Finding peace amongst the highrises
Here is a quick recap of Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte and Atlanta. We took four weeks to explore five cities and made sure to make time for a bit of ease and tranquility. When we set off on this journey, my mindset was to pretty much avoid the big city hustle and bustle. I mean after spending eight years in San Francisco, a city of 1 million people by night and 2 million people by day I did not want anything to do with crowded roads or sidewalks or restaurants. Knowing that this month of travel was going to focus on four major hubs in NC and the largest city in GA made me a bittttt nervous. Was it possible that I would get the "nature shakes" from withdrawal? Contrarily, embracing our fears and angst enhances our senses and we become more alert, more awakened. Slowing our pace, our minds, our beings is possible no matter of our whereabouts.
"The Mind Is Everything, What You Think You Become" - Buddha
We stayed at Tanglewood Park just outside of the city. The RV campground was just a small snippet of this county park. We played tennis, hiked through their myriad of trails and even caught a BMX race at their newly renovated bike track. We never did make it downtown however...
- If you are hungry - eat at ChangThai, which also happens to be right across the street from the RV Park ;)
- If you have energy - hike at Hanging Rock State Park - we hiked the 2.6mi trail to Hanging Rock and the 1.6mi trail to a few waterfalls
- If you want to get your zen on - do yoga at The Breathing Room
- If you are thirsty - try the ESB at Hoots Brewco or the Frostbite Black IPA at Foothills Brewco
We stayed at NC Fairgrounds right across the street from NC State's football stadium and Ralegh's professional hockey arena. I wouldn't seek out this RV Park but we enjoyed evening walks through the horse stables and the small surrounding neighborhood. We did make it downtown briefly... well more like one street right next to downtown but...
We moochdocked outside of a friends house in their cute little suburban neighborhood that butts right up to the Duke Forest. Our friends were THE best tour guides so...
- If you are hungry - stroll through the Durham Farmers Market (open on Saturdays and Wednesdays), visit Fickle Creek Farm for the freshest meat and veggies or make dinner reservations at Mothers and Sons for delicious homemade pasta (dishes reminded us of San Fran)
- If you have energy - explore Duke's campus and the Duke Gardens
- If you want to get your zen on - do yoga at the Durham Yoga Company - highly recommended Patty's Align and Shine class on Saturday morning (make sure to wander through the nearby farmers market before and/or after class)
- If you are thirsty - order a saison or altbier at Ponysaurus Brewco and relax in the sun on their outdoor patio
We stayed at Elmore RV Park which is really more of a fulltimer's mobile home park with a handful of spots for travelers like us. This is another campground I would not seek out but if you are looking for something close to downtown Charlotte, this is your best bet. A large storm system moved in just as we were setting up camp which meant that we stayed in this area longer than expected so...
- If you are hungry - order from a long list of yummy tapas at Dandelion Market in downtown Charlotte
- If you have energy - workout at Coreology in the NoDa district - this was a great reformer workout and the first class was only $5!
- If you still have energy - hike this 5mi loop in Crowders Mountain State Park or this 2.6mi trek to an 80' tall waterfall in South Mountains State Park
- If you want to get your zen on - do yoga at NoDa Yoga or get a wonderful massage from Kelly Howard inside of NoDa Yoga. And... on Saturdays there is a small little farmers market just around the corner from the studio
- If you are thirsty - sip brews full of local ingredients at Heist Brewco (also has food) or FreeRange Brewco (live music most Saturday nights) or our favorite.. NoDa Brewco (great outdoor patio and daily food trucks)
The majority of our time in Atlanta was spent moochdocking outside of another friends house on the east side of town in the Kirkwood District. We also made it out to Stone Mountain Park for just one night of camping (well worth it). Atlanta is a very large city and just recently a part of their interstate caught on fire so that was fun. We did manage to sneak through the busy streets a few times so...
- If you are hungry - eat pizza at Ammazza
- If you have energy - hike to the top of Stone Mountain or bike/walk along the Atlanta Beltline. Make sure to explore Ponce City Market which was the historic Sears building in Alt and full of shops/restaurants and Krog Street Market which is also full of good food/drink in an old 1920s warehouse building)!
- If you want to get your zen on - do yoga at Form Yoga (one of the prettiest studios I have been to).
- If you are thirsty - spend time at TorchedHop Brewco. Order one of their many hoppy beers on tap, play shuffleboard or indoor bocce ball and order from their farm fresh menu!