I slept like a rock for the first time after leaving home. Maybe it was the securing of being somewhere that felt safe, or maybe I was just getting used to the confined sleeping quarters. Either way I was thankful to feel a bit more refreshed. I did wake up a good bit before the rest of the family, so I just kind of wondered around for a few minutes before settling back into my car to kill time. I didn’t know them well enough to go in their house while they were still asleep, even though they said that was perfectly fine. That just felt intrusive to me. Once they got up and moving I joined them for breakfast. Since the kids had stayed the night with their grandmother the night before, the house was pretty quiet. After finally getting an answer from William on what he needed my help with, I got to work on the project. There was a blank wall in their music room that he wanted covered in posters and album covers, so that’s just what I did. For about three hours I measured, adjusted, and hung posters on the wall. After finishing up, William told me I was free to go, so I took off towards Charlotte, NC.
Charlotte was about an hour and a half east of where I was, but the drive went by pretty quickly. Once I got there I headed straight to the popular arts district North Davidson, or as it’s more commonly referred to, NoDa. It was filled with eclectic shops, breweries, coffee shops, trendy bistros, and loads of stunning street art. One of my favorite shops I visited was Pura Vida Worldly Art. It was full of hand crafted goods sourced from around the world. Their inventory ranged from scarves and clothes, to planters and incense. Definitely worth checking out even if to just inspire your inner creator. Just around the corner was a fantastic coffee shop called Smelly Cat Coffee House. They had a huge variety of drinks and snacks, and the atmosphere was very laid back and cozy. A great place to stop in for a nice cup of coffee while exploring and checking out the unavoidable street art. Intermingled with all of the neat shops and restaurants are gorgeous murals. Seriously, they’re everywhere. Talented local artists have turned store fronts, walls, and even dumpsters into stunning pieces of art. That was definitely one of my favorite parts about the city, honestly.
After exploring NoDa a bit, I decided to make the short 15-ish minute walk to Amelie’s which is a 24/7 French bakery. Definitely worth every step. I had the layered salted caramel torte, and holy cow that thing was delicious. I would have gotten a photo, but I was too enamored and forgot to do so until it was too late. They had tarts, brownies, macaroons, cupcakes, and so many other delicious looking treats. Definitely a must. I’m really glad I walked there though, because it did make me feel (slightly) better about all the sugar I had just eaten. It’s a trip though, so you’re supposed to treat yourself, right? Right.
Once I made it back to my car, which was luckily still there (I always get super nervous about parking in new places because of laws and regulations I may be unaware of), I decided to drive into downtown. Poor decision. There was a ton of construction, and parking was practically nonexistent unless I wanted to pay an arm and a leg, so it just ended up being incredibly stressful. After roaming around for a bit I just decided to go ahead and head back towards the house. It was my trip after all, so I didn’t really have to worry about how anyone else felt about the decision, so that was really nice.
Once I made it about halfway back, I stopped in a small town called Shelby. I much prefer the pace of small towns. They tend to be much calmer, safer, and the traffic is usually a breeze. The downtown area of Shelby was really nice. They had nice restaurants, music stores, cafes, and theaters, and I didn’t feel like I had to be on my guard as much. It turned out to be the home of old country music star Don Gibson, so there were tons of tribute sculptures around the town to commemorate him. It was definitely a nice way to decompress after the big city of Charlotte. Conveniently there was also a Planet Fitness in Shelby, so I was able to get in a good workout and shower before heading in for the night.