Cary is #2 on List of 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC

Basing its annual rankings on a variety of items, many of which were no doubt major factors in you deciding upon moving into your dream house in the Preston Retreat new luxury home community, niche.com placed Cary number two among over one hundred different municipalities they studied for the 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC listings.

The research done by the experts at Niche in naming the 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC ranking covers an array of areas, as it is explained in the website’s blog post on the annual rankings, that the analysis is “ based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. These rankings are based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources.”

Another very unique part in the rankings process that niche.com utilized for the 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC Rankings was actual testimonials from people who either have been residents or just moved to each town. The 270-plus testimonials for Cary certainly seem to support the town’s number two ranking on the 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC.

Maybe the most important factor a family would look at in its decision to relocate, would be good public schools for their children. Cary has the absolute highest ranking, an A-plus, in this area, which is echoed in the following testimonial which basically sums up the reasoning on niche naming it second among the 2017 Best Suburbs to Live in NC.

“Cary, NC is a family friendly city that has been named the best small town in the U.S. many times. The balance of family, educational and work life make the city ideal for people seeking to move to a new location.”

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Cary Halloween Events: So Fun its Scary

The holiday events in the Town of Cary are always plentiful, with many great choices for you and your family to enjoy all just a few minutes from your new home in the Sedgefield neighborhood. One of the more popular holiday’s amongst the kids especially, this trend certainly holds true with such a variety of Cary Halloween Events for you to check out upcoming in the next few weeks some might say “it’s scary.”

The array of Cary Halloween Events begins on Friday, October 27, followed up by several “spookatcular” stops to choose from on the weekend starting Friday, October 27- Tuesday, October 31. The listing of Cary Halloween Events by date goes as follows:

Pumpkin Flotilla
Friday, October 27 | 4-7 p.m. | Free

Fred G. Bond Metro Park, Boathouse
Bring your carved pumpkin and watch it set sail across Bond Lake at twilight! Enjoy discounted boat rentals. Cousins Maine Lobster and Stuft food trucks will be on site, and Justin Runyon will perform!

Herbert’s Haunted House
Friday, October 27-Saturday, October 28 | 7-9 p.m. | $2 per person
Herbert C. Young Community Center
The Cary Teen Council will take you on a spooky walk through their house of horrors. Those who dare will navigate through the building to experience all of the thrills that Cary’s teens have dreamed up to get your adrenaline rushing! All ages welcome but parental discretion is advised. For more, call (919) 460-4965.

The Cary Theater’s ZOMBIEPALOOZA!
Friday, October 27 | 7 p.m.

The Cary Theater
We’re excited to bring you the 2nd annual Zombiepalooza, featuring local filmmakers’ own zombie films, cosplay zombies, and classic films to scare the pants right off of you!  For more, visit The Cary Theater or call (919) 462-2051.

Costume Dance Party
Saturday, October 28 | 1-2:30 p.m. | Age 3-10 with Caregiver| $1 per person
Cary Arts Center
Dress up in your favorite costume creation for our Costume Dance Party! Party includes light refreshments, an art activity, dancing and costume awards. For more, call (919) 469-4069.

Cary’s Great Pumpkin Carve
Saturday, October 28 | 2-8 p.m. | All ages | Free

Downtown Park
Stop by the Pumpkin Patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve at one of the carving stations (or bring your own). Pumpkins will be lit for display and judged in a variety of categories. Stay for family friendly Halloween specials shown outdoors, including “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”! Pumpkins are for sale at low cost; all other activities are free. For more, call (919) 469-4061.
Schedule:
Pumpkin Patch and Carving Stations | 2-5:30 p.m.
3-D Pumpkin Carving Instructional | 2:30 & 4:30 p.m.
Pumpkin Lighting & Judging | 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Family Friendly Halloween TV Specials | 6:45-7:45 p.m.
*To sign up for the 3D Carving Instructional, please email Ryan.O’Quinn@townofcary.org. Instruction is appropriate for ages 13+ and is free with the purchase of a $5 pumpkin.

