Big party will reunite ‘Northern Southerners’

June 17, 2011
Brunswick Forest

Wilmington Star News
By Jason Gonzales

The Yankees have been coming for years.

With their New Jersey, New York and Connecticut plates, they have been filling Wilmington and congregating in Leland.

And now, the Northerners in North Brunswick are gathering for a little fun.

The first annual Northern Southerners Reunion will take place Saturday at the Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation. The idea was such a hit that organizers had to stop taking reservations because the venue couldn’t hold any more people.

“I was planning to maybe get 175 people or 250 at the most,” said Leland resident and organizer Bob Corriston. “We ended up having to close it off at 350 people.”

The party, slated as a “wonderful reunion of all the Northerners who love the South” is meant to be a fun time and a networking event for those from the Tri-State area.

The reunion will have music, food, drinks, games and plenty of time for socializing. Ages will range from young children to people in their 80s.

Corriston said the event is about bringing people together.

“Odds are we might know each other without ever coming in contact with each other,” the New Jersey native said.

For New York transplant and Leland resident Teri Ranfone-Decicco, the event is about making everyone feel at home. She said she has heard many people say they feel alone in their new environment.

“We can all find some bond and some friendship in this event because we come from that area,” she said.

So what is it that brings the Northerners to the area?

Answers lie in developments such as Brunswick Forest that advertise specifically to pre-retirees and retirees in the Northeast, according to Tobin Spirer, a spokesman for the development.

And some residents, such as Ranfone-Decicco, own homes in both the North and South.

But that doesn’t explain the many transplants that call Southeastern North Carolina home.

Corriston said he believes it has to do with the weather, and the proximity to the North.

“There are a lot of people who want to move to Florida because of the weather, and then decide to move halfway down,” he said. “Especially because it’s a shorter drive back up North to see family.”

Corriston, who is in his first year as a transplant, said he moved to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren who live in Wilmington. He said he visits New Jersey often.

Because of the number of ex-Northerners in the area, he thinks next year’s even will be much larger.

“With a bigger venue, we could have close to 1,000 people, no trouble,” he said.