If you live in a place like Lexington–meaning fairly big city, all things considered-- you may be teased about being a Yankee, but there are enough other people who have moved in from farther away places that it won’t be a major problem. Lexington isn’t THAT Southern.
I make no such guarentee if you chose to head to a small town in KY.
What attracted you to Lexington? What are your interests? Do you have kids?
I’ve lived here for over ten years. It’s pretty nice, but will certainly feel a lot more “small town” than Detroit. I don’t hear any Damn Yankee stuff down here at all. Between UK and all the medical stuff here, the recession hasn’t had much effect. The main large industry that has seen a downturn here is Lexmark. But Amazon has a big distribution center here that seems to be doing great, and there is a fair amount of other industry. We have Keeneland, which is the nicest horse racing facility in the US and the site of a lot of the major auctions. The countryside is beautiful. On the other hand, there is not a lot for kids to do - since the major industries (besides medicine and education) include gambling and bourbon (and, to a diminishing extent, tobacco). Also, there is a lot of poverty not far to the east/south of here - some of the poorest counties in the US are in Southeast Kentucky.
My family moved from near Cleveland (think similar to West Bloomfield / Farmington) to Danville, which is about 35 miles SW of here, when I started high school in the 70’s. It was a major change and I hated it. That was a long time ago, and the area has come a long way. But I still think that moving from Detroit to any of the surrounding counties here could be a significant culture shock… I’d stick to Lexington itself, at least at first.
By the way (hopefully the mods won’t spank me for this) - I just got transferred to Louisville - wanna buy my house?
My sister lived in Lexington for six or seven years when she was on the faculty of UK. I always loved visiting her. It’s a beautiful city. There seemed to be a healthy number of cultural activities because of the university. Keeneland is indeed a lot of fun – as much for the people-watching as the horse races.
If circumstances in MI include winter, you won’t escape that in Lex. Kilvert’s Pagan can address this with greater accuracy than I can, but it seemed when my sister lived there, Lex would usually get one or two whopper winter storms a season, and with its location, the storms were as likely to produce heavy ice accumulations as snow. That being said, spring always arrived delightfully early, compared to my NE Ohio location.
freckafree, I’m from Cleveland Heights and Chagrin Falls. We’ve definitely had ice now and then. It seems like in the last few years we were more likely to get ice than snow. But most people here say that it just doesn’t snow here like it used to. We had a whooper in 1998 - 13", and a major ice storm in about 2002 or '03 (I forget).
But a major difference - the sun comes out now and then. I lived in the DMZ between Bloomfield Hills and Pontiac one year and understand how little you see the sun in the winter. I guarantee you’ll like this better.
IMO, people in Lexington are going to be perfectly comfortable with someone from “up north.” They’re only a little over an hour from Ohio anyway, and it’s one of the few large cities in the state. There are a lot of people from small towns migrating to the big city on the weekends to shop, so you’ll encounter a few…well, a few total idiots, frankly. Who smell funny. (Some of them are even from the small towns.)
I’ve only got experience in small towns in KY, though, so if I’m contradicted by people who’ve actually lived in Lexington, disregard what I said.
Also, sorry that you had such a bad experience in SC! I’d like to say KY towns would be better than that, but really there’s no guarantee. Depends where you go, who you encounter, and what mood they’re in. They tend to be more insular, though, and give “outsiders” funny looks. I think the funny looks just mean “Why did you move here? Nobody tell you it was boring as hell?” I can guarantee, though, that if you make a friend and he/she goes with you to their small town, you’ll be welcomed. (Ok, I can’t really guarantee that, but I’d bet on you having better luck.)
If you do move to Lexington, I suggest you also check out the state & national parks around the state as well as some local festivals. (Some aren’t bad, I swear.)
And this concludes my rather sad tourism marketing for Kentucky.
Lexington is a fine city. My biggest complaint is the traffic can be horrendous at times, mainly caused by the confusing layout of the roads. I spent some time in Detroit and I thought it was a breeze to get around compared to Lexington.
Another suggestion would be to check out some of the smaller towns outside of Lex., like Georgetown or Versailles. Not as big, but close enough to the city so you can get there without any trouble but small enough so you won’t have to deal with any of the headaches that city life brings.
Lexington is a good-sized city–big enough that there is a diverse mix of people and most of what you need close by, but small enough that you rarely go anywhere without seeing someone you know. I moved away from there six years ago, and I’m still up there once or twice a month to shop and such and I still see people I know just about every time.