Ghost Walk in Downtown Cary
Saturday, October 28 | 6:30, 7, & 7:30 p.m. | Age 10 & up | $15
Page Walker Arts & History Center
Spooky stories and ghostly legends sure to send chills up your spine are dramatized by Cary Players. These macabre walking tours of historic Downtown Cary are offered at three different times for your convenience. For more, call (919) 460-4963.

Halloween Mall Crawl
Saturday, October 28 | 4-5:30 p.m. |  All ages | Free  

Cary Towne Center
Calling all goblins, ghosts, princesses, superheroes, and everything in between!  Dress in your best Halloween costume and join us for an afternoon of trick-or-treating, storytelling, and a magic show.

Witches Tea
Tuesday, October 31 | 2-4 p.m. | Age 55 & up | $10

Cary Senior Center
“Eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog!” What possible surprises will we brew? Definitely tasty treats and hot teas, or maybe some lizard legs and spider knees. Costumes are welcome but not required! To reserve your spot, register by October 24 using course code 102577. For more, call (919) 469-4081.

With so many Cary Halloween Events to choose from in the upcoming weeks for both the kids and the adults in the community, the hardest part it seems is choosing which ones to attend. To see more details on each of these great Cary Halloween Events in addition to a few more that will be going on, visit townofcary.org.

3 Reasons to Pay a Professional to Landscape Your Yard before You Sell

If your yard is a mess, trying to sell your home could be a problem. After all, the curb appeal of your property is often a deciding factor when trying to attract prospective buyers to the settlement table. Whether you want a quick sale, a profitable transaction, or both, hiring a professional landscaper can make all the difference in how long your property languishes on the market. Here are three excellent reasons to bring in an experienced landscaper before you list your home for sale.

Looking for adventure, but don’t want to stray far from home? Look no further than the Challenge Course at Bond Park in Cary.

The Challenge Course, dedicated in 1994, is an outdoor learning facility that focuses on teamwork and team development that is utilized by various groups including corporate, camps, Scouts, youth groups, churches, sports teams, families and friends, birthday parties, government agencies, public service groups and more. Reservations are required and need to be made at least three weeks in advance. Popular days of the week are Tuesday-Thursday with spring and fall requests filling up quickly because of the more pleasant weather. Feedback on the program: “Great Team building event, very fun and productive.”

Trained facilitators guide groups of eight or more participants age 10 and older through activities that focus on building cooperation, trust, leadership, communication and more while taking participants through a variety of challenging activities on the Low Course, the High course or a combination depending on whether groups choose a full-day or half-day program. Most programs average about 25 people, but larger groups are accommodated on the Low Team building Course.

The Low Course features more than 100 team-building options that are on or near the ground, usually not exceeding 18 inches. Activities are based on goals, objectives and abilities of each group. Sample activities include All Aboard: Getting the whole team ‘on board’ the small platform for success, Multi-Vine: Getting the whole team across the gap using cable and ropes, Pipeline: Designing a pipeline to transport ‘hazardous waste’ and put it in a decontamination container, Zig Zag: Building a walkway to get the whole team across the ‘molten lava’ to escape and The Wall.

The High Course provides a more individual experience taking participants 35 feet into the treetops of Bond Park using harnesses, helmets and other safety equipment to maintain safety. Participants climb, balance, swing, zip and challenge themselves through an obstacle course in the trees. After finishing Ground School which gives a sample of what the high course will be like while closer to the ground, participants head up the Log Ladder and make their way onto the high course. Then there is Earthquake Bridge a bridge of swinging boards. The High Course culminates with a 275-feet long Zip Line.

