Originally Posted by DC 38
I think Nashville is a fun town. It is influenced by country music; but it is not all country music. Many people I know tolerate the country music for tourism purposes; but secretly loathe country music. Nashville is not a terribly walkable town, but in some areas it is (downtown, Vandy). Nashville also has a rail line, Music City star, and plans to expand it in the future. If I was ever going to move, Nashville would be on my very short list of places I would consider relocating too. I think it is a great town!
Hahaha. That was me. I don't care much for country music (and haven't been exposed to it very much). But for a week in Nashville I enjoyed going out to the country music bars and seeing shows at the Opry. And I've never been to a place that had more country music and Christian music radio stations! Of course I couldn't rent a car with XM radio. But a week of it was enough for me. I was more than glad to sit down on the plane and turn on my ipod (once we got up to our cruising altitude of course). Nashville is large enough that you don't have to be into the country music scene to survive or have a good time there, but the country music industry is a HUGE part of Nashville's identity.
On to the topic, however....
These are all very different cities, IMO. Nashville is a reasonably large metro area with a bit of grittiness to it. Charlotte is reasonably large too, but much less grit. Charlottesville is a small town surrounded by not much else.
For your criteria, I think Nashville would be the best bet. Seems to be a growing, up-and-coming area. If you don't want to fit in, I think Nashville is the choice, because there are lots of Jersey refugees in Charlotte (meaning you probably would fit in there more than you'd want to).
Find city-data user DianeGem. She and her family moved from NJ to Nashville, and she spares no expense in time to tell the NJ forum how amazing Nashville is. She can give you some perspective on what it's like to move to Nashville from NJ. If you want some perspective on what it's like to move from NJ to Charlotte, ask ANYONE in Charlotte!! haha.