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If you get way outside of Charlotte, you will realize that North Carolina gets very rural and in may areas, very poor. 85 of the state's 100 counties are considered rural, and 80 of these have an average population density of 250 per square mile or less.
Written Aug 18, 2012
Since shortly after the white man first came to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, the area has been a center of textile production. Unfortunately, in recent years, the production of virtually all textiles has been moved to third world nations and Carolina textiles are all but a thing of the past. Some time ago, leaders of several counties around Charlotte came up with the idea to honor the history of textiles and develop more ecological awareness in the area at the same time.
The resulting Carolina Thread Trail is a network of trails, greenways, blueways, and conservation corridors that will eventually reach 15 counties in North and South Carolina. It’s a project that connects communities and will be a conservation landmark for our region. The Thread Trail offers opportunities to bike, hike, fish, paddle, and simply reconnect with nature. The project is all about community. The Thread will be designed, built and owned by the counties, towns and citizens through which it is woven.
As of 29 May 2012, there are 93 miles of The Thread currently open to the public in North and South Carolina, with 14 active corridors under development, in the following counties: (in North Carolina unless otherwise indicated) Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cherokee (SC), Chester (SC), Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster (SC), Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union, and York (SC). Unfortunately, those 93 miles are not continuous.
The most recent addition was the Ramsour's Mill Trail in Lincolnton which was dedicated on May 19. The .29 mile trail is part of The Thread and weaves along Clark's Creek. It includes a canoe/kayak access point that was built by Boy Scout Marvin Robbins as his Eagle Scout project. This "Marking The Thread" event was held in conjunction with the annual Battle of Ramsour's Mill Reenactment. The Clark's Creek Kayak Access was also dedicated at that time.
Updated Jun 21, 2012
Phone: 704.376.2556 ext. 217
The Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) added 10 plots totaling 1,623 acres in 2011 closing the year with the acquisition of a 175 acre site to be known as the Long Creek Conservation area.
CLC closed on the property on Dec. 21, 2011, adding approximately 175 acres of conserved land to its already 1,250 conserved acres along the Catawba River.
This newly conserved property, called Long Creek Conservation Area, is located in southwestern Mecklenburg County along Long Creek (a tributary of the Catawba River) near the U.S. Whitewater Center.
This conservation area will yield significant public benefit, as it will forever protect the natural habitats for fish, wildlife and plants; provide watershed protection that improves surface water quality, including more than four miles (23,311 feet) of stream/river frontage and 153 acres of floodplains; and provide public recreation and open space, including important tree cover and a proposed greenway of approximately three miles for the Carolina Thread Trail. This key new leg of the Carolina Thread Trail will also make an important connection to the trails and amenities of the U.S. Whitewater Center.
Written Feb 18, 2012
Since 1927, Wing Haven has been a unique fixture in Charlotte having been developed as the private gardens and residence of the late Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson. The gardens, hidden in plain sight in a well manicured residential neighborhood off Ridgewood Avenue, feature almost three acres of formal gardens, woodlands, special plantings for birds and countless plants native to our region. Given to the Wing Haven Foundation in 1970, the gardens and bird sanctuary along with the neighboring Elizabeth Lawrence Garden are open to the public. Their gardeners and lecturers know southern gardens and offer techniques and tips specific to our region.
Written Feb 11, 2012
Address: 248 Ridgewood Avenue
One usually thinks of farmers markets as being wonderful sources of fresh, high quality just off the farm produce, dairy products, even crafts at very competitive prices, because you have eliminated the middlemen. Elizabeth Avenue Farmer’s Market is the creation of Chef Trey Wilson, owner of Customshop Restaurant located a few steps up Elizabeth Ave. If you have dined at Customshop, you know of his dedication to employ the finest of fresh products from local producers. His farmers market features many of the same quality producers offering ingredients you enjoy at Customshop. Chef Trey will enhance the market with some of his own creations which you can enjoy at home. Look for new and innovative seasonal products available in coming weeks. Chef Trey will be available to furnish you some tips for delicious dining from your own kitchen.
Customshop is grilling out every Saturday offering anything from Shrip Tacos to House Made Italian Sausage Hogies. Come get your weekly meats, fish, veggies and lunch!
The market is open Saturdays only from nine until one.
Currently available offerings include:
Wild Turkey Farms
Landis Gourmet Mushrooms
Chef Charles Catering
Dover Vineyards Organic Produce
Gluten-Free and Vegan Desserts
Do not expect low prices but the offerings are high quality.
