Turns out, the South is a pretty nice place to live

posted at 6:40 pm on September 29, 2011 by Tina Korbe

When I first moved to Washington D.C., my dad jokingly warned me not to hype home too much. “If they find out just how nice we have it down here, all your new East Coast friends will want to move to the South and our cost of living will go up,” he teased. In my family, we like to say the South is the country’s best-kept secret. But, as it turns out, plenty of people have discovered it: During the last decade, the South was the fastest-growing region of the country.

In his column today on National Review Online, Lee Habeeb, vice president of content for Salem Radio Network, chronicles his own journey south, from New Jersey to Mississippi. Habeeb cites all the usual suspects as to what makes the South appealing, from the slower pace to the lower cost of living:

“Have you lost your mind?” is the refrain I heard over and over from friends up north when I told them the news. It was as if I’d just told them I was moving to Madagascar. …

I then told them about the quality of life in Oxford, and how far a dollar stretches. And the ease of doing business. When I show them pictures of my house, and get around to my property taxes, things get positively somber. On a home valued at $400,000, my tax tab is $2,000. My parents in New Jersey pay $12,000. And for a whole lot less house. On no land. When I remind friends about the pension liabilities they’ll be inheriting from the state unions, things get downright gloomy.

I can relate to everything Habeeb writes — but in reverse. When I moved to Silver Spring, Md., I had a hard time swallowing the price of rent — because it nearly matched my parents’ mortgage payment. And when I called the customer service departments of coast-based cable and electricity companies and got nowhere with the representatives who answered the phone, I found myself frequently saying in as kind a voice as I could muster, “I just moved here from Arkansas. And I’d really like to be able to tell my friends and family back home that y’all are just as friendly and helpful as Southerners have a reputation for being.” At every turn, in other words, I was reminded that I was a long way from where I grew up. (I was going to say, “a long way from the South,” but, technically, Maryland is still the South — it’s featured in Southern Living, after all. And wasn’t the nation’s capital situated on the Potomac precisely as a concession to the southern states?)

That’s not to say I didn’t experience a new kind of camaraderie with fellow Metro riders when we all faced a broken escalator out of the subway station. Nor is it to say D.C. didn’t substantially unravel my OCD by giving me a chance to observe it in the high achievers all around me. Above all, it’s not to say I wasn’t stimulated by new ideas and engaging conversation morning, noon and night. Coastal cities have their advantages, from public transportation and easier international travel to endless restaurant options and topic-rich, thought-provoking public lectures (seriously, one of my favorite elements of the city!). Especially in what I think of as “The Big Three” (NYC, L.A. and D.C.), living in a city might mean you pass famous and powerful people on the sidewalk, have a chance to voice your ideas to someone who might actually be able to do something about them, or wake up one morning to the startling realization that the distance between your dreams and reality isn’t actually so great as you thought it was.

But the point is, the magic of those “quintessential” cities has already been brought vividly to life for all of us — even those of us who’ve never lived in them — by books and TV shows, songs and movies. Hollywood and Broadway — plus all the most prominent recording and publishing companies — are located in those places.

The advantages of the South — especially the advantages of the 21st century South — are less well known (and, somehow, Southern coastal cities are frequently overlooked as major cities). Oh, there are books and TV shows, songs and movies about Dixie — but, as Habeeb points out, they’re often misleading caricatures or dwell too heavily on the South’s past. Little has been done to update the popular image of the region, which is now economically inviting and culturally reassuring — perhaps because those who spin popular images, from the president to junior reporters, haven’t taken the time to really understand the South for themselves.

That happens to be Habeeb’s thesis:

Americans, black and white alike, are moving in record numbers to a part of the country where taxes are low, unions are irrelevant, and people love their guns and their faith. And yet we have heard hardly a peep about this great migration from our nation’s public intellectuals.

Why? Because their ideological prejudices won’t permit them to admit the obvious. They’d prefer to focus their research on the pre-1970s South because they are more comfortable with — and more invested in — that old narrative, while this new one marches on right under their noses. And their keyboards.

And so it is with a sense of puzzlement that this Jersey boy turned Mississippian watches the decision making of President Obama. Millions of Americans may have voted for him in 2008, but millions have been voting with their feet, and he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in understanding why. …

He should ask Americans like me who’ve moved South why we did it. And he should be especially interested in understanding why African Americans are fleeing his home city of Chicago for the South, too.

If he dared to ask, he’d learn that we are all fleeing liberalism and chasing economic freedom, just as our immigrant parents and grandparents did. …

It turns out that white Yankee migrants like me, African American migrants from Chicago, and businessmen owners in Illinois and around the world, see something in the South that novelists, journalists, academics, and our current president cannot.

The future.

Truth is, all joking aside, it’s a shame to keep it secret.

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Well, to be fair, the only reason it’s even remotely habitable is because the country took the time out to squash southern racism over and over again.

ernesto on September 29, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Speaking from experience, the Northeastern US is considerably more racist than anywhere I’ve been in the South.

You know not that of which you speak, drivel-dripping race-baiter.

Your shtick is getting kinda tired, ernie.

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 7:46 PM

All my family is from Louisiana. I just don’t want to live there, that’s all.

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

ernesto on September 29, 2011 at 7:44 PM

The south was inhabited for quite some time prior to the civil rights movement. I’m assuming that alone refutes the ‘only reason it’s even remotely habitable’ claim.

Beyond that, I think it’s time for you to acknowledge that the entire country had issues with racism.

I get that the people in the North (especially the North East) like to pretend that they came through that era with spotless white gloves on. However, it’s just not the case.

