Reviews & Comments
Asheville, NC5 stars to visit, 3 stars to live.
Like many places, Asheville has many great things to offer, along with challenges when it comes to day-to-day living. After visiting here in 2014, and actually living here for 21 months, I believe I can offer a balanced and current perspective. I will break this up into 6 reasons why you should and 6 reasons why you should NOT move to Asheville:
Reasons to move to Asheville:
1. Four seasons provide "Goldie Locks" weather, compared to the cold winters of northeast and midswest and the wretched heat during summer in the southeast and southwest. Sperling's stats on climate are pretty accurate.
2. Despite some overdevelopment, there are plenty of outdoor amenities, especially for hiking, canoeing, camping, and leaf looking.
3. Breweries..#3 in the nation per capita...over 50 breweries in the WNC area.
4. Restaurants, particularly breakfast and if you are a fan of what they call "New American" cuisine.
5. Great place to live if you are a trust-fund baby, have ample retirement saved, or hold a successful business of your own.
6. Violent crime is low...
6 Reasons NOT to move:
1. ....Property crime is HIGH! Lock your car doors, even in good/upper class neighborhoods.
2. Wages to cost of living are almost unsustainable for people trying to move here, hoping to land a job somewhere.
3. Going with the theme of reason #2, the job market is almost laughably lousy. I was lucky to get hired by a global corporation with a decent wage and benefits, but my wife cannot find work to save her life, despite over 8 years of professional experience in banking management and other specialized banking fields. Do not move here unless you know exactly how much income you will be earining on a week-to-week basis.
4. Asheville has a diverse group of people, but in the subculture sense. It is a strange mash of Holy Rollers and Hippies. Hipsters and Hillbillies. If you are looking for international cuisine, worldly exposure, you will not find much of it in Asheville or WNC. It will be hard to fit in if you are not a senior citizen, hippie, hipster, redneck, artist, rich and successful business owner, a drug addict, a yoga granola type, a runner, or farmer. If you do fall into one of these categories, you will find your people. But if you are not a walking stereotype, you may find yourself out of place a little.
5. The infrastucture is horrid, which compounds the traffic of the population boom and herds of tourists. There was no plan for the boom the area has gotten and it will show, as many of the main roads here are one-lane only.
6. Though the scenery is still beautiful here, they are overdeloping the area at an insane pace. Sprawl is rampant. In 15-20 years, this may not be the beautiful mountain town it once was.
Orlando, FLThe good, the Bad and the Ugly of Orlando
Like any place, Orlando has pros and cons. As someone who grew up in Brevard County (just outside of Orlando) and lived in O-Town for 4 years, I humbly believe I can adequately break down Orlando's great and not-so-great aspects:
In recent time, the job sector has grown in many areas.
Orlando is a true melting pot, which means a diverse level of culture..and restaurants! This is particularly so with Asian and Latin American (excluding Mexican). Areas like Mills 50 have some of the best Vietnamese and Thai restaurants you will find anywhere.
Recreation is abundant in Orlando. Though the fun areas are spread out, there are many bars, restaurants, fun activities for kids and families, adults, etc....whatever your group consists of. There's of course Disney, Downtown has a nice concentrated night-life, and Winter Park is a great place for the fancier types.
Each neighborhood has distinct characteristics and are unique from eachother. In the same boat, Orlando is an especially tolerant and embracing city (in terms of racial, religious, and LGBT acceptance). Keeping with the theme, there is truly something for everybody in this city.
Housing is affordable in many places around the city but...
...keeping with the Housing topic...the nicer areas will cost you a premium. This is a more recent development, which goes hand in hand with the job growth. Property taxes and home insurance are very high here because of crime and suseptibility to weather.
Though there are plenty of jobs coming in, many of them don't pay so well.
Crime in areas like Paramore and "the other side of i4" in Downtown is horrible. Some of these areas are right up there with the reputation St. Louis and Detroit have developed. And sadly, this pertains to violent crimes. Sometimes, this violence can happen anywhere. For example, I know someone who randomly got shot simply for driving down the wrong street at the wrong time. Thankfully, he was not killed. Though the risk of becoming a victim of random violence is still very low overall, it is much higher in Orlando than many other places.
Mosquitos and the heat are borderline unbearable...unless you like 93 degrees with a feel of 105 on most given summer days and spending Winter Holidays with the AC blasting. If you end up living here, make sure you keep any pools or bodies of fresh water low because you will be a mosquito buffet before you know it.
Orlando's traffic is a special brand of dread. You have tourists from all over the world with different driving styles trying to get to destinations they unsure of how to get to. On top of that, you have urban sprawl, and it can take what seems like forever to get just a few miles. We lived across the street from a shopping plaza. When I needed the car to haul merchandise or run additional errands, it would sometimes take 5 minutes just to get on the other side of Colonial Dr.
Overall, if you are looking for a diverse city with much to offer in terms of fun for all walks of life, but can still afford a $250K+ house, don't mind traffic, and can tolerate humd heat and mosquitos, then Orlando can be a great place for you.