Listicle: Five reasons to discontinue a Greensboro mantra

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by Eric Ginsburg

1. It’s unremarkable 

I cringe every time someone says they love living in Greensboro because it’s halfway between the mountains and the beach. High Point, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and plenty of other nearby cities can make the same claim, and we’re still hours from either end. You are roughly aware of the geography of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US, right? An astounding number of people in the country live near the mountains and shore, whether they live in Seattle or Boston. I’m not impressed.

2. It’s unoriginal

People who reiterate this phrase probably heard it somewhere else — like a horrifically embarrassing promotional video for Greensboro that’s still on the internet — and don’t even mean it. There should be a diversity of answers to the question, “Why do you love it here?” that is based on the breadth of our positive experiences.

 

3. It’s misleading

If you go to the beach more than a few times a summer, you either own a second home or are allotted a lot more vacation time than the rest of us. How often do you actually go to the mountains and beach? Chances are, you end up heading in one direction more than the other. So if that’s Greensboro’s biggest selling point, why not just move to either end of the state? I hear Wilmington is nice this time of year….

 

4. It suggests there’s nothing here

So you’re an outdoors person. That’s great. Hopefully then you’ve noticed that Greensboro contains a pretty impressive network of parks and greenways. Talk about that instead. We live in a culturally rich region of a gorgeous state with more than enough positive things to talk about instead of emphasizing places that are hours away. Why would a friend or business feel compelled to move here when they hear a non-answer like this mantra?

 

5. We have plenty to lift up

Sure, sometimes the phrase is said in tandem with a list of other boilerplate answers, but even then it should never be part of our elevator speech about what makes us special or unique. No, we’ll never beat the Outer Banks at their own game or match the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we need to learn to talk about what we love in our backyard. Don’t worry if you’re having trouble coming up with answers — it’s just time to start reading our content more carefully and getting out more.

  • Clay Howard

    Greensboro is a great place to grow a business.

  • Sacramento had the same mantra when I lived there…halfway between Tahoe and San Fran…which made it a great place to stop for an In-N-Out Burger and gas, but little else.

  • I know that one of the common mantras used is that it is central to the beach and the mountains – is that the mantra you are referring to in all five of your statements? Otherwise, I can’t tell what mantra you are talking about. As for Greensboro being between the mountains and the beach – it is a feature that many, many other states cannot claim. We are fortunate that we have I-40 going from coast to mountains as well as a road system superior to many other states. Also, the fact that Greensboro is approximately three hours from the beach (depending on which beach) and two to three hours to the mountains – is a plus. Yes, the other nearby cities have the same feature, but when you couple Greensboro’s other pluses, we are an awesome place to live – which is why we have so many “damn yankees” here. (And my dad was one). We also have moderate weather that still offers a change of seasons. Greensboro has a lot of talking points – this is just one and anyone who focuses on it doesn’t know our great city.

  • Thanks for all the comments, folks! Iris, yes the whole article is about the mountains-sea mantra. And it is something that plenty of other states can claim — take my home state of Massachusetts as an example. Boston is just as close to the Appalachian mountain range and it’s much closer to a huge spread of beaches. Your other points are well taken, and I too appreciate North Carolina’s mountains and beaches. Still, let’s focus on what makes our city and the Triad great and build on that.

    • Thanks for the clarification. Without an introduction to say what the mantra is or that the numbered items address the mantra, the article was confusing.
      As for reasons to live in Greensboro – It’s not so big that one feels swallowed up, yet it’s big enough to find just about anything a person could want. If anyone says Greensboro is boring, he or she is not looking very hard.

    • Eric, just as a friendly constructive criticism from the reader’s eye- I was also unclear on what mantra you were talking about exactly until I was about halfway in. But now that I do know- thank you for bringing this up! First of all, realistically speaking, most people treat the 30 minute drive to Winston to be too much of a hassle to endure. And you better pack a bag if you’re going to Durham because that 45 minute trip warrants an overnight stay. I was just in Wilmington for the weekend and yes, it is indeed very nice this time of year. But it might as well be another state- it’s almost irrelevant that Greensboro is three hours from there. It’s like saying I like living in Connecticut because it’s 3 hours from Cape Cod and from the Green Mountains of Vermont. GSO has so much to offer- it’s just not as obvious as having an awe-inspiring natural wonder in our backyards (unless you consider valleys to be awe-inspiring). And that itself is one of the things that I love about living in Greensboro- the treasure hunt! At first glance, what meets the eye can be rather lackluster. Spending more than 10 minutes on Battleground would make anyone want to get out of town. So, WE DIG. We dig for the good pho and the abandoned mills, the old books and the independent movies that play in those two tiny weird screening rooms at Carousel- and we find so much. Don’t get me wrong- I love a beachy weekend vacay and a change of scenery, but I think it’s good to remind each other that there’s many goodies to unearth right here in this very ‘boro.

  • David Neal

    Are you kidding me? Have you ever driven across the country? Once you get over the Appalachians you have a couple of thousand miles of people who do not live near the ocean. St Louis? Yeah! We’re next to a big muddy river that every once in a while tries to kill us. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Boston area and the reason people don’t go to the ocean is that even though you are only twenty miles away it still takes you two hours to get there.

  • David — Yeah, I have driven across the country, but that’s besides the point. I didn’t say the whole country can claim the same thing but that many people on the coasts can. Two hours to the beach in Boston is still closer than here. My family lives there and I grew up in the area, and people there go to the beach all the time (if they can afford it and have time, just like people here).
    Some of my fondest memories in this state are from outside the Triad — weekends in Pine Knoll Shores, camping near Cherokee, swimming in the Haw River near Pittsboro, going to the drive-in theater in Eden…. but it disappoints me that our proximity to other places is often the first and/or only response I hear when people say why they love living here.
    I don’t mean to suggest that we stop expressing love for the state or region. But if the question is something like, “Why do you like living in Greensboro?” I sincerely hope that this mantra is either uttered after a litany of things (that are actually about our city or at least the Triad) or not at all. It would do us all some good.

    • spcoon

      sooo… how do you answer? mine is cost of living and new-found friends. if not for either, i would’ve been gone years ago.

  • I’ve never even heard this as the Greensboro “mantra” before. When I moved here last year, it took me awhile to find someone to explain to me what “Gate City” was supposed to refer to.

  • JoAlice

    Great article! But I ready to give up Greensboro. So I going to move to one of the towns that we frequent so much for vacation.