Southeast - Spartanburg, SC
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07-05-08, 07:44 AM
So, what can anyone tell me about this area? My wife and I are looking at possibly moving to Carolina area sometime down the road. She wants to stay south but I want mountains, so I compromised and said northern South Carolina.
I checked out the visitor's page and of course it looks really nice, but I'd like to hear from people around that area of SC.
Any info is much appreciated.
07-05-08, 03:40 PM
i believe that Spartanburg is a Bronze level cycling city.
Greenville has a lot going on, like the US Cycling Championships, George Hincapie, the occasional visit by Lance Armstrong, and it was voted like in the top 10 by some prominent cycling magazine.
check out wikipedia, and here is an advocacy blog for greenville http://bikegreenville.blogspot.com/
i would personally say that spartanburg may be better for mountain-biking, but greenville is definitely better for the road. + we - actually both places - have a lot of state reps that support cycling legislation.
07-05-08, 03:45 PM
I lived in Greenville for almost 4 years. Loved the nearby mountains, the area was pretty, but the people were not my cup of tea. Spartanburg may be a better, but I want no more of the Upstate of South Carolina. That was in the late 90's. I didn't find Greenville to be particularly bike friendly. One needs to understand that, in South Carolina, the cities themselves are rather small because of tough annexation rules. The recognition Spartanburg has received for being bike friendly may apply only to the incorporated area, but the same conditions may not apply once one gets out of that small area. Most affordable decent housing is, more than likely, not going to be in the city itself.
07-05-08, 06:11 PM
Yeah, we were looking at Greenville too. I just got into mountain biking, which I got into for the variation from the flat Houston streets, but my real love is road biking. I just want to be able to do flats AND climbs. :-)
07-05-08, 06:34 PM
I have a number of co-workers who live in the upstate.....as we call it here.....and all seem to prefer Greenville over Spartanburg. I live in Columbia and don't get up there often, but when I do, there seems to be a thriving downtown, even in the evening hours.
Culturally, there is the Bi-Lo Center for concerts and and a performing arts center called the 'Peace Center' in the downtown area as well as the Governor's School For The Performing Arts.
Personally I can't speak to the riding, but it would certainly provide some climbing opportunities, however the roads are a bit narrow.
If you have a specific question I will try to get you an answer from someone when I go to work on Monday.
07-05-08, 08:49 PM
The roads are narrow in South Carolina. Very few have shoulders in the upstate. Of course, the reason for that is the cost of building roads in hilly/mountainous areas. But, as for the hills, it varies. As one goes East from Greenville/Spartanburg, the terrain is more rolling. South, its pine woods and rolling. Going North it becomes mountainous. Mostly traveled west by interstate, so don't know that much about the roads there, but Northwest SC is steep hills and mountains, much like the Ozarks.
For quality of life...not necessarily the biking...the city in SC that always attracted me was Charleston. The times I visited, it was most friendly. I know, its not near the mountains, but it is nice. Beaufort, near Charleston is a neat place.
The main thing to remember when choosing a place to live is you cannot eat scenery. I took a $3K cut to move to Greenville, my wife much more, about $6K...she's a teacher and SC teacher salaries ain't that good. We were living in Odessa, Tx and tired of not being near water or trees.
You need to be aware that taxes are higher in SC, except real property taxes. You pay a personal property tax on your vehicle, in addition to your license fee. When we moved there, the tax on our 2 year old Trooper was over $400. There is an income tax and the sales tax, though it was lower than in the Houston area and Texas, was on food as well as other goods, making it more. Housing prices in the Greenville/Spartanburg area are higher than in the Houston area. The cost of living is as high or higher than in Houston.
Personally, the place I would choose in that region is Ashville, NC. Beautiful, reasonably decent weather, and an open-minded community. Plus, you can be on the Blue Ridge in minutes.
07-05-08, 10:40 PM
I don't often blatantly disagree with people; however, I absolutely disagree with grayloon's assessment of our area. Although his information may be semi-accurate; it is extremely outdated. Not living in an area for almost 10 years does not really make you an authority on the area.
