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By Dylan B.
Mar 8, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Hey,

My wife got a job offer in Chapel Hill and we're thinking of moving there. What's the area like? How close to climbing, hiking, road cycling, camping?

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By Meme Guy
From Land of Runout Slab
Mar 8, 2014
Meme guy
It would be impossible for me to follow Guideline #1 in describing Chapel Hill as I see it, so I'll give you a brief opinion.

If you're far left on the political scale you will love it. Its more or less a college town with old rich white people who are stuck up and a tiny down town full of bars and a decent at best music scene. When UNC wins a basketball game the students are known to set franklin street on fire to show off how drunk they are. NC is pro gun but Chapel Hill has tried to make their own laws restricting guns in Chapel Hill, but state law supersedes. So if you're into all that you're fine. I would suggest living nearby and commuting, we have excellent highways.

Chapel Hill is fairly bike friendly and most cities in NC are really pushing towards more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Now when it comes to the climbing, we are talking best in the world, it's no secret. You will find some small shitty boulders such as the umstead boulders in raleigh, but the true gems are in western nc. The mountains are only 3 or 4 hours from Chapel Hill/Raleigh on nice good roads, we have excellent highways. Lots of hiking nearby CH, eno river is also really close to CH fun to float down and offers some class III white water on some sections. Good fishing across the state, world class beaches, what's not to love other than maybe the city of Chapel Hill itself? Anything else? Ask and I will do the best I can to answer your questions.

I see you're from WI, so I imagine you will enjoy our mild winters, but the summers may be a little hot.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 9, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Road biking: pretty good but little in the way of real hills, plenty of rolling hills and a fairly good bike community

Mtn biking: mediocre within the immediate area. but some good stuff within 2 hours

Climbing:
Asheboro bouldering about 1 hr. Winter area, pretty good bouldering

WIthin 2hrs: Moores- good summer trad climbing on steep quartzite. Pilot, ok sport and TR, also quartzite, kind of a mob scene but ok climbing. Cookes, a little more obscure sport an gear climbing

2-4 hrs: Stone mountain, Ship Rock, SHortoff, Hawksbill, Table Rock
4-5 hrs: RUmbling Bald, New RIver Gorge,

I'm sure I've missed a bunch but those are the places I frequented. My take on the climbing was there is a lot of very good areas in NC (plus TN and WV), but they are largely not outstanding destination areas. Meaning I thought they were great for the drive, but I probably wouldn't travel from far way to go to most of those areas. So it's a good balance IMO, good enough that NC people have great climbing areas without the influx of traveling climbers. Definitely more travel time involved than other locations that I have lived (Denver/Boulder/Ft. Collins, CO and Sacramento, CA). So I guess it kin of depend on where you're coming from and what your standards for climber are.

As far as the town, I liked it. It's your run-of -the mill liberal college town with good bars, restaurants etc...and lots of rural countryside surrounding it. It's not middle America, and it's not a big city. All depends on your tastes, I guess.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 9, 2014
El Chorro
I can think of worse places to live. Cost of living and weather are hard to beat. Climbing isn't bad either.

I could be livin there now and I do love NC but for me that whole part of the state is just a bit samey. Too many norms. I either need to be in the middle of nowhere, alone, or I need to be at the center of it all, with a different crowd around every corner. I chose the latter and moved to London, but eventually I'll be back in NC. I'm enjoying the city life at the moment but the 5 year plan is to buy a house in NC and raise a family somewhere that has more space and less people.

If I could have a nice house up in the woods on the west side of Hillsborough, away from the pretentious neighborhoods and veggie burritos, I'd be happy to commute to Chapel Hill for work. It would be a half hour drive to work and just over an hour to Moore's Wall.

Moore's is climbable year round if you include the bouldering, and if you're happy to project hard trad and harder sport, it's really all you need for day and w/e trips. When the forecast is great, make the drive to he High Country, Linville or the western granite and enjoy some of the best climbing in the country. And don't forget about the New, 4 hr drive. World Class.

Do it!

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By Dylan B.
Mar 9, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
So far, it sounds a lot like where we live now. Madison is a college town. Great crags for weekend warriors within a 1-2 hour drive. It takes 20 minutes by bike to get out of the city and into quiet country roads.

My concern is finding myself living in the suburbs. By far, the worst places I've lived were outside Annapolis, MD, and Doylestown, PA. In both, you had to drive 20 minutes just to buy a gallon of milk, and it was 3-4 hours to drive to any forest worth visiting. The roads were hellaciously trafficked, and shoulders were thin, so cycling was awful. And the winters were neither warm enough to enjoy, nor cold enough to enjoy.

