Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Southern Village

Posted March 14, 2006

I have this gilded image of childhood – growing up in a beautiful town of rolling hills with everything within walking distance – school, shopping, recreation, church, movie theatre and restaurants. It was Morganton in Burke County. My parents were merchants on main street. They ran a book store. But it was much more than that. We also sold office supplies, wedding gifts, school supplies, greeting cards, art supplies. We also framed pictures and engraved wedding invitations. We also dispensed the news of the day as a favorite gathering place for townspeople. My dog Sputnik would walk to “work” every day and sleep under a card table near the children’s books. Everyone loved Sputnik.
When I first drove through Southern Village in Chapel Hill I was reminded of Morganton. Everything you need is here. Nice restaurants. Movie theatre. Methodist church. Farmer’s Market. Village green for concerts in the summer. Schools nearby. All sorts of merchants. And beautiful streets with pretty homes though I know some have complained that they all look alike. I disagree. I think Southern Village has a lot of character. I like the fact that you can walk to just about everywhere you need to go. This is the development of the future. It emphasizes community spirit and exercise. It honors small town merchants. It’s a lovely throwback to where I grew up in the North Carolina foothills.

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Bill Leslie