Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Old and New in Charlotte, North Carolina

When you visit Charlotte, NC you'll find the perfect combination of Skyscrapers and downtown epicenters and within a few miles outside of the buildings and traffic, you'll find rolling lands of wineries and old plantations.  Its the perfect combination of everything at your fingertips, including hotels, great restaurants, theaters and shops and a step back in time to before the civil war.  

Start with a hearty, healthy breakfast at one of my absolute, favorite cafes, Dean and Deluca!  Grab a scrambled egg on a croissant and an orange juice, coffee or cup of tea and check out the lively streets of Downtown.  Check out shops like Belle Ville for colorful clothing, Paper Skyscraper for funky gifts and crafty stationary and the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, for curiosities and vintage clothing and decor for as far as the eye can see....literally, leave a trail of bread crumbs, the place is HUGE!!!  When you're ready for dinner, pick something delightful, like Basil, the best Thai restaurant in the city!!!  If you're into sushi, try Enso, a hip, downtown sushi bar.  This place has an amazing menu and the sushi and cocktails are delectable!!!!
If you're tired of the city traffic, head just a few miles outside its walls and you'll find a quiet place in the country!  The beautifully unique, Rosedale Plantation.  Rosedale was constructed in 1815 by Archibald Frew.  The house, then called "Frew's Folley", because of its lavishness in a small, country community, Rosedale towered over the smaller dwellings of the day.  It glistened with white and chromium yellow paint, a color only the wealthy could afford, and even then, never would paint it on the outside of their home!  

In 1833, Dr. Caldwell purchased Rosedale and lived there with his wife Harriett and their eight children.  The good doctor kept a large household, he had a working plantation, stock in gold mines, and took in boarding students of the new Sugar Creek classical Academy.  Harriet's sister Sarah kept a journal in 1837 of her day to day life at her near by home called The Grove as well as her religious awakening during the Great Revival of the early 1800's.  A beautiful book is available in the gift shop at Rosedale called A Life in Antebellum Charlotte that goes through Sarah's year in 1837.  It's a magnificently written account of her day to day life, visiting friends, attending church, and teaching children.  If you want a real peek into the past, this is a great gift to bring home:)
When you walk throughout the house and property, you can't hear the traffic from the street, you won't even see crowds of people.  There will only be you, the house, the sound of the birds singing in the trees and the feel of the soft breeze in your hair.  Before my house tour, I sat out in the yard under a huge tree on a small bench and began reading Sarah's journal.  It was such a beautiful day, warm and sunny!  I thought about the lives of those who walked the same ground I was walking now, who ventured through those rooms and gardens well over a hundred years ago!!!         

If you want something not quite city and not quite country, try one of Charlotte's trendy, hip neighborhoods.  Breakfast at Zada Jane's is the perfect start, followed by antiquing and vintage thread shopping just steps away!  Inside Zada Jane's you'll sit among the areas hippest artists work, outside, you'll shade yourself under an umbrella on their large patio.  You'll enjoy a fantastic breakfast and a cup of tea before you head out to find the perfect party frock!  Hong Kong is my personal favorite for colorful 1960's shift and other dresses, bags, shoes and funky home decor!   

A short drive away stands another beautiful historic site, if you're in the mood to go for a little fresh air:)  Latta Plantation, built also in the early 1800's was a working cotton plantation and a farm.  Tours are given here to educate todays visitors on the daily life of antebellum North Carolina.  This beautiful property holds a few different historic buildings and a farm, horses and other farm animals graze the land.  Walk in and out of the buildings and stop and watch the animals play.    

Along the rocky roads, be sure and stop and enjoy the beautiful, mountains and vistas you're sure to see:)

If a wine tasting is more to your liking, North Carolina is known for its fruit forward, and sometimes, very sweet wines!  Rocky River Vineyard's tastings go through whites, roses and reds and all are totally Yummy!!!  Afterwards, take a walk through the vineyards and check out the grapes:)

Enjoy the perfect combination of the Old South and the New in Charlotte, North Carolina:)

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