Moving to Wilmington, NC
July 5, 2008 9:28 AM   Subscribe

We're moving to the beach! But, I would like a few specifics about life in Wilmington, NC.

Hope me Wilmington Mefites! I was offered a career position with the City of Wilmington last week, and now my husband and I have three to four weeks to relocate from Winston-Salem, NC to Wilmington, NC.

I grew up on the Delmarva shore and my husband spent most of his summers and free time visiting the coast from Wilmington down to Myrtle, so we have a decent understanding of coastal living. We're even familiar with where we like to fish and eat and drink and visit when we're in the greater Wilmington area.

What we would love to have is information regarding "lifestyle and living" questions.
-What neighborhoods are best for a married couple (who does not plan on expanding the family any time soon) that earns combined $60K? We're going to live in an apartment from 6 months to a year just to become oriented and save some money, but we would like to purchase a single-family house in the future.
-Any recommendations as far as apartment/condo complexes that are safe, comfortable, and dog-friendly? Any to avoid?
-Does anyone have a suggestion for veterinarians and/or doggie daycare? My schedule is so that we would only need to take the Rocky dog to daycare up to 3x per week. He's 5 years old, healthy, and blind (he gets around just fine, but sometimes we think we should buy him a little helmet!).
-What is traffic like on a regular basis? Is this a bicycle-friendly area (i.e., will I have trouble riding my road bike to work?)?
-What tasty vegetables and fruits can I grow in my garden?
-Best tackle/fishing shops in the area?
-Safe running trails and areas? Good mountain bike trails? Or will I be riding my road bike more with the terrain?
-We're both interested in hopefully joining an adult sport league (he's looking for flag or contact football, I'm more interested in ultimate, soccer, or tennis), and I've found some interesting leads, but do you have any clubs/teams you'd specifically endorse?
-Is there anything that you wish you would have known before you made the move to Wilmington?

Thank you in advance...this totally might be an excuse for a meetup.
posted by sara is disenchanted to Travel & Transportation around Wilmington, NC (5 answers total)
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone for Wilmington, NC is 8a: here's a map.
posted by mdonley at 10:34 AM on July 5, 2008

I don't know how helpful this is, but since nobody else is answering:

I spent about four years living in Wilmington, leaving about three years ago, so my information may be out of date. I spent all that time living just outside downtown, and I highly recommend looking in that area and in the older "streetcar" suburbs between downtown and 17th Street along Market and a few blocks in either direction. There are safe and less-safe areas here (although I think Wilmingtonians enjoy exaggerating the dangers of the more down-at-heel blocks) but even in a nicer area I'd think on $60K you could rent a small house with a yard, or a floor in a bigger house. (You couldn't buy in this area on that income when I left unless you were willing to take on a project house and/or live in a more dubious neighborhood, though I imagine prices have fallen at least a little since then.) I really liked the older housing stock and walkable feel of these areas; I don't know if that appeals to you or not.

Two of my bosses lived across the river in Brunswick County where apparently it was possible to buy a proper house relatively cheaply while remaining only a few minutes' drive from downtown.

I had a bike for a while until it was stolen and could usually get where I was going — Wilmington is terrible about bike lanes, and many of the arterial roads like Market Street (can't recall the names of the other big two) are multi-lane monstrosities that are awful to ride on, but at least within the area between downtown and the college there are usually ways to get where you're going on side streets. If you're working downtown, it's of course a very easy ride from the streetcar suburbs I mentioned above.

I can't really speak to the more suburban parts of town — I had, as mentioned above, a bike for a short while, and later a scooter, but for most of my time there I had neither, and never had a car, which certainly puts me in a very small minority of Wilmingtonians and which constrained me pretty sharply to the older parts of the city around the downtown area, so my perspective is skewed. Perhaps not coincidentally, those parts tend to be the parts of which I'm fondest; all of which is to say, take everything here with a grain of salt.

Hope this is at least somewhat helpful.
posted by enn at 10:36 PM on July 5, 2008

I was born in Wilmington and my family is still there.

For housing, I can recommend one agent who will steer you right. She worked with my nephew when he was looking for a place, and she took him to sooo many places, before he found his peculiar place that she probably didn't make much since his was not expensive.... She works at Intracoastal Realty and is Angie Wyatt. (note, not Angela Wyatt who's someone else.). I feel certain that she can give you good advice.

Go to Tex's Tackle for fishing supplies.

Riding a bike to work will depend on location. There are few bike lanes, and traffic is not terribly knowledgeable about rights of bikes. Still, lots of folks do ride them to work, you just have to be a bit more aware of the driver-base around. Lots of tourists during season and lots of retired folks too, plus lots of newly planted folks who are a bit more agressive...The plus side is that the weather is never snowy or icy; although the humidity in summer is a bit much somedays.

And, unless you live across the bridge and get caught by a frequent accident or bridge opening, rush hour is not much. You can cross the City in 30 minutes.

Cannot give any recommendations about sports groups. There is a small soccer team, the Wilmington Hammerheads where you may be able to find links or suggestions for groups from some of their sponsors....

The City has a good website with links, and there are some pretty active people there, so use them as a resource for references.

I'll contact a friend who's doggie goes to camp several days a week and find out the name and update this thread later.

Many many green things grow in the zone 8 area. Contact the County Arboretum for guidance. Just be aware that spring plants bolt very early since the heat gets to them early. Summertime means lots of produce, yet the true tropicals such as citrus trees will not survive the winter outside.
posted by mightshould at 8:01 AM on July 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all for the information! We're really looking forward to this move!
posted by sara is disenchanted at 2:38 PM on July 7, 2008

Update: Vet suggestion Needham Animal Hospital Dr. Jaffee. Doggy day care will depend on your location. There's a good one out Highway 17 just beyond Poplar Grove on the way to Hampstead (I don't think it will be near you.) Also suggested is A Dog's Dream for doggie care.
posted by mightshould at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2008

« Older CATch Me If You Can!   |   Big-city livin' Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.