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Living in Smithfield, NC

History, rural character, high quality of life draw newcomers to Smithfield.

By Gary Carter on February 18, 2015

Living in Smithfield
Smithfield / Todd Bennett

After more than 50 years of observing life in Johnston County, local radio personality Carl Lamm certainly understands the heart and soul of his home area.

“In Johnston County, we have a blend of yesterday and today, with a present that’s pointed toward the future,” Lamm says. “It makes this a well balanced community and great place to live.”

Rural Roots Run Deep

The past is certainly evident in the eastern section of Johnston County, which remains deeply rural and tied strongly to the area’s agricultural tradition. In fact, the county still has the largest number of working farms in North Carolina, providing a solid economic foundation. Numerous small communities – Princeton is the largest – blend with farmland and forest to create a peaceful setting that reflects the area’s historic roots.

In contrast, a lively present and promising future mark Johnston County’s western reaches, which have felt the influence of the nearby Triangle region with its urban centers, universities and pulsing economic activity. Several large manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have spurred development in and around Clayton and Archer Lodge, situated just a short drive from the state capital of Raleigh and the progressive Research Triangle Park. The easy commute makes this area ideal for families wanting to live in quiet suburban communities or along the tree-lined streets of charming small towns.

Driven by Transportation

The past and future intersect in the central portion of Johnston County where transportation has played a key role in growth since a ferry crossing was put on the Neuse River in 1759. Now, with two interstates – 40 and 95 – and U.S. 70 crossing the county, it has become a vital corridor spurring business and development in Selma, Benson, Four Oaks, Kenly and Smithfield, which has been the county seat since 1771 and remains the largest town. Amtrak also makes a daily stop in Selma, while Johnston County Airport and easily accessible Raleigh-Durham International Airport make air travel convenient. 

Quality of Life 

But even this rapid pace and high-tech infusion have not detracted from the traditional quality of life and relaxed atmosphere for which Johnston County is renowned. Newcomers and long-time residents can select from a broad selection of living options, ranging from contemporary suburban neighborhoods with amenities, to bungalows and stately Victorian homes on sedate streets. A highly regarded public school system serves Johnston County’s children, while Johnston Community College and other nearby colleges and universities offer access to higher learning programs.

Four distinct seasons, with generally mild temperatures, make Johnston County a perfect place for active individuals. The entire area is dotted with public parks and athletic complexes, while nature lovers will find miles of trails and pristine settings. Johnston County residents also benefit from a vibrant medical community that provides a complete range of outstanding services.

In essence, it’s the best of all worlds in Johnston County, where high-tech buzz and Southern hospitality combine for a well-balanced lifestyle and promising future.

Learn more about the Smithfield, NC community.

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