The New, New Suburbs
One cul-de-sac, eight states.
Outside I-485, an entirely new city is developing. It's close to Charlotte, it's related to Charlotte, but it's not really Charlotte at all. These suburbs -- a blend of insta-neighborhoods of new homes situated on cul-de-sacs and quaint ring towns such as Matthews and Davidson -- are shaping this city's identity as much or more than our headline-grabbing center city.
Here's a portrait of a cul-de-sac called Taylor Glenn. It's in Indian Trail, but there are hundreds more like it in every direction surrounding Charlotte. In Taylor Glenn, Tennesseans, Floridians, New Yorkers, West Virginians, and more hold block parties, watch each other's kids, meet at the pool, trade restaurant recommendations, and venture downtown once in a blue moon.
Lee, 40; Teri, 38; Abby, 3; Sydney, 19 months
From: Lee, Charlotte; Teri, Chattanooga
What they do: Lee is a real estate investor, and Teri is a project manager for Bank of America.
What did you do when you first moved here? "I found a home and church and tried to figure out how to navigate all the streets that change names every block!" says Teri.
The supplier: Need a ladder? Lee's got one. Need a four-wheeler to pull firewood? Borrow Lee's. No matter what the tool or equipment, Lee likely has it and is always willing to let a neighbor borrow it.
Troy, 34; Carrie, 33
From: Troy, Philadelphia; Carrie, Pittsburgh
What they do: Troy is director of services Maxim Healthcare Services, and Carrie is marketing and member relations coordinator for the Charlotte City Club.
What would you change about Charlotte? "People freaking out every time the weatherman says it might snow," says Troy.
Troy loves: Sports. All of them. All the time. If there's a game on, Troy has it on in his "man room" and he'll be the first to invite you over to watch.
Tregg, 31; Jessie, 31; and Brody, 8 months
From: Tregg, Huntington, West Virginia; Jessie, Short Hills, New Jersey
What they do: Tregg is a sales manager for Technocom and Jessie is a stay-at-home mom
Why Charlotte? "I used to come down for the races, and the job market was better than back home. Plus, coal mining is just not my thing," says Tregg.
Favorite thing about Charlotte: "There's a great mix of Southerners and Northerners," says Jessie. "And once the Northerners start acting like Southerners, everyone just seems to get along!"
Known as: The fun-loving couple. Their backyard has become the site of many beer pong games and backyard 'cues over the past few years.
Nico, 31; Patty, 31 (baby Aiden is due March 1)
From: Nico, Medford, New York; Patty, Oceanside, New York
What they do: Nico is a certified mortgage planner at Piedmont Mutual Mortgage, and Patty is a social worker.
What did you do when you first moved here? "I looked for some really good barbecue," says Nico.
Neighborhood Emeril: Nico's known for his cooking (chicken Marsala, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs, creamy homemade vodka sauce—the latter he'll bottle up and give neighbors just because) and often makes batches for neighbors when they come over.
Jami, 31; Grayson, 5; Grant, 2
From: Jeff, Savannah, Georgia; Jami, southern Ohio
What they do: Jeff is in technology sales, and Jami is a stay-at-home mom.
What do you love about Charlotte? "Being a stay-at-home mom, I love all the parks that we have here," says Jami. "I think Mecklenburg County Park and Rec does a great job maintaining and improving their parks. We do a lot of our stuff in Matthews and the surrounding area and love the big parks with the nature trails and lakes. Colonel Beatty, Squirrel Lake, Pineville Lake."
They have: The most polite little boys. It's common to see Grayson and Grant in the Comers' front yard greeting anyone who walks by.
Maurice, 35; Samantha, 36
From: Coeburn, Virginia
What they do: Maurice is president/owner of Backyard Designs and Samantha is a pharmacist
What would you do to improve Charlotte? "I'd relocate the Dallas Cowboys to Charlotte," says Maurice.
Why Charlotte? "Before moving to North Carolina, I lived in two neighboring states, Virginia and Tennessee," says Samantha. "I'd always lived very close to the mountains of North Carolina and had traveled all over the state vacationing and visiting my husband's family who live near Raleigh. …By moving to Charlotte, we were able to work toward some career goals while remaining relatively close geographically to our families living in Virginia."
Ask Maurice for: Advice on building anything. His company builds outdoor porches, trellises, pergolas, and more (and whose former employer Bonterra Builders constructed Taylor Glenn), and he helps the neighbors with home improvement projects.