What to do in Charlotte

Jun 5th, 2003, 11:58 AM
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What to do in Charlotte

I am flying with my sister to Charlotte in a couple weeks and I will be spending a week there. I have very few obligations and no one to visit, so I have lots of free time. I am from the west and have never been to that part of the United States. I have a rental car and I want to take day trips to some beautiful places. I am more interested in scenary and culture than nightspots. I would love to see the Atlantic Ocean, but from what city? Wilmington? I'd like to visit neighboring states, as well. Any suggestions?
AW2003 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Nice "pickle" to be in!

I'll let others talk about what to do right there in Charlotte -- it's an interesting downtown, some great restaurants.

Day trips: 1. It's probably under 2 hrs. to Asheville, which is worth more than one day itself. Just "doing" the Biltmore Estate is a half-day at minimum, and the downtown is fun to putter around. Some gorgeous scenery up that way, and although I've never driven the Charlotte-Asheville route, I'd imagine you'd get some nice mountain views as you drive.

2. Wilmington, unfortunately, is a hike for a day trip -- 205 miles -- but definitely worth visiting, esp. if you decide to make it a 2-day trip. Wrightsville is a great beach, Wilmington is a very interesting city. Myrtle Beach, SC is closer, but a lot of us a a bit snooty about Myrtle because it's so built up and honky tonk. A lot of people are surprised that you can be in a state "out east" and still be so far from the ocean.

3. The NC Zoo in Asheboro is a fairly pleasant zoo, nicely laid out.

4. Maybe somebody else can perhaps talk about Hickory, High Point, Winston-Salem, furniture places, and what else there might be to do there.
soccr is offline  
Jun 5th, 2003, 01:05 PM
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Thanks--I will definitely hit Asheville and the Zoo you talked about! Just playing around on Mapquest, I've identified the cities that are about a three hour drive each way or less that I'd be interested in learning about from you all that live in the area. I am asking for advice on which cities I should see and which I should wait until a next time. I plan on going to three or four of these places....

1) Winston-Salem, NC
2) Greensboro, NC
3) Columbia, NC
4) Greenville, SC
5) Asheville, NC-already 1 vote for this area .
6) Raleigh, NC
7) Roanoke, VA
8) Charleston, SC

I love to see interesting architecture and greenery. We won't really want to do a lot of shopping or looking for the best restaurants. We like museums and state parks.

I would really appreciate any advice. I want to make the most out of my visit.


AW2003 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:44 PM
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It would be fun to spend a few hours at a realy unique place - Replacements, Ltd. They are in Greensboro, their website is www.replacements.com. They have free tours of their amazing china and crystal warehouse. Check it out, it is really a fun place to visit!
JoyinVirginia is offline  
Jun 5th, 2003, 06:42 PM
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If you're interested in scenery and architecture, I'd recommend these, in no particular order:

1. Reynolda Estatein Winston-Salem. This 1,067-acre estate has villages, churches, formal gardens, nature trails, a post office, smoke house, power plant, greenhouse, dairy, golf course, and of course, Reynolda House.

2. Brookhaven Gardens (about 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach) and Huntinton State Park (right across the street from the Gardens). The Gardens were built between the ocean and a river on the site of a former plantation. The ruins remain. It's now a beautiful setting for the largest statuary garden in the U.S., as well as a nature trail. The state park also features a nature trail. It's within sight of the beach and also winds around marshes and wetlands. If that weren't enough, the park also features "Atalaya," a 30-room house built overlooking the ocean in 1931. It was designed after the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. This makes a fabulous day.

3. Carl Sandburg home in Flat Rock. Darling home is on 30 acres of pastureland in the N.C. mountains. The historic site consists of the circa 1838 antebellum house, the 1900's dairy goat barn complex and a representative goat herd, sheds, rolling pastures, mountainside woods, walking/hiking trails, two small lakes, ponds, flower and vegetable gardens, and an orchard.

4. Blowing Rock. At the heart of Moses Cone State Park, just outside of Blowing Rock, is the mansion (featured in "The Green Mile") built by Moses Cone at the turn of the last century. You'l find miles and miles of carriage paths perfect for hiking or horseback riding. You can hike down to a pretty lake and back up to the house.

Arabella is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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Thanks to all who contributed advice...
AW2003 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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It is actually called BrookGREEN Gardens (statuary gardens near Myrtle Beach.) Just didn't want you looking for the wrong place!
KatiB is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Since Charleston, SC, is in your list, check out some of the Charleston postings. From your list of places you're considering, Charleston would be a nice addition - you'd hit an antebellum city; very different from Biltmore and the green mountains of NC. The change in scenery is quite amazing. There are a myriad of gardens, home tours, plantations, museums to visit there.
dsgmi is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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I'd vote for Charleston to see the ocean and see a picturesque historic city. To me it is our most "European" city in that you can walk everywhere once in the historic district. You could even get to a plantation--I suggest Middleton. Charleston is a 3 hour drive from Charlotte via an interstate so not difficult. You might like to spend one night however--good restaurants too. I live in Charlotte. I can recommend some restaurants if you want. Before this drops out of my purvue I will recommend Patou--outstanding French bistro cuisine. Guytano's for Italian or Villa Antonio (you'll feel like you are in The Godfather!). Shopping at South Park or Phillips Place or the many shops in South End. Dean and Deluca wine bar at Phillips Place is nice for a late night drink. Mint Museum of Craft+Design downtown and the Mint MUseum in Eastover for excellent art. Downtown in the Bank of America HQ are wonderful frescoes by Ben Long. Oh, in Winston Salem visit Old Salem, the Moravian settlement from the 1700's. While I never "dis" someone else's ideas of what to do, Replacements would not meet my needs.
Wilmington also has a very nice historic district.
In the Asheboro area, in addition to the zoo, is Sea Grove. This is a city and area of more that 50 potters. VERY interesting and lots of great pottery of many different styles. It dates from the 1700's also. Go to Jugtown near Sea Grove.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 11:32 AM
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You've been given some good suggestions. I also would recommend Charleston. It can be done in 1 day. I do it all the time. 3 hours via 77S to 26E. When we can't do Charleston in a whole weekend we drive down around 8 in the morning and get there around 11. Hit Folly Beach for the day, shower, change clothes and go downtown for an hour of walking around and dinner. You can be home by 10 that night.

Also would recommend if your coming the first weekend of the month checking out the Metrolina Antiques show. Happens first weekend of every month. Lots of fun and you can usually get some good deals.
DeborahB is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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AW2003, Downtown has great restaurants (La Vecchia, Luce, so many) as well as many art galleries, theaters, the Mint Museum as well as Discovery Place.

Southpark is a great area for shops. On Sunday nights there is "Pops in the Park" which is the Charlotte Symphony which plays at an outdoor amphitheater.

You bring a blanket with some good wine & a picnic and listen under the stars. (the place is across the street from the Southpark Mall).
JenniferW is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 12:41 PM
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You could always drive to High Point and do some furniture shopping. It is about 81 miles from Charlotte..about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Katherine is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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Oh also Camden South Carolina is a jewel. Many people do not go there but it is about a 2 hour trip one way and about 112 miles or so. This is one of those towns that you have never heard about nationally but a lot of locals know about it. It has some gorgeous homes. The town dates back to the time of the Revolution. This would be a day trip in my opinion. It does not take long to get around so you could either go there for the day or if you want on the way to Charleston. Hope this helps..
Katherine is offline  
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