New Yorkers in Charlotte

DSC_0193This summer has been flying by!  The last time I posted, it was the end of June and I was still working my way through a summer routine.  Now we are more than a week into July, and the days have been so busy and fun!  We have gone to a few great parks and museums, which I want to post about later, but today I’m writing about the fun we had this week with friends who were visiting from New York!

For anyone who doesn’t know, we relocated from Long Island, New York, to the Charlotte area in August 2014.  I had lived my whole life on Long Island and was nervous about adjusting to living in a different place, with different people, and a completely different culture.  Thankfully, we were blessed to find that we felt at home very quickly and now have many wonderful friendships, a great church, and love where we live!  We do miss my family members, who still live in New York, and our friends, though.  Which is why we were so excited when we found out some of our friends from New York were coming for three nights to visit!  They have three little ones and their oldest is Charlie’s best buddy from NY.

We enjoyed going to a local splash pad, a friend’s pool, and just laying low and hanging out at our house.  A highlight, though, was going into the city one morning and walking around.  Having lived 30-45 minutes from New York City most of my life, Charlotte initially felt like a tiny little city.  But now that I’ve been in a few times, I really appreciate its size and how accessible it is.  You can walk the streets and feel the energy of a city, but it is not costly nor overwhelming in the least.  Something really fun about our visit was that I ran into two friends.  One was visiting uptown with her kids and another was on her lunch break in the park.  It made me feel like a real Charlottean!  Our NY friends were joking that uptown is like the Penn Station of Charlotte – because New Yorkers know that you seem to always run into someone you know at Penn Station!

When we drove in to the city we easily found street parking and then headed over to the Wells Fargo History Museum.  This small, free, exhibit is located on the main floor of the Wells Fargo building and is a great spot to take young kids.  There is a little stagecoach they can ride in that has a screen along one side so it looks as if you are riding through the countryside.

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They also have a ride on horse & buggy (which I believe is supposed to move around, but was not working that day.)  It didn’t really seem to bother the kids though!

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By the way – Henry has never worn his hat backwards before.  He deliberately asked to put it on backwards after he saw the older boys wearing theirs backwards.  🙂

They had some fun interactive areas as well.  There was an old-fashioned car that you could pretend to drive and it was right next to a little teller window that another person could stand behind so you could have an imaginary transaction.

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To the left of Sienna in the above photo is a little capsule like the ones they used to have in drive-up banking before ATMs took over.  I remember as a kid thinking it was so cool when my Mom would put something inside the container and then it would go shooting up the tube into the bank, get processed, and then come back through.  In the Wells Fargo museum, you could push a button next to the capsule and it would be sent up a tube to another spot in the museum.  From there, someone could push the button to send it back.  The kids loved pushing the button and sending it back and forth to each other! –On a sidenote, see the large TV with rabbit ears in the background? It looks exactly like the TV I had in my den growing up.  And now it’s in a museum that displays old, outdated technology and methods of communication.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  🙂

There were two old-fashioned telephones they could talk to each other on.  It’s amazing how much technology has progressed!

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Another cute station was a photo booth where they could have their photo taken and printed on a fake 50 cent bill.  They loved seeing their faces on money!  They also had an actual stagecoach on display and set up a camera to take a photo for you standing in front of the coach.  This is a really nice feature, since everyone from your party can be in one photo together.  It only prints in black and white, though.

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After spending a little bit of time in the museum, we walked a few blocks over to Romare Bearden Park.  I really should have taken some photos of the park itself, which is very pretty, but I didn’t!  I found this one I had taken on my phone the winter after we moved.Late 2014 phone 897

And I also came across this picture from the Wells Fargo Museum when my parents, sister, and brother-in-law were in town in December 2014!  The kids look so much younger!

Late 2014 phone 885 Anyway, back to Romare Bearden Park.  They have a really fun waterfall/splash pad feature that was perfect for this hot day.  The kids loved sneaking behind the waterfalls and standing right in the downpour too!  For most of the time that we were there, we were the only ones.  I love that there are little fun spots like this in the city.

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After the kids were all played out, we got them changed into dry clothes and ate lunch at Mellow Mushroom, which is right across the street.  I had never been to this chain before, but it was really yummy!  I love the garlic seasoning they put on the pizza crust.  Our friend Nick said that his Jerk Chicken sandwich was one of the best sandwiches he’s ever had.  Which led to the kids asking why his sandwich had a bad word in it. Hahaha!

Have you been having a good summer?  Do you have any fun tips for keeping the kids cool and entertained?  Did the talk about old television sets and bank telling bring back memories for anyone else?  For my fellow Charlotteans: What are your favorite spots uptown?  Where do you like to go with and without the kids?  I love finding new places to visit!

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