How does Chapel Hill compare to these places?

(Also, is there a reasonably good climbing gym?)

Also interested in the arts, specifically theater and music (but not bar bands or rock concerts--too old for that). What will we find there?

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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 9, 2014
D.Buffum wrote:
So far, it sounds a lot like where we live now. Madison is a college town. Great crags for weekend warriors within a 1-2 hour drive. It takes 20 minutes by bike to get out of the city and into quiet country roads. My concern is finding myself living in the suburbs. By far, the worst places I've lived were outside Annapolis, MD, and Doylestown, PA. In both, you had to drive 20 minutes just to buy a gallon of milk, and it was 3-4 hours to drive to any forest worth visiting. The roads were hellaciously trafficked, and shoulders were thin, so cycling was awful. And the winters were neither warm enough to enjoy, nor cold enough to enjoy. How does Chapel Hill compare to these places? (Also, is there a reasonably good climbing gym?) Also interested in the arts, specifically theater and music (but not bar bands or rock concerts--too old for that). What will we find there?



chapel hill is not a suburb by any means. You are one of the three cities in the triangle (raleigh, durham, chapel hill) and all three are hardly suburbs of any of the others. You'll find plenty of music/arts in raleigh which is a very close drive (again, on good roads) and chapel hill has its own art and music through the college. Charlotte has an arguably better art scene, but again, you're within a few hours of there and it's well worth a day trip if that's your bag. Cycling in chapel hill is hard to beat and there are literally dozens of cycling clubs.

Something no one else has mentioned is that you're only a few hours from NC beaches, which are some of the best on the east coast.

edit to add: NC roads are very well maintained (and policed) but there has been a lot of construction on the interstates between the cities, so sometimes its timelier to take the bigger backroads (ie., taking 49 all the way from charlotte to raleigh instead of the interstates). If you eat meat, nc has the best bbq in the country, if you dont' eat meat, chapel hill will be a good place to live. There is a food co-op (kind of) and plenty of grocers so you won't be driving a half hour for milk.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 9, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
D.Buffum wrote:
So far, it sounds a lot like where we live now. Madison is a college town. Great crags for weekend warriors within a 1-2 hour drive. It takes 20 minutes by bike to get out of the city and into quiet country roads. My concern is finding myself living in the suburbs. By far, the worst places I've lived were outside Annapolis, MD, and Doylestown, PA. In both, you had to drive 20 minutes just to buy a gallon of milk, and it was 3-4 hours to drive to any forest worth visiting. The roads were hellaciously trafficked, and shoulders were thin, so cycling was awful. And the winters were neither warm enough to enjoy, nor cold enough to enjoy. How does Chapel Hill compare to these places? (Also, is there a reasonably good climbing gym?) Also interested in the arts, specifically theater and music (but not bar bands or rock concerts--too old for that). What will we find there?


Not the suburbs. Traffic is not bad. Easy to get out of town on a bike and enjoy hours of country roads. They also have no shoulders, but once out of town the traffic is mild, except for the occasional angry redneck.

The climbing is truly year round. THere is always something that is ok. August kind of sucks, but I still managed to get out climbing.The climbing gym situation is not ideal. There are two gyms on campus, so if you can get a student/staff to be your "significant other" you can get cheap access to those. There is the local community center, which is cheap, but only open 4 days a week for a couple hours each day and it gets crowded. The nearest real gym is about 30 minutes away.

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By Meme Guy
From Land of Runout Slab
Mar 9, 2014
Meme guy
Rob Davis wrote:
if you eat meat, nc has the best bbq in the country, if you dont' eat meat, chapel hill will be a good place to live.


Hahahhahahahaha so true!

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By Scott O
From California
Mar 10, 2014
Batman Pinnacle
If your wife's job is affiliated with UNC, you are set with regards to climbing gym. There are two decent gyms on campus, and you pay something like $80/year as a spouse for the privilege.

Mountain biking in the area is actually pretty good, considering I could ride literally across the street from my house in Chapel Hill and ride 2-3 hours without covering the same terrain twice in a ride. Not very technical, but good for training rides.

Road biking is decent, and there are a lot of riders.

Definitely not anything like the area around Annapolis - much more rural once you're outside the town. Farmland starts immediately west of Carrboro and north of Chapel Hill. East is suburban, and south is increasingly suburban but still pretty rural.

I would live there again in a heartbeat. The only thing that stinks is being 2 hours from real climbing, but I have that problem here, too.

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By Scott O
From California
Mar 10, 2014
Batman Pinnacle
Regarding the arts, you will find that Memorial Hall pulls in very good fine arts performances, and you are very close to DPAC, which is excellent.

dpacnc.com/

carolinaperformingarts.org/ros...

