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Looking for a Place to Play? Try One of Durham’s Best Parks for Kids!

Looking for a Place to Play? Try One of Durham’s Best Parks for Kids!

Durham is filled with fun events, great food, outdoor recreation spaces, and 60 parks. That’s a lot of outdoor fun for the kids. Summer is well underway and there are surely some times when you want to get the kids out of the house to play. What better place to bring them to than a great playground? The free space is a great way to get the kids moving, playing, burning off some energy, and getting some vitamin D. We couldn’t help but create a round-up of the best parks for kids in Durham.

Rolling View at Falls Lake State Recreation Area

great playgrounds

Head to Rolling View at Falls Lake for a slew of activities. Equipped with a long, wide beach, Rolling View is perfect for a hot afternoon where you and the kids are ready to take a dip. There are a lot of water-related activities for the whole family. Rolling View offers water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, boat launches, and sailing adventures.

The playground is located right near the beach, so when the sun starts beating down a little too hard, you can cool off. Easy access parking makes Rolling View a convenient place to play, especially with bathrooms located right at the playground area.

You can find Rolling View here: 4201 Baptist Road, Durham, NC 27703

Piney Wood Park

best kid's playgrounds

Piney Wood has a great playground, loaded with awesome outdoor play equipment. There’s no shortage of play structures, with three different structures. Also equipped with swings, Piney Wood isn’t just for the younger kids. There’s a very tall spiral slide, climbing nets, and even smaller slides for the younger crowd. The woods are close by, offering a good natural space to play in dry creek beds or get some shade from the summer sun. Let’s talk about the unique factor of Piney Wood park: the log Teepee.

What’s more is the dog park located right beside the playground. This makes heading to the park a solid use of time, getting both the kids and the dogs out to burn off some energy. Kids will definitely be entertained by the canine antics, and the dog park is fenced off so there’s no need to worry about safety. Not to mention the nearby picnic area, which is covered and provides lots of shade.

Though Piney Wood has great outdoor play equipment, we’d change the fact it’s a little tough to find. Because it’s hidden in the trees, you might have to search just a little bit. But that gives a little more adventure to the outing!

You can find Piney Wood here: 400 E Woodcroft Pkwy, Durham, NC 27713

Burch Avenue Park

outdoor play equipment

Burch Avenue Park is a newly renovated park, near Duke. One of the things that really stands out about this park is that it was renovated by Kaboom, which is an organization who builds parks in neighborhoods where kids live. Among the outdoor play equipment is: a school bus for climbing and driving, a bouncy horse for riding, with large play structures and even musical instrument walls. Talk about a way to foster creativity!

There’s even a stage in the park!

The park is completely fenced in, so it’s a great choice for a lively kid who is hard to keep track of. Whether the kids are toddlers or range a little older, there’s something at this park suited for them.

You can find Burch Avenue Park here: 816 Burch Avenue, Durham, NC 27712

West Point on the Eno

parks in durham

We’re big fans of anything Eno at Real Estate Experts. The Eno is a huge part of North Carolina (especially in Durham and Hillsborough) history, charged with helping to build not only the culture of the area, but a deep respect for wildlife too. This park has a lot of history, and it presents an opportunity to get the kids acquainted with it.

Hiking, biking, and animal watching are all parts of the Eno experience. However, West Point has a Natural Play Space that’s sure to grab the attention of the kids. Even though there’s no outdoor play equipment, West Point has lots of natural attractions.

There’s space to play in the water, all kinds of bugs for the boys, and no shortage of creative inspiration. When the kids are done playing in the Natural Play Space, you can be sure there are other attractions to keep them entertained. You can head to the mill, overlook the dam, or pause at the covered picnic shelter.

You can find West Point on the Eno at: 5101 Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC 27704

Bethesda Park

outdoor play equipment

Let’s put it this way: Bethesda Park has it all. From disc golf to basketball courts, and covered tennis courts to the high ropes course, there’s not much Bethesda Park is missing. Over a sprawling 20 acres, there isn’t a shortage of activities to entertain everyone.

The Discovery High Ropes Course is a cool opportunity to get the older kids involved, and outside. While the park does have outdoor play equipment and a great playground, the ropes course is very enticing. The structures go up about 55 feet in the air, and there is, of course, a zipline. Not to mention the giant swing. Are you convinced about Bethesda Park yet?

great playgrounds

In the playground itself, there are swings, picnic benches, and lots of natural structures that encourage creativity. Swings are located on the outskirts of the playground, boosting the safety of the playground itself. Similar to Piney Wood park, there’s a wall of instruments to get the kids’ creative sides flowing.

