I’m a Northerner Trapped in a Southerner’s Body


I was proudly born and raised in southern New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. I grew up eating out at delicious Italian restaurants, having real Chinese takeout and devouring mouth-watering Philly pretzels.

And then, I moved to the South for college. And I stayed here for a man I still love. I realized not long ago that I am almost at the point of my life that I would have spent 18 years in the North and 18 years in the South.

So, it’s an even split. What does that make me — a Northerner or a Southerner?

There are lots of advantages that come with living in the South and raising our boys the Southern way. My heart feels full when our 5-year-old replies, “Yes, ma’am” after being corrected. And my sense of style and home decorating has been inspired by the wrap-around front porch, colonial Charleston-esque motif. We also love the God-centered, slow Sundays in the South where businesses open late to allow families to worship our Savior.

Oh, but I still miss so many things about the North that I will just never find down here in the South. For instance:

The season of fall. Everyone is all excited for fall, and when the high drops to 79 degrees, women are bustin’ out their boots with the fur. I truly feel sad that our children miss out on bobbin’ for apples in sweaters, trick-or-treating in 15 layers and watching the leaves change to a beautiful amber color. Jumping in leaves was my favorite pastime as a child.

The food. I’m sorry, but the food is so much better in the North. Y’all can keep your fried chicken and mac and cheese because it gives me heartburn. (See, I say y’all in sentences now. Ugh!) If I’m dining out and splurging, I want the real deal: Pizza dipped in real marinara sauce and a loaded Philly cheesesteak.

The traveling opportunities. As a family travel blogger, I love researching places we can visit close by. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of great Southern choices like St. Augustine, the Golden Isles, and Charleston (our favorite). And it’s such a treat to live near Legoland and various other theme parks. But after a while, they get a little redundant and I find myself missing the big cities. I used to have easy access to the Big Apple and so much buzz and excitement!

The snow. Before you yell at me — I hate snow, too. I don’t want to shovel my driveway to take my child to preschool, nor do I want to have to layer them in five jackets to leave the house. I just want the chance of snow. To have our boys look at the window and wonder if snow is falling. (I know, I know it snowed for like 10 seconds in 1990-something, but that doesn’t count because it didn’t hit the ground.)

When I moved to the South for college, I was fixin’ (ugh) to move right back home to the North. But God had other plans for my life. And I wouldn’t change my location or any of this for the world.

Just let me vent about how much I miss the North, especially during the fall, and I’ll forget all about those feelings come winter.


Meg James
Meg is a Jersey native, wife to Logan, her Jacksonville University sweetheart, and stay-at-home mom to two young boys, Landon and Griffin. She has been active in the Jacksonville moms club scene since the birth of her first son. After moving and falling in love with Nocatee, she created The Real Housemoms of Nocatee, a resident moms group with over 1200 members. Meg enjoys working out at Trinity Fitness Ponte Vedra and committing her husband to continuous house projects. After breast cancer touched six women & men in her family as of 2015, Meg decided to stop the cycle by having a preventative double mastectomy. You can follow her prevention journey on her blog at Bravery without BRCA. Beginning in 2017, Meg formed Trekking Twice, a Christian family travel blog documenting the two treks per year that her family embarks on after conducting extensive research on the best trips for families with young kids.


  1. We just moved here after spending a few years living in bucks County, PA ( my husband worked in Princeton) and I can relate to so many of these! There are things that I will always miss about the north. That Amish market that had the best pretzels ever! The train trips into NYC! The colors of the leaves in the Fall! But God does have his plans, and life down south is just lovely too! I guess I can always visit. 🙂

    • I totally understand! I cried to my husband the first years we stayed here – it so didn’t feel like home. And slowly yet surely, I started to meet friends and mom friends and I can’t imagine not living here! I so miss some Northern luxuries, though!

  2. You pulled at my heartstrings with your post, Meg! We are Coloradans who moved to Jax 4 months ago to be closer to our grandchildren. We are loving it here, but when our friends post pictures on Face Book of the autumn leaves and snow …. Well, I’m not looking back because that’s not where I’m going!! Also appreciated your references to your faith. Blessings to you.

    • Oh Barbara! So glad you enjoyed it. There are so many nice perks here but also so many things missing. God bless you! Glad you are surrounded by the ones you love 🙂 (which makes any location null and void!)

  3. After living here in Jax 3 years being a Michigan transplant I can relate to a lot of these! However the BBQ here is amazing, the amount of things to see and do seems endless, being in Northen Florida I love being able to enjoy the winter without having to shovel OR mow the lawn, and my skin never dries out and my allergies are so much better. I still can’t find a good philly though, so if you do hook a sister up 🙂

  4. I could not have said it any better myself. This time of the year is the hardest on me. I hate it here in the fall. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything but gosh I miss the north.

  5. I am getting more nostalgic for home every year! I grew up in Bucks County, Pa and our summer home was in Cape May, NJ. We go home to Philly, Princeton or Lumberville a few times a year. We also go to Bear Creek Camp, a Lutheran camp in the Pocono mountains, for a family weekend or winter camp. Your boys may like it!


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