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View Poll Results: Thoughts?
They do extensively have a unique vibe, probably something that cant be replicated elsewhere 41 95.35%
They don't, and I don't understand why they are brought up as so either! 2 4.65%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 09-12-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX/Chicago, IL/Houston, TX/Washington, DC
10,171 posts, read 13,770,763 times
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I didn't make this thread to bash in any way, shape, or form but simply due to confusion had to ask.

I'm more of a big city person, its got to have a nice skyline preferably nature. Lived in different cities before Singapore, Chicago, etc.. I really don't care what region of the US its in as long as its a big and notable city. Its got to be diverse (especially the food options), its got to be cosmopolitan. Its got to have the style of housing that I prefer.

But I see it a lot on here, how cities with "Southern Charm" or "New England charm" are so boosted and brought up so periodically compared to their larger regional counterparts like Miami & Atlanta, and the same thing for cities in New England. I personally haven't been to any of those nor have had any interest in going to any of them before.

But I just wanted to ask, what does it even mean when people here say, "this is such a charming southern/New England town its a true gem".
What does that mean? Why is it something that people can like? What about makes those places unique? Why do people show more love for a place like Savannah more than a cosmopolitan city like Miami?

Once again my intentions aren't to bash, but the thought just in general really really really disturbs me how I don't understand nor comprehend the answer to how many can love to death a small regional city versus a large cosmopolitan one.
I guess its because we're all different and have different tastes, but I would like some explanations though.

I'm talking about cities like Providence (New England), Savannah (South), Charleston (South), etc..
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:33 PM
 
10,167 posts, read 17,929,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesome Danny View Post
I didn't make this thread to bash in any way, shape, or form but simply due to confusion had to ask.

I'm more of a big city person, its got to have a nice skyline preferably nature. Lived in different cities before Singapore, Chicago, etc.. I really don't care what region of the US its in as long as its a big and notable city. Its got to be diverse (especially the food options), its got to be cosmopolitan. Its got to have the style of housing that I prefer.

But I see it a lot on here, how cities with "Southern Charm" or "New England charm" are so boosted and brought up so periodically compared to their larger regional counterparts like Miami & Atlanta, and the same thing for cities in New England. I personally haven't been to any of those nor have had any interest in going to any of them before.

But I just wanted to ask, what does it even mean when people here say, "this is such a charming southern/New England town its a true gem".
What does that mean? Why is it something that people can like? What about makes those places unique? Why do people show more love for a place like Savannah more than a cosmopolitan city like Miami?

Once again my intentions aren't to bash, but the thought just in general really really really disturbs me how I don't understand nor comprehend the answer to how many can love to death a small regional city versus a large cosmopolitan one.
I guess its because we're all different and have different tastes, but I would like some explanations though.
Interesting poll and thread topic, Danny.

I voted (looks like I am the first to do so, in fact! LOL) on both regions having qualities not found in other regions of the country.

Probably just the natural result of very unique histories as compared to the rest of the country. The South (which I generally define as the 11 Old Confederate States plus Kentucky, Oklahoma and W. Virginia) has the Confederate experience and legacy, for example. And New England (those states north and east of New York state) has that of the Revolutionary War and a certain distinct settlement pattern originating from the Old Countries. Far as that goes, the South had the same.

Something else to just mention in passing, is that while both these regions have a history and culture noteably contrasting to other regions of the country, the two are the most diametrically opposite one another in the same realms!
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:50 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
4,230 posts, read 9,538,814 times
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It's like this IMO. Take Savannah and Atlanta. Savannah has history, culture, and charm that Atlanta will never have. Atlanta may be larger and "cosmopolitan", but at it's core it's just an extremely large southern city with all of the amenities that its size brings. It may have several outside cultures, but the dominant culture is the same regional southerness that can be found across the piedmont. A similar argument can be made for Houston and Galveston, except both of them are overwhelmingly gulf/southern.

It's more so related to age rather than size IMO. The older cities, while they may have become stagnant or declined, were around early enough to establish themselves and create their culture whereas the newer cities are all carbon copies of each other with a different regional culture overlaying them. They mostly grew from migration of already established cultures so their charm is watered down.
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:01 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
10,040 posts, read 20,142,139 times
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The best way to explain it is the history of the place. Boston, Providence (New England charm), Charleston, and Savannah (southern charm) were all big league cities back in the 1700's. Anyplace that was largely developed I would say after World War II you will not find a whole lot of "charm". Sure you could find an abundance of contemporary architecture in places like Atlanta and Miami (something Boston sorely lacks) and that is what some people prefer. But if you are looking for that clapboard home, 18th century ornamental lighting, a European style atmosphere (neighborhoods that were settled by Italian immigrants back in the 19th century etc.), rows of brownstone homes with the street level merchants all lined up along brick sidewalks and gas lantern street lamps. In the south it would the colorful 18th/19th century homes with ornamental details, or the European inspired fountains and squares of Savannah. This is the kind of charm that is just not found in post WWII cities like Dallas or Houston. In my opinion, cities were meant to be explored on foot. I love walking around "charming neighborhoods".

