Monday, September 29, 2008

Our City/Charlotte NC


Charlotte NC

The Queen City, aptly named after the beautiful wife of King Edward, Queen Charlotte, is a vibrant Mecca for those seeking bigger and better things. There are more transplants than natives here, bringing more ideas and money into the city. Though it’s experiencing a boom in terms of population and commerce, Charlotte hasn’t lost its southern charm and grace. Good taste and disposable incomes means a constant turnover of decorating which in turn means Charlotte is flush with great consignment shops, too. With High Point just a couple of hours away, access to hand crafted furniture is readily available making NC a destination for design aficionados.
The city is divided in neighborhoods and assigned numerical designations. But it’s much easier to use names like NoDa, Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, Southend, Ballantyne and Pineville. Each of these areas has vibrant design and art cultures and is worth checking out. The city is catching up to its reputation with respect to restaurants, medical resources and of course the banking capital.
NODA
Short for North Davidson is home to some of the very best art galleries and Friday night art crawls which happen once a month. One of Charlotte’s older neighborhoods, it is experiencing a true renaissance, especially over the past couple of years. An onslaught of new-build lofts and condos means a constant hum of construction here; let’s hope it remains affordable. Home to some great restaurants and music venues, NoDa is a favorite both day and night.
Another historic hood experiencing a major renaissance, Southend is an epicenter of creativity with ad agencies, film and recording studios, art galleries, antique shops, design centers, specialty boutiques and media outlets (Skirt, Charlotte Magazine, Charlotte Post) as well as great places to grab some comfort food. The opening of the Light Rail Transit line will mean more burbanites can easily stop by Southend on their way into town.
HISTORIC SOUTHEND
Another historic hood experiencing a major renaissance, Southend is an epicenter of creativity with ad agencies, film and recording studios, art galleries, antique shops, design centers, specialty boutiques and media outlets (Skirt, Charlotte Magazine, Charlotte Post) as well as great places to grab some comfort food. The opening of the Light Rail Transit line will mean more burbanites can easily stop by Southend on their way into town.
  • South End Exchange: this is my favorite spot to trove for antique and reproduction furniture as well as art, accessories, rugs and linens. A unique pricing system (prices drop on designated dates) lets you plan for purchases but means you have to stop by frequently.
  • Olde World Reclamation: also on Camden, this shop has antiques and accessories for home and garden. A great selection of stone products give it that well-lived, old world feel, just like the name says.
  • Interiors Marketplace: this store has an endless selection of new and old, with well named pedigree pieces. Be prepared to spend some money here. Exquisite accessories for refined tastes.
  • Southend Fabric Design: situated inside the marketplace is an excellent place for custom draperies, oriental rugs and select furnishings.

  • Furniture Solutions: further down on Camden is home to a huge selection of leather sofas, chairs and office furniture. It’s not cheap, but has great quality pieces.
There’s plenty of art available. The place to start is Charlotte Art League: On the main drag where you can buy art, rent space to hang or create art, take classes or browse in this large industrial space. Renee George Gallery: Solo exhibits by emerging and established artists in the contemporary vein. On East Worthington. DoMA Gallery: Fine photography is still affordable for those looking to start a collection. Located on South Tryon. Zoe’s Elf Gift Gallery: Pottery, jewelry, glass and fine art by regional artists. Like the name says, great for gifts…from elves? Located at the back of the building on South Tryon.
Southend has great places for tasty bites including renowned fried chicken from Price’s Chicken Coop on Camden St. Also check out Phat Burrito, Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop and Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream for great eats and sweets. All spots can be found on the Historic Southend website.
PLAZA MIDWOOD
One of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods, Plaza Midwood is centrally located and quickly becoming a place for great food, fashion, antiques and design. The vibe is extremely cool and welcoming.
  • Fifteen Ten Antiques: around the corner on Central Ave is full of amazing finds. Antique furniture, glass, china, and artwork from all eras, including a few mid century pieces. Prices are listed but can be negotiated.
No matter when you visit the city it is in continuous bloom, each season there is color everywhere around the rolling hills and communities.

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