I'm relocating from Indianapolis, Indiana to Research Triangle Park—what should I know? For those who live or have lived there, what do you wish you'd known before you did?
Who the Hell Am I?
My wife and I will be moving to RTP from Indiana in (probaby) late May, because my job is relocating me there.
We're both fairly politically-minded and pretty far to the left. Though we were both born outside the former Confederacy (myself in Oklahoma1), my wife in Indiana), we both spent our formative years growing up both in and outside the South—for my wife this meant Georgia, Arkansas, and Massachusetts, and for me, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana. At first I wasn't crazy about the idea of going back, but I quickly learned that North Carolina can't be easily painted with one broad brush.
(Since we have lived in Dan Burton's congressional district the whole time we've been in Indiana, one could make a case that we never really left the South—southern Indiana has a pretty good claim as an honorary part of Dixie, and anyone familiar with the history of the "Invisible Empire" knows just how visible it was in the state government of the 1920s.)
[...] I'd avoid Cary if I were you; Chapel Hill is too expensive. Plus, it has plenty of liberals already and is all smug about it. Raleigh is wonderful, of course -- very unpretentious (we have to be, what with hosting the General Assembly -- buncha yahoos) and Durham is . . . well Durham is actually a very cool town that gets a pretty bad rap.
Commuting to Work
I like to keep my commutes short, and it would be great to have the option of riding my recumbent to work when weather permits. Anyone have some areas to recommend within a few miles of Morrisville?
If you'd like to keep your commutes short and will be working in Morrisville, I would not suggest moving to Chapel Hill. The rush hour commute is pretty brutal [...]
I live in Chapel Hill and used to commute to Raleigh every day.
[...] and the public transportation sytem in these parts is not the greatest.
My wife is in a wheelchair. How's the accessibility of the public transportation? She checked the websites of the local TAs and bus lines, and Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill all claim to have 100% accessible fleets. How's the reality? If we live in a smaller city/town like Cary or the area bounded by I-40, 751, 55, and U.S. 64, will our options be hamstrung?
I read that Chapel Hill's public bus line is free. Is that true? I have also heard that it's more expensive to live in Chapel Hill than most other places in the region. True also?
Chapel Hill buses are indeed free. They cover Carrboro, too, which is one of the coolest towns on the planet. Don't move anywhere until you check it out.
We'll be renting initially, but will be looking for a realtor who can work with us to find a (starter) home that will work well for my wife. Does anyone have any recommendations for wheelchair-friendly apartments and condominiums?
There are a number of newer apt and condo complexes in the Morrissville area that I imagine are wheelchair friendly. (I live not far from Morrisville).
Chapel Hill rents and property sales prices are higher than Cary, Apex or Morrisville (and Raleigh). But, Chapel Hill is a terrific town,so you'd be close to a lot of amenities that you may take advantage of.
Thanks for all your help! My wife can't wait to get out of the cold...
1 Historical trivia: It's my vague understanding that the CSA actually did claim Oklahoma (then Indian Territory), probably because at least some of the Native American tribes there embraced slavery, but unlike New Mexico, no battles took place there. Culturally, Oklahoma feels to me pretty distinguishable from the Old South. The fact that Oklahoma is the only state in the union with a pumpjack on the mall of its state capitol tells you almost everything you need to know about Sooner State politics.