We moved from the suburbs of New York City to just outside Charleston, South Carolina six years ago. My wife and I are not far from retirement and it was time to get out of the Big Apple. Charleston proved a good alternative to Florida. There are a lot of northerners moving here, it is an easier drive back to NY. We can hop in the car and bingo 12 hours later be back. Make that 14-15 hours if the DC traffic rears its ugly head. Ok, not that easy, but it is not as far as Florida.
Most people when they move to a new place have spent some time there getting a feel. We did too. The problem with that strategy is those scouting trips are more vacations than the day to day grind. I guess you got to start somewhere, regardless we are here. Would we do it again knowing what we know now? I guess that depends on which of us you ask and on what day, but probably.
Here are a few of the differences between our old home and the new one.
Weather, if you hate winter, come on down south. Summer lasts from April until early November. The rest of the time is Spring or Fall, Winter lasts for about 3 weeks in January. If you are like I was and throw your shovel at the snowplow when he blocks your driveway again, it may be time. Advantage Charleston
Medical Care, is way beyond my pay grade to advise anyone on something so important. I will say this, I am on my fourth doctor in 6 years in Charleston. Advantage NY (Big)
Culture, NY is hard to beat for cultural attractions, but Charleston does hold its own. At a much more reasonable price. From the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, Charleston Music Hall, The Gaillard Center (google them if your curious) and many museums and small playhouses, there is a lot to do. Also, every year in early June is the Spoleto Festival, which brings world class entertainment to Charleston for 2 weeks plus. Over 100 performances are held at various venues around the area, this is a big deal and tickets are difficult. Advantage NY (slight) Spoleto was cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic.
Housing Costs, While the housing costs are more reasonable in Charleston it is getting expensive. There are many relocation destinations that have more reasonable home prices. Advantage Charleston
Property Taxes are about 10% of what they are back in NY. When I bring this up with friends back home, they hang-up on me. Advantage Charleston (big time)
Outdoor activities, sorry NY really no comparison. Beach, water sports, hiking, fishing, golf, tennis, boating the recreation options are too many to list. Granted many of these choices are available in NY but for only a few months a year and at a higher price. Big Advantage Charleston
Golf, there are a lot of courses around, a lot. You can always find someone to play with. Here the rub, the locals have been playing their entire life year-round. In most cases they are going to whip your butt and it can be embarrassing. Always make sure you have an Ohio transplant in your foursome for balance. Advantage Charleston
Pizza, they are really lost in South Carolina when it comes to a good pie. Oh, you can find almost decent pizza, but it is not the rule. There is nowhere to just grab a slice. I will even take it a step further a good Italian restaurant is hard to find. This may not seem important, trust me it is. Our first stop after crossing over the George Washington Bridge into NY is at a pizzeria. Advantage NY (huge)
Bagels/Chinese Food see above entry on pizza. Advantage NY
Restaurants, except for the aforementioned pizza, which is an important consideration, Charleston is an exceptional foodie city. The cuisine is somewhat narrowly focused to southern fare (duh.) With that in mind there are many, many excellent places to eat. Of late there has been a trend towards more ethnic choices but Charleston has a way to go in that regard. Advantage Push
Charleston is a city with a rich history. There are few cities that hold on to its southern heritage as fiercely. There is no denying that it was the center of American slave trade. There are still remnants of that past, it is not glossed over, but I do not see that sad chapter glorified.
So, there you have it. Not a comprehensive analysis but a look at some of the things we noticed. There are flaws and advantages in NY as there are here. No place is going to be perfect and meet all your expectations. If Charleston is on your short-list come and look, do so soon though it is getting crowded.