Looking for cheap living and epic riding TN or NC- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Looking for cheap living and epic riding TN or NC

    Hi all! My wife and I work online full time, and recently came back to my home state of Alabama after living on the west coast for a few years. We are considering moving to Tennessee or North Carolina.

    We would like a nice town with a low cost of living, with epic riding nearby. I have heard that Chattanooga is a great town, but I don't know anything about riding there. Meanwhile, Gatlinburg is fairly close to Windrock, which I would love to have in my backyard.

    Finally, we have also considered Asheville NC, with Pisgah right down the road, but it is starting to get out of "cheap place to live" territory. Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice will be appreciated!

    (Also posting in Southeast)

  2. #2
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    Tennessee! Cheap living and lots of trails. Nothing fancy in Asheville. Just an old grumpy town.

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    Asheville is pretty expensive. Some towns a little farther from the trails are less expensive, but you will find that anywhere. If you want to be right by the trails, be ready to pay for that privilege.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVL-MTB View Post
    Tennessee! Cheap living and lots of trails. Nothing fancy in Asheville. Just an old grumpy town.
    Haha any input on any specific towns? I hear Chatanooga is a nice town but I don't know about the riding there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    Haha any input on any specific towns? I hear Chatanooga is a nice town but I don't know about the riding there.
    Sorry man. Not familiar with TN.

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    Asheville and Chattanooga are both cities, not towns. That means that you get a lot more "culture", retail options, restaurants, etc. You also get things like traffic and higher costs of living.

    You'd have to pay me to live in Gatlinburg. Srsly.

    Are city amenities important to you? Or, are you interested in living more in the country, closer to trails?

    If it's city living, and you want more affordable, Greenville/Spartanburg is a strong contender IMO. Asheville is where I live and it's awesome, but expensive for the Southeast (not compared to out west, though). Bringing your own job as you say you would is important. Have friends in Chattanooga and they love it.

    More country living ok? Try Brevard, Rosman, Saluda, Tryon. Beautiful, lots of great riding around. Or Hot Springs if you want really rural and plenty of good riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    ...
    You'd have to pay me to live in Gatlinburg. Srsly.
    ...
    I've only driven through there once, but based on what I saw, I agree.

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    Also, make sure you look into high speed internet access, there's a lack of it in many rural areas in both WNC and east TN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Asheville and Chattanooga are both cities, not towns. That means that you get a lot more "culture", retail options, restaurants, etc. You also get things like traffic and higher costs of living.

    You'd have to pay me to live in Gatlinburg. Srsly.

    Are city amenities important to you? Or, are you interested in living more in the country, closer to trails?

    If it's city living, and you want more affordable, Greenville/Spartanburg is a strong contender IMO. Asheville is where I live and it's awesome, but expensive for the Southeast (not compared to out west, though). Bringing your own job as you say you would is important. Have friends in Chattanooga and they love it.

    More country living ok? Try Brevard, Rosman, Saluda, Tryon. Beautiful, lots of great riding around. Or Hot Springs if you want really rural and plenty of good riding.
    This! I live closer to charlotte and wish I could live up in brevard or saluda area but just not many jobs up that way especially to support the cost of living more rural. I'd say those areas are hard to beat for nice rural living with trails and scenery near you and your still close enough to Tennessee and close enough to snowshoe for weekend trips as well. Brevard area has some of the best motorcycle roads on the east coast too if that suits your fancy it sure does mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Asheville and Chattanooga are both cities, not towns. That means that you get a lot more "culture", retail options, restaurants, etc. You also get things like traffic and higher costs of living.

    You'd have to pay me to live in Gatlinburg. Srsly.

    Are city amenities important to you? Or, are you interested in living more in the country, closer to trails?

    If it's city living, and you want more affordable, Greenville/Spartanburg is a strong contender IMO. Asheville is where I live and it's awesome, but expensive for the Southeast (not compared to out west, though). Bringing your own job as you say you would is important. Have friends in Chattanooga and they love it.

    More country living ok? Try Brevard, Rosman, Saluda, Tryon. Beautiful, lots of great riding around. Or Hot Springs if you want really rural and plenty of good riding.
    Brevard and Saluda have come up a couple of times. Honestly, I would not mind at all living in a smaller town! I actually miss that after coming back from the on top of eachother living you get in Huntington Beach CA. (Though I certainly miss the beach and the weather!)

    I'm also suprised to see that Gatlinburg is pretty much universally hated. My grandfather had a home there in the early 90s, but I was just a little boy. I imagine it has changed a bit, and actually, his house was in Wares Valley, so that might bake a bit of a differnce as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    Brevard and Saluda have come up a couple of times. Honestly, I would not mind at all living in a smaller town! I actually miss that after coming back from the on top of eachother living you get in Huntington Beach CA. (Though I certainly miss the beach and the weather!)

    I'm also suprised to see that Gatlinburg is pretty much universally hated. My grandfather had a home there in the early 90s, but I was just a little boy. I imagine it has changed a bit, and actually, his house was in Wares Valley, so that might bake a bit of a differnce as well.
    Gatlinburg is the worst kind of tourist trap. Part of my family has lived in Limestone, TN since the 1850's (my grandfather still owns the same plot of land that's been in the family since then) and when going to visit when I was little, we always gave Gatlinburg a WIDE BERTH. Screw paying me to live there. You'd have to pay me to drive through it.

    I live just outside Asheville. No way could I afford what I have inside the city limits, but what I have is still SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than it'd cost in the city I moved from (Indianapolis, IN, where what I have would probably cost half of what it does here). I'm west of town, and fortunately, my neighborhood happens to be one of the first in this area (the area immediately west of the city) to get Gigabit fiber optic internet a few years ago. I'm very much at the rural/suburban edge and maybe 15min drive from the nearest trailhead. Shoot I don't have either a landline telephone hookup OR a traditional cable hookup in the house. The cable company doesn't even service my area so it's not an option. Not sure about the landline telephone. It may be an option, but the previous residents never hooked it up. Basically, everything I have (except my cellular connection and any over-the-air tv I use) has to run through my AT&T fiber connection. So it's kinda amazing I have that much. So yeah, watch out for internet connectivity in this area. Cellular service is super spotty, so it's hard to rely on it for internet exclusively if you happen to live in the wrong valley that's shaded from the towers.

