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Coral Bay


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Crown Bay, St. Thomas


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Druif Bay


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Frenchtown

Frenchtown, St. Thomas, was established many years ago by a group of French-speaking immigrants from the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy, and this fishing village on the western edge of Charlotte Amalie has retained its French flair to this day. O...

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K'uuna, B.C.


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Leinster Bay


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Magens Bay


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Monticello


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Old Massett, B.C.


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Red Hook

Most visitors go to Red Hook, St. Thomas, to board the ferry to St. John, but it's definitely worth a look around at some of the little shops, or if only to daydream about the beautiful yachts at anchor. There are a few shops selling items you may no...

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SG_ang Gwaay, B.C.


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Skidegate, B.C.


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Trunk Bay


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Yacht Haven Marina


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Formerly sleepy Charlotte, North Carolina, is the largest city in the state. In response to growth of the city's banking industry, an influx of workers from outside the South began arriving in the mid-1980s. With arts, culture and sports offerings exploding on the city's scene, Charlotte is now one the country's fastest growing urban areas. Established neighborhoods are being gentrified, and the rolling farmland outside of town is giving way to shopping malls and residential developments. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte to the northeast and the busy airport to the southwest have also contributed to the city's rising profile. Amid the expansion, the city has managed to retain its softer edge and genuine friendliness.
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Charlotte


Formerly sleepy Charlotte, North Carolina, is the largest city in the state. In response to growth of the city's banking industry, an influx of workers from outside the South began arriving in the mid-1980s. With arts, culture and sports offerings exploding on the city's scene, Charlotte is now one the country's fastest growing urban areas. Established neighborhoods are being gentrified, and the rolling farmland outside of town is giving way to shopping malls and residential developments. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte to the northeast and the busy airport to the southwest have also contributed to the city's rising profile. Amid the expansion, the city has managed to retain its softer edge and genuine friendliness.

Must See or Do

Sights—Historic Rosedale and Historic Latta to learn about life in the 1800s; the Ben Long frescoes in the lobby of the Bank of America building (and the bank's soaring tower); the Billy Graham Library to learn about the life and work of a Charlotte favorite son.

Museums—The Mint Museum Randolph and its fine collection of decorative arts and pre-Columbian art; the Mint Museum Uptown's modern variations on the area's textile and pottery heritage; the Levine Museum of the New South.

Memorable Meals—Locally sourced southern cuisine at Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen; crepes at the Crepe Cellar & Pub; old-world Italian at Aria Tuscan Grill.


Late Night—Sample the disco and martini scene downtown at clubs around North College Street; catch an open-mike night in NoDa, or visit Plaza Midwood for a late-night bite.

Walks—Turn-of-the-century homes in the Fourth Ward, an award-winning downtown neighborhood; the historic neighborhoods of Myers Park and Dilworth and Plaza Midwood; public art located in the Center City; Biddleville, including the campus of Johnson C. Smith University; the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.

Especially for Kids—Discovery Place, a first-rate science museum; ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, a combination of the Charlotte Children's Theatre and a children and teen branch of the public library; pizza at Fuel Pizza; thrill rides at Carowinds; eagles and owls at the Carolina Raptor Center; Romare Bearden Park, with waterfalls in the heart of Uptown.

Geography

Charlotte's topography has plenty of natural charm. The city is nestled in the Carolina piedmont, a gently rolling landscape that stretches between the Appalachian Mountains and the coastal plain. The hilly region is veined with creeks and rivers; dams on the Catawba River have created popular Lake Norman and Lake Wylie a few miles/kilometers outside of town. The tree-rich area is especially fetching when the abundant azaleas and dogwoods bloom in the spring, and when the hardwoods blaze with color in the fall.

Charlotte's financial district, known as Uptown, has an easily navigable grid system of streets, but the rest of the city is a maze of curving roads. Interstate 77 is the main north-south axis; I-85 runs southwest to northeast. Residential development continues to boom along the interstates, despite the slowing of the area's economy. In addition to the old, upscale neighborhoods of Myers Park and Dilworth, affluent Charlotteans have spread north into Lake Norman and south to Lake Wylie, Ballantyne and other parts of burgeoning south Charlotte. SouthPark mall is the city's premier shopping area.

Along with many other US cities, a side effect of suburban congestion has been a boom in city-center apartment and condo construction. Gentrification of Charlotte's central working class neighborhoods to the east and south of the I-277 loop that circles Uptown are leading both to additional city traffic and to calls for improved and diversified transportation options.

History

Charlotte lies on the junction of two important Native American trading paths that were used by the local Catawba people, as well as the Cherokee and other tribes. The strategic significance of these paths endures to this day, contributing to Charlotte's role as a distribution hub. The first permanent European settlers in the area were mostly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who went to the Piedmont via the Great Wagon Road.

By 1768, the area was populated enough to incorporate; the town was named for Charlotte, queen to England's King George III. To this day, it is often called the Queen City, and icons of crowns mark its main streets and city-based merchandizing. (Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, is named after Queen Charlotte's homeland in Germany.) Statues of her stand outside the airport terminal's main entrance and at the corner of College and East Fifth streets in Uptown.

During the American Revolution, British Gen. Cornwallis passed through the area, and his army drew fire from patriots in and around the village—Cornwallis would refer to Charlotte as a "hornet's nest." This comment is reflected in the city today: Charlotte's police badges bear the likeness of a hornet's nest, the city's former NBA team was called the Hornets, and its former WNBA team was called the Sting.

Gold was first discovered in the U.S. near Charlotte in 1799, when 12-year-old Conrad Reed took home a shiny rock he found in a creek near his family's farm. In 1802, a jeweler paid Reed's father the sum of US$3.50 for the 17-lb/8-kg nugget, and gold fever took off. North Carolina held the reputation of the greatest gold-mining state until the California gold rush in 1849. Not surprisingly, banking and commerce flourished, and the first branch of the U.S. Mint opened in Charlotte in 1837. The building is now home to the Mint Museum of Art.

Charlotte's importance as a financial hub has steadily grown, though in fits and starts.Thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions, Charlotte is now the second-largest banking center in the U.S.

Potpourri

The Concord-Harrisburg area, just northeast of Charlotte, is the site of Charlotte Motor Speedway and the heart of NASCAR racing. Speedway tours include a lap around the track, and you can visit many of the area's race-team shops. It's often said that more than 300 NASCAR teams are headquartered within an hour of the speedway. The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in Charlotte to much fanfare in 2010.

Charlotte roared past several competing cities to be the home of The NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Kathy Reichs, author of popular mysteries (Deadly Secrets, Deja Dead, Monday Mourning), divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal like her series' heroine, Temperance Brennan. Reichs' Bare Bones is full of Charlotte sites. She is also a forensic anthropologist and is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The Charlotte Mint produced US$5 half-eagle and US$2.50 quarter-eagle pieces between 1838 and 1861. Complete sets of the 52 coins stamped with a "C" are extremely rare.

In 2004, foodies rejoiced when Johnson and Wales University moved to the Gateway Village area of Uptown Charlotte. The institution offers coveted culinary and hospitality degrees. Students dressed in chef's whites and toques are common sights along city streets. Well-trained graduates are transforming and enriching the city's restaurant and hotel industries.

Charlotte's airport started a rocking trend that's spreading across the country. Weary travelers have enjoyed a southern-style break in Charlotte/Douglas International since the airport set up rocking chairs as part of an art exhibit in 1997. The chairs were so popular that they were left in place, and a number of other airports have followed their lead.




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