Blog Alert: BlogAsheville finds a forum about Asheville for non-natives

It’s no secret that people from all over the country are swarming to Asheville. Who can blame them? Our downtown is vibrant, the housing market is still on a massive upswing and the surrounding area is stunningly beautiful. And yet, for many natives and old-timers (which, for most purposes, means anyone who has lived here prior to the property boom—roughly more than five or six years), not all of the changes have been welcome. Skyrocketing housing costs, infrastructure issues and the dreaded “gentrification” of the area have all been blamed, at one time or other, on the influx of new arrivals to the city.

But what about the other side of the equation? How do those who are relocating view the town? What are their views on its people, its culture and its problems?

Late last week, BlogAsheville’s MyGothLaundry (aka The Hangover Journals’ Felicity) posted a very interesting and revealing link to the City-Data forum about Asheville. Since many of the site’s users are new to the area (or are considering moving here), it provides a very interesting window into the mind set of the next batch of Asheville citizens.

The forum thread begins with a post by “Jcat” a recent arrival from Palm Beach County, FL. Here are a few of the poster’s more interesting observations of the area.

“These people are considerate, polite, helpful, and just plain nice. Southern hospitality reigns here.”

“On a sour note, there is a serious drug problem here. Very high personal crime rate, very high violent crime rate, for such a small city.”

“As far as a job here, I think there is a lot of whining going on. … Why not open your own business here! A restaurant would be a good start! … How about a specialty store, a bakery (an Italian Bakery cannot be found), a clothing store (nothing in S Asheville, nowhere to shop), a baby furniture store, a deli, any service…any service …would do well. A spa, a decent nail place …use your imagination.”

“Schools—Sore subject with me. No better than Florida … Additionally, the way that many teachers speak, (southern drawl is fine) using improper English, is unsettling. … We are sending our kids to private school now.”

“If you are a Floridian, originally from the North, they will call you a “half back”. But, not to your face.”

The City-Data forum thread makes for interesting reading, and is located here. To chime in on that site, you’ll need to register for a free user account. Also, if you happen to find anything interesting on the forum, please feel free to quote it in the comment box below (please mention the name of the forum poster, so that it can be properly attributed), and to add your own two cents.

— Steve Shanafelt


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6 thoughts on “Blog Alert: BlogAsheville finds a forum about Asheville for non-natives

  1. tripper

    Yes, I’m one of those “outsiders” who moved here less than 5 or 6 years ago — as opposed to the “old-timers” who’ve been here longer. We picked Asheville loving it for what it is (or what we thought it is) Honest, funky, natural, beautiful, easy-going, respectful of all. Now that we’re here – over a year now – all that I read is how “we” f____ed up this place. And it never stops. It seems to me that there’s many here who are angry, fearful, and would like to keep things the way they were – which I guess mostly means lower home prices. WHY ISN’T THE MOUNTAIN EXPRESS AND THE CITIZEN TIMES DOING MORE TO HELP ALL ASHEVILLIANS COME TOGETHER RATHER THAN SEPARATING US VS THEM MENTALITY?
    I’ve lived lots of other places in the US (most recently from NorCal) and thought this would be one of those special places, like Boulder, CO where I also lived, where all folks could get along, add energy and diversity to each other and the community. Instead I find media outlets like the Express only like to address how “outsiders” are messing up this place. Meanwhile, none of us “outsiders” sold the land or sold the homes that changed everything for the “old-timers”. We just bought what somebody else offered.

    Asheville has the potential to truly be what the hype/press says it is – if we all just hang together, welcome all, accept all and support dynamic, creative exchange with all who choose to come here and be part of the magic that is Asheville.

    But I guess I’ll have to wait 4 or 5 more years before I can say that and be welcome. When I’m considered one of the “old timers”.

    • Postbumper

      Tripper, it’s been 8 years. Do you feel welcome yet or what? Why leave us hanging?

  2. NCnativegal

    Dear tripper,
    As a native North Carolinian and a resident of western North Carolina for nigh unto seventeen years, let me explain a few things to you – and any other “NC newbies,” regarding the unusual, independent, nice but recalcitrant nature of “folks around these parts.”

    Firstly, anyone who lives anywhere in the country, or the world for that matter, should look into the history of a region they are planning to live in. There is a long and interesting history of our fair state, and it would behoove EVERYONE who relocates here to give it a look-see and especially concentrate on information about this area.