    And yeah, the job market is tough here. We moved here because my wife found work that gives us enough income to survive here. For me, work has been kinda spotty so far. I've only been able to land short term seasonal stuff to date. But right now, I'm actually working several different opportunities at once, which is honestly better than I've had anywhere else I've lived in the past. But, I'm at least in a field that is pretty well represented in this area (conservation). Still, it's taken me a year and a half to network enough to find the relevant permanent jobs. I couldn't do that if my wife wasn't being paid enough.

    I've met lots of people in the area who brought their jobs with them. Lots of remote workers. Have met quite a few folks who work for companies all over, who allow employees to work at least most of the time from home, who call this area their permanent home.

  12. #12
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    The Saluda/Flat Rock/Hendersonville area is fantastic If you like road riding, there are miles and miles of roads without too much traffic. Dupont is 30 minutes away and PNF is about 45. Plus, you are right on the interstate. They are also building some new trails near Columbus, NC in the next couple of years that should be nice. I live down in Spartanburg and could seem myself moving up that way in the next few years.

    Chattanooga has a lot going for it as well. They have the fastest Internet on the planet with Google fiber and more trails than you can shake a stick at.
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    One crucial difference between Saluda/Brevard/Asheville and Chattanooga is elevation. The former is over 2K and the latter somewhat over 6 hundred feet. Much hotter summers in Chattanooga (and Knoxville).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    One crucial difference between Saluda/Brevard/Asheville and Chattanooga is elevation. The former is over 2K and the latter somewhat over 6 hundred feet. Much hotter summers in Chattanooga (and Knoxville).
    True - Saluda sits at the top of what we call the "Saluda Grade" - an area that gains about 1K feet of elevation over the course of 3 or 4 miles.
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    I'm in Brevard and right on/near the bike path so I can ride out of my garage and be in the Forest in 10 min. It was important for me to ride from home to hit the trails after work and for that I am stoked.

    But...Brevard is not cheap. Houses are snatched up immediately and most likely you will be in a bid war. If you get the overpriced home, most likely it will be a complete gut job and reno. If you are handy, then have at it (luckily I am). Good contractors are hard to come by around here.

    Internet service is only fair with (cable provider). I am not sure I would have a remote business here if strong, reliable internet was a must.

    I speak for Brevard but I think what I say holds true for much of the area here in WNC.

    If lower cost, good internet and a decent amount of riding is your thing, probably Chattanooga TN would be a better fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pryde1 View Post
    But...Brevard is not cheap. Houses are snatched up immediately and most likely you will be in a bid war.
    That's what I've heard over and over... aaaand yet my house has been on the market for months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    That's what I've heard over and over... aaaand yet my house has been on the market for months.
    Home sales do slow down in the cooler months. I noticed homes in my area sitting on the market for longer once it started cooling off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    That's what I've heard over and over... aaaand yet my house has been on the market for months.
    Must be ugly and expensive then. JK My neighbor's house just went on the market as well. I think most people are waiting for their tax money now.

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    I work from home, high speed internet access was a requirement for anywhere we lived here and it was a challenge to find. Most places have Morris, which is overpriced and unreliable. We spent several months looking for a house that was in close proximity to Pisgah (w/in 5-10 min) and had good internet access, but had no luck. So we settled on being slightly further away for better access.

    You might get lucky, though, I know some places in Brevard have decent connectivity and a few neighborhoods by 26 have fiber. So I wouldn't discount it entirely.

    I also don't think living outside of Asheville is as outrageously expensive as some seem to think. The housing market in Fletcher, Mills River, Hendersonville, etc really isn't that bad.

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    Chattanooga has some amazing biking. Racoon Mountain is best trail riding in the area. Tons on great trails there, flow, chunk, etc. Enterprise south is a fun flow trail with a decent amount of miles. I'm not sure of the status of TTC, but it was an awesome shuttle DH park right outside of Chatt. They were having some access issues with the top of the mountain.
    In addition to that, there is tons of potential all around for world class biking opportunities. You just need to get the access setup and trails build. You are also not too far from coldwater creek (AL), knoxsville/WR, mullberry gap and the trails over by the ocoee whiewater center. Cost of living is fairly cheap, especially when compared to asheville and knox.

    Knoxville will be a good choice as well. You might also look at a place like Johnson City, tn. ETSU has some decent trails and you are close to the high country of NC (Sugar/Beech Parks and trails like emerald outback/rocky knob) and Bailey MTB Park.

    Greenville, SC isn't a bad choice either. Some good local trails with dupont being 30ish minutes away depending on where you choose to live.

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    If you do find some homes to checkout around Asheville see if you can use Skyrunner internet. They are local to Asheville and have very good prices. I live down in Marion and we use skyrunner. You must have line of sight to one of their towers.

    Not sure of the rules here for posting links but just Google skyrunner internet Asheville NC.

    BTW Marion is close to Kitsuma, heartbreak, star gap, and the Lake James trails. Cheaper than Asheville and only 40min away from there and Hickory NC.

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    Sorry folks Greenville is full.

    Something else you may want to consider: distance to plan B trails when stuff further north shuts down for a month or two due to weather. While WNC is prime, it's been pretty much unrideable all of this past December for the most part. Having to drive 2+ hours to the next open, rideable trail system gets old quick.

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    Johnson City isn't epic now, but their advocacy group up there has some nice energy, some cool progress with Tannery Knob, and some potential to become epic. It might be a good place to "get in before it gets big" if that's what you want.