Some cities have done well at preserving their past better than others. Walking around Portland, OR I find its downtown has done well at preserving a lot of it's pioneer time late 19th/early 20th century architecture. Some cities got completely bulldozed during the 1950's/60's/70's to make way for new financial districts and parking lots. In Texas the contrast would be San Antonio which had preserved most of it's historic architecture and a place I find charming, and then there is Dallas which is a prime example of a post WWII city with a practical downtown with ample parking and the lions share of it's existance revolving around the financial district itself. During the mid 20th century American architecture took on a more practical look and design.

Starting in the late 80's, 90's, and into the 2000's more edgey and contemporary architecture was introduced like what you see in modern high rise condo towers of Miami. However some of these places still have big scars from the brutalist 1960's and 70's in which I feel was a hideous time in architecture and urban planning. Fortunately some of the modern cities are starting to realize the appeal of pedestrian friendly environments and reversing the trends of auto dominant areas, intergrating them with light rail and transit orientated developements like Mockingbird Station in Dallas.

Today you could certainly find good Thai or Italian food in a strip mall in Houston that could compete with restaurants in a charming brownstowne neighborhood in Philly. I just find neighborhoods with preserved architecture from the past and original style a whole lot more inviting offering more identifiable character. Like San Francisco, the victorian row houses from the early 20th century have an unmistakable look all there own that almost any block in the city could only be identified as San Francisco. Strip malls, office parks, malls, and modern apartment buildings are a dime a dozen and could be found anywhere, and have more of a generic atmosphere.

Last edited by Champ le monstre du lac; 09-12-2010 at 05:12 PM..
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:47 PM
 
28 posts, read 51,518 times
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"New England charm" means sophistication, cute nautical towns, live and let live; less nosey than the South but more community than the West

"Southern charm" means slowing down, pillars and plantations, molding into gender norms, Christianity, unhealthful food
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:15 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
10,040 posts, read 20,142,139 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quitehonestly View Post
"New England charm" means sophistication, cute nautical towns, live and let live; less nosey than the South but more community than the West

"Southern charm" means slowing down, pillars and plantations, molding into gender norms, Christianity, unhealthful food
This post is beyond a cliched stereotype and doesn't really relate to what the OP was asking. Contrary to the stereotypes, my parents have a cottage down on Cape Cod and the neighbors are beyond nosey. I don't think fried clams are all that healthy either.

Also Savannah I found to very live and let live, Christianity wasn't so much in my face. Granted a lot of unhealthy food but there were many choices on the menu that wern't deep fried either.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:44 PM
 
534 posts, read 737,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
The best way to explain it is the history of the place. Boston, Providence (New England charm), Charleston, and Savannah (southern charm) were all big league cities back in the 1700's. Anyplace that was largely developed I would say after World War II you will not find a whole lot of "charm". Sure you could find an abundance of contemporary architecture in places like Atlanta and Miami (something Boston sorely lacks) and that is what some people prefer. But if you are looking for that clapboard home, 18th century ornamental lighting, a European style atmosphere (neighborhoods that were settled by Italian immigrants back in the 19th century etc.), rows of brownstone homes with the street level merchants all lined up along brick sidewalks and gas lantern street lamps. In the south it would the colorful 18th/19th century homes with ornamental details, or the European inspired fountains and squares of Savannah. This is the kind of charm that is just not found in post WWII cities like Dallas or Houston. In my opinion, cities were meant to be explored on foot. I love walking around "charming neighborhoods".

Some cities have done well at preserving their past better than others. Walking around Portland, OR I find its downtown has done well at preserving a lot of it's pioneer time late 19th/early 20th century architecture. Some cities got completely bulldozed during the 1950's/60's/70's to make way for new financial districts and parking lots. In Texas the contrast would be San Antonio which had preserved most of it's historic architecture and a place I find charming, and then there is Dallas which is a prime example of a post WWII city with a practical downtown with ample parking and the lions share of it's existance revolving around the financial district itself. During the mid 20th century American architecture took on a more practical look and design.

Starting in the late 80's, 90's, and into the 2000's more edgey and contemporary architecture was introduced like what you see in modern high rise condo towers of Miami. However some of these places still have big scars from the brutalist 1960's and 70's in which I feel was a hideous time in architecture and urban planning. Fortunately some of the modern cities are starting to realize the appeal of pedestrian friendly environments and reversing the trends of auto dominant areas, intergrating them with light rail and transit orientated developements like Mockingbird Station in Dallas.

Today you could certainly find good Thai or Italian food in a strip mall in Houston that could compete with restaurants in a charming brownstowne neighborhood in Philly. I just find neighborhoods with preserved architecture from the past and original style a whole lot more inviting offering more identifiable character. Like San Francisco, the victorian row houses from the early 20th century have an unmistakable look all there own that almost any block in the city could only be identified as San Francisco. Strip malls, office parks, malls, and modern apartment buildings are a dime a dozen and could be found anywhere, and have more of a generic atmosphere.
Good post, I live and have been all through the south and agree with your take on Texas. I have visited New England also mostly Newport, Boston and Cape Cod all were great areas to explore.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:39 PM
 
Location: St Paul, MN - NJ's Gold Coast
5,256 posts, read 12,552,725 times
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Anyone can love a cosmopolitan city- It's overrated.
When you get in the historic, charming towns/cities in the original 13, there's a unique vibe in many of them. The average person tends to be more down to earth and less materialistic. The downtowns in these small cities/towns are what get me- They aren't overrun with chain restaurants/shops and traffic- they're historic, walkable and the people are more laid back. Overall I think the towns in the NE/SE have better groomed yards- The vegetation is beautiful.

