17 January . 2018
Big City Stars Move South: The McCarthys
Life was one fast-paced adventure for John and Bonnie McCarthy. John’s teeming career as financier and a Wall Street Journal reporter matched Bonnie’s busy life as a member of the Saturday Night Live team.
What made this couple trade life in Big Apple for a Briar Chapel home in Chapel Hill?
Big City Life
John and Bonnie McCarthy were born and raised in the North – Bonnie in southern New Jersey and John in Springfield, Illinois. Education and work opportunities brought the McCarthys to big cities across the Midwest and Northeast. The couple met in graduate school at the University of Iowa and moved east as John continued his education at the University of Chicago.
Their work in financial markets prompted their move to northern New Jersey, where John commuted to New York City for the next 30 years. Bonnie left the financial markets once kids arrived and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and other projects.
Big City Careers
Bonnie and John flourished in the Big Apple. Bonnie’s career apex was her work for 13 years as a background member on “Saturday Night Live,” where she appeared in numerous skits of funerals, weddings and political elections and worked alongside celebrities like Paul McCartney. Bonnie also spent nearly 15 years as a background artist and actor in a number of movies (“Doubt,” “Ghost Town” and “Enchanted”), HBO shows (“Mildred Pierce,” “Boardwalk Empire”) and episodes of “Law and Order,” all shot in and around the city.
Meanwhile, John worked in international banking and finance until 2012. After being “gently thrust into retirement,” John wrote for The Wall Street Journal for 15 months and joined the Board of Directors of the CTC Academy, a school system that serves children with developmental disabilities. As interim executive director for 15 months, John managed two school campuses and oversaw construction of the academy’s new high school.
New Places, New Faces
It was time. The McCarthys set their sights along the southern East Coast for their next move.
“Chapel Hill ticked off 100 percent of the boxes for retirement life,” said John, who noted the area’s low taxes, mild weather, affordable cost of living, wealth of cultural opportunities and close proximity to a world-class airport. Even with more than 2 million people, the Triangle didn’t feel too crowded (especially when compared to New York City).
John and Bonnie were quickly drawn to Briar Chapel. Since the community was still developing, the McCarthys wouldn’t be the only newbies to the neighborhood.
“We met so many people just by walking outside,” said Bonnie. “It was easy to make those connections because everyone was new.” “It was like kindergarten all over again,” added John.
The couple was also sold by the community’s wooded lots and environmentally conscious lifestyle. In stark contrast to a concrete-based suburb in New Jersey, Briar Chapel offered a spacious, green community that the couple has called home since June 2016.
Brimming with Activity
Although Chapel Hill moves at a slower pace than New York City, the couple’s life continues to brim with activity. You can find them enjoying a warm drink at Breakaway Cafe in Veranda or exploring miles of the Briar Chapel trails. The McCarthys also love visiting neighboring towns, like Fearrington, Pittsboro and Durham, and taking day trips around the state.
As John and Bonnie enjoy this next chapter of their lives, they’re glad to spend it in the southern town of Chapel Hill.
Considering moving south? Check out what could be your next home at Briar Chapel!
“We met so many people just by walking outside,” said Bonnie. “It was easy to make those connections because everyone was new.”
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