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Thread: Raleigh/Durham, NC area

  1. #1

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    Raleigh/Durham, NC area

    Looking for thoughts, opinions, flames, etc. concerning the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area ("the Triangle"). It sounds like the area has won lots of accolades for its "quality of life", but it also sounds a little vanilla and quiet compared to larger Southern cities like Atlanta, etc. What's the word on the area? How is the urban development of the region progressing?

    I am considering several college towns for places to live in the future, and thought I'd get a little imput.....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I lived in Greensboro about 45 min away and while Chapel Hill was a college town the rest of the RDU area was pretty dull I thought but hey it is rated the best place in the nation to live. I guess its all in what your looking for

    I cant stand Atlanta-i loved Charlotte
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  3. #3

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    Went to school at UVA, so I o visit the Triangle a lot. I agree with PlannerGirl...very nice, but very boring. But, some people's favorite flavor is vanilla.

    Concrete negatives: very spread out and divided, with no real central focus or core. North Carolina epitomizes "sprawl" with miles of lower density development spread out along formerly rural roads.

    Still, given the housing prices and economy, it probably represents "the American Dream" as currently constiuted far more than ultra-expensive, much more crowded Caliornia.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    duh! the only southeastern city with a soul is K-TOWN baby, knoxville tennessee

    (dont tell anyone , but I think Asheville NC is pretty groovey as well)
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  5. #5

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    I like Lexington, KY and Charlottesville, VA, too, especially as a cyclist.. And, don't forget Richmond, VA. The Fan District is fantastic!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I went to Durham a few years ago to visit a friend at Duke. I thought Chapel Hill was nice college town with some cool bars and restaurants, but otherwise wasn't too impressed with the area. It is all auto-centric development, loaded with strip malls, no sidewalks and no one walks anywhere. I know it's growing a lot, but it still felt rural and rednecky to me. I wouldn't want to live there.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    While Chapel Hill is nice, I have to agree that the Raleigh-Durham sprawling mess area is really vanilla as a whole. Lots and lots of Research Triangle yuppies.

    BKM is right, the Fan District neighborhood of Richmond is a twentysomethings dream. Very walkable and at least two bars/restaurants on about every corner. Yeah it was full of Trixies and Chads but I made some great friends and sometimes miss living there. The only thing I don't miss about Richmond is the uppity Old-Virginia attitude you sometimes run into but it's even worse in Charlottesville (sorry BKM).

    Other "college" cities worth checking out might be Columbia - kind of up and coming as a city and not far from the beach or Charlotte, but very hot in the summer, and Athens, GA. Look-up College Town in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of Athens, plus its close to Atlanta (May God forgive me for leading someone to towards UGA ).

    Are you looking at any college towns in the southeast or just the larger cities?
    Last edited by biscuit; 04 Aug 2003 at 11:57 AM.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by biscuit
    Other "college" cities worth checking out might be Columbia - kind of up and coming as a city and not far from the beach or Charlotte, but very hot in the summer, and Athens, GA. Look-up College town in the dictionary and there will be a picture of Athens, plus its close to Atlanta (May God forgive me for leading someone to towards UGA ).

    As much as it pains me to promote anything DAWG, I will second that Athens is a great town.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    After my Clemson planning days, I lived for two years in Columbia SC. Great town. Big University and State Capitol.

    I get to Raleigh often (in-laws), its ok. It has the State cap. thing and Universities too.

  10. #10

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    The only thing I don't miss about Richmond is the uppity Old-Virginia attitude you sometimes run into but it's even worse in Charlottesville (sorry BKM).
    I would have hated attending UVA as an undergrad (Northern, working class nerd background-it wouldn't have been too cool As a grad student, I was past all orf that pretentiousness. (Although, since I can be quite the snob, maybe not...)


    The Fan District wasn't that "Trixie and Chad" ten years ago. I am getting really old-its been over ten years since I was in Virginia!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    The Fan District wasn't that "Trixie and Chad" ten years ago. I am getting really old-its been over ten years since I was in Virginia!
    Boy is it now. There's a very high VW, Jeep Grand Cherokee to people ratio around there these days. The rents are getting pretty high in the Fan and areas of the Museum District (across Boulevard)has started to fill up with 20-something yuppies as well - Alot of them choose to live in the city and do the reverse commute to the Capital One offices at Innsbrook.
    If its been 10 years since you've been, you wouldn't recognize Carytown. It's now mostly high end independent "shoppes."

