Small Town Coastal Living – 6 Month Update!

Hi guys!

I hope you all are doing well! I wanted to pop in and update everyone on our leap of faith that we took in early December – our big move. I’ve posted tons of photos on my Instagram about how much we are enjoying our new home and town but I haven’t talked much about it on here. 

So as you may know, Justin and I decided that after living in Raleigh for almost 8 years and dealing with insane traffic, rapidly growing communities/cities and just too much hustle and bustle, that we would move to my hometown in coastal North Carolina. We were at a bit of a crossroads and couldn’t quite decide where we wanted to really plant our roots in the Triangle (or even checking out homes for sale in Charlotte NC )so we threw ourselves a curve ball and started planning our move to good ol’ Swansboro!

We were a bit nervous that small town life would become boring quickly. Growing up here, do you know what we did for fun in middle and high school? We drove to Walmart and walked around or had our parents drop us off at the local movie theater on the island in a shopping center called “The Plantation”. I mean, there WAS a candy shop and a pizza place so that made it kind of cool, right? 😉

Naturally, we had quite a few reservations about leaving the “big city life” to move to a tiny coastal town. Would there be plenty of activities for Charlee? Would we get sick of traveling 30 minutes just to get to Walmart or Target? Would the slower pace cause us to go stir crazy and regret moving?  Are the schools good? Is there enough culture?

After 6 months, I can confidently say that we absolutely, 100% made the right choice! I’m not even kidding when I say this – at least once per week (if not more), Justin and I look at each other and one of us will say, “I love our new life. I’m so happy we moved.”. Not even joking, y’all! When our Raleigh friends ask us if we are enjoying our new location, I almost feel guilty when my response is, “YES! I haven’t been this happy and comfortable in years! I wish we would have moved sooner!”. I don’t ever want to come off like I’m bragging but it’s the truth. 

Why are we loving it so much? I’ll break it down for you below.

  1. Slower pace = more family time. Even if that just means we sit on our front porch and wave at the neighbors or we go to the grocery store as a family – the little moments are amazing.
  2. Living downtown Swansboro = perfect location. We live three houses down from a park, less than a mile walk to the historic area downtown with shops and restaurants and tons of community events, and we can see the water from our front porch.
  3. We bought a boat! Our neighbor who lives across the street, lets us use her dock which is absolutely amazing. Whether it’s an impromptu boat ride down the river or a full day spent on the water exploring islands, it’s SO convenient and easy to hop on the boat whenever we please (and the weather allows).
  4. A strong sense of community. Since moving here 6 months ago, we are continuously being welcomed with open arms. We have the sweetest neighbors, we joined a gym with great people and it’s nice for me to reconnect with my friends that I grew up with.
  5. Charlee is LOVING it. I think “loving” is actually an understatement. Our little blue eyed cutie loves playing in the yard barefoot and would probably live outside if we let her. She spends her days playing with the dogs outdoors, picking flowers, chasing frogs, swinging in the hammock, and singing and dancing in the cool, coastal breeze. We have loved watching her find her comfort zone and everyday is a chance for her to grow and learn and enjoy our lovely town. 
  6. Plenty of activities. Why was I worried about this? I don’t know. There are still playgroups, story times, libraries, etc. here. The only difference? A lot less commotion and chaos. Instead of there being 60 people at a library story time, there are 20. Instead of there being 20 girls in dance class, there are 5. I’m sure some people would look at this as negative but to me, it’s a huge win! Charlee doesn’t get lost in the hustle and can enjoy one on one time with instructors, teachers and coaches. We also don’t have to drive across town on the Interstate to rush her off to class. We either walk or take a 2 minute drive now! Charlee just wrapped up her ballet class with an adorable recital – she did wonderfully! She also closed out her first season playing soccer and that was equally as adorable. Charlee has had no trouble staying busy and happy in a small town. 
  7. My parents live 5 minutes away. I’ve always been extremely close with my parents and it has been SO nice to have them over for dinner on a whim, hang with my mom, have go-to babysitters ( 😉 ) and have Charlee build a close relationship with Papa and Gaga. Just recently, Charlee helped my dad plant a large garden in their yard and one of her favorite things to do is go to their house to check the progress and help water it. She loves being able to have sleepovers at their house and I can’t lie – it’s nice to have some quiet time around here! Having them so close to help when the new baby comes will also be amazing.
  8. The beauty of the area. We love walking down to the water to watch the sunset, heading to the docks to see what people are catching and smelling the salt air when we drink our morning tea and coffee on the front porch. We live about 8 minutes from the beach and when it’s not smack dab in the middle of tourist season, we can head there whenever we want. We love enjoying local seafood and having a minimum of 5 farm stands within a 5 mile radius of our home. To us, the simple life is definitely the good life.
  9. Less stress. My husband owns and operates his own business, just as he has since we started it quite a few years ago. As many of you can relate, this means long hours, constant stress and hardly any down time. My husband likes to say that since we’ve moved, he’s been able to “quiet down all of the noise” and focus on his work AND his family. It’s really been amazing to see his transition and I am so, so proud of him. 
  10. Housing prices are a lot cheaper. We decided to sign a 2 year lease to commit to our move but without diving in head first and buying a home. We figured two years would give us enough time to decide if living here is the right thing for our family and then start looking for a home to buy. 

Overall, we. are. LOVING. it. My advice to any of you toying with the idea of moving to a small town – do it! Just do it. 

*Check out fun photos below!*

xoxo, 
Ashleigh

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One comment

  1. Aunt Sue says:

    Similar to my youthful days. A quiet flow of life. Family and friends were a constant. Love that you are experiencing it and all that is to come your way.

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