggett Shuler Law *
Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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Background: Lived in Pinehurst, worked in Raleigh; often visited CLT; now live/work in Greensboro. FWIW: You'd be better living in the suburbs than either Raleigh or CLT. You probably know this from your visits, but neither is a "city" like you think of one and you are going to be driving in both cases. Think of both as more "urban sprawl" rather than true city, but much of the South is set up in this fashion. Raleigh (let's call it the Triangle), IMHO, is better for cycling. From what I saw, and as previously mentioned, traffic is a little more sketchy in CLT and there are TONS of cycling/running "trails" in/around the Triangle. The Triangle has the Triangle Triathlon Club (https://triangletriclub.com/) that has TONS to offer its members. And, while you're looking, don't rule out the Greensboro area (often referred to as the Triad; we clearly have a weird obsession with 3's here...). Traffic in/around both Raleigh and CLT are pretty atrocious, much less so in/around the Triad. Greensboro still has many great "big city" offerings, but it is a little more "country" here. All 3 locations have international airports, a strong triathlon scene, and enough "city" to keep you entertained. The beauty of the Greensboro area is that you are pretty much in the middle of both Raleigh and Charlotte, so you can easily get to either one.

Not sponsored, no respectable results to post, just a pretty cool dude that likes to push his body as hard as he possible can...
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [jim.taft] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks - you've all given us a lot to think about. I think the traffic issue is all relative - we're coming from NYC - where it's a nightmare to get anywhere by car unless it's 5a. That having been said - I think we're just worried about being isolated. We won't know anyone, etc. etc. We made this decision fairly quickly without the benefit of multiple trips - so we'll probably end up in a short term rental and then take our time to look around the whole area before finally settling on something. But I can't wait to ride where I don't have to cross the George Washington Bridge!
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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def check out Chapel Hill too. town has a great feel to it.
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [Princess] [ In reply to ]
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I've got to say some nice things about Raleigh! I moved here from outside DC a couple of years ago and I couldn't be happier. We considered Charlotte as well so I understand the comparison. I also grew up in Charlotte and have family around the Davidson/Mooresville area.


As far as running and cycling goes Raleigh has so much going on for it. The Greenway system is extensive and you can almost ride from one end of Wake County to the other on well maintained multiuse paths. There are many great cycling clubs in the area (Gyros, IOS) as well and plenty of quiet(ish) country roads to ride on. The area is undergoing a lot of growth right now so that has put some pressure on the riding but for the most part I either stick to Greenway or hitch up on a group ride. There area always 3-4 going on every Saturday so you can have your pick.

As far as things to do, Raleigh has a lot to offer. Great outdoor venues for music as well as clubs, a vibrant restaurant scene, and lots of cultural arts as well. The NC Museum of Art is in Raleigh and attached to the Greenway. You can ride from almost anywhere in Raleigh, go to the museum, take in live music, ect.

All I've said and I haven't even mentioned Durham. Also Umstead park for MTB. AND you're two hours to the beach and three to the mountains. Obviously I love Raleigh and can't recommend it enough. Either way welcome to North Carolina! As someone born in NY, grew up in Charlotte, lived outside of DC I'm happy to call Raleigh home.

https://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/content/PRecDesignDevelop/Articles/CapitalAreaGreenwayTrailSystem.html
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Re: Retire to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC? [bullnose] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you so much! We're so excited to get there. We were going to wait until the end of the year, but sold our apartment sooner than expected and just said - let's go!
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