Post # 1
Fiance and I are from Ohio and have lived there our entire lives. However, we’re contemplating moving around Philadelphia, PA or Charlotte, NC, but we don’t want to be in the city (but we want to live within a forty-five minute drive to either). So, I was wondering if anyone has any first-hand knowledge of living in any areas around Philly or Charlotte and can offer any suggestions or advice? So far, Norristown, PA seems okay, but I wanted to see if anyone has any experience living there and if they would recommend it? Also, we would like to be somewhere near a national forest or lake – somewhere to do outdoor activities like camping, boating, etc. Essentially, we’re looking for a place with a small town or suburban feel that is culturally or historically rich and is close to a city and has a good school system. Thanks In Advance.
Post # 3
@futuremrsndl: I live in Charlotte. Charlotte and Philly are very, very different cities but you probably know that. I love Charlotte. It is clean, beautiful, has a thriving economy and great career opportunities. It has a fantastic cost of living. . . Lots of good paying jobs and relatively low-cost housing, utilities and taxes. It is about 2 hours to the mountains where there is lots of great hiking, though there is a couple of good hiking areas within 45 minutes or so from here. There are two lakes on either side of town for small-scale boating. And the beach is 3 or so hours away. The Charlotte metro area is quite large so most people actually do, technically, live in the city. If you want to live in a small town there are a few that come to mind, mostly north of the city such as Cornelius or Davidson. Both are quaint towns close to one of the lakes. Lots of people also live in SC which is just outsidetowns he city. I will mention the negatives: if you are looking for culturally and historically rich areas, Charlotte is not the first place to come to mind. Charlotte is the epitome of the “new south”. We got rid of our history downtown and built the Emerald City on top of it. It is beautiful and clean but the most history you will get are references at a local museum or two. We have museums, concerts, plays, etc. but it doesn’t have the most dynamic arts community. That is getting better though. And I do genuinely love this town. The population is young and growing and that means good things for the future.
Sorry for the novel!
Post # 4
@namarie: Thank you so much! We’ve checked out both Cornelius and Davidson and pretty much fell in love with a few houses that are for sale in Cornelius. 🙂 Cornelius is definitely a strong contender now, haha.
Post # 5
@futuremrsndl: I live in Philly. Norristown is NOT OK. Like any area, you have good and bad spots and that is a bad one. I was born and raised here and I love it. But I love being within city lines. Even though I never lived in center city I loved the convienence factor that I always had where I lived. I lived in 2 top rated suburbs and hated it. Now, I live along fairmount park and wisahickon creek where people bike and hike and whaatnot. I love how green this area is and watching the seasons change. Were an hour from the beach and ocean and mountains are about 2 hours. Pococnos are bigg all year round for skiing and then rafting and things. The area is extremely diverse. Tons of great places to eat and historics not just in center city but the whole area (Brandywine, Valley Forge, etc). Being close to the city gives tons of jobs, but also tons of applicants competeing with you. Good areas to consider outside of the city, would be plymouth meeting, king of prussia, or any part of the mainline if its in your budget. On the other side of the border would be newtown or feasterville. Areas in the city that are more quiet would be the upper northeast, like somerton or upper northwest like Andorra. New jersey is very very expensive.
We’re also close to other things. NYC is less than 2 hours by train, so is DC and Baltimore. Philly Airport has flights to almost anywhere.
Post # 6
I am in the Philly suburbs. 20 minutes from South Philly. A short trolly, El ride to Center City, which is so rich with history and has beautiful parks. 2 hours to mountains, waterfalls, hiking, skiing. 2 hours to the beach. I highly suggest checking out Media, Swarthmore, Springfield, Haverford, Havertown. Small town charm in each, beautiful parks, educational systems, nightlife, small town charm and so close to the city.
Post # 7
I live in Philly’s core. I love the city. I grew in the NJ suburbs right outside of NYC, and I love Philly because it’s not pretentious and it’s certainly not as fast-paced. I have a coworker that lives in Norristown and she has no issues with it.
There are plenty of really nice suburbs around the city. I have a coworker who lives in Brookhaven and loves it. I’m not too familiar with all of the areas since I haven’t lived here too too long (6 years and I don’t drive) but right outside of Philly is nice. Media is nice.
