trinacriabob

North Carolina - what's it like?

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Going to be in both Raleigh and Charlotte about a month from now.

What are they like? Are they similar or dissimilar? What's there to do?

I've heard that North Carolina is a beautiful state. I've only been near Raleigh for a wedding while I was living in Atlanta. I know I liked Atlanta.

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Charlotte's twice as big as Raleigh, but I think you knew that.

Charlotte pretty much is its own entity, whereas with Raleigh you can easily swing over to Cary, Durham, or Chapel Hill to find things to do and places to see.

I'll let FoG chime in here... he's a Charlottean, whereas I don't even live in NC (yet).

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NC is great.

I can't say much about Raleigh because I haven't been there in a while (probably close to 10 years) but I do know that people speak highly of Chapel Hill.

Charlotte is a very nice city. It's not as pretty as the mountains (Asheville -- where I'm originally from) but it's clean and for the most part everyone I've encountered is nice. My only complaints are 1) Sprawl... Uptown is grouped together pretty well, but the metro area is HUGE and seems to never end. 2) Lack of culture. If any of you have ever been to Asheville, you know that we have an ABUNDANCE of culture. Charlotte on the other hand is a very 'black and white' business oriented environment. (Naturally. It's the banking capital) It has culture (the art district I live in now is amazing) but you have to look really hard to find it.

Traditionally, Charlotte is divided into two sections; uptown, which is the newer, cleaner, (and definitely safer) big bank and skyscraper section. The people that hang out their are usually the banking employees. The environment is nice in that it's elegant and classy but it can also be very uptight and mundane. Downtown is the area surrounding the city that consists of industrial architecture, small businesses, older neighborhoods and sometimes 'the ghetto.' This is what gave Charlotte such a bad reputation of crime and poverty. But now, the city is starting to 'push out' from uptown and revitalize a lot of these areas. NoDa, my arts district, is one area that is very nice, but definitely still on the edge of 'transition' 'Elizabeth' is another area that is nice now as is 'South End' and 'Dilworth' Charlotte planners once subscribed to the old sociological concept of putting section 8 housing next to million dollar neighborhoods so that the "disadvantaged" people could "learn good habits from the well off" As a result, Charlotte still remains a mixture of good and bad neighborhoods. For instance, 'South Park' one of our premiere neighborhoods with million dollar houses is positioned right next to section 8 housing, so you'll literally drive from 'yuppie-ville' to 'ghetto land' at one stoplight.

I don't know what your tastes are, but there are tons of small diners and dives that have great history and great food. The uptown scene has a bunch of clubs as well (I don't club because me in a club would be like waiving a red flag at a bull) There are also quite a few historical elements that are really cool to see. The outskirts of the city (the surrounding counties) are pretty much stereotypical NC (very country and simplistic -- charming) I'm a bit eccentric, so I'm not sure if I should be giving you advice on what to do. I usually spend my free time either partaking in the car culture of the region, taking in historic or "old" things that I think are cool (industrial things, antiques, etc) and hanging out in my neighborhood with the localites. There are some cool museums and tourist-y things too.

A no brainer, but here it is anyway: Wikipedia: Charlotte

Charlotte Neighborhoods

NoDa

Here is a list of local eats that I posted a while back: http://www.cheersandgears.com/index.php?sh...OF_GM&st=20

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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If it is still there, I highly recommend Hugo's Diner in Charlotte.

The place is a complete dive, but the food is awesome!

I got the "Beltbuster Breakfast", it comes on three plates!

Also the tour of Charlotte International Speedway (or whatever they call it now) was awesome. They put you in a huge Chevy van with a big block and race around the track so you can feel the cetrifugal force as you speed up and it pulls you to an upright position from a lean. Then they stop in the middle of one of the turns, and you feel like you are about to tip over.

Great experience ( though I would rather have done some hot laps).

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they used to have a fund raiser thing up there where you paid a "donation" signed a waiver, passed inspection and had the correct safety gear. they would turn you loose for 2 laps in your car on the track.

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I've been to Charlotte a few times....most recently back in April for a job interview.

Charlotte kind of struck me as Atlanta's quiet little sister. Actually, Charlotte is a bigger city, population-wise, than Atlanta.....but doesn't have nearly as many suburbs so it feels like a smaller city.

Uptown was a conglomeration of newly-built highrises with the defacto increase in loft/condo developments in the city center that so many other cities have been building. However, it seemed to me to be a "roll-up-the-carpet-at-5pm" type of city.....at least compared to Atlanta.

I didn't get a huge chance to explore different neighborhoods......but it probably seems like a decent place to live.....but probably a little on the dull side compared to Atlanta (if one was looking at a major southeastern city to relocate to.)

