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Monday, March 19, 2012

Love the Place You Live: NoDa

Today I'm linking up with Gabrielle at Design Mom as part of her "Love the Place You Live" series.  I think it is such a great way to "force" yourself to explore parts of your city that you wouldn't normally visit. 

Steve and I decided to explore an area of Charlotte that we were not very familiar with, but that has a reputation for being a cool, artsy spot.  It's along North Davidson street and is known to the locals as "NoDa". 
I'm going to be honest:  I didn't love it.  Yes, there were a few cool handmade shops and some very uniquely painted buildings, but it wasn't a place I'd go back to.  It was a little dirty and every store smelled like incense.  I'm sure you can picture those incense burning stores, where you have to walk through a beaded curtain to get to the fitting rooms. 

They do have a super cute fire station there.  As we were taking pictures of it, the truck pulled in and all the firemen jumped out and started washing it.  Do they wash the truck after every use? 

The thing about exploring new places though, is that even if you don't love it, you've still seen something new and know more about your city than you did previously, and both of those are things I value. 

NoDa did have one redeeming spot, however- Amelie's French Bakery.  We stopped in for a chocolate croissant (did you know that we are kind of chocolate croissant connoisseurs?) and to rest our legs. 

Amelie's has lots of small nooks and tucked away rooms.  We came upon a baby shower that was going on towards the back.  There are winding hallways and you never quite know what will be around the next corner.  A piano?  A fireplace?  A checkerboard? 

There is a distinct Alice in Wonderland feel to the place.  I loved it.  And the croissant was delicious as well. 

On the way home, we stopped at one more new place, no longer in NoDa.  I have been seeing West Elm furniture and home goods in magazines for years now and just recently realized that we have a store right here in Charlotte!  I loved the layout and feel of the store- very open, with small room vignettes everywhere and lots of natural light.  Although West Elm uses words like "modern" and "contemporary" to describe their style, I would say it's more "classic".  I am all about classic.  Plus, they are huge Etsy supporters and host events for local artists in each of their stores!  I can't wait to find out more about how to get involved. 

This outing has us thinking of more places we want to explore and spring seems like the perfect time to do it! 

4 comments:

  1. I had to laugh at your description of the shop with the incense and the beads - I think that's a universal retail experience!

    The cafe where you had the croissant? Love the quirkiness and the character...so MUCH better than a chain coffee place.

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  2. Consider us friends! I bookmarked your page:). I would love to hear more about your adoption!

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  3. Great post! I like how you can appreciate that even if something new you checked out isn't just what you were hoping for, it can still be a meaningful experience.

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  4. That's such a cute bakery/coffeeshop! Places like those are treasures.

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