Transplant living in Charlotte, NC (which is strangely similar to KateByDesign description of Richmond, VA)
My Fiance are an interracial couple (he’s white, I’m asian)
Diversity: Mostly black or white in the city, much more diverse on the outskirts/suburbs where a lot of northerners have transplanted. I’d say the next largest population would be hispanic, then asian. In my community (I live on the outskirts of the city) our neighbor across the street is Mexican, my other neighbor is French, and we have Indian, African American, Chinese heritages all along my street. Everyone is super friendly and nice, and there are nothing but spoiled pets on our block.
General lifestyle/attitude: Laid back, southern living. There are a few trendy gastropubs and wine bars, as well as a fairly active nightlife, especially during certain times (Nascar race week, college basketball, etc) or if you like to drink (I don’t drink). The weather here permits hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, etc for a large portion of the year. The Blue Ridge mountains are within driving distance is amazing in the fall. In my community there are a ton of parks, as well as activities for kids (drive in movies, kids triathalons, pool parties, etc) if you plan on having a family. My Fiance and I are homebodies that like to cook, so the low cost of living and available local ingredients are a good match for us. Plus, where we live has golf, tennis, bocce ball, walking trails, fishing ponds, swimming facilities and an outlet mall all within 5 mins. Another thing I love about this place is I don’t have to work, something we would never be able to afford in CA or NJ. The weather here isn’t as good as CA, but it’s way better than NJ; and the air quality is leaps and bounds better here (I have athsma and it makes a big difference).
Culture: Oh and another thing KateByDesign is right about is Southern Hospitality. People go out of their way to say hi, hold doors, learn your name, and everyone waves to each other in my neighborhood. A perfect example of this is getting a hot mug of apple cider when I walk into the farmer’s market in the winter. Also, BBQ is big down here, and they have the most delicious smoked wings that I never had until I got here. It is Bible Belt territory though, so not quite as liberal as CA (where I’m originally from).
Schools: Charlotte, NC public schools are not great, but the surrounding areas have amazing schools. The private and charter schools are really good too. The community I live in actually has a private elementary and middle school for it’s residents that are very highly rated.
Commute Times: Pfft, coming from CA, the traffic here is a joke. My Fiance takes country roads to work and it takes him less than 15 mins to get to his office. The only thing I would advise, if you end up working in Charlotte, is stay away from I-77, there isn’t always traffic, but it does happen during rush hours (8AM-9AM, 5PM-6PM).
Average price for 3 bedroom home: Well I don’t know if it’s average, but I can tell you that we just purchased a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath single family home (1900 sq ft) for $150,000. It’s built 2002, ready to move in, with a fenced yard.
I’d like to note that there are hardly any native North Carolinians (sp?) that I’ve really run into here. Almost all of my neighborhood is from CT, NY, VT, NJ, PA, etc. If you do end up in Charlotte, NC go to Prices Chicken Coop for fried chicken, it’s delicious.