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Blue Ridge Parkway FTW.

Also the tour of Charlotte International Speedway (or whatever they call it now) was awesome.

Lowes Motor Speedway - LEFT :)

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I got the "Beltbuster Breakfast", it comes on three plates!

They put you in a huge Chevy van with a big block and race around the track

You shouldn't have told me about the first one. I will probably go!

And the Charlotte International Raceway tour with that perk costs how much? :lol:

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You shouldn't have told me about the first one. I will probably go!

And the Charlotte International Raceway tour with that perk costs how much? :lol:

:lol:

Both the breakfast and the tour were cheap, like under $20.

But that was a long time ago.

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Yah, I'm from the Triangle area, but I don't know how much help I could be to you. The only time I ever really go into Raleigh is in the summer for the free concert series they have. The downtown area is pretty nice, albeit rather small, with some nice parks, government buildings, and museums all within pretty close proximity to each other. Raleigh also still has more of a small-town feel than Charlotte. Downtown Durham is similar in that it's not very big, but has some nice areas. The triangle also has a pretty good arts/music scene, aided by the large number of colleges in the area.

Edited by Enzora
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NC is great.

I can't say much about Raleigh because I haven't been there in a while (probably close to 10 years) but I do know that people speak highly of Chapel Hill.

Charlotte is a very nice city. It's not as pretty as the mountains (Asheville -- where I'm originally from) but it's clean and for the most part everyone I've encountered is nice. My only complaints are 1) Sprawl... Uptown is grouped together pretty well, but the metro area is HUGE and seems to never end. 2) Lack of culture. If any of you have ever been to Asheville, you know that we have an ABUNDANCE of culture. Charlotte on the other hand is a very 'black and white' business oriented environment. (Naturally. It's the banking capital) It has culture (the art district I live in now is amazing) but you have to look really hard to find it.

Traditionally, Charlotte is divided into two sections; uptown, which is the newer, cleaner, (and definitely safer) big bank and skyscraper section. The people that hang out their are usually the banking employees. The environment is nice in that it's elegant and classy but it can also be very uptight and mundane. Downtown is the area surrounding the city that consists of industrial architecture, small businesses, older neighborhoods and sometimes 'the ghetto.' This is what gave Charlotte such a bad reputation of crime and poverty. But now, the city is starting to 'push out' from uptown and revitalize a lot of these areas. NoDa, my arts district, is one area that is very nice, but definitely still on the edge of 'transition' 'Elizabeth' is another area that is nice now as is 'South End' and 'Dilworth' Charlotte planners once subscribed to the old sociological concept of putting section 8 housing next to million dollar neighborhoods so that the "disadvantaged" people could "learn good habits from the well off" As a result, Charlotte still remains a mixture of good and bad neighborhoods. For instance, 'South Park' one of our premiere neighborhoods with million dollar houses is positioned right next to section 8 housing, so you'll literally drive from 'yuppie-ville' to 'ghetto land' at one stoplight.

I don't know what your tastes are, but there are tons of small diners and dives that have great history and great food. The uptown scene has a bunch of clubs as well (I don't club because me in a club would be like waiving a red flag at a bull) There are also quite a few historical elements that are really cool to see. The outskirts of the city (the surrounding counties) are pretty much stereotypical NC (very country and simplistic -- charming) I'm a bit eccentric, so I'm not sure if I should be giving you advice on what to do. I usually spend my free time either partaking in the car culture of the region, taking in historic or "old" things that I think are cool (industrial things, antiques, etc) and hanging out in my neighborhood with the localites. There are some cool museums and tourist-y things too.

A no brainer, but here it is anyway: Wikipedia: Charlotte

Charlotte Neighborhoods

NoDa

Here is a list of local eats that I posted a while back: http://www.cheersandgears.com/index.php?sh...OF_GM&st=20

I was just looking at a Google map of uptown Charlotte (this kind of stuff always interests me) and HOLY PARKING LOTS BATMAN! What's the story behind that? I'm guessing urban renewal, but it's amazing how much of that area within the interstate loop are surface lots.

Charlotte has a pretty nice skyline for its size.

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I was just looking at a Google map of uptown Charlotte (this kind of stuff always interests me) and HOLY PARKING LOTS BATMAN! What's the story behind that? I'm guessing urban renewal, but it's amazing how much of that area within the interstate loop are surface lots.

Charlotte has a pretty nice skyline for its size.

Yeah, about that. . . North Carolina really has yet to embrace mass transit culture. Charlotte just now has a light rail, but that's about it. Kind of ironic, since trains used to be a huge part of the North Carolina economy.

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Charlotte has a pretty nice skyline for its size.

