Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well, I've Been Blessed by the Grace of Southern Charm...

I have lived in two cities my entire life, each a mere 25 miles from the other. I was born in Raleigh, NC and have lived here for all of my 24 years on this earth with the exception of four in college when I lived in Chapel Hill, NC. For those of you who aren't local, let me tell you a little about each.

Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina and is the second largest city in the state (behind Charlotte). In recent years, Raleigh has grown like crazy. I've always thought Raleigh was the best of both worlds - not giant enough to be considered "city life," but still big enough where there is plenty to do and see. It's a nice Southern city, but not too country (in fact, I recently read where we are among the top cities in the country for the number of college educated people).

Chapel Hill is about 25 miles west of Raleigh and is, in my mind, heaven. It's a small town that houses the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - one of the best public universities in the nation. It's a very eclectic town with people from all different types of backgrounds. The campus (which takes up a good chunk of the town) is gorgeous. Through the middle of Chapel Hill runs Franklin Street. Franklin Street is full of some of the best restaurants in America and fun bars. Hill.

The two are very different cities, but I've been blessed to live in both. I'm so grateful to be from the South. When I was younger I used to think I wanted to live in New York City, that's what writers are supposed to do, after all. Now I can't imagine it. I know every Southerner thinks this and every Northerner scoffs, but there is something so amazing about the South. A few of my favorites.

  • Accents. My accent is one of my absolute favorite things about myself. It's Southern and cute, while not being over-the-top - at least not for Raleigh. When I go out of the South people seem to notice it immediately.
  • Hydrangeas. Do they have these in the North? I don't think so. Even if they do, there is something quintessentially Southern about them. I'm going to have Carolina blue hydrangeas at my wedding and a bed of them in my yard.
  • Family. Family reigns supreme in the South. I live a mile from each of my parents.
  • Food. Southern cuisine is amazing. Especially now with award-winning chefs taking modern twists on it. HEAVEN.
  • College sports. College sports are huge here. As March Madness gets started today, I know more than a few people who have taken off work. While Carolina and  Duke reign supreme in basketball, football is just as popular. Y'all know I have a love affair with tailgates and wearing pretty dresses to games. I don't think they wear dresses to games up North.
  • Barbeque. Eastern style. Enough said.
  • Beach music. That beer-drinking music. That shagging music. Nothing warms my heart like beach music.
  • The beach. And the mountains. Raleigh is two hours from each. Perfection.
  • Dogwood trees.

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