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hen I was growing up, the highlight of Independence Day was piling in the back of our station wagon and heading to the packed parking lot of the local mall, where every family in town gathered for the city’s only fireworks show. Last year, I spent the week of July 4 vacationing at the beach with a group of about 25 extended family members. With more than three months of pandemic protocol under our belts, it’s hard to imagine such gatherings these days, at least not without masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer flowing as freely as sunscreen. We were looking to repeat the big family reunion this summer, but COVID-19 had other ideas. Instead, I’ll most likely celebrate the holiday at home or with a smaller group of friends and family, grilling out or waiting for a coveted slot at the neighborhood pool. So far this summer, we’ve missed picnicking at Pops in the Park, sipping cold beer while cheering for the Charlotte Knights, listening to our favorite bands at The Music Factory and PNC Pavilion … the list goes on. It’s still unclear when things will get back to normal. In the meantime, I’d say Charlotteans have done a pretty good job of making the most of it. On my frequent strolls this spring and summer, I’ve seen some pretty clever setups involving inflatable pools, sprinklers and lawn furniture. After giving my backyard some much-needed attention, I’ve discovered eating takeout or a home-cooked meal on the back deck (almost) rivals dining out at my favorite restaurants — plus I’ve gotten much savvier at making my own cocktails. And despite the horrific circumstances leading to the nationwide protests, the slowdown has allowed us room to reflect on the things that matter most, both on a personal level and from a broader perspective. So, if your summer vacation plans got squashed by COVID, how about mixing a pitcher of margaritas, cranking up the yacht rock and consider taking advantage of some of the best this city has to offer. A good start is our list of Things We Love About Charlotte on page 60. To compile the list, we polled our staff — who range in age from mid-20s to 60 — on their favorite things about living here. We could fill an entire magazine with their responses and still not cover it all. But we think it's a good place to start. SP




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A N T I Q U E S | L I G H T I N G | AC C E S S O R I E S 6 8 0 9 - c p h i l l i p s p l a c e c t , c h a r l ot t e , n c 2 8 210 | 7 0 4 . 9 9 9 . 6 976 | m o n - s a t 10 a m - 5 p m


photo credit by Michael Blevins

July DEPARTMENTS 21 | Blvd. Artist Felicia van Bork connects with empathy; Off the Eaten Path author pens a guide to entertaining; Campbell + Charlotte's fine-jewelry designs; first look at Leah & Louise; driving-distance getaways.


43 | Simple life The garden of America.

47 | Bookshelf Recent releases by local authors.

51 | Queen city journal How Annie Alexander transformed Charlotte's medical landscape

55 | Origin of a species The fearsome-looking cicada is really just a big love bug.

101 | Swirl Galas, parties and fundraisers in the Queen City

104 | Snapshot


Armah Shiancoe talks about mentoring and the importance of investing in area youth.

ABOUT THE COVER Leigh Goodwyn and Angie Harmon, styled by Whitley Adkins and photographed by Olly Yung. Hair and makeup by Josiah Reed.





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70 FEATURES 60 | 50 things we love about Charlotte From everyday simple pleasures to the distinguishing attributes that make the Queen City special, we round up a few of our favorite things.

70 | Campus chic by Cathy Martin | Photographs by Olly Yung

Angie Harmon and Leigh Goodwyn team up on a bold new dorm-decor collection for LeighDeux.

74 | School rules by Whitley Atkins | Photographs by Olly Young

Elevate your back-to-school style with these looks from local boutiques.

80 | Coastal vibes by Blake Miller | Photographs by Erin Comerford Miller A Myers Park couple leans into their designer to help bring their beach-inspired dream home to fruition.

86 | Fiberglass is forever by John Wolfe | Photographs by Andrew Sherman Columbus County's Grahamland isn't just another roadside attraction.





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Cool down with the Rubee, a refreshing concoction made with Earl Grey tea- and hibiscus-infused Conniption gin from Durham Distillery, lemon oleo-saccharum, honey, and rosemary bitters crafted by Leah & Louise mixologist Justin Hazelton. The restaurant from husband-and-wife team Chef Greg and Subrina Collier — dubbed a “modern juke joint” inspired by the foodways of the Mississippi River Valley — opened last month at Camp North End. Read more about Leah & Louise, named after Greg's late sister and grandmother, on page 32.

southparkmagazine.com | 21




ubes of acrylic and oil paint neglected on dusty art-supply shelves must fantasize about consignment to a painter like Davidson’s Felicia van Bork. On her canvases, strokes of tangerine orange are freed to dance with straw-hued amber, dashes of Ceylon-sapphire blues chat softly with aquamarine, and brilliant greens collide so vibrantly even emeralds would be envious. In van Bork’s hands, pigment tells stories through unusual collaborations of both subtlety and brashness. Color is van Bork’s lingua franca, a universal though complex language the abstract painter employs to create narrative and evoke emotion in a way that draws people to her work. “I’m married to a poet (Alan Michael Parker, Davidson College’s Douglas Houchens Professor of English),” van Bork says “and he makes meaning by combining words you would not expect to see together. Similarly, I put together colors and shapes in new ways to produce opportunities for meaning-making.” The Toronto native has not let the recent coronavirus shutdown keep her from being productive. If anything, the Charlotte arts-scene stalwart is busier than ever. She’s conducted online workshops through the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, where she’s twice been in residence and manages the printmaking studio. Her large-scale oil painting “5 Gray Stones,” was featured on the cover of ArtAscent magazine, an international art and literature journal. She participates in no less than





Showing her colors

Together, we are tougher than diamonds.

|blvd. three weekly virtual critique sessions, and she still finds time to furiously tend to her garden. Her work is currently featured at the GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro in a special exhibition on N.C. Women Abstract Painters. The exhibition showcases a series of her color fields and collages and displays a re-creation of her studio, complete with works in progress and small studies that offer viewers a peek into her process. “I became familiar with Felicia’s work more than a decade ago when we exhibited a grouping of her self-portraits,” says Edie Carpenter, director of curatorial and artistic programs at GreenHill. “She is unabashed in her pursuit of beauty through her depth of investigation with observed color relationships and ongoing voyage into color groupings.”

