Why Leland?


Town of Leland

Welcome to Leland, where the fun is!

John Hacker and Jean Hacker

It’s been almost 4 years since we moved from my home of 72 years in California to our new home here in Leland, North Carolina. We decided to leave California in 2016. 

It was not an easy choice. We knew we could not retire to a comfortable lifestyle in California, the cost of everything would soon delete our retirement nest egg. 

We had no family left except nephews, and nieces.  Even our friends were considering leaving our home state. Our children left several years before. 

But why Leland specifically? 

Beaches, number one in my book, we had to be near the beach, I was a born surfer in California and I needed to be near the ocean. 

Our kids in Virginia, said stay south, do not come to Virginia, it’s too congested and the beaches were cluttered, we accepted their idea. 

Working with Veteran organizations in Southern California, several of my Marine friends suggested North Carolina, but not Jacksonville, go south to Wilmington, or further south but stay away from South Carolina and points south. (Not sure why but I love the history down that way.) 

So, we began “The Plan:”

  • I had my son send me two map books on North Carolina, and South Carolina AND one on Virginia.  I wanted to know how far East Coast kids were from us,  then made the list of what work will I do on the house and what work would I contract out.
  • I bought a big desk calendar to track my work and to make sure I was hitting my weekly goals. (Sometimes yes, sometimes NO!) 
  • When each page was completed on our task sheet, we had a glass of wine at sunset and burned the page with friends. 
  • We reached out for resources in North Carolina like the Chamber of Commerce and even the American Legion. 
  • Wilmington looked the best. It had the city highlights and concert venues and LOTS of History. 
  • I sent my daughter in Virginia to scout out Leland and Wilmington and her recon proved to be effective.  Wilmington had the adventure and the “city” feel and great history.  Leland had the small town feel and the surrounding beach areas had that Laguna Niguel feel we so much enjoyed in California 
  • We knew we were going to rent first, so we scheduled one year to search the areas.
  • We pulled the trigger when we put the house on the market and negotiated a 60-day rent back, so we could search for a rental house.   
  • I found it was easier to build here so we researched builders, and settled on a good one to build our home in Magnolia Greens.


We knew that nowhere would compare to the large cities of California that we loved.  Many have said Charlotte could be the San Francisco of the South but apparently, they have not visited San Francisco! 

I find North Carolina is safer from weather events than in California.  The mountains here get some fires now and then but so far nothing on the scale of California. 

The biggest weather event here is hurricanes–not often it seems, but when they hit, they can be devastating. With several major hurricanes from 1996 to 1999 impacting this area,  my friends in California said it was a sign for us NOT to go to North Carolina.

The summers can be brutal here but the beaches are soft and long and the water is like bath water.  In California, the water is always cold. We are late beach goers, arriving around 6 pm to enjoy some adult beverages and snacks and enjoy some great sunsets. 

But, in the end, the biggest pro is obvious: North Carolina is cheaper and friendlier. 

The biggest con is harder to define. I must say public transportation is lacking here and, I believe,  all over North Carolina.  But honestly public transportation isn’t anything to brag about in California either. 

We love the arts and crafts throughout the southern part of Brunswick County.  

We are starting to discover wineries, not as close to our home in California, but we love the adventure of finding them and also great craft beer.  

Your money will go far here.  I suggest you join a community organization to get to know and meet people. They are here with open arms.