We’ve been here for almost a week now (hard to believe), and we have been able to experience enough of the locale to make a few initial observations about how life is down here.
- The people are just as friendly as everyone assured us they would be. Now we just have to work on not being the awkward northerners who don’t know whether or not to make eye contact.
- At 85 degrees today, it’s already a bit too hot for us. We’re slightly concerned about this, especially considering the woman working at our apartment complex described summers here as a ‘special kind of hot’. Gulp.
- The beer selection is varied and, so far, delicious. For the last few nights we have enjoyed a local brown ale called Old Town by Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. It is a bit darker than one would expect for a brown ale, but very flavorful and extremely tasty. Can’t wait to see what else the area has to offer in this department!
- The cheese situation as far as we’ve seen leaves much to be desired. Granted, we bought the generic Kroger’s brand, but that was only because we couldn’t find anything else! Will reserve judgment until this has been further investigated, but if the rest is like this ho-hum orange ‘sharp cheddar’, I’ll be bringing back bricks of Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar with every trip I make up to New England.
- I have been doing mighty battle with an army of fruit flies since yesterday afternoon. The kitchen has not been dirty, so I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but the tides turned in my favor this morning when I bought a sticky fly catcher and then baited it with a raspberry. Muahahahahaha!
- Brandon and I have both been surprised by the forested areas we have seen; there is not much to speak of in terms of undergrowth, and the trees grow far enough apart to be able to walk comfortably between them. We felt like we could see for miles! Coming from the wild tangle of northern forests, this was not only interesting, but exciting as we considered the hiking possibilities.
- We’ve been told there is a lot of cheap furniture available in the area, which is good because we need all new furniture. As first-time furniture buyers, however, we are having a hard time distinguishing between ‘cheap’ and ‘junk’. All of the ‘cheap’ furniture stores I have looked into have had terrible reviews, and I am thinking there must be some secret gems I just don’t know about yet. Or maybe we weren’t aware of just how expensive furniture is elsewhere?
- Our introduction to the restaurant scene in our area has been extremely pleasant. Our first night here, we ate at a little Italian place right across the street from our apartment complex called Bocci’s Trattoria and Pizzeria. Even before I got my meal, I thought the prices were pretty reasonable – $17 for the Seafood Fantasia, which contained three different kinds of seafood plus your choice of pasta, all in a pink brandy cream sauce – but once I received my plate, completely filled with pasta and swimming in seafood, I couldn’t believe they didn’t charge more! It was delicious, and the leftovers lasted me for two more meals the next day. Oh, and did I mention their excellent wine selection? The other place we tried was also a hit – California Pizza Kitchen at the Streets at Southpoint mall (one of the nicest malls I have ever seen). The pizzas were around $9-$13 for a 10″ pie, they had really interesting, tasty combinations, and their avocado club egg rolls were out-of-this-world yummy. I will probably be returning there just for those egg rolls. Oh, and get this – we asked for seating on the patio because it was around 65 degrees and beautiful outside, and the hostess said, “don’t worry, the heaters above your table have been turned on.” We tried not to let her see us giggle.
There is so much to do and see here, I don’t see how we could ever get bored. This spring/summer, I’m looking forward to getting more into the music scene in the area, as well as exploring any farmer’s markets and summer festivals that might be around, and gearing up for college sports in the fall!