Cat's Cradle and the Haw River Ballroom are small music venues that hit outside their weight class in terms of artists coming through.

catscradle.com/

hawriverballroom.com/listing/

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By kcradford
From Asheville, NC
Mar 10, 2014
Foot
I am going to throw in my opinion in the mix. I lived in the triangle for 5+ yrs and got a good feel for it. I don't know where you are coming from but the first thing I am going to warn you about is that it is truly the south and the heat/humidity can be oppressive.

As for the biking there is a ton of road biking I the area. Check out the America tobacco trail. And I would would say that there is the largest # of mountain bikers that area than anywhere in the state so if you are looking to get in to MTB it's a great place to get a good used mt bike.

There is tons of hiking in the state and municipal parks.

There is a lot of culture in the area music, food, theater, ect...
And there are also a ton of good local breweries in the area.

A warning commuting on I40,440,540 suck. So if you are looking for a place to live coordinate your commute so that you can avoid those roads.

As for the climbing you are a min of 3 hrs from anything ( see pilot, crowders, moores)

And further from the classic NC rock. If the drive does not bother you then there are several gyms in the area that have produced some strong climbers.

Good luck. I lived in that area for several years and go back often to see friends. It was a bit too crowded for me to live in the city but lots of people love it. If you are serious about moving PM me and I a can put you I touch with my climbing buddies who still lives there. ( he needs some new friends.)

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By aren
Mar 10, 2014
There's also triangle rock club with gyms in Raleigh and in Morrisville. A new bouldering gym just opened in Chapel Hill, I think it's called progressions (or something similar), but I haven't had a chance to get out to it yet.

You will have some nearby crags within a few hours. And there's a few small collections of boulders nearby. I ran into some Michigan kids (maybe it was Minnesota) at Pilot a year or so back, they said they didn't have real climbing like this. Pilot is a great crag with lots of top roping to help transition from the gym, but I was surprised how great they thought it was. So you might be in for a real treat.

In terms of climbing, NC is a great place to live. You could do worse.

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By Dylan B.
Mar 10, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
aren wrote:
There's also triangle rock club with gyms in Raleigh and in Morrisville. A new bouldering gym just opened in Chapel Hill, I think it's called progressions (or something similar), but I haven't had a chance to get out to it yet. You will have some nearby crags within a few hours. And there's a few small collections of boulders nearby. I ran into some Michigan kids (maybe it was Minnesota) at Pilot a year or so back, they said they didn't have real climbing like this. Pilot is a great crag with lots of top roping to help transition from the gym, but I was surprised how great they thought it was. So you might be in for a real treat. In terms of climbing, NC is a great place to live. You could do worse.


FWIW, Wisconsin has the incomparable Devil's Lake ; neither Michigan nor Minnesota have anything equal.

Though I'm sure NC climbing will still be a treat.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 10, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
kcradford wrote:
... As for the climbing you are a min of 3 hrs from anything ( see pilot, crowders, moores) And further from the classic NC rock. ...

Unless maybe you live on the far east side of Raleigh, this is just wrong. It is not any where near 3 hours from CH to Moores, Pilot, Cooke's, or Asheboro. It is less than 2. As for Crowders, it's not really a place that I'd bother to make the drive for from CH. It is not even 3 hours from CH to Stone Mountain. It might take 3 hours to get to Ship Rock and I'm pretty sure it was not more than 3 hours to get to Shortoff.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 10, 2014
El Chorro
csproul wrote:
Unless maybe you live on the far east side of Raleigh, this is just wrong. It is not any where near 3 hours from CH to Moores, Pilot, Cooke's, or Asheboro. It is less than 2. As for Crowders, it's not really a place that I'd bother to make the drive for from CH. It is not even 3 hours from CH to Stone Mountain. It might take 3 hours to get to Ship Rock and I'm pretty sure it was not more than 3 hours to get to Shortoff.


Csproul is correct. I lived off Wade Ave in Raleigh for a large part of five years and it never once took me more than 2.5 hours to get to Moore's, Stone, Cook's, Pilot or Asheboro. I recall a few daytrips to Ship Rock even, and I was still not breaking the rule of more time climbing than in the car.

I spent a summer living on campus in Chapel Hill and routinely made the drive to Moore's in less than two hours. I used to bivy in my truck and climb from 8am to around 1pm, then drive home, eat lunch, shower, and drive to work @4pm. If you're working 9 to 5 you won't get any after work cragging, but day trips are easy from Chapel Hill and even Raleigh.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 11, 2014
El Chorro
May I also add that you have multiple options for day trips, year round. In winter you can boulder at Moore's or Asheboro, climb sport at Cook's, or climb slab at Stone. Pilot is also climbable in winter. Rumbling Bald is 4-5 hours for the weekends.