Her own counsel and advice are often sought by her peers. Since the shutdown, van Bork has hosted a weekly virtual forum where more than a dozen of Charlotte’s talented visual artists share cocktails, works in progress and critiques. “I have great respect for Felicia’s opinion, as do her colleagues,” says Susan Brenner, an artist and professor emeritus of painting at UNC Charlotte. “She has a distinct sensibility and such exuberance in her work. Her critique emphasizes what’s working and is shared in such a positive way that it is particularly valued.” In addition to her color fields, printmaking and collage work, van Bork continues a creative portraiture project, one she uses to hone her students’ skills. Here, she develops discipline with a technique where entire portraits are created using only 20 brush strokes. By allowing each stroke to mark only as far as a loaded brush will take it, the painter is forced to keep the brush in contact with the canvas and recognize the importance of each stroke. “This means making much bolder, longer, and bigger strokes than typical,” van Bork says. “The portrait tends to be a very fussy subject, and I would like my students to tackle it with the energy with which they would do a landscape.”


an Bork enjoys a profound connection with color, from tonality and temperature to light reflectivity, intensity and countless nuances along a broad continuum. Her pursuit is that of a dogged cryptographer, continually working to reveal the devilish code behind colors’ complex relationships with each other. She is as thoughtful at naming her work as she is in creating it. “I tried extremely hard to think of a correct title for my color paintings and came up with ‘Radical Tenderness,’ van Bork says. “That seemed to hit the nail on the head. In searching, I discovered a manifesto called Radical Tenderness, which has to do with being empathetic to everything around you. There is an aching need for empathy and tenderness in the world, and I’m teaching myself these things as fast as I can.” Sensitivity and understanding for others are byproducts of van Bork’s explorative nature. She thrives on interaction with other artists, gaining energy from their feedback and input into her work. “It’s enormously helpful to me to know that artists are going to be seeing my work in progress every week,” van Bork says. 24



urator, educator and artist Crista Cammaroto calls van Bork’s work distinctive in how it connects with viewers through emotion and intellect. “Felicia connects the empathic and emotive side of the brain to [the] logic and language side in her work,” Cammaroto says. “She has the uncanny ability to distill the experience into equal parts with different colors, always harmonizing. People find in her work something they can relate to.” While it’s tempting to label her work cerebral, van Bork doesn’t overthink her process. She acts with an intuitive nature. “I go straight to the canvas,” she says. “My [process is like] hockey. Hockey is a ridiculous game. They have an object they must get into the net, but then they must do it on skates, on ice with long bent sticks. I’m making [my work] as hard for myself as I can. And that leads to a different kind of elegance, just like hockey players are beautiful in their elegance the way they play. Their stick handling is amazing.” For Felicia van Bork, her artistic shots are always on goal. SP N. C. Women Abstract Painters at GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro will remain on display at least through August, according to curator Edie Parker. The exhibition features the work of van Bork, Eleanor Annand, Barbara Ellis, Celia Johnson and Katy Mixon. To learn more, visit feliciavanbork.com and greenhillnc.org.

















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hen criminal defense attorney Chrissie Nelson Rotko moved to Charlotte in 2012 to take a job in the public defender’s office, she didn’t know anyone, and she didn’t know much about the city. She thought trying new restaurants would be a good way to explore her new hometown. “I’ve always loved eating, and I’ve always loved writing, so I figured [writing a blog] about Charlotte restaurants would be a great way to combine those two interests,” says Nelson Rotko, who had moved from Madison, Wis. She started Off the Eaten Path in 2013 but worried people would think it was weird, so she kept it on the down-low, even from her now husband. “Blogging was still new then. Online dating was still new. We met the same summer I started my blog. He would go to the bathroom and I would sneak photos of his food.” She eventually got past that, expanding the concept to include food-centric travel guides and recipes for easy entertaining. An editor at New York City’s Skyhorse Publishing spotted one of Nelson Rotko’s recipes on Pinterest and suggested turning the blog into a book. “They were looking for someone to do a cookbook about entertaining with cheese boards, dips and fondues, and she found me,” Nelson Rotko says. “After that I had to submit a book proposal — a working title and table of contents, some 26



sample photos and recipes — and about a month later they accepted it and I started writing.” Still working in the public defender’s office, Nelson Rotko spent three nights a week working at a neighborhood coffee shop. An admitted Type A spreadsheet junkie, she mapped out exactly how many recipes she’d have to create, test and photograph each week to make her deadline. The result: Stunning Spreads: Easy Entertaining with Cheese, Charcuterie, Fondue & Other Shared Fare, which was released in June. The 33-year-old developed all the recipes, testing them in the kitchen of her Starmount home, and even shot the photography as well. The 75 recipes range from dips and appetizers to cocktails and fondues. Many of them are designed to work together for the same meal. “What I wanted to do with this cookbook was to show people that entertaining doesn’t have to be fussy or overwhelming, and to give people the confidence to create easy, delicious food for their family and friends,” Nelson Rotko says. Some of her favorite things in the book are the summer-ready drink recipes. “Things like beer floats, watermelon frose and prosecco-pop cocktails will surely help you cool off!” Nelson Rotko had intended to throw a book launch party,

|blvd. Fresh Basil Pesto

(serves 10-12) Ingredients: 1/3 cup pine nuts 2-3 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated 1/2 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste crusty bread or fresh vegetables, for serving Toast pine nuts either in the oven or on the stovetop. To toast in the oven, preheat to 375 degrees. Spread the pine nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes until aromatic and golden brown. To toast on the stovetop, spread pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes until aromatic and golden brown.

but COVID-19 shelved those plans. Still, when a giant pallet of her books showed up on her doorstep this spring, she admits there was plenty of reason to celebrate. “I knew that it was going to be an actual physical book, but there’s nothing like holding it and flipping through it in person,” she says. “I like that it feels heavy and smells like a

Place cooled pine nuts and basil leaves into a food processor. Pulse. Add garlic and Parmesan cheese to the food processor. Pulse a few more times and then scrape down the side with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula so everything is at the bottom. Slowly add olive oil to the food processor. You can add oil in batches and run the food processor in between, or you can slowly pour oil in through the top of the food processor while it’s running. You want to slowly add the oil to emulsify the mixture and prevent oil from separating. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse to combine. Taste, and add more basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese or oil to get desired flavor and consistency. Serve as a dip on the Caprese Salad Platter (opposite page) or spread on crusty bread or fresh vegetables. adapted from Stunning Spreads

new book and sometimes can’t believe everything inside is my hard work.” Stunning Spreads: Easy Entertaining with Cheese, Charcuterie, Fondue & Other Shared Fare is available through Amazon. com, at Barnes & Noble and at offtheeatenpathblog.com.



