Why We Nearly Moved Here, But Chose Elsewhere
Savannah. The beautiful, historic squares, charming streets, tree lined with hanging Spanish moss. This city was absolutely on our short list of ‘possible places to move to’, as we scoured the USA. It made it to our semi finalist list, but ultimately we chose another place- here’s why.
First, the positives. Undeniably better weather than many northern locales, Savannah is not far south enough to suffer from truly oppressive summers, as one finds in New Orleans and Florida. Such a beautiful city that it was spared destruction during the Civil War (as was Wilmington NC, where we ultimately chose to move!) the squares (parks around which houses are constructed) are some of the most charming in the country. Forsythe Park is particularly worth noting.
Amenities such as SCAD (Southern College of Art and Design) offer a youthful, liberal counter balance to the more traditional and conservative base, a nice mix. Many of the outlying gated communities offer a sense of security.
Against those factors, we aren’t a family that wanted to live the gated life. A mixed couple, where we had felt our races to be a non issue in both New Orleans and major metropolitan areas, the segregation within Savannah is still aparrent. Many neighborhoods are predominantly one race or another, and tensions are palpable. As small business owners, we were concerned by recent decisions that evidenced the continued influence of ‘old money’ vs ‘new ideas’. Airbnb, for example, has become significantly restricted- in many areas, people can’t even rent one room of their five bedroom homes. These weren’t whole house rentals, just families trying to earn some extra income in a city with already limited employment opportunities.
The crime, too, is extensive. For us, the risk wasn’t worth the reward. One of the best things we have learned in our search for homes is to research the difference between the nature of crimes reported: muggings and petty theft don’t bother us as much as murder and rape. The areas that fit within our budget (Under $500k, preferably less than $400k) were historic and walkable to downtown, putting us near statistics that we didn’t want to become a part of.
Wilmington NC offered us historic homes, a port city, a fun and funky downtown peppered with great eats, more than 300 blocks of historic homes, higher wages, 20 minutes drive to sandy beaches, less oppressive summers while still avoiding winters, a much more diverse population- and we were well below our budget! A great film industry (Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill were filmed here) dog and people parks, and houses at significantly less expensive prices. We purchased a 3000 s/f home that had been on the historic homes tour, is a 20 minute walk to downtown, and our neighborhood (Carolina Heights) is so much more scenic than what we could have afforded in Savannah.
Bottom line: If income isn’t a necessity for you (retired etc) and you don’t mind uber-ing after hours, if you’re not as concerned with crime, Savannah is a lovely scenic city. If income is a necessity and you are looking for a city that has a fun and funky vibe, vs a formal and traditional one, whilst still offering historic charm- check out Wilmingon NC!
Samira | Wilmington, NC