We are in search mode for our retirement destination. This year, 2014, is our year for house hunting. North Carolina has been very good to us and we’ve decided that we will remain North Carolinians. I started this career that I love – educational technology and teaching – pretty late in life. I have many more years of work in me… 60 is the new 40, right? The loyalty and affection I have for my job and coworkers isn’t enough to keep me/us here in Greenville. Within a year of our arrival to G’ville in the spring of 2010, Gary and I knew that this university town in Eastern Carolina with its stifling humidity was not where we wanted to retire. We decided to stick it out until March, 2015, when I can retire after five years and keep my NC state health insurance. I’m in the NC State Teachers’ Retirement System, and I would be open to teaching at a community college in higher ed, especially online teaching. I won’t detail all of the places we’ve visited in our nearly four years in NC, because I’ve written about different towns and cities in my previous blog posts. After much consideration of our criteria, we’ve narrowed our search to the Wake Forest area. (See the little yellow circle above Raleigh on the map.) Wake Forest (30K population) is north of Raleigh, about a 25-minute drive from downtown Raleigh. North to the Virginia border is less than three hours by car. The word “Forest” in Wake Forest is significant because there are forests around Wake Forest, but it is not in the mountains. For a brief geography lesson, there are three regions of NC: Coastal (east and the outer banks); Piedmont (center of the state including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte ); and Mountains (including Asheville, Boone/Appalachian State University). You’ve probably heard of Wake Forest University. The university started out in the town of Wake Forest (as Wake Forest College) and in the early 40’s, the institution moved to Winston-Salem, NC, and became Wake Forest University. The town was founded in 1832, but was not given the name of Wake Forest Town until 1909. Even before then, an observer noted, “The inhabitants, without I believe a single exception, are sober, moral and thriving in their circumstances, and not a few are educated and intelligent.” It was probably a blow to the community to have the college change locations (and I believe that had something to do with a future medical school and more donated land); however, a large Baptist seminary found its home in Wake Forest and it has an impressive campus that still exists today. So what is the criteria for our final destination? Not final, as in “let’s choose a plot,” but where we will buy what could possibly be our last house. Gary and I have a list, in no particular order:
- interesting downtown, some place to park and walk and support local businesses. Wake Forest has quite a thriving, growing downtown – we were impressed.
- close to a major airport, so we can go see Jordan & Becky, and they can come to us, of course. RDU is less than a half hour away.
- good healthcare facilities. Duke University Medical Center, Wake Medical…
- a Costco. Yes. And much, much more. And great food choices.
- cultural events/museums. PLENTY. And nearby Raleigh is the state capital.
- if the city or town was near one of our kids (Hanna in this case) and the kid/Han moved away, would we still like the town? We like what Wake Forest area and proximity to Raleigh has to offer.
- easy access to the coastal region when we want our ocean fix. A couple of hours in the car and we can be on the ferry to the outer banks.
- easy access to the mountains when we want to wear our snowboots. Four hours on the 4-lane.
- lots of choices, e.g. established neighborhood, new home, country home, lots for building, fixer-upper (nothing major). Wake Forest has all that…
We don’t know what we are looking for, but we’ll find it.
I’ve edited this post since I first composed it because I had a pretty incredible opportunity from my department at East Carolina University. It got back to my department that I was going to retire in 2015, and move from Greenville. I was asked if I’d consider telecommuting three days from the Wake Forest/Raleigh area. Since I like my job so much, Gary and I discussed it and thought it was too good to pass up. I’ll drive in to Greenville a couple of days to work in the office.
The search continues. We’ve looked at maybe a dozen houses as of this date (7.14.14). I was going to post some shots in a slideshow, but then thought that was a privacy issue – once I look at the pix to remind myself of which house had what, I delete them. And, why would anyone want to see shots of a house that we are not going to buy!!