When Mike and I decided to move from the New York metropolitan area to the mountains of Western North Carolina eleven years ago, there were people who revealed their prejudices about "the South" with questions like, "Are you sure you'll be comfortable there?" "Won't you be bored, isolated?" "Do you think you'll find people to be friends with?" I had never lived anywhere but Long Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and their concerns did give me pause. But we were determined to get beyond the land of high taxes and oppressive traffic; the peaceful beauty of the Asheville area called to us and off we went. July 4, 2000, was a very personal "Independence Day" for us, as we rolled into town.
Our instincts proved correct. There has never been a down-side to our relocation (except, perhaps that it takes 5 hours to get to the ocean.) As far as I can tell, we traded "sophistication" for "sincerity" and "speedy" for "serene". Our small city has all the social, cultural, technological, and medical assets of the Big Apple, but they are way more close at hand and easier to access.
And the people? Can two Jewish folks find their place in the area known to some as "The Buckle on the Bible Belt?" To get a taste of the kind of welcoming community we have found in our new home state, read "My Dad's Neighbor", (reprinted by permission, "Our State Magazine", November, 2004), about the relationship between one Jewish family and the Methodist Church next door.