On April 30, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:These days there seems to be an ever-changing selection of exhibits hitting Charlotte’s museums. Here are three new exhibits at three different spots worth buying your tickets for now.
Etched In the Eyes: David Herman, Jr.
This travel exhibition’s most recent stop is at the Harvey B. Gantt Center, where visitors can now catch a glimpse of the photography, video, and writing by Georgetown, South Carolina native, Dave Herman. The exhibit is focused on the lowcountry’s Gullah coastal culture—a group that is descendants of slaves living in the region. Through June 15.
How Sweet the Sound: A Tribute to George Beverly Shea
On April 16, George Beverly Shea passed away at age 104. Shea was a gospel singer who was most well known for his solo performances at Billy Graham Crusades around the world and is buried on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. In order to honor him, the Library has brought back this special exhibit exploring his life and dedication to God and Billy Graham. Through May 15.
Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease
Love haute couture? This exhibit at the Mint Museum on Randolph Road shows off the works of these three pillars of French fashion—and the way in which their styles continue to shape design today. The clothing, which includes 30 designs from the three men, is entirely from the Mint’s own fashion collection collection. Through January 12, 2014.
On April 30, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:There’s no shortage of museums for exploring during a trip to Charlotte. Whether you’re an art lover or seeking scientific displays, the city has many spots to satiate your education craving. But if your time is limited, here are the three can’t-miss spots for soaking in the latest exhibits in town.
The Mint Museum of Art
The Mint is the granddaddy of Charlotte museums. The original location to the south of uptown has long been a favorite of the artistic set. Now, it’s the newer—and much larger—uptown version that’s getting most of the attention, but together, the two museums feature literally hundreds collections of art and design. The uptown version, which opened in 2010, offers 145,000 square feet over five floors of art from famed artists, including the largest public collection of Charlotte-born artist, Romare Bearden.
Bechlter Museum of Modern Art
Located next door to uptown’s Mint Museum, this space, named after Andreas Bechtler, is focused entirely on mid-20th-century modern art. The stark space itself is stunning, but the names behind the works of art it holds are its most impressive feature. Here you’ll find works by Joan Miro, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jean Tinguely, and Alberto Giacometti among many more.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Sure, it’s not your typical museum, but this 150,000-square-foot, artifact-packed space is full of exhibits showcasing the famed sports. In addition to the eye-catching Glory Road, a ramp featuring more than 15 historic cars, the spot features a 278-seat theater showing films about the history of the sport, racing simulators offering the chance to feel a driver’s experience, and galleries showing the sport’s storied history.
On April 30, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:Sure, there are museums, parks, and kid-friendly destinations all over this family-friendly town. But when it comes to really entertaining the kids there are two places that are a little off the beaten path—and sure to make the smallest members of your family happy.
US National Whitewater Center
At this outdoor recreational center just to the west of town on the banks of the Catawba river you’ll find kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and, of course, white water rafting. The facility is designed for families looking to spend a day in the sun appreciating all it has to offer from the more than 14 miles of wooded trails to the 46 foot outdoor climbing center. Plus, there are guides for almost every activity and even educational adventures offering full day programs for children to learn about things like human impacts on the environment and the local wildlife population. And while the kids are learning the ropes (or checking out the ropes course), mom and dad can soak in the sun on the patio of the Rivers Edge Bar and Grill complete with craft beers and casual fare.
Lazy 5 Ranch
Looking for a one-of-a-kind experience sure to captivate the kids? Head to the Lazy 5 Ranch where you’ll find more than 750 animals from six different continents (think zebra, lemurs, and giraffes) meandering through a large park. Take a ride through the ranch on one of the wagons, which offer up-close-and-personal encounters with the friendly animals. Be sure to buy a bucket of feed, guaranteeing plenty of attention from the wildlife for you and your family.
On April 30, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:Finding great southern cuisine in Charlotte isn’t hard. From down home soul food joints to upscale restaurants offering a modern twist on lowcountry favorites, there are plenty of spots around town serving up a taste of the South. Here are three of the top spots to hit the next time you’re craving Southern flavor.
This casual Plaza Midwood neighborhood spot comes complete with checkered tablecloths and a deviled egg served alongside most dishes. And the food here is seriously southern. Country fried steak is served over mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes are perfectly crispy, and pimento cheese is the kind of thing that makes you want to lick your plate clean in public. But the best thing on the menu may be the buttery biscuits—served warm and so thick you’ll need a full glass of the sweet tea to wash them down.
