Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Which neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham?

Which neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham?

Apr 16th, 2007, 04:21 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
Which neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham?

Going for our 2nd time to NC in May. Staying at Fearrington again, which we loved.

Contemplating retiring here someday (not for another 5 yrs or so). I like Fearrington alot, but this time want to see more of the area. Didn't get to see Raleigh or Durham last time. Think they might be way too big for our tastes, but doesn't hurt to look. Thought I wanted an older home until I saw the homes at Fearrington, so you never know.

Are there certain neighborhoods we should focus on in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham? I recall people mentioning Five Points in Raleigh. Our price range is @ 375K. Looking for a modest 3 BR, 1 1/2 bath home - @ 1,500 - 1,700 sq ft. Ideally close to town and in a safe neighborhood.

Any help would be much appreciated. These areas are just too big to be aimlessly driving around. Do plan to take in some of the natural beauty though - Jordan Lake, Duke Gardens... it's beautiful country.
wanderer is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 04:29 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 780
My daughter and son-in-law live in the Falls of Neuse area, just outside of Raleigh. It's a beautiful area and they love it there.
egret is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 04:49 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
There are great neighborhoods in all three, but the Triangle area has a pretty wide variety within it. I think you need to decide which city you want and then look for neighborhoods. Raleigh is different from Chapel Hill, which is different from Durham - and then there are other towns around and in between. Hopefully this trip you'll get to see more of the area. Which one you choose just depends on what you're looking for. I'd even look outside Raleigh/Durham/CH - check out Hillsborough or Pittsboro, for example.

Chapel Hill is the most expensive of the three Triangle cities, I believe - I rented while I was there, so I don't have personal experience, but it's known for its higher housing prices. People love it, but personally I'd look at retiring somewhere like Hillsborough instead. Just depends on what you want.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 05:23 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 77
Wanderer, if you are looking for a safe neighborhood, I would eliminate Durham, even though it has some lovely homes and is the least expensive of the three cities. It has the highest crime rate. As Jent103 said, Chapel Hill has so much to offer but is the most expensive of the three cities. That leaves Raleigh/Cary as an affordable and safe place to live (not that I'm biased). In my opinion, Cary is more expensive than Raleigh but Raleigh has many wonderful, safe neighborhoods. You shouldn't have a difficult time finding a nice, 1,500 square foot home for $375,000 in a nice neighborhood in Raleigh. You can go online and search at http://www.homes.com/Real_Estate/NC/County/WAKE or the Fonville Morisey realty company to get an idea of what the Triangle has to offer. Best of luck. This is a wonderful area to live.
RaleighGirl is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 04:51 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,647
Sure, there are some unsafe parts of Durham, but the same can be said about Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

I grew up in Chapel Hill and now live in Durham so I hate all the 'avoid Durham at all costs because it is dangerous' talk. Argh.

375k in CH will limit your choice. It will be a smaller, older home -- but those tend to be in the closer-in neighborhoods. Look for areas near University Mall.

375k in Durham will go farther, but no to Treyburn. Since Durham is a larger city, it's more spread out. You need to figure what needs to be close to you. Southern Durham has a lot of new construction, so more energy efficient homes, but the neighborhood that sparked Southern Durham development - Woodcroft - is approaching 20 so some older homes. Hope Valley (even older neighborhood) does have several price ranges depending on the era of construction and location. I live in Southern Durham so I know that area much better than Northern Durham.

As with any college town (or town with a college), it's a great benefit to have in the community, but I wouldn't want to live too close to campus.

I think I mentioned Hillsborough to you for your first trip to the area. You should take a look there. Historic, with lots of older homes, but new development on the outskirts of town. Not too far from the UNC campus.
ncgrrl is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 06:38 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
I'm with ncgrrl on Durham - it's not as uniformly safe as Chapel Hill, for example, but there are some perfectly nice and safe areas. I think of Woodcroft/Hope Valley as one of them, for example. I never lived there, but I did spend lots of time in Durham and felt totally fine in those neighborhoods and parts of north Durham. The thing about Durham is that you can't uniformly say "north Durham isn't safe" or "south Durham is totally safe." You can have completely different neighborhoods two streets apart. But most of it isn't as bad as its reputation.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6,781
I would not consider Durham, having the option to live in the other towns in the Triangle area. There are some decent pockets of Durham, but you wouldn't want to get lost on the way to them. The other cities do not have comparable problems! (Go to a good crime statistics site, and it's there in the numbers.)

North Raleigh is a beautiful area, and you can still find some smaller homes and some great townhomes here for less than the price you want to pay. Good luck with your search.
elsiemoo is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 05:13 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
Thanks to all. Great suggestions.

I think what we want this trip is to SEE Durham and Raleigh (we plan to spend a day in each) but I know they are fairly large, and it's easy to get lost and not really get a feel for a city if you don't know where to spend the time.

My thought was to visit the downtowns of both - does this make sense? As a "real" downtown is important to us - the reason we ruled out Williamsburg for retirement.

We come from a fairly small community now (20K), so we will have to see how we feel about the size of Raleigh and Durham especially. I'm aware though of bigger places having a small feel like Savannah, which we love.

We did visit Hillsborough on our last visit. I don't know why, because mile wise it is not, but it felt remote to us. We plan on spending more time in Pittsborough, because so far, I really, really, like the Fearrington community.

Thanks again to everyone. I love the people in NC - SO friendly!
wanderer is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 05:50 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Hillsborough does feel somewhat remote - I think a lot of the residents like it that way. Pittsboro was really starting to grow by the time I left (two years ago), so it might be just what you're looking for.

