We all scream for ice cream
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cold Stone is a nationwide chain of gourmet ice cream stores. Every ice cream creation is made to order for each customer by blending in mix-ins on a frozen granite stone. They are all over the country. The nearest one to me is at the (snooty) Short Pump Town Centre. However, my first go of Cold Stone was at Concord Mills Mall, just north of Charlotte. Mark had some white chocolate ice cream with caramel swirls. I had a simple raspberry sherbet in a waffle cone, not because I felt the need to snack light or somehow deny myself, but because I have loved it since I was a little nipper. At this location on that day, the lady behind the counter seemed a bit pushy. The ice cream was as good as one could get raspberry sherbet.
the first week of our trip
Sunday 4th: We got up just before 6 this morning and had breakfast. Then we packed the last few things and we were off to Schiphol. The storm that had been forecast for the night, with heavy rain and strong winds was not as bad as we had thought it would be. The roads were quiet and we were at the long-term parking at Schiphol just after 7. We got the shuttle bus to the terminal where it was quite busy. It was in fact busier than when I had been there two weeks ago. We checked in and then went through passport control. We had a coffee and then looked in the shops. Koos bought a new pair of noise cancelling headphones and I got a set of earplugs. As we discovered later we were very glad that we had bought them. Just after 10 we went to the gate where we had the last control – had we left our cases unattended and had we packed them ourselves. Then it was time to board. We had a Bulgarian woman on the seat across the aisle from and she had two small children with her. To make things even worse two rows behind us there was a Dutch family with 4 small children The children screamed continually for the first 7 hours of the eight hour trip! Then Koos "tactfully" had a word (supported by a couple of other passengers) with the mothers and we had about an hour’s peace before we landed. We landed on time in Chicago and were quite quickly through customs and immigration. We handed in our luggage for the light to Charlotte and then had a drink. The flight to Charlotte was full but it was on time and there were no noisy children on it. I quickly got the luggage while Koos went to the car rental. We got the shuttle bus to the rental area where we were told to take any compact car we liked! We saw a lovely Chevy and decided (after Koos had tried the seat for size) to take that one. We were so looking forward to taking out the GPS switching it on and driving to the hotel we had booked. So it was an enormous disappointed when it did not work and it did nothing for our good humour which had been tested by the flight to Chicago. By peering at the map from the car rental I worked out we needed to be on the 85 going north and that would cross the street where the hotel was. Luckily I saw the sign for the Sleep Inn and hoping that it was the one we had booked in we went to it. It was the one we had booked. We parked the car but very time Koos tried to get the key out the car alarm went off – good humour was completely gone and we were asking ourselves why we were not on holiday in Europe with our Smart. Early to bed but of course often awake because of jetlag.
Monday: We were up just after 7 and went to breakfast. Then we saw that there was a computer in the lobby. So we logged in and worked out our route on Mapquest. We tried to print it but there no ink in the printer. Then we were off to look around the Concord Mills mall for a couple of hours. We had decided to start the holiday with a lazy day. We had just started off when the GPS started to work so our day was made. We had a look around and a couple of coffees and then after a light lunch we headed towards Florence where we stopped for the night. I looked in Barnes and Noble and found the Bill Bryson audio book I wanted. Koos bought a lovely shirt in the sales. We had dinner in the Western Sizzlin then back to the hotel for an early night.
Tuesday: We both slept better and we woke up just after 8. The room was already quite warm so we were glad to put the air conditioning on. We had a light breakfast, and then we were on our way with of course "a coffee to go". We had decided to stop at the Tanger outlet for a look around and then the Coastal Grand mall. We saw the Mrytle Beach Visitors centre and had a coffee there and got a couple of coupons and vouchers. We had lunch in the mall – a lovely Philly sandwich and a VERY welcome cold limonade. Tom was working well today and he got to Margaret and Mario safely. It was so good to see them again after 5 years. We sat and chatted the afternoon away. Just as good friends it was almost as if we had seen each other yesterday. Margaret had made a lovely dinner and then we spent the evening chatting. It was so pleasant that it was a little later then I usually go to bed when we turned in for the night. I did not for asleep straight away though – oh the joys of jetlag!
Wednesday: I awoke with a bit of a headache so I took a pill and had a shower, which always helps. We had a leisurely breakfast and then we went to Brookgreen Gardens. It was very warm and sunny. We wandered around the gardens, which are beautiful. We saw lots of butterflies. We were going to have a light lunch there but it was so busy that there was a waiting list for lunches. We decided to go home and eat there. We had a look in the gift shop and Mario bought a lovely golden eagle – I did think that Koos would also get one but he did not. We had a lunch at home and a cup of tea. Unfortunately the tea hit Koos´ stomach badly and he had a headache and was nauseated. He took some pills and Mario gave Koos a little brandy, which did wonders. We went out to dinner and as soon as Koos had a cup of soup he felt well again so we reckon that he had not had enough to eat and was feeling sick because of that. We were going to go to the Seafare restaurant but it was closed so we went to Ryan’s and had their buffet, which was very good.
