George Washington Bookstore and Tavern: Shopping, Restaurant, Nightlife all in one!
This place might be reason enough to visit Concord. Not only is it a bookstore, it's also a surprisingly tasty tavern that serves up unique southern specialties (great fried green tomatoes and chowders) and a good selection of mostly regional brews. To top it off, on the weekends, it becomes an live music venue. Check out the website below for menus and performance schedules.
Lunch Monday -Saturday 11a-2:30p
Dinner Monday-Saturday 5p-9:30p
Music Friday-Saturday 9:30p-2a
Concord Mills Mall: Sadly, the biggest attraction in North Carolina
Sad, but sometimes true, some stereotypes some foreigners have against Americans have a grain of validity. For example, that malls like this- as opposed to Main Street, small town USA- rank among the top attractions among American tourists. I went up here to see what sets this mall apart from the rest of the lot. Well, quite a lot, actually. The colour scheme and design are unlike nothing I have ever seen before. Enlarge the photo of one of the entrances to get an idea of what I mean. Also, you don't find all of the usual suspects you find at most other malls, but you do find some unusual ones like Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the Alabama Grill (run by the country group of that name), and the NASCAR Speed Park. These stores, together what a whatnot shop called Country Clutter are more Southern and rural in nature. I also liked Past & Presents, a nostalgia store. There is also a large indoor fun fair and a more than ample food court. While this mall is impressive in terms of store diversity and the fact that I found some bargains, it should hardly be the biggest tourist attraction, particularly not in a state like North Carolina with the Outer Banks, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Biltmore Estate among other attractions. Folks from other countries are well within their rights to scoff at this phenomenon.
What to buy: With more than 200 stores, the question is what not to buy. I bought some postcards, a refrigerator magnet, and one of the last "Carolina Panthers NFC Champions" baseball caps.
UPDATE: I will no longer buy anything at this mall or any other by the same management (Simon Group) because they evicted a tenant based on the content of his store and applied this standard only to this vendor. If you're interested, write me an e-mail for more details.
What to pay: Many of the stores are outlets which unload excess product at discount. At Off 5th, a $1000 suit still costs a still much too expensive $500.
T-Shirts Plus: See, I DID find bargains here!
What to buy: I wandered in here in search of any remaining t-shirts commemorating the Carolina Panthers' victory in the National Football Conference championship game. They were out of those shirts, but they did still have a cap with that inscription. Besides that, I got postcards, a refrigerator magnet, and a North Carolina booklet. The clerk was very helpful, even going into the storeroom to see if there are any more t-shirts. Besides that, I got real bargains on everything.
What to pay: All of what I bought (listed above) totaled less than $15.
Concord Mill Mall: Shop 'til you drop
I've heard that this is the state's #1 tourist draw. Isn't that strange? I've also heard that the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesoate (a southside suburb of Minneapolis) is the biggest tourist attraction in the USA. To me, that's pretty sad and an interesting commentary on our consumer-oriented society.
Anyways, if you do want to shop, this isn't a bad place, although I take issue with Concord MIlls' billing as an outlet mall. Sure, there are a few outlet chains (for example, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue is a good place to pay expensive prices for what are normally SUPER expensive items), but for the most part, the prices aren't that low.
Mon - Fri 10 am to 9:30 pm
Saturdays 10 am to 9:30 pm
Sundays 11 am - 7 pm
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