Harvest Moon Grille
With most of the ingredients straight off of Chef Cassie Parsons’ farm—and all of them from farms within 100 miles of this uptown restaurant—it’s only natural that the food found here be authentically southern. In this laid back restaurant in the historic Dunhill Hotel, you’ll find southern dishes with a contemporary twist like a pork shank served alongside roasted carrots in a moonshine foster sauce or fried turkey breast with rosemary polenta and black pepper gravy. The ultimate southern fare though is served at breakfast in hearty dishes like fried pork chop and eggs or the savory biscuit and gravy.
Chef Jim Noble is serious about his southern cuisine. This upscale spot with an a la carte menu is a favorite for those seeking local ingredients in simple dishes. Meats like beef short ribs and bbq chicken are fall-off-the-bone tender, but the vegetables steal the show here. Noble’s pan fried corn is the perfect mix of savory and sweet, while the most simple offerings of butter beans and garden peas allow the natural flavors to shine through. For a decadent spin on the southern sides, indulge in the creamy Anson Mills grits with bacon.
On April 30, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:Golfers looking for a place to rest—and enjoy a few post-course cocktails—will find the best local version of it at The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, which has 200 guest rooms, many of them with balconies offering course views. Just south of uptown Charlotte, this luxurious resort features a championship PGA golf course as well as the renowned Dana Rader Golf School, offering lessons, custom fittings, and practice areas. The par 71 course is 18 holes of lush, rolling hills surrounded by woods and dotted with lakes. A round on the course can be followed by a trip to the hotel’s recently renovated, opulent spa where the ”Golfer’s Sports Massage” works on the typical golfer problem areas to help improve your game. Complete the full golf experience toasting your time on the fairway, with drinks in the elegant bar at the hotel’s Gallery Restaurant, which has a Scotch selection to rival any in town.
On April 4, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:In a town that loves its college basketball, there’s no better time than now to check out the top sports bars. But even those who aren’t hoops fans can enjoy these spots where there are often too many TVs to count and plenty of cold brews to go around.
Located in uptown’s Epicenter complex, this two-story sports bar may be a chain, but it’s also a favorite of locals looking to catch a game. Downstairs features a dining room and bar area packed with televisions, while a center bar dominates the upstairs space. The beer, wine, and cocktail lists are classic and with dishes like ahi tuna salad or Chilean sea bass, the food is a big step up from your average pub grub.
They have 70 televisions including one at the SouthPark location that is 103 inches. There are more than 140 beers on tap as well as 250 bottled brews. And laid back space and casual menu makes this the perfect setting for grabbing a bite while you catch the game. With three local locations, it’d be hard to find better spots in town to pull for your team.
For the times when you’re not in the mood to watch the NBA, NFL, or MLB, this two-story international sports bar exists. Focused primarily on soccer with some rugby thrown in, this uptown pub is open for all European matches. And sure, they show the American sports as well, but it’s a top pick for grabbing a British beer and cheering on your favorite overseas club.
Picasso’s Sports Café
Pizzas, wings, and craft drafts on tap. It’s hard to find a better combo for catching the game and this longtime Charlotte favorite is known for all three. A large projector shows the big game while fans mingle with friendly crowds pulling for the home team.
Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse
Three local location of this popular, family-friendly beer mecca mean that where ever you may be in town, you’re not far from one of their crafts on draft and catching the game. With an award-winning cheesesteak and frequent beer specials, your only problem may be being distracted from your team.
On March 26, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:If you’re going wardrobe shopping in Charlotte, the best place to be your best dressed is in the SouthPark neighborhood. For an easy, one-stop version, pop into the city’s top shopping destination, SouthPark Mall, with shops like Tory Burch, Lacoste, Vineyard Vines, Neiman Marcus, St. John, and Kate Spade.
Just around the corner from the mall you’ll find Morrison, a mixed-use development with several top women’s clothing boutiques. For high end, hard-to-find designers like Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Lanvin, stop in the ultra chic Capitol. Across the parking lot you’ll find ChezElle filled with always on-trend styles at a mid level price point, while just a few doors down you can pick up sundresses, scarves, designer denim, and gorgeous jewelry at Scout & Molly’s.
On the other side of SouthPark Mall is Phillips Place. Here, savvy shoppers will find several women’s boutiques as well as the city’s top spot for men’s fashion, Taylor Richards & Conger. In addition to an area featuring Billy Reid fashions, stylish men can find shoes, sportswear, and made-to-measure all under one roof in this locally-owned store.