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    Morganton, NC, in the foothills. I'm in Valdese, just outside Morganton, and we are an hour from Asheville, an hour from Boone, and hour from Wilkesboro (Kerr Scott trail system), and an hour 15 from Charlotte. Ecotourism is booming and we have a rapidly-growing trail system at Lake James State Park (https://www.ncparks.gov/lake-james-state-park) and Fonta Flora County Park (Burke County Fonta Flora State Trail). We are also at the doorstep of Wilson Creek Gorge, which has possibly the best gravel riding in the region, along with numerous back-country trails. In our area we have the NWNC Mountain Bike Alliance (a SORBA chapter), which is very active in trail stewardship across the region. Downtown Morganton is home to a varied arts scene, with numerous galleries and live music venues. Beer is big, and we have Catawba Brewing, Fonta Flora Brewing, and Sidetracked Brewery, along with Brown Mountain Bottleworks, The Nook, and Reece Winery, all within walking distance of each other downtown, and we have The Levee Brewery in Valdese.

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    Oak Ridge is fairly cheap last time I was there, and a stone's throw from Windrock.

    I'd look at the Tri Cities area, personally. Part because I have some family there, but it's also just a couple of hours from the Pisgah area. There's nice riding around that area, too. If you want a little more rural, I'd look around Roan Mountain and surrounding towns. Beautiful little corner of the state.

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    Funny enough, my family used to be preachers at a small church in my hometown called Oak Ridge. maybe a sign! As for the Tri Cities, I lived in Chapel Hill/Carborro NC during college, and definitely looking for a smaller town/more outdoor oriented area.

    Thanks for the info!

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    Quote Originally Posted by clintj View Post
    Oak Ridge is fairly cheap last time I was there, and a stone's throw from Windrock.

    I'd look at the Tri Cities area, personally. Part because I have some family there, but it's also just a couple of hours from the Pisgah area. There's nice riding around that area, too. If you want a little more rural, I'd look around Roan Mountain and surrounding towns. Beautiful little corner of the state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    Funny enough, my family used to be preachers at a small church in my hometown called Oak Ridge. maybe a sign! As for the Tri Cities, I lived in Chapel Hill/Carborro NC during college, and definitely looking for a smaller town/more outdoor oriented area.

    Thanks for the info!
    I'm not sure clintj was referring to the Triangle area of NC. I think every state has a "tri-cities" region, so unless the person describing it is more specific...I dunno. For example, because clintj was walking about Oak Ridge (again, assuming, because he says it's close to Windrock), that his tri-cities comment is also TN-specific. The TN tri-cities is the Bristol/Johnson City/Kingsport area.

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    Ahh, should have known better. Thanks for that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I'm not sure clintj was referring to the Triangle area of NC. I think every state has a "tri-cities" region, so unless the person describing it is more specific...I dunno. For example, because clintj was walking about Oak Ridge (again, assuming, because he says it's close to Windrock), that his tri-cities comment is also TN-specific. The TN tri-cities is the Bristol/Johnson City/Kingsport area.
    Sorry, should have said TN in my post. That's the spot, up there in the NE corner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foothillsbass View Post
    we have a rapidly-growing trail system at Lake James State Park (https://www.ncparks.gov/lake-james-state-park)
    Sorry to change the subject, but are they adding new trails at Lake James? I have been up there a couple of times and really enjoyed it, but would love to see a few more miles of trail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Sorry to change the subject, but are they adding new trails at Lake James? I have been up there a couple of times and really enjoyed it, but would love to see a few more miles of trail.
    Absolutely. The Fonta Flora trail is close to connecting to the State Park trails, adding about 18 miles of more trail that you can connect together. Soon the FF will circle the whole dang lake. Miles on miles

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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    Absolutely. The Fonta Flora trail is close to connecting to the State Park trails, adding about 18 miles of more trail that you can connect together. Soon the FF will circle the whole dang lake. Miles on miles
    In addition to circling the lake, the master plan is for it to connect with existing greenways all the way to Black Mountain, if I'm not mistaken. It will be a MUT in most places, so I'm not sure that qualifies as 'epic,' but definitely interesting and ambitious.

    Here's a link to the NWNC Mtn Bike Alliance and the trails that they support in the area.
    https://ridenwnctrails.com/trails/

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    That looks awesome. I hope they finish it before I get too old to ride it
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    My wife and I visit every summer to ride WNC. I love Pisgah and my wife loves Dupont. On a recommendation from a guy in Black Mountain we hit up Lake James one morning and planned to do Kerr Scott in the afternoon. I had way more fun than I planned to and my wife loved it so much we had lunch and did a couple more laps around at Lake James in the afternoon. Got to be a bit much of the same thing, but most trails do. I hadn't ridden anything like it in WNC, closest I could think of was Ridgeline (which I find meh, I ride it just because I like Hooker and Hickory mountain and it's a quick way back to the lot). But Lake James was fun, can carry some crazy speed and blow corners if you get too comfy. Somehow it seemed like even when the grade went up we were carrying speed and not working to climb, like laws of gravity didn't apply in the area. Would love to see more trails added there for some variety. Nice change of pace, but it is a bit of a drive from Asheville, when there is so much good stuff in Pisgah and Dupont.

    Have to agree about Gatlinburg, first time we drove through there I was asleep, woke up thinking my wife had somehow gotten turned around and driven all the way back to Wisconsin Dells (another tourist hell hole designed to separate parents from money for spoiled little ungrateful spawns). Seriously, they even have an upside down White House in both places.

    Good info in this thread. We have been kicking the idea of moving in a few years once the kid is off to college and my wife is done with school. WNC is on the short list. We are in Madison, WI and Asheville reminds us of it a lot. Probably looking at living in outskirts of it more than anything. I do landscape and small remodel work and have heard repeatedly from people in the area that good contractors are hard to come by. So finding work should be doable.