It boggles my mind that people can think that a region of the country that openly discriminated against the Irish and Italians for not being white enough somehow accepted other minorities with open arms.

JadeNYU on September 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I grew up in a military family, lived all over the world. I choose to live in the South; because I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I love it; I love the people, the extraordinary beauty, the history, the culture, the music, the lifestyle. I feel incredibly blessed to have lived in foreign places, experienced different cultures and languages. But I feel most blessed by the fact that I was born a southerner and a southerner I will remain until I die.

mountainaires on September 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Most Yankees can assimilate, we do offer short courses on how to be a rebel or southerner.The ones that whine about us not doing it rite like they did up north soon go home or move to Austin and hang out at UT.
Most of us are fixing to move a little further out into the sticks to get shed of the libs in Austin.
Told one lady in Dallas who was bitichin bout us not being like NY that both Delta and Southwest were ready when she was to go back to NYC.I had a wad of one dollar bills in my Stetson and told her me n the boys had collected a little cash to hep her leave. She was mightily offended and told he 5 foot boy friend to do sumptin’. The crowd was laughin’ so hard they left.

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

My husband and I moved to the Tennessee River Valley in Alabama 25 yrs. ago from Massachusetts. At first it was intense culture shock. Now that we have literally spent half of our lives in the south, and it is the place we choose to be to raise our kids.

The people are great. I’ve often remarked at how amazed I was to discover how much children are looked after and appreciated by the adults. Back home in Massachusetts it seemed that children were always expected to be seen but not heard. Not here. Children are made to feel very special; and grandparents are a BIG deal.

Practicing your faith is also a big deal here. The first thing folks ask you when they meet you is where you go to church. At first, I was put off and thought people were being intrusive since we never talked about religion in a social setting back home. After a while, I realized that they were genuinely just trying to make conversation since church and God are at the center of life down here. This area averages a church of one denomination or another about every mile down here! Also, moving down here prompted me to reconnect with my own faith which has been a blessing for our family;

The public school system in our town of approx. 14,000 is one of the best in not only the state but the country (yes, a public school that is doing it’s job);

The weather for 3/4ths the year is fantastic–although I would like it less hot in summer and a little more snow in winter. I could also do without the tornadoes; and

The cost of living here is a far cry even from what it was in Massachusetts in the 1980s. We have a 5000 sq. ft. house on 3 acres of land at a very affordable price. We would never have been able to touch anything like what we have here back home in Massachusetts.

So yeah, the living is definitely fine here. And lest I forget, the barbeque is awesome!

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Washington DC ain’t the South!

rhbandsp on September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Go away!!! Caught a 42″ bull red on Tue. Morning. GO AWAY!!!!!

gitarfan on September 29, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 7:46 PM

All my family is from Louisiana. I just don’t want to live there, that’s all.

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

You ain’t never seen the violet-eyed Marie from Lake Saint Charles, bub.

Nah … I’m jes’ havin’ some fun with ya. But I ain’t kiddin’ about Miss Marie.

I’m a Florida Cracker-Boy, and always loved Louisiana. Reminds me of home.

GREAT people up there, too!

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 8:02 PM

I do like the narrow, cobbled streets through Boston (walking them, that is). Savannah’s planned area isn’t that large and the squares are so unique with trees, statues and other stuff that its not too monotonous. Oh, and pubs too!

ted c on September 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM

I’d love to see Boston. Nothing in me really wants to see New York, (the center of the world, I’m told—by New Yorkers), etc. But I’d love to see Boston.

The most southern point in the United States is….?

Kini on September 29, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Cuba. They don’t know it yet; you’ll have to stay tuned to the next century.

I see Texas as the west, but maybe that’s after too many Zane Grey/Louis L’Amour novels).

theotherone on September 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Texas is Texas. :)

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Duh. Lake CHARLES.

Frickin’ goober.

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana until I was 12 (commonly known as the armpit of the country) and we moved to Tennessee to find work in 1983. My grandfather was born and raised in Tennessee and he moved back down after he retired from the steel mills. We followed suit a few years later. Anywho, I’ve been to a lot of places and have met a lot of people around this world (yes, we Southerners do travel) and I can honestly say that there is no other place on earth I’d rather be than Middle Tennessee. Yes, it has it’s problems–crime, drugs, blah, blah, blah–but what place doesn’t? It’s the mindset that brings and keeps people here. Nashville is continually ranked high in the “most manly” and “friendliest” surveys.

Taxes and cost of living are low and people are friendly.

The wife and I have a 2,500sf home with 1.5 acres at the end of a cul-de-sac that we paid $195k for. Property taxes are @ $1,200 per year and our utilities are less than $300 per month. And we don’t live in the stix, either. We live within 1.5 miles of Target, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, a mall, numerous grocery stores and restaurants. The interstate is less than a mile away. I live five blocks from where I teach.

Across the cul is a retired couple from California. They moved here in 2004 before the housing bubble bust. The bought their home in 1963 for under $10k and sold it for over a million in 2004. They looked at a bunch of places in the south and decided to move here. They bought there house for $170k–paid cash for it and put the rest in the bank and never looked back and often talk about how they don’t miss Cali one iota. The wife has even picked up a bit of an accent.

robblefarian on September 29, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Property taxes rival New Jersey, and you’ve got to deal with winter. But overall, Cow Hampshah isn’t one all bad.

KMC1 on September 29, 2011 at 7:41 PM

When you’re aren’t paying sales tax and income tax, having just high property taxes isn’t too bad. And they mostly pay for the schools. If you have a high income and live in a modest home, it’s actually a pretty good deal.

