My Rocky Mount Life

I live in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, a city that is losing population. People who’ve left cite a variety of reasons: incompetent local government, high utilities, a lack of good-paying jobs, nothing to do.

I admit my hometown has problems. I can be the first to rant, for example, about city council members who vote to hold their annual retreat at an exclusive, out-of-town resort during the hard times of a pandemic. At taxpayers’ expense, of course. But I’m not here for a roll call of all that’s wrong. Not today.

Instead, I want to talk about what’s right. Why, with all that’s frustrating about this city, I still choose to live within its limits. Here, in no particular order, are five reasons I like my Rocky Mount life.

#1. My neighborhood. See that street below. It’s part of a two to three mile walk I often take within the residential area where I live. Notice the speed limit. Residents generate most of the traffic, and most of them obey the law. The wide streets, low speed limit, and little traffic make it an ideal place for walking, just one of the features I love about my neighborhood here in the city limits of Rocky Mount.

#2. Stoney Creek. Whenever I go to Lowe’s Home Improvement, I pass over the short bridge between it and Sam’s Club. I think of this tucked-away shortcut running adjacent to Highway 301 as a secret passageway. I’ll glance in my rearview mirror, and if no one is behind me, I stop and look at Stoney Creek for a minute.

#3. Mama’s Pizza. A sign hanging in the front window of this Italian restaurant on Benvenue Road proclaims: “There’s a big difference between the big chains and the Independent Pizzerias.” I agree.

I love Mama’s lasagna and pizza. A friend of mine swears the restaurant has the best shrimp marinara she’s ever eaten. Service is good; prices are reasonable, and Mama’s is a ten-minute drive from my house, right here in Rocky Mount.

#4. The Rocky Mount Garden Club. Since retirement, I’ve been a member of this group of ladies who love their yards as well as their community. Pre-Covid, we met monthly for a program, refreshments, and catching up with one another. Just this past week, a few of us got together in a member’s garage for a “plant exchange.” I took iris bulbs and came home with an aucuba plant.

The club has been in existence since 1934 and is open to anyone interested in learning about horticulture and serving the community.

#5. Hobby Lobby. Now I know other cities have a Hobby Lobby, but the one in Rocky Mount is sooo conveniently located. (I’m thinking about the time I drove over a half-hour from one side of Charlotte to the other to find a Hobby Lobby). It’s also well-stocked, clean, and attractive. This weekend, I popped in twice to buy these cute little Easter bunnies and eggs (40% off!).

This is my first installment of why I enjoy living in Rocky Mount. Stay tuned for more. Maybe I should rename this blog myrockymountlife.

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35 Responses to My Rocky Mount Life

  1. Paige Latham Davis says:

    I agree, and I have always thought of the little bridge to Lowes as a secret passageway too, LOL
    My friend and I used to stop and look in it when we were in our teens when Tarrytown was still the best Mall. It’s probably interesting to know how many other people think that too! Enjoyed all of your Comments Patsy. When we moved her in June of 1976 it was by far the Friendliest town we had ever lived in at that time. Even with all it’s troubles it is still a very friendly town and there are some great people and organizations here in Rocky Mount and surrounding areas!!! Will look forward to reading more Great Reasons Soon!!! Thanks Patsy!!! Love, Paige Latham Davis

    Like

  2. Sharon Dozier says:

    Hi Patsy,

    Thank you so much for this article. I also live in Rocky Mount, NC and I love it.I live in a small quiet neighborhood were we know each other. I am looking forward to see more of your articles.

    Thank You,

    Sharon

    Like

  3. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for your positive spin on our city. However, I am not a fan of Mama’s Pizza. When I first heard about Mama’s Pizza, the people were bragging about the lasagna like it was the best thing in the world, so I tried it. I was not impressed at all. In fact, I was quite disappointed and never ate there again. The Stony Creek Bridge is nice and so are the Falls at Rocky Mount Mills. Hobby Lobby is nice, too.