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enny McHugh loved art as a kid, taking classes for about 10 years. But as she grew older, her creative tendencies took a backseat to other interests, including competitive gymnastics. Thanks in part to the urging of her mom, McHugh began tapping into her artistic side again as an adult. In April, McHugh launched Campbell + Charlotte, a fine-jewelry business with the tagline, “Serious jewels for those who don’t take themselves too seriously.” Designs range from playful to bold to updated classics. “It was really born out of a love for fine jewelry and the tenacity of figuring out how to do it,” says McHugh, who grew up near Washington, D.C., and moved to Charlotte about seven years ago. McHugh started Button Box Design, a handmade beaded-jewelry business, a decade ago while in business school at University of Virginia. “I remember my mom wanted me to do something that would take me back to my creative roots.” Wanting to segue into fine jewelry, McHugh used her networking skills learned in the business world to identify potential industry partners. 28



After a year of research and experimentation, she teamed with a producer in New York to make her line, which is named after her 2-year-old daughter and her adopted hometown. Campbell + Charlotte launched with four distinct collections, all designed by McHugh. The Evolve collection is based on a concentric circle theme “that represents how you’re constantly changing to become your best self,” McHugh says. The Found collection’s bold, contemporary designs incorporate semi-precious gemstones such as tourmaline, amethyst and moonstone. “When I actually started giving myself permission to start a jewelry business, this is the one that [first] jumped out of me,” she says. Crew is McHugh’s take on classic, everyday pieces such as dome stud earrings and a gold bangle bracelet accented with diamonds. JuJu offers the brand’s most whimsical pieces — flowers, rainbows, shooting stars, and hearts adorned with sapphires and rubies. “We say it’s happy, magical and sparkly,” McHugh says. SP Campbell + Charlotte is available at campbellandcharlotte.com. Follow C+C on Instagram @campbellandcharlotte.

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Design and dine




n an era where brick-and-mortar stores are shrinking or closing altogether, California-based RH is betting big — make that huge — on the in-person shopping experience. At the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware’s new Charlotte gallery, shopping is only part of the draw. Sure, you can peruse silk shag carpets, RH’s bestselling “cloud” modular sofas or artworks from actor Portia de Rossi’s General Public collection. But RH Charlotte, The Gallery at Phillips Place (the store’s official name) beckons you to come in and stay for a while. Outside the gallery entrance, twin loggias surrounded by boxwood hedges invite you to sit down and relax on lounges accented with soothing fountains, tidy succulents and candlelit lanterns. Upon entering the 50,000-square-foot space — more than seven times the size of RH’s original Phillips Place location — you’ll find two floors dedicated to the brand’s luxury home furnishings. The first floor houses RH’s classic Interiors collection, while second-floor showrooms display the brand’s Modern collection and an expansive design atelier, where a team of interior designers can help you navigate seemingly endless selections of neutral-hued rugs, window treatments, bed and bath linens, hardware, and furniture finishes. California-based RH debuted the design-gallery concept in 2015 with the opening of RH Chicago in the city’s Gold Coast district. The Charlotte gallery occupies the space left vacant when Dean & DeLuca exited in 2018.




“RH Charlotte represents the RH of the future,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Friedman says. “We don’t build retail stores. We create architecturally inspiring spaces that activate all of the senses and cannot be replicated online.” Aside from the sheer vastness and grandeur of the space, what distinguishes RH Charlotte is the glass-enclosed rooftop restaurant, a bright, greenery-filled atrium dripping with sparkly chandeliers and flanked by open-air lounges for guests needing a shopping break or waiting for a table. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner during regular store hours — currently there are no extended hours for late-night stargazing. Early diners might choose the RH scramble (farm eggs with creme fraiche, avocado and chives) or smoked salmon with cucumber, pickled onion and cheese. Lunch and dinner selections include salads and sandwiches such as the truffled grilled cheese, lobster roll and RH Burger. There are shareable boards of meats and cheeses, a shrimp cocktail, and burrata flown in from Italy. Diners wanting a heartier meal might order the roasted half chicken with garlic confit and potato puree or a 16 oz. charred ribeye steak. Wines by the glass or bottle and a small beer selection are available, as are coffee, tea and freshpressed juices. SP RH Charlotte is located at 6903 Phillips Place Ct. Check with the store for hours.

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FIRST LOOK: Leah & Louise

End of an era Mixologist Justin Hazelton’s cocktail menu includes the Zodiac Punch, a specialty drink that changes with the signs.

off to a bright start. Collier, a two-time James Beard-nominated chef, developed the menu as an homage to the couple’s Memphis roots. Expect a seasonally changing selection with dishes inspired by areas of the Mississippi River Valley. The vibe is casual and upbeat, and service is relaxed and friendly at this “modern juke joint.” The 1,800-square-foot lightfilled space is small but not cramped with a warm color palette and cozy, down-home accents such as mismatched dishes and a church pew repurposed as a banquette. Try Leah’s Cabbage, tender and slow-roasted with pepper honey, smoked sausage and a savory pork-neck bisque, or the Mud Island — a catfish stew over rice grits with deliciously complex flavors. The Arthur Lou tang tart with ginger meringue is a not-too-sweet way to end your meal. Reservations are available at resy.com, and patio seating is available. The restaurant is cashless, so bring your credit or debit card. Leah & Louise is located at 301 Camp Road. leahandlouise.com 32



Beloved Elizabeth eatery Carpe Diem has closed after nearly 30 years in business. Sisters Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey started the restaurant in 1989. After a forced shutdown this spring as a result of the pandemic, the owners decided not to renew their lease. Fans of Carpe Diem’s buttermilk fried chicken won’t be too disappointed: The popular dish is now on the menu at sibling Earl’s Grocery, which is currently serving takeout for lunch and dinner with outdoor seating only. “We’ll have themed weekly takeout and in-store grab-and-go that reflects the best of both businesses’ menu styles,” Warford says.


