How Durham, NC Became One of the Best Places to Live in the Country

When was the last time you took a look at Durham? Whether you live here or are just considering it, it’s a town that’s well worth taking a closer look at. In fact, it’s among the top places to live in the United States, and U.S. News and World Report recently listed it as the 4th best place to live in the country! Here are a few reasons why Durham continually outsides the competition.

A Brilliant Transformation
Durham wasn’t always the thriving metropolitan center that it is today. In fact, in the 19th and 20th century, it was home to old tobacco mills. Then, towards the turn of the century, it began a transformation that took those old mills and transformed them into urban lofts and office spaces. Here you can find apartments in what was once an old mill, and this gives the city a distinctive vibe that people love.

Rich Business Center
Durham houses Research Triangle Park, a business center that taps into the graduates of Duke University and the other universities in and around the region. This means that economic opportunities are abundant wherever you look, as the business and industry of Research Triangle Park bleeds into the rest of Durham.

Family-Friendly Entertainment Scene
Durham has entertainment and recreation for everyone. With family-friendly museums, a thriving arts scene, and a rich musical heritage, you’ll find something to keep you and yours engaged as you explore the culture and art of Durham. It’s also packed with green space, with parks around almost every corner.

Varied Real Estate Market
Another reason Durham continues to be one of the best places to live is because of its varied real estate opportunities. Here you can find affordable properties and luxury properties, with everything from estate homes to comfortable flats and apartments. There’s really something for everyone in Durham even in terms of real estate.

Are you ready to experience Durham again? The next time you’re driving around town, take a moment to appreciate all that this city has to offer. You’ll see that it really is one of the best!

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Charlotte vs. Raleigh

Charlotte and Raleigh are two of the best places to live in the country, both ranking in the top 20 on WalletHub’s Best & Worst Large Cities to Live in. Yet these two cities, though similar, have unique features to consider. If you’re considering one of these metro areas, you may want to know what makes each stand apart. Here’s the low-down about what living in Charlotte vs. living in the Raleigh/Durham area is all about.

Cost-of-Living
Overall, Raleigh has a higher cost of living, with a rank of 102.1 out of 100 (the average in the United States, but Charlotte isn’t much different, raking at 97.2. Raleigh counters this higher cost of living with a higher average salary, with $38,000 being the average salary compared to 36,176 in Charlotte. Interestingly, it’s housing and utilities where Raleigh has the higher costs, as food, healthcare, and transportation costs are equal to or lower than Charlotte.

Similar Population Statistics
Charlotte is slightly larger than Raleigh, with 0.75 people compared to Raleigh’s 0.4 people, but the population density is about the same. Both cities have around 1,000 people per square kilometer. The average age is similar as well, with an average of 33.3 years for Charlotte and 31.9 years for Raleigh.

What Makes Them Unique
Though the cities are similar, they have some unique features as well. One of these is the fact that Raleigh has more universities and institutes of higher education. Raleigh has 12, while Charlotte has 6. Also, Raleigh is more of a metro “area” than Charlotte. When people refer to Raleigh, they may be referring to one of many cities, including Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary, as well as the business district of Research Triangle Park. This means people in Charlotte have one downtown, while those in Raleigh have many centers to contend with. Charlotte has more museums, and it also has a bike-sharing system, which Raleigh does not have.

Overall, the two cities are fairly similar, with their own unique vibes but a similar quality of life. No matter which you chose, whether it be uptown Charlotte apartments, or in the booming suburbs of Raleigh, the economic opportunities are going to be excellent and the quality of life high, so you are sure to enjoy your new home.

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The Best Neighborhoods in Research Triangle Park

Research Triangle Park is quickly becoming the place to be for people who are looking for work in a community where they want to establish roots. With hundreds of businesses flocking to Research Triangle Park offering good-paying jobs, an established public transportation program, and excellent schools with other amenities for families, it’s no wonder that the communities around the Triangle are growing exponentially. If you’ve been looking for a community in RTP to call your won, you will find a number of excellent neighborhoods and towns to consider, but here are some of the best!

