Lock and load if you must come to this town
The apparently bucolic town of Salisbury is set in a beautiful southern climate with lots of beautiful historic homes and huge old-growth oaks.
Those charming turn-of-the-century ginger bread houses may have equally charming white picket fences separating pedestrians from meticulously landscaped lawns. But never step over one of those picket fences, or you may discover that the lawn is actually 2" of astroturf, covering 8 feet of sludge. So grotesque are the dirty little secrets in the town whose motto should be "To Seem, Rather Than To Be," that it's no wonder Salisbury is the backdrop to half a dozen or so crime/murder/thriller novels.
Many a visitor from out of town has fallen in love with the charm and bought homes here, only to suffer doubly from the real estate market fall, and a violent crime spree that is statistically worse than Detroit. Aside from the high murder rate, Salisbury has more registered sex offenders in the core area of the downtown than any other location on the East Coast outside of Miami/Dade. Daytime robberies of "We Buy Gold" pawn and loan shops is not unusual, as are lunchtime robberies of drive-thru patrons at local fast food restaurants. When you check into a local chain hotel, and see the clerk separated from guests checking in, by 3/4" thick bulletproof glass, it will make you think twice before retrieving your bags from the car---particularly when the wooded areas along the edge of some hotels in town have become homeless enclaves.
Salisbury is the little town that understaffs its police force, so that they can have half a dozen or so art galleries, four live performance theatres, a floundering fiber optic utility managed by the city, and over a dozen 'craft' shops that sell overpriced, imported bric-a-brac that most of us would not pay 50 cents for at a yard sale.
With that said, daytime visits to the five blocks or so of the heavily patrolled downtown on a Saturday morning can be a pleasant experience, so long as you can park your car on the street in full view, to minimize the car break-in risk. There are some excellent restaurants, a discount health food store, and if you like drinking, there's a redlight district on East Fisher Street that has a plethora of establishments for imbibing of alcohol and even a host of non-tax-paid controlled substances. There's even a head shop called "Expressions" where you can find a replacement for that old vibrator you've had since college, AND buy an overpriced bong.
So plan to spend a quality Saturday morning in Salisbury. Just make sure you have your concealed/carry permit, and LOCK AND LOAD.
Leanne | China Grove, NC