By now you have probably come to learn that there are many great reasons to call Raleigh, North Carolina home. Whether you are seeking better job opportunities, fleeing oppressive tax rates in New York and New Jersey, sick and tired of the crazy heat of Florida summers or seemingly endless winters of the Midwest, Raleigh has something for everyone.
After calling Raleigh home for nearly five years, myself an economic refugee from Michigan, I have discovered that Raleigh indeed offers all of the above, including a vibrant arts scene, great dining and otherwise abundant quality of life. In fact, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a survey of newcomers (people who have relocated to Raleigh within the past three years) with children, of those respondents, 92% affirmed their decision to relocate their family to Raleigh by asserting that if given the choice they would make the same decision again. That’s a pretty strong endorsement when you consider that most people with children prefer to live near their extended families for support.
Emerald Isle, NC [Slideshow Below]
Last month we rented our usual house in Emerald Isle for spring break. The water was a bit cool but that didn’t dampen our fun because there was plenty of sun and fun. According to town historians, Emerald Isle is comprised of the Western most thirteen miles of the Bogue Banks barrier island of the Southern Outer Banks . The land was purchased in 1954 from Mrs. Anita Fort Maulik of Philadelphia. The total purchase price of $350,000, the largest ever recorded in Carteret County at the time. When the original developers were contemplating the purchase of this undeveloped half of the island, a consultant from Florida was hired to advise them. This consultant asked to be flown over the property to gain a perspective on how development might occur. With no development at the time and appearing from the air as a solid green gem in the middle of a sea of sparkling water, he looked down from the heavens and said, “This Place Shall be Known as Emerald Isle”. Besides being only a 2 hour car ride from Raleigh, Emerald Isle offers Swimming, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, shell hunting, duck hunting and all things aquatic, sightseeing, shopping, golf and much, much more. Emerald Isle is at the top of my family’s beach destination.
NC Zoo at Asheboro [Slideshow Below]
Last weekend, we enjoyed the short drive to Asheboro, NC to visit the NC Zoo (you must see the Dinosaur exhibit which ends in October). Located just south of Asheboro, the North Carolina Zoo is seated on a 1,500-acre tract of land in the Uwharrie Mountains.
Approximately 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest “natural habitat” zoos in the United States. You won’t find cages made of steel and concrete here. Animals are given enclosures that mimic their natural habitats to include trees, ponds, rocks, grass and dirt. Bring your best walking shoes and pack a picnic lunch if you are on a budget. The kids will be asleep before you leave the county. [NOTE} The Polar Bear Exhibit is closed until 2013 for improvements.
B. Everett Jordan Lake [Slideshow Below]
This weekend as I spent the afternoon on B. Everett Jordan Lake, a mere 23 miles from Downtown Raleigh, I was reminded once again just how great it is to call Raleigh home. Although the lakes of North Carolina are mostly man-made and can’t hold a torch to the crystal clear waters of Antrim and Grand Traverse Counties in Northern Michigan, the length of the boating season here in North Carolina more than makes up for it. With almost 14,000 acres of water, there is plenty of room for fishing, skiing, relaxing in a cove, camping and more. The NC Division of Parks and Recreation operates nine recreation areas on the lake — Crosswinds Campground, Ebenezer Church, Parker’s Creek, Poplar Point, Seaforth, Vista Point, Robeson Creek, New Hope Overlook, and White Oak Recreation Area. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun or an evening under the stars, Jordan Lake offers it all.
Next week we’re visiting the Wake County Speedway (7 miles from downtown Raleigh ) for the Friday night races and the week after we will be checking out the rodeo at Carousel Farms up at Louisburg Rd (just inside the 540, 17 miles from downtown Raleigh) ; be sure to check back for photo’s and tips.