With a combo program, teams can experience the low course and highlight it with a high adventure activity by adding the Giant Swing or Leap of Faith. The Giant Swing, one of the more challenging elements on the course, is a giant “playground” swing where participants wear a harness and are attached to the swing. Team members pull the swinger to a height of his/her choosing, not to exceed 25 feet. The Swinger pull the release cord and swings back and forth until they slow down. With the Leap of Faith participants climb a tree using pegs to a 40-feet high platform and jump off. The rest of the team is responsible for catching the climber and lowering him/her to the ground using safety equipment and training provided.

Not part of a group or you just want to tackle the course on your own? Cary also schedules programs throughout the year for individuals to participate on the course. Sample programs include knot tying, zip line, and more are included in the Outdoor Recreation section in the town’s Seasonal Brochure. The next available date for individuals to register for our High Course is on August 12. There are three sessions to choose from: 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registrants can expect to spend two to three hours completing the course.

Don’t want to schedule activities in advance? At 310 acres, Bond Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Wake County and features a boathouse as well as more than four miles of paved and unpaved hiking trails that provide opportunities for fitness and nature exploration.

A cool treat from Preston Retreat

Jay Upchurch played “Ice cream man” for his favorite Realtors, handing out DQ Dilly Bars. Jay visited offices in Cary and Raleigh delivering a cool treat in this summer heat. As a thank you for all of the support in making Preston Retreat such a great success!

Top 10 Reasons to Love Cary, North Carolina

It takes a long time to run out of superlatives when talking about Cary, NC, a thriving community of nearly 160,000 just outside Raleigh in the heart of the famous “Triangle” area of the state. For the past decade, Cary has consistently popped up on Money Magazine’s annual lists of “Best Places to Live” in the U.S. and North Carolina. Forbes chose the Raleigh-Cary area as the No. 1 area in America for raising a family and 24/7 Wall Street placed Cary at No. 6 on their list of “Best Places to Live in America.” The accolades keep rolling in. Cary is a hot town that is getting hotter.Here is our list of the “Top 10” reasons people fall in love with Cary.

  1. Location – Cary is situated between Raleigh and the famous Research Triangle Park – one of the largest research and development centers in the world. In addition to its proximity to the state capital and the Triangle employers, Cary is less than 20 minutes from Duke, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State. Long commutes are almost unheard of.
  2. Jobs – With a median household income north of $90,000 per year, Cary is in the top 30% of the nation. The unemployment rate hovers around 3% and over 9,000 new jobs were created in the past 5 years. The employment outlook remains excellent with predictions pointing toward continued growth in the coming years. Major employers in the area include software giants, the local universities and businesses in the information technology, life sciences and clean technology sectors.
  3. Affordable Housing – Despite the growing population and the many factors that make Cary such a great place to live, the housing market remains relatively affordable. The median homes sales price for the first quarter of 2017 was $310,000.
  4. Low Crime Rate – The crime rate in Cary is extremely low – averaging around 84 violent crimes per 100,000 people – almost 8x lower than the violent crime rate in Charlotte. For property crimes, the statistics tell the same story. In 2015, Smart Asset ranked Cary as the 4th safest city in the nation. FBI data released in 2013 lists Cary as having the lowest overall crime rate for cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. That is a statistic worth bragging about.
  5. Education – Given its proximity to so many institutions of higher learning, it should be no surprise that the public schools in Cary perform well and meet the expectations of a highly-educated community. Over 60% of Cary’s residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Green Hope High School, with more than 2200 students, has received national mention in both US. News and Newsweek rankings.
  6. Arts & Entertainment – With quick and easy access to the arts and culture venues in the university towns of Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham, there is never lack of entertainment for Cary residents. You do not even have to leave Cary to enjoy an evening at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park, the region’s premiere outdoor concert venue and home to the NC Symphony Summerfest and a host of national touring acts. Local parks in Cary play host to large and small festivals throughout the year, including the nationally-recognized Spring Daze Festival showcasing the best of North Carolina’s arts and crafts community.
  7. Great Place to Relocate – People move to Cary in search of enhanced employment opportunities, improved quality of life and an active early retirement and Cary welcomes them all. Many websites devoted to the topic of relocation to another state tout Cary as a preferred destination. 70% of the population was born outside of the area, with a full 20% arriving from other countries.
  8. Outdoor Recreation – One of the main reasons people migrate to Cary is the attraction to the outdoor lifestyle. In 2013, the American College of Sports Medicine ranked the Raleigh-Cary areas among the 15 “Fittest Cities in America.” Cary has more than 20 public parks plus a 79-mile greenway trail system. Many of the trails run from Fred G. Bond Metro Park in the center of town. The park is also home to ball fields, a lake, boathouse, challenge courses and an amphitheater.
  9. Access to Beach and Mountains – You are never far from the mountains or the sea when you are in Cary. North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks beaches are only 3 hours away. If mountains and lakes are more to your liking, head north to the Blue Ridge Parkway and you will be breathing fresh mountain air in a couple of hours.
  10. Cary’s Downtown Chow Down – Last, but not least, how can you not love a town that hosts not one, but four food truck rodeos each year? The food, beer, wine and live music are all first-rate. A vibrant, food truck community has taken root in Cary and, by the looks of things, is here to stay.