1. Cary
Cary regularly ranks as one of the top places to live in the Triangle, and for good reason. Beautiful tree-lined streets make you feel as if you’ve stepped into another time, and the population is heavily in favor of families with school-aged children. Cary is also within 20 minutes of many of the major metro areas of the Triangle, so your commute into work is rarely going to be a challenge.

2. Morrisville
Morrisville makes the list because of the varied housing options it offers and exceptional location. It’s earned the nickname of the “heart of the triangle” due to its location in the center of it all. It’s also a place where neighbors know one another well, and wave to friends whenever they drive by. The average home price is right around $260,000, which means affordable real estate is possible here, and apartment dwellers will find a number of attractive apartment communities as well. Add to this exceptional schools and you have a nearly perfect place to call home.

3. Apex
Apex makes the list because it’s known for its low crime rates. In fact, it’s one of the safest places to live in The Triangle as well as the rest of the Raleigh metro region, and as such it is seeing a steady growth in population in recent years. The community has a high population of married people and people with families, so it’s a place where folks can set down roots and raise their kids. To round out the benefits of life in Apex, the community has a number of charming older buildings with unique architecture to enjoy.

4. Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill has some of the top schools in the Triangle region. Not only do the schools perform well, but they’re also some of the best funded schools in the region. Kids get a lot of one-on-one attention from their teachers in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is also known for its low unemployment rates, which is not surprising with the large number of employers nearby. Because of the vast amount of educational facilities in the area, there is also an above average amount of short term lease apartments and housing available to students.

5. Wake Forest
The one drawback to life in the Triangle could be the lack of natural areas in this urban center, but Wake Forest makes up for this. It’s home to Falls Lake State Park, which has 26,000 acres of woodlands as well as the expansive Falls Lake. This provides ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and the community has many indoor adventures as well. Wake Forest is also close to the rest of the Triangle, so enjoying the urban center is not hard.

As you can see, the Triangle is home to a diverse mix of neighborhoods, all of which offer their own unique benefits. Yet you won’t go wrong with any of these five, all of which offer excellent benefits to those making the move to the Triangle.

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Best Summer Events in Raleigh, NC

Summers are hot in Raleigh, but as the temperature rises, so does the vibe of the city. As you’re planning barbecues and picnics, make sure you schedule some time for popular local events. Here are some of the top summer events in Raleigh that you’ll want to fit into your calendar.

1. Independence Day Block Party
Head to the Neuse River Brewing Company on July 2 for the second-annual Independence Day Block Party. A lengthy list of food trucks will be on hand offering everything from gourmet hot dogs to Maine lobster for sale. Enjoy the food and retail vendors, while you enjoy live music from Midlife Crisis and Heads Up Penny. This is the perfect event to kick off the upcoming Fourth of July festivities!

2. The ‘Works!
Downtown Raleigh is the place to go for the Fourth of July, with a fireworks extravaganza taking place along Fayetteville Street. Festivities start at noon with rides and games for the kids, live music, a beer and wine tent, Circus Maximus, street performers, eating contests and more! You can even have a picnic right on Fayetteville Street! Around 9:30, the sky will come alive with fireworks over the Duke Energy Center.

3. SouthEast Crab Feast
Do you love crab? Then head to Lake Wheeler Park at noon on July 2 for the 7th Annual SouthEast Crab Feast event. Here the Low Country coastal tradition of fresh seafood cooked outdoors is celebrated in style. With your ticket you will enjoy all-you-can-eat fresh Blue Crabs, with a side of fish and chips. The family-friendly event also features live music. Bring your own dipping sauce, or simply enjoy the rich seasonings cooked right on to the crab!

4. Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
The original beer and BBQ festival, the Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festival takes place in nearby Cary at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre on July 28 and 29. With your paid admission you will enjoy all you care to taste samples of beer and bourbon, as well as plenty of BBQ for sale form the on-site vendors. The tasting theater will host seminars about the local brews, and you will enjoy the sounds of live music throughout your visit. Festivities start at 6 on Friday night with a Whole Hog Pig Pickin’, followed by a full tasting session on Saturday at 2.

