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Have You Ever Lived in Bristol, Virginia?

After almost 20 years of living and working in the St. Petersburg/Tampa part of Florida, and after living through nine hurricanes, we decided to make the move to what we considered to be the "real" South, Bristol, Virginia.

I have written before about the neighbors we had in Florida, they were not caring, they were not friendly, they really did not seem to care about anyone that lived around them. Now, there might have been a few that did, but they really were the exception to the rule. Most of them just could not be bothered with anyone...they were too busy working to keep their heads above water in a state that was supposed to be one of least expensive to live in. Guess they were wrong.

Now, Virginia is just the opposite. Here in Bristol, Virginia, I have the best neighbors. You could not ask for kinder, sweeter, or more caring people to have as friends. They are always there if you need them.

If someone is sick, then they bring food to you, they give you flowers from their gardens to plant in your garden, they phone each other to tell of one of the neighbors mom that passed away, and make enough food to feed their family for a week. They want to share with you. It is a true neighborhood.

Something I have not experienced since I lived in Bridgeport Connecticut in the North End when I was growing up. We had neighbors there, that you could depend on. It is the same here in Bristol....they really do care about each other, and I care about them.

Beside the great neighbors we have here, we have great weather, not as much snow as Connecticut, and not the horribly bitter cold that we had there either. Still have the change of seasons, which I didn't realize that I missed since I moved from Florida, but....strange as it may seem, I did miss it. I missed seeing the beautiful yellow, orange and redish gold colors that fill my view from all the windows in our large Victorian home.

There are so many other amenities that make Bristol such a great place to live. Because we are right on the border of Tennessee, all of our services are shared. We only have one Chamber of Commerce. If you want to know something about Bristol Tennessee, or Bristol Virginia, the Chamber is the place to go.

We are also known for the thirteen colleges we have in our area, and of course one of the most popular attractions of the area is the Bristol Race Track. People come from far and wide to see the races in March and in August. So many of our friends and family are envious because we live so close to the NASCAR track.

Bristol is also the birthplace of Country Music, and it is kept alive by presenting concerts, collaborating with local organizations, taping programs for national broadcast, and maintaining archives of recorded music and spoken word.

There is live music every night of the week here. There is always something to do or hear in this area. The Paramount Center for the arts serves as a showplace for the arts in Bristol. They feature nationally known musicians, host Broadway touring shows, and present a varied line-up of performances. There is always something to do in Bristol, and my husband and I take advantage of this whenever we can.

Real Estate is also more affordable in Bristol. A home that we could not have afforded in Connecticut, and the kind they just didn't have in our part of Florida either. That was one of the reasons that we are here, we could afford the home we wanted, a home with high ceilings, and big rooms. That was what we were looking for, and never thought we could afford. But we could afford it here, because the taxes and the insurance are not as high as it was in Florida.

Florida went out of sight because of the 9 hurricanes we had in one year. The insurance and taxes just went sky high, and we decided we had enough. The same way as many others in the state are doing. We packed up everything and moved here. We are glad we did. I miss my children in Connecticut, so we are closer to them now. Takes about 12 hours, but that's not bad compared to driving to Connecticut from Florida. Now, that was a drive!

All in all, we are very happy to be living in the "real" South, with people that we care about, and that care about us. It's nice to be included in their parties, their holidays, and their family gatherings. So very different from what we experienced in our old neighborhood. Here, our friends are our family!

If you are interested in a small town that wraps their arms around you when you move into your home, and opens up it's heart to new people, then consider moving to our new favorite part of the South, Bristol Virginia, you won't be sorry!