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Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

California
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Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

We (hubby and me) arriving in Charlotte on Tuesday Aug 30 evening, departing 4 pm Wed 9/7. Got car and 7 full days to look but nothing else booked. Need help with driving itinerary and where to stay. We are looking at areas intentions of semi-retirement and have never been to NC and want to get a feel for different areas.

Question: should we book 5 nights in Huntersville Marriott Residence Inn as a base and drive out daily to towns we want to see? Is it possible to drive to Asheville and look around and be back without overdoing it or should we spend night in Asheville?

We want to look around Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, in and around Charlotte, Asheville area. Not sure want to see Raleigh area as like the sound of Charlotte.

Our only fixed time and place to be is visiting a friend on Labor Day in Jacksonville, Onslow County, spend that night with her, then we'd have one more night before out flight leaves at 4 pm from Charlotte on the Wednesday. To accommodate that we could drive from Charlotte to Wilmington on that Sunday, stay one night there (any hotel suggestions?) and drive out to see her the next day, spend the night with her. Then we could drive back to Charlotte Tuesday morning, spend one night at airport hotel, and take a last look around before leaving the next day. Is this doablet?

I would really appreciate feedback. Time is short. Thank you!!!

NC
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1. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

You've got a lot of ground to cover. Do you have reservations in Huntersville already? That would not be a bad starting place - at least to spend the first night. You really should spend one night in Asheville, but you'll be a couple of hours from there if you stay in Huntersville ( you just drive up I-77 and hit I-40 west).

If you stay the second night in Asheville, you'll get to see more of the area. Also- a lot of retirees go to Hendersonville, just south of Asheville. You could drive downI-26 to that area and look around on your way to Charlotte. Then you hit U.S. 74 east and you are about an hour and half from Charlotte. Stay somewhere either near the university or in south Charlotte ( what's your budget for lodging?).

Then you can hit I-85 to Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point ( The Triad).....stop as you wish....40 will take you to Raleigh and then on toward Wilmington.

That's the route I'd take - Charlotte-Asheville-Hendersonville-Charlotte-Triad-Raleigh-Coast.

Other suggestions may follow. Best wishes and have a safe trip.

NC
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2. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

OOps- just saw you don't have much interest in Raleigh - delete and keep going! LOL.

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

We took a similar trip a few years ago for the same reason. I would suggest driving to Hickory on your first night and using that as a base for Hickory, Conover, Newton, Morganton, Asheville, then travel down 77 to see Mooresville, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and then end up south of Charlotte to see Union county and maybe to Fort Mill & Tega Cay SC. Depends on what type of place you are looking for. If you have more specifics as to what you have in mind, we may be able to help more.

California
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4. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

Thanks Bud, I really value your input and have followed along with some of these wonderful posts. We haven't booked anywhere yet!

As you suggested I think we should stay in South Charlotte as then we can visit York County, Tega Cay, Baxter Village and Fort Mill as well as Lake Wylie (I like water) and leave out the Raleigh triangle area (or have my friend come to meet us in Raleigh 'scept she's just getting back from the UK Sun night so will be shattered and has to go to work Tuesdyay!)

Where would you recommend to say in South Charlotte or University area? Our budget is $100-$120 per night.

So if we did

(2 nights) Huntersville, (see Lake Norman area)

(2nights) Asheville/Henderson

(2 nights) So Charlotte/Uni area

(1) Wilmington

(1) Friends house Jacksonsville, Onslow

(1) Charlotte near Airport, fly back, put house on market :)

Thanks again,

southcarolina
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5. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

Well if you are going to ask Bud where to stay in South Charlotte my money is on the Ballantyne Resort (it may be a few dollars more than what your budget is...but well worth it).....so how did I do Bud? :o)

If you happen to be anywhere near Tega Cay on September 4th may I also invite you to a free outdoor concert, located at the Beach and Swim Center. Just in case you or anyone else out there happens to be interested it is from 7pm to 10pm. It's a great time where everyone brings chairs or blankets and enjoys the music outdoors. There is a also a kids play area, with fun activities supporting "I'm A Kool Kid Foundation". Last but not least there will be local restaurants selling food, drinks (beer & wine).

