The South is is not just ‘the part of the US that is not in the north’, but the cultural South, most of which was in the Confederacy in the Civil War. This includes everything from Virginia down to the Florida Panhandle in the east and then and everything below the Midwest up until the Texas and Oklahoma borders.
Here’s the video:
The South was less developed than I expected. I thought being older than the Midwest, that it would have more. The cities and towns were often further apart than I expected. The Coastal South seemed to be doing better than the Inland South (with a few exceptions).
The Inland Southern states seemed extremely poor, especially Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. There was far less in the way of construction in those states and much more in the way of abandoned grocery stores and gas stations (whereas most of the nation has the opposite and constructive seems to be a positive sign that an area is thriving or at least not doing too badly). Tennessee was an exception to this. Nashville is doing well and the people of Tennessee seemed more willing to talk to us than everyone in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi combined. That said, Memphis was a bit scary.
Something else to note is that these are not at all common in the South:
We saw about 10 of the min the whole large region and we actually saw a few of them outside the South. It just isn’t anywhere near as prevalent as the media would have the world think.
That said, I think the South is still very much suffering from having lost the Civil War. It appears that it takes generations to recover from this kind of thing. I can see why some Southerns are still annoyed. We met a few of them, and they made good cases for their annoyance, telling us stories of Northern soldiers carrying off the wealth of their region. However understandable this is though, it is absolutely a downside, as it means the region is still doing less well than much of the rest of the country. That said, there are still surely lovely Southern cities that are succeeding.
Nearly all of the South is a giant forest, as is true in the Northeast and some of the Midwest. This particular forest contains many noisy insects and becomes something of a jungle in the summer. We frequently wore noise canceling headphones to read in the South simply because they were so loud in some places.
Our favorite city was easily the gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina. People were extremely warm and friendly. The city is beautiful and well run. It is right on the water, which gives it pleasant weather and beach access. In addition, the architecture, though on the older side, seemed extremely well maintained. We also spoke to someone who said they are purposely trying to build up a tech industry in their city, so clever them. This is definitely a city to consider.
We were told Charleston is expensive for the region, but the region is extremely inexpensive, so I think if we were to pick Charleston, this would not be a problem. Even if we don’t move there, we will definitely visit again. The rest of South Carolina is not bad either, and it was definitely our favorite Southern state.
Runner up goes to Lafayette, Louisiana and the state of Louisiana generally. The Cajuns are a warm, open people. I don’t think we are quite into the same things the locals were (for instance, I don’t think Chris could see himself hunting in a swamp), but it was a really pleasant place to be, and I do think we will be back to Louisiana to visit.
Honorable mention goes to Nashville, Tennessee. I can’t really imagine us living in the capital of country music as neither of us are country fans, but that said, it is a thriving, attractive city. If Southern culture and country music are for you, this is a great Southern city.
Tennessee is also home to the best pork either of us have ever eaten, which was in Memphis, not Nashville, but even so, you eat well in Tennessee:
Secondary honorable mention goes to the Raleigh, North Carolina area. As with much of the South, I’m not sure the weather and level of insects is for us, but like Nashville, they are doing well. They also have Red Hat Linux, which is a big plus for them:
A minor addition here is a comment on Maryland. Even being very small, it defies region. We spoke to people there and they seemed unsure what region they were in, so we came to the conclusion that it’s not exactly Northeastern or Southern, though the weather and insect levels felt more Southern to us. Much of it is a suburb of Washington D.C., which may be part of why it’s so hard to classify as proximity to the capital means that people from all over the country live there. Parts of it are rich, beautiful and expensive. Parts of it are a bit rough. One particular part of it, Annapolis, looks like it could be Brighton, England’s sister city, or at least a first cousin. The size, price and downtown area were eerily similar. We probably won’t live there unless we can make a very large amount of money, but we did very much enjoy visiting it.
The same goes for Washington D.C. itself. It is neither Southern nor Northeastern due to people from all over the country being there and politics overriding any strong ties to the neighboring regions.