    I was only in the Fan for a year, but I really enjoyed my time there and have so far been able to visit annually.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    I went to the Outer Banks, NC, ..... how can an area not have take out Chinese???? Was very plain vanilla.... I thought it was very mono-culture.... felt like an episode of the twilight zone... something was just not quite right.....
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Who goes to the Outerbanks and orders Chinese?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ilikefish0's avatar
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    At least it isn't Atlanta.
    Off to Zanzibar--To meet the Zanzibarbarians!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I haven't been to Chapel Hill since the late 1980s but I got my master's in planning there. At the time, the area was definitely in growth mode -- lots of sprawling shopping centers and apartment complexes. Quite a few northerners relocating there, too... but I couldn't wait to finish school and return to the 'real' northeast. Everything just seemed too new down there.

    Funny that Greenescapist says it felt rednecky - I think of it as quite the opposite. I remember Jesse Helms quoted as saying that Chapel Hill was so liberal & so different from anyplace else in the state that it should have a fence around it.

  16. #16
    Well I am curently a student at UNC-CH. I would have to agree that this area is far from being vanilla. The university and the surrounding community are very liberal. As far as grow is concerned, its exploding....the university itself is one huge constructions site (thanks in part to the NC higher education bond referendum). The architecture may seem plain vanilla, but it fits the surroundings idealy, and is in fact very modern if not based on apperance alone.

    Regarding the surrounding are: The triangle is in fact a pretty large place, chapel hill, durham, and raleigh all have their own personalities. Raleigh is slowly starting to grow/change, but is bland compared to the rest of the region.....As fas as a college town goes, this area is hard to beat with two great research universities present.

    Still depends a lot on what your looking for though....I would be glad to answer any other questions.


    (huston asheville does have character,, nothing but hippies and gays, haha)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    welcome swdrumcp, a UNCG grad here.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  18. #18
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by swdrumcp
    (huston asheville does have character,, nothing but hippies and gays, haha)
    I grew up near Asheville and was having a conversation with a co-worker who had just returned from a trip there. He made the same observation about the city.

  19. #19
    Hey Plannergirl, what year you graduate?

    Biscuit-Where did you grow up? I am from cherokee, about an hour from asheville.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by swdrumcp
    Biscuit-Where did you grow up? I am from cherokee, about an hour from asheville.
    I'm actually from South Carolina, right across the state line in Oconee County.

    My mom's extended family goes camping in and around Cherokee or Bryson City every year. Last year I tagged along for the first time in a while and managed to lose a fair amount of cash at your casino.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  22. #22
    Bisuit.....yep thats the place.
    And feel free to drop some coins in the casino anytime you please

  23. #23
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by swdrumcp
    (huston asheville does have character,, nothing but hippies and gays, haha)
    Well hey, both cultures are more interesting than that of what happens in the gated communities of suburbia. I am neither a hippie nor gay, but I like both to be my neighbors.

    “variety is the spice of life”, as they say.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    I know this is an old topic, but I had a few things of my own to input regarding Greensboro which is the part of the "Triangle" I know the best. I was not overly impressed with Greensboro. The core of the city is a shadow of what it once used to be while the outskirts are full of the mind numbingly boring box store sprawl that seems to be becoming so common these days. Greensboro has a surprising small downtown considering it is a city or over 300,000. There is also no skyline to speak of for a city of that size either. That's my two cents.

    I guess I will check out Raleigh next time I am in the area.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally posted by scibax
    I know this is an old topic, but I had a few things of my own to input regarding Greensboro which is the part of the "Triangle" I know the best. I was not overly impressed with Greensboro. The core of the city is a shadow of what it once used to be while the outskirts are full of the mind numbingly boring box store sprawl that seems to be becoming so common these days. Greensboro has a surprising small downtown considering it is a city or over 300,000. There is also no skyline to speak of for a city of that size either. That's my two cents.

    I guess I will check out Raleigh next time I am in the area.
    As far as the Triad is concerned, I much prefer Winston-Salem to Greensboro -- a bit more culture and history, somewhat less sprawling. But those who think that the Triangle (Ral-Dur-CH) has readnecks have obviously never been to the Triad (W-S, G'boro, High Pt.)...Back 10-12 years ago, the Triangle had the most PhDs per capita of anywhere in the country. Oh, and by the way, the Triangle does have three major research universities -- let's give NCSU some credit, especially for its engineering programs. You won't hear me say too many kind things about the Triangle -- but if you want Boston or Chicago or DC, you won't like it there. Just don't expect it to be something that it is not.

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