Saturday, September 29, 2012

Water, water everywhere

My morning office, for the past several days, has been my laptop perched outside on the patio table, coffee to my right, a bowl of berries or local apples to my left.  The past 4 days, while technically autumn, have been more spring-like in their disposition.
This lingering sun and moderate temperature has urged a great number of locals to enjoy the outdoors more than ever. Miraculously, I have even managed to tear my teenage son away from his new World of Warcraft  online expansion and join us on family walks, bike rides, Frisbee golf…
As I write these blogs and wax lyrical about this beautiful area, I must admit there is something I dearly miss about Long Island: The proximity to the shore…any shore, be it the sound, the bays or the ocean.  I miss the gulls, even their incessant squawking.  I miss the sand, even the grit and chaffing of it. I miss the lapping waves and the changing tides, even the sometimes rancid wafts of a low tide.

The argument of the Raleigh triangle locals, which I have taken up as well, is that our unique location gives us a 2 hour proximity to all of the following:  The Atlantic shore and famous locations including the Outer Banks (and Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers first took flight),

The Mountains
including Blue Ridge, Smokey and parts of the Appalachian trail, which also includes the beautiful town  of Ashville, where you can find
The Biltmore Estate, America's Largest Home.

While these 2 hour trips are lovely mini vacations, it clearly isn't the same as being able to walk to a beach on Long Island. LUCKILY, my island roots acted as a kind of divining rod finding one beautiful lake after another to satisfy my need for recreational water.  Right here in the Raleigh triangle we have the following major lakes: FALLS LAKE,  JORDAN LAKE, LAKE WHEELER, SHELLEY LAKE, LAKE CRABTREE, LAKE JOHNSON, BASS LAKE, LAKE BENSON and BOND LAKE. In addition there are numerous  smaller lakes.
Many of these gorgeous lakes include sailing, fishing, paddleboats, row boats, canoes......


.......some of them even have sea gulls.

Find all our beautiful lakes here:


Friday, June 29, 2012

Holly Springs: A real life Sim City Experience

Up until now, these blogs have been predominantly about Cary, but Cary is not the only popular suburb of Raleigh.  There is Apex, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Garner….and Holly Springs where my husband and I just bought our new home - we got an amazing deal: 3169 Square Ft of dream house for only $215,000
As a Realtor® I am fascinated with what makes real estate valuable, and since moving to NC I have also become interested in how towns/areas grow. On Long Island space is finite and growth is pretty much done, with the exception of the eastern most points.
 I used to love playing the Sim City computer game.  It gave the player a pretty good idea what had to happen to make a city successful, like the timely building of roads, electricity, sewers, housing, industry, schools, recreation, public transportation, etc. If you did a good job, your community ‘loved you’, if not, they would demand things: “your citizens demand a fire department”.  
 Living here is like watching that game come to life.  Little by little you can see towns like Holly Springs growing right before your eyes.
 You don’t have to travel far outside any of these towns to see what the countryside looked like around Raleigh before the “boom”.  Tiny 2 bedroom shacks, trailer homes, small farm ranches, many with the now decaying remnants of Tobacco Barns  (or drying sheds) as a reminder that much of this area was built on the Tobacco industry.
Now, as the area continues to attract more people and businesses,  the ‘Sim City’ model continues to expand towns to the south and west of Raleigh.  New roads are being built, including an ongoing major outer loop, NC-540 connecting the newly expanding suburbs with the city. New housing developments are being built continuously to keep up with the demand and replacing the little shacks with 4 bedroom dream homes.  With that comes the need for more schools. Since 2005 Wake county has added over 30 public schools to try to lessen overcrowding, and several more are in the works for the next 2 years alone.

And, just like in Sim City, the citizens demand cultural and Liesure facilities.  Holly Springs has met that challange beautifully with a gorgeous Library/Cultural Center and Theater, as well as with The W. E. Hunt Recreation Center with it's recent million dollar renovation which boasts

  • Fitness center
  • Elevated track that is 1/12 of a mile around
  • Gymnasium
  • Game room
  • Playground
  • Classrooms
  • Two multi-purpose spaces designed for aerobics

    Holly Springs is scheduled for another one of my favorite necessities for a rapidly expanding area….the MAJOR shopping center.  Ground has been broken and leases entered into for the New Hill Place Shopping center which is expected to include bowling, movie theaters, major retailers and national restaurants, and is scheduled to open in less than 2 years. 
    This means a couple of important things: MORE JOBS = positive economy which equals an increase property value for the new house we just purchased.  Win/Win

    Come on down to Holly Springs! Get your property now while prices are still great, and watch the real Sim City play out!

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Yeah, We've Got That!!

    As a Yankee, I know we have this blind spot when it comes to ‘the south’….or anywhere else for that matter. We are convinced that no where else in the world has all that we have.  A New Yorker really does kind of see the world much like that great Saul Steinberg New Yorker Cover where everything in the world is rather insignificant from our New York perspective. It is a fault stemming from the belief that NYC is the center of the cultural universe and that everything else pales in comparison.

    I am just as guilty of these Yankee prejudices.  The very idea of moving south of Ellis Island conjured up images of banjos, moonshine stills and a swampy wasteland void of modern strip malls. 

    Though there are plenty of places here that hearken to the days of 'Green Acres':

    There is much more here than the average Yankee might think.....

    The lure of property taxes that were one tenth of Long Island's, and a significantly lower cost of living eventually got the better of me, and I pulled up 6 generations of family roots to search for a better life in what was being hailed as one of the BEST TOWNS IN AMERICA.

    To my surprise and delight, I found Raleigh and it's surrounding suburbs are not only adequately up to date with current needs, but in many ways far above Long Island standards. Here is why:

    Most of metropolitan NY/LI was built and populated on a finite area (being islands) in the early 20th century.  The buildings and infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, electricity,schools etc.) were constructed 100 years ago and, despite attempts to fix them, are never going to be good as new.  The Raleigh area, however, has room to grow, and grow it does!  This means NEW roads, New neighborhoods, New schools, New shopping areas.  It is a modern and thriving area that makes NY look like the old world dinosaur that it is.

    A pharmacy/bank/Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on nearly every corner? Yeah, we've got that

    Shopping centers with Home Depots, Staples, Pet Smarts, Targets, Walmarts, Home Goods, Old Navys, Toys R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond....Yeah we've got that.

    Shopping Malls with Macy's, Pennys, Shoe stores, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Coach, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, Pottery Barn, Brookstone, William-Sanoma, Victoria's Secret.....Yeah, we've got that

    Well known Restaurants like Ruth Chris Steakouse, Cheese Cake Factory, PF Chang, Panera, Applebees, Chillis, Carrabbas, Boston Market....not to mention southern chains like my personal favorite....Cracker Barrel....Yeah we've got that and more...better yet...most of them have outdoor eating areas that can be used pretty much YEAR ROUND because of the lovely weather!

    Culture? Like The RBC center for world touring concerts, or the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts where you can see Broadway productions as well as The North Carolina Symphony (who will be performing with Ben Folds in March) ,Carolina Ballet and the National Opera Company   or the North Carolina Museum of Art where we had the largest collection of Rembrandts for the past 6 months.....Yeah, we've got that.

    So, my fellow Yanks....don't be afraid.... we've got it all.