I hope your trip goes well and you end up enjoying the Carolina's as much as we have!

California
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6. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

Thanks (Soon to) Retire! That sounds good and I'm plotting out my map with little stickers and that seems to cover a lot of the areas I've been reading about.. How long does it take to drive to Hickory? Is it an easy drive from the airport? My only concern is we arrive after 6 pm (takes all day from San Francisco) and time we get out of the airport with car it will be after 7pm, probably be dark and we'll be tired.

What are we looking for? A house about $200K in a great neighborhood! Is that realistic? So it won't be on the lake, but near the lake is ok. Somewhere nice to walk the dog (I saw pictures of Baxter Village and it looked lovely. Have you chosen a place to live yet?

Charlotte, North...
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7. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

If I can remember it takes us about 45-60 min to get from airport to hotel in Hickory but pretty direct. 85S to 321N to 40E. Since it gets dark around 8:30 PM, you will probably have just enough daylight. We use National Emerald Aisle so getting a car is pretty quick.

Real Estate in Asheville can be very pricey so $200K may be hard to find. Hendersonville would be a better choice. I have a friend who is building in in Celadon Hills. Check out http://www.gladeholdings.com/index.htm

Check out Newton, Conover, Taylorsville, Granite Falls near Hickory. Check out www.downtownhickory.com

These websites have some nice neighborhoods near lake.

www.nclakefront.com

www.catawbavalleywaterfront.com

www.lakehickoryrealty.com

You can be in a community right on the lake with an inexpensive interior lot.

We found Lake Norman to be more expensive and crowded. Most of the Crescent communities we visited had high tension power lines running through the area. Here are a couple of websites that might help as well. http://cedarcrofthomes.com/

newhomesource.com/new-homes/CharlotteNC.htm

We will be back down in the fall to look at Anchors Landing, Riverbend, Doe Run and Grace Harbour areas all Granite Falls area. If you search MLS you can find some homes for sale.

NC
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8. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

LOL - you did well tegacay! Sure Ballantyne is a great place to stay if it's in your budget. About the only other choices are typical chain hotels - but they are OK too.

I also concur that the Conover area is certainly worth considering. Catawba County is a great place to live for sure! Wow - too many choices!

Best wishes!

California
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9. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

Ok before you East Coasters all go to bed one more question! If we stay at Ballantynes we'll never get out to see all the homes and the areas!! So can you recommend a good chain hotel there for a couple of nights - or any to avoid?

We'll start our trip by driving directly to Hickory and stay for three nights (Marriott or Hampton Inn as previously mentioned by RETIRE), then, drive to on So Charlotte, to look at Tega Cay area for two nights.

Lovetegacaysc - thanks for the lovely invite on Sunday 4th. For us tho that day we have to drive to Wilmington, stay there for the night so we can visit with girlfried in Jacksonville on the holiday. Our last day and night back from Jacksonville, we'll leave unplanned for now, maybe Pinehurst or back to somewhere we liked in Charlotte area.

So many places, so little time. You've all been extremely helpful and I'm buy looking up all the sites. We can't wait for our trip. Best regards from California.

NC
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10. Re: Help! CA to NC here we come! What's the best way to see it...

Good point about Ballantyne! There are several fine lodging choices in S. Charlotte along I-485 between Pineville and Matthews. There's a Courtyard by Marriottt in Ballantyne that's reasonable. Back up the road toward Pineville ( near Carolina Place Mall) There is a StudioPlus and Extended Staty Suites and a Comfort Inn. I also think there is a Hampton Inn in the area. Any of those would be fine. Might be a Best Western there too. Have a safe trip.