Living in North Carolina from a New Yorker's Perspective
If you're considering moving to the South from New York to say North Carolina, get ready to embrace change.
Living in North Carolina for me was been peaceful and positive, but not productive financially. I simply get that good, make-a-living marketing job I pursued for nearly two years. I came close but no firm job offer. NC does offer good value housing wise whether you are a renter or homeowner.
The economy in NC is good. The Research Triangle Park (RTP) area which includes the towns of Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh has many progressive companies based within RTP including top-quality high-tech companies such as IBM, SAS, Red Hat, and Lenovo to name a few. So, If you have a solid tech background; chances are you will hit the ground running and will earn a competitive salary quickly.
However, before I moved to NC, I wish someone would have told me what the town of Cary cynically stands for; Containment Area for Relocated Yankees before I moved there. And be prepared; your water and sewer bill will be much more expensive. The major cities I've been to; downtown Charlotte and Raleigh are kind of like a mini Manhattan with fewer and smaller buildings and also provide better/less expensive parking options.
In NC there are new roads to appreciate as well as lots of greenery in a clean state where the slower-paced, peaceful quality of life is to be enjoyed along with friendlier, more relaxed people. I'll admit I did learn to enjoy playing cornhole. For sure there is less traffic than driving in the New York metro area and cigarettes are much cheaper.
If you are a lifetime New Yorker like me, you will miss the pizza and bread products of all kinds you were accustomed to almost anywhere in the NY Metro area. On day 1, I went into the local Harris Teeter and asked for a knish and the deli clerk looked at me oddly and said "What is knish?" Chewing tobacco and Mountain Dew are popular items purchased at every Kangaroo Express I've been to and that's certainly not what sells well in NY.
It would be advantageous to follow the college basketball and football teams that rule the state in NC and have earned national attention for good reason. That is if you want to attract local friends faster.
Anytime the almost always top-ranked Duke Blue Devils play led by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski "Coach K", who has won five National Championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) it's must-see TV in NC. His 1202 wins are the most ever for a men's college basketball coach. His overall record over 47 years which includes 5 years coaching Army is superb; 1202-367,.766% His 42-year record at Duke is an amazing 1129-309. On April 2, 2022 Duke was defeated by UNC 81-77. It was Coach K's final game.
Also when it's UNC Tar Heels vs. NC State in either basketball or football, it's a big event and the talk of the town. Chances are like me; your teams are your teams for good at this stage/age. I still took pride in telling locals I am a NY Mets fan and not a Yankee fan. However, I've always admired Coach K. He's was a well-respected winner year after year.
Get ready to hear often "You're fine" and that's in reference to it's OK and not your looks. Simply noted North Carolina is not like Florida which has many more transplanted New Yorkers. North Carolina is for sure more of the real South where the quality of life is good.
However, I believe in what's been said often "Home is where your heart is." Despite the excellent living conditions, my heart wasn't in NC.
Al on October 14, 2020:
North Carolina??? Ever see the movie my cousin Vinnie ?? Slow , dumb, naive ,backwards , I’m being nice .....worst the worst move I ever made in my life . I couldn’t wait to get out of New York , believe me the grass isn’t always greener on the other side...... The IQs here have got to be bordering some sort of retardation , it’s pathetic
jameswritesbest (author) on December 12, 2019:
KS, thank you for taking the time to read my article. I'm glad to know someone else felt like I did regarding NC. Again, I'll say the quality of life there was good. I appreciated the smooth roads and didn't have to fear potholes. As they say; home is where the heart is. For me that's Long Island and Manhattan.
KS on December 12, 2019:
I totally agree! So let me start by saying I moved from NYC as a child and grew up in south florida most of my young and adult life. I moved here a few years back to get out of FL because of prices and fast pace. Well I have to tell you I miss FL and miss NYC as well. NC does not offer the diversity that SFL offers. The food is far behind. The 4-5 stars I would give it a 2. The people are not as nice as they seem. Its almost like a cult here. Baptist hypocrites, killing animals, and so on. Also no matter what: building a home, dr. appointment, needing any service is very sub par. I would recommend North FL or Georgia. Wish I would have tested the waters first. Very disappointed
sdf on October 24, 2019:
dw said it right
jameswritesbest (author) on July 31, 2018:
Karen thank you for your comments and for taking the time to read my article. Know that I found the quality of life in NC to be very good. You certainly get a lot of value for your money whether you rent or buy.
Another positive is; the roads are so smooth and mostly new. You won't miss the NY potholes. As for the NC people, a majority of them were friendly. However, people forget NC is more of the real South and I was called a Yankee often enough which I didn't like.
KarenA70 on July 31, 2018:
Wow, So I came across this article and comments , and I am blown away. I am a New Yorker thinking about moving down. Don't worry I am not a democrat. This is one of my reasons for leaving NY. I want my daughter to grow up in a place with morals and values. A place where respect still means something. My question is, are all people down here so unwelcoming? Is it New Yorkers are hated in general, or just a certain breed of them? Please someone answer. I may have to reconsider our move.
Southern by the grace of God on August 16, 2017:
Typical northern liberal lefty loons can't earn a living in their failed democrat run bankrupt (progressive ha ha) states so they move here to NC where we supposedly have it all wrong!
You just have to love the retirees who move here instead of paying the social costs they voted for in their home states.
Must be a liberal thing to not understand the irony. If the south is so wrong why are all you yankees rushing to get here. Have you ever met anyone from NY or NJ that is actually happy about anything? Please keep your hate in your state.
