All Hail the Queen City
By now, I've posted about our Asheville and Charleston excursions, but now I'm here to share all of the details of our main stay - the Queen City, Charlotte, NC. We spent our nights outside the city near Mount Holly, but made almost daily trips downtown or elsewhere to check out the establishments. You know your girl's got a thing for brunch, and boy, did Charlotte deliver! Here's a nice little list of things to do next time you find yourself in the Queen City!
THINGS WE DID
Historic Latta Plantation
We took it easy on our first full day and checked out the Historic Latta Plantation, a 19th century cotton plantation. For $5 a person, we were able to indulge in everything the site had to offer, except a tour inside the house. Things of this nature are so interesting to me because I find it very difficult to fathom what life was like before 1900, and this gives me a little perspective. The highlight of the plantation, in my opinion, was the menagerie of barn animals on hand. I fell head over heels for the little black pigs and the donkey, but nearly lost my mind for the six day old lamb that I was allowed to hold. This is a lovely, laid back family excursion.
Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market
Easily the largest farmer's market that I have ever been to! Coming from a colder state, I'm not used to such a variety of produce. This market is really cool because they're open daily (under normal conditions). I believe we walked through five entire building's worth of vendors - that's a lot of booths! My favorite had to be Blue Goat Dairy. We got a lemon dill goat cheese that was absolutely decadent. I could've eaten it like ice cream!
Explore the South End/Rail Trail
We took one afternoon to walk around Charlotte's South End. It was in the mid 70's, so this turned out to be a pretty glorious decision. Did you know that Charlotte is one of the most dog friendly cities? There were doggos everywhere! I was on the hunt for some of the many murals that this part of the city is painted with, and we happened across all sorts of cool businesses, like Twenty Degrees - an artisan chocolatier. We saw murals like the confetti hearts wall, the donuts mural at the Krispy Kreme Headquarters, and one of the magic carpet murals on the Rail Trail, and so many more.
PLACES WE ATE
Dot Dot Dot
A speakeasy? Yes, please-y. This bar has got it all - including an inconspicuous sign, so it was a little tough to find spot when we stopped for pre-dinner drinks. I couldn't resist ordering the crispy fried mushrooms to go with my Paloma. The presentation was aces - my drink had black lava salt on the rim, and another one of our drinks came in a smoking box! Quite an experience.
You've got to get BBQ in the Carolinas, right? Well, they sold out of ribs while we were waiting to be seated, so that was a pretty significant bummer. I did, however, really enjoy the barbecue brisket queso that I ended up ordering instead. Worlds colliding in the best way possible!
The first of so many rooftops on our trip set the bar pretty high - 21 stories to be exact! Atop the Hyatt Place, we enjoyed brunch at what I deem as an incredible value with a view to match! We went big with the build-your-own Bloody cart, mimosas, and duck fat cinnamon rolls for the table. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I came across the Croque Monsieur on the menu. My brunch was made, and feeling the sun on my skin, taking in Charlotte from 21 stories up, was the cherry on top.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Snooze is hands down my favorite breakfast chain that I've ever had, so if a city I'm visiting has one, I'm there. It had been a couple years since my last Snooze meal, and it held up to every day dream I've had since. I stick with the Bella, Bella, Benny (arugala, balsamic, and prosciutto atop a crostini instead of your traditional benedict), a single orange cranberry pancake (with the most delectable lemon angelaisse), and two iced mochas, because they're just that good. Their menu is vast, and you really can't go wrong. I'll be dreaming about this meal until the next one.
littleSpoon gave me the miel latte I had been waiting for this entire trip, in a mug that requires two hands, nonetheless. I can definitely see this quaint little space brimming with people on the weekend. They had this amazing, thick cut sourdough that was so good, I ended up ordering an extra slice, just to enjoy with my latte. My kind of place.
Another awesome chain that I wish would make it's way to Milwaukee is Flower Child. Food that is actually good for you and the funnest decor I've ever laid eyes on would do very well by us. We only stopped to grab a rose petal lemonade and to check out the aesthetic while we rested on our walk, but it was more than enough to make a lasting impression.
Merchant + Trade
On our last night in Charlotte, we decided to go out with a bang. 19 floors above the Kimpton is one of the coolest spaces I've been to with a view of the city that can't be beat. We got there in time to see the sun go down, so we were able to see the city in so many different lights - all of them exquisite. We went with every whim we had on the menu, including tartare, octopus tacos, and an unbelievable charcuterie board. It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip and say goodbye to a city that treated us so well.
I know that we only saw a small amount of what Charlotte has to offer, but what we were able to enjoy helped make our trip one of the best we've ever had. Since a trip is a luxury that none can currently afford, we are incredibly grateful for the privilege to enjoy as much as we had. We will never take moments like these for granted.