These are just a few of the many attributes that make Cary such a livable town. Many who have moved here and remained love the fact that Cary combines the best features of urban life with a small-town vibe, while providing a standard of living and quality of life that is hard to match.

Come for a visit and you may just decide to stay.

Cary Wins Gold!

The City of Cary routinely ranks high on lists of “Best Places to Live in America.” One of the many factors that help to propel Cary to the top rungs of livability lists is its first-rate system of parks and recreational facilities. Everyone who lives and works in Cary understands and appreciates the meticulous planning and dedication to preserving greenspace that has gone into molding the city’s extensive network of greenways, parks and recreational venues for active children and adults.Validation of the town’s long-term commitment and success in this area came last year in the form of a national first-place award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) and its partner, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).The 2016 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management was awarded to Cary, North Carolina. Cary bought home the gold!

The purpose of the Gold Medal Awards Program is to recognize and honor communities that demonstrate excellence in parks & recreation management through stewardship of the land, commitment to environmentalism, volunteerism, long-range planning, program development and fiscal responsibility. Through its demonstrated achievements in each of these categories, Cary was able to grab the gold ahead of other finalists in its division – Arlington Texas; Grand Prairie, Texas and Beaverton, Oregon.

Local officials believe that it is both the size and quality of Cary’s network of parks and facilities that led to the award. People are drawn to Cary because they love the lifestyle and the city’s 35 parks and 82 greenways are a huge part of that lifestyle.Complementing the parks and greenways are community gardens, playgrounds, environmental programs, four sports venues, seven special use facilities and nine staffed facilities sponsoring programs for residents of all ages, including those with disabilities.

Among the many trails, sports venues and programs in Cary’s portfolio, a few stand out for their unique qualities and testament to the town’s commitment to the needs and wants of its citizens. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve offers 140 acres for bird and wildlife watching and more than three miles of gentle trails with scenic overlooks.The Preserve is a joint project with the State of North Carolina and succeeds in blending a pristine natural area with interactive educational and historical exhibits.The Bond Park Challenge Course is an outdoor ropes course emphasizing exercise, team development and high adventure.The goal of the Challenge Course is to foster cooperation, trust, leadership and skill-building through a healthy mix of physical and mental challenges.

Cary Tennis Park, with 29 lighted courts, a clubhouse, locker rooms and beautiful landscaping, is one of the largest public tennis facilities in the Southeast. The park hosts about 20 professional and collegiate tournaments each year and, with a planned 55,000 sq. ft. expansion to accommodate seven covered courts, will now be equipped to host tournaments year-round.The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, with 4 playing fields built to major league standards, is the home field for several college teams and host for the annual high school Tournament of Stars and USA Baseball’s college national team.

