Hickory NC, known as the “Furniture Capital of the World”, is also a very affordable best place to live in the North Carolina Piedmont region.
Hickory can be a bit confusing to get around.
Although the roads were busy, I found the downtown to be strangely empty.
The downtown is clean and adequate, but there just weren’t many people around.
Still, Hickory has a great location off I-40 and its thriving furniture industry adds economic vitality and stability to the city.
Maybe it was just a quiet day.
Gateway to the New South – From Hickory I headed south to one of the best loved cities in the North Carolina Piedmont region. We’re headed to see Charlotte NC. Charlotte is known as the “Gateway to the New South.”
The city is beautiful.
Getting there early morning the sun burned off the damp from the night before in a haze that lingered over the tops of Charlotte’s impressive skyline.
Many of the larger buildings in Charlotte are built with glass facades that create beautiful reflections through the city.
The intersection of Tryon and Trade Streets is the center of the city’s business district and is flanked by gazing statues and fountains. Following Davidson Street north out of the city center, I headed into Noda to visit the artistic district.
Noda has a small set of streets with a couple of theaters, cafes, and restaurants, and is an up and coming area to live outside Charlotte.
It’s great to live outside the city without really leaving it, as the skyline in the near distance reminds you.
Leaving Charlotte, in a bit of a zigzag, I headed north to the North Carolina Piedmont city of Winston-Salem. Which was my favorite North Carolina Piedmont best place to live of the larger cities in the middle of North Carolina.
Winston-Salem NC is known as the conservative business capital of the state and there are many business people walking through the streets.
Considered “A Top 10 Digital City” ,Winston-Salem is deeply invested in employing digital technology to better provide information and services to its residents.
More importantly, Winston-Salem NC has consciously embraced the Research Triangle model and brought local universities, entrepreneurs and private companies together.
This has created a local economy based on bio-medical research, nanotechnology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing that is bringing in businessmen and young workers from all over the globe.
Continuing through to see the North Carolina Piedmont Best loved cities, I had to see High Point.
Known as the “The Home Furnishings Capital of the World!,” High Point is home to the International Furniture Market.
Some highlights included a four story dresser on the edge of town that once served as office spaces. A doll museum in the visitor’s center, as well as a multitude of opportunities for getting factory direct prices on furniture.
If you don’t get very excited over furniture…then this North Carolina Piedmont cities intense focus may become a bit much for you.
Consisting of one major strip of stores and offices that runs through the center of the High Point, much of the available real estate has been taken up by furniture manufacturers and stores.
I did see some other options for entertainment, such as a community theater, but furniture reins supreme in High Point NC.
The first thing I noticed was heavy traffic.
Walk around downtown this North Carolina Piedmont best loved city and you’ll see the results of major revitalization efforts. These efforts have made the downtown the kind of place people want to spend not only money but the time getting to know one another.
Greensboro NC ranks 16th nationally in dollars spent per capita on the arts. All in all I enjoyed Greensboro, it had an active downtown area and it was easy to navigate.
Upon leaving Greensboro, I had two more North Carolina Piedmont best loved cities to explore.
Chapel Hill and Durham, names synonymous with prestige and colleges.
First I’m headed to the North Carolina Piedmont best place to live, Chapel Hill. Home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The town of Chapel Hill NC really is a best place to live in North Carolina. When you take in all it has to offer it’s no coincidence that locals refer to it as “The Southern Part of Heaven.”
The University gives Chapel Hill much of its distinct flavor. After all there aren’t a lot of places where half of the population has a Masters degree or higher.
And I couldn’t believe it … the local fire trucks are painted Tar Heel blue (UNC colors)!
Take a stroll down Chapel Hill’s main drag, Franklin Street, and you can see the diversity and vibrancy of the local community.
There is a mix of young and old and a love of the arts and culture. The area felt as though it was very well endowed and had an air of success to it.
However, depending upon the time of year and time of day…Chapel Hill can have a lot of traffic!!!
Durham NC was the last town in the NC Piedmont region. Interestingly it was ultimately one of the biggest challenges.
Today with over 300 medical-related facilities and businesses employing over a quarter of its residents, Durham now calls itself “The City of Medicine”.
Duke University resides in Durham and takes up quite a large portion of the real estate. And the real estate is spread over a huge area.
It’s obvious that the city of Durham has gone to great lengths to revitalize the downtown. While not very busy, it was clean and safe.
While exploring Durham, I made my way over to Brightleaf Square. Brightleaf is a shopping and dining hub which has hosted the Taste of Durham Festival.
The Taste of Durham Festival is an annual event which brings together arts, music, food and drink from local and statewide sources for a celebration enjoyed by all.
Wow what a trip visiting the best places to live in North Carolina.Explore More Piedmont NC Best Places To Live
I have seen some of the most incredible landscapes of my life and been to over 30 of the best cities and towns to live in this great state.
The days had blurred together in a collage of restaurants, shops, gas stations, U-turns, farms, hills, mountains, lakes and bars of miniature hotel soaps.
Throughout the trip, I was amazed by the variety of small towns, large cities and landscapes North Carolina had to offer.
Not many states can boast of having the beach and the mountains with farmland and pastures in the middle. As well as large cosmopolitan cities and small towns with their charms in every region.
I felt grateful for the people I had met along the way and thought fondly of a time when I could return to the best places to live in North Carolina I had seen and loved.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey to Over 30 North Carolina Best Places.
I’ll be seeing You in the Carolinas.
Robert Bencivenga is a professional site locator for major corporations. Bob finds affordable best places to live in North Carolina and South Carolina. Bob Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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