You can find Bethesda Park at: 1814 Stage Road DurhamNC 27703

Real Estate Experts

Durham has no shortage beautiful greenways, pretty parks, and great playgrounds for kids. These playgrounds are near some of Chapel Hill’s best neighborhoods. Think you’d love to live nearby? We’ve got you covered, and would be happy to help you find your next home in Chapel Hill!

You can learn more about what Durham has to offer with our Durham Real Estate Guide. If you are interested in learning about the neighborhoods surrounding or real estate in Durham and other properties in the greater Triangle area, visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at
[email protected] for additional information.  We can’t wait to welcome you to your new home.

What’s Up With Wake County’s New Transit Plan

What’s Up With Wake County’s New Transit Plan

Wake County has a massive population, growing by an estimated 64 people per day. Many of us are used to the long commutes, heavy traffic, and frustration associated with said growing population. However, in November, Wake County voters were heard and the Wake County Transit Plan was approved! The Wake County Transit Plan isn’t news to any Triangle residents.

If you’re unfamiliar with the plan, here’s a quick summary of the Wake County Transit Plan.

  • Build a frequent “Bus Rapid Transit” network in high-traffic areas that will incorporate dedicated bus lanes, level boarding platforms, and other enhanced features that will improve the speed and quality of service.
  • Create a brand-new commuter rail line that will utilize preexisting tracks to provide a backbone of passenger train service across the county, thereby enabling people to completely avoid daily road traffic congestion.
  • Expand the frequent network (which is every 15 minutes) from 17 miles to 83 miles. All service will be be expanded to 19 hours a day.
  • Provide triple the current bus service in just the first few years, connecting each town in the county.

According to Wake Transit, the implementation of this plan could take more than one million miles of travel off our roads every single day. How? By offering people attractive alternatives to driving. More than 50 percent of homes and 70 percent of jobs will be within half a mile of a transit stop across Wake County. Talk about efficiency!

GoTransit discusses its key role in transforming Triangle transit. Check out what’s in store.

In November 2016, Wake County voters agreed to raise the county’s sales tax rate by a half-percent in order to fund the $2.3 billion Wake County Transit Plan. What will that mean locally? The local sales tax rate will increase from 6.75 percent to 7.25 percent beginning in April 2017. Then, in December 2016, the Wake County Board of Commissioners officially authorized two key sources of financial support for the Wake County Transit Plan. They are: a $3.00 increase in the Regional Transit Authority Registration Tax as well as a new $7.00 Wake County Vehicle Registration Tax. These two local funding sources are in addition to the half percent increase of local sales and use tax referendum.

Wake County Transit Plan Update

It’s been months since December, so what’s going on with the Wake County Transit Plan?

In February, the GoTriangle Board of Trustees approved the $3.00 increase to the Annual Motor Vehicle Tax in Wake County. This is one of the key funds for the Wake County Transit Plan, and is especially important for the bus services. Annual Motor Vehicle Tax will help pay for tripling of bus service, four Bus Rapid Transit Corridors and Commuter Rail service connecting Garner, Raleigh, Cary, RTP and Durham.

April 1st saw the tax go into effect within Wake County. The investment into better public transportation began, which is to say the tax voted on in November came into effect.

“Wake County has more than a million residents. That number is growing by an estimated 450 people every week,” says Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Sig Hutchinson. “Projects funded through the Wake County Transit Plan will make commuting options more frequent, reliable and easier to use. We are thrilled to see this investment begin to take shape. We look forward to the enhancements it promises for the community.”

So, what’s coming up next? How will these developments begin to take in the Triangle and Wake County?

Change is on the Horizon

This summer, the other key funding sources will come into effect. This means the $7.00 Wake County vehicle registration tax will begin, as well as an $8.00 regional registration tax. The regional registration tax increases by $3.00 from the original $5.00 in August, 2017.

