I knew it the first time I toured the college campus. After reading all the articles proclaiming Elon as America’s most beautiful campus, my dad and I drove through on a visit. The traffic ahead of us stopped beside a pond with a large fountain to allow a swan to cross the street. Not a duck, not a goose, but a swan. After seeing the beauty of the campus and the surrounding area that day, my family moved to Elon, North Carolina.
The stately brick buildings and sculptured gardens of the college were not the only factors in the decision. Elon is situated in the Piedmont area of North Carolina between Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro. We live in a serene community, but have quick access to two major airports, some of the finest college sports in America, and all the cultural events that are centered in Raleigh.
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I questioned, at first, why there were so many northerners in the area and at the university. The answer was the combination of great surroundings and great weather. When not studying, the high school and college students are only hours away from the beaches of the east and mountains of the west. For those who miss the snows of the north, the mountains have skiing, tubing, and snowboarding. My friends and I also like the adventure of Carowinds, a major amusement park in Charlotte, as well as Wet n Wild, a waterpark in Greensboro. My family had never been to a NASCAR race before moving here, but now we are within three hours of four NASCAR tracks.
We are surrounded by lakes so there is also much interest in fishing, boating and skiing. For hunters, the area is a mecca and the first day of hunting season is almost a national holiday. My brothers, who played the “normal” sports up north, now hike and ride dirt bikes through our forest. The winters are so mild here that we can enjoy all these outdoor activities nearly year round. Being so close to the forest, we see deer, coyote, frogs, turtles, skunk, red fox, lizards, and a variety of snakes in our backyard.
For the basketball fan, you are minutes from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. For the baseball fan, there are five minor league baseball teams within fifty-five minutes, one of those being the Durham Bulls, the most famous of all minor league baseball teams. My favorite is the Burlington Royals because they have budget-friendly three dollar tickets. Raleigh is also home to the Carolina Hurricanes, an NHL hockey team.
This area has all the pizza and burger joints that we were used to in the north, but here our barbeque is taken much more seriously and you can find a barbeque restaurant on every corner. My favorite is Stokely’s. Ask for the house barbeque sauce and don’t forget to order the hushpuppies.
Elon and the neighboring communities have free outdoor movies every weekend from spring through fall. In neighboring Graham, the entire town is Wi-Fi. The Greensboro Coliseum is a great place for concerts and special events.We can drive one mile and be at Alamance Crossing Mall or the entrance to interstate 40/85, which connects us to all the local cities.
Whether you are looking for a vacation spot or to transplant from the north, you cannot beat Elon. Mild winters, beautiful forests, and Carolina blue skies are added attractions for northern city-dwellers. Come on down to Elon, North Carolina.
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