he pandemic may have delayed its debut, but Leah & Louise, the Camp North End restaurant from husband and wife team Greg and Subrina Collier, opened its doors in June and is

Schedule a Virtual Discovery Meeting Today


Driving-distance getaways SUMMER PLANS CANCELED? IF YOU’RE AVOIDING THE AIRPORT BUT CAN’T RESIST THE URGE TO GET OUT OF THE CITY, HERE ARE A FEW NEARBY DESTINATIONS TO CONSIDER. t Steps from Marion Square in the heart of downtown Charleston, the midcentury-inspired Dewberry Charleston reopens this month. The seven-story, 155room hotel is offering a “Summer in the Lowcountry” package that includes complimentary valet parking, a room upgrade and a $50 hotel credit. Take in the sunset at the rooftop Citrus Club bar and lounge, the highest rooftop in Charleston. thedewberrycharleston.com

u Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock has reopened after a two-month closure. Nestled on 78 acres, you can take a hike at the adjacent Moses Cone Memorial Park, book a fly-fishing excursion or wander through the picturesque downtown. chetola.com

t Biltmore Estate in Asheville has reopened, along with “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition,” an immersive exhibit where guests can walk through some of the popular PBS series’ sets and view a display of 53 costumes. The house, gardens, conservatory, select restaurants, The Inn at Biltmore Estate and the Village Hotel, and Antler Hill Village & Winery are operating with reduced hours and social-distancing measures in place. biltmore.com

Booty-loop break




This month's signature fundraiser for the 24 Foundation is going virtual: Instead of a 24-hour cycling experience around Myers Park’s famed “booty loop,” the 19th annual 24 Hours of Booty presented by Levine Cancer Institute will consist of games and experiences participants can do at home. During UnLooped on July 24-25, you can choose to walk, run or cycle, have a backyard campout, light luminaries, hold a midnight pizza party, and more. Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt. The foundation has raised $22 million to support organizations that assist cancer patients and their families. 24foundation.org


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ACCESS 12 MCCONNELL GOLF PRIVATE CLUBS WITH JUST ONE MEMBERSHIP Make Providence Country Club your family’s go-to hangout! It’s freshly renovated golf course just made the highest debut in the state’s Top 100 rankings and is not only a joy to play, but a sight to see. Providence is centrally located within McConnell Golf’s network of 12 private clubs and offers modern amenities for the whole family. The club’s stand-out tennis program, boasting a 14-court complex, and three swimming pools are among members’ favorite places to be. Additionally, mouth-watering fare and gorgeous event spaces make the clubhouse an energetic social hub for casual meals and grand events alike. The club’s commitment to service and value make it one of a kind.




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36th & Holt

Modern townhomes 3 - 4 miles from Uptown Charlotte upper $300’s - $500’s sheaurban.com

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Sales conducted from our Shea Urban sales office Towns on Central: 2329 Central Ave Charlotte, 28205 | 36th & Holt: 1168 E 36th St Charlotte, 28205 Synergy at Midwood: 2909 Simpson Dr. Charlotte, 28205 Shea Urban sales office: 601 S. Kings Dr Suite EE Charlotte 28204 | Sun/Mon: 1 - 6: Tue - Sat: 11 - 6 sheaurban.com | 980.293.5886 Sales: Shea Group Services, LLC DBA Shea Realty (NC: C21630), (SC: 10424). Construction: Shea Builders, LLC, NC: 68875, SC: G116074. This is not an offer of real estate for sale, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, to residents of any state or province in which registration and other legal requirements have not been fulfilled. Pricing does not include options, elevation, or lot premiums, effective date of publication and subject to change without notice. All square footages and measurements are approximate and subject to change without notice. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Equal Housing Opportunity. Photos depict virtually staged furniture and accessories not available from Seller, and designer features, optional items and other upgrades that may be available from Seller at additional cost.

1932 Craigmore Drive | Charlotte 28226 | $1,675,000 | MLS# 3591717 sharon Gold (704) 650-7223

6237 Sharon Acres Road | Charlotte 28210 | $1,385,000 | MLS# 3601489 Karen Fuller Parsons (704) 408-0401

4659 Harper Court | Charlotte 28210 | $1,295,000 | MLS# 3598214 JenniFer JacKson (704) 622-5721


9505 Heydon Hall Circle | Charlotte 28210 | $1,155,000 | MLS# 3594871 Kelly stimart (704) 607-1060

5923 Sharon View Road | Charlotte 28226 | $1,100,000 | MLS# 3585265 andy Bovender (704) 287-8317

1035 Ocean Ridge Drive • $3,975,000 • Landfall Three Bridges’’ Landfall’s most spectacular waterfront property consists of 2 1/2 lots overlooking the intracoastal waterway with distant views of Wrightsville Beach, Figure 8 Island and the Atlantic Ocean! This ingenious design by Wilmington architect, Michael Moorefield, consists of three structures connected to each other by way of three bridges.

4 Mallard Street • $2,475,000 • Wrightsville Beach It’s all about the ocean . . . Ocean views abound from the chef’s kitchen featuring quartz counters with a huge center island, stainless Subzero, gas Wolf cooktop, Miele dishwasher plus Fisher-Paykel drawer dishwasher. Each bedroom features a large closet and en suite bath with the latest designer tile.

1012 Deepwood Place • $1,495,000 • Landfall Combine the creative genius of architect Michael Moorefield with the attention to detail of Master Craftsman Fred Murray and you will arrive at 1012 Deepwood Place. A timeless design built for the ages, this all brick residence is located on a quiet cul-de-sac and is accessed by a private, gated land bridge over a freshwater pond enhanced with two fountains.

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2328 Ocean Point Drive • $3,395,000 • Landfall Exquisitely executed, this move-in ready Landfall residence will take your breath away from the moment you walk in the front door. Situated high on a bluff on the Intracoastal Waterway, enjoy overlooking this edge saltwater pool, travertine deck, heated spa and outdoor fireplace.

5232 Masonboro Harbour Drive • $1,799,000 • Masonboro Harbour You will have a hard time deciding whether to spend your day lounging around the pool and spa with an outdoor tiki bar and stone fireplace or out on the boat cruising over to Masonboro Island. This boater’s paradise can be found in the gated community of Masoonboro Harbour with a deepwater 32’ boat slip in a protected marina.

