Terry and Jane Hart moved to Wake County from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., for three reasons: their grandchildren Steven, Erica and Emily. As they eased into retirement, the couple found themselves frequently driving down Interstate 95 to southern Wake County to visit daughter Pam and her three young children.
This past summer they decided it made sense to relocate near the grandchildren and spare themselves all that driving.
The Harts picked a good time to leave southern Maryland. It took them one day to sell their townhouse in La Plata, Md., for more money than they had imagined. The couple then had 30 days to find a home in Wake County.
They settled on a 2,600-square-foot home in Lakestone Village, a new community going up just off U.S. 401 in Fuquay-Varina. Lakestone is being built in stages and will eventually include a mix of single-family homes, town homes and shops, all within walking distance of one another.
"It's more house than we need," Terry Hart said.
Although the Harts moved to Wake County to spend more time with their grandchildren, they have been pleasantly surprised by the variety of things to do in the area. Since they arrived, they have attended a Ricky Skaggs concert in Louisburg and the play "Hairspray" at the Progress Energy Center in Raleigh.
"There's more here than we realized," Terry Hart said.
The Harts are enjoying the slower pace of life and the ability to travel without fighting traffic. They spent three hours a day commuting to and from their jobs in Washington, where Jane Hart worked for the Department of Agriculture and Terry Hart for a public utility.
Now that they're in Wake, "I can drive anywhere," Jane Hart said.
The move has not been entirely stress-free.
Terry Hart, who recently turned 65, had a hard time finding a doctor in southern Wake County who would accept a new Medicare patient. Being on a fixed income, the Harts also worry about whether Wake County's school shortages will cause their taxes to go up significantly.
But six months after the move, Terry Hart has settled into a routine of picking up his grandchildren at school and taking them to sports practices and music lessons. Daughter Pam has even decided to buy a home down the street from theirs in Lakestone Village.
"All I got is time to give them," Terry Hart said of his grandchildren. "That's the main reason we came down here."