Small Town Life – Belmont, NC

One of the best things about Charlotte is all the small towns that surround the city. If you enjoy being close to the amenities of Charlotte, but the idea of living in a smaller community appeals to you, you are in luck! We love all the small towns that encircle Charlotte, but Belmont is one of our favorites.

Home to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, the serene setting for the stunning McLean development and and award-winning Main Street, it’s no wonder so many people are turning to Belmont when looking for a place to call home.

Located to the west side of Charlotte, Belmont is enjoying a surge of recent popularity. The town is attracting many new businesses including one of the largest antique malls in the state, the Catawba River Antique Mall, and many new restaurants: Nellie’s Southern Kitchen (owned by the Jonas Brothers family), the Wine Spectator award winning String Bean Cafe, Luna Hombre featuring seasonal tapas and wine pairings and many more.

Belmont hosts the Belmont Criterium in it’s beautiful downtown, attracting locals and visitors alike. The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden lights up for the holidays in a spectacular fashion with horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate and visits with Santa!

The stunning setting of McLean makes this gorgeous development along the shores of Lake Wylie one of the most popular new neighborhoods in Belmont. With beautiful waterfront custom home sites as well as interior lots and patio homes, this neighborhood offers something for everyone.

For a glimpse at what makes Belmont so special, Charlotte Stories created this video:

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Charlotte CSAs Are Available

Flowers are Blooming, Trees are Budding, and Farms are Flourishing

Charlotte CSAs Are Still Available for Spring/Summer 2016

The snow has cleared, and there are lots of plants sprouting at local farms. If winter caused you to hibernate and spring has snuck up on you, you’re not too late! A few farms are still allowing sign-ups for their 2016 Spring/Summer CSAs.

If your teeth tingle at the thought of biting into tender pea shoots, or the thought of a fresh-picked strawberry bursting in your mouth makes you want to jump for joy, a Charlotte CSA membership might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Technically speaking, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community. It is basically a farm share. In reality, a CSA is a box of goodness during the growing season each year.

You’ll find old favorites like tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries and peaches. Participating farms often pride themselves on introducing you to produce you haven’t tried before, too. No matter what you receive in your CSA box, it will be farm-fresh, just-picked delicious!

A few Charlotte CSA programs to check out are:

Bush N Vine Farm

Walnut Hollow Farms

Poplar Ridge Farm NC

Newtown Farms

Barbee Farms


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The Potato Sack

The Potato Sack Flea Market 

Living in the Carolinas, we are spoiled with the abundance of pre-owned, up-cycled, vintage, antique and just plain “old” furniture and home accessories that are available to us. In nearly every town, big or small, you can find at least one antique store that is chock full of previously owned furniture, knick-knacks, and home décor.

Booth at The Potato SackCharlotte is no exception, and in fact has so many stores like this to choose from that it is easy to lose yourself for the day (or a week) – searching through stacks and piles to find your treasure. For those who prefer to leave the searching and scrounging to others yet love the treasures that are found The Potato Sack Sale is your answer!

Sign at The Potato SackThe Potato Sack Sale is a Charlotte institution; a flea market that is open every other Pillows at The Potato Sackmonth September – May (the market has no A/C, so they are closed over the summer). At The Potato Sack, vendors organize, stage and decorate their booths full of fantastic finds. Refinished furniture, vintage furniture, jewelry, light fixtures, pillows, plates and more fill the building to the brim. The market is full of so many great deals you won’t want to leave! Because of the pricing and multiple vendors, The Potato Sack is cash only, so come prepared. (If you forget, there is an ATM located nearby.)

Nov. 5 -7
9am – 4pm

2001 W. Morehead St
Charlotte NC 28210

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Pasta & Provisions

Pasta & Provisions SignFor more than 22 years, Pasta & Provisions has been bringing delicious homemade pastas, sauces and more to Charlotte residents. Located on Providence Road, the store turns out trays of fresh pasta and focaccia as well as gallons of specialty soups and sauces every day. And by the close of 2015, a second shop will open on Park Rd, near Montford.