In summer you can climb at Moore's, sometimes it's even nice in the sun. You can climb at Ship Rock on even the hottest days, and Linvile Gorge is another summer option.

From March to May and Sept to Nov you can climb pretty much anywhere.

I can't believe no one else has mentioned the New. It's a four hour drive and arguably the best destination east if the Mississippi.

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By Brian Payst
Mar 11, 2014
grayson highlands
I currently live in Carrboro (right next to Chapel Hill) and have lived in the area for quite some time. I second what Ryan and Chris said. Within 1 1/2 hours of CH are: Asheboro boulders
Pilot Mountain; within 2 hours: Moore's Wall, Cook's Wall, Sauratown; within 3: Stone Mountain, Crowder's Mountain, Ship Rock, boatloads of Boone area bouldering; within 4: Rumbling Bald, Laurel Knob, Linville Gorge, New River Gorge.

There is a nice new bouldering gym open in Chapel Hill (Progression Climbing) and the Triangle Rock Club has a gym in Morrisville that is expanding to pretty danged big (54 feet high walls) and one in North Raleigh, both locations are about a 30 minute drive.

It a nice area with good restaurants and cultural activities. Come on down and join the Carolina climbing community. We'd love to have you.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 11, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Brian Payst wrote:
I currently live in Carrboro (right next to Chapel Hill) and have lived in the area for quite some time. I second what Ryan and Chris said. Within 1 1/2 hours of CH are: Asheboro boulders Pilot Mountain; within 2 hours: Moore's Wall, Cook's Wall, Sauratown; within 3: Stone Mountain, Crowder's Mountain, Ship Rock, boatloads of Boone area bouldering; within 4: Rumbling Bald, Laurel Knob, Linville Gorge, New River Gorge. There is a nice new bouldering gym open in Chapel Hill (Progression Climbing) and the Triangle Rock Club has a gym in Morrisville that is expanding to pretty danged big (54 feet high walls) and one in North Raleigh, both locations are about a 30 minute drive. It a nice area with good restaurants and cultural activities. Come on down and join the Carolina climbing community. We'd love to have you.

That is all correct Brian EXCEPT...Laurel Knob in 4 hours...what are you driving!/flying? Has Progression actually opened? Just when I leave :(

OP: If you do move to CH, keep Brian's contact info. He's a good guy to know.

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By Dylan B.
Mar 11, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Thanks everyone for the information. Sadly, my wife turned down the job, not because of NC or Chapel Hill, but because the salary offered was inadequate to justify the move. We're still considering moving there eventually, because her family is nearby, but we have to make the finances add up first.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 26, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Time to reopen the discussion:

So my wife took a job at Duke and is currently staying with her sister. I'll be following her to NC before the end of the year.

We're looking for suggestions on where to live. Renting at first. Our priorities are an easy commute to Duke (preferably walkable, but a bus line or a good bike path would do too), and a walkable neighborhood in general (easy walk to restaurants, grocery stores, etc).

Alternatively, what would be some excellent neighborhoods to live in that are, say, less than a 45 minute commute by car to Duke?

Suggestions?

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By Brian Payst
Aug 26, 2014
grayson highlands
Downtown Durham would be a good choice. Lots of great restaurants and bars. Look for things around the American tobacco district. Unfortunately, bike lanes and paths are somewhat of a challenge in Durham. There are also several neighborhoods near Duke, particularly the west campus side that are close to restaurants (9th Street area). It's not too hard to get around the triangle, 30 minutes from Duke gives you an awful lot of options, but Downtown durham, Carrboro or some spots in chapel hill will have the walkability. The challenge will be the students who also rent in those areas (Durham not as much as Chapel Hill / Carrboro). I'd find a short term rental somewhere, maybe even a faculty member who needs house sitting while out and then look around to see what you like and where you might want to settle.

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By Scott O
From California
Aug 26, 2014
Batman Pinnacle
Duke?

Eww.

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By Dr. Rocktopolus
From Chattanooga, TN
Aug 29, 2014
Whipping on the redpoint crux of " The Theater Of Pain " 5.13b Cooks Wall, NC
Chapel Hill is pretty hip, climbing in the in the Winston Salem area is rad and very doable as a day trip. Good craft beer, always something going on, and a limited number of republicans, pretty ideal place really...

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By Meme Guy
From Land of Runout Slab
Sep 8, 2014
Meme guy
Durham is the black eye of the triangle. It's getting better, but it's fairly crime ridden. Lots of black people which can shock people.

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