If I had a nickel for every hour I’ve spent getting to know cities on foot, I would have a lot of nickels. I started walking when I was in a photographer. I was always searching out cool nooks and crannies that would give my photo’s a sense of mystery, texture, and depth. You can’t find cool nooks or crannies from a car. I was usually drawn to graveyards or railroad tracks or a funky alley way. All of these areas that time and the masses may have forgotten, but that still exist off the beaten path, in the shadows of our communities.
Now I call it urban hiking, although I still bring my camera. There are some fantastic nooks and crannies around Charlotte. Unfortunately, my favorite nook was the courtyard of the now torn down Common Market in South End. The courtyard took advantage of a negative space between 2 buildings and a little alley way. Soooo cool!
I also love the graveyards in uptown Charlotte especially the one off of Church St. Now, you might find it creepy just walking graveyards alone but when you walk with other people it becomes a ‘tour’ and is totally not weird. Carolina History and Haunts offers year round ghost tours in uptown guided by lantern light. The stories and haunts of local history even take you to some of Charlotte’s famous landmarks…. mmmm…
There is so much beauty to be seen in unexpected places. Community gardens are often located in nooks, like the Belmont community garden that is just off the sweeten creek greenway.
The railroad tracks that run through uptown are super industrial cool (but please be careful!). There are alleys all over Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth that are a whole other world. Homeowners that back up to alley ways create wonderful backyard surprises for alleyway walkers. You can take walking tours of cultural locations, architecture or even historic neighboroods like Fourth Ward.
One of my favorite breweries, Blue Blaze is located at the corner where a greenway meets a dead end street…. crannie! Feast Food Tours offer a variety of tours that help you explore the city’s craft beer industry, fine dining options, and international flavors. This Chef-Driven Dining in Uptown Tour includes a stop at 5 restaurants, beer, wine and cocktail tastings and cooking demonstrations along with an introduction to Charlotte landmarks and history. It’s a fun way to kill 3 hours on a Saturday.
Area 15, just outside NoDa, in the Optimist Park neighborhood, is a fantastic creative hot bed that has all kinds of nooks.
I could go on and on, but then you’d have nothing to discover! Go out and find your own favorite nooks and crannies. See how fun it is to check out what’s in your own neighborhood. Visit others. And if walking isn’t your thing… then try a Segway tour.
Just get out of your car so you can ‘see’ the city from a different perspective and maybe meet a few new friends along the way.