With that being said, Greenville is an extremely bike friendly community (both road & mountain) with tons of groups rides of all levels of riding abilities. It is a small city that continues to grow with a great down town area with a small town feel (street festivals, outdoor cafes etc.) but large enough to support second tier National sporting events such as the Pro Cycling National Championships & the Bassmasters Classic plus traveling plays & minor league sports.
As far as cost of living, the above poster is correct on the car tax; HOWEVER, that was reduced in half about 2 years ago. Homes in this area are much cheaper than most places in the country & gas prices are still in the $3.70's which is a good bit cheaper than other places I travel to in the country.
Come visit Greenville, spend a weekend here, stop by a LBS & I am sure you will find it very accommodating. If you have specific questions you need answered from someone in the area, please feel free to PM me.
Greenville has much more opportunity than Spartanburg or Asheville
07-06-08, 12:03 AM
Groceries will cost more, housing costs are high, you'll save on transportation and utilities, but health care costs more. The tax burden will probably be more. Groceries are an average of 15% higher, housing costs about 8.5%. Transportation may be less if you live close to where you work, but if you work downtown, and live outside the city, that may not be true. Utilities are the biggest savings, about 21%. The absence of the automobile property tax and the state income tax lessens the cost of living in Houston vs Greenville.
While its true I've not lived in Greenville for a while, I kinda doubt its people have changed greatly. I found it a rather cool city toward newcomers and very conservative. The city itself is rather small, about 55,000 people. The population growth is outside the city itself. Just as in other large metropolitan areas, there is a lot of urban sprawl. Living in near downtown may be a blast, I'm not sure that the larger residential communities outside the city are that much different than elsewhere. I worked for County of Greenville when I lived there, had close contact with the city leaders of the surrounding cities, and found a lot of provincialism.
The area may just be your cup of tea. Yes, the downtown area was neat, especially on weekends. But, I found it a bit generically yuppiefied. That may have changed. But, before one takes the plunge of moving to an entirely different part of the country than the one they have been living it, it behooves one to check it out. The Greenville/Spartanburg area is impressive visually, there is a lot going on, but be sure you have the right skills that sell in that marketplace. Be aware of the salaries in your field. For instance, I checked starting pay for new teachers with no experience. Its about $15,000 per year less than in my wife's school district. Her salary is about $11,000 more for the number of years she's taught compared to what Greenville pays. And, the overall cost of living there is higher than in the Houston area by close to 3% for a household, but that does not account for taxes.
07-06-08, 05:01 AM
I'm glad you mentioned the teacher thing, as that is what we both do for a living here in Houston. That's certainly something we'd have to look at.
Thanks to everyone for all of the non-biking info, this is great stuff. Before we move anywhere, we'll visit our top choices.
07-06-08, 12:13 PM
Overall, Texas has better teaching salaries than other states in the South. It also has one of the lowest costs of living. Things may have changed with Greenville's school district, but my wife was not happy with the district. She says the Houston school district, in which she taught several years, treated teachers better. We were not pleased to find that, when we moved back to Texas, the education received by my sons while in Greenville was not at the level expected in Kingwood schools.
07-06-08, 01:05 PM
I live in Greenville and work in Spartanburg (currently on hiatus for grad school). I much prefer the atmosphere of Greenville, but Spartanburg is coming around very nicely. I actually prefer the riding in Spartanburg over Greenville, as I have done both extensively. The roads of northern and southern Spartanburg county are great. Greenville has better access to Paris mountain, which is great for weekday hill repeats, and the Tuesday Donaldson ride is a great gathering. Both cities have a great cycling atmosphere by deep South standards.
As far as school quality, Greenville is better than Spartanburg (my basis is qualitative, based on friends who have kids in both districts). As far as teacher work conditions, I know several in Greenville and Spartanburg, and they are happy. However, salaries in SC are not the best around (NC is a fair amount higher).
07-06-08, 08:24 PM
I was not born in Texas, but I got there as fast I could! Kinda hard on us over here!:) Beats living in Mecklinburg Co. LOL!
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