Alison on May 30, 2017:
I moved to Raleigh NC from Boston a few yrs. ago. As a senior citizen, I moved here when I retired b/c I couldn't take the New England winters anymore. Fla. was never considered... too hot year round. Weather here in Raleigh much more desirable, and rents, homes, and condos affordable, and nice clean air. I miss my home state of NY from time to time, and still visit Manhattan, where I lived...even more crowded and expensive now... and loud. I've made many friends here in NC... quite a few born & raised here or somewhere else in the South, and others from all over the U.S. Joined 'Meetups' to meet people my age who still want to have fun and hikers, dancers, foodies, play-goers, concert-goers, etc. It took time & effort to meet people and find the 5-10 that fit so well with me! Love it here now... NY disco days are long gone! But I really do miss the
$5.00 one lb. lobsters available in the Boston area. Had one every Friday night from Spring to Fall! Too expensive for Maine lobsters here in NC. Oh well.......
FloridaIsHome on December 12, 2016:
I moved to Raleigh from the Tampa Bay area about 2 years ago. I now spend every weekend back in Florida. It is IMPOSSIBLE to overstate how absolutely horrible NC is. If I didn't travel, I'd fear being bored to death, for starters. Warning to those considering the move: IT'S NOT WORTH IT. PERIOD. (No amount of money or title change is worth living among these people - and I'm a conservative, this has nothing to do with politics. Run. Very far away.)
Laura Mcmahon on August 05, 2016:
"Harris Teeter" market. Oh, and when the local women say, "...well, bless yer heart," it really translates to "...screw you"
Laura Mcmahon on August 05, 2016:
So sad to have to live in Huntersville NC as result of my husband's job. Within a week of moving here I came out of the Harris Tester market to find a car with license plate "ARYIANMOM" I couldn't believe it so I took pics. Yes, and this law regarding transgender bathroom usage makes me equally sick. There's more sad to say, but it all adds up to missing home, anywhere in NY, NJ, CT.
Robert on September 28, 2015:
Wow very insightful article that NY style pizza is more prevalent in NY than NC! Chewing tobacco, mountain dew, and college basketball is what we are known for? Do us all a favor and go back to NY.
DW on September 16, 2015:
I don't find North Carolina to be more relaxed, just a bit slower. Southern hospitality is total myth perpetrated on others not in on the joke. A lot of Southerners tend to keep to themselves and their families and church and are not very casual or welcoming to newcomers. As a Pacific Northwesterner, I found that out the hard way when I tried talking to my new Southern neighbors in a casual friendly way like I did back in the PNW, and the men mistakenly thought I was coming on to them, while the women got all judgey and shut me out completely, like it was the 19th century and I was there to steal their husbands! Believe me, I wouldn't want your boring, clueless husbands if you paid me! It was so weird! Never have I seen such suspicious, mean-spirited people in all my life! In the Pacific Northwest I always met people who would invite me out to do things, but here in NC, everybody seems to be peeking out from behind their curtains. Totally paranoid. The New York and New Jersey transplants tend to be loud, rude, materialistic, and also seem to keep to themselves, so they're not much better. We're stuck here for a job, but at least I get to spend the horrible, hot , humid North Carolina summers away in the cool Puget Sound. Everybody who says how "beautiful" North Carolina is, is nuts and obviously hasn't traveled to the Pacific Northwest!
Oh, and southerners really like their chain restaurants. Raleigh is full of them, and jam packed with people who know nothing about great food unless it's fried to death or on the verge of giving you diabetes. Damn this place sucks so bad! Do t fall for any of the hype!
Alex on April 25, 2015:
This was a good read for a new yorker thinking about moving down south.
D Williams on April 25, 2015:
Had the same prob with the kinishes !!
kim on March 04, 2015:
jameswritesbest (author) on May 28, 2014:
I went Charlotte once and really liked it. To me it was like a mini Manhattan, but cleaner. I don't hate NC by any means. Understand I think NC is a clean, peaceful, beautiful state with great new roads and affordable housing. I simply wished I could of made a living and stayed on. Peace
brian p on May 28, 2014:
there's a reason people hate floridians and new yorkers........because you treat people like garbage and don't know how to enjoy life. Charlotte has become overrun with these transplants who have no respect for southern culture, i may just move down to South Carolina if this continues. RIP Charlotte as a southern city. Its now New New Jersey.
vj on April 19, 2014:
As a native North Carolinian, I found this article very insulting. Native Southerners really don't care how Northerners view our part of the country. We were happy when we had it to ourselves. We believe in Southern Hospitality, so we welcome people, but please don't don't come here and put us down. If you don't like it, go home. We will be FINE without you.
Nc state on January 21, 2014:
You left wing nut jobs from up north don't bring your bad voting habits here in NC. We love our state as is. If you don't keep heading on down to Florida or farther. But I prefer y'all stay up there with that dummy Gov cuomo.
Jersey Boy on January 04, 2014:
If the Yankees go back home you'll work even less than you do now...more time for muddin and drinkin shine on the back porch.
Charlotte on February 02, 2013:
I wish the Yankees would go back home.
NYer for life on November 29, 2012:
Hate the South stay in Y
Gennaro Versichelli on September 25, 2012:
I enjoyed the atricle, especially, because I too, have just recently moved to, South Carolina. I could relate to being in an area that is far more rural than my roots, as a New Yorker. Very well written.
Randy McLaughlin from Liberia, Costa Rica on June 08, 2012:
I enjoyed several years in North Carolina as a young marine, but that is a whole different perspective and was long ago.
The slower-paced, peaceful change will add years to your life. Maybe the lack of variety of bakery goods will help as well.
I have never heard of CARY before. What exactly are they referring to?