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    Not to discourage you from moving, because that's what people did to us when we moved down here, but just a couple of things you should be aware of. First, there are a ton of contractors down here. Many of them are lazy, unethical, bad, etc., but there is no shortage. Which ties into my second point: it's not what you know down here, it's who you know. It's all about networking and building trust, which can be very difficult to do. If you aren't local, it is very difficult to gain acceptance with communities. The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage. People around here are friendly with their extended families and high school buddies. Not outsiders. Just giving you a fair warning, but my wife and I have done fine since moving down here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Not to discourage you from moving, because that's what people did to us when we moved down here, but just a couple of things you should be aware of. First, there are a ton of contractors down here. Many of them are lazy, unethical, bad, etc., but there is no shortage. Which ties into my second point: it's not what you know down here, it's who you know. It's all about networking and building trust, which can be very difficult to do. If you aren't local, it is very difficult to gain acceptance with communities. The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage. People around here are friendly with their extended families and high school buddies. Not outsiders. Just giving you a fair warning, but my wife and I have done fine since moving down here.
    If you don't mind me asking, what area, specifically, are you referencing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    Hi all! My wife and I work online full time, and recently came back to my home state of Alabama after living on the west coast for a few years. We are considering moving to Tennessee or North Carolina.

    We would like a nice town with a low cost of living, with epic riding nearby. I have heard that Chattanooga is a great town, but I don't know anything about riding there. Meanwhile, Gatlinburg is fairly close to Windrock, which I would love to have in my backyard.

    Finally, we have also considered Asheville NC, with Pisgah right down the road, but it is starting to get out of "cheap place to live" territory. Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice will be appreciated!

    (Also posting in Southeast)
    Cleveland, TN is a great area, cheap COL. If you are an outside person we have the ocoee river, TN/Hiwassie River, Lakes, Fly Fishing, Hiking, rock climbing, biking everywhere Ocoee/White Water center, Chilhowie/Clemer, Volkswagen/Enterprise South, White Oak, Bauxite Ridge, Racoon Mtn, 5 points, Stringers Ridge, all within 30 minutes or less of Cleveland.

    It's also close enough to Chatt to buzz down there within 20 minutes or hit up knoxville within 1 hour. I'm about 1 hr and 15 mins from Windrock. You have Pisga just up the Road and Mulberry Gap about 1 hr ish away... Jake and Bull mtn, stanley gap in North Ga. There is honestly riding everywhere. Check out the MTB project stuff...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Not to discourage you from moving, because that's what people did to us when we moved down here, but just a couple of things you should be aware of. First, there are a ton of contractors down here. Many of them are lazy, unethical, bad, etc., but there is no shortage. Which ties into my second point: it's not what you know down here, it's who you know. It's all about networking and building trust, which can be very difficult to do. If you aren't local, it is very difficult to gain acceptance with communities. The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage. People around here are friendly with their extended families and high school buddies. Not outsiders. Just giving you a fair warning, but my wife and I have done fine since moving down here.
    Bad contractors are everywhere. It's hard to find good people to do ANY type of work and 9/10 are usually incompetent/unreliable/etc, but that's true everywhere I lived.

    As for the "Southern hospitality" thing being garbage, I completely disagree. I visited here as an 'outsider' (even though I was born and raised in NC) for a year and a half or so, everyone I met was very friendly and nice especially compared to where we were coming from. I felt welcome almost everywhere I went.

    This discussion has been somewhat broad in terms of areas, but around Brevard/Fletcher/Hendersonville/etc, I've found people to be extremely kind and welcoming of everyone.

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    That sounds good! I have been over MTB project with a fine tooth comb! Now, I am really trying to get a feel for the communities around those areas. The general area of Chattanooga looks very promising though, and it provides easy access to my family, most of whom live in/near Anniston AL. Funny enough, in my motocross days, I used to race with a guy who had a track in Cleveland TN. I haven't thought about the town since, but it might be time to revisit!

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    Are you dead set on living so far South? My wife and I just bought a vacation home in Davis, WV (4300ft). We are 3-5 miles from skiing in the winter, there are a bujillion miles of national forest road of beautiful gravel, Miles and miles of singletrack for MTB and snowshowing, great beer, growing economy, and all for cheap.

    Downside: limited air travel access, rather limited high end food selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crockpot2001 View Post
    Are you dead set on living so far South? My wife and I just bought a vacation home in Davis, WV (4300ft). We are 3-5 miles from skiing in the winter, there are a bujillion miles of national forest road of beautiful gravel, Miles and miles of singletrack for MTB and snowshowing, great beer, growing economy, and all for cheap.

    Downside: limited air travel access, rather limited high end food selection.
    No, not really. In fact, we had initially planned to go back west. But the combination of cheap living and the outdoors is appealing to us, so we are considering spending a bit more time in the general area. Beyond that, easier access to family in Alabama, and familiarity are my main reasons for TN and NC.

    My only experience with WV was driving over the turnpike once, but it was beautiful! Do you have decent internet there? And are you looking to rent out that vacation home when your not there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    No, not really. In fact, we had initially planned to go back west. But the combination of cheap living and the outdoors is appealing to us, so we are considering spending a bit more time in the general area. Beyond that, easier access to family in Alabama, and familiarity are my main reasons for TN and NC.

    My only experience with WV was driving over the turnpike once, but it was beautiful! Do you have decent internet there? And are you looking to rent out that vacation home when your not there?
    Internet in Davis is just "Good". Not sure on the flow rate or whateveritscalled. We watch streaming movies at the house no problem. I do medical charting from there so I can get away from the facility I work in. No issue there either.

    We bought the place in August with the intention of doing VRBO when not there. We found it when we did a gravel race called Gravel Race up Spruce Knob. We've traveled the world a LOT and it is stunning there to us. The pine trees, black water (yup, like tea, and clean air despite it's coal mine hx). Anyhooz, We bought the place the next weekend and have not rented it a single time. We just did not get around to it since we go every single weekend we can which is about 2-3/month. We will have it on the rental market in the next few months...but the hot tub on the back deck keeps calling our names

    Also, there is a music hall there called the Purple Fiddle. Tons of great Bluegrass shredders coming through. Never a dull moment there. Tons of other arts going on too. Now I'm getting misty eyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    it's not what you know down here, it's who you know. It's all about networking and building trust, which can be very difficult to do. If you aren't local, it is very difficult to gain acceptance with communities. The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage.
    I don't know man. I had a very good experience with most people. Most of them have been very friendly.