The combination of history, vegetation, and sense of community that surrounds you is something you just have to appreciate.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:03 AM
 
4,683 posts, read 8,425,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasReb View Post
Interesting poll and thread topic, Danny.

I voted (looks like I am the first to do so, in fact! LOL) on both regions having qualities not found in other regions of the country.

Probably just the natural result of very unique histories as compared to the rest of the country. The South (which I generally define as the 11 Old Confederate States plus Kentucky, Oklahoma and W. Virginia) has the Confederate experience and legacy, for example. And New England (those states north and east of New York state) has that of the Revolutionary War and a certain distinct settlement pattern originating from the Old Countries. Far as that goes, the South had the same.

Something else to just mention in passing, is that while both these regions have a history and culture noteably contrasting to other regions of the country, the two are the most diametrically opposite one another in the same realms!
In addition, the only thing I can add is the food element. I can't speak for New England, except clam chowder perhaps, but the South has its very own rendition of food associated with the region that is more than just a dish. If you think of a stereotypical mobster Italian gangster movie and how food plays a role, it's like that in the South. What is known as soul food is common to blacks and whites. IMHO, it is something that can't be replicated in a resturaunt but in the kitchens passed down from generation to generation of varied recipes.

The natural landscape also plays a role and, in order to be a "real" man in the South you must be accustomed to good old fashioned manual labor. Religion plays a huge role and you will find more charismatic churches of origin down here, a significant Presbyterian and Methodist congregation too, and Southern Baptist conventions and other loosely connected baptist churches. This is the Bible belt afterall.

Other religions, food choices, etc. are growing in the South due to migration from other areas. Also you have different variations of the South; Deep South, Gulf, Dixie, New South, Cajun, etc. that have some variations.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Denver
6,627 posts, read 13,111,372 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
The best way to explain it is the history of the place. Boston, Providence (New England charm), Charleston, and Savannah (southern charm) were all big league cities back in the 1700's. Anyplace that was largely developed I would say after World War II you will not find a whole lot of "charm". Sure you could find an abundance of contemporary architecture in places like Atlanta and Miami (something Boston sorely lacks) and that is what some people prefer. But if you are looking for that clapboard home, 18th century ornamental lighting, a European style atmosphere (neighborhoods that were settled by Italian immigrants back in the 19th century etc.), rows of brownstone homes with the street level merchants all lined up along brick sidewalks and gas lantern street lamps. In the south it would the colorful 18th/19th century homes with ornamental details, or the European inspired fountains and squares of Savannah. This is the kind of charm that is just not found in post WWII cities like Dallas or Houston. In my opinion, cities were meant to be explored on foot. I love walking around "charming neighborhoods".

Some cities have done well at preserving their past better than others. Walking around Portland, OR I find its downtown has done well at preserving a lot of it's pioneer time late 19th/early 20th century architecture. Some cities got completely bulldozed during the 1950's/60's/70's to make way for new financial districts and parking lots. In Texas the contrast would be San Antonio which had preserved most of it's historic architecture and a place I find charming, and then there is Dallas which is a prime example of a post WWII city with a practical downtown with ample parking and the lions share of it's existance revolving around the financial district itself. During the mid 20th century American architecture took on a more practical look and design.

Starting in the late 80's, 90's, and into the 2000's more edgey and contemporary architecture was introduced like what you see in modern high rise condo towers of Miami. However some of these places still have big scars from the brutalist 1960's and 70's in which I feel was a hideous time in architecture and urban planning. Fortunately some of the modern cities are starting to realize the appeal of pedestrian friendly environments and reversing the trends of auto dominant areas, intergrating them with light rail and transit orientated developements like Mockingbird Station in Dallas.

Today you could certainly find good Thai or Italian food in a strip mall in Houston that could compete with restaurants in a charming brownstowne neighborhood in Philly. I just find neighborhoods with preserved architecture from the past and original style a whole lot more inviting offering more identifiable character. Like San Francisco, the victorian row houses from the early 20th century have an unmistakable look all there own that almost any block in the city could only be identified as San Francisco. Strip malls, office parks, malls, and modern apartment buildings are a dime a dozen and could be found anywhere, and have more of a generic atmosphere.
Win. Great post. I especially like your point about the vibe of neighborhoods adding to the pleasure of certain things like dining. In my opinion it's a much better experience to eat some pasta in the North End of Boston, surrounded by actual Italians and a neighborhood that is pleasurable to the eyes, ears, and nose versus going to Olive Garden and have this guy serve me some "family style" pasta:
http://media.phillyburbs.com/media/pbcontent/cilluminati/officespacewaiter.jpg (broken link)
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