by Nicole Crews
Mother: So how are you enjoying spending time in Charlotte?
Me: Charlotte’s Got a Lot.
Mother: What does that mean?
Me: It’s their inane PR motto for the city.
Mother: I don’t get it.
Me: I know. It’s dumb. It should be “Charlotte’s Got a Lot if you don’t mind driving 30 minutes to an hour.”
Mother: Does Greensboro have a motto?
Me: Not that I know of — but it was named for General Greene.
Mother: I thought that was a character in the game of Clue?
Me: No that’s Colonel Mustard. Nathanael Greene was the Revolutionary War general who drove Cornwallis out. Later in life he died of sunstroke.
Mother: Maybe Greensboro’s motto should be “Don’t be like Greene. Wear Sunscreen.”
Me: Or maybe it could pay tribute to founding industries like Vick’s. “Greensboro — We Won’t Rub You the Wrong Way.”
Mother: Or Cone Mills. “Greensboro – Denim Glad to Meet Ya.”
Me: Or Jefferson Standard. “Greensboro – Where You’re Insured of a Good Time.”
Mother: Stop it. We could keep going for a long time with this bit.
For a number of years I was a road warrior for a series of adventure books that catered to the traveler-as-opposed-to-tourist set. I put more miles on my ragtop within the state of Texas alone in three months than most people do all year. I traversed Mexico like a conquistador with a deadline. Southeast Asia was my bitch until I got amoebic dysentery — and the roles were clearly reversed. That said, in all my travels, I’ve had many a dealing with tourism boards, convention and visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce and the like and it never ceased to amaze me how poorly characterized cities, towns and regions were in the literature supported by these organizations. It also occurred to me how much more difficult it can be to navigate a new town when you plan to move there. So as my civic duty, I offer a humble guide to Greensboro’s more historic neighborhoods for the newly initiated. There’s not enough ink at the printers to cover the Gate City entirely, but here’s a start:
Fisher Park (aka Nortslandia) — Greensboro’s first suburb where Captain Basil J. Fisher turned swampland into “the” address of the Gilded Era and beyond. Today, Fisher Park is populated by an odd hybrid of preppy tree-huggers and modest old money.
Irving Park (aka Snots Landing) — Easily Greensboro’s most prestigious neighborhood, anchored by its most prominent private organization: Greensboro Country Club. A veritable WASP Valhalla, the neighborhood is home to more landscape trailers by day than golf carts, but by night its rolling hills are home to movers and shakers and very few Quakers.
Kirkwood (aka MILFtown) — Cross Cornwallis from Greensboro’s most prominent hood and you’ll find a veritable Irving Park Starter Kit known as Kirkwood. A breeding ground for the Junior League, Kirkwood is known for it’s ridiculously fit new mothers and dangerous numbers of jogger strollers.
Aycock (aka Patchwork Quilt Town) — Replete with homes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Aycock was named for the Charles B. Aycock Middle School. Its juxtaposition of fixer-uppers and fully renovated historic homes lend an up-and-coming air to the hood and a slight whiff of urban ghetto.
White Oak (aka Endenturetown) — A historic mill village that includes 100 hollow-tile-walled stuccoed bungalows suitable for sleeping in between shifts.
Southside (aka Diversecity) — The award-winning redevelopment of the Ole Asheboro neighborhood features new live-and-work condo and storefront options, historic homes and lively businesses south of the tracks but downtown adjacent.
College Hill (aka Tate Town) — Greensboro’s first neighborhood is sandwiched between UNCG and Greensboro College, and features a plethora of bungalow, craftsman, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival homes as well as student housing. It is anchored by the legendary Tate Street where several generations and incarnations of weirdos have gone to play.
Glenwood (aka Hipster City) — Greensboro’s own Silver Lake, Glenwood is an affordable option for those with a bent for older homes with lower price tags. Formerly a working-class Fisher Park, Glenwood is home to more beards and vinyl collections than you can swing an ironic tchotchke at.
Lindley Park (aka Walkertown) — Anchored by what was once known as “Whiskey Row,” Lindley Park has left the college years behind and now it just really wants good flatbread, a nice pinot noir and a decent cup of coffee. It’s where cool dads and crafty moms choose to hang their hats, ride their bikes and drink their IPAs.