Raleigh's downtown is very business-oriented, or at least was the last time I was there - state capitol, lots of offices, etc. If you're looking to actually live close to downtown or do most of your shopping/eating there, it may not be the spot for you (although others will have more recently informed opinions). I'd say similar things about Durham's downtown, although the Ninth Street area may be more what you're looking for in terms of feel.

I think your approach for this trip is great - just get a feel for what you like. It sounds to me like you want one of the smaller towns, but you never know till you try! May is a great time to be there. You'll have a great trip.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 06:47 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6,781
I agree with jent103 about both Raleigh/Durham being business-oriented, and pretty deserted on the weekends as a rule (at least, from my experience.) I think Fearrington will be your thing ... and you can enjoy the rest of the area when you want to take a drive. Glad you like the people here; it is a friendly place!
elsiemoo is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 01:08 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
How does Chapel Hill town compare to Raleigh/Durham? It seemed VERY college-oriented when we were there, but to be fair, we did not spend much time in town.

Are there restaurants, clothing and other store for other than students?
wanderer is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 01:43 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Raleigh, Durham and CH are all "college towns" in that they have a university (or a few), but Raleigh and Durham are cities that happen to have a university. Chapel Hill revolves around it. (The fire engines are Carolina blue.) It's probably either fun or annoying if you're not affiliated with UNC.

You won't be surrounded by 19-year-olds, but the town demographics and retail offerings do tend to be skewed younger than, say, parts of Raleigh. For most shopping like a "regular" mall (CH's is small with not many chain stores), Target, etc., you'd need to go to Durham. However, Durham's not far at all - getting to Durham's major mall takes about 15 minutes from campus. There are a few nice restaurants in CH and lots of cheaper, more casual places. There's nowhere I'd be surprised to see a pair of retirees, outside the usual college bars.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 05:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Look into Apex. It's a growing small town near Cary, Raleigh and Chapel Hill.
We've enjoyed living in Cary in a subdivsion called Lochmere for 20 years. Try hpw.com to search in both areas for homes.
Toots is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 01:26 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 17
Raleigh is having its third annual downtown home tour on May 19th. Information on residential properties that are planned or under construction will be available. Check out their website at: www.raleighdowntownliving.com for further info.
My husband lived in the area for five months before the rest of the family joined him. Everyone he spoke with loved their area, whether it was Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, or Durham
We live in North Raleigh (Stonehenge), south of 540, and love it here. There is a lake close by with walking trails.
Good luck with your search.
kiwi2121 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 02:20 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
Someone somewhere on this board - don't think it was my post - said "don't let a realtor talk you into moving to North Raleigh just because you are a Yankee".

Can anyone shed some light on what that was about? Is North Raleigh not desirable?

How do Cary and Apex compare to Chapel Hill?
wanderer is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 02:52 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
I never lived in Raleigh, but I always heard good things about North Raleigh. Very few people in the Triangle area are natives, especially in the larger cities - people are moving in and out constantly because of the universities, jobs in RTP, etc. Lots of those people, naturally, are from the north, and some areas have a reputation for housing more of the northern transplants. How valid that is, I don't know - Cary's another area with that rep.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Cary - it's very safe and convenient to Raleigh and RTP (although traffic's a bear to/from RTP), but it didn't have much unique about it that I saw. It always seemed just like any other suburb wherever, whereas Chapel Hill is an actual town unto itself. Apex is a smaller town that I think is growing; I'm not sure how much of a downtown, etc., it has, but it's worth checking out there and Holly Springs. Hopefully others can give you more information.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 03:05 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 120
We lived in the n. raleigh area from 2000-04. Wakefield area. Didn't like it much. There are so many new housing subdivisions going in and the road infrastruction can't handle it nor can the schools.
i think that if you are planning to retire you'd really want to do your homework and look at houses and take the time to drive around the area. After all, if you retire there you'd be planning on being there a long time right?! The n. raleigh area is really changing and growing so in 5 years it will be completely different than it is now.
Christine65 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 04:15 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6,781
I've been in North Raleigh for almost 16 years, and it only gets better. North Raleigh is/looks so nice that I'm afraid there's a fair amount of jealousy from some corners regarding it. I don't think we have a huge rep for importing Yankees, not like Cary ... it's just that the place is so pretty and liveable that many new people choose to live here, and yes, the realtors do tend to guide people here because of the beauty and convenience of the area, the schools (yes, they get crowded but they're GOOD). Then the realtor gets recommended to friends because the people are happy, yadda, yadda.

Having said that, I could live in many of the towns in this area, and be perfectly happy, I'm sure. It's a great place!
elsiemoo is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 04:27 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
What/where is Holly Springs?

One of the things we liked - ALOT - about Fearrington, is that yes, it is really a "subdivision", but because there is a "village" there, didn't really feel that way.

We lived in a subdivision here for awhile - actually left an antique home and built a brand new house, and I felt totally isolated because we had to drive anywhere to do anything - banking, bookstore, restuarant, etc.

With Fearrington, we could walk or bike to the village, and go into Chapel Hill for the "bigger" things. I think that's the "feel" and lifestyle we are looking for wherever we end up.

Can't wait to get back to NC for some R&R. I imagine the flowers and trees will all be out in bloom during mid-May (??)
wanderer is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 04:33 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6,781
wanderer, Spring flowers and trees begin to bloom here by March. My azaleas are glorious by the first week in April. We really have flowers bloom all year ... camellias, pansies, etc. all winter. Seriously, it's always pretty here!

I think you've found your home in Fearrington. That *village thing* is not that easy to find in the Triangle!
elsiemoo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:43 PM.