In Texas, they don’t have income taxes, but they have high property taxes and high sales taxes.

haner on September 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Texas is Texas. :)

Yes. Yes it is. But if it weren’t for Florida Cracker Cows, and Cracker ponies, there wouldn’t BE no Texas.

Knowhutimean?

:-)

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 8:05 PM

At least you ain’t Farmer Flick from Slidell. I bet some here know EXACTLY to whom I refer. What an utter crapweasel.

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

“Have you lost your mind?” is the refrain I heard over and over from friends up north

Bless their hearts…

d1carter on September 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Perfect.

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

What I don’t like about you Yankees coming down here is the constant attempt to change the culture & way of life that Southerners have enjoyed for years. Such as attempting to stop or demonize a Civil War reenactment because some reenactors dare to fly the “Rebel” flag! Or don’t like the fact than many of the spectators cheer when the Confederate soldiers go marching by! Or force local governments to pass “non smoking” laws on a business that has been operating for decades serving a client base that desires such an atmosphere. Or the Yankee who makes all kinds of rude remarks about how Southerners are all racist, but is the first person to use the “N” word when a black person walks in their favorite bar! We have a saying down here “It’s a Yankee that comes to visit, but it’s a Damn Yankee that stays!”

Confederate on September 29, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Born and raised in New York. Shortly after my eighteenth birthday, the Air Force – in it’s infinite wisdom – decided that I needed to experience Deep South Mississippi (Keesler AFB, Biloxi). Now, as a civilian, I live in San Antonio, Texas. Except for some military travel and helping a friend move (from Minnesota to Dallas), I haven’t been north of Oklahoma City in thirty-six years. I haven’t been outside of Texas in ten years or more. Suits me just fine.

Rusty Bill on September 29, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Come on down y’all, got grits and gravy on the stove and biscuits in the oven.
Joe Wilson doesn’t lie and Jim is worth de mint.
Just quit telling us how y’all do it back home, it will be OK for you here.

Open The Door on September 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM

At least you ain’t Farmer Flick from Slidell. I bet some here know EXACTLY to whom I refer. What an utter crapweasel.

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

HA! I know him! And his forty-leven brothers an’ sisters across the South. What’d he do, sell you a tractor with no guts in the engine? A horse with no teeth? Didn’t stand up to his end of a crop bargain?

Shoot, son — that type’s everywhere. That’s why the Romans invented the phrase, “caveat emptor”, and the Southerners invented the phrase “Yankee go home”.

An’ that’s the troof, too!

Farmer on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Practicing your faith is also a big deal here. The first thing folks ask you when they meet you is where you go to church.

So yeah, the living is definitely fine here. And lest I forget, the barbeque is awesome!

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Are they very open? If I were to answer honestly and say that as a Buddhist I don’t go to church, and furthermore, I think Korean BBQ is the best, could I be accepted? Or would they ask me why I don’t go live in Korea? (which would be a good question, one I sometimes ask myself)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

ramrants on September 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Oh shut up. I am looking to move there for some time. AT least 4 of my friends took transfers in the last 1 year.

antisocial on September 29, 2011 at 8:14 PM

I moved to a South Carolina suburb of Charlotte about a year ago from the DC area. I found the houses cost half as much, the real estate taxes are about a fifth, and the area is very pleasant in all respects. I’d say about a fourth of the residents in my subdivision are black. We all get along just fine. My only problem is that the summers are about unbearably hot and humid. But then, there’s the AC.

NNtrancer on September 29, 2011 at 8:15 PM

A pretty good portion of my family – aunts, uncles, and cousins – moved from Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio to South Carolina and Florida.

Steve and I visit Hilton Head the most since that’s where most of my family has moved (Bluffton) and we would move there in a heartbeat. It has the tall hardwoods of northern Michigan that I absolutely love as well as the beach. Heaven!

Kim Priestap on September 29, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Beyond that, I think it’s time for you to acknowledge that the entire country had issues with racism.

JadeNYU on September 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I was quite surprised to learn from my family that segregation existed in California.

truth2power on September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

The wife has even picked up a bit of an accent.

robblefarian on September 29, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Funny. I’ve seen it too. Does she know or would she be surprised to hear that?

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

;) Keep the south beautiful… buy a Yankee a bus ticket.

I call SC home. I am southern by choice (I’m a mill rat from Pittsburgh). In my mind, there is no where more beautiful than the Carolinas

uddercha0s on September 29, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Kim Priestap on September 29, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Love, love, love Hilton Head! One of the nicest beach communities on the east coast. I love how none of the buildings and signs are above the tree tops so it retains its natural charm.

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Are they very open? If I were to answer honestly and say that as a Buddhist I don’t go to church, and furthermore, I think Korean BBQ is the best, could I be accepted? Or would they ask me why I don’t go live in Korea? (which would be a good question, one I sometimes ask myself)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

They would accept you just fine. You would just be known as “that Ko-ree-an dude” is all. And it would not be derogatory.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Are they very open? If I were to answer honestly and say that as a Buddhist I don’t go to church, and furthermore, I think Korean BBQ is the best, could I be accepted? Or would they ask me why I don’t go live in Korea? (which would be a good question, one I sometimes ask myself)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

We have a HUGE population of Buddhists in Middle Tennessee. Got a gorgeous temple right on the edge of the Stones River Battlefield. We have a lot of Asians, a good but of Indians and even some muslims! Also have a lot of Coptic Christians from Egypt.

The only question you’d be asked is “how you like it down here?”

robblefarian on September 29, 2011 at 8:27 PM

And yet we have heard hardly a peep about this great migration from our nation’s public intellectuals.