Women looking to be dressed at Phillips Place should stop in Coplon’s, which features clothing, shoes and accessories from upscale designers like Christian Louboutin, Miu Miu, and Lela Rose. Or, if you’re seeking a slightly less expensive collection, visit Luna for everything from pants to purses and skirts to sunglasses.
On March 26, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:Craving the freshest catch? Here are a few spots around Charlotte to get your fish fix.
With fish flown in daily from around the world, this chic SouthPark restaurant is easily the best spot in town to find a variety of seafood dishes. Shellfish lovers can dig into Gulf Coast oysters, traditional shrimp cocktail, or shrimp and avocado ceviche. Sophisticated offerings like wild sea bass, Icelandic Cod, and Scottish Salmon are prepared to showcase the fish’s flavor, but the best way to indulge in the fresh filets may be sushi bar with choices like sea bass sashimi and tuna carpaccio.
A cozy wine-centric spot featuring Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine may not be where you’d expect to find some of the city’s best seafood, but owner and Chef Trey Wilson is serious about his local fare. Seafood offerings change weekly depending on the catch from local company Stone Seafood. And from exotic raw dishes like yellow fin tuna with blood orange and calabrian to southern entrees like Carolina flounder with sunchokes and fava beans, this fish is expertly—and exquisitely—prepared.
It’s set in an old Pizza Hut building and on a bland stretch of street, but inside this funky restaurant you’ll find a setting that feels like it should be beachside and enough fish to satiate any seafood craving. Thai curry mussels, Manhattan clam chowder, fried oyster Po Boys, shrimp and grits, and even blackened catfish are on this eclectic menu. But the tacos tend to steal the show with offerings like southern fried calamari, Szechuan salmon, and poached shrimp served two to a plate and topped with slaw and salsa.
On March 26, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:Its small neighborhood pockets filled with historic homes, eclectic shops, and cozy restaurants may be Charlotte’s most charming feature. Want to dine like a local? Here are a few spots for casual fare in three of the city’s most notable neighborhoods.
The Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub in NoDa
Located in the artsy NoDa (North Davidson) neighborhood, this small restaurant offers an always-convivial atmosphere for dining on pub fare with a French twist. The crepes—both sweet and savory—are tasty, but for a heartier meal, dig into dishes like the fish and chips, pesto brie fries, or burger topped in gruyere cheese, onion straws, and garlic aioli. Wash it down with one of their local craft brews or North Carolina wine.
The Diamond in Plaza Midwood
You’d be hard pressed to find a more beloved neighborhood spot than this half-a-century-old diner. The kitschy eatery complete with colorful wall paper and vinyl booths, almost always has a line waiting to be served its famed fried pickles, veggie plates, and Greek dishes. For a real glimpse of the neighborhood, pop in late and pull up a stool at the bar one weekend evening (they’re open until 4 a.m).
Fran’s Filling Station in Dilworth
This laid back and friendly spot is the kind of place that will make you want to move to the neighborhood just to call it your own. While the dishes are often casual—bacon-wrapped tater tots, mussels drenched in white wine and garlic, traditional meatloaf—each one is so well executed the flavors feel like fine dining. If you can’t make it for dinner, stop in at lunch for some of the city’s best—and most creative—sandwiches.
On March 25, 2013Sarah Crosland answered the question:From food-focused design to poignant portraits of civil rights activists, Charlotte’s museums are packed with exciting new works. And the best news? Each featured exhibit is located on the same uptown block. So make a day of it and soak in the city’s art scene one new collection at a time.
Artistic Partnerships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers
At the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s latest exhibit visitors have an opportunity to examine the similarities between artists who were close to each other. There are 85 works on display including paintings, sculpture, and prints; each one by an artist linked with another artist. You’ll find modern pieces by well-known pairs like couple Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle and famed friends Joan Miro and Alexander Calder. On display through July 29.
F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design)
While the Mint Museum’s uptown location has several exciting current exhibitions including Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto and works by Colombian artist Debora Arango, its F.O.O.D. exhibit may be its most creative venture. Filled with contemporary objects used in culinary settings, the exhibit offers an unusual perspective on the art of eating. On display through July 7.
I Got Freedom Up Over My Head: Portraits by Julie Moos
This week sees the opening of three new South-centric exhibits at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. This exhibit, which is from the Bank of America collection, features 14 photographs of women from a church in Birmingham, Alabama. The photos by a Canadian photographer take a look at a generation of African-American women who are active in their communities and beyond. On display March 30 through June 15.