    Like

  4. Shante says:

    Hi I’m from rocky mount nc and now leaving in Greenville nc it’s so many things I miss about rocky mount I miss my childhood I had there so many memories of terry town mall and cicis pizza and going downtown with my mom or grandmother we had so many family get togethers at the old K&W sometime I get all choked up thinking about those times when I come to visit my mom whenever I come and it bothers me how my city has falling it more sad

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      I lived in Greenville for four years and because of the university there, the city has advantages hard to duplicate in Rocky Mount. Still, I love RM and am choosing to look on its positive side. Glad you have fond RM childhood memories.

      Like

  5. Kim Landi says:

    Mama’s is by far the worst pizza in Rocky Mount, as well as their interior. I’m a native New Yorker, and moved to RMT in 2005. Mama’s nasty windows and shades, old dirty rugs, just gross a person out enough, so you can’t eat their sub-standard pizza. Now, Mario’s, Ruffinos, Amano’s Pizza are Delicious and Interior’s are clean!!!
    I’m surprised you failed to mention City Lake(How BEAUTIFUL).Also, RMT’s new additions ” Tasty Crab House,” IS Awesome! NOW THAT is where you go for some GOOD seafood!

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      Wow, I completely disagree about Mama’s. I LOVE their pizza. Just last Friday night, my husband and I were there and ordered the Mama’s Special. We took half of it home and it reheated beautifully in the microwave. I’ve never noticed the subpar cleaning issues you mentioned, and the wait staff has always been good. I guess every restaurant isn’t for everybody!

      I love Mario’s Pizza too and plan to feature this restaurant in a future blog. And I do agree with you that City Lake is beautiful; it made the list in my latest blog.

      Thanks for writing…and reading.

      Like

  6. Punkin says:

    Pasty pridgen, I am also from rocky mount,nc although I live in seattle, wa now. My parents and family are still there. Rocky mount is a wonderful place that people will remember they love when it’s too late. I left rocky mount when j was 18 to go to unc chapel hill for college and was so happy to get away for all the reasons ppl so call dislike rocky mount, it was boring, too much violence, and not enough jobs to lure young people to stay. But when I left and had been gone for awhile, I began to see rocky mount for the gem that she is. It’s a small town turn city that really has alot to offer for those who love the simple good life. Seattle is a big crowded city that makes me miss the spaciousness of home. With so many transient people in the city, I miss the small town feel of knowing everyone everywhere I go. And I’m a black girl. Grew up on the black side of town and never experienced racism in rocky mount. People love to tell me the south is racist. Nope. We just like to mind out business. We let lions live with lions and zebras live with zebras. We like it that way. Lastly, I went to northern nash and other schools In the area. Had a great libraian or teacher names Mrs. Pridgen…..are you her? She had a twin too I think lol

    At any rate it was refreshing to see your post. I hope ppl learn to love rocky mount before it’s too late. As there cities get more crowded and rents go up, I see more and more people moving to smaller towns like rocky mount.

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      I’m not the Mrs. Pridgen Librarian at Northern Nash, although all three of my daughters graduated from NNHS (classes of ’96, 2000, and ’04). I taught English at Nash Community College for 20-plus years.

      Thanks for your positive comments about Rocky Mount and about living in smaller cities. I hope more people begin to think like you!

      Like

    • Stephanie says:

      I’m one of them tired of big cities. As we grow older we fancy simplicity.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Katina says:

    Love your article ❤ I was born there and my family still reside there as well. I am always surprise of the things, I find in Rocky mount when I visit. Hopefully you will look at the amazing Library, museum and nice walking parks, I have found there and other eating places, that are not main corporation. Look forward to your next article 😀

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Braswell Library, the Children’s Museum, the walking trails, and locally owned restaurants will all be featured in future blogs. Thanks for your comments.

      Like

  8. ORDEAN ROBINSON says:

    This is such an awesome blog. I live in Drake Community which is a few minutes from Rocky Mount. I attended ECU in Greenville NC. I could not wait to get back to Rocky Mount. I’ve been all over this country, Canada and the Bahamas. I have found no place I would rather live than in this area. My favorite pizza place was Pizza Inn Fairview Rd. Edgecombe county. I’m still devastated over it’s closing. Rocky Mount has so many great places to eat, shop, walk, etc. I love and pray for more LOVE and PROGRESS for this area. Thank you so much for sharing. 🤗❤️🙏

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      Thanks for your support. I know exactly where the Drake community is. Two of my three daughters attended M.B. Hubbard. So glad to hear that of all the places you’ve been, you prefer RM. Music to my ears!

