Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Did I Choose Charlotte, NC?

I've travelled to a range of cities across the US for business. I could have chosen any one of them for my 'next stop' but I would have been recreating a similar lifestyle, just changing the location. Commuting into a city for a corporate job. Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Detroit, Raleigh,  Durham, Denver, Miami, San Diego, Orlando, etc...  "Can I see myself living here?"  I liked lots of things about these towns, but the answer was never a resounding "yes."

The Carolinas kept bubbling up, as I have returned there for golf vacations over the years.  Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway in a convertible at the peak of the Fall season was beyond beautiful. I looked at a map and decided the Piedmont area was the place for me--2 hours from the mountains, 2 hours from the beaches, and near the SC border. Not too resort-y and not too remote. I'm not ready to retire just yet. There's an international airport, the lifestyle is slower than NYC and the cost of living is lower. There's no lack of shopping, from Trader Joes to Tiffany.

I spent a week in Charlotte, NC in March and from the minute I got off the plane, the people I encountered were just plain FRIENDLIER than in other cities, especially New York!   And the weather was sunny and balmier (flowers were blooming) than the snow I left behind in NY.    

There's a beautiful statue of Queen Charlotte in the arrivals area of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

I stayed at the Duke Mansion in Myers Park, summer home of Doris Duke. It was a quick 20 minute trip from the airport. The grounds are lovely and a great effort was made decades ago to plant mature trees in the neighborhood.  

I looked at interesting options for housing, from a condo in this stately old building in Myers Park (great lobby, tiny apartment, up 30 steps!)
to  the rowhouses in the 4th Ward, in Uptown--at the edge of the "skyline."

I looked at new condos in old factory buildings, single family bunglaows, former mill houses, attached and detached townhomes and new construction. What will I choose?

I toured many of the neighborhoods surrounding Uptown: Dilworth, Elizabeth, Myers Park, Plaza Midwood, Cotswold, Country Club, NoDa (North Davidson), Selwyn and Sedgefield. Lots more areas to explore when I get down there for real, in early June. 

The Gallery Crawl in NoDa on the first Friday night in March was great. It was hard to find parking, which I thought was a good sign! The restaurants were packed, live music, cool galleries, lots of people out and about.


Had to do a double take--very realistic drawing, including the tape!

Loads of restaurants, bistros, sandwich and pizza shops, and an all night French bakery called Amelie's. Museums, theatre, colleges and universities, 95 golf courses, hiking, biking, kayaking, farmers markets, flea markets, plenty of stuff for me to do and places to meet new people.

I'm ready, Charlotte!

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