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    People are people. Many are friendly, many are friendly to your face, and many just aren't friendly. My experiences around Hendersonville are that people are just as friendly as anyplace else. The difference is that much of the so-called Southern hospitality is really just a front, and there is a lot of behind the scenes back-stabbing and bless your hearts that aren't as friendly as they sound. Promotions and the like are often reserved for the good old boys, and transplants are often looked upon differently than the natives. Many of the friendliest people I've met are transplants. Not that there aren't friendly natives. Let's not be delusional and believe that people down here are nicer than anyplace else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    People are people. Many are friendly, many are friendly to your face, and many just aren't friendly. My experiences around Hendersonville are that people are just as friendly as anyplace else. The difference is that much of the so-called Southern hospitality is really just a front, and there is a lot of behind the scenes back-stabbing and bless your hearts that aren't as friendly as they sound. Promotions and the like are often reserved for the good old boys, and transplants are often looked upon differently than the natives. Many of the friendliest people I've met are transplants. Not that there aren't friendly natives. Let's not be delusional and believe that people down here are nicer than anyplace else.
    Having lived From Alabama to California to Switzerland and a few places in between, I would second the "people are people," by and large.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage. People around here are friendly with their extended families and high school buddies. Not outsiders. Just giving you a fair warning, but my wife and I have done fine since moving down here.
    Being a born and raised Southerner/Appalachian we don't really like when folks tell us our business or talk down to us or treat us like slow "Hillbillys". I've had that happen so many times after people hear my accent. They assume I am slow and dimwitted and then they try to take advantage.

    Its especially bad in Asheville since so many new residents are from up North or West where things move more quickly and people don't treat each other as kindly (in my experience at least)

    In other parts of the country its no big deal to do that but down here we take it personally.Not saying you did that but its something to be mindful of when you move to or visit here.

    It is 100% true that the "good ol' Boy" network is a real thing. Folks will watch out for their own first but most Southerners will go out their way to help strangers too unless you treat them poorly

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Let's not be delusional and believe that people down here are nicer than anyplace else.
    I've lived in a number of states over the last 15 years or so and I still disagree. I've found the folks around that area to be much friendlier and more willing to go out of their way to help people than any other place I've lived. I've had friends come in from out of state and make the same observation.

    If you want an actual comparison, when I lived in GA last, you'd ride on any of the trails there and pass 15 people, not a single one saying hello or acknowledging you exist. That is normal behavior. I crashed and had people pass me (not in a race) without so much as a word. Meanwhile, here, I can't be on the side of the trail standing still without someone asking if I'm alright, basically everyone that walks or rides by will check on you and make sure you are alright. I remember one encounter there where a guy was on the side of the trail chilling out, I asked if he was alright, and he stared at me blankly for about 3-4 seconds, then just got on his bike and rode off without a word. Those types of encounters are a regular occurrence there.

    Even off the trail, I've experienced far more acts of kindness here by total strangers than anywhere else I've lived except maybe Charleston pre-2008.

    So as a recent transplant and someone that travels with some regularity, I can tell you that my experiences are that people here are much kinder and friendlier than other parts of the nation that I've lived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I've lived in a number of states over the last 15 years or so and I still disagree. I've found the folks around that area to be much friendlier and more willing to go out of their way to help people than any other place I've lived. I've had friends come in from out of state and make the same observation.

    If you want an actual comparison, when I lived in GA last, you'd ride on any of the trails there and pass 15 people, not a single one saying hello or acknowledging you exist. That is normal behavior. I crashed and had people pass me (not in a race) without so much as a word. Meanwhile, here, I can't be on the side of the trail standing still without someone asking if I'm alright, basically everyone that walks or rides by will check on you and make sure you are alright. I remember one encounter there where a guy was on the side of the trail chilling out, I asked if he was alright, and he stared at me blankly for about 3-4 seconds, then just got on his bike and rode off without a word. Those types of encounters are a regular occurrence there.

    Even off the trail, I've experienced far more acts of kindness here by total strangers than anywhere else I've lived except maybe Charleston pre-2008.

    So as a recent transplant and someone that travels with some regularity, I can tell you that my experiences are that people here are much kinder and friendlier than other parts of the nation that I've lived.
    As a born and raised southerner, I support this reasoning 100%.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Not to discourage you from moving, because that's what people did to us when we moved down here, but just a couple of things you should be aware of. First, there are a ton of contractors down here. Many of them are lazy, unethical, bad, etc., but there is no shortage. Which ties into my second point: it's not what you know down here, it's who you know. It's all about networking and building trust, which can be very difficult to do. If you aren't local, it is very difficult to gain acceptance with communities. The whole thing about Southern hospitality is garbage. People around here are friendly with their extended families and high school buddies. Not outsiders. Just giving you a fair warning, but my wife and I have done fine since moving down here.
    Maybe it’s you?


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    Since you're not dead set on NC or TN, I would strongly encourage you to check out Harrisonburg VA. To say the riding is epic, is an understatement! Its an affordable place to live, has lots of nice restaurants/ breweries and three great bike shops. They have a stellar riding community-damn good people. I cant imagine internet access would be an issue. Here are a few links to check out. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/east-b...-virginia.html https://freehubmag.com/articles/backyard-frontier

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmark View Post
    Since you're not dead set on NC or TN, I would strongly encourage you to check out Harrisonburg VA. To say the riding is epic, is an understatement! Its an affordable place to live, has lots of nice restaurants/ breweries and three great bike shops. They have a stellar riding community-damn good people. I cant imagine internet access would be an issue. Here are a few links to check out. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/east-b...-virginia.html https://freehubmag.com/articles/backyard-frontier
    As a proud and happy NC resident, I will say that Harrisonburg blows Pisgah out of the water in quality of trails! Also the riding community as a whole is on another level. If I had to move somewhere, it would be there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    As a proud and happy NC resident, I will say that Harrisonburg blows Pisgah out of the water in quality of trails! Also the riding community as a whole is on another level. If I had to move somewhere, it would be there.