There are youth sports leagues, adult sports, senior programs, soccer parks, skate parks, summer camp for kids and classes in dance, performing arts, health & wellness and culinary arts. Many of the programs are open to Cary residents and non-residents alike.Rather than sit back on its heels following the gold medal win, Cary’s Parks & Recreation Dept. continues to think long-term, with plans to expand the greenway so that all parks and greenways in Cary will eventually be connected.

The rest of the country is now recognizing what residents of Cary, NC, including its many transplants from other states, have known for a long time. The City has a parks & recreation program that is second to none. Congratulations to the City of Cary and its citizens on its Gold Medal and a job well done!

5 Exciting New Housing Trends 

If you are planning to built or buy a home, remember that as technology develops, architectural designs change, and the environment dictates, new trends will emerge in exterior and interior construction. Trends affect the appearance and functionality of both single and multifamily homes. New home designs also accommodate the latest technology advances required by the Internet of Things (IoT). Existing homes can be upgraded with many technology options.

Control your security, heating and cooling, lawn irrigation, lighting, and much more through the IoT.

The Internet of Things
Control your security, heating and cooling, lawn irrigation, lighting, and much more through the IoT. Your smart phone allows you to check your refrigerator contents from the grocery store, so you’ll never run out of milk again. More significant benefits of the IoT include home security, key-less locks, doorbell cams, “smart” outlets, Wifi lighting, “smart”door openers, “smart” home software, and many other new technologies. Buyers of new builds can choose from many IoT options for an ultra modern home.

Sustainability
The pressures of climate change science require designing and building homes that can better withstand natural disasters. Conserving natural resources is also vitally important, and new construction techniques are meeting the challenge. Solar panels are trending in new home builds. The efficiency of insulated vinyl siding lowers energy bills, and is nearly maintenance-free. Technology has made it possible for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to drastically reduce energy waste, and modern kitchen appliances use energy efficiently.

Exterior Veneers

Have the beautiful finishes you want on your new home by choosing veneers. Stone and terra-cotta veneers give the outside of your home the look of luxury without the expense. Terra-cotta veneers can be applied to a variety of panel styles, and stone veneers on drywall are far less expensive than solid stone facades. These alternative options are strong, durable, and beautiful.

Softer Color Palettes

Trending exterior colors are using soft earth tones in a variety of blends. Clay, sage, sand, dove gray, wheat, terra cotta, moss, and other earth and sky colors are among the most popular. Popular soft shade interior colors include aqua mist, avocado green, silver gray, nostalgic rose, subtle blue, and butter cream. Both interior and exterior palettes include colors indicated to favor relaxation and a stress-free lifestyle.

Reclaimed Wood

Wood from vintage homes and other types of buildings is being reclaimed for use in contemporary homes. Much of it is used as flooring and looks beautiful with the natural patina of age. Reclaimed wood is also used in wainscoting, wall panels, beams, and trims. It adds a rich and unique beauty to any home.

It doesn’t matter if you are buying a new home or an existing home, look for these new trends in housing. You’ll find some existing homes with nice upgrades, or can add them after you move in.

Five Energizing Tips to Survive the Work Day

Is the typical workday making you feel exhausted before it’s even over? Read further to review strategies to give yourself an extra boost of mental and physical energy throughout the day, in order to survive the day.

  

1. Exercise at work

It is surprising how easy it actually is to sneak in a few minutes of exercise, even if you are stuck at a desk all day long. Consider a stand up computer desk or a desk attached to a treadmill. Phone calls can easily be done while walking at a light to medium walking pace. Or, if that is not a realistic luxury, watch the clock and make a plan to walk down the hall at least once an hour to get the circulation flowing. Use the excuse of filling up a water bottle, using the washroom, or by honestly announcing you are stretching your legs. Other discreet forms of exercise include balancing on one leg while resting one foot on top of the other, or, holding a squat position for a few seconds each time you stand for a mini buttock workout.