5320 Orton Point Road • $899,000 • Autumn Hall The address is Autumn Hall - Wilmington’s award winning community with multiple parks, trails, pool and clubhouse. This 4200 square foot residence boasts an open floor plan with 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths (including first floor master with his and her walk-in closets and a huge spa-like bath. Enjoy the wide rocking chair front porch and the hospitality of greeting neighbors as they stroll the tree lined sidewalks. The back porch overlooks a courtyard with an outdoor wood burning fireplace

|simple life



he last time I went to church was back in mid-March. Seems like half a lifetime ago. On Sunday mornings these days — most days, actually — I’m out well before sunrise watering my gardens and watching birds. The garden has become my church, the place where I work up a holy sweat and find — no small feat in these days of safe distancing and social turmoil — deeper connection to a loving universe. The arching oaks of our urban forest rival any medieval cathedral, and the birdsong of dawn is finer than any chapel choir. It’s the one time of the day when I feel, with the faith of a mustard seed, to quote the mystic Dame Julian of Norwich, that all will be well. A rusted iron plaque that stood for decades in my late mom’s peony border reminded: The kiss of the sun for pardon The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God’s Heart in a garden Than anywhere else on Earth. This well-loved verse is from a poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney, daughter and wife of an Anglican priest who reportedly was inspired to jot this particular stanza in Lord Ronald Gower’s visitor’s book after spending time in his garden at Hammerfield Penshurst, England. The poem later appeared in an issue of Country Life magazine in 1913, gaining Gurney a slice of botanical immortality. Though I descend from a line of rural Carolina farmers and preachers, it wasn’t until I began roaming Great Britain as a golf and outdoors editor for a leading travel magazine in the late 1980s that the verdure in my blood asserted itself and my own passion for landscape gardening took root and began to grow like a Gertrude Jekyll vine. In those days, it was my good fortune to write about classic golf courses and fly-fishing streams that happened to be near some of Britain’s greatest sporting estates and historic houses. One of the first I visited in West Sussex was Gravetye Manor, the former home of William Robinson, the revolutionary plantsman who, despite being Irish, has been called the

“Father of the English Flower Garden.” Robinson’s pioneering ideas about creating natural landscapes with hardy native perennials, expressed in his famous book The Wild Garden, became the bible of English gardeners and led to a gardening style now admired and copied all over the world. I showed up there to stay one hot mid-summer afternoon when the 100 acres or so of woodlands and gardens were already past their peak. But like Dorothy Gurney, I was so taken with the sweeping natural landscape that I spent an entire day just walking the grounds looking at plants and chatting with the gardening staff. After this, every time I traveled to England, Scotland or Wales with golf clubs and fly rod in tow, I made time to seek out some of the most historic houses and private gardens in the Blessed Isles. I eventually found my way to Hammerfield Penshurst, where Madam Gurney was moved to poetry. There, I was so impressed by the riotous blue-and-pink peony border — my late mother’s favorite garden flower — I vowed to someday make my own peony border. Back home in Maine, in the meantime, I cleared a 2-acre plot of land on top of our forested hill, rebuilt an ancient stone wall and began making my own mini-Robinsonian gardening sanctuary. My witty Scottish mother-in-law suggested I give my woodland retreat a proper British name, suggesting “Slightly Off in the Woods.” The name was apt. The garden became my passion. In 2004, I set off to spend a year exploring two dozen private and public gardens and arboretums all over Britain and eastern America, learning that gardeners are among the most generous and life-loving people of the Earth. I got to pick the brains of America’s most acclaimed gardeners, and finished the year by spending six weeks with plant guru Tony Avent and three fellow plant nerds in the wilds of South Africa hunting rare species. One of the most surprising moments came when I called on John Bartram’s historic garden across the Schuylkill River from downtown Philly. I spent an enriching afternoon in the garden of America’s first botanist, learning that Thomas Jefferson frequently turned up in the garden during the long hot tumultuous summer he spent in Philadelphia composing southparkmagazine.com | 43

|simple life the Declaration of Independence. According to Bartram garden lore, Jefferson jotted notes for his hymn of American democracy while reposing in the shade of a sprawling ginkgo tree on the grounds. For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture and botany were elemental passions of life. As Andrea Wulf writes in her wonderful and prodigiously researched best-seller Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation, a tour of English landscape gardens — like the extended one I took — helped restore Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’ faith in their fledgling nation during some of its darkest hours. Gardening also helped make James Madison America’s first true environmentalist. “The Founding Fathers’ passion for nature, plants, gardens and agriculture is deeply woven into the fabric of America,” she writes, “and aligned with their political thought, both reflecting and influencing it. In fact, I believe it’s impossible to understand the making of America without looking at the founding fathers as farmers and gardeners.” My book on America’s dirtiest passion, Beautiful Madness: One Man’s Journey Through Other People’s Gardens — was my most fun book to research and write. Since its publication in 2006, I’ve heard from gardeners all over the planet and have made plans for a follow-up book on the diverse gardening passions of America and the adventures of an early 20th-century plant hunter and Asian explorer named Ernest Henry

nictailor.com 44



“Chinese” Wilson, whose discovered lilies are probably growing in your garden today. As any devoted gardener knows, the beautiful thing about a garden is that it is forever changing. Revision and evolution go hand in hand with making a garden flourish and bloom. As another July dawns in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and sweeping protests in quest of long overdue social justice and an end to racism, it strikes me that American democracy is really no different from the botanical wonders of the world. A true gardener’s work is never complete, likewise for a true patriot of the diverse and ever-changing garden that is America. The garden must be tended regularly, weeded and watered, nurtured and fed, pruned and tended with a loving eye. The good news is, gardens are remarkably resilient. They can take a beating, endure violent storms and punishing drought, yet come back even stronger than ever as a new day dawns. As Jefferson, Adams and that Revolutionary bunch knew, the one thing a healthy garden or democracy can’t abide for long is neglect and indifference. And so, as mid-summer and our nation’s 244th birthday arrive, I plan to spend even more holy time in my garden — church until further notice — planning a new blue-andpink peony border in memory of my late mama and thinking about what it means to be a good gardener and a true citizen of this ever-evolving garden we call America. SP Contact Editor Jim Dodson at jim@thepilot.com.