Pasta Provisions Retail
Pasta & Provisions WinesThe character of Pasta & Provisions on Providence is enhanced by the old maple floors, freestanding metal racks and hand-written signs on the refrigerated cases. The store carries specialty Italian groceries like imported San Marzano tomatoes from Campania, vinegars from Modena, sea salt from the coast of Sicily, and Italian 00 flour. The Italian wine selection is one of the best in town – from fine wines to everyday bottles, Pasta & Provisions has great options available.

Pasta & Provisions CoolerThe obvious stand-out in the store is of course the pasta. Made fresh daily, and cut to order in traditional Italian widths, the tender pasta is full-flavored. Ravioli fillings can vary by season, but you can always find the house favorites. Stuffed with wild mushrooms, chicken, Italian sausage and cheese, or even just plain cheese, the ravioli is guaranteed to be a hit. Don’t forget to pick up one of the housemade sauces to accompany your fresh pasta; there are nearly as many options for sauce as there are types of pasta sold –Pomodoro, Bolognese, Vodka Cream, four types of Pesto and that’s just the beginning!

You don’t want to miss the soups, the pizzas or the cannoli either. A trip to Pasta & Provisions is like a mini-vacation to Italy. Buon appetito!

Open 7 days a week
1528 Providence Rd.

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Mayworth’s Public House


Small towns have a way of attracting locally owned businesses that allow customers to instantly feel like regulars. It doesn’t take long for the staff at local restaurants to learn your drink order to have it ready soon after you sit down, or to recommend the latest craft beer on draft. Mayworth’s Public House in Cramerton has only been open since March, and already has a devoted following. The combination of live music, extensive beer list – including local craft beers, and perfectly executed pub food makes Mayworth’s a must-visit.









The menu features many southern comfort foods like warm pimento cheese, meatloaf and great burger combinations. The Sloppy Joseph is everything you want in a sloppy joe – messy, sweet & tangy and delicious; spice it up with queso and jalapenos for something really decadent. There is only one word for the pimento cheese burger (with housemade pimento cheese) – YUM! Chicken wings are available in 8 different seasonings from Teriyaki to Bee Sting, and a “Create Your Own” salad entree lets you be as healthy (or not) as you want to be.

11201134_1584102835201112_3767814266637144102_oThe extensive beer list features 14 drafts, including 7 pours from NC breweries. The bottled beer selection has lots of old standbys right next to the latest in craft beers. A few signature drinks and a decent wine selection rounds out a drink menu as long as the food menu (it IS a Public House after all).

Mayworth’s serves breakfast Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Live acoustic sets featuring local musicians are every Friday night in the summer.


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Spring Equals Strawberries

WiseAcres BarnWiseAcres Organic Strawberry Farm

Although the strawberry season is a short, delicate blip on the calendar, making it to a U-Pick patch every spring is one of the ways we welcome summer. And while buying fresh and local produce is one of the most important ways we can contribute to the environment as well as the local economy, finding fresh, local and ORGANIC produce is like hitting a home run. WiseAcres Organic Strawberry Farm knocks it out of the park! The rows are meticulous, the berries are deliciously sun-kissed and sweet, and the prices rival conventional strawberries at just $3.29/lb for U-Pick berries.

U-Pick BerriesWiseAcres USDA Organic

The long rows stretch before you, beckoning you closer as you catch glimpses of perfectly ripe, red berries between the lush green leaves of the strawberry plants. A sign clearly marking the rows as USDA Certified Organic makes me almost giddy. Knowing that soon my cardboard baskets will be full of those delicious berries, I almost skip down the paths…some of the kids around me actually do. In less than an hour, I filled two large baskets with over 6 pounds of bright red strawberries.


