Charlotte and Environs

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Around mid-January of each year, i.e. the time of Susan's BD, we usually do a 1-2 night overnight somewhere close (about 1-2 hour drive at most); of the half dozen places that we have used for years, Charlotte is an alternating option - now we travel to the Queen City for many other purposes and probably go there 3-4 times a year for various reasons and have done so for many years - SO, I'm rather surprised that there is no travelogue on Charlotte - time to start one - NOT sure how much I'll add but could easily go for MANY pages.

    This time we are in Charlotte for her BD and staying at the Westin Hotel near a lot of museums and also some restaurants that we've not tried - on the way down (just a 90 minute drive) we stopped at the Reed Gold Mine (2 upcoming posts), tomorrow we will visit a number of nearby museums (of the many in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina), plan some fine dinners (another post), and on the way back home Thursday will visit the NC Music Hall of Fame (first visits to both the HOF & the Mine); also may stop at Childress Vineyards near Lexington for lunch and a wine tasting (possibly another post).

    NOW, this is only a brief start and if I decide to continue will recall dozens of previous trips to Charlotte over the years - just for a quick orientation map - we can drive to Charlotte (located near the SC border) either via I-40/I-77 or I-85, both about the same time as shown on the map below; decided on I-85 this time because of the visits mentioned above. Dave :)
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  2. giradman

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    Reed Gold Mine - NC State Historic Site - Gold Discovered in 1799 - Part I

    On our drive down to Charlotte, we detoured to visit the Reed Gold Mine - the start of the FIRST Gold Rush in the United States, nearly a half century before its discovery at Sutter's Mill in 1848 in California. The Visitor's Center includes a 10-minute introductory film which is well done, an excellent museum on the history of gold, particularly related to North Carolina, a self-guided tour of an underground gold mine, and a small gift store (we bought t-shirts and a recent book on 'Gold Mining in NC' - see next post) - more info in the quotes below. Pics are many of my own from the inside and the mine tour, and carry over to the next post.

    In the early 1800s, the mining for gold was a major industry in North Carolina, and a number of 'mints' were established in the Charlotte area including the famous one in the city itself, which is now the Mint Museum. BTW, that first nugget found by Reed's son which he took $3.50 at that time but later was valued at $3,600 - just did a calculation in an inflation index - in today's USA dollars that amount is $84,000 - WOW! Dave :)

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  3. giradman

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    Reed Gold Mine - NC State Historic Site - Gold Discovered in 1799 - Part II

    Just some more pics from the previous posts, including a handful from inside the mine tour - looking forward to reading the book in the last image. Dave :)
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  4. giradman

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    Charlotte - North Carolina's Largest City - Introduction

    Charlotte Town was incorporated in November 1768 and named after Charlotte, the Queen of England and wife of George III; the city is located in Mecklenburg County, the queen's German homeland. During the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, Cornwallis controlled the town for a brief time and plaques on the downtown streets note his presence - see quotes for more information.

    Geographically, the city is located in the southern Piedmont area of the state near the SC border and covers just over 300 square in area (see link in quotes) - there are numerous neighborhoods, especially of ethnic and racial origin (we would love to find a tour that explores this diversity); one of the most important central areas is known as 'Uptown', basically within the 277 loop (see maps) - this is the locale that we spend nearly all of our time when visiting, often to see a performance at the Blumenthal Center - pics below show the beautiful city skyline along w/ two of the major sports venues - our favorite hotel is the Ritz-Carlton on Trade Street near Tryon Street, the historic crossroads of the town; however, the Westin Hotel is a modern beautiful 4-diamond property and is also conveniently located to museums and restaurants - Dave :)

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  5. giradman

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    Charlotte - Introduction (continued)

    Charlotte and its environs has numerous attractions, including museums, performing arts, and restaurants - below is a list (not complete) of the many museums available (we've been to most but not all, yet!) - the ones highlighted in bold were visited today and most will be topics of upcoming posts. The pics show a number of these places - the original Mint Museum Randolph is just outside the 277 loop and was the historic mint established in 1835 (open in 1837), and also contains the two portraits of Queen Charlotte & George III (first 3 pics) - Dave :)

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  6. scifan57

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    Did you try panning for gold?
     
  7. giradman

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    Hi Scifan.. - thanks for your interest in my 'new' thread (w/ a LOT of catching up!) - at the Reed Mine, panning for gold is an option but does not start until April, so not a choice for us at this time - however, in the 1990s, we did a 2-week trip to Alaska (half land & half on a ship) - we stayed in Nome a few nights and did pan for gold - I found a small speck and Susan nothing - not a thrilling experience as I recall - likely would not have panned even if available - BUT, the place is worth a stop if in the vicinity whether you want to pan or not - :) Dave
     
  8. giradman

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    St. Peter's Church and the Museums

    Well, we had a full day in Charlotte and explored the area w/i just a few blocks - the map below shows various colored squares of the places visited and our two evening restaurants (another post). Our first visit was to the modest but beautiful St. Peter's Church - more history in the quotes. The pics are a mixture of my own and several from the web - I went to a Catholic grade school and we were in a beautiful church each school day - ever since, I've loved visiting churches - this one was indeed small but appealing; we left several donations and Susan even lit a candle, a new experience for a Jewish girl. More to come on the museums. Dave :)

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    #8 giradman, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  9. giradman

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    Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

    For our day walking excursion just a few blocks from the hotel, we visited four different museums - these included the ones boxed in blue on my previous map. Our first (and a first experience) was to the Harvey B. Gantt Center (see quotes below) - Gantt was the first African-American student at Clemson University (located in South Carolina, his home state) and also the first black mayor of Charlotte - Susan & I voted for him twice when he ran (and lost) for the US Senate against the incumbent Republican, Jesse Helms.

    The center is a beautiful building as seem from the pic (and expected since he is an architect) - there are several exhibit wings inside the structure - the main current exhibit is Welcome to Brookhill, mainly a photographic presentation of a Charlotte neighborhood undergoing change - if interested, see third quote w/ link below - the remaining images our my own from the exhibit. Dave :)

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  10. giradman

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    Mint Museum Uptown Incorporating the Mint Museum of Craft + Design

    Our second stop was the Mint Museum Uptown which opened in 2010 - much houses the collections of glass, ceramics, wood, and other media from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, which was located further Uptown near the Discovery Place and the Blumenthal Center, but relocated to the new position. The building is another beautiful structure with a large gift shop at street level; there is a nice cafeteria which we had lunch on a previous visit. The pics below of the inside are my own and represents just a sampling of the many items to see inside the museum. There was a special retrospective exhibit of Michael Sherrill which I'll devote the next post. Dave :)

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    #10 giradman, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019

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