I like the tallest of the towers - I think it's B of A. It tapers off with a nice layered "crown," if you will, from a distance. Seen closer up, it's a little too "chromey" and busy. But I agree with you.

A lot of the southern cities, for some reason, have these parking lots here and there in their CBDs. In ATL, they are pretty much GONE with all the infill and development, but you'll see them in Montgomery, Jacksonville, etc. (They're not Montreal in terms of its downtown urban core, that's for sure).

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I like the tallest of the towers - I think it's B of A. It tapers off with a nice layered "crown," if you will, from a distance. Seen closer up, it's a little too "chromey" and busy. But I agree with you.

A lot of the southern cities, for some reason, have these parking lots here and there in their CBDs. In ATL, they are pretty much GONE with all the infill and development, but you'll see them in Montgomery, Jacksonville, etc. (They're not Montreal in terms of its downtown urban core, that's for sure).

Interesting.. I guess the cost of the land was low enough at the time the lots were built that it was cheaper to build lots instead of garages. I don't see very much in the way of lots in Denver or Phoenix's CBDs---lots of parking garages.

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I was just looking at a Google map of uptown Charlotte (this kind of stuff always interests me) and HOLY PARKING LOTS BATMAN! What's the story behind that? I'm guessing urban renewal, but it's amazing how much of that area within the interstate loop are surface lots.

Charlotte has a pretty nice skyline for its size.

Charlotte has this bad habit (and I say that because I am a preservationist above all else) of going into places and just bulldozing everything down. My guess is that the surface lots are a by product of that. I've also heard that Charlotte is very against free standing parking garages for some reason. Parking is a nightmare though; I have friends that work for BAC that pay $500-800 each year to park and they still have to walk multiple blocks to get to their offices.

This 'bulldozing everything' was a BIG trend in the late 60s & early 70s (as the city was dying along with the textile industry -- maybe they subscribed to the sociological theory that old buildings increase opportunity for crime) That's essentially what they did to uptown Charlotte and that's one of the reasons why it's so well planned and so clean. It's basically NEW. But at the same time, it's really sad for me because only one or two historical buildings remain at the core of uptown.

The most extreme examples of this were that some african american communities around the city were just basically destroyed in the 60s, forcing their residents to relocate. It was a sad and very unfair occurrence.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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I like the tallest of the towers - I think it's B of A. It tapers off with a nice layered "crown," if you will, from a distance. Seen closer up, it's a little too "chromey" and busy. But I agree with you.

Yep, that would be the BAC building... The Hearst tower beside it is also one of my favorites. They're both kind of gothic.

BAC:

398864.jpg

Hearst:

200px-Charlotte_hearsttower_skyscra.jpg

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BAC:

398864.jpg

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Real pleasing and fairly simple proportions in how it's layered...and then "spire central."

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That's Cesar Pelli's masterpiece. It' concrete all the way through (no steel, except in the middle) so the walls are about the size of a 3rd world country :)

Charlotte has put height restrictions on all new buildings so that the BAC building will remain the tallest structure in the area.

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That's Cesar Pelli's masterpiece.

Charlotte has put height restrictions on all new buildings so that the BAC building will remain the tallest structure in the area.

I was going to say KPF, but I could see Pelli as well. A lot of times, the reason why there's incongruence in a building's design is because of "design by committee." I'm sure it's present even in larger, highbrow firms.

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That's a cool building...I have a colleague I used to work with in Colorado that's been with BofA in Charlotte since '00...I think he might have worked in that building.

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It's an interesting piece...

I think it's still the largest all concrete structure in the world (My GF could tell you all about it, but I'm no architect) and still the tallest building on a significant portion of the east coast.

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We are going to the coast of NC in June for vacation. Any suggestions of where to stay, what part of the coast and what to do there? It's my first time and I've always wanted to visit there. We're going to fly into Raleigh.

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Nags Head is nice in a relaxing sort of way. Back then, it wasn't very commercial at all (winter of '94 -- I'm sure it's changed) I went in the winter and it was peaceful, if not depressing. Even the Hardees and Wal-Mart were seasonal back then. I'm a light house fanatic, so be sure to see a couple of those. I think the coolest are Hatteras (naturally) and Bodie (because of the story behind it) Wilmington is nice, lots of history there. New Bern was cool as well and seemed to me to have a certain charm that Wilmington lacked.

Honestly, the coolest coastal place I've been in the Carolinas is Charleston SC. There is just SO MUCH history there!

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Honestly, the coolest coastal place I've been in the Carolinas is Charleston SC. There is just SO MUCH history there!

How is Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head (both SC)? Is the surf fairly calm and the water a nice color (read "Florida Panhandle")?

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