Lake Norman author pens book for newcomers
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Friday, Mar. 14, 2014

Lake Norman author pens book for newcomers

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/25/14/53/21mDz.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - COURTESY OF HARRY HOOVER
    The Uwharrie River, near Albemarle, flows through the ancient Uwharrie Mountain range along long stretches of unspoiled forest.It is just one of hundreds of nearby outdoor attractions that makes Charlotte a desirable place to live.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/25/14/52/UjKXG.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - COURTESY OF HARRY HOOVER
    ‘’Moving to Charlotte: the Un-tourist Guide” gives a brief history of the city and maps out some of the key items to get a comfortable lay of the land.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/25/14/53/WMRXC.Em.138.jpeg|343
    - HARRY HOOVER
    Harry Hoover
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    “Moving to Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide” is published by Voyager Media and can be purchased online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. The print version retails at $24.99, and digital copies are $9.99 or less. Locally, copies are available at Madalyn’s Coffee & Tea in Huntersville for a reduced price of $20, including tax. Multiple copies can be ordered with quantity pricing by contacting movingtoclt@gmail.com.

With thousands of people relocating each year to Charlotte, Lake Norman author Harry Hoover is making it easier to get settled in the Queen City with a new book released this winter – “Moving to Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide.’’

“Charlotte is a big city with a small-town charm,” said Hoover, who lives in Huntersville and owns an advertising agency. “We find that jobs are attracting people here, but it’s the good weather and warm friendly people that are making them stay.”

The book gives a brief history of the city and maps out some of the key items to get a comfortable lay of the land: where to live, grocery stores, recreation, schools and entertainment. In preparation for the book, Hoover conducted a survey of people who had relocated to the area so he could find out what mattered most to them.

“A typical tourist guide won’t get into the safety of neighborhoods, healthcare, and a flavor of your educational choices. The survey made it so we could focus on what mattered most to people moving here,” said Hoover, 61, a Charlotte native who says his family roots in the region date to 1751.

“It was also surprising that a high percentage of respondents either loved or liked living in Charlotte. Only 10 percent were neutral and only 1.3 percent were haters. I think that’s a pretty amazing thing to find in a city.”

Allen Tate President and COO Pat Riley contributed a short piece in the book that shared why people are relocating here and what areas are seeing growth. In an interview Riley said, “There are a lot of nuances about Charlotte that the newcomer wants to know. It’s the friendliness of people when they say ‘Hey’ instead of ‘Hi’ – so they don’t think a person is nosy if they ask their opinion of a product in the grocery aisle. It’s what can be expected when you see a few snow flurries coming down. And it’s all the surrounding area offers including weekend trips to mountain getaways like Blowing Rock and escapes to South Carolina beaches.”

Riley also said Charlotte is unusual in that the government functions without having a strong mayoral system. In addition, there are a lot of public-private partnerships that are highly critical to meeting community needs in education, cultural programs, tourism and business. Philanthropy and partnerships play a very influential role in how the city runs, Riley said.

Book publisher Newt Barrett of Voyager Media said Charlotte is an ideal town for this kind of publication. The Charlotte guide is the third “Un-Tourist Guide” the publisher released. “We want to feature cities and towns that people would really enjoy living in and to which we are seeing people moving in significant numbers. Some cities like New York are just too big, and a book of this kind can’t give it justice,” said Barrett. “All of the information in the book is out there somewhere if you work really hard to find it, but this puts it together all in one place, and it will help people feel at home quickly.”

Hoover points out that a lot of the growth in Charlotte is being fueled by businesses coming here. An educated population base, moderate climate and “can-do” spirit is drawing new business, Hoover said. Compared to the top 40 metro areas in the U.S., Charlotte has the 12th-lowest cost of living, mainly because housing costs are 18 percent lower than the national average.

Although Charlotte is traditionally thought as a financial center, the guidebook shows that many other industries are growing here including manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade.

In choosing where to live, the book mainly focuses on the offerings in Mecklenburg County north and south of the city. However, it does take note that there are several other outlying areas in surrounding counties that are attracting residents for a variety of reasons. “We knew early on there was no way we could fit all 16 counties into the book, but we try to give some resources of how people kind find the right fit for them,” Hoover said.

The book shares how the strong religious history of the city will likely influence newcomers in many ways. “One of the first things your new neighbors or cohorts may ask you when you move here is if you have found a church yet. This bothers some people, but it is just our way of trying to help you fit in,” Hoover writes in the book.

Despite cultural differences from many other Eastern cities, Hoover said Charlotte is a place newcomers can feel like they fit into quickly if they make the choice to do so. “The welcoming warmth of the people is what keeps this city having a small-town mentality, and that is what makes Charlotte special.”

Adrienne Babbitt is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Adrienne? Email her at observerfreelancewriter@gmail.com.

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