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July books



My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers In this thought-provoking memoir, CNN commentator and former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers sheds light on the lives of black, working-class Americans in the rural South. Originally from Denmark, S.C., Sellers shares poignant moments from his childhood and his journey to fatherhood that illustrate the systemic racism and inequality that continue to plague our nation. Both an ode to his hardworking father, who was a civil-rights hero, and a strong call to future change, this book is more relevant than ever. The Antidote to Everything by Kimmery Martin Charlotte-based author Kimmery Martin used her experiences working as an ER doctor in her second novel The Antidote for Everything, which intertwines drama, humor and medicine.

Set in a Charleston, S.C., hospital, urologist Georgia Brown and family medicine doctor Jonah Tsukada find their friendship and careers put to the test after Jonah is fired for providing medical care to transgender patients. The two doctors must find a way to change the minds of the hospital board and make difficult choices about the things that are most important to them. The Juggle is Real by Molly Grantham Between being a mother, working as a WBTV anchor and volunteering with various local organizations, Molly Grantham also added author to her repertoire with the release of her first book, Small Victories, in 2017. In her new second book, aptly named The Juggle is Real, the two-time Emmy award winner gives readers a glimpse into her life when she’s not in front of the camera. Beginning with the loss of her mother, Grantham shares personal moments from the ups and downs of motherhood. The book includes raw and humorous stories that are relatable to anyone who is balancing many different roles. SP

The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration, featuring photographs by Charlottean Peter Taylor, in May received a prestigious James Beard Foundation Media Award. The book, written by Asheville author Chris Smith and released in June 2019, does just what the title suggests: It provides a detailed yet accessible look into the Southern food staple, including recipes and historical information. The stories and recipes are accompanied by bright and bold photographs from Taylor, who began taking pictures of okra in 2018 as a personal project.

southparkmagazine.com | 47

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|queen city journal

Born to serve



Annie Alexander, left, practiced medicine in Charlotte for more than 30 years. Examples of the now-primitive medical equipment commonly used during the late 1800s and early 1900s, right, are on display at Charlotte Museum of History.


n a cold Cornelius Sunday in 1864, a public-health pioneer was born. The Civil War inched toward its close, and a new era in medicine was just beginning. Annie Lowrie Alexander’s path was cleared well before her birth. Her father, John Brevard Alexander, was a prominent physician, disturbed by the health care limitations women faced in the male-dominated field. “Her father knew that, because of the social norms of that time, women were not comfortable talking to men about socalled women’s issues, and there were tragic consequences as a result of that cultural shyness,” says Adria Focht, president of Charlotte Museum of History. The museum on Shamrock Drive houses a collection of now-primitive tools used during Alexander's era. When she was 14 years old, Alexander’s father began training her, even engaging a private tutor to ensure her acceptance into medical school. “He decided that he wanted to start the next female generation of physicians,” Focht says. “His daughter was going to be [his] first subject.”

Elizabeth Blackwell had paved the way as the first U.S. woman to receive a medical degree in 1849, eventually opening a medical college in New York City. But few, if any, Southern women had entered the field. Alexander’s path wasn’t easy. Outraged at the idea of a woman as a medical doctor, some of her relatives initially avoided contact with her. Historical papers document the challenges she faced — men who made derogatory comments and even spit on her. Aggression and skepticism lingered behind every opened door. “My success will depend on my ability and the liberal views of the people among whom I will be,” she wrote to her father. Armed with the discipline of a Capricorn, she pressed on. In 1884, following graduation from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, Alexander moved to Baltimore, where, a year later, she earned her medical license. In a class of 100 candidates, of which she was the sole woman, she earned the highest marks. She was 21 years old. Shortly after, she contracted pneumonia, then tuberculosis, both routine killers at the time. She left Maryland to consouthparkmagazine.com | 51

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valesce under the Florida sun with an uncle. But when she learned of her brother’s death in North Carolina, she returned home and opened a practice at 410 North Tryon St. The practice took time to build. At the close of her first year back in Charlotte, Alexander pocketed just two dollars. Eventually, given her grit and guts, Alexander gained the respect of her peers. She not only served on the staff of both St. Peter’s and Presbyterian hospitals, but she also led the Mecklenburg County Medical Society. Bumping along country roads in a buggy pulled by her horse, Conrad, “Dr. Annie” tackled the biggest threats of the day — tetanus, tuberculosis, the flu. Malaria was also a major problem, given the hot, humid North Carolina summers when menacing mosquitoes flourished in ditches and rain barrels. Dressed in a white, long-sleeved blouse, ankle-length skirt and boater hat tied with dark ribbon, she witnessed how poor living conditions played a role in the diseases and early deaths of young mothers and children. She spoke and wrote about nutrition and sanitation to help people make better choices. An egalitarian, she treated patients from all backgrounds, of any race, and her work at the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers stands out. “She was the Planned Parenthood of her era,” Focht says, focusing her practice on obstetrics and gynecology and educating young women on hygiene and health concerns. “That’s why her family wanted her to go into medicine.” She also served as manager at the YWCA and was the attending physician at both institutions, plus the physician for students at Presbyterian College for Women, now Queens University of Charlotte. Standing on a small wooden stool, she performed surgeries on the soldiers at Camp Greene, a U.S. Army camp based in Charlotte during World War I. “She was truly heroic in her time as a health care worker, exposing herself to all these diseases,” Focht says. As with most of Charlotte’s past, Alexander’s home and medical practice no longer stands. But in December 2016, a Pitt County high-school student and aspiring nurse worked to honor Alexander’s legacy. After researching Alexander for a school project, the student nominated her for a state highway historical marker. The marker stands at the site of the medical practice on N. Tryon Street, where Alexander worked for more than 30 years. Every spring, Alexander is remembered through reenactments at Charlotte’s historic Elmwood Cemetery. Presented by the Mecklenburg Historical Association, Voices from the Past invites guests to interact with costumed portrayers of Charlotte’s founding fathers and pioneering civic leaders. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s event was canceled. Like the essential workers fighting today’s pandemic, Annie Alexander placed herself at risk every day. In 1929, while caring for a patient with pneumonia, “Dr. Annie” contracted the infection. She died on a Tuesday in mid-October, a pioneer of progress. SP