    Asheville has a long history of exploiting the local folks. I have heard stories from some elderly residents of Henderson county about the rape of the forests by Vanderbilt so that his fine house might be built – that is Biltmore house I am referring to. And there are many more instances of exploitation that would make your toes curl to hear. Outsiders have come in for many years and taken advantage of the more backwoods folks around here, and the gentry – very well established, I might add – has also done so, with nary a tweak of their conscience.

    Outsiders are not particularly welcome up here, until they prove themselves to be fine neighbors. That, I suggest, might be your goal.

    As for the “cosmic, new age green stuff” that is going on, let me remind everyone that The Mother Earth News – that famous magazine on alternative living – was published in Henderson county for many years. We have been green up here since long before the imported folk came up and started the cosmic communities and such. Ya’ll ain’t bringing anything new to our area. The rich tradition of woods-wisdom and crafts, the fabulous writings and such that have come from our native and adopted populace – well, we may be slow, but we are substantive. It might serve you to recollect that fact.

    So tripper, stop trippin’ and get to work being a fine neighbor with a loving and open heart. All people, one on one, can get along. Start with yourself and quit believing all the Asheville hype. Asheville needs to take itself less seriously and, as my dad used to say, “grow up and join the human race.” Time for us all to make more effort, no doubt.

    Anyway, be a friend and you will make a friend. It works without fail.

  3. Rizzian

    Yeah, really dude … get over yourself. This town did used to be a great place where everyone more or less got along, and where we were generally welcome of newcomers and new developments. I’ve lived in Asheville for my entire adult life, and the change in attitude you’re mentioning is a very new thing.

    What changed the tone was when those new faces and places began to displace people that were already here. We feel shoved out, largely for economic reasons, and it’s pretty obvious who did the shoving.

    The situation will eventually settle out, but please don’t blame the “old-timers” for remarking that, for instance, they can’t afford to live anywhere near the downtown community that they helped to create because of bunch of rich people looking for a quaint area to have a second home in priced them out of it.

    We have a right to talk, to discuss and, if the situation calls for it, to gripe about how our lives are being impacted by the situation. The “hype/press” isn’t ours. It was generated by a bunch of people — mostly real estate developers — trying to cash in.

    You bought what somebody offered? Fine. Part of the price, whether you knew it or not, was that you’d have to put up with a bunch of yokels who think that you and the people like you ruined their community. You made that choice. Cope with it.

    Oh, and as far as the “magic that is Asheville” is comment is concerned — HAHAHAHA! I got news for you, guy: The magic is long gone, and it ain’t coming back. You should see that in about two years time, right about the time you flip your property to a New York/Florida retiree couple for 30 percent more than you paid.

    Then crow about how much you like this “community.” Go ahead, I dare you.

  4. tripper

    So what I’m hearing is that newbies just need to be kind, respectful, real, friendly. I can do that. I DO DO THAT. And always have. Is there some other way to live? Yeah, I know there’s lots of folks out in the USA with attitudes — (I’ve got it and you don’t,etc.) but glad to know I’ll be “accepted” as long as I’m real. I’m just asking that there be no assumptions made about who I am just because I moved here from somewhere else. I’m not trying to change things or people.

    Exploitation. Your comments seem very balanced. I’m no developer; I’m just trying to live in harmony in a beautiful place along with all the rest of y’all. (Yes, occasionally y’all does come out. I guess I’m becoming localized. I don’t think of that as becoming a hick or some other put down. It’s not fake. Trust me).

    So next time you meet this straightforward, honest, kind, and kinda crazy gal, know that I’m with you, not against you.

    We really can all get along.

    Bye Ya’ll!!!!

  5. Rizzian

    Tripper: I think I was a little harsh in my last post. This topic touches a deep nerve with a lot of people, and I’m certainly one of them. You have my apologies.

    Given your attitude, I’m guessing you fit in fine with the local community. This is great. The more GOOD, COMMUNITY-ORIENTED people we have, the better.

    But, there is another group out there, a “them” that cares not one whit for this town. They see a hotspot for house flipping, or a great place to retire to, or a great place to open up a boutique catering to tourists. They are perfectly willing to passively or actively dislocate locals (or ignore the fact that locals have been displaced) in order to meet their goals. And then, when the fancy has passed or the house has been sold, they leave behind nothing but a hole.

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