The dog days of summer are here. It’s a time when boredom sets in and the heat makes it difficult to leave the couch on weekends. That’s ok. Back in the old days, southerners didn’t leave the porch on weekends. It was just too hot.
Having lived here my whole life, I get it. It’s hard to get motivated to do anything on weekends. To make matters worse, many of us blew a ton of money on that trip to the beach. What’s there to do other than binge watch some obscure British series on Netflix?
There’s actually a lot, and not all of it has to be in the blazing hot sun. I put together this list of 11 things to do that will hopefully bring some joy to your miserably hot weekend, and something you can do without maxing out your credit card.
(1) Travel down to Waxhaw in Union County to visit the awesome Museum of the Waxhaws for a glimpse into what life was like for our Scotch-Irish ancestors living in the backcountry. ($5)
(2) In Mint Hill, take a tour of the restored one-room school house, general store and country doctor’s office, all part of the Historical Society’s Carl J. McEwen Historic Village. You can do it in about an hour and there’s lots of shade. (Free)
(3) For Charlotte-specific history, the Museum of the New South can’t be beat. ($8). See how we became who we are in the Queen City. It’s a must-do for recently arrived transplants and Charlotte natives alike.
(4) The Hezekiah Alexander house on the grounds of the Charlotte Museum of History is the oldest surviving structure in Mecklenburg County (1774), and for just $10, you can learn about life in the area before the Revolutionary War. Notice how the buildings were designed to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Hiking (all free)
(5) Perhaps the most underappreciated park in Mecklenburg County is the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve. Hike the seven miles of hiking trails – a lot of it shaded – and then picnic waterside.
(6) The largest nature preserve in Mecklenburg County is Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. With 16 miles of trails, you can peacefully hike through woods on a historic property. There are plenty of places to picnic as well.
And the Lord made a new day. A photo posted by @jenahlynn666 on
(7) Hike to the top of Crowders Mountain. The state park is less than an hour from Charlotte, offers spectacular views, and will be one heck of a workout. Go early to beat the crowds and the heat.
(8) Also less than an hour from Charlotte is the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail. Hike the 20 -mile or 11-mile trail through the woods of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the United States. Most of the trails are shaded.
Had fun getting lost this weekend @campingcam @russ_nufc @lizzaloo A photo posted by Steven Marques (@steveemarques) on
Antique Malls (all free, unless you purchase something, of course)
(9) The Sleepy Poet is perhaps the best-known area antique mall. Located on South Boulevard, it’s includes more than 250 booths filled with all things old. It’s well worth a lazy stroll on a weekend afternoon.
(10) The Catawba River Antique Mall in Belmont is just a 20 minute drive from Charlotte. The owners have done an amazing job transforming this 100 year old mill into an antique mall. Oh, and be sure to get lunch inside the mall at the Peace and Hominy Bar-B-Que Outpost.
well hello lots of goodies! A photo posted by ɾҽղҽҽ (@renhfit) on
(11) The Depot at Gibson Mill in Concord is another humongous antique mall located in an old mill. First timers can get lost in this place. And it’s well worth it.
The Carolinas are full of now-abandoned former textile mills made of beautiful brick with exquisite wood floors and windows. Thankfully many of these are being repurposed as cool shops and housing! Mom loves antiquing so you don’t know how excited she was to hear that a large #antiquemall had opened in an old #textilemill in #ConcordNC and that it was #dogfriendly ❤️. The staff at checkout even came around the counter to pet me AND noted that they have lots of canine visitors so they “should have treats”… Yes!!! I second that!!!! #antiquing #shopwithyourdog #dogabouttown #charlotte #clt #dogsofcharlotte #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram
Some photos via Worlds Longest Road Trip, Charlotte Museum of History and Trip Advisor.