By TMoM Team Member Britney Dent
The 5 biggest cities in North Carolina are Winston-Salem, Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte is #1.
There is a lot to do in each of these amazing cities as a family but also as a mom who wants to have a quick getaway without the kids.
So, I did exactly that! I have 3 sisters-in-law and we actually love each other and get along… no outlaws here. I enjoy having 3 sisters as I grew up with just my brother. While I have some amazing cousins, what girl doesn’t want a sister to do fun things with? Well, we did lots of fun things in the “Queen City” on a quick weekend trip!
We wanted to support something local and be entertained. One of my sisters-in-laws found a cirque/aerial show on Eventbrite and we bought the last few remaining tickets. We attended an end of Summer recital of students and residency guests at The Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people of diverse backgrounds to explore beyond their boundaries through dance and circus arts. Their vision is to create educational opportunities for people to experience the world, which will enrich their lives and the lives of those around them. It was a really neat show.
After the show, we wanted to check out something that one of my other sisters-in-laws had found online, on TikTok. It’s a pop-up food vendor that is local to the area. I’m more versed with Instagram than TikTok so I follow this vendor at Premiere Chef on Instagram. The specialty is turkey legs, but we also had yams, macaroni and cheese (my favorite), collard greens and some specially flavored lemonade. The food was amazing and worth the really long wait in the line that wrapped around the parking lot. The Premier Chef is not always in the same location and the hours vary so before heading there be sure to check social media. He also sells out early!
After filling up on good food it was time to walk it off at some thrift stores. We started at the Community Thrift Store on Freedom Drive. We found a few good finds and the store was laid out nicely. Our next shopping stop was the Goodwill Boutique. It was impressive. They offer an extensive range of affordable designer and name-brand clothes, shoes, accessories, and home décor. It is located in the South End neighborhood, which is across from the Scaleybark light rail station. If you’re into saving money on high-end, brand-name items then GW is the place for you!
After shopping, it was time to check into our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn- Center City, which was walking distance to several restaurants including Insomnia Cookies, which we visited for a “midnight snack” after relaxing at the rooftop pool at the Holiday Inn. We booked our hotel stay on Booking.com and I somehow ended up with a handicapped accessible room. The bed was low to accommodate someone in a wheelchair so it is an option for someone who may need it. Parking was easily accessible too, which is always a plus when traveling!
We got up bright and early Saturday to explore the city and find more thrift stores and eateries. On our way to another Goodwill, we passed a farmer’s market. There were local vendors selling fruits, vegetables, clothing, skincare items and health and nutrition items. I bought my very first jar of elderberry syrup from Honest Elderberry and I’m now hooked. Locally, I buy from Nurture by Nature but I’m glad I took a chance on my Charlotte trip to try elderberry for the first time.
We eventually made it to another Goodwill store but this one had the “by the pound” center. You can buy items by the pound instead of paying for individual items. The process of sifting through the bins reminds me of the “dumpster diving” shows of the last decade. It takes patience and persistence to find some good items. It’s worth going for the experience but not everyone will want to do it more than once.
After fighting the crowds at the blue Goodwill bins it was time to eat again. We enjoyed a family style seafood boil lunch at Yummy Crab. It was delicious! The customer service was great as well as the ambience. After eating, we went to the closest dollar tree and purchased items to do crafts that night at the hotel. We bought wall calendars, rope, glue, and pizza pans and made a keepsake decor to remember our special trip. After crafting we, made Tik Tok videos to the popular songs but those are in the secret vault, never will the public see. We don’t have the same dance moves we did in our twenties!
After a fun night of crafting, snacking, and dancing, we got up Sunday morning for our bittersweet last day in the big city. We were ready to get back to our husbands and children but hadn’t checked off everything on our visit Charlotte bucket list. We went to the Ballantyne area on Sunday. Everything we needed was in one spot: Goodwill, Bojangles, and Elevation Church. We visited all three. This Goodwill had some really great deals for home decor and shoes. We scored big here! We ate Bojangles then drove across the street to Elevation Church. It was a great experience. I’ve watched online before and visited the Winston-Salem and Greensboro locations, but it was really neat to be at the “main hub”. After church, we squeezed into the car in between all our suitcases and Goodwill finds and made the trip back to Winston-Salem.
Let’s Do It Again Queens
Don’t wait until the kids are out of the house to take a trip with your sisters, cousins, or friends. Don’t heed the stereotype that in-laws are outlaws. Sisters-in-laws can be the loving sisters you never had! Take the trip. We have plans to go to lots of places, much further away, but we know we can always take a quick and fun getaway to Charlotte: The Queen City with LOTS TO DO! What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlotte without the kids?