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|origin of a species




t’s a face only a mother could love. Or is it? Bulging red eyes set wide apart atop an alien-looking head. Six hairy legs and long, lacelike wings cloaking a pudgy, waspish body. Allow me to introduce the cicada, nature’s predominant singing insect. This summer, the central part of the state and areas north to Virginia and West Virginia are due for a bumper crop of these noisy tree dwellers, says Jason Cryan, an entomologist who was deputy director and chief of research and collections at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences until March, when he became executive director of the Natural History Museum of Utah. “In some areas, we could see 10 times more cicadas than normal — maybe more,” Cryan says. “I think it will be fascinating.” Of course, what’s fascinating to an entomologist is cicada-pocalypse to others, but before hightailing it out of here, consider this: The brood of cicadas emerging from the ground right now has been patiently waiting for 17 years. Unlike the annual cicadas many areas see every year, the insects clawing their way to the surface now are a genus scientists call Magicicada. They live only in the eastern half of the United States, and, depending on your point of view, look either like something out of a horror movie or an adorable puppy. “I think they’re really cute,” says Chris Simon, a professor at the University of Connecticut who has been studying cicadas since 1974. “Their big red eyes ... the pretty orange wing veins ... the way their wings catch little slices of light ... they’ve just got a lot of character,” she maintains. No matter your perspective, 17 years is a long time in cicada world. Almost no other insect lives that long. So, what are cicadas doing all that time in their subterranean homes? Turns out, not much. They mastered the practice of social distancing long before the rest of us — no card games or Friday afternoon happy hours. Cryan says the time is spent

trying to grow as fat as possible by sipping fluid (xylem) from tree roots. When their genetic alarm clock rings and ground temps hit a toasty 64 degrees, cicadas claw their way 8 inches or so out of the ground, climb the nearest tree, then emerge from their brownish exoskeleton. Watching a cicada transform from a crusty, brown nymph to a full-winged cicada is like watching The Wizard of Oz when it goes from sepia to color. “Their wings glisten like glass at first,” Cryan observes. “It’s still amazing every time I see it.” Charlotte is going to see a lot of nature’s little miracle this year. But there’s little reason to worry, Simon assures us. “The treetops may be filled with cicadas,” she notes, “but they are harmless to humans and animals.” Cicadas, while fearsome-looking, don’t bite or sting, and unlike locusts or katydids, they don’t devour crops or cause plagues. What cicadas really like is sitting in trees during the summer and singing the day away — a noisy, buzzing song males make to impress bug-eyed females. Oh, and procreating. In fact, that’s the main reason they’re here, Cryan confides. “Basically, they’re sex machines,” he offers in a hushed tone. Eat, sing and do the wild thing. Lay a few hundred eggs, then die. You should also know that cicadas, while lovable, aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box. Young males are especially daft and clumsy. Start your lawnmower or an electric saw and you may trigger a cicada lovefest. Anything sounding remotely like an electric buzz has been known to attract them. If a confused cicada mistakes you for its mate, don’t panic. Look it squarely in its compound eyes and give the critter a gentle flick. “Not even in your wildest dreams,” you mutter. Chances are, it’ll fly off, dejected, no doubt looking for some motherly love. SP Bill McConnell is a freelance writer who still believes in the power of science. You can bug him at mcconnell@carolina.rr.com. southparkmagazine.com | 55


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Classic Tudor in the heart of Myers Park with beautiful reclaimed brick exterior & well-designed, spacious floor plan. Large foyer with lovely stairway opens to formal dining room, family room with coffered ceiling and wet bar, plus a private paneled study with built-ins and fireplace. Main level master bedroom with large closet including W/D connections and access to the covered porch. Large kitchen with huge island, Subzero Pro 48 refrigerator, two dishwashers, Wolf range & informal dining area. French doors off family room lead to covered porch overlooking lush private rear yard. Side entry opens to drop zone and rear stairs. Three guest rooms with en-suite baths on second level in addition to large bonus or 5th bedroom, wet bar & large laundry room. Third level has media/exercise room and 6th full bath. Hardwood floors throughout all living areas, high ceilings, classic moldings and so much storage! Perfect location close to medical facilities, Uptown, restaurants, shopping & airport.

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6/17/20 10:30 AM

There’s nothing like a global shutdown to make you realize the everyday things that bring you joy — and the people, places and interactions you take for granted: Conversations over coffee at a cherished cafe; cheering on the Knights or Panthers with thousands of devoted fans; grabbing a drink after work at your favorite bar; family fundays about town. So, in some ways, compiling this list of a few of our favorite things about Charlotte was easy. From everyday simple pleasures to the attributes that make this town special, here are a few of the things we love about Charlotte.

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SEASONS: The Queen City is perfectly situated to enjoy at least a few weeks of each season, with blooming dogwoods and azaleas in spring, hot summer nights, fall colors — even the occasional Snowmageddon in winter, which yields a light dusting of snow followed by a disproportionate number of “snow days” for the kids.

PROXIMITY: Charlotte is a hub city, offering direct flights to just about everywhere. But if you’re still wary of travel, you can drive to a number of incredible destinations on just a tank or two of gas, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west to the Carolinas’ best beaches in the east. For an urban getaway, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va., are within a day’s drive.


TREE-LINED STREETS: Charlotte’s stately tree canopy is most impressive in close-in neighborhoods like Myers Park. The grand oaks along Queens Road provide a lush backdrop for runners, walkers and cyclists. Nonprofits such as treescharlotte. org are working to help the city meet its goal of 50% canopy coverage by 2050.


LAKE LIFE: Wedged between Lake Wylie to the south and Lake Norman to the north, there are plenty of ways to get on the lake, from paddleboarding off Ramsey Creek Park to dockside dining at Hello, Sailor: Try the PEI mussels provençal, right, or Crab Louie Salad paired with a Yacht Club — a refreshing concoction of mezcal, St. Germain, grapefruit, jalapeño and lime.


SKYLINE: It’s the best in the state and a beautiful sight as you’re driving into the city on Interstate 77.

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YMCAS: Charlotte is fortunate to be home to a number of impressive boutique gyms, but the area’s YMCAs are arguably the best in the country. In addition to top-notch fitness facilities, the local Y branches provide an extensive slate of services that extend far beyond the gym, including camps, the popular Y-Guides program for dads and kids, and “life learning” programs such as money-management and babysitter and lifeguard training.