And if you’re extremely lucky, those SOB’s will STAY up north!

GarandFan on September 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM

I echo many of the sentiments here on this page. I am trapped in the Midwest (not a bad place) but definitely not the South. I love the South. I’m from the South. People are PEOPLE. They relate to you on a personal level. They CHAT with you. They NOTICE you. They make you feel special. Is it always sincere? Maybe not. But it’s an art form that Westerners, Northerners and Midwesterners just cannot wrap their heads around.

It’s a “way of living”. It’s the manner in which people acknowledge your existence…I’ll never forget, many years ago in Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, two gorgeous young women (there were always beauty queens in Atlanta), met on opposing escalators…it was “HEEEYYYY! How ARE YEEEWWW” squealed out in DELIGHT. Maybe that’s what personifies the South. The emotion of being a PERSON. Or maybe it’s just you are ALLOWED to emote.

Jeez. You can’t even say “God Bless You” in California or Illnois in some schools.

http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2011/09/is-saying-god-bless-you-after-someone.html

The South is our last bastion of hope in this country. It’s certainly not perfect but individuals are allowed to be crazy from time to time. Just read Southern fiction. It may not be all that fictitious, come to think of it. I can’t wait to move back.

manateespirit on September 29, 2011 at 8:30 PM

They would accept you just fine. You would just be known as “that Ko-ree-an dude” is all. And it would not be derogatory.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Except I’m not ‘Ko-ree-an’. I’m a descendant of early southern pioneers that continued west, making way for the settlers. I suppose eventually my descendants may come around there again :)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Are they very open? If I were to answer honestly and say that as a Buddhist I don’t go to church, and furthermore, I think Korean BBQ is the best, could I be accepted? Or would they ask me why I don’t go live in Korea? (which would be a good question, one I sometimes ask myself)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Sure, you’d be accepted and laughed at! Seriously, I know several Korean, Chinese and Japanese families who are quite happy here and they don’t go to church. Now, when it comes to barbeque the acceptance may not be as forthcoming since everyone knows that the best barbeque is in the south.

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Funny. I’ve seen it too. Does she know or would she be surprised to hear that?

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Not sure, to be honest. My wife is actually a transplanted Yankee, too. She’s from Michigan and some of the Southern words that come out of her mouth are hilarious! She’s been here for @ 22 years or so. She drives a chromed-out Tacoma that should wouldn’t get rid of for the world. She hates my Porsche. She had to drive it yesterday (her hydraulic brake booster went out on the Tacoma) and she complained the whole time. Then they gave her a PRUIS at the dealership! HA! She was a very pissy woman for one day.

Upon the return of her beloved truck: “Thank GOD I got Aggie back! Who the hell in their right mind would drive that slow-moving, death-trap by choice? Good LORD! It didn’t even have a KEY! And I couldn’t smoke in it!”

robblefarian on September 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM

ted c
Unfortunately, after 55 years, I left Savannah, my home port.
Didn’t move far, the crime and the entitlement mind set has ruined it for us.
You are correct, it is a beautiful city and the culture is available in spades.
We just find it easier to go there than live there, pity.
I often refer to what remains as Detroit on the coast. Politically, it is going down hill fast.

Open The Door on September 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM

The problem with mass migration from Jersey and other northern states to the south is that the people who are so used to $12k property taxes don’t mind when the “low” taxes down here go up a few basis points so that they can get that new park or the services they were used to up north. NC now has a higher tax burden than Massachusetts. Remember Taxachusetts? The cost of living also increases, mainly in the form of property values which is not as great as everyone makes out to be.

I grew up in Raleigh and it’s disappointing to see how little house you can buy now vs. even 10 years ago. I’ve had to put off buying one just to save up enough to be disappointed by further increases. In every social situation I’m in I’m the only one who can say I’m from here. Depressing.

But sure, all yall keep coming down here, to the land of milk and honey. Oh, and thanks for flipping NC blue for Obama. Everyone south of us: look to NC to see where yall will be in a few years.

Laserjock on September 29, 2011 at 8:35 PM

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Sorry, assumed I guess. But either way, I think Southerners don’t have issues with that sort of stuff. Unless you are a Yankee. :-)

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I was born and raised in the Empire state (doesn’t that just sound liberal to ya’ll?) came to Old Dominion 7 years ago for Grad school, and never looked back. I am proud to consider myself a Virginian where our flag read Sic Semper Tyrannis and our AG kicks butt and takes names!

Govgirl on September 29, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Another Southern anecdote: yesterday morning my principal and I were ushering in students from the bus when a couple of children asked “what are all those teachers doing around the flagpole?” Without skipping a beat, my principal said, “well, they are thanking God for all the blessings we have and are praying for your safety, health and happiness and that God will give you the strength to work hard and to do good in school.” I grinned at him and told him, “you know, there is no way that you could have told that to a student above the Mason-Dixon line.” His reply, “no doubt! But that’s why we’re happy to live where we live!”

It was national prayer at the flagpole day or something. Our teachers took it one step further and sang spirituals as well. It was lovely.

robblefarian on September 29, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Truth is, all joking aside, it’s a shame to keep it secret.

It’s definitely a love-hate thing for me.

I’ve loved watching sleepy southern cities in my home-state …like Raleigh/Durham and Wilmington… turn into economic boom towns.

What I hate is the Yankee entitlement attitude that comes with it.

Southern Hospitality …live it, learn it.

The Ugly American on September 29, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Now, when it comes to barbeque the acceptance may not be as forthcoming since everyone knows that the best barbeque is in the south.

