Today I have decided to do my best to answer the above question for those asking because they are trying to find an awesome vacation spot for their family, and for those who are contemplating make a life changing move. Many times over you will see the western counties in North Carolina get mentioned because of their hardship, now this hardship is based on monetary value of assets and income, but can you compare us to the rest of the nation based on these facts alone? No, because the main thing you are forgetting to factor in is the wealth of happiness the people of these impoverished western counties have!
Yes our average household income may be way less than the national average, but the happiness factor is what makes up for all of that. Why are we so happy you may ask? Well, the easy answers is that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and yes I said “one of”, because I have been to the other ones and you need to go west to see them. The long answer I will get in to in below. I thoroughly enjoyed my journeys out west, and I will go back one day, but the one thing I missed the most while I was traveling was the “simple life” that seems to be so easy to find here in Western North Carolina (WNC). The life that you can experience here is one encompassed by the amazing beauty of the mountains, rivers, and lakes that are as close as a stones throw away no matter where you are in WNC. Now if you do not enjoy the outdoors and can only see yourself spending your spare time inside of a “high-rise” shopping, or laying beside and pool that is awesome for you, because you are most like happy, but WNC may not be the best option, unless you want to experience something different.
This list of reasons is in no particular order, you must make that decision for yourself:
Reason 1: BEING SURROUNDED BY THE OUTDOORS
WNC is one of the outdoor capitals in the nation because you can enjoy almost any outdoor activity that you can dream up at some point during the year. Any day of the week you can find yourself dong any of the following in any order: Swim in a pristine swimming hole in a mountain stream of peaceful lake; sling mud up your back along mountain bike trails that line the ridges and valleys all around; Feel the adrenaline of taking on whitewater’s most impressive features in a raft, kayak, or stand-up-paddle-board; Fish endless miles of rivers, streams and lakes for native beauties; Hunt for wild mountain game that will keep your family full all year; Cling to the side of a rock crag while looking out over the vast landscape around you; Hike thousands of miles of trails that take you deep into the lush forest to experience serenity and natures beauty; Camp or backpack on forever undeveloped land that hides away some of the most spectacular features of WNC; Play in the snow, shred powder, or scale sheets of ice in the winter time; Find a cliff and jump off to experience your heart jumping into your throat until you splash into the glassy water. These thing and many more are what make WNC a playground for all ages, if we do not take advantage of being near all of these awesome activities then we have forgotten what truly matters!
Reason 2: SEASONS
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall are the four seasons, right? Well yes, but have you ever lived in a place where you get to experience all four of them? WNC is a place where the four seasons are very defined, and amazing each in their own way. In Winter you get to see just the right amount of snow, not too much and not too little, just enough where everything turns white, but you are not stuck without power and out of work for weeks. In Spring you get to watch the many plants and trees that make up our lush landscape bloom and come to life after being held dormant during the Winter, and the show is spectacular to watch! In the Summer activities abound and people come from all over to join in on them, from festivals to competitions, the outdoors are crawling with people having fun. The tress have covered the landscape with a layer of never-ending green, that creates awesome shade for all of our outdoor activities to shield us from the 80 degree heat. In Fall watch the mountains and valleys that surround you be transformed into a beautiful painting that will make even the most unimpressed people stand in awe. Experiencing one of the four seasons is just not enough for me, which is why I call this place home!
Reason 3: COMMUNITY
This third reason can be one of the most important for people looking to call a new place home. The community in WNC varies some depending on what city you are in, but that is just another thing that makes this place great. However, one thing that all of our communities have in common is true “southern hospitality”, and I am not talking about the use of a country twang “Ma’am and Sur” being used to greet you, I am talking about people who truly want to listen to your story and help you out in any way that they can. We may be different in many ways, but the one thing a neighbor in the mountains will always do is help one another. We eat, love, argue, live, have fun, and mourn together and at the end of the day no matter how rough it was we still support each other and carry on. A community is hard to find when you go on vacation somewhere, but while you are here I hope you get a chance to experience it because it is unique.
There are other reasons that are grouped in with these three for now so that I do not write a 50 page blog post, but these reasons and many more depending on who you ask are all great reasons to want to visit and live in Western North Carolina! If you have been here before I encourage you to come back, if you have never been to WNC the what are you waiting for, and if you are looking for a new place to call home then I hope you are convinced now!
Get to the Mountains!