2. Maintain hydration

Getting dehydrated can lead to feeling sluggish and fatigued. Ensure hydration is maintained throughout the day with motivating tricks to drink water regularly. Consider having a drink of water at every hour mark during the day, or mark lines on a clear water bottle for hourly intake goals. How do you know if you are drinking enough? Your urine will be clear and will not have a foul odor. As a reminder, avoid caffeinated drinks as these cause dehydration.

3. Energy enhancing snacks

Avoid simple sugars that provide a quick rush of energy, only to come crashing down an hour or two later. Instead, select nutritious snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables along with protein and complex carbohydrates. For example, cheese and whole grain crackers provide energy that lasts for a longer duration than simple sugars or white bread products.

4. Fresh air

Use your break time wisely and get outside, even for a short bout of fresh air. Dress appropriately for the weather so that cold temperatures cannot be an excuse for staying inside. To really use your break time wisely, get outside and go for a walk. You will definitely come back feeling refreshed by combining fresh air, exercise, and deep breathing while walking. For added motivation, find a colleague to join you and inspire each other to make it a regular routine.

5. Laughter

Laughter has long been known as a tool for decreasing stress. Proposed theories include that laughter can increase oxygen uptake as well as endorphin levels, the feel good hormone secreted within the brain. Consider using break periods to either share a humorous story with a colleague or watch a short comedy skit online. Just as a reminder, keep the material respectful and be mindful of your colleague’s comfort and culture.

Work can be a long and tedious event, however, until you strike it rich with the lottery it is a reality endured to pay bills and, with any luck, to achieve some personal growth and career satisfaction. Getting a healthy boost of energy mid-day can help cope with fatigue and, potentially, improve work performance.

SourceRaja, V. Antony Joe. “A Study on Occupational Stress of Employees In Information Technology.” International Journal 6.7 (2015).

Ways to Increase Your Profit When You Sell Your Home

Making a profit is often at the top of the list for homeowners attempting to sell their house. At first glance, you might believe that the only way to make money on the sale is to sell your home for more than you initially paid for it. However, a few strategies exist that can enhance the profitability of going to settlement, allowing you to make more money out of the deal than you thought possible.

Set the Right Price

All too often, sellers fool themselves into thinking a high asking price is going to result in larger profits. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. When a home is listed with a price that is considerably higher than the market will bear, it typically sits for weeks that stretch into months. Once this type of situation develops, lowering the asking price in order to attract potential buyers is the next step, an action that certainly lowers the profitability of the sale.


Hire an Aggressive Real Estate Agent

If you sell your house quickly, you won’t need to lower your price to get the sale. In fact, homes that sell quickly are typically priced reasonably for the existing housing market, shown to highly motivated buyers, and in move-in-ready condition. Having an aggressive real estate agent on board means that your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers who are interested in the type of home you are selling. How do you recognize an aggressive agent? Look for a professional with an excellent track record and strong ideas on how to market your home aggressively.

 

Offer to Sell Larger Pieces of Furniture

If you are moving to a new home, you might also be interested in buying a new selection of furniture. If this is the case, why not offer to sell some of your furniture to your buyers? Doing so allows you to:

  • Save on moving costs
  • Make money

Ideally, you should consider selling off the largest pieces of your furniture because it helps to limit the number and size of the moving vans that you’ll need. Even if the buyers only purchase one or two pieces, you’ll still make money that you weren’t expecting to get.

Offer to Sell Yard Equipment

Whether or not your new home has a large yard, you might want to sell off your lawn tractor, rototiller, and hand tools. You will save on your moving costs and make some money at the same time.

Get Your Real Estate Agent to Accept a Lower Commission

Getting your real estate to accept a lower commission on the sale of your home is a tricky business. First, you must get this professional to agree to do so. Second, it is possible that a lower commission places your home on the bottom of the list when it comes to showing homes to prospective buyers, possibly increasing the time needed to get a sale.

If you are looking for ways to increase your profit when you sell your home, you might want to try as many strategies as possible. You might not have success with all of them, but at least you can try. Any money that you make using these strategies will add to the profitability of your real estate transaction.