Thursday: We went to Micheals so I could have a look around, i got the cutter I had been looking for and as Marion had a advertisment with a 50% discount i got a bargain. Then we went to Atlanta Bread for a lovely lunch with a soup and sandwich which were very tasty. We had a look around Lowes supermarket and got a couple of tins of pumpkin so I can make some pumpkin bread when we get home. We went to look at what building they were doing an the old air force base and then the ocean. We spent the evening chatting and the time went by so quickly, for about six months we have been looking forward to this visit and now it is almost over. Koos and Margaret went on Margaret's computer to look at her photos from the camera while Mario and I did the washing up although I have to admit that I abandoned him before the knives and forks were done.
Friday already it was time to say goodbye for this visit – we had such a good time. We headed out towards Florence again but stopped at the Tanger outlet because Koos decided to get a pair of trousers at the Columbia shop there. Then we continued on to the I-20 going west towards Atlanta. There were some major roadworks along that road but luckily the worst traffic hold ups were on the opposite side of the road. We stopped for a drink and it was then that my headache started. I did sleep a little bit on the road but it gradually got worse and we decided that we had to find a hotel for the night although it was only just before 4 p.m. Luckily we found a very nice Eccono Lodge and I just undressed and got into bed. I had not thought it was a migraine but it came on quick and sharp. Threw up about 4 times and the last time I was so exhausted I almost fell asleep leaning over the toilet. So instead of going out for dinner Koos enjoyed the tasty sandwiches, cake and fruit Margaret had packed for us. Finally I fell asleep and in fact slept well for the rest of the evening and night. Later in the evening a group of guests stood and chatted o0utside our room for a while which woke me up but I soon settled down again.
Saturday: I woke up and felt fine in fact Koos (and I) were surprised just how well I felt. Koos had thought that a trip to Stone Mountain today would have been out of the question, I just did not have the power to think about Saturday on Friday evening! We had breakfast and then I phoned mum and dad. I had hoped to Skype with mum but she was out shopping. Still Dad did not have the chance to hand me over to mum straight away and it is nice to chat to him for once. I emailed them and Margaret and Mario as well. That is a fun thing to do with this little computer, that way it seems we have more contact. It was raining heavily when we set off and we wondered how it would be at Stone Mountain but gradually it cleared up and by the time we arrived there it was lovely weather. We bought tickets for the trip up the mountain by cable car. We decided to have a coffee before going up. So we went into the bistro and ordered a black coffee and a vanilla latte and a cookie. She said she would bring them out to us. We waited quite a while and she brought the black coffee out. 20 minutes passed and still no latte. So I went in and asked where it was “Oh it was a latte, I will bring it out” - no latte so Koos went in and asked where it was. “Oh I am sorry I will bring it out and would you like a free cookie”. At last I got my latte and the free cookie. It was, I am glad to say a very good latte. Then we went up the mountain by cable car – the views were wonderful. We walked down, a lovely walk and there were lots of people walking the trail. Then we headed north towards Dawsonville for the night. There is a huge outlet mall there so we looked around that before dinner to pass the time. It was very pleasant and it was good to walk for a while. We got some bananas and then went and had dinner before going back to the hotel. We were actually lucky to get a room, as almost everything was fully booked.
NEEDS HELP, RELOCATING TO CHARLOTTE THIS SUMMER
My husband & I are in mid 30'are in banking careers and we have 2 small childrens, ages 2 and 5. We lived in NYC metro Area all our life. We are planning to move to University area
in Northeast charlotte this summer. Please tell us about the area, school system, crime rate,jobs,healthcare etc. Anything you send will help us !!
RE: NEEDS HELP, RELOCATING TO CHARLOTTE THIS SUMMER
Have you moved yet? My name is Laura and I am originally from NY as well. I grew up in the Hudson Valley area. My husband who is also from NY works in the university area for Wachovia. There are some great things to do in that part of town. They have a pond in the middle of the plaza of of Wt harris. You can go paddle boating there or feed the ducks. The Concord Mills Mall is right of 85 and is huge. It has a Nascar store there with go carts, bumper boats and arcade games and more. My 3 year old daughter loves it. Chuckee Cheese is also righ tnext door. There is a great park not that far from Charlotte called Dan Nicholas Park. I believe its in Spencer.Also if you are looking to meetother parents and their children go to www.charlotte-parents.com. It is a group for all parents that talk on line as well as meet in the community for play groups and more. If I can be of any more help let me know.
Welcome to Charlotte,