WiseAcres Organic StrawberryMore than Strawberries

The beautiful thing about WiseAcres Farm is their desire to create an environment inviting to children. The farm is family-run, so the owners know a few things about what kids like to do – like the recycled tire playground, swings and zip lines, weekend hayrides and plenty of organic treats. There are chickens and rabbits to feed, and in the fall a new harvest is welcomed. A few carving pumpkins will be planted side-by-side with squash, kale and other organic veggies.WiseAcres Playground

Local and Delicious

WiseAcres ChickenWiseAcres farm is located in Indian Trail, NC not far from I-485 and 74. This local, family-owned farm is dedicated to growing organic produce and making it available at pricing as close to conventional as possible. The owners are passionate about organic practice and truly want to share their knowledge and the fruits of their labor with anyone who steps onto their farm. Nothing compares to a warm, sun ripened strawberry fresh off the vine – being able to pop it in your mouth right after you pick it is a rare treat!

WiseAcres is closed on Mondays. Be sure to check picking conditions on their website before heading out: WiseAcresOrganic

WiseAcres Organic Farm
4701 Hartis Road
Indian Trail, NC  28079
Phone (704) 628-6232

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Va da Vie Gelato

VadaVie3With recent glimpses of warm weather, and all the sunny days that will soon be here, Va da Vie gelato dreams have been floating through my mind. On a hot summer day, nothing beats an ice-cold treat to quickly lower the temperature. And there is not a single better treat than gelato!

Va Da Vie is located on an island in the Park Road Shopping Center. This charming gelateria has some of the best gelato found outside of Italy. – Maybe because owners John and Wendy packed up and LIVED in Italy to hone their gelato-making skills and gather recipes. Unlike many US-made gelato recipes, John and Wendy are passionate about creating a product that uses only whole ingredients, not chemically enhanced flavors and additives. That passion is what puts Va da Vie on Charlotte100Best!

VadaVie2The gelato at Va da Vie is made with milk from a local dairy farm and locally sourced fruits. When local ingredients are not available, the owners seek out the best of the best – including pistachio paste from Sicily and hazelnut paste from the Piemonte region of Italy. Their passion for quality shines through in their product. Even better, using such premium, flavorful ingredients means that John and Wendy have reduced the recommended amounts of sugar in most of their recipes by almost a third! – With less fat than ice cream, reduced sugar and fresh fruits, Va da Vie gelato is practically a health food! Or at least, that’s what I’ll tell myself the next time I stop in.



Va da Vie Gelato
4203 Park Road, Charlotte

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Spring Decorating with Dutchmans

Dutchmans3Nothing brightens my spirits, and my home, quite like Dutchmans Casual Living Stores. Located in Cornelius, Dutchmans easily makes the list at Charlotte 100 Best for its fun, eclectic style that brightens even the dullest of rooms.



These first weeks of spring are my favorite time of year. I love the feeling of shaking off the cobwebs, making my windows sparkle and digging in the fresh dirt with the first plants for my garden. I also really love packing away winter home accessories and bringing the bright, cheerful colors of spring indoors.

Overstuffed throw pillows in every color of the rainbow and patterns galore can be found in every corner of Dutchmans. Cozy, comfortable chairs and couches are so inviting, it’s difficult to resist the desire to sit and stay awhile. Funky headboards, gorgeous painted furniture, and a vast array of light fixtures can be found as well.Dutchmans4

If you are looking for something special to add the final piece of flair to your room, Dutchmans has a wonderful selection of throws, ottomans, vases and myriad other accessories to choose from. Walking in to the store makes me smile, and I love finding the perfect place for my found treasures.



It’s time to shake of the winter blahs, pack away your subdued cold weather accessories and bring some color inside!

Dutchmans Casual Living Stores
Cornelius, North Carolina
19441 Old Jetton Rd. Cornelius, NC 28031

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Belmont, NC

BelmontSignBelmont, one of the favorite small towns at Charlotte 100 Best, has garnered a lot of attention lately! With so much to offer, it is no wonder that Belmont keeps making the news. Featured in the February 2015 issue of Charlotte Magazine, this small town is drawing young families searching for a relaxed pace of life and an easy commute into Charlotte. Residents can choose from neighborhoods that exude southern charm like Eagle Park and South Point or live on the lake in Misty Waters and Woodland Bay.