Post # 8
I agree with MASPA – Norristown is not good! It’s the 68th most dangerous place to live in the USA. Speaking of the Philly suburbs, don’t go to Chester, either – it’s #19. There are many AMAZING places to live in and near Philly, but these two places aren’t it!
Good luck!!! 🙂
Post # 9
@futuremrsndl: I live in Charlotte, NC and we love it. In fact, within our community, we have 2 fishing ponds, hiking trails, parks, etc. If you’re looking at living along Lake Norman, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville are all nice, but driving 77 is awful during rush hour. There are plenty of outdoor activities here, plus the short winter makes it possible to do these activities for most of the year. I’m originally from CA and Fiance is originally from NJ. I have to warn you that it is the bible belt down here, so people are a bit more conservative.
Post # 10
@futuremrsndl: I also recommend Media, Swarthmore, Springfield, Haverford, Havertown as well as Bala Cynwyd. Do not do Norristown.
Post # 11
- Wedding: June 2012 - Franklin Plaza
Commenting to follow! DH and I have a trip planned in May to check out some neighborhoods near, but not in, Charlotte, NC. We’re hoping to move down there in the next 6 months. We’re concentrating more on neighborhoods in SC (Fort Mill, Lake Wylie, etc.), but have also looked into some places in Union County (Waxhaw, Monroe, etc.).
Post # 12
I second others’ suggestions about Philly ‘burbs. Media, Swarthmore, Haverford, Havertown, Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy…all good options. I’m not sure what appealed to you about Norristown, but on the same train line and closer to the city is Conshohocken The other side of Norristown (Eagleville, Blue Bell, Worcester, etc.) is a little further from the city, but nice. I grew up near Norristown and in general didn’t mind it, but central Norristown is rough.
Fairmount is a beautiful option, as well!
Post # 13
I’ve lived right outside of Charlotte my whole life. I love it. Philly is huge, I would never want to live there. Charlotte is still small enough, but still has a city feel to it. I grew up in Belmont, just west of Charlotte, and live in Gastonia now. It gets slammed because the North of Charlotte areas are more “ritzy”. However, they have TONS of traffic & are pretty expensive. We looked into buying there but it just wasn’t wise. If you want really reasonable houses (our friend just moved from Philly and bought a house 5x the size he could have afforded in Philly) and barely any traffic, Belmont, Mt. Holly, Cramerton, Mcadenville & Gastonia are all great towns. I would never live anywhere else!!
Post # 14
I grew up in Norristown, well technically east norriton. east Norriton used to be a nice middle class area good for raising kids but sadly, it’s gone downhill. do not live in Norristown, it’s not very unsafe, lots of gangs and is utterly depressing. I graduated high school in 2000, my sister in 2001 and things were just starting to get rough but still 70 % middle class 30% city now the place has metal detectors , numerous gangs and just not pleasant place .
try looking in blue bell, lansdale , sounderton if you wasunroof be further out from city or kinof of Prussia is little closer I live in south jersey , great option instead of pa same distance to city, try cherry hill, turnersville and some parts of williamstown Nj
Post # 15
Norristown is not a great area. I agree with some PPs – Springfield, Havertown, Media area is nice. BUT – if you’re looking to purchase a home, I find the real estate/school district taxes to be very high in these areas… something to consider.
Conshohocken is a really cute, fun, and affordable town to live in. The majority of homes however are attached (you can get detached but it’s a little further outside the main drag). I’m in King of Prussia, right around the corner from Conshy. Also very affordable. Ambler, Blue Bell, Horsham are also nice towns.
All these areas are really close to Phila so you’d have easy access if you wanted to go down town. You’re also near the Jersey shore and getting to NYC isn’t too bad either.
Living in the city is not something I ever wanted, but I can’t blame people for loving it! It’s a lovely city with a rich history and so much to see and do!
I’ve lived in Bucks and Montgomery counties my whole life and love it here. And being so close to Philadelphia is great, it’s really a fantastic city!
Best of luck to you!
Post # 16
To me, Charlotte and Philly are very, verrrrrrrry different places. I went to school in the south and didn’t care for it. I came home to the northeast and we’re setlling down in Philly because it’s the pace and vibe we like.
I think need to plain old decide where you want to live first. You want a small town or suburban feel that is culturally and historically rich. The good news is I’m confident you can find that in both cities. Charlotte is a really affordable city.