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Explore Davidson This Weekend

If you’re looking for a getaway not too far from the Queen City, Davidson is the perfect location! Explore the city’s history, food, shopping and much more.

By Emily Farrington Smith

Welcome to Davidson
Part college town, part lake town and all parts quaint, Davidson, North Carolina, is peppered with all of the ingredients to make a perfect weekend adventure. Located less than 30 minutes from Uptown Charlotte, on the banks of beautiful Lake Norman, the town was founded in 1837, when Davidson College was formed. Today, Davidson is a lovely mix of families riding bicycles together, upperclassmen leading campus tours for eager prospective students and local business owners welcoming visitors and regulars alike to experience Main Street’s charm.

Where to Eat
Offering a rare blend of retro soda shop-style diners, hip eateries and imaginative chef-driven restaurants, Davidson’s culinary scene has a little something for everyone. Try the sweet raspberry-walnut flapjacks at Famous Toastery, chow down on a smoky pulled chicken sandwich at The Pickled Peach or relish the fresh catch fish tacos at Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse. At The Soda Shop, be sure to order your cheeseburger topped with the signature house chowchow. And at Kindred, savor farm-to table, seasonal dishes, which are infused with fresh, local ingredients. Perk up with a latte from Davidson’s very own version of “Central Perk,” Summit Coffee Co., or wind down over wine at Lake Norman Cottage. Indulge in decadent, locally made goodies from Millstone Bake House & Provisions, Davidson Chocolate Co. or South Main Sweet Shop.

What to See
To enjoy the local landscape in all its glory, rent a bicycle from The Spirited Cyclist and take a scenic ride up to Roosevelt Wilson Park, where paved walking trails, a large pond and a bubbling fountain welcome bird-watching, fishing and picnicking. For fresh and colorful homegrown fruits and vegetables, visit the Farmer's Market on Main Street, which opens its vibrant shop on Saturdays. For a taste of history and the intellectual culture that fills the air in town, tour Davidson College’s stunning campus. Steeped in gorgeous old buildings and prominent, shady trees, its wide sidewalks are perfect for strolling. For cultural inspiration, visit the rotating art galleries at the Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center, which is home to both art history and studio art. It also houses two galleries for visiting and student art shows. And if you crave theater, be sure to catch a live performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” at Armour Street Theatre June 16-26. 

Where to Shop
Historic downtown Davidson is filled with adorable shops and boutiques, and Main Street is the hub. For the latest in women’s designer apparel, visit Monkee’s of Lake Norman and for men’s Southern wardrobe staples, stop in Dixieland Clothing Company. Find unique pottery crafted by North Carolina artists at Wooden Stone Gallery or quirky signs, home accents and jewelry at Seasons at the Lake. Pick up eclectic accessories and seasonal décor at The Village Store. Get your literary fix at Main Street Books, a Davidson institution housed in an old general store. To pick up local, handmade and personal gifts for friends and family, visit Sanctuary of Davidson. Here, you can also check out adult and youth art classes.

This article ran in the June 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.

View more great places to explore this weekend.

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