5. Sunday in the Park
Sunday in the Park is a free concert series that takes place on Sundays throughout the summer at Fred Fletcher Park and Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh. This music series will feature a different genre each week, so you’re sure to find something that matches your tastes. Bring your food, a blanket and your friends or family to enjoy the sounds of jazz, Rhythm and Blues, pop, bluegrass and more! The concerts begin at 6, but come early for the best possible seating. The July 9 concert will feature the four-part vocal jazz ensemble Capital Transit, which performs swing, pop, Doo-Wop and traditional blues for your enjoyment.

Whether you live in Raleigh or just in town visiting, these events are sure to be fun & exciting. We hope to see you there!

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Top Places for Brunch in Durham, NC

In many ways, brunch is the perfect meal. Breakfast lovers can dine on eggs and bacon, while those who have a hankering for a sandwich can get that as well. If you live in a home or apartment in Durham, you’ll find that the community has quite a large number of brunch restaurants for your consideration. Here are some of the best!

1) Elmo’s Diner
If you want home-cooked, you want Elmo’s. Food here is served in typical diner fashion, but you can get breakfast all day. So, any time of the day can be brunch. The food here is southern inspired, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the waiters get to know your favorite order once you become a regular.

2) Dame’s Chicken & Waffles
Chicken and waffles is a go-to southern brunch faire, and Dame’s is one of the top places to get it, but that’s not the only brunch food you can get here. The Breakfast Buttercup, which features eggs and bacon sandwiched between two waffles, is another popular treat. Of course, you’ll want to taste their Almost World Famous Waffles, and the Shmear at Dame’s is definitely something you need to experience for brunch!

3) Foster’s Market
Foster’s Market is a casual atmosphere with a large selection of muffins, scones, sandwiches, smoothies, and salads. It’s a great option for a lighter brunch meal, and this is a Durham classic that you really need to experience. It opens daily at 7:30, so brunch can be as early as you want it to be!

4) Fairview Dining Room
Located at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, the Fairview Dining Room is an upscale place for brunch. In fact, this restaurant is so upscale that brunch is a three-course meal, and you’ll want to leave the jeans behind in favor of something a little more dressy. You have your choice of meals for your main course, but make sure you leave room for dessert which is to die for!

Yes, the brunch scene in Durham is excellent. The net time you’re looking to dine out around 11 on a weekend, pick one of these restaurants. You will not be disappointed!

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Best Bars in Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is well-known for its dining scene, but for those who are looking for somewhere to drink, you’ll find the community serves you well as well. Chapel Hill has a nice list of bars where fun and entertainment are easy to find. If you’re new to the area, or are looking to leave your new apartment to discover a new location for a night out with your friends, then these bars should be on your list.

Linda’s Bar and Grill
Located on Franklin Street, Linda’s Bar and Grill is a place where you can dine on good old fashioned American food while enjoying your favorite drinks. This two-story bar has a game room in the lower level and a dining room on top. Whether you’re there for a game of darts with friends or want to grab a burger and fries for dinner, Linda’s won’t disappoint.

The Cave
Also on Franklin Street, The Cave is located in the oldest tavern in Chapel Hill. Until 2 a.m. every night, you can catch country, folk and rock music being played at the Cave. It has excellent drinks, but no liquor, and some fun drinks for the kids as well. Pinball machines and pool tables make it even more inviting.

Crossroads Bar at the Carolina Inn
The Carolina Inn has recently undergone a massive restoration, and the newly restored building has the historic architecture it was known for, but with modern amenities inside. The Crossroads Bar features rich leather club chairs in a lounge setting surrounded by framed illustrations from Daily Tar Heel. This is a refined space in which to enjoy drinks with friends in a historic Chapel Hill location.

The Crunkleton
If you’re looking for a classic cocktail, the Crunkleton is the place to go. Since its opening in 2008, the Crunkleton has been appealing to both refined business men and college students, who come together over a love of fine cocktails. This unique location gives a shout out to the Prohibition era, when laws mandated drinking establishments required membership. But don’t worry – the lifetime membership is just $5.

As you can see, the bar scene in Chapel Hill is an excellent one, with many choices for residents to enjoy. Take some time to get to know your community, and its drinking establishments, a little better by exploring some of these locations. If you are new to the area and looking for a new apartment community, be sure to check out Carolina Square!

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The 2017 Housing Market: Should I Rent or Purchase?

The jump from renting to buying is a huge milestone in life. Ever since the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2008, trends and predictions have flowed about who will buy, when and if Millennials will buy, and how long it will take the market to settle back down. Those interested in buying or renting out property in 2017 will want to look at the financial forecast of the housing market for the coming year. Experts in economics have predicted an overall steady housing market for the next year. While the close of 2016 should not be majorly affected, trending housing demands, the beginning of President Trump’s term, and a hike in interest rates will likely create a slower but still rising year. As always, whether you buy or rent will depend on a few factors, including your age, financial situation, and distance you are willing to move. Here are a few tips as well as explanations of the market predictions that will help you determine whether you should rent or purchase a unit in 2017.

  1. Consider Your Location to Buy. Ask yourself: Where are you willing to move? Housing price is all about location, location, location. Some cities are seeing higher demand and rising home prices while towns on the fringes slowly develop. If you are looking for a home in a particular area, it is best to consult an experienced realtor in the field who knows the area. Many people find realtors through word of mouth, but there are also websites that will match you with a realtor. A realtor who knows the area will match your needs with the best prices and will be able to give you financing tips that will suite you. If you are more open to locations out of the city or state, you might find more prime options. Housing markets in cities like Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Richmond, Virginia; Tampa, Florida; San Diego, California, and many more are attracting investors and might be good options to find a home. If you are willing to move out of state, research different cities to determine which lifestyle is right for you, and whether the job market is growing or stable in your field of work (unless you are flexible on that term).
  2. Stick to a Budget. The 2008 Subprime Mortgage Crisis sobered up the public as well as the banks and federal government about affordability. If you feel in over your head about mortgages, fixed interest rates, and what your monthly budget can sustain in this rising market, then it is wise to consult with your realtor. Again, a realtor should be able to simplify the terms based on your income and expectations. It is easy to fall in love and romanticize your life in the beautiful new home you just saw, but don’t be fooled: if it is out of your budget along with your other monthly expenses, you need to keep looking. Your local bank can also advise you. They can inform you on what they can lend you at a certain interest rate.
  3. Consider the Financial Risk. Once you already know your budget, you can create a more accurate assessment on whether you should continue to rent or buy a home. It will not be worth it to buy if you are not financially secure. Although it is predicted that home buying will rise in 2017, that does not mean you are ready. It is predicted that Millennials, for example, are likely to settle down in large numbers in the coming years, but that does not define your individual needs at this moment. Some people fear that if they continue to rent, it may be a poor investment decision. But in the end, it may actually be the best in the long term.
  4. The Benefits of Renting. Since the Recession, young people have become more mobile and more educated. Renting means that at the end of the lease you can choose to leave on a whim. If you are not financially able to own a house, that doesn’t mean you are not financially stable enough to travel or relocate. The flexibility that renting offers can allow you to try different lifestyles or adjust in case you lose or try to change your job. Eventually, when you are financially prepared and satisfied with the pros and cons of the area you wish to live, then the time to settle down will come. However, do not pressure yourself—all things come in good time. If you do choose to rent, be wary of fraudulent schemes; with the rise in tenancy, con artists have jumped on the bandwagon. When a prospective landlord asks for your social security number and other important information, make sure they’re running their credit check through certified companies like Transunion SmartMove services. This will help you avoid scams and keep your personal information protected.
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Coming Soon to Durham County…

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Every three years, the Durham County Department of Public Health completes a health assessment for the entire county, which includes an opinion survey. The survey is conducted at randomly selected households throughout the county.

The information collected is used to help community members and organizations set health priorities and to help inform programming needs for nonprofits, government agencies, and hospitals in the area.

The Durham County Department of Public Health will be conducting surveys throughout the county on Thursday, October 6th through Saturday, October 8th and will be conducting a survey among Hispanic and Latino households on Thursday, October 13th through Saturday, October 15th.

Please help spread the word throughout the community, letting your friends and neighbors know that we may be coming to their homes to collect information for the health assessment.
Everyone is encouraged to participate so their opinions are taken into account when identifying and planning for our community’s health priorities in the future.

Volunteers helping with the survey will be wearing neon blue t-shirts with the Durham County Department of Public Health logo on it and will also have a letter from the County confirming that they are a volunteer.

