by Eric Ginsburg
First of all, welcome! We’re glad to have you. It may take you a little while to orient yourself, especially on our somewhat confusing roadways. So here are a few things that might be helpful to know off the bat, in no particular order, as you settle in.
- It’s what’s on the inside that counts
The beauty of these cities doesn’t always throw itself at your feet. Part of what’s great about living here is that you need to dig, to explore to find what you’re looking for, but you can consider us your shovel. Yes, we know some of the architecture in downtown Greensboro is atrocious, and that downtown High Point is a ghost town. But scratch a little bit more below the surface, and we’ll pretty sure you’ll like it here.
- Dream big
Welcome to the place where your dream of taking over an abandoned warehouse and turning it into some sort of artistic, collective compound can actually happen. But get plugged in first, because that sort of thing is already going down, and people will stand behind you more quickly if they’re part of the loop. This is the kind of place where you can really leave your fingerprint.
- We’re unpretentious
At least, most of us are. In cities this size, it’s hard to be that full of yourself — the whole big fish/small pond thing. That means most people around here are humble and welcoming, which is a huge asset. (Oh, and a lot of us don’t understand that Northern sarcasm, and we don’t drive aggressively like they do in the Northeast either.)
These cities can feel insular sometimes — in smaller cities (like Winston-Salem), people band together to support each other for the long haul. That means you might feel like it’s taking a while to break in. Or maybe you’ve been here for a little bit and things are starting to feel constricting or repetitive. There’s some truth to that, but remember that people run into their exes in larger cities all the time — it’s about networks. Whenever the Triad feels small, push through and you’ll realize there’s much more to explore. Join the bike polo teams in Winston-Salem or Greensboro, try a kickball league or go paddle boarding at Lake Brandt.
- High Point is underrated
This bears repeating even for lifelong Triadians, including High Pointers; the Third City is way cooler than you think. Go talk to the folks at the 512 Collective to learn what’s up, cruise around and look at the uncommon art outside of furniture showrooms and sneak onto High Point University’s campus. High Point will surprise you with its crepe shop, unexpectedly spectacular bookings like Black Violin, its existing and two planned breweries and businesses like Swedebread or C’est L’amour macaroons.
- Serious arts
We take the arts seriously here. There’s an arts school in every city, such as Weaver Academy in Greensboro, not even counting UNC School of the Arts, and strong communities support people across disciplines with aboveboard and underground projects. The list is endless, but it’s worth mentioning things like Press 53 in Winston-Salem and the Bryan Speaker Series out of Guilford College. The arts community may be strongest in Winston-Salem — hell, it’s the City of Arts & Innovation — home to the South’s oldest (and very active) arts council, the beautiful and vibrant Hanesbrands complex and a downtown arts district.
- Great neighborhoods
All of the Triad’s cities are home to some pretty astounding neighborhoods that boast a community and cohesive character. The cool kids in Winston-Salem mostly live in the West End or Southside, while their counterparts in Greensboro are spread across Fisher Park, Aycock and Glenwood. But much could be said about Ardmore and Westerwood or Lindley Park, three similar, artist-packed communities, as well as countless other areas of the Triad.
- Get outdoors
The parks system here is incredible. Take the trail around Salem Lake, for example, or the extensive mountain-biking paths in north Greensboro. There’s more coming, too, including LeBauer Park and the Downtown Greenway in Greensboro and an art park and Bailey Park in Winston-Salem. Check out the Oak Hollow Marina in High Point while you’re at it, or join the High Point Cycling Classic. Don’t miss greenways like the underappreciated Strollway in Winston-Salem or the Bicentennial Greenway in High Point either.