The JCC: Less hectic than the city’s larger YMCAs, the Levine Jewish Community Center has been a valuable community hub in south Charlotte since the 1980s, welcoming people of all faiths who participate in an expansive selection of aquatics, tennis, fitness and arts programs.



PARADES: Charlotte’s diversity is never more evident than during its big parades on St. Patrick’s Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving and during the annual Pride festival. Highschool bands, step-dance teams, suburban Y-Guide dads, beauty queens and others come together in these spirited celebrations.

FAITH COMMUNITY: Houses of worship remain more relevant in Billy Graham’s hometown than many U.S. cities, providing armies of volunteers that collectively help provide safety nets for the city’s marginalized.

Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade





FARMERS MARKETS: The large, state-run Charlotte Regional Farmers Market has been a mainstay for decades, but smaller regional and neighborhood markets have popped up in recent years to meet demand for locally grown produce, eggs and honey and homemade baked goods, jams, cheeses and more. Uptown Farmers Market is the newest addition, with vendors setting up each Saturday in the parking lot of First Baptist Church on S. Davidson St.


DIVERSITY: Charlotte benefits from an increasingly diverse population, with blacks and Latinos making up 35% and 14.5%, respectively. There’s also a tendency to welcome newcomers to positions of influence as an old guard of dedicated senior business leaders that dominated civic affairs for years has largely aged out. In 2018, voters elected six first-term council members who ranged in age from 29 to 38. Five of the city’s six mayors elected since 2009 have been female or black.


THE NEIGHBORHOODS: Each one has its own unique personality, from the eclectic vibe of NoDa and Plaza Midwood to the tree-lined streets of Dilworth and Myers Park.


PUP-FRIENDLY: Dogs rule in the Queen City, from canine-friendly breweries and patios to the homegrown dog-walking service Skipper, which soon will open Skiptown, a 24,000-square-foot doggie daycare and boarding center in South End.

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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Optimist Hall just north of uptown and Atherton Mill in South End are former textile mills enjoying new life as a food hall and retail center, respectively. Town Brewing, Noble Smoke and sibling Bossy Beulah’s Chicken Shack join other new spots that have opened in former garages, warehouses and other industrial spaces in the Wesley Heights/Freedom Drive area.


CAMP NORTH END: This 76acre former Model T assembly plant is still a work in progress but has added a slew of new tenants this year: Restaurants Leah & Louise and La Caseta (from the team behind Sabor Latin Grill), join newcomers Free Range Brewing, Popbar, Black Moth Bars, That’s Novel Books, and greeting-card studio Good Postage. Expect a big turnout when events resume, including the popular Mistletoe Market in December and Friday Nights at Camp North End.




The 115-acre GOLD DISTRICT is an up-andcomer with less hustle and bustle than neighborhing South End. Grab a Cobb salad for lunch at Pasta & Provisions, or pick up fresh-baked focaccia and a 16-layer take-and-bake lasagna to bring home. Bardo’s complex and creative small plates taste as good as they look (sibling Vana is slated to open this summer). Other spots to check out are Seoul Food Meat Co., Unknown Brewing and 1501 South Mint (previously Max & Lola’s).

These perimeter cities offer a quaint downtown experience contrary to the cul-de-sac-and-strip-center perception of the ’burbs.

The former mill town of BELMONT, just 12 miles west of uptown Charlotte, bustles with restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and more. Modern Southern classic dishes are on the menu at The String Bean bistro, while Estia’s Kouzina serves authentic Greek favorites. For a pick-me-up, pop into Mugshots Coffee & Tea, a coffeehouse started by two former police officers in 2017.


Renfrow Hardware, Santé restaurant and the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market are mainstays in downtown MATTHEWS. The additions of Seaboard Brewing, Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply and The Loyalist Market in recent years have invigorated the town. The tiny courtyard at The Portrait Gallery is an out-of-theway spot to enjoy cocktails and tapas.


Kindred made DAVIDSON a culinary destination. Stroll through the sculpture garden on the campus of Davidson College, relax at Summit Coffee or Davidson Wine Co. and browse fine stationery and candles at Elisabeth Rose. 64





Symphony Park


GREENWAYS: It took a pandemic and a citywide shutdown for many to realize how accessible Charlotte’s greenway system really is. Currently 52 miles miles of trails traverse the city, with more being added each year.

PARKS: Freedom Park gets a lot of the glory, and rightfully so, with 90 acres of walking trails, an amphitheater, baseball and soccer fields, a 7-acre lake, and connectivity to the greenway and Discovery Place Nature (formerly Charlotte Nature Museum). It’s also a great place to while away an afternoon on a blanket at “Hippie Hill.” But smaller pocket parks such as Latta Park in Dilworth are also great finds, as is uptown’s Romare Bearden Park. Symphony Park at SouthPark is the perfect place for a concert under the stars, and just outside the city in Fort Mill, S.C., Anne Springs Close Greenway offers 36 miles of trails and a canteen serving beer, wine, salads and sandwiches.

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U.S. NATIONAL WHITEWATER CENTER: Whitewater rafting might be the main attraction, but the center is also a haven for biking, ropes courses, ziplines, rock climbing, paddling on the Catawba River, or just kicking back with a cold beer and listening to live music. Pandemic aside, the 1,300-acre center also packs a robust events calendar, from festivals to concerts to races and more.

GARDENS: From big (Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont) to small (Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary and McGill Rose Garden, right), the region has multiple venues for plant lovers. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and Glencairn Garden in Rock Hill, S.C., are also worth a visit.

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PASTA IS BACK: After years of carb-free diets, a spate of new eateries are capitalizing on pent-up demand for ravioli, gnocchi, pizza and more. The Italian revival includes quick-fired pizza spots Inizio and Capishe Real Italian Kitchen, chain North Italia’s new RailYard South End location, uptown wine bar Cicchetti (above), Chef Luca Annunziata’s Forchetta, South End’s Indaco and Little Mama’s in SouthPark.


COFFEEHOUSE CENTRAL: Starbucks is fine, but there are a zillion local options to get a cold brew or chai latte. Not Just Coffee (their matcha lemonade hits the spot on a hot summer day), Queen City Grounds, Undercurrent Coffee and Central Coffee have multiple locations around town. Don’t overlook Smