A Yankee’s first days in the Triangle — and he has questions

Downtown Raleigh | Eric Knisley

This is a contributor-submitted Voices piece. Sean Silverthorne is a retired business and technology editor + writer. Learn how to share your voice here.

Warmer, slower, cheaper” — my answer to friends near Boston (my home for the last 21 years) as to why my wife and I were moving. But now that we’re here, I see I really short-changed the charms of the Old North State.

Here are 5 reasons Raleigh rocks, as seen through a newcomer’s eyes:

  • The food scene. Within a 10-minute drive from our place, there’s Spanish tapas, pimento cheese oysters, truffle-poached lobster, charred octopus — or $2 tacos
  • The city is incredibly chill. There’s the nightlife experience in Glenwood South on the weekends, but just 5 minutes west are blocks of solitude + empty offices, historic districts, and a giant globe that might be part of a museum or a credit union — I stilleed more time to determine which.
  • Not much traffic (despite what locals believe). When I pull onto Capital Boulevard from Peace Street, there are usually no cars to greet me. In Boston, you wait in traffic for 15 minutes before getting to the onramp.
  • Always something to do — 3 world-class state museums, peaceful walking trails, outdoor concerts + hidden gems like 17th US President Andrew Johnson’s house. My dentist mentioned that college sports are something of a thing here, too.
  • I tell you what, people are friendly. It’s a cliché (but pretty much true) that Southerners are open and welcoming, while Northerners are cold and distant. I was shocked when [local radio station] 94.7’s Amanda Daughtry shared one of her grandmother’s secret ingredients for cooking collards: “If it ain’t got lard, throw it in the yard.” Thanks Amanda!

But I do have some questions: 

  • What’s with all the public storage facilities? I’ve never seen anything like it in all the places we’ve lived. Are North Carolinians bursting with too many Coach K bobbleheads? Are developers leasing out these easy-to-tear-down sites for land-banking purposes? 
  • Why do stop lights take so long to cycle? I raised this observation to a friend, who quickly pointed out that I moved to the South to slow down. Fair point.
  • Hasn’t NC heard about the nation’s infrastructure problem?  Every place I drive, there’s work being done improving roads or constructing new ones. Potholes are as rare as snow in July. Whoever has swung all that pork here should never have to buy another beer in this town again.

Thanks Raleigh for a cracking good first month — we look forward to meeting all of you over the next 20 years. 👋