    This. There are some fantastic trails there.
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    i moved to Asheville about 6 months ago & bought a home in "Historic Montford" site unseen. Gutted kitchen and both baths; mostly myself, but hired a little here and there. I thought the contractors were easy to find, did great work and were fair priced.

    All of the folks at the kids schools, my wife's work, neighbors, shops (Find your line, Carolina Fatz, Youngblood, & Hub) & and local riding crew (Pisgah SORBA) are solid people and very easy to get along with. Feels like most everyone here in AVL is super friendly and helpful.

    I'm about 15 minutes to Bend Creek or Kitsuma and the riding is awfully good when it dried out....oh well, I guess that's why all the house work is done.

    If you move to AVL area, you're paying for a lot more than the riding; it's the brewing scene, restaurants, mountains, music, etc. you are paying for; no different than rockies. Lots of folks buying 2nd and 3rd homes down here and it's driving prices up, for sure (including my house).

    ...sounds like I need to travel this region more and keep exploring the goodies!
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    Meh. I have also lived in lots of places over the past several years because of work and school. Plus traveling to a bunch of other places. Moving to WNC was the first move because my wife and I wanted it, and we don't regret it at all.

    Generally speaking, I prefer the outward politeness of midwesterners and southerners. Maybe that has to do with the fact that I split my childhood between the midwest and southern Appalachians.

    I didn't like Pittsburgh, PA much because communities were so exceptionally insular there. Way more than anywhere else I've been. I lived there for years and it never felt like home.

    While I have loved the time I have spent out west, also, when I have visited and when I lived there, I never felt welcome.

    I liked the people in town when I lived in TX and may have been happy there long term, except the climate ruined it for me.

    It is true that the riding community in WNC seems somewhat fragmented compared to other places I have been that had tight cycling communities. But the mtb community is so big here, there is only so much that's possible. There is room for improvement, but it isn't bad or anything.

    I definitely prefer the outward politeness and civility over places where they ignore you. So what if you feel like you are being judged behind it all? You're always being judged by people no matter where you are.

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    I moved to Asheville in 2003. I call this home. Most people I met are nice. The ones you want to avoid are in Madison County. They doooooon't like outsiders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post

    If you want an actual comparison, when I lived in GA last, you'd ride on any of the trails there and pass 15 people, not a single one saying hello or acknowledging you exist. That is normal behavior. I crashed and had people pass me (not in a race) without so much as a word. Meanwhile, here, I can't be on the side of the trail standing still without someone asking if I'm alright, basically everyone that walks or rides by will check on you and make sure you are alright. I remember one encounter there where a guy was on the side of the trail chilling out, I asked if he was alright, and he stared at me blankly for about 3-4 seconds, then just got on his bike and rode off without a word. Those types of encounters are a regular occurrence there.
    Well that's disappointing to read, you must not have passed by me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Well that's disappointing to read, you must not have passed by me.
    When I have ridden in N GA, everybody has been super nice. But I haven't ridden anywhere else in the state. As a rule, I try to stay as far away from Atlanta as possible. I hate big cities in general, no matter where they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I've lived in a number of states over the last 15 years or so and I still disagree. I've found the folks around that area to be much friendlier and more willing to go out of their way to help people than any other place I've lived. I've had friends come in from out of state and make the same observation.

    If you want an actual comparison, when I lived in GA last, you'd ride on any of the trails there and pass 15 people, not a single one saying hello or acknowledging you exist. That is normal behavior. I crashed and had people pass me (not in a race) without so much as a word. Meanwhile, here, I can't be on the side of the trail standing still without someone asking if I'm alright, basically everyone that walks or rides by will check on you and make sure you are alright. I remember one encounter there where a guy was on the side of the trail chilling out, I asked if he was alright, and he stared at me blankly for about 3-4 seconds, then just got on his bike and rode off without a word. Those types of encounters are a regular occurrence there.

    Even off the trail, I've experienced far more acts of kindness here by total strangers than anywhere else I've lived except maybe Charleston pre-2008.

    So as a recent transplant and someone that travels with some regularity, I can tell you that my experiences are that people here are much kinder and friendlier than other parts of the nation that I've lived.
    Interesting, I've lived in SoCal my entire life (a place not well known for people being especially polite during to their hurried lives) and have mountain biked for 30 years this July. I've also ridden all over the Western US and PNW and on the whole, mountain bikers in general seem overwhelmingly polite & helpful to each other. No way, in any place I've ever ridden do the majority of people not at least ask if you're okay or need anything if you're stopped along the trail. N GA must be a special place in that regard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVL-MTB View Post
    I moved to Asheville in 2003. I call this home. Most people I met are nice. The ones you want to avoid are in Madison County. They doooooon't like outsiders.
    Can't agree here, or with any of the negative hospitality comments.

    Try starting by listening. Learn the history of an area, a community, the person you're talking to. Respect that history. Don't immediately start talking about how things need to change or be improved. Respect that initially, people will be wary or cautious because you are a stranger. Start your interaction believing the person you are talking with has something to teach you, even if appearances may say otherwise. Here's a good article from the Mother Earth News.

    https://www.motherearthnews.com/home...g-zmaz86jazgoe
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 01-25-2019 at 07:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    When I have ridden in N GA, everybody has been super nice. But I haven't ridden anywhere else in the state. As a rule, I try to stay as far away from Atlanta as possible. I hate big cities in general, no matter where they are.

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    You'll hate Atlanta more and more every day. We thought traffic was bad thirty years ago but it used to be only certain areas and certain times of the day. I had some elderly lady blowing her horn at me the other day because I didn't get out and potentially block the intersection if the light turned red before traffic cleared enough for me to make it all the way through.

    But mountain biking, a lot of the folks are really nice. I have been disappointed a few times, I had to walk my bike out once after my headset imploded and only about half the riders passing by checked on me. One guy even offered to go back to the trail head with me and drive me home. I've noticed when trail running that a lot of people won't acknowledge me but when I say "hi" they will respond back.