Tax isn’t the only thing on the horizon for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Other selected project proposals include:

  • Expanding Monday through Friday service frequency to every 15 minutes for the GoRaleigh 7 route. Also, expanding Sunday service on all existing routes.
  • Expanding mid-day service frequency for GoCary routes 3, 4, 5 and 6 and adding Sunday service on all existing routes.
  • Increasing frequency to every 30 minutes on GoTriangle route 100 between Raleigh, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Research Triangle Park.
  • Increasing frequency, days of operation and hours of service on GoTriangle route 300 between Cary and Raleigh.
  • Significantly increasing door-to-door service for rural residents through
  • Continuing express bus routes to Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

What Residents Are Saying

Some of the change brought on by the Wake County Transit Plan is already affecting surrounding Wake County communities like Fuquay Varina.

“For residents who do not have direct access to personal transportation, this service has filled their transportation void by providing a low-cost, efficient transportation service,” says Town of Fuquay-Varina’s Economic Development Director, Jim Seymour. “For those residents who do have access to a personal transportation and want to reduce their transportation out-of-pocket costs, this service has reduced typical transportation costs—travel time, operating costs and parking facility costs. For some households, it offers the opportunity to lower the cost of vehicle ownership by transitioning from a two-vehicle to one-vehicle household.”

If you’re looking to learn more about the Wake County Transit Plan and associated projects, there are many resources to check out.

Real Estate Experts

For more information about the Wake County Transit Plan, you can visit their website or Facebook page. For more information about living, working, and commuting in Wake County, contact Real Estate Experts at 919-813-6449. With our local expertise, we can help you make the best decision for you or your family as you become residents of Wake County or the Triangle area.

If you are interested in learning about the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Raleigh and other properties in the greater Triangle area, visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at
[email protected] for additional information.  We can’t wait to welcome you to your new home.



Durham Bond Referendum: What Residents Need to Know

Durham Bond Referendum: What Residents Need to Know


Before the General Election on November 8, Durham County residents will want to be well-informed on what’s involved with the 2016 Bond Referendum that will be on the ballot. Residents are encouraged to become very familiar with the bond referendum details, as the upcoming ballot will be lengthy and yield results affecting many areas of local, state, and federal government. Here’s what you need to know.

A bond referendum is a voting process that enables voters to decide if a county should be authorized to raise funds for building costs and maintenance of special projects through the sale of bonds. Since the Durham County budget is unable to accommodate a large number of projects at once, bonds provide a long-term borrowing process that enables the county to spread the cost of projects over the life of the improvements.

On August 8, 2016, the Durham County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to place four bond referendums on the November ballot: school bonds ($90.9 million), community college bonds ($20 million), library facilities bonds ($44.3 million), and museum bonds ($14.1 million). In all, Durham County residents will be asked to approve $170 million in bond referendums.

Supporting the Bond Referendum will result in a property tax increase of 2.5 cents for residents, which would commence in fiscal year 2017-18 (see chart for example tax rate impacts).


School Bonds

School referendum bonds will include money for additional buildings; remodeling, enlarging, and reconstructing existing buildings; and land, furnishings, and equipment. More than half the money, or $51.9 million, will be placed toward replacing Northern High, as the current school was built in the 1950s. The board is hopeful that construction for the new Northern High could begin in spring 2018, with the new school opening its doors in fall 2020.

Community College Bonds

Community college bonds would be put toward expanding and improving facilities at Durham Technical Community College.

Library Facilities Bonds

Library facilities bonds would be used for enlarging and improving Durham Public Library facilities, including the Main Library located at 300 N. Roxboro Street.

Museum Bonds

Museum bonds would be used for a parking deck at the Museum of Life and Science, along with improvements of exhibits and visitor facilities.

Make your voice heard and don’t miss your opportunity to vote on this important issue. There will be separate ballot questions for each of the four projects, so you are not required to vote for all four bonds. Early voting for the General Election begins on October 20 and ends on November 5. Election day for Durham Bond Referendum 2016 is November 8.

For more information on voter registration, early voting, polling locations, sample ballots, frequently asked questions, and more, you can visit the Durham County website’s Board of Elections page. To learn more about living in Durham, contact us at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected]. See our latest listings at realestateexperts.net.


Neighborhood Spotlight: Wetrock Farm

Neighborhood Spotlight: Wetrock Farm

Wetrock Farm Neighborhood

Photo courtesy of wetrockfarm.com.

