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Five terms that determine a true Raleigh native

Posted August 27, 2015

I’ve known that Raleigh was the best place in America to live ever since I was born here. But now that Movoto has let the cat out of the bag, I sometimes find myself at a bar or movie where not only do I not know everyone else there, I don’t know anyone else there.

Yep, if native Raleighites aren’t already in the minority, it sure seems to be headed that way fast. And while certain accents may reveal who is not originally from here, as far as I know, there isn’t a distinct central North Carolina trill. I grew up hearing a range of Southern from elegant antebellum to high-pitched hayseed, plus several Northern and Midwestern accents from the non-natives all around me like my parents. It’d be cool if there were a Raleigh accent. I just don’t think one exists.

But there are still a few landmarks and locations in Raleigh that can give you a pretty good guess as to whether you’re dealing with a Raleighite, or someone newer to Raleigh, aiiight?

1. Falls of the Neuse Road

The signs all say “Falls of Neuse.” Advertisements for businesses say “Falls of Neuse” on radio and television, probably because the signs say “Falls of Neuse.” New maps say “Falls of Neuse.” Old maps say “Falls of Neuse.” There’s a good chance the official name of the road in north Raleigh is, in fact, “Falls of Neuse Road.”

But don’t dare correct someone who calls it “Falls of the Neuse.” Despite evidence to the contrary, “Falls of the Neuse” is the official name of the road according to folks who were raised here, and if you hear someone refer to it as such, there’s a good chance they were born in Rex or Wake Med.2

2. Memorial Auditorium

Meymandi? Duke Energy? It’s all Memorial Auditorium (or just “Memorial”) if you ask a native Raleigh speaker. I’m a big fan of (other) people giving to the arts, so it’s no disrespect to the Meymandi, Fletcher or Kennedy families (Raleigh greats, all) that we can’t keep straight everything that’s happening down there on South Street. And Memorial has long been the victim of a corporate name carousel that years ago had Raleighites abandoning whatever was on the sign out front (Am I having a bad dream or was it the CP&L Center at one point?) and just sticking with “Memorial.”

3. Inner/Outer Beltline

Even some long-time residents of Raleigh confess to being confounded by the old “inner” and “outer” beltline terminology, but it made plenty of sense to me. Now they try to use directions, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how, if driving on the Inner Beltline, it makes more sense to call it “east” or “west” when you are moving in a circle?! “Clockwise” and “counter-clockwise” are too clunky. As long as you’re not confused about which side of the road we drive on in America, “inner” and “outer” should not be too confusing.

Oh, and don’t even start with calling Interstate 540 the “outer loop.” That’s a road that should have an east-west orientation, because IT’S NOT A LOOP (yet). I hear they even charge tolls on parts of it now?

4. North Hills

Look, my hat is off to the marketing wizard who came up with the name “Midtown.” Mission accomplished. I used to joke with friends, “Hey, you guys want to go out in Midtown?” mocking the idea that the name might actually catch on. But it has. North Hills and its surrounding areas are an impressive set-up. I can get nostalgic for Andy’s or Scotty’s with the best of them, but I wouldn’t trade it for what’s there now. Still, it’ll always be “North Hills” to some. “Midtown” sounds like something Charlotte would have; it sounds like North Hills putting on airs.

And if you listen very carefully, you can tell a Raleighite by which word they put the accent on when saying “North Hills.” Try it both ways and see if you can tell.

5. The PR

The Player’s Retreat is one of Raleigh’s longest-serving restaurants and boasts a diverse clientele of Cameron Park residents, NC State students and folks who are looking for a great burger, an expansive whiskey list, or both. Their location just off Hillsborough Street was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the redesign that installed roundabouts resulting in their porch being one of the best spots to eat a meal or just kick it. They’ve even opened a satellite restaurant at Lonnie Poole Golf Course. And to anyone who’s been going there long enough to see a car get wrapped around a telephone pole at the old Oberlin-Hillsborough intersection knows, the place is called “the PR.” Not “PRs.” Not “PR.” Not even “Player’s Retreat.” It’s “the PR” to locals, and it always will be.

