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Q&A: What Life in Tennessee Is Like to Non-Natives

September 6, 2017 Bradford Group Administrator

TennesseeThe Volunteer State. The Great Smoky Mountains. Bar-b-que. Country music. The list of things that Tennessee is known for could go on and on.

As a Tennessee native (which is rare species these days), I’ve had the privilege to watch my beloved home state grow through the years, not only in numbers but also in reputation. From two-stoplight towns to booming suburbs and cities, Tennessee is home to some of the best places in the nation—at least in my opinion.

Of course, Tennessee wouldn’t be what it is today without the influence of its capital city, Nashville.

Nashville has always had a national presence—most notably in country music—but that has changed in recent years. Nashville is known as the healthcare capital of the country and is recognized for its tourism industry with one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. It’s also home to the Nashville Predators and has recently been named an emerging tech city. Needless to say, doing PR in such a dynamic city keeps things interesting!Tennessee

Since these changes have taken place slowly over time, and because I’ve lived here my whole life, I sometimes wonder how the city appears to newcomers. And, considering the area grows by 100 people a day, I’ve gotten to know some Nashville transplants right here at the Bradford Group.

So, for an outsider’s take, I’ve asked Melinda, Amy and Damon for their input on what Nashville is really like to a non-native:

How many years have you lived in Nashville and from where did you move?

ML: I’ve lived here for six and a half years, and I moved from Tampa, Florida.
AS: I moved the last week of October 2016, so almost a year ago. I moved from Philadelphia.
DM: I’ve lived here almost two years. I moved here after 18 years living in New York City.

Was there something specific about the area that drew you to moving here? If so, what was it?

ML: The live music. I love seeing my favorite artists perform and discovering new talent, so coming to a city where you could do that any day of the week, all year long was very appealing to me. My experiences here have definitely lived up to that expectation.
AS: Cost of living (no state income tax)
DM: Affordability and lifestyle, for sure. It’s wonderful to be able to have a house and a yard, as well as parks and open space that would not have been available to me as easily in NYC.

Before moving here, what did you think Nashville was most known for? Has that changed since you’ve lived here?

ML: No surprise here – country music! I remember how I was always surprised when I heard about a country artist who didn’t live in Nashville, since surely all of country music must be in Nashville. I definitely think that has changed and more people are taking notice of the food scene here. New restaurants are opening all the time and it’s safe to say every show on the Food Network has featured Nashville in one way or another.
AS: Country music. I still think the country music industry is huge here, but music of all genres can be found at many live music venues, too.
DM: Before moving here, I thought of music primarily. I still do, but now I think of entrepreneurship and small business as well. This is a scrappy town and a great place for growing a business.

What has surprised you most about living in Nashville?

ML: What a small town it is for such a big city. I noticed very shortly after moving here that I was running into people I knew all over the place, even when I didn’t yet know too many people! You never knew where you would see a familiar face or how many mutual friends/acquaintances you’d have with other people. It made this feel more like a small town than a big city, and even with hundreds of people moving here all the time, it can still feel that way.
AS: How friendly everyone is. I mean, I thought everyone would be friendly because it’s the South and that’s the stereotype. But people are exponentially more welcoming than I ever thought possible.That goes for both business relationships and friendships that I’ve already made since moving here last year. Lots of genuine love in Music City!
DM: I think the fact that there’s something going on every day in the city that’s fun to do. It’s great to have so many activities – especially with an active toddler who needs constant stimulus! And, the growth of the city since I started visiting 10 years ago has been tremendous. I’ve even seen significant change in the skyline just in the past two years.

How would you describe Nashville?

ML: I would say Nashville is a place that offers something special for everyone. Whether you’re into music (of all kinds), food, shopping, the arts, sports, outdoor activities…whatever your fancy, Nashville will show you a great time.
AS: Warm and friendly. A fast-growing city with a fun, creative vibe and flourishing economy.
DM: I love Nashville. It has a “buzz” that you can feel wherever you go. Everybody here is trying to “make it” in one business or another. It reminds me of New York in that way (except smaller, friendlier and more affordable).

Other than calling it home, what’s your favorite thing about living in Nashville?

ML: The excitement surrounding this city. There are always so many things to see and do here that it creates this buzz about the city that you feel even if you live here. As a resident it’s even more fun to watch people come and enjoy the place we are lucky to call home.
AS: The warm and friendly people. And the weather. Having grown up in New Hampshire, I have lived through enough long, freezing cold and snowy winters.
DM: The music. Still. There’s so much to see and hear and I just can’t get enough of it.

Music, food, friendliness. Nashville sounds like a pretty great place to live (& work in PR!), whether you’re a native or newcomer—and it is! So what about you? How would you describe Nashville?

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