So after two years, what's it like to come back? In a lot of ways it's the same but it is also different. Our very first trip to Charlotte was for Daniel's second job interview. We stayed in a hotel uptown and I spent our visit wandering around on foot.
This time we are here for Daniel to attend a conference for work and once again we are staying in a hotel uptown. Again I find myself left to my own devices, wandering the streets on foot.
In 2004, I discovered that I was essentially alone on the city streets, with few places to go to... just tall buildings filled with banking professionals. I remember visiting the Mint Museum of Craft and Design and getting a coffee at the lone Starbucks located uptown. I barely saw a soul except during the noon-time hour and the occasional group of people taking coffee breaks.
These days center city is a bustle of activity – apparently all day long. There were less suits and more moms. I have always been drawn to the green spaces and abundance of fountains in uptown Charlotte – this is still one of my favorite things about the Queen city.
Once again I visited the Mint Museum, but at it's new location. Eight years have passed and now I have a 9-month-old in tow. Some mornings I had Starbucks for breakfast, other days I grabbed my favorite coffee at Dean & Deluca. I also indulged in Amelie's French Bakery.
On this trip, we were familiar with the city and had no trouble buzzing around the city, visiting our old haunts and seeing old friends.
I took the opportunity to stop by one of the company's I used to work at to visit old colleagues. Many were still there. Many have moved on. The building itself was different: walls have come down, teams have traded areas in the building. Like the city, it was the same, but different.