Hayes Permar produces The David Glenn Show, which airs on 99.9 The Fan, and is a regular contributor to Raleigh & Company.

25 Comments

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  • Don Dickerson Aug 31, 2015
    user avatar

    These days, adhering to civilized codes of behaviour and adhering to "societal norms" are two very different things. Public drunkenness is rampant, youth is simply out of control and given WAY too much credit and freedom, and no judgements are allowed. EVER. Well guess what, folks? Judgement is the ONLY way to know if what you're doing is correct, or right, or even useful or harmful. Most folks in Raleigh, at least it seems this way now, used to think about tomorrow and the kind of world they wanted to live in. Now it just seems to be "all for me, none for tomorrow, and suck it!" Remember snow days? Two inches or better meant everybody but cops and docs stayed home and left the street free for the road crews and emergency personnel. Period. No "but I want..." or "but I just need....". No. You got it before the storm or you went without. Remember unselfish, unpretentious Raleigh? Boy I sure do.
    BTW....North HILLS.

  • Don Dickerson Aug 31, 2015
    user avatar

    A "True Raleigh Native" is just about ready to pack it up.
    Once upon a time in Raleigh, you learned the Pledge of Allegiance in school; and that your "permanent record" was to be cherished (and feared for); that going to jail was NOT a "rite of passage" or badge of honour; that driving was a privilege, never a "right"; to leave something decent for the next guy tomorrow; that if you "take the Man's check, you do the Man's job". I want to hold up on this one a moment.
    "The Man" does not have any specific meaning; it is anyone who pays you for any agreed-upon reason. It means when you agree to a set of conditions to receive a payment, you fulfill those conditions completely, with enthusiasm, and for the satisfaction of fulfilling your obligation in the matter at hand. To do otherwise is to steal from your employer and society.
    All around I see people who "just don't fee like it" anymore. Don't feel like watching their kids, like keeping curb-side trash neat, like being good citizens.

  • Dana McCall Aug 31, 2015
    user avatar

    @BRIAN WHITE, I assume you are talking about Cameron Village and Hayes Barton, right? -
    "You mean people buying homes that used to be our forest and farmland? Paying taxes to support all the additional infrastructure needed to accommodate hundreds of thousands of additional people?"

  • Dana McCall Aug 31, 2015
    user avatar

    As long as people envision "The Beltline" as I-40 running E-W and I-440 as a bell-shaped bypass with specific endpoints in SE and SW Raleigh, it should be "clear as a bell". (and US1 south of South Hills is NOT "the Beltline")

  • Kristin Byrne Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Growth happens. Get over it. I moved South because of the nicer weather, and slower pace, and better job opportunities. I have no complaints, except for when I have insults hurled at me by some Southerner telling me to go home. This IS home for me now. Last time I checked, we're all in the same country....

  • Brian White Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    You mean people buying homes that used to be our forest and farmland? Paying taxes to support all the additional infrastructure needed to accommodate hundreds of thousands of additional people?

    We were doing just fine before. Cary was a wonderful place when there was one stoplight and 15,000 people. Now I can spend an entire day out and not run into a single person I know.

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Most people in Raleigh are not from Raleigh. Most people in NC are not from NC.

    Do we want to remain strangers or become friends, Raleighites, Waklings, or whatever?

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    "But now that Movoto has let the cat out of the bag," story quote

    Is this story part ad?

  • Doug Hanthorn Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Actually, it was Northern Blvd outside the beltline and Downtown Blvd inside. Then they renamed them both to Capital.

  • Corey Taft Aug 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Not insulting anyone, Yankee, is a swear word aimed at people. I don't want anyone's way of life, I just want to shovel a minimul amount of snow. I don't want different treatment than I should receive anywhere else in this country. North and south is still USA and people should remember we all have the freedoms of people throughout the entire country. This state can't afford to throw people out, otherwise they'd go broke. Our tourism industry supports the state greatly and you should welcome northerners with open arms. Raleigh/Durham has opened their arms to the young and you see they are responded by moving their. That includes many young northern couples that are buying homes and paying taxes. I have merely followed the sun

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