So you’ve visited Asheville and fell in love with the mountains and the beer and the Blue Ridge Parkway, have ya? We get it. Both of us moved here from different places and are transplants just like a lot of other people who visit and decide to stay. If you’re thinking about moving to Asheville or have already made up your mind to do so (is that a U-haul in your driveway?) read on to see some of our top tips for moving to Asheville. Happy and smooth transition to you!
BYOJ – Bring your own job
Finding a job in Asheville can be tricky. I taught PE in a middle school for ten years before moving and had hopes of landing a job teaching in Asheville. The pay was significantly different in Asheville (about $18,000 less than where I’d been teaching at a public middle school in Maryland) but I was willing to take a pay cut because I wanted to be here. That said, the best job I could find for myself in the field of education was substitute teaching and to be honest, I hated it. It wasn’t at all like having my own classroom with my own students. As a result, I kept looking for a job that felt like a good fit. I probably put my resume in over a dozen different restaurants but I hadn’t waited tables in over a decade (see above.) I finally decided to go for a dream and decided to hang a virtual shingle out saying I was open for business as a photographer, writer, web designer and content creator. Thus, Authentic Asheville was born. Necessity is the mother of invention and in this case, I literally had to reinvent myself. If you think you can either land a job here or reinvent yourself, then you’re a step ahead of most people.
Major Employers and Jobs in Asheville
Memorial Mission Hospital, the Buncombe County Board Of Education Education & Health Services and Ingles Markets (that’s the local grocery store here) are the three largest employers in Buncombe County. (If you’re moving to Asheville, it’s pronounced Bun-come, the ‘be’ at the end is silent.) So the jobs are largely concentrated in and classified as health (Mission), education (BCBOE) and trade and transportation (Ingles). If you’ve got a medical background or have experience working with food, Asheville may be a bit easier finding a job.
Other Employers and Jobs in Asheville
Do a little bit of asking around and you’ll hear a lot of locals say that most of the jobs are in the tourism/service industry. It’s not untrue. The Biltmore Workforce Management Inc. is the fourth largest employer in the area. Outside of the Biltmore there are numerous restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops in Asheville that support all the tourists that come to town.
How to Find a Job in Asheville
If you’re lucky enough to have a job in Asheville before you move, then good for you. You’ll be ahead of the curve and it’ll probably make things a whole lot easier for you transition-wise. If not, then perhaps the single most important thing you can do to find a job in Asheville is to come with an open mind. Be prepared to either learn a new skill or take a job that you never would have dreamed of taking. You may also have to consider, like most people, putting several part-time jobs together in order to make ends meet. It’s the norm in Asheville to have two or three part-time jobs rather than the exception.
Practically speaking, all the usual ways to actually finding those part-time jobs still apply: Craigslist, indeed.com, LinkedIn, word of mouth, knocking on doors and filling out applications in person. If all else fails, consider starting your own business and figuring it out as you go.
Neighborhoods in Asheville
There are several different neighborhoods in Asheville. Like most places, one of the keys to happiness is being in a spot that feels good to you. That means different things to different people. For some, it’s safety. For others, it’s the nearby schools or proximity to work. For some, it might mean being within walking distance to the bus stop. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, chances are you’ll be able to find it in Asheville. That said, it can be more than a little tricky to find a place that you want to live that’s both available and within your budget.
We’ve lived in two different places in West Asheville and have really enjoyed both of them because it’s laid back, gay-friendly, has sidewalks for running and numerous places to eat and drink. There are a bunch of businesses that line Haywood Road and then there’s homes behind that on either side. It’s a walkable and bike-able neighborhood that is known for it’s colorful murals on many of the buildings. Many of the homes are older bungalow-style homes and cottages although in recent years some of those have given way, literally, to new construction and much larger homes. If you want a neighborhood vibe and want to be able to walk from home to meet friends for a burger or a beer, this might be a good fit for you.
Potential downside: it can be a little gritty. Some people love all the random art and messy yards, other people think it’s an eye sore. You can decide for yourself. We dig it.
If you like to be in the middle of things, downtown Asheville might be a good fit for you. Living downtown means you’ll most likely end up in a condo or small apartment above a restaurant or other small business. Parking can be a pain in the butt but once your vehicle is parked, you can walk to tons of restaurants and bars and even the newly remodeled Asheville Art Museum.
Potential downside: lots of cars and lots of tourists.
Some of the nicest houses in the Asheville area are located in the Montford neighborhood. We recently learned that the neighborhood is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to the large number of historic homes built between 1890 and 1920. Old growth trees line the streets of Montford and a fair number of bed and breakfasts operate out of it as well. If your party days are over and you want peace and quiet, put Montford on your list of places to check out. Can’t afford to rent or buy an entire house? There are some studio apartments in Montford, some of which are located in the basement and allow you to have your own private entrance and space at a fraction of the cost for renting an entire place.
Potential downside: there aren’t as many restaurants or bars in the neighborhood so you’ll most likely end up getting in the car to go “out.”
Biltmore Village, Biltmore Forest, Biltmore Park, Reynolds and Skyland are all considered South Asheville. The housing there runs the gamut. You can find everything from 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom mansions that are going for over a million dollars to 1 or 2 bedroom apartments. Though there are definitely neighborhoods in south Asheville, some of which have huge yards, it doesn’t have quite the same neighborhood-y vibe that you can experience in West Asheville or even Montford. There is pretty much every chain store you can think of in south Asheville but what’s missing is the creative vibe.