I have to agree with I’m No Saint on the traffic, though. I’ve known people who moved from San Francisco to Lexington who said our traffic was worse. The problem is that everyone is going the same few places at the same times, and there’s just no good way to get from one side of town to the other. You’ll save yourself a lot of sanity by either living in the same general part of town where you’re working or scheduling your day so that you’re not commuting at peak times.
No, the Yankee thing won’t be an issue. Lexington is pretty cosmopolitan for a city its size, and people generally understand that you can’t help where you were born.
I’ve lived here nearly 20 years, but I am a native Kentuckian so it’s just about as good here as anywhere else in the state!
Lexington is one of the state’s prettiest cities, that’s true. Unfortunately, we’ve had lots and lots of development in the past few years, so some of the gorgeous countryside has been munched up by subdivisions with appallingly similar houses. (Not KP’s though, I’m sure. Good luck on selling your house; there are three for sale on my street.)
Kentucky is a rich state if you enjoy history and learning about local heritage and traditions. If you’d like, you can view some programs in KET’s series Kentucky Life, a magazine style series that’s been in continuous production since the mid-90s. Go to www.ket.org and click on Kentucky Life under “Kentucky.” It’s toward the bottom. (I was writer and a segment producer on the show for a number of years.)
You’ll enjoy the milder winters, though we do get cold and snow. People here are friendly and expect to be invited to church, continually. Small towns are even more friendly in this regard. In addition to Versailles and Georgetown, Winchester, Paris and Mount Sterling are nice nearby small towns if you think you’ll like that style of living. But if you’re from Detroit, you’ll probably find Lexington “small town.”
I wouldn’t be worried about the “Yankee” factor. All kinds of people live here, including many people from actual other countries, not just the north. A lot of us like the diversity.
Let us know when you come to visit!
And oh yeah, what gravitycrash says is true about the women!
Thanks to everyone who’s shared their info so far! This is the info you can’t get from other sources, and I’m very grateful to those who’ve taken the time to share. I’ve got a friend in Burlington, so next week I’m going to spend a few days there, driving to Lexington & surrounding towns scoping out jobs (employment agencies) and rental housing. I’ll be staying at hostels in Louisville for the first couple of weeks after the move which is on track for June 1st. I am excited!
As soon as I’m settled in I’ll bring pie. I’m enjoying a pathetic sort of amusement telling my friends I’ll bring some Kentucky Jelly for their toast. Most of them get it…
Yeah. I once generated a fair amount of pushback on this board for extolling the virtues of the Michigan Left Turn. Understand that the rest of the US doesn’t get it.
Lexington isn’t that hard, though… You just have to remember that it’s a wagon wheel, and that:
[ul]Rosemont Garden = Lane Allen
Jesselin = Southland
Wilson-Downing = Appian Way
Harrodsburg = Broadway = Paris
Nicholasville = Limestone/Upper = Old Paris
Versailles = High/Maxwell = Tates Creek
Alexandria = Pasadena = Malabu = Merrick
Huguelet = Virginia = Red Mile = Forbes
Fontaine = Euclid = Avenue of Champions = Winslow
Leestown = Main/Vine = Richmond = Athens-Boonesboro (although Vine kinda also = Midland)[/ul]
Here’s the jobs page of the University of Kentucky. You’ll find some helpful general info there, and you can scope out jobs there and probably even apply online. Universities make it pretty easy to apply for jobs and they need a wide array of skill sets.
Our street has / had three houses for sale. There’s a lady down the street from me who works for KET. She lives next door to a chiropractor who hosts a block party every fall. So I was seeing if I’m neighbors with another Doper. Let alone, God forbid, another 99’er… Very unlikely, but worth asking.
The standard joke about Lexington is that it has everything that a big city has but it only has one of them. It captures the state of Lexington really well.
Your experience of Lexington will really depend on where you live. Outside of New Circle Road it is really suburban hell complete with traffic, bad tract housing and strip mall after strip mall complete with every chain restaurant imaginable.
If you live nearer to downtown you get a lot more funky and cool stuff. Any guess as to where I live? A couple of places to check out for local bar/music scene. The Dame (until the crazed evil developer flattens it with a soul-less office block) at Main and Upper; Al’s Bar at 6th and N. Limestone (an up and coming bar/music venue in a poor/black section of town; its at the bleeding edge of gentrification). The food co-op is also a good scene.
Don’t expect to have anything to do on Sunday mornings…unless you want to go to church.