Charlotte, North Carolina just so happens to be the home of the Carolina Panthers, Bank of America headquarters, the Hornets, the NASCAR Hall of Fame (because yes, people still enjoy car racing), and my good friend Meighan. Meighan and I met on a blog retreat a couple years ago and have kept in touch ever since. We kept saying that we would hang out again and of course I hate being that person that says “oh one day we’ll hang out” and then it never happens. So, I decided to book a trip and spent the last couple of days hanging down in the south and exploring Charlotte.
Mother Nature decided that we were due for some chill and blessed the east coast with a big freeze this past weekend. While Meighan warned me that I should expect temps in the 20’s and 30’s, it all seemed a bit more manageable than the NYC temps that dipped into the teens!
I arrived mid-evening on Friday where Meighan picked me up, caught up at her apartment for a couple of hours – chatting as if no time had passed. We then continued catching up over dinner at a local brewery/bar spot. I went for a bit of BBQ but was a bit underwhelmed. I guess that’s what you get when you order bar food and well, not every bar can hit it out of the park.
Saturday morning Meighan showed me around her part of town. Turns out this part of Charlotte happens to be a hot spot M-F during the work day as well as at night on the weekends. But, during the weekend-day, it seems like the entire town has cleared out into the suburbs. Maybe I was just more surprised at the lack of people since I’ve been hibernating up in NYC for the past 6 weeks (and 2.5 years) and you can’t go more than a block without seeing at least 10 people no matter the time of day.
What’s nice about the Fourth Ward is that you can walk pretty much everywhere! Both Meighan and her roommate live walking distance from work, the grocery store, the nightlife, the gym, and you get the picture. She showed me around the foodie market called 7th Street Public Market. I’d compare this to Santa Barbara’s Public Market, or a newer version of the Philly Reading Terminal (though nothing really compares to Philly).
According to some fun statistics, Charlotte, NC living is 9% cheaper than the national average and you could say I was in semi-shock (good shock) every time that I handed over my credit card and saw how cheap everything was – from drinks to food, I was having a grand ‘ol time.
^^ Ok, coffee prices may be on par, but everything else was pretty dirt cheap compared to my city expenses.
Once adequately caffeinated, it was off to help Meighan dog sit. Besides working and crushing grad school, she has been filling her time with these adorable pups and we had to do the daily check in. I mean, how can you not love all of those faces??
Cue time for breakfast at home, quick trip to the local YMCA, and shower – all of which went un-photographed. When I had planned to travel down, I didn’t really have a schedule in mind. This was obviously different from most of the trips that I plan – no itinerary, no to-do list, no obligations. But, sure enough, we were finding ourselves with a packed couple of days. Saturday afternoon we went out to a popular brewery called Sycamore and even took an uber ride with a driver who was from Los Angeles!
Hanging out at Sycamore was so different than any bar that I have been to in New York because it was filled with owners and their dogs, had a very relaxed vibe to it, and the brews were CHEAP!
We had a good time catching up with her neighbor (who actually grew up in NYC in the upper west side. Talk about small world!) as well as watching the end of the Olympic Marathon trials. I was standing next to a girl at the bar who was also watching and seemed to know a great more than I did about the race. I asked if she ran marathons and she said no, but she ran half-marathons. Oh really? What’s your time? She then responded with a casual “around 1:30”. Ha. Ok.
Anyways, between Saturday’s race and Sunday’s LA Marathon, I am still in pure awe of all of those runners. Life goals.
^^ I guess this might not be on the #raceweight plan but made for a fun afternoon. Let’s be honest, this weekend was about exploring and as you’ll see later, calories were not really considered when making our plans 😉
^^ Yep, like I said. Food for the southern soul. We were between two popular burger joints – Bad Daddy’s and Cookout and as you can see, Bad Daddy’s won over my heart and stomach. I really was in it for the not so basic milkshake (Chunky Elvis w/ peanut butter, Ghirardelli chocolate, and chunks of banana and walnuts).
^^ But while I would have loved to make a milkshake dinner, I knew better and added in a turkey burger + brie + grilled apple/bacon for good measure.
Yes, after inhaling that type of dinner, we both considered ditching our evening plans and instead watching various television shows buuuuut in the back of my head I knew we needed to rally. We are young, the weekend was just beginning, and who knew if this would be the one and only trip to Charlotte. So, with that thought in mind (and after a couple of Netflix shows…) we made it out of the apartment and met up with some of Meg’s friends.
^^ Because breweries are apparently a big thing. How’s that for a logo? Nifty, right?
^^ Twinning at its finest. So going into the night we said that if we made it through the first brewery, we could go home. But then more and more people arrived, we found ourselves at a local pub, and then dancing the night away to 80’s and 90’s music. It’s been AGES since I did that and I have to say, leaving at 2am drenched in sweat, and calves burning from dancing for hours in wedges, felt pretty good. Oh and I also managed to sleep in until 10am. Winning! (if you don’t know me by now, that’s impossible, so yay for mini wins)
Sunday was Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, another Hallmark holiday or just plain ‘ol Sunday. We packed our schedule to the brim yet again – starting with thematic Dunkin Donuts, a HIIT class at a different YMCA, some excellent bargain shopping at JCrew, catching the movie “How to Be Single”, and ending with some Chinese takeout. I actually had a last minute issue with flights (thank you JetBlue for canceling on me…actually not impressed), so it was helpful to be at home near a computer and also enabled us to recover from our activities.
If you managed to read all my random thoughts, congrats. If you skimmed the pictures, congrats. If you enjoyed your weekend, then double congrats! Charlotte is a pretty nifty place and I was so glad to have experienced it. Thanks Meighan for being such an amazing hostess!