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM

By the ‘south’ you must mean South Korea.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:43 PM

However,if your last name is Sherman don’t tarry too long here in Georgia!

marinetbryant on September 29, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I grew up in Raleigh and it’s disappointing to see how little house you can buy now vs. even 10 years ago. I’ve had to put off buying one just to save up enough to be disappointed by further increases. In every social situation I’m in I’m the only one who can say I’m from here. Depressing.

Laserjock on September 29, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I feel for ya. I have seen the massive growth in the Raleigh-Durham area over the last 20 years or so myself. I used to drive through the area quite often on the way to Charlotte.

It’s the Research Triangle that started all the growth and it is complete urban sprawl there now. At least there are still very quiet and rural areas that are not too far away and reasonably priced.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM

By the ‘south’ you must mean South Korea.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Why, bless your heart, of course I do!!

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Funny thing is parents of one of my former tenants (Jews from NYC Metro Area) found there to be FAR LESS racism in the South than the Liberal Northeast.

Kermit on September 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Been knowed that.

khacha on September 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM

What I like most about Southerners is they don’t go overboard patting themselves on the back about how superior they and their way of life are to everyone else and theirs, and how they don’t constantly put others down to feel better about themselves.

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

As I said at the outset, I’ve only been to the American South once. I wasn’t too impressed, but y’all seem to think it’s great. I could take a second look.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I am proud to consider myself a Virginian where our flag read Sic Semper Tyrannis and our AG kicks butt and takes names!

Govgirl on September 29, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Me too. Best State Motto Bar None! Although Live Free or Die is pretty good too.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

As I said at the outset, I’ve only been to the American South once. I wasn’t too impressed, but y’all seem to think it’s great. I could take a second look.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Hope you do.

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:54 PM

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Friendless city I’ve ever spent any length of time in is…

St. Louis, MO.

I’ve spent loads of time in SoCal (Seal Beach Area), Long Island (Hempstead), New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, & Tampa

Kermit on September 29, 2011 at 8:56 PM

I feel for ya. I have seen the massive growth in the Raleigh-Durham area over the last 20 years or so myself. I used to drive through the area quite often on the way to Charlotte.

It’s the Research Triangle that started all the growth and it is complete urban sprawl there now. At least there are still very quiet and rural areas that are not too far away and reasonably priced.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Still …the traffic is nothing compared to Los Angeles.

Flew home to NC this past July, picked up my rental at RDU, hit the 40 and didn’t have to hit my break pedal once till I reached my dad’s house in Goldsboro.

The beltline is a breeze in comparison to the 405/101.

The Ugly American on September 29, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Kermit on September 29, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Why was it so hard to make friends in St. Louis?

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Funny thing is parents of one of my former tenants (Jews from NYC Metro Area) found there to be FAR LESS racism in the South than the Liberal Northeast.

Kermit on September 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM

And blacks & whites live in the same neighborhoods and socialize in the same bars and restaurants …together

In Los Angeles everyone is self-segregated according to race, religion and sexual preference.

When I first moved to The Valley back in 2000, I would actually do a double-take whenever I saw a black person.

Thankfully that has begun to change the past few years as more blacks are discovering how nice, safe and cheap the rental are here in comparison to “over the hill”.

The Ugly American on September 29, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Kermit on September 29, 2011 at 8:56 PM

It’s not the QOTD thread, so hope it’s not too far OT ..)

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Well, to be fair, the only reason it’s even remotely habitable is because the country took the time out to squash southern racism over and over again.

ernesto on September 29, 2011 at 7:44 PM

I opened the page just knowing that ernie was going to be here. And BOOM. First comment I see, he shows up. What did surprise me, though, was that ernesto’s first claim isn’t as follows:

The South is only remotely habitable because they just recently got some good Thai restaurants!!! Finally some culture for those damn hicks!

MeatHeadinCA on September 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM

It’s the Research Triangle that started all the growth and it is complete urban sprawl there now. At least there are still very quiet and rural areas that are not too far away and reasonably priced.

Cary.. Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.

uddercha0s on September 29, 2011 at 9:09 PM

I think Korean BBQ is the best, could I be accepted?
DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM

No one who has tried kalbi would deny the tenability of that opinion. You may need to provide examples, though.

VerbumSap on September 29, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Speaking from experience, the Northeastern US is considerably more racist than anywhere I’ve been in the South.

You know not that of which you speak, drivel-dripping race-baiter.

Your shtick is getting kinda tired, ernie.

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

This has certainly been my experience. I’ve lived all over the place and I currently live in the South and I promise you that eastern Pennsylvania where I was born and raised was hands down the most racist place I’ve ever lived. That’s not to say there aren’t some @ssholes here as well — that’s true everywhere — but there are fewer of them in my observation. Blacks and whites seem to coexist pretty peacefully in these parts.

But ernesto is just a bigot of a different stripe. If you’re not from the Tri-State area, then you’re a second-class citizen in his book.

NoLeftTurn on September 29, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Madagascar is actually a pretty nice place to live too. This offhand denigration of Africa needs to stop. You can make your dumb point without putting other people down.

Chudi on September 29, 2011 at 6:51 PM

You’re right. Tina’s a racist!