Potential downside: Hendersonville Road is the main artery that’ll bring you into Asheville. Come rush hour, you can expect a fair amount of traffic.
Follow Tunnel Road out of downtown Asheville and you’ll end up in East Asheville. Haw Creek and Oakely are out that way. They’re slightly older communities that are a bit more spread out. Kenilworth is also considered East Asheville and draws a younger crowd, many of whom have families. Living in East Asheville puts you in a great position for jumping on the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as easy access to many of the same chains that you can find in south Asheville.
Potential downside: Tunnel Road traffic to get in and out of Asheville.
North Asheville encompasses Lakeview Park, Albermarle Park, Kimberly, Beaver Dam and Grove Park. If we had to choose one we’d probably pick the Lakeview Park neighborhood because of Beaver Lake. There’s a nice walking path around it and the homes in the neighborhood are nice and well cared for you. Outside of Lakeview Park, there’s a mixture in north Asheville as far as housing goes: everything from million dollar homes to smaller, starter homes. You’ve also got close proximity to UNC-Asheville which is great if you’re a student and want to cut down on your commute.
Potential downside: It’s a little too far from downtown to walk so you’re faced with that same old problem of getting into town and parking.
Save up money
Moving is expensive. There’s no doubt about it. By the time you add up the money you’ll lose by being out of work in addition to the expenses it takes to physically move (moving truck, cleaning supplies, a security deposit, fuel or airfare, shipping costs for all of your belongings, etc.)
If you can, save up as much money as possible before your move. The cushion will hopefully alleviate a little stress and allow you to make the transition without putting a ton of expenses on your credit card. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much you should save up but if you can, we’d recommend at least 3 months worth to help you pay for basic living expenses such as rent, food, insurance, and a little fun.
Aim for Wellness
There are tons of great professionals in Asheville that can offer you the support you need to make relocating to Asheville a successful move. You can find a therapist, a massage therapist, sound baths, salt baths, and any manor of support groups, yoga classes, etc. Though we encourage you to save up and keep your spending down, don’t forget to use these resources as you move through the transition.
Make New Friends
If it sounds like an obvious no-brainer and an add-on to the wellness suggestions mentioned above, we decided to include it in our top tips for moving to Asheville as a reminder that though you’ve got a ton of boxes to unpack, you’ve got to find a new job, you’ve got to get the person from Spectrum to turn on the internet, forward your mail, etc. it’s important to put yourself out there so that when all of your chores are done you have someone to celebrate with. Easier said than done. Especially for those of us who identify as introverts.
But you can’t stay in your house all day, every day. Part of the reason you’re moving to Asheville is to take part in the awesome community that it offers, right? Look online in Meetups, facebook groups (WAX is a big one), on coffee shop bulletin boards, on social media, say hello to your neighbor or even host your own meetup. There’s no right or wrong way to make new friends – just make sure it’s not the last thing on your list.
Set Realistic Expectations
Looking back at my own transition in moving to Asheville, I think one of the worst things I did was set unrealistic expectations. I moved and sort of thought, well, I’ve had a successful career for ten years, surely I can move and put those same skills to use. When August turned into September and I wasn’t in front of a class of students, I started flailing. My friends and family all told me I’d land on my feet, and I did, but it took time. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Chances are you’ll have to deal with the monster named rejection a time or two and maybe even go applying for jobs you didn’t think you’d ever do (or do again) but if you give it time and it’s meant to be, you’ll find your niche in Asheville.
Be an Explorer
Along the same vein of aiming for wellness, be sure to take advantage of all the fun things to see, do and eat in Asheville. There are tons of hiking trails, music venues, waterfalls, brewery tours, coffee shops and restaurants to try. One of our favorite ways to explore a new city is to go looking for the murals. We wrote an entire post about some of our favorite murals in Asheville. Balance is the name of the game so while you’re busy trying to get your new life in order, remember to sprinkle in a little fun. No one said relocating to Asheville would be easy but it can still be fun.
Do Your Homework
Reading blogs like this one about making the move to Asheville is a great start. But if you want to feel even more at home, consider following the local news before you even pack your bags. The Asheville Citizen-Times and the Mountain Xpress are two of the local newspapers that can get you excited about some of the goings-on in town: new restaurants and breweries, hot topics, comments about how the community feels about new zoning changes, etc. Finding out what the local issues are before you even get there can help you achieve a sense of place and give you a context for your new home.
Unfamiliar with your state and local representatives? All that info is online, too. The Asheville reddit can get downright harsh at times but for every negative comment in there you’ll also find some pretty spot-on info. They’ve even got their own thread on Moving to Asheville. Bonus: make sure to secure an absentee ballot if you’ll be moving around election time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Leave
Sometimes a new place just isn’t the right fit. Sometimes it is but it just takes time. The good thing is, Asheville has it’s own airport, the Asheville Regional Airport. It’s fairly small although it did just receive a grant to build it out a bit more. You can get direct flights in and out of the airport to lots of different destinations. It was always comforting during my own transition of moving to Asheville to know that I could always jump on a plane and go see family and friends at a moments notice.
Top Tips for Moving to Asheville Recap
Ready to move to Asheville? We’re excited to welcome you to our city. Please let us know if you found any other helpful tips for moving to Asheville that you think we should include. We’d love to hear from you.