Lake Norman, Concord, Gastonia NC Best Places To Live


How much do you know about the NC Best Places to live?  Do you have your own list yet?

Piedmont North Carolina Best Places To LiveAs you know, for the past few months, we’ve been criss-crossing North Carolina and South Carolina. Visiting NC Best Places to live – small towns, cities and communities around Metropolitan areas.

The last few Carolina Reports in particular, have been focused on some of the NC Best Places small towns and communities around Charlotte NC.

We began our journey around Charlotte NC north of the city.  Since then, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the beautiful Lake Norman area which is also North of Charlotte.

There seems to be a lot of interest about the Piedmont NC best places to live small towns and cities near the lake.

If you haven’t visited Charlotte with us thus far, to the north of Charlotte in the Lake Norman area, we’ve already visited the NC Best Places to live small towns/cities and communities of:

Today, I thought we would start out talking about Lake Norman, it’s history and it’s lure.

Welcome to this week’s edition of  The Carolina Report.

Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina and often referred to by locals as the “Inland Sea.

The lake is 34 miles long, has 520 miles of shoreline, 32,500 acres of surface area and over 3.2 billion gallons of water.

How’s that for a lake?

Lake Norman was the result of decades of trying to create new reliable sources of power for local cotton mills and factories by harnessing the wild Catawba River.  Also the Lake serves as an ounce of prevention for an area in Piedmont North Carolina that experienced some of the worst flooding in the nation.

After Duke Power completed damming the Catawba River in the mid 60’s, what was primarily a rural agricultural area north of Charlotte, slowly began to see new development and the growth.  And developed some of the NC Best Places to live small cities and towns to retire or relocate.

Small farming towns and mill towns were created. And are the basis for the prime new suburban destinations we see today.

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Explore More Piedmont NC Best Places To Live

With a state park, several of our NC Best Places to live small towns and cities in the Charlotte area are located here.

There’s a lot of things to see and do in this area. So if you haven’t already… I highly recommend coming along and checking out the Lake Norman area!

This next NC Best Places to live is the second largest city in the Charlotte Metropolitan area.

Piedmont NC Best Places To Live Small Towns and Cities To Relocate Or Retire In NCIt’s located only twenty miles northeast of Charlotte, the city of Concord NC, population 81,066.

Twenty-five years ago Concord consisted of only 18,000 people.

Since that time, the city of Concord has developed into an outer suburban city of a little over 80,000 which tells you a lot of people want to live in the Charlotte NC area.

The demographic data shows that the NC best places to live of Concord  is attracting people from all age groups, education levels and income levels.

Walking around downtown Concord is a real joy from its two national historic districts to its eclectic mix of small shops and restaurants.

I really like how compact the downtown area is and how it reminds me of visiting smaller towns in North Carolina.

In fact, you’ll be surprised how many things to see and do are packed into a few square blocks including:

  • theaters
  • art galleries
  • an historic courthouse
  • botanical garden
  • pottery studio and my favorite
  • a wonderful French chocolate shop named Chocolatier Barrucand

With continued growth has come investments in things that Concord has put a lot of money into. Commitments to preserving the quality of life like parks and green spaces for you to enjoy.

In addition to a heavy local NASCAR presence and the Charlotte Motor Speedway there’s plenty to do.   Hiking, camping and getting out on the lakes and rivers in nearby Uwharrie National Forest are all popular forms of outdoor recreation.

And don’t forget to check out the Rocky River Golf Course which I hear is one of the best courses in North Carolina.

And of course one thing we all want to know… Concord’s median home value of only $160,600.  Not to shabby!

Gastonia NC best places to live small towns and cities to Retire or RelocateOur second and last NC best places to live of the day was named not only a 2010 All-American City but also The Most Livable Small City in America in the same year.

I’m talking about NC best places to live to retire or relocate in the Charlotte area of Gastonia NC, population 72,741.

I mention these awards because they are recognition of the kinds of things you want when finding your best place in not only North Carolina but South Carolina.

Truth is no matter where you decide to live!

Things like civic engagement, inclusiveness, innovative leadership, cooperation, and high quality of life are important.

Gastonia is around 30 miles west of Charlotte. And like other local bustling cities sits right on the fast growing I-85 corridor. Making it a major center for economic activity outside Charlotte.

This area is definitely attracting new businesses and residents to the area.  To that end, Gastonia has spent a lot of time planning for business and residential development and expansion.
This has allowed Gastonia NC to grow into a NC best places to live small city while maintaining a small town feel and values important to local residents.

You can see this in the redevelopment of Gastonia’s downtown.  Which includes the renovation of historic buildings and adding wider more pedestrian friendly public spaces to encourage people to spend time downtown.

I really like downtown Gastonia’s variety of shops and boutiques.  And have found myself hanging out at the Clay Café which combines coffee, tea and espresso with pottery painting.  You really need to check it out!

Gastonia is also a great place for the arts and culture and has its own arts council, Dance Company.  And a number of museums including the popular Schiele Museum of Natural History.

Don’t let me forget to tell you that Gastonia NC is a great place to get out and do things.

From its hundreds of acres of parks and green spaces, the areas many golf courses and tennis courts, hiking in nearby Crowder Mountain State Park or just hanging out on the Catawba river doing some swimming, boating or fishing, it’s all good!

What’s also good is Gastonia NC has a low median home value of only $151,000.

Can you believe it?  Now that’s some serious money in your own pocket.

I’ll see you next week when we continue to explore the NC best places to live.  NC best places to live small towns and cities around the Queen City of Charlotte!

Be safe and have a great week!

Post Updated January 2019

North Carolina and South Carolina Best Places To LiveAbout The Author

Robert Bencivenga is a professional site locator and location analyst for major corporations. Robert researches the growth of NC and SC to find the Best Places to Retire or Relocate that are still affordable.

Robert Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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