January 07, 2008


After five weeks in the tundra to meet our new granddaughter, it was time to remove ourselves to warmer climes. Charlotte ended up being more of a transition than a true transformation, because in was still a bit cold at night – dipping down to the 20’s that left frost on the car windows in the morning.

Public Art Aplenty
 Charlotte Public Art
Lovely Murals to See
 Charlotte Murals

To see all our photos from Charlotte and Savanah,
press HERE for a slideshow.

We had never spent anytime in Charlotte before. So, we learned quite a bit about the city. In the city proper, there are about 600,000 people. The metro area is said to have 1.5 to 2.5 million people. Based on what I know about cities, the lower end of the estimate sounds more real. The vast majority of the local residents are transplants, most often from another state. They are new to the area because the growth in the city is new. Perhaps this is a result of Charlotte’s emergence as the second largest banking center in the USA. Lack of planning has made for many new roads that came in response to the growth and leaves the city feeling a bit haphazardly built. I thought the town would be rich with history and filled with historical buildings. This is not the case. The only really old neighborhood is called the Fourth Ward. Here most of the homes were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, but the neighborhood is quite small covering only 20 or 30 blocks. We walked though the neighborhood admiring the older homes in less than an hour.

Russ Ford, Tour Guide
 Russ Ford

We had a guided walking tour of the downtown, which is called Uptown and is adjacent to the Fourth Ward. Here we saw a few older building, mostly churches. The modern city center is filled will skyscrapers built by banks. The two largest are the Bank of America and Wachovia. We also found some good public art. As far as amenities go, they have a very good new light rail system that the public seems to love. Because there has been so much growth in recent years, the style of development outside the city center has been predominantly suburban. In way of explanation for my foreign readers, this means extremely low density housing far from the city center many shopping centers springing up to serve the new residents.

Hunter and Betty
 Hunter and Betty

We did couch surf one night. We spent the day with Hunter Tabony. He and his wife Cierra had spend eight-months traveling in 2006. They circumnavigated the world on a minuscule budget. One of the ways that they were able to make do was by using Couchsurfing.com and the Hospitality Club. We shared travel stories all day on Saturday. In the early evening we visited Diane Collins. She and her husband Bill were couch surfer hosts. She had invited us to dinner, where we talked about our travels, our lives and our children. She is a most gracious person. When we returned to Hunter’s home, we awaited the arrival of Cierra. She had worked long and hard on Saturday, not arriving home until after 11 PM. She is a veterinarian who works at an emergency animal care clinic. When she got home we sat up talking another hour or so, but weariness soon overtook us all and the night quickly drew to a close.
In the morning we got to know Cierra better. We play a game of cribbage before she had to leave for the clinic. They are a wonderful and generous couple.

We left midday on Sunday. We headed south and drove for many hours. We stopped only for lunch. We did take a sixty-mile detour off the freeway to get a sense of rural South Carolina. No, we did not meet any one from Deliverance. We stopped for the night about 40 miles north of Savannah, Georgia.

I will write about Savannah in few day.
Until then, take care.

Posted by bill at January 7, 2008 07:33 PM

Funny Deliverance comment. The scariest movie I have seen regarding the inbreds. HA. HA. Stay safe! Margie

Posted by: Margie Sanroman at January 10, 2008 09:17 AM

Just now came across this blog while surfing the 'net. Thanks for the publicity. It must have been a very cold day in January, because I only wear that cap in extremely frigid weather. By the way, for the benefit of your readers, the tour is free, offered every Friday at the Charlotte visitor center, 330 South Tryon Street (for info see www.charlottetour.org). Come see me.

Posted by: Russ Ford at July 19, 2008 03:00 PM