My name is Stacy and I'm not a broker or agent. We currently have our house listed for sale but this is not why I'm responding to your email. We were new to the area a little over 4yrs ago and struggled with the same questions. I will admit I don't know much about N. Raleigh or Wake Forest, but hope to be a help with Cary.
We live in the area where West Lake Rd. and Optimist Farm Rd. cross each other. (Zip code 27539) Technically we're Cary, however because of USPO situations we have an Apex mailing address. I can not say enough about this area. We LOVE it! Regarding schools, West Lake Elementary (Fantastic School!) Middle Creek Elementary, West Lake Middle School and Middle Creek HS are all within a half mile of our home. To check out any school ratings you can go to wcpss.net, click on 'find a school' and you will be able to look at the schools report card. We have a new principal this year named Daniel Simons who is a welcome change to our previous principal. (Our previous principal was transferred to Wake Forest.) He is wonderful and has made fantastic changes in our school. Our children feel comfortable with him, he listens to parents needs and questions and most importantly, he holds teachers accountable. One of the things I love best is he has initiated a Monday evening announcement which goes out to every home making parents aware of things from school activitis to fire drills.
Behind Middle Creek HS you will find a fantastic play area for kids, soccer fields, baseball fields, disc golf, and more. Middle Creek also has a recreation center wich offers lots of programs for children and adults. Restaurants, shopping and other parks and activities are only minutes away. Regarding your question about crime, we live in a super safe neighborhood and have make fantastic friends!
Now, would I love for you to look at our home an consider purchasing it?! Absolutley! But again this is not why I'm sending this. We live in a neighborhood called West Lake. The surrounding neighborhoods are The Park at West Lake, Jamerson, Belmont, Brighton Forest, Langston and more. ALL are outstanding places to live. Just down the road from us is Holly Springs, NC; another great place to live with fantastic schools. HS was rated The Best City To Raise A Family In NC for 2012. Another great place is Apex, NC. The school ratings are terrific!
In closing, I wish you the best of luck in your search. Take your time (if possible!) and your house will find you! I hope this information was helpful!