    My sister and her husband moved to Asheville a long time ago and they commented on the difference between those who had lived there their whole lives vs those who had moved there. My brother in law had a really hard time finding work there whereas in Atlanta he had all kinds of work going. He finally went back to school and got a nursing degree (my sister is also in the medical field).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Can't agree here, or with any of the negative hospitality comments.

    Try starting by listening. Learn the history of an area, a community, the person you're talking to. Respect that history. Don't immediately start talking about how things need to change or be improved. Respect that initially, people will be wary or cautious because you are a stranger. Start your interaction believing the person you are talking with has something to teach you, even if appearances may say otherwise. Here's a good article from the Mother Earth News.

    https://www.motherearthnews.com/home...g-zmaz86jazgoe
    agreed. Maybe I don't have such a problem with this because my family history goes back deep in this region. Certainly, when talking to locals, they can tell I'm not "from" here, and they often will ask a bit of family history. Maybe it reassures them that I do have roots in the region. Or maybe it's simply the fact that I'm willing to talk about it and am interested in their origins, too. At least I don't get the "you're not from around here, are you" sneer that I've been on the receiving end of in some places I've lived.

    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    My sister and her husband moved to Asheville a long time ago and they commented on the difference between those who had lived there their whole lives vs those who had moved there. My brother in law had a really hard time finding work there whereas in Atlanta he had all kinds of work going. He finally went back to school and got a nursing degree (my sister is also in the medical field).
    There are quite a few transplanted New Englanders and New Yorkers (and midwesterners and Eastern Europeans and others) here, so yeah, they do bring some of their quirks and customs for good or ill. Try looking for a good pizza place in Asheville, sometime. Look at online reviews of places. TONS of people with the "New York pizza or nothing" sort of attitude giving absolutely terrible reviews to any place that's not legit New York pizza (none of them are, but there's still respectable pizza to be had even if it's not authentic New York style). But by and large, the people who move here WANT to be here, and at least some level of "southernness" seems to grow on them after awhile.

    The work situation can be difficult depending on the industry you're in. I'm having a better go of it here than I have anywhere else I've been. Don't have a permanent job yet, but I landed a nice seasonal job last year in my field, and I do have half a dozen applications out right now for solid opportunities. Which, again, is better than I've had at any point in my life. In my field, Asheville simply has more opportunities than many other places. At least I have the luxury of being patient. That was one of the requirements for my wife and I to move here - that her job was solid enough to afford me the ability to be patient and conduct a solid job search, since jobs in my field tend to follow seasonal cycles.

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    Same here ^^

    People are actually enthusiastic to know more about where I'm from when they find out I'm not from here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    There are quite a few transplanted New Englanders and New Yorkers (and midwesterners and Eastern Europeans and others) here, so yeah, they do bring some of their quirks and customs for good or ill. Try looking for a good pizza place in Asheville, sometime. Look at online reviews of places. TONS of people with the "New York pizza or nothing" sort of attitude giving absolutely terrible reviews to any place that's not legit New York pizza (none of them are, but there's still respectable pizza to be had even if it's not authentic New York style).
    Speaking of pizza. Angelo’s pizza in Arden is awesome. The dude is legit

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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    Speaking of pizza. Angelo’s pizza in Arden is awesome. The dude is legit
    Haven't been there yet. I'm out in Candler so most places I've tried are west, or downtown. I have been to Farenheit in Arden, though. Their pizza is pretty good, but the best part about the place is how they serve beer. Load up a card and self serve until your card runs out.

    White Labs makes some delicious wood-fired pizza. I like that they don't pretend to be a New York style pizza. They just do their own thing.

    Being from the midwest, my pizza doesn't have to adhere to any particular "style" as long as it's good quality. New York, Chicago, or whatever style is fine. Just give me good, fresh ingredients and a crust that's light and chewy and with just the right firmness and doesn't taste like cardboard. In short, just do a good job with it.

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    While I tooted the horn for Davis, WV (Super small town) several recommended Harrisonburg. I can't say I disagree at all with that. Awesome town and riding that is the largest town near the Shenandoah 100 race area. Fine riding there!

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    Go west young man!

    Based on the amount of rain the region has received over the last several years I'm not sure I would recommend anywhere in the southeast for mtb riding. Trails all across NC have been closed most every day since early September. If you're a whitewater paddler it's great, if you ride a mountain bike not so much.

    You may not be in that age bracket yet but the 50+ forum on mtbr has some great threads about best places to live/retire for mountain biking. It's worth checking out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnroyal View Post
    Based on the amount of rain the region has received over the last several years I'm not sure I would recommend anywhere in the southeast for mtb riding. Trails all across NC have been closed most every day since early September. If you're a whitewater paddler it's great, if you ride a mountain bike not so much.

    You may not be in that age bracket yet but the 50+ forum on mtbr has some great threads about best places to live/retire for mountain biking. It's worth checking out.
    I will check that out! I am a long way form typical retirement age, but working online and relocating every couple of years, we do look for a lot of the same thing in a place to live that an outdoor focused retiree would want! Thanks for the pro tip!

    On another note, while the rain in the south is rough, and I did enjoy my time in southern California, not riding due to rain beats not riding due to forest fires. I do want to get back west before too long though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Haven't been there yet. I'm out in Candler so most places I've tried are west, or downtown. I have been to Farenheit in Arden, though. Their pizza is pretty good, but the best part about the place is how they serve beer. Load up a card and self serve until your card runs out.

    White Labs makes some delicious wood-fired pizza. I like that they don't pretend to be a New York style pizza. They just do their own thing.

    Being from the midwest, my pizza doesn't have to adhere to any particular "style" as long as it's good quality. New York, Chicago, or whatever style is fine. Just give me good, fresh ingredients and a crust that's light and chewy and with just the right firmness and doesn't taste like cardboard. In short, just do a good job with it.
    For pizza, I still like Marcos, though now they call it 828 pizza. Favillas is good too. I agree on white labs. The wood fried pizza is good, but the rest of the food is meh. Haven’t tried angelos, will have to give it a go.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    For pizza, I still like Marcos, though now they call it 828 pizza. Favillas is good too. I agree on white labs. The wood fried pizza is good, but the rest of the food is meh. Haven’t tried angelos, will have to give it a go.


