Queen Charlotte

Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Monday, May 4, 2009

Different kind of sightseeing today; urban.  We didn't really know anything about Charlotte at all, but have been truly amazed by her. She is named after Princess Charlotte (Germany, http://www.unctv.org/princesscharlotte/thesearch.html ), who was a consort of George III. When we speak of new towns, we think of Stevenage or Welwyn Garden City, the planned towns of the 80's, we had no idea how 'new' this city is. One drive downtown and there seems to be skyscrapers popping up like jack in the boxes and modern architecture at every turn. Apparently there have been 10 new high rise condominium buildings in the last year or so. The skyline has almost as many cranes as buildings.


 A stones throw from the metro area takes you to some of the many, many housing developments that all look and feel very new. In one such area as many as 2000 homes - all different - all massive- curl around the neat manicured streets.  

Larry tells us that the area is very popular with New Yorkers who are fed up with the hustle and bustle there, here housing is much cheaper, the climate is better and until the economic downturn, jobs were plentiful.  Many large corporations have their head offices here, Bank of America, Nucor (steel),Time Warner Cable, Lowes (bit like B&Q)...etc.
Driving around there seems to be many trading estates too, all of which also seem to be recently constructed.
Charlotte is also a major centre for the US motor sports industry. About 75% of all NASCAR industry employees are within 2 hours of here. And if you have any doubt about how big NASCAR is, well it's huge - of the top 20 sports events by attendance in the US,17 are NASCAR...the word NASCAR even comes up in the spell check dictionary!! (Sorry boys this bit was for the girls 'cos you probably all know it already!)
"In 2007, the Charlotte metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1,701,799. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region that has an estimated population of 2,277,074 In 2008, Charlotte was chosen the "Best Place to Live in America" by relocate-America.com in its annual ranking, based on factors including employment opportunities, crime rates, and housing affordability. It was also named #8 of the 100 "Best Places to Live and Launch" by CNNMoney.com - cities picked for their vibrant lifestyles and opportunities for new businesses   I put this bit in to save you having to link with Wikipedia!
Anyway enough of facts and figures, it's a fine place, seems like a nice place to live too. Having said the climate is good, take a look at this...

There would seem to be a common thread running through our travels - the weather - is it 'cos we's English?  Yep, we were on tornado watch, thankfully it didn't happen, not here anyway, though some areas were badly hit and homes destroyed. Sorry more facts, but this gives you some idea...
4000 lightening strikes in 1 hour May 5th Charlotte NC hail of " town centre flash floods
2.2" rain in an hour -
Incidentally Larry has some beautiful cats (I know I'm not a cat person, but ever since looking after Oliver & Sam in Halifax I've become a convert) meet the pets...

We have been "lucky" enough to be able to wash and wax Bree whilst we've been here - it has taken several days, not a job I would recommend. Malc did most of it, but once we could reach from just standing I was able to help. We now have a positively gleaming motor home.
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