Interviews - Gretchen Lane
Ogden Area of Wilmington From Newfoundland, Canada
Can you tell me what brought you to Wilmington?
My husband took a teaching position at UNCW. We moved here the first part of December. We’ve been here about four months.
How did you go about choosing where to live?
Our REALTOR® showed us the different areas. And our price range dictated where we lived. She told us that we’ll either really like this area or we’ll really hate this area because it has neighborhood after neighborhood and they are all combined and there are lots of subdivisions. We didn’t find that that was that big of a deal. We originally wanted to be closer to my husband’s job, but from anywhere in Wilmington it’s only a 10-15 minute drive to the other side. So we just settled here.
What other areas were you drawn to?
We certainly like the Masonboro Loop areas, and will look there again with our next home. But those were out of the price range at that point. This house really kind beat out most of the other ones so we didn’t have a second runner up where we couldn’t decide which one to go with. My husband has now said when we move next he’d prefer to be closer to his work and maybe not as far north. But it’s totally do-able. It’s not a huge drive, it’s just a little bit further.
What do you like about living in Wilmington that was a surprise to you?
We lived on the coast in Canada, but I’m from Oklahoma originally so previously I’ve always been landlocked. It is nice that the beach is 10 minutes from our house. And we have definitely taken advantage of that several times since we’ve lived here. The people are incredibly friendly, which is nice. I haven’t been through summer here, so we’ll see how that goes. In Canada, we were used to mild summers and intensely cold winters, so we kind of have the opposite here.
What sort of people would like living in your neighborhood?
I would say, young families. It seems to be kind of a blue collar area. I think the people here are workers, those types of families. I think anybody with a small family. The houses in our neighborhood aren’t huge – they are 1,500-square feet. Most of the houses have yards and nice sized back yards, so I feel it’s a very family friendly community. We have sidewalks, which is nice and I always see people out walking.
What sort of cultural activities are available to you?
My husband was just asking when the Farmers Markets start, I know that when those get up and running we’ll go to that. We’ve been to a UNCW basketball game and a home and garden show. We haven’t hit up any of the smaller museums here, but we’ve seen they are there. We’ve talked about going to the Azalea festival, which is supposed to be really lovely and fun.
How is the commute/getting around? Is there much traffic?
Yeah, it’s not too bad. Obviously certain times of day it’s worse, We’ve used a GPS to learn our way around town and there are really only 2 or 3 major thoroughfares. I grew up on a grid system, so the roads in Wilmington can be difficult to navigate because they do not follow a grid. We lived in Knoxville, TN before and that was constant traffic, any time of day and you definitely do not see that here.
What advice would you give someone considering a move to the Wilmington area?
This is the second time we’ve moved somewhere and bought a house – living somewhere else and moving in. Both times we’ve come for a long weekend and house hunted every day. But I would probably not recommend that. Take your time a little bit when house hunting, if you can. We certainly had a pleasant experience with our REALTOR® , but it can be a bit overwhelming doing it all in a condensed time.
I do have to say that working with Buddy’s team was fabulous. Especially after the closing, where with other agents you may get a thank you in the mail and that’s it. But he provided us with a big folder and it was already partitioned off for a place to put your mortgage documents and they all have envelopes so as you do home repairs you can mark it and put it in there. That was an extra that doesn’t typically happen. And our REALTOR® was really nice to work with and really helped us narrow things down and not get too crazy or confusing.
Do you think your area offers a good quality of life?
I think so. We’ve got, not too far from us, a really nice sports complex with football fields and dog parks. There are people out walking constantly. We’re close to the beach. I’d say it’s pretty great.
How are the business opportunities? Would you recommend moving here without finding work first?
They are not good at all. I began a job search as soon as we knew we’d be here. My background is in event planning for non-profits, I’m currently doing temp work. I’m applying anywhere and everywhere, but for at least 6 months solid I was looking for something and just…nothing. From what I understand talking to neighbors and friends, I hear it’s just really difficult here.
What’s your favorite local attraction/restaurant/event?
We have found this new great place called K38 . It’s a Baha Mexican restaurant with really fresh tasting food. I would say also the beach. We like to walk our dog on the beach, even if just for an hour.
How is the cost of living, compared with other areas you have lived?
I guess for being a coastal city it’s not bad. Oklahoma is ridiculously cheap to live in and Knoxville was cheaper. Wisconsin was even cheaper than that. However, I was surprised at what we could get for our money here in Wilmington. I feel like we have a nice house and we didn’t break the bank to do it