Welcome to Charlotte. Couple things you should know.
When we were selling you on the idea of moving here, we pointed out that our town was favorably located between the beach and the mountains.
If you’d read the small print, you’d have seen we ethically disclosed that each destination was hours away. That was under the clause titled “Middle of Nowhere Advisory.”
Indianapolis, technically, is also between the beach and the mountains. So is Des Moines.
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But there’s a lot to be said for living somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You get many big-city amenities without big-city drawbacks.
We’ve got museums, pro sports, a vibrant airport that has been under construction since 1936 with no end in sight, a sparkling skyline, an industry built on grown men making left turns, and for the kids, an electric train.
You can have your gall bladder extracted by a doctor who did a residency at NYU and you can comfortably play golf in February.
If we hadn’t already spent so much money on signs and business cards, I’d recommend changing the name of the city to “Goldilocks.” Because we’re just right.
Our tourism slogan is “Charlotte’s Got A Lot” but it should really be “We Got Not.”
Not too big, not too small, not too busy, not too pokey, not too much, just enough. Charlotte’s just right, the kind of city you would take home to meet mother.
Every town has its quirks and its personality. We’re a pretty friendly place.
If you encounter a stranger on the street, you’re expected to nod or say hello. If you’re from New York or San Francisco, you should know you’re not expected to hand them spare change or your billfold.
If you’re from a small city – say Columbia, Akron or Richmond – we have the worst traffic you’ve ever seen. If you’re from a big city – say, Boston, D.C. or Atlanta – we have no traffic at all.
There are two big lakes. People say, ‘We live up on the lake’ or ‘down on the lake.’ That means you live near a lake. Some people who live ‘on the lake’ have never even seen the lake.
Other things you should know:
Our uptown is so clean it could be Canadian.
Nobody ever calls it “The Queen City” except newscasters spewing hackneyed phrases.
We’re not a big beep-beep town like Miami or New York. If you’re sitting at a green light, you’re about as likely to have the motorist behind you to walk up to your window to see if you’re OK as honk at you.
Yes, we tear down every uptown building after 25 years and build a new one. City ordinance.
There are two big lakes, Wylie and Norman. People say, “We live up on the lake” or “down on the lake.” That means you live near a lake, not that you live on the shoreline. Some people who live “on the lake” have never even seen the lake.
Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation and has been for a long time. Sometimes you can go all day without hearing a Southern accent.
We’re a modern melting-pot city and that’s part of the reason we’re so welcoming. We’ve found that migration enriches our culture. Nothing perks up a neighborhood like a new family from New Jersey or Wisconsin.
So welcome. We’re glad you’re here to enjoy it. And you will. That’s a no-fine-print promise.
Mark Washburn writes about local issues.