My journey to Rowan County started with meeting my husband, Justis Harris, through a mutual friend. I lived in Charlotte and he lived in Salisbury. After visiting him a few times, I declared that if we ever married, we would live in Charlotte! I ask myself now: How did I end up moving here seven years ago? Why do I call it the best decision we ever made? It’s simple … I found out how much family means to those who call Rowan County home.

Moving a Family to Rowan County

In Charlotte, my husband was working 12-hour days, swing shift, and it was barely covering all of our expenses. I had two sons a year apart and I was not working. We were doing so much, but only getting so far.

So, one day, we received word that Freightliner in Rowan County was calling back employees that they had laid off. At first, my husband did not want to go back, but I convinced him to take the call back. I explained that it would reduce the hours that he was currently working just to keep us above water.

When he eventually returned to Freightliner, he was commuting an hour to and from Charlotte. I started thinking how much easier it would be if he were closer. Our marriage was new, with small children, and I knew his family still lived in Rowan County. I sat him down and I said, “Let’s think about moving to Salisbury.”

Although he had grown to love living in Charlotte, I was growing to dislike it. Housing prices in the Charlotte area were going up. My husband said, “Give me five reasons why we should move to Salisbury.” My number one reason then and my number one reason now is family! I am very convincing when I have facts to back me up, so there was no denying that we were moving to Salisbury. Don’t tell my husband, but I knew he didn’t stand a chance once I started laying out all my research. I was as prepared as a lawyer trying to win a million-dollar case!

Rowan County father and son  Kids rock climbing in Rowan County

Raising A Family in Rowan 

There were a few things that I needed in order to raise my family in Salisbury. My first question was childcare. I found out some of the best private and state-funded programs are offered in Rowan County, such as the Partners in Learning. Partners in Learning is the only nationally accredited young child center in Rowan County through the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC), the highest accreditation that early care centers can receive.

Would I be able to find a good pediatrician? I love Salisbury Pediatrics! I am hearing impaired, and the fact that Rowan County has a hearing-impaired doctor is certainly a win in my book!

Would the Salisbury-Rowan area have parks that I could take my kids to visit, like the ones I enjoyed while I was growing up? Dan Nicholas Park and the many other public greenspaces checked off this requirement for me. There are many family-friendly events and activities here in Rowan County. I have made good use of the youth athletic programs through the YMCA of Rowan County, as well as the services offered through the Rowan County Parks & Recreation.

Enjoying Soccer at Dan Nicholas Park

It is evident that families come first in Rowan County. For example, when I attend the different holiday parades throughout the year, I see families, sometimes huddled together under blankets, gathered to support their children in the parades.

Family also comes to mind in December at Catawba College. Family and friends gather to cheer on high-school basketball teams during the Moir Christmas Classic. I am a seamstress and often times when I do a service for one family member, they send the others. Lastly, I met a woman who lives on the same land that has been in her family since the 1900s! Nothing says “family is important” better than that.

Family is the heart of Rowan County. It has birthed many great businesses here. Cheerwine and Food Lion come to mind, but there are many other family businesses that started in Rowan County. Our childcare system and food banks are built on helping families in the area. We are even fortunate enough to have the Rowan County Crosby Scholars, a nonprofit college access organization that helps middle and high school students begin to prepare academically, financially, and personally for admission into college.

I am sincerely grateful for the opportunities that my children have been able to experience.

What is at the heart of Rowan County? If you ask me, I’ll tell you every single time… it’s family!