MeatHeadinCA on September 29, 2011 at 9:17 PM

I got my BS in Charleston, SC at College of Charleston. Charleston grows on you quick. The summers are hot as blazes and the women dress for it. Do they ever…
.
The most popular police chief in Charleston history was Reuben Greenberg, a black Jew from Texas. Charleston is known as a religiously tolerant city and one of the downtown iconic churches is the Circular Congregational Church; Huguenots came to America through Charleston. The old story goes that folks in Charleston ask you “What church do you attend?” while in Atlanta they ask “Who is your family?” and in Savannah they ask “What’s your drink?”
.
When I first got to town, I did a bit of bar-hopping and on my first night that I stayed at a place until last call, the bartenders kicked people out at closing by pouring their drinks into a “go cup” so they could drink their alcohol on the way home or wherever. True story.
.
The allowed open container law was changed soon after I got there and it is now illegal to drink and drive.

ExpressoBold on September 29, 2011 at 9:18 PM

As I said at the outset, I’ve only been to the American South once. I wasn’t too impressed, but y’all seem to think it’s great. I could take a second look.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Hope you do.

KickandSwimMom on September 29, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Your invited. Natchitoches is old and beautiful. And tiny. A few people will almost certainly tell you about Jesus, but it will be a small price to pay.

The BBQ might be fighting words in some quarters though.

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Texas has just about everything; mountains, desert, plains, coast, and forests. I was born at Ft Ignorance (Ignorance is Bliss) in El Paso, went to college in the Piney Woods of Nacogdoches, played Army at Ft Hood, and now live in the Houston area. It only takes a day to drive from Houston to El Paso (750 miles and never getting off Interstate 10) and in some parts of the state you never have to worry about snow. Personally, if I never see snow again, I will be happy. If you hunt, we have some of the best deer, dove, quail, feral hog and waterfowl hunting. There is fishing in all of the reservoirs (only 1 natural lake in the state)as well as the Gulf coast. The taxes are low, the property prices are reasonable, we are right to work, and there are jobs available.

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Natchitoches is old and beautiful.

Now, tell everyone how to pronounce Natchitoches and I will tell them how to pronounce Nacogdoches. Who will win Chief Caddo this year? Ax ‘Em Jacks!

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Funny. I’ve seen it too. Does she know or would she be surprised to hear that?

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Ha! I have a friend in Los Angeles who loves to tease about the little twang I’ve picked up from living here in Arkan-saw!

NoLeftTurn on September 29, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Now, tell everyone how to pronounce Natchitoches and I will tell them how to pronounce Nacogdoches.

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:25 PM

lol … we have to start ‘em with just one, and let ‘em use it a while for both. :) There’s a learning curve involved.

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 9:29 PM

But there are rattle snakes and black widow spiders, sooooo….

theotherone on September 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

ohhhhh, buzzkill.

you almost had me too.

Daemonocracy on September 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Texas has just about everything; mountains, desert, plains, coast, and forests. I was born at Ft Ignorance (Ignorance is Bliss) in El Paso, went to college in the Piney Woods of Nacogdoches, played Army at Ft Hood, and now live in the Houston area. It only takes a day to drive from Houston to El Paso (750 miles and never getting off Interstate 10) and in some parts of the state you never have to worry about snow. Personally, if I never see snow again, I will be happy. If you hunt, we have some of the best deer, dove, quail, feral hog and waterfowl hunting. There is fishing in all of the reservoirs (only 1 natural lake in the state)as well as the Gulf coast. The taxes are low, the property prices are reasonable, we are right to work, and there are jobs available.

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Shhhh! Are you a Mad Man?

bluemarlin on September 29, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Most Yankees can assimilate, we do offer short courses on how to be a rebel or southerner.The ones that whine about us not doing it rite like they did up north soon go home or move to Austin and hang out at UT.
Most of us are fixing to move a little further out into the sticks to get shed of the libs in Austin.
Told one lady in Dallas who was bitichin bout us not being like NY that both Delta and Southwest were ready when she was to go back to NYC.I had a wad of one dollar bills in my Stetson and told her me n the boys had collected a little cash to hep her leave. She was mightily offended and told he 5 foot boy friend to do sumptin’. The crowd was laughin’ so hard they left.

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

That story helped make my day, thanks Colonel. :)

BTW, I have family that migrated from Michigan to Tennesee some years ago. They eventually fit in and wouldn’t have it any other way.

listens2glenn on September 29, 2011 at 9:50 PM

My wife is catching on just fine, born in Ohio, raised in Michigan, LOVES TEXAS!

bluemarlin on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Moving down to NoVA from Buffalo meant that…

- in the summers the humidity and temps were the same

- in the winter it was supposed to be nicer, but Global Cooling is making things more like Buffalo

- sales tax is way lower

- income tax is lower

- I can’t get 190 Everclear (what is up with that?)

- the ridiculous 1/mo handgun restriction seems like a land of liberty compared to the People’s Republic of NY

- the people are about as nice, because you never, ever diss someone in Buffalo unless you find out that they are the ones supposed to be saving your butt after your car wipes out in a snowstorm

In all pretty nice with the same amount of air pollution, but far fewer restaurants per capita. Now can we please start cutting the federal government down to size so we can kill the cost of living in these parts? A little prosperity would be nice and that will only happen once the big black hole for jobs in DC goes away.

ajacksonian on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

True story: When my grandmother came here to live with me, she was sitting out on the deck one afternoon watching the golfers out on the golf course. A couple of them waved to her as they went by. She remarked at how these strangers must have thought she was someone else b/c they’d waved to her. I had to explain that that’s what folks in the South do. They wave and say hello whether they know you or not b/c that’s just how they are! This was foreign to her as a transplant from PA, where everyone is grouchy and irritable all the time (apologies to rockmom and any other Pennsylvanians on the blog). It was strange to me as well when I moved here. I’d pass another car going the other way on my street and the driver would wave. I was like, “Huh?” Eight years later, I’m often the one who waves first now. It’s kind of sad that the woman lived 90 years before ever experiencing the kindness of strangers. I’m just glad she got to live out the last years of her life among people who genuinely cared to get to know her and spend time with her. She made many good friends here during her stay.

