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Hidden Gem Towns?

Bend, Oregon
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39 posts
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Hidden Gem Towns?

We are headed to NC in June to scout for places to live when we early retire in a few years. We like laid back, outdoorsy, mountainous small towns. Bicycle preferred over a car/driving. Quirky is good. We currently live in this kind of town in Oregon, which I think is a Hidden Gem, cuz no one outside of the adjoining states seem to know of our town, but there is too much winter/cold weather. So, with that minimal information, does anyone have any suggestions? I've done some research but thought I'd post here to get opinions from locals. Thanks for your time.

Waynesville,NC
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1. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

Try the town of Boone, NC. It has a small town vibe, but is home to Appalachian State University-making it a bit more forward thinking and up market. Boone is also a bedroom community for the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway, so you'll never be short of breathtaking scenery or recreational opprotunities.

Raleigh, North...
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2. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

I love Boone and Blowing Rock but it does get bitter cold which is what you are trying to get away from. A better mountain option might be Brevard or Hendersonville, which are in the so-called isothermal zone with moderating temperatures winter and summer. Several small towns around Asheville,e.g.Weaverville and Montreat, would also fit that bill.

I have several friends that have retired to Beaufort and Morehead City on the coast. Both are very conducive to bicycling.

You might also consider Chapel Hill, a major retirement destination, and the nearby village of Saxaphaw. which may be similar to your Oregon home.

North Carolina
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3. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

Sounds like the areas around Asheville/Hendersonville would be to your liking. Be aware that snow and ice is likely to hit during the winter at some point.

North Carolina
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4. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

Friends have mentioned New Bern as a good retirement option - close to the coast but not directly in the path of the occasional hurricane that hits NC. Another town to consider is Mt Airy - in the foothills, close to the mountains, local theater company, proximity to airport. Yes, it bills itself as 'Mayberry' which might seem a little hokey, but it is a sweet small town and those tourist dollars help keep the taxes down for locals.

Bend, Oregon
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5. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

Thanks All. I should have mentioned that I'm okay with some cold/snow. 3 months is better than 6 months!

Lumberton, North...
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6. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

One town in our NC mountains that seems to be overlooked quite often is Jefferson in Ashe County. The surrounding countryside there is absolutely gorgeous. A quick search shows the temperature averages are very similar to Bend though.

North Carolina
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7. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

Another option in nearby SW Virginia is Abingdon. Plenty of bike paths - it is at one end of the Virginia Creeper (Long Distance) Bike Trail. Lovely countryside there, too.

Raleigh, North...
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8. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

New Bern and Mt. Airy were both good recommendations. The latter is also in the Yadkin Valley wine country. Not quite the Willamette Valley, but coming along. If you have a literary bent, you might check out historic Hillsborough, retirement home to a number of noteworthy authors.

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

I would say Brevard/Hendersonville area.

10. Re: Hidden Gem Towns?

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