United States / North Carolina / Asheville Metro Area / Counties / Cities / Zip Codes

Review of Asheville, North Carolina

Why We Passed on Asheville
Star Rating - 1/2/2019
Asheville is a cool city, no two ways about it. This is the Austin TX of NC, but -and here’s the kicker- without the jobs. The eclectic neighborhoods, the artsy vibe... there are fun eats and a good overall quality of living. Winter is never too harsh, but the skies are often gray and you will get the seasons. The nearby mountains offer great hiking in summer. If you are retired, or not in need of earned income, Asheville should be on your short list. Still, housing isnt cheap- your dollar will absolutely go further than in NY, CA or DC- but is Asheville the best fit for you?

We (a 30 and 40 something couple) asked ourselves the same question. One of us works remotely out of NYC, and more sunshine, a fun and funky downtown, diversity of thought and in people... this was our ask. While we liked Asheville, many of the local transplants (read: advanced degrees, now working for $10 an hour in retail) warned us not to move unless we both had jobs lined up. Since the neighborhoods weren’t total bargains, we decided to keep looking. As both of us enjoy travel (national and internationally) we were also a bit concerned that Asheville might be somewhat ‘cut off’ from other major cities.

If you kidnapped the city of Asheville, cut the housing prices, kept the awesome restaurants, added more dog parks and the kiddie friendly green spaces, but made it into a port city (yay waterfront!) 20 minutes from the beach, you'd have.... Wilmington, NC. Possibly one of the best kept secrets on America’s East Coast, Wilmington was never destroyed during the Civil War- so many of the historic neighborhoods are walking distance to downtown. Dawsons Creek and One Tree Hill were both filmed here (amongst others) and trendy Carolina Heights has visits regularly from fans wanting to snap selfies with their favorite houses. The tree lined streets are somewhat Savannah-esque with their hanging Spanish moss... and many of the micro breweries (there are more by the week!) and restaurants are dog friendly. Our local airport is less than 10 minutes drive away, offers direct flights to NYC, and we are always able to book flights without a worry.

We feel incredibly lucky to have found Wimington, while the prices were low. They can’t stay this way for forever- the riverfront is undergoing a resurgence, luxury condos are being constructed and there are neat houseboat communities getting developed along the river.

Ultimately, where Asheville brings you the mountains, Wimington offers the beach. One is inland and one has water... but when your dollar goes so much further in one city than the other, its hard not to resist the draw!
Samira | Wilmington, NC
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5 Replies

Strange, as you reviewed Wilmington on Wilmingtons Sperlings site. This is supposed to be a site to review a place (Asheville), that a person has actually lived in, not considered living in, but has lived in, currently better still, so as to review that place, not some other place. The sad fact of your choice to move to Wilmington should be all too apparent now, with homes blowing and floating away. Port city in hurricane alley? Take the mountains and the fresh water lakes. Leave the Ocean to the salt water fishies.
edmund | Spring Valley, NV | Report Abuse

There are plusses and minuses for every place, including Asheville. The determination for my wife and me ... me working remotely as a consultant and she a registered nurse putting in per diem time...was that Asheville fit our desire for proximity to both beautiful mountain and forests, and an eclectic town with art, dining, and music. Yes, it's more expensive than other locales of similar size. But it's less expensive than the surroundings of the big urban and suburban areas in the Northeast or the West Coast. And truth is, ANY place that people want to be is getting more crowded and expensive. Look at Colorado, which we actually considered. You make your choice, and you live with it. Asheville works for us.
Nicholas | Candler, NC | Report Abuse

Agree with assessment completely. Unless you're retired, extremely wealthy, and have homes in other areas to run away to, Asheville and WNC is not the place to live. Trashy poor area with horrendous living conditions, unless you're very wealthy. Education is abysmal. The area can be very dangerous and yes, you do need personal protection (handgun), like it or not. The locals are ignorant, uneducated and very proud of this fact. The terrible stereotypes of slow and stupid are a sad reality here. The WNC accent will drive non-locals insane as it sounds ignorant and is irritating. Bottomline: Move here if you are extremely wealthy and can live in a protected gated community away from the extreme poverty and the problems that poverty brings along.
Tamsin | Hendersonville, NC | Report Abuse

Did you survive the two horrific hurricanes last year? Or had you not moved there yet? Or did the realtor tell you about them? I am a little over Asheville myself, but Wilmington and "the beach" is one of the primary reasons I no longer live near water (I grew up in Florida).
Gary | Asheville, NC | Report Abuse

For the LOVE OF GOD people, find a new word other than "awesome." There is nothing awesome about the restaurants except for high prices because the tourists are "captive" and have to pay for the mediocre food. Asheville has grown so fast in a decade that the "awesome" restaurant quality has gone awesomey downhill because they can't keep up with the demand. If you live here, forget going out to dinner where you WON'T HAVE TO YELL to have a conversation. And expect $25pp for a sandwich and a beer.
Gary | Asheville, NC | Report Abuse
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