      Like

  9. Susan says:

    I enjoyed this blog post so much. My oldest and his family live there, and I will be moving there as soon as I can find a house in one of those beautiful, quiet neighborhoods. I have been on that shortcut over Stoney Creek, but have not noticed its beauty. I’ll be sure to notice it next time! After following my dad all over the country and overseas, it is nice to hear about all the good and beautiful things to see. I will continue to enjoy your posts so I can learn more about my adopted hometown. Hope I’ll be there soon!

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      So nice to hear that you’re moving to RM. Welcome in advance! Yes, pause on the bridge (if nobody is behind you 🙂 and take a moment to look at Stoney Creek. It’s really pretty at that location, especially since it’s sandwiched between commercial development.

      Like

  10. Adrian Lyon says:

    I moved here after retiring from FedEx
    I HAVE lived in DC VA and MD all my life. But nothing like Rocky M ount NC. I CAME HERE because of my husband’s
    I LOVE it here. I am SORRY for what is happening in the USA. but I am so grateful to be living and enjoying my retirement. We need more places like Rocky Mount Nc. FOR ME this is a l better than Florida. GOD Please help us all.

    .

    Like

  11. Richard Bacchi says:

    I also live in Rocky mount, bot am a transplant from up north 6 years ago, I love it here and find it’s most important attributes is it’s people very respectful and willing to help. I live in a historical district that has many beautiful homes and styles. I to like the fact I can walk down to city lake and then over to the river trail with very little traffic and only the sound of the wind and bird songs, Very easy to get to major shopping, the many great restaurants, and of course the mill with it’s 1819 tap room, As a retired person it is a joy to be able to go about the area and experience all that this town has to offer with it’s old southern charm and life style.

    Like

    • patsypridgen says:

      Richard, it’s so good to hear from people like you who appreciate the small-town perks of Rocky Mount. Thanks for your comments. I love those walking trails too. That will definitely be something I highlight in a future list.

      Like

  12. BPG says:

    I was born raised in Rocky Mount my only child lives in a big city up north. I like to go visit but I don’t want to live there. I like living in Rocky Mount too. Like most people here the utility bills are outrageous. I Also live on the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount. We try our best to keep our property neat and clean but a some of the people on our side of town don’t seem to care about what there homes look like. Some park their cars up to their front of their doors and kill all the grass. Also some have a lot of clutter in the front yard instead of using their back yards. I just wish they would have more concern for what their neighborhoods looks like and I also wish we could have more businesses on our side of town, so we wouldn’t have to drive over to Nash for everything.But through it all I still like calling Rocky Mount home.

    Like

    • Stephanie Coleman says:

      Maybe you’ve started the changes with this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stephanie Coleman says:

        Hoping to settled here with all the uncertainty you never know,so far I like it here resided in NC years ago. Its always been a great place to live. Up North has changed also its more urbanized.I don’t think I fit anymore. Next time I’ll post some pics of the are while I’m out driving.
        P

        Like

      • patsypridgen says:

        You give me too much credit! I’m trying, though, in my small way to change perception.

        Like

    • Stephanie Coleman says:

      Eventually the stores will come,keep blogging. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • patsypridgen says:

      I grew up in Edgecombe County and have fond memories of visiting my “city” cousins on Sycamore Street in the mid 1960’s. I’m sorry now to see abandoned and run-down houses in that area. Maybe RM isn’t too far away from a revitalization of these older neighborhoods. It’s happened in other cities.

      Like

      • Stephanie Coleman says:

        Its going to be revitalized. Its happening everywhere. Abandoned things can be renovated.

        Like

  13. Al Mann says:

    Hard to believe the city is losing population when every new house that is being built is being sold as soon as they are finished the house!

    Like

  14. Beverly says:

    Love It!

    Liked by 1 person

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