The TOP 10 cont. Greenville, NC - The Spirit of the East, or Sportstown USA

Catchy, those mottos. But, seriously folks, Greenville, North Carolina (not to be confused with Greenville, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Mississipi, Maine, Michigan or SOUTH Carolina), while a relatively small town of 75,000 is home to a University, a regional hospital, etc, and as such has more restaurants, hotels, stores, theatres, amusement venues, etc than most cities it's size. Not to mention some really great sports bars. It is the major commercial center of the region, and also one of the fastest growing areas in the South. That growth, and a nationally recognized Chamber of Commerce, have spurred commercial development of all types in and around the city. It is also blessed with mild weather - mid-80's in summer, with less humidity than the coast, and mid 40's in the winter with moderate rainfall.

As a vacation spot it boasts lot's of amenities, and also a great central location for exploring the region. Two hours south of Virginia Beach, Va, and two hours north of Myrtle Beach, SC, with the whole outer banks in between. Using Greenville as a base you can take in the attractions in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, drive the outer banks to Cape Hatteras, and do a day trip to Myrtle Beach. Greenville is also home to some historic sites, like really old churches and stuff, and around the University there are always cultural events, concerts, shows and the like to fill out your week. There are restaurants of all types, but you have to try the Carolina BBQ. A totally different thing than Memphis or St. Louis or Texas styles. Carolina BBQ features "pulled" meats - roasted and shredded, piled on a plate with moderately hot and vinegary sauce on the side. True Carolina style (an awesome treat that everyone should try before they die) is to pile the meat on a warm bun, splash on some sauce and top it off with cole slaw. MMMMMMM. I am literally watering at the mouth as I type this. Most of the BBQ joints are of the "x Meats, x Sides" variety - you walk up and order, say, 2 meats and 3 sides, maybe pulled pork and sausage with greens, beans, and cole slaw.

Most importantly, like most of the South, the people are great. Friendly, talkative, very welcoming to tourists, and proud of their city. Everyone says "hi" as they pass on the street, the second time in a restaurant or bar, they greet you by name.

And there is just a hard to describe "energy" about this town, the result of friendly people in the midst of an economic boom, that makes if a very attractive place to hang out. If I wasn't such a dyed in the wool Californian, I might relocate. In my 4 plus years of traveling, in 47 states and at least 150 different cities, there were 2 I thought might be okay to live in forever. Nashville was one, and Greenville, NC was the other.

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