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5 Tips For Spotless Home Every Home Seller Needs To Know

When staging a house for selling, its appearance plays a key role in influencing the rate at which potential buyers make a decision. Nobody admires a smelly, ugly, stained house with items lying all over. This can be a total turn off to any would be buyer. Also, many buyers want a home that looks as if it is ready for occupation. They do not want to engage in a lot of restorative work or undue cleaning. Prepping your house for sale doesn’t have to be costly. On the contrary, you can apply the following 5 tips to create a pristine home that can attract even the perfectionist of a buyer.

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  1. Cull the Clutter
  2. This is one way of freeing most of the space in your home so that prospective buyers can concentrate on the important details of the house. Free up the counters, shelves, drawers, and closets of the excess items. If you have many things occupying these areas, the buyer is only going to view these items and not what they are supposedly buying. Your personal belongings will act as distraction for would be buyer. You can sort the items and pack them in boxes, give out or ask a relative to keep them for you.

    You can also pack your personal belongings. When a prospective buyer is viewing a house, make them imagine their life in the new home. However, if you crowd the house with your personal items, it is hard for them to begin identifying with the new place.

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  3. Conduct a Thorough Cleaning
  4. Let a prospective buyer find your house spotless, just as it would look after detailed spring cleaning. Use the following ideas to tackle different areas.

    • Bathrooms: use baking soda to shine a grungy toilet bowl or bathtub. All you need is to sprinkle a generous amount of it on the tub or toilet bowl. Wait for about 20 minutes then scrub with a scourer or toilet brush. After you rinse, your bathtub or toilet bowl will sparkle just like it is new.
    • Grout: get rid of stubborn grime from grout lines by applying powder oxygen bleach and allowing it to sit for about 15 minutes. Then, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the surface and rinse with clean water.
    • Countertops: it is important to identify the right cleaning agent and method for the kind
      of material that makes your countertops. Some materials react to harsh cleaning methods and require to be dealt with gently. For instance, you cannot apply strong acidic cleaners on natural stone surfaces like those made of limestone as the acid will pit the stone.

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  5. Tend the Backyard and compound
  6. This is a grand way of improving the aesthetic appeal of your home. In any case, buyers are sure to notice the compound before they tour the interiors of your house. In this case, spare some time to mow the lawn, prune the fences, and water any plants in the compound.

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  7. Forget Not the House’s Exteriors
  8. Like the kempt compound, this also goes a long way in increasing your house’s curb appeal. Consider scrubbing the windows, pressure washing the cladding, cleaning the gutters and so forth. Also, consider pressure-washing the sidewalk and pavement. You can easily bring your windows to sparkle by spraying them with a homemade cleaning solution then wiping with an old newspaper. Make your solution by mixing 50% of distilled or white vinegar and 50% of clean water.

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  9. Consider Pocket-friendly Improvements
  10. Some surfaces may not sparkle even after endless cleaning. This could be because they have outlived their useful time. Do not waste time scrubbing. Instead, think of some improvements you can make that won’t cost you a lot. For instance, you can hide ugly marks on the walls by applying a fresh paint or improve the appearance of your hardwood floor by refinishing. Other things you should consider are installation of a new front door, tile re-grouting, mulching, and so forth.

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Beverly Jenkins is proud of her staff at The Tidy Maids house cleaning service in Raleigh, NC. She has 24 years of experience in house cleaning, customer service, and business operations. She knows all the tips and tricks and do-it-yourself hacks when it comes to cleaning and her clients’ homes are the best proof for that.

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SUCCESS

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J Weeks Entertainment wants to personally invite you to our upcoming production “SUCCESS” which will be premiered at the Durham Arts Council in Durham, NC on July 23rd, 2016.

Briefly, our production SUCCESS is a compelling play that uncovers the true perceptions of how as a society we measure success and the challenging issues of how we must choose to either conform to the status quo set by others, or choose our own path in life.

We believe that patrons who come to see this play will be empowered with information; for some their perspective will be challenged and many will see themselves or someone they know in these characters.

Wear your finest and join us for this black tie affair complete with a red carpet, photographer and one-of-kind backdrop.

We will see you there!

Date:
July 23, 2016

Time:
6:00 PM Red Carpet
7:00 PM Show Begins

Location:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC 27701

success

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