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    Angelos is one of those hole in the wall places that may not be up to par with the classier joints, but he gave us a free 12 pack of beer one time so I may be biased. 😜

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    Angelos is one of those hole in the wall places that may not be up to par with the classier joints, but he gave us a free 12 pack of beer one time so I may be biased.
    Lol. I wouldn’t call any of those places fancy, but I’d be partial to anybody that gave me free beer.


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    I live in Asheville, been here since 2007, and love it. But it does have expensive housing. Prior to Asheville I was in Johnson city from 2002 until I moved here. I like JC but not as much as Asheville. When I left there was not a lot of riding options. I think there are more now. I think it is a good option especially since TN has no state income tax.

    My wife is from Roanoke and I really like the city. Good riding at carvin's Cove and the surrounding area. Plus you're closer to snowshoe and harrisonburg. There also appears to be more job opportunities if that becomes necessary.

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    Having grown up in Long Island NY, I can say with 100% confidence the pizza in NY kicks ass. Having said that, there is no reason to be an elitist prick about it. Bella Luna in Harrisonburg makes fantastic wood fired pizza!! Nice beer selection too...
    Last edited by guitarmark; 01-26-2019 at 04:05 PM.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lgmoto356 View Post
    I have been over MTB project with a fine tooth comb!
    Far superior product: https://www.trailforks.com/ Good luck with your decision!

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhawk View Post
    Far superior product: https://www.trailforks.com/ Good luck with your decision!
    that's debatable. it does have better coverage in Pisgah, but that's just a matter of whether people are loading the trails. In Dupont? I think mtbproject has a slight edge in coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Asheville is pretty expensive.
    What is it that makes Asheville expensive to live? I've seen that mentioned a lot of times. It seems like a really cool town but it doesn't seem like a major hub for high paying jobs. Is it a shortage of housing? Or are there just a lot of old money and rich retirees living there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonMX5 View Post
    What is it that makes Asheville expensive to live? I've seen that mentioned a lot of times. It seems like a really cool town but it doesn't seem like a major hub for high paying jobs. Is it a shortage of housing? Or are there just a lot of old money and rich retirees living there?
    when compared to some popular western outdoor cities, maybe it's not so expensive. but for the southeast, it is.

    Why? there are a couple drivers. Yes, there are quite a few rich retirees, and wealthy people with second homes and that sort of thing. That's one driver of it. Another is that there are a lot of younger people who want to live here because it's so close to lots of outdoor recreation. It's not just mtb, either. Sure, that's one, but there are lots of hikers, rock climbers, and paddlers, too. I see almost as many kayaks on vehicles as I do mtb's.

    There's also a lot to do in town. Lots of music. Lots of beer. That all drives the tourism industry. If there were large, well-known, high-paying major employers, Asheville's cost of living would be completely out of control. Whereas now it's just expensive.

    Pay for a given job is also relatively high here. The city has a $15/hr minimum wage. And while it doesn't legally appear to apply to every job, employers know that they're simply not going to get applicants if they don't pay them enough to live here. For example, I'm applying for a job right now that pays 1.6x what the same job pays in Indianapolis, IN (low cost of living, but also low pay). Not to mention, a lot of people here work from home or telecommute. It seems to be that the telecommuting comes first most of the time, and once people realize that they can then live wherever they want (as long as they have access to decent internet), then they come here for quality of life reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonMX5 View Post
    What is it that makes Asheville expensive to live? I've seen that mentioned a lot of times. It seems like a really cool town but it doesn't seem like a major hub for high paying jobs. Is it a shortage of housing? Or are there just a lot of old money and rich retirees living there?
    I saw a study 2 years ago or so and something like 70% of the households in Asheville makes under 65k/yr.

    If you ask locals, they'll tell you it's the tourism economy, blame AirBnB for driving prices up, etc. I'm not sure it's really any of those single things, it's just a place people want to live and are moving to in droves, while also being a big vacation destination. It probably also has to do with more and more careers going fully remote, permitting people to live where they want and make a decent salary.

    It reminds me a lot of Charleston in the early 2000s, even before AirBnB, etc. It was insanely expensive to live in some areas just because it was where people wanted to be and a lot of people owned vacation homes there, but there was no job market to speak of outside of lawyers and healthcare (and one big tech employer). The housing prices went up pretty quickly in some areas and as the area gained popularity, places that were once run down became gentrified and the surrounding areas went up in value considerably.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I saw a study 2 years ago or so and something like 70% of the households in Asheville makes under 65k/yr.

    If you ask locals, they'll tell you it's the tourism economy, blame AirBnB for driving prices up, etc. I'm not sure it's really any of those single things, it's just a place people want to live and are moving to in droves, while also being a big vacation destination. It probably also has to do with more and more careers going fully remote, permitting people to live where they want and make a decent salary.

    It reminds me a lot of Charleston in the early 2000s, even before AirBnB, etc. It was insanely expensive to live in some areas just because it was where people wanted to be and a lot of people owned vacation homes there, but there was no job market to speak of outside of lawyers and healthcare (and one big tech employer). The housing prices went up pretty quickly in some areas and as the area gained popularity, places that were once run down became gentrified and the surrounding areas went up in value considerably.
    This pretty much sums it up. People want to live here. Lots of people. Some come with a lot of money, and are more than willing to pay a premium to live here.
    I spent the late 80’s and the 90’s in Montford. It was cheap, dirty, eclectic, seedy, exciting, and scary at times. It was diverse, and it was awesome. Now look at it. Not at all diverse, white, and boring. The first neighborhood I lived in when I moved to Asheville was Shiloh. Even it’s becoming gentrified. West Asheville has long been “converted”. Asheville is a great place to live, but as it grows, it begins to lose some of its charm. Folks still coming in droves, though.


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