Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Enjoy this time to freely gather with friends and family, as well as to simply be thankful that we're alive and still living in a free nation. Take some time to relax and disconnect from the high energy of today's society. Next stop...Christmas!
Ok, this is the one question a lot of folks have asked since I moved to Wyoming in the summer of 2019. People from both NC and WY have asked..."Do you like NC or WY better?" Let me summarize below.
Like most places, there are really pros and cons to both. I will emphatically state that I have enjoyed living in Wyoming and I have no plans to leave. Thanks to the opportunity I now have to work remotely (from home) in educational technology, I really have the freedom to continue living in WY and travel back to NC for occasional coastal fishing trips and vacations to Kerr Lake (yes, more fishing).
North Carolina is typically HOT and HUMID from May to October. January and February can be uncomfortably cold (according to NC standards), with lows in the teens and 20s and highs in the 30s and 40s for extended periods. I think that because there is more moisture in the air, 20° in NC does feel colder than 20° in WY, probably similar to the cold and wet weather in the Midwest region. Anyway, that only leaves four months to really enjoy...March, April, November, and December. However, those end up being fast transition periods from very cold to very hot (or hot to cold) with maybe two or three weeks of 70° temperatures overall.
I'll admit I have not lived in Wyoming long enough to speak from true experience, but over the last 16 months, I have been able to enjoy many more days of comfortable weather here than I did in North Carolina. Almost every day of June, July, August, and September were great, as the 90° in Gillette is dry and I'm already used to even hotter and more humid weather - there has been no weather thus far too hot for me. The winter was fine, although I was told it was warmer than usual. In fact, for a few weeks in January, I was able to get out and enjoy some basketball in shorts! It's yet to be determined for sure, of course, but I'll give this point to Wyoming for winning the weather argument.
Ok, so what about other things, like fishing and hunting? Well, I don't have much experience with either in Wyoming, because I had to wait one year before I could even get a license. By the time I did, it seems we're near the end of one season and most popular fishing spots have already been fished hard. In the meantime, I've studied up on the many regulations that Wyoming has in place. So, I get that a lot of visitors come here and some of the regulations are meant to protect the state and to provide revenue from that tourism. However, from my perspective as a new resident, it's not easy at all to get "validated and approved" to hunt, boat, or fish in Wyoming. I'm talking it might be easier to find a way into Fort Knox... Anyway, I have finally made it out on just a couple of quick fishing ventures and, although I've caught a few nice ones, I already know it will take time to learn how the fish move around this very different terrain.
What about hunting and fishing in North Carolina? Speaking from the perspective of a resident who grew up there, it's much more friendly to grab a license, a pole, some bait, and get it in the water (or grab a license, a gun & ammo, and get yourself into the woods). The fishing regulations are looser in NC, meaning you have a bit more leeway in the baits you can use, and you are allowed to keep more fish. Growing up, I remember bringing home a cooler of 50 or 60 crappie or perch, cleaning them, and then frying them up for the family that evening. Hunting is even easier. Granted, there are no (or only a few) "public lands" in NC that anyone can go hunting on, but you can just get permission from a landowner or get out in your woods or those of your family's. Plus, all you need is one standard hunting license and a tag for the animal you want to take (no tags for specific areas or extra stamps to purchase). Essentially, bring your license and deer tag and just get out there - anywhere. Because of the ease of fishing and hunting there, I'll give this point to North Carolina.
Ok, I'll just share two more quick points-of-view: people density and food. No question about it, Wyoming gets a point for having virtually NO TRAFFIC. I can drive for miles on the interstate and see no cars in WY. For comparison, during the four years I commuted from Princeton, NC to NC State University in Raleigh, I would always have to stop on the interstate where the US 70 on-ramp merged into I-40 - EVERY - SINGLE - MORNING. Why? Because the engineers thought reducing the number of lanes would help improve traffic flow (see image below for added effect).
Finally, the variety of good eats in North Carolina earns it the final point. Yes, Wyoming has some nice joints out there, but if you've never travelled and enjoyed some southern dining, you've probably missed out on something in your life. From the fine Cajun flavors of Louisiana to the superior BBQ of eastern NC (careful here, not western NC nor South Carolina...in fact, I'd say to even stay away from central NC), there's just a wide range of great dishes with the right amount of seasoning to love. Oh, what are the top 3 BBQ joints in eastern NC? I'm glad you asked. I'll leave them at the bottom of the post.
Yes, the final tally sits at WY 2 - NC 2. As I said earlier, there are pros and cons almost anywhere you go. I still love NC for the good things it has, but I also have come to really love WY for what it has to offer. I'm not at all disappointed, and I look forward to continuing experiencing the wide open spaces of the Cowboy state.
Bullock's Top 3 Eastern NC BBQ Joints