Anyway I can relate to many of y’all’s transplant stories. If you’d told me 10 or 20 years ago that someday I’d be settling down in Arkansas, I would have laughed in your face. There would be no way I would live in such a backwater hickville. When I did move here, I swore it was only temporary — just a year, I said — but that was in 2002 and I’m still hanging around. Probably up until a couple of years ago, I still contemplated going back to California or New York, but now I’m pretty content here. For one thing, I can own a nice house for the same amount of money it would cost to get some ramshackle 800 sf condo in Culver City; NYC and its environs would be out of my reach entirely. I don’t have to sit in traffic for an hour just to travel 15 miles. The salaries here are surprisingly competitive with other areas of the country, at least in my field. For the first time in my life, I’m not living hand to mouth. There’s actually something left over at the end of the month. With the money I save from not living in Da Big City, I can afford to travel there several times a year and get my fix. Then when I’ve had my fill and the dirt/crowds/prices/traffic start getting to me, I can come back home. There are daily nonstops to both coasts from here. It’s a pretty decent arrangement.

Another thing I really like about the South is that for the first time in my life, my vote actually counts in elections. I’m not completely surrounded by socialists all the time. There are some libs here of course, but they’re the minority. It’s a nice change of pace to have state and local leadership that for the most part aligns with my world view. And save for a few busybodies, most folks here are pretty much live and let live. No one thinks I’m weird for not going to church on Sundays.

If I had any complaints, it would be as others have mentioned: The summers are unspeakably hot and humid. It’s a little better up here in the mountains, tho, so that helps. And the flip side is that there’s not five feet of snow in my driveway for months straight in the winter. It snows — and then it melts the next day. That suits me fine. I could do without the ice storms tho. Tornado weather doesn’t bother me too much.

I also wish we had more shopping, but fortunately there’s always the Internet, and KC and Dallas are within half a day’s drive. Dining options here are not bad actually. There are a lot of nice little independently owned places that serve up some great food. And in this part of the state, we have lots of different cuisines to choose from because we have people here from all over the place. We even have some pretty good Korean BBQ, DarkCurrent — and this comes from someone who ate it daily for lunch when I was living in NYC.

All in all, I like it here. I sometimes surprise even myself when I say that still. My dad and brothers still dont’ get why I live here, but I’ve told them to come on down and enjoy some of the hospitality. I think they’d be convinced just as I have.

NoLeftTurn on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Well God bless me. Above, “you’re” for “your.”

or move to Austin and hang out at UT

That was so funny. Exactly right too.

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Now, tell everyone how to pronounce Natchitoches and I will tell them how to pronounce Nacogdoches.

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:25 PM

lol … we have to start ‘em with just one, and let ‘em use it a while for both. :) There’s a learning curve involved.

Axe on September 29, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Didn’t John Wayne pronounce it properly in Big Jake?

listens2glenn on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

I have never touted or shilled my part time blog. However, I do have some pictures of rural Oklahoma life for those who would like to kick back a little, just ping on my handle. It might also show you, if you dig deeper, that we OKIES are not as backward as you blue staters think. We also elect Inhofe and Coburn, fly, and know how to play football pretty good.

Old Country Boy on September 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Erk…moved to Austin, Texas via London, a little over 5 years ago, with a little knowledge of campuses all over the US. I like it here, although the hippies are a bit annoying. Just don’t take them too seriously, that’s all. They’re a bunch of rejects from the 1960s — where else are they going to go? Otherwise….I’d love to do a US road trip… What do you suggest a foreigner should see?

Fortunata on September 29, 2011 at 10:06 PM

This article is total BS. Nobody wants to live in the South. I will spend the rest of my life trying to convince others to move out of the South……while I fish off the pristine barrier islands up and down the Ga coastline.

David in ATL on September 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Old Country Boy on September 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

I like your style, OCB.

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Speaking from experience, the Northeastern US is considerably more racist than anywhere I’ve been in the South.

You know not that of which you speak, drivel-dripping race-baiter.

Your shtick is getting kinda tired, ernie.

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

I’ve lived in western PA, the Philly metro area and NJ. orth v=ce I still visit friends and relatives in those areas. The only racially integrated neighborhoods I’ve lived in have been in the Deep South. My old north east and north central haunts are still segregated, they just like to feel good about themselves because they now have people of color working in the retail establishments of these blue collar, union areas.

We live in Texas now. My son was one of two white kids in his middle school class and one of two white kids in his circle of high school friends. The street in our neighborhood is at least 50% immigrant or ex-pat, my best friends are from Bangalore (India) and Chicago. Race and ethnicity aren’t big deals, we’re just friends. In most places in the northeast, our circles are considered exotic.

obladioblada on September 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I recant all. I officially agree with about life and everything.

obladioblada on September 29, 2011 at 10:16 PM

It’s Southpoint on the Big Island.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Correct!

Kini on September 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

obladioblada on September 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I can’t say why, but I’m pretty sure that’s racist or something…

/

The only thing you can tell some folks is: don’t knock it ’til you try it; of course you’ll still be a xenophobic bigot and a cad.

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Bad edit. I officially agree with David in ATL on September 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM about everything.

