by Eric Ginsburg
Every week, we do our best to bring you the most pertinent information about our three little cities that could.
Sometimes that takes the form of a list, like a recent compendium of “7 Triad sandwiches you haven’t tried, but must.” Plenty of other outlets put us on lists, often in the form of idiotic clickbait written by someone Googling in Indiana (or India) or a computer algorithm in Silicon Valley. Those sorts of compilations have little relevance to Triadians, but the idea behind them is sound; people appreciate easily digestible, relevant and authentic lists on things they care about. And so the Triad Book of Lists was born.
The idea is to see past the individual components of our cities, and beyond municipal borders themselves, to take in the Triad as a collective force. Even as we chronicle what’s great about this area and attempt to spell out some specifics, we acknowledge that the best thing about the Triad may be that there are so many incredible things happening here that many, many of them are inevitably left off lists like these.
We’re not interested in whitewashing the negative aspects of this area, but we want to reflect to our neighbors — both actual and potential — the incredible and inspiring things that make the Triad a wonderful place to live.
Here’s a look at the best of who and what we are as a region as an attempt to provide a cohesive snapshot of the Triad, particularly for those residents who grow weary of our shared home or those outsiders who are considering joining us.
Top 5 things about the Triad
- It’s an incubator
The region is an incubator in so many ways. It’s affordable, which means that getting an idea off the ground is cheaper, making your vision more accessible. There is a plethora of available space and empty buildings — the bones already exist. The Triad is filled with supportive and interlocking communities, meaning that support for grassroots efforts materializes and people enthusiastically support new ideas. And this region is a training ground across disciplines, thanks in large part to the significant number of higher education institutions.
- The diversity
Our cities are incredibly diverse, which can be measured in many ways. The Triad is home to large immigrant and refugee populations. Religious diversity is apparent too, in institutions such as the American Hebrew Academy, Wat Lao American Buddhist Center and the Greensboro Islamic Academy. And then there’s the Moravian and Quaker history. Greensboro is a majority-minority city, and Winston-Salem practically is as well. The cities are influenced by nearby rural North Carolina too, and together this confluence of people means rich differences of perspective, experience, ideas, cultures and more. TCB knows at least one couple who moved back to the Triad from Asheville because they wanted to raise their kids in a place with genuine racial diversity.
- The size
The Triad is small enough to enjoy perks like an almost complete lack of traffic. It’s easy to run into people you know, adding to a sense of community, but the Triad is still large enough to find privacy. And to explore new things — you could never truly see it all, and even if you came close, change is happening quickly enough that you’d have to start over. It’s small enough to get the mayor on the phone, but big enough that touring acts like Taylor Swift don’t pass by.
- The geography
Geography is destiny, we’re fond of repeating. Three cities being so close together is a rare gift if you know how to take advantage of it, be it for a night out to dinner or attracting a company. We’re in the center of the state, which means that numerous state parks, mountains, beaches and cities including the Triangle, Charlotte and Asheville are in striking distance. The Triad is well situated on the Eastern Seaboard too, and not just in terms of positioning for industry, transportation infrastructure or a getaway to Charlottesville or Charleston, but also the weather. While it snowed and rained in the Northeast last weekend we enjoyed 70-degree weather, but we’re still in a climate where we enjoy the four seasons.
- The people
It sounds like a cliché but it is the most essential factor. People here are friendly, educated, innovative and active. We’re a socially engaged bunch, taking direct action to solve problems rather than waiting for someone to come and do it for us. This manifests in so many ways including the Winston-Salem Black Panthers’ ambulance system that served the ignored, black part of town. More recently, people in Greensboro started a homeless day shelter called the Interactive Resource Center, and generated the brilliant idea of hosting a blanket-fort party to encourage donations. In High Point, people are talking about community gardens next to playgrounds so parents can multitask. It’s that abundance of ingenuity and spirit that sets us apart.