Written Oct 7, 2011
Address: 1521 Elizabeth Avenue
Fried okra. Mint Juleps. Heat. Drawls. These might be what comes to mind when you think of the South -- but there's so much more to this amazing slice of the good-old US of A, and you can explore it at the Levine Museum of the New South. You'll experience an interactive history museum that offers the most comprehensive interpretation of post-Civil War Southern society which I have ever seen, featuring longtime residents and newcomers who have shaped the South from 1865 through today.
Updated Dec 15, 2010
Address: 200 E Seventh Street
The Catawba river runs through the central Piedmont area of North Carolina, winding in lazy turns across the landscape until it heads into Lake Wylie and South Carolina. It is a peaceful river with a gentle current, and is perfect for a lazy day on the water to enjoy some kayaking.
You can put in at several areas along the banks of the river. If you are lacking a kayak of your own, then check out the US National Whitewater Center. For $25 a day, you can rent a kayak and spend as much time on the water as you want, or go out with a guide and participate in a guided tour along the river banks. In the warm summer months, it is a perfect way to go. We headed upriver, beached and then swam for a while, and headed back down in a lazy fashion.
Written Aug 5, 2010
Unlike their mythical cousins, the velociraptors, modern-day raptors are real birds of prey that strike like death from the sky. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of these fearsome creatures, from eagles to owls, some of which can be seen up close and personal at one of the center's several live programs and tours. On a clear day, fortunate guests can catch a clear view of the resident raptor, Emma , a white barn owl taken under the wing of the center following a series of broken bones. Too fragile to survive in the wild, Emma now pitches in around the center, raising wildlife awareness and taloning up rogue litter.
The Carolina Raptor Center supports environmental conservation and safeguards community health by treating injured and orphaned raptors. Raptors are leading scientific indicators of a healthy environment. The Carolina Raptor Center offers a pleasant afternoon or morning walk along its nature trail. Enjoy over twenty species of raptors - hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures. Learn how these birds have adapted special characteristics to occupy a particular environmental niche and how they serve as indicators of our community's health.
There is an admission fee, $6-8 for most of us.
Updated Apr 8, 2010
Address: 6000 Sample Road, Huntersville
James Knox Polk was born on a 400 acre farm worked by his family in Mecklenburg County, NC in 1795. The oldest of ten children, Polk suffered from poor health much of his life. His family moved to Tennessee when he was 11 but he returned to North Carolina to attend UNC before returning to Tennessee in 1823 to study law. He became a protege of fellow native North Carolinian, Andrew Jackson, served seven terms in Congress, including four years as Speaker of the House, one term as governor of Tennessee (but failed twice to be elected to a second term), and became the 11th President of the United States of America in 1844. He returned to Tennessee for the last time after leaving the presidency in 1849 and died at his home there three months later.
A Democrat, Polk would be regarded as a very conservative leader today. While still in Congress, he made the following statement regarding the role of government, "I would relieve the burdens of the whole community as far as possible, by reducing the taxes. I would keep as much money in the treasury as the safety of the Government required, and no more. I would keep no surplus revenue there to scramble for, either for internal improvements, or for any thing else. I would bring the Government back to what it was intended to be--a plain economical government."
The site of his birth was never developed but in recent decades a substantial portion of it has been restored very much as it might have looked in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.
Updated Mar 3, 2010
Address: 12031 Lancaster Highway, Pineville, NC
The Carolinas' Thanksgiving Day Parade, a tradition since 1947, is one of the largest get-togethers of Carolinians that takes place during the year. It boasts participation from both Carolinas and touches approximately half a million people from the 22-county metro area. In 2008, TravelMuse.com named the Carolinas’ Thanksgiving Day Parade as the fourth largest Thanksgiving Parade in the United States.
As a young Boy Scout, I marched in this parade a few times, as a senior in high school, I took a photograph which was used as the cover of the Carolinas' Carousel program book the following year, and while in college, my best friend, my brother, and I followed the Santa Claus float (traditionally the last thing in the parade) on my beautiful new blue Honda Dream 300 motorcycle. Yes, three people on a motorcycle. As you can see, this parade has long been a poignant part of my Thanksgiving celebrations.
Updated Nov 21, 2009
Address: along South and North Tryon Street
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