Located just 20 minutes from City Center, Belmont is becoming one of the “coolest, newest old mill towns around” according to Charlotte Magazine. More than just a small town, Belmont is an example of a revitalized, repurposed old mill town. While steeped in tradition, Belmont is unafraid of change. In the 1990s, a million-dollar streetscape plan drew businesses and residents back to Main Street. The plan reduced four lanes to two and widened the sidewalks to entice visitors and neighbors to linger and increased support for local businesses.


The plan worked, as evidenced by Belmont’s recent “Great Main Street” award from the 2015 Great Places in North Carolina awards. Activities in Belmont are centered around Main Street. From couples simply strolling through town, families bouncing into one of the two local ice cream counters, daily train watching, or one of the myriad special events the town hosts, there’s always something happening on Main Street.

BelmontGenStoreThe general store still exists on Main Street in Belmont – you can drop in and peruse LB’s Produce, get a key made, grab a stool at the ice cream counter, or head upstairs for a painting class. Stroll a little further and you’ll hit the jackpot at Gigi’s Boutique; you’re sure to find a bargain on the perfect outfit or the piece of jewelry you didn’t know you were missing. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find you have lots of choices in town, and all of them are excellent. For something heartwarming, stop into Cherub’s Cafe, run by residents of Holy Angels and their adult helpers. Johnny B’s Pizza and Belmont Soda Fountain are fun local choices for a casual meal. The String Bean is a local favorite, and with an Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator, this cafe is worth your attention.

BelmontStoweParkLocated on Main Street is the town gathering place, Stowe Park. The park hosts many activities throughout the year. In summer months locals gather for Friday Night Live, a family-friendly concert series. Red, White and Belmont is the town’s spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display. Many join in the fun with carnival games and costume contests at Halloween. And in December, the park transforms into a Christmas village with carolers, carriage rides and a visit with Santa.

Belmont has also recently become the host of the Belmont Criterium, a competitive bicycle criterium race that runs straight through Main Street. Families line the streets to cheer on the racers, and the event even features a Kids’ Crit to let the littlest cyclers show their stuff!

BelmontCityHallBelmont embodies the movie ideal of small town. The southern hospitality pours out on locals and visitors alike. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are just passing through, you will be treated as a friend and neighbor everywhere you go.

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Amelie’s French Bakery

AmeliesSign2Craving café au lait and hot chocolate during our latest winter freeze? Amelie’s French Bakery can cure those cravings and transport you into a visual utopia with one glance into their pastry case. Be tempted by their colorful macarons, gaze longingly at the light-as-air cream puff, but don’t pass by the decadent salted caramel brownie.

AmeliesCroissantAmelie’s baristas serve up perfect cups of French café, including café au lait, café
mocha, café caramel crème, and my personal can’t get enough favorite – café crème. If you prefer hot tea or chai, Amelie’s has those, too, along with icy cold limonade made with Perrier, iced coffee and tea.

While the beverages are amazing, what stops visitors in their tracks are the cases of pastries and specialty baked goods. The layered tortes, chocolate mousse and petit-fours are works of art. The croissants are drool-worthy and the fresh fruit tarts look like jewel boxes.

AmeliesMacaronThe NoDa location on North Davidson is open 24 hours, making it the perfect stop
after an evening at the Blumenthal. You’ll rub shoulders with all types in this café. Tattoos are common, but so are suits and ties – everyone feels at home here; united by the same desire to sip decadent coffee and enjoy delicious food.

Amelie’s has a second location in Rock Hill, and will be opening their third Charlotte location in Carmel Commons Shopping Center in March 2015. All locations have a full coffee bar, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course, pastries and dessert.

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