You’ve heard of farm-to-table eating; how about farm-to-table living? That’s what residents of Wetrock Farm, a new 230-acre community being built around a working farm and over 100 acres of preserved open space, will be able to enjoy! The neighborhood will be located in northern Durham County at the intersection of North Roxboro Road and Preston Andrews Road, just 20 minutes from Downtown Durham. The Wetrock Farm Community will include nutritional food, outdoor activities, limited stress, and enjoyable fitness.

For those passionate about the environment, locally grown food, and green living, Wetrock Farm is an ideal place to live. The community will feature 141 lots with wooded backdrops ranging in price from $275,000 to $899,000. A group of smaller lots will form a walkable village around an 8.5-acre organic community farm (run by a lead farmer) that will produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the three-season growing period in North Carolina. Residents of the community will have first choice of fresh food from the farm, with the remainder being sold at the farm’s onsite stand and to area restaurants. The farm will also include laying hens, a petting zoo, and education programs. Residents will have the opportunity to assist in the running of the farm.

Wetrock Farm Plan Rendering


Developer and majority owner Rick Bagel founded Wetrock Resources, LLC in 2008 to implement sustainable land development concepts in the Southeast. Bagel graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Economics and is a member of Urban Land Institute, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and the NC Agritourism Networking Association. “It just seemed really appropriate for this area because Durham-Chapel Hill has such a strong local food scene,” said Bagel. “It’s also perfect for this property.”

Wetrock Farm Location

Durham has become well-known for its restaurant scene and was named  “America’s Foodiest Small Town”  by Bon Appetit magazine, “The South’s Tastiest Town” by Southern Living magazine, and “The Foodie Capital of the South” by the New York Post, among others. The empty tobacco fields that lay dormant for years near Durham will now be used to provide fresh local ingredients to these restaurants.

A major aspect of the Wetrock Farm vision is a community where residents engage and interact regularly, working, learning, and playing together. Wetrock Farm will include an emphasis on social events to foster a lifelong sense of community. Examples include an outdoor gathering space for residents and families (picnics, bonfires), scheduled events, intergenerational opportunities to learn ecology and horticulture; and the opportunity to share with neighbors a new connection to nature. Other amenities will include gorgeous scenery; recreation areas, such as walking trails; a natural habitat for native plants and animals; and a commitment to block any potential future developments. Over 70% of the total land area will be conserved in its natural, forested state.

If this sounds like heaven on earth to you, contact us for the latest in development plans and ownership opportunities. Give us a call today at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].

When buying a home, even new construction, it is important to have a buyers agent. At Real Estate Experts, we are fierce representative for our clients and known as expert buyer agents.   Contact us and see how we can help you find just the home you are looking for.



Middle College Helps High School Students Succeed

Middle College Helps High School Students Succeed

MIddle College

Have you heard of Middle College? It’s an awesome alternative educational opportunity for high school students offered across the country, and we are fortunate to have two right here in the Triangle, at Durham Technical Community College and Wake Tech Community College. In addition, Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College is available in nearby Graham, NC.

The Middle College Program concept was first established in New York in 1974. The original design for the school evolved from the work of Dr. Janet Lieberman, Professor of Psychology at LaGuardia in New York, who believed that a collaborative high school/college program could nurture the academic and psycho-social needs of at-risk urban youth with college potential. The Middle College Program is a collaboration between a high school district and a community college for high school students who are interested in a more independent learning environment, or at-risk students who can be surrounded by positive role models and reach their goals. This environment helps them acclimate to higher standards, become engaged in school, and be motivated to attend regularly.

Middle College Programs cover the cost of tuition, books, and fees, thus removing one of the most significant barriers to entry into higher education: price. The programs also help students to navigate the sometimes-intimidating college admissions and enrollment processes, with help applying to college; college fairs; college financial aid; PSAT, SAT, and ACT testing; college course opportunities, and scholarship opportunities. Students must apply to the programs, and must meet certain criteria to gain acceptance.

Durham Technical Community College’s Middle College Program

The Middle College High School (MCHS) program offered at Durham Technical Community College is a magnet school for juniors and seniors. Students take a combination of core high school courses and college courses to acquire credit toward an associate degree, four-year college, or an industry certification credential. The core classes are provided by teachers employed by the high school districts, while all the college courses are taken with college students at the community college. MCHS offers several unique advantages to students, including free college credit (students can graduate with a year–or more–of transferable college credit), small enrollment (maximum 200 students), a collegiate environment, and access to all Durham Tech facilities and services, such as libraries, labs, clubs, and dining services. Students also enjoy free tutoring resources offered by the college.