Preview doesn’t work on either of my Macs, so at least I have an excuse.

obladioblada on September 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

I have never touted or shilled my part time blog. However, I do have some pictures of rural Oklahoma life for those who would like to kick back a little, just ping on my handle. It might also show you, if you dig deeper, that we OKIES are not as backward as you blue staters think. We also elect Inhofe and Coburn, fly, and know how to play football pretty good.

Old Country Boy on September 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Thank you. It seems very strange and different from civilization.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

hillbillyjim on September 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

LMAO

obladioblada on September 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM

in some parts of the state you never have to worry about snow.

DAT60A3 on September 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Never say never. My family lived in Corpus Christi from 1970 to 1973, and it snowed while we were there. I’m pretty sure it was the winter of 1972-73.

We had spent our earliest years in Oklahoma, Virginia, and a brief stint in Pennsylvania, so we were accustomed to tough winters. We thought it was the coolest thing ever when a light dusting of snow caused Corpus Christi to shut down. They even cancelled school for a day.

J.E. Dyer on September 29, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Rusty Bill on September 29, 2011 at 8:09 PM

LOL. My first introduction to any place but southern California was when the Air Force sent me to basic at Lackland and then training at Keesler in 1971. Whole different culture in Mississippi. Went back to California after the Air Force but finally moved to the Sticks in Arizona. Quiet and Laid Back.

chemman on September 29, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Well let’s just say ya know that Possum Holler aints a suburb of Bahstun!

I wouldn’t live any other place.

PappyD61 on September 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM

NoLeftTurn on September 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Well said.

“The Wave” while driving is something that only really occurs in the South. Maybe a little in rural Alaska and some other places but very ubiquitous in the South. And the rules are all about the size of the road, speed and area.

-Small, one-lane roads like I live on are very “wavy” but can vary depending on if you are in your pickup or not. Two pickup drivers will always wave at each other but one in a car and one in a truck may not. Conversely, two cars on this road always wave.

-Amish will wave but only if they know you.

-Two-lane, 50 MPH roads are “wave optional”, but as before, dual pickups will sometimes wave and two vehicles going under 45 will wave.

-In-town, waving is optional.

-Everyone will wave at the rural mail carrier and he/she will always wave back.

-If you are in you front yard or mowing the grass, all cars and trucks will wave at you and you will wave back.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 10:23 PM

The South is great. The North East is a hell hole, for the most part.

therightwinger on September 29, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Please, please, please remove this post. Liberal yankees move down here for all the reasons you’ve stated and then they vote for the same old lowlife liberals they voted for up north. Bit by bit they will ruin what we have down here. I’m more worried about securing the Mason-Dixon line then I am the mexican border.

peacenprosperity on September 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I love Texas and I wouldn’t move back north . . .

But I’ve had it up to here with this drought and this heat. Something basically wrong with a place where it doesn’t rain for three months.

NoDonkey on September 29, 2011 at 10:27 PM

I’m more worried about securing the Mason-Dixon line then I am the mexican border.

peacenprosperity on September 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM

LOL! Sad but true in some weird way.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM

It boggles my mind that people can think that a region of the country that openly discriminated against the Irish and Italians for not being white enough somehow accepted other minorities with open arms.

JadeNYU on September 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I’m Irish, and I can tell you we weren’t discriminated against all those years cause we weren’t white enough; it was because we were TOO white. You ever seen what happens when a pale-skinned red-haired Irish(wo)man stays out for any length of time in the sun? It ain’t pretty. And SPF 30 doesn’t cut it. :-P

gryphon202 on September 29, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Old Country Boy on September 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

My son, with my grandchildren, up and relocated California to Oklahoma 9 years ago. I wasn’t a happy camper. After we visited them the first time I completely changed my mind. It was a great decision for his family. Still not happy about the grandchildren being far away but we now take 1 grandchild a month during the fall and spring and bring them out to our outback ranch, which we relocated too a couple of years later, in Northeastern Arizona. Good deal all the way around.

chemman on September 29, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Never say never. My family lived in Corpus Christi from 1970 to 1973, and it snowed while we were there. I’m pretty sure it was the winter of 1972-73.

We had spent our earliest years in Oklahoma, Virginia, and a brief stint in Pennsylvania, so we were accustomed to tough winters. We thought it was the coolest thing ever when a light dusting of snow caused Corpus Christi to shut down. They even cancelled school for a day.

J.E. Dyer on September 29, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Heck, it has snowed or iced over in Texas and the gulf coast two or three timesin the last 7 years I think. Six inches I think in 04 along the coast, including Corpus which I love by the way, great fishing in Baffin Bay!

bluemarlin on September 29, 2011 at 10:32 PM

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Found out about the wave and southern friendliness when I relocated my daughter to Birmingham Alabama. I was training for a marathon and after we arrived I went for a long run. Everybody smiled and waved. In California they generally tried to run me off the roads. I was in Culture Shock.

chemman on September 29, 2011 at 10:34 PM

I’m more worried about securing the Mason-Dixon line then I am the mexican border.

peacenprosperity on September 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM

LOL! Sad but true in some weird way.

BierManVA on September 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM

It is sad and true, I think the liberal ideas from the north pose more problems!

bluemarlin on September 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

PappyD61 on September 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM

You know we still have Bug Tussle in Southeastern OK, where one of the last great speakers was from, Carl Albert. (and Jeb Clampett) However, in this part of the state to get to Kansas, you have to go through Sageeah, Owalla, Oologah, Talala, Nowata, Lenapa, and South Coffeeville. Or you could head South and hit Tiawah and Inola. You folks from the blue states can’t move here until you can correctly pronounce each of their names. We always got a laugh out of the “foreign” radio announcer telling us where his special movie was playing.

Old Country Boy on September 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

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