Durham Tech is located in East Durham off the Durham Freeway, at 1637 East Lawson Street. The main campus map is shown below.

Durham Tech Middle College Program

Wake Tech Community College’s Early College Program

Wake Tech Early College Program

Wake Tech Community College offers Wake Early College of Health and Sciences (WECHS) for students interested in pursuing a degree or career in the health science field. This program was launched in 2004 in partnership with the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina, and the NC Department of Public Instruction as an opportunity to serve first-generation college students, those at-risk of dropping out, or other historically underserved populations, at no cost to their families.

WECHS is a rigorous five-year public high school program that allows students to earn their high school diploma and an Associate degree, college transfer credit, certificate, or prerequisite courses for a health sciences degree. For the first two years of the program, students take honors classes at the the Perry Health Sciences Campus at Wake Tech. For the next three years, students take both high school and college classes on the Northern Campus of Wake Tech.

Key advantages of WECHS include small classes (the school has a max of 400 students at all times), advice about their course of study from Wake Tech and WECHS academic advisors, job shadowing and internships at WakeMed (with potential for employment with the hospital system), and mentoring opportunities by WakeMed Health and Hospitals professionals. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card. WECHS follows a traditional calendar and is located at 2901 Holston Lane in Raleigh.

Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College Program

The Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College (ABEMC) is a program located on the campus of Alamance Community College serving rising ninth graders through 12th grade, with the majority of high school courses taken during the first two years (Early College), and the final two years focused on college level classes (Middle College). As with all Middle College programs, the goal is to produce high school graduates with academic or career post-secondary plans firmly in place.

Alamance-Burlington Middle College

ABEMC is a small program (just 75 students are enrolled) where teaching is enriched by the use of technology in the classroom and project-based learning. Each student receives a computer and a MyMuvi PaceCamHD. Faculty all have Smartboards, laptop computers, and document cameras. The school, located at 1247 Jimmie Kerr Road in Graham, NC, follows a traditional calendar. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card.

For more information about the Middle College Programs or any school district, please contact us at 919-813-6449 or [email protected]. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.



NC School Report Cards, Part 3: Durham County

NC School Report Cards, Part 3: Durham County


North Carolina schools have received their 2015-2016 School Report Cards, which provide school performance grades and data on student achievement, school safety and technology, teacher quality, and more.

This is the third in a series of blog posts Real Estate Experts will publish covering School Report Card results for school districts throughout Triangle.

According to the Durham County Schools’ Report Card data, 69 percent of schools met or exceeded performance targets set by the state, and the percentage of students at or above grade level at the end of the year–44.9 percent—increased by almost one percentage point. The percentage of students who are career and college-ready rose as well, from 35 percent to 36.3 percent.

Third, fourth, and fifth graders saw gains this year in proficiency and college readiness, with the biggest jumps coming in math and science. Middle-school students, however, saw mixed results, with sixth and eighth graders declining. High school students saw gains in math and biology, though not in English. In 2016, of the 2,783 students tested in English, 46.4 percent were proficient, a decline of more than five percentage points from the previous year.


Durham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme.

“It is progress,” assistant superintendent Julie Spencer told the Board of Education. “[But] they are small steps, and we need giant leaps.”

“We took some important steps forward last year in academic achievement,” says Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L’Homme. “I’m proud of all of our teachers, principals, and staff who come into our schools every day committed to academic excellence for every child. But we will not be satisfied until we’re making giant leaps ahead. Our question this school year is how we can not only maintain our progress, but accelerate it.”

Four-year graduation improved from 80 percent to 82.1 percent. The statewide graduation rate was 85.8 percent.

There was some very positive news, that three public schools received an A+ (J.D. Clement Early College High, City of Medicine Academy and Mangum Elementary). One received an A (Middle College High), and three received a B (Durham School of the Arts, Little River Elementary and Morehead Montessori.)

High schools with significant increases in their graduation rate include Jordan High School (rose 6.6 percentage points to 86.2) and Durham’s Performance Learning Center (rose 12.3 percentage points to to 77.2).

Stay tuned for our next post in this series, which will cover the Wake County School District School Report Cards.

You can also search the comprehensive database provided on our website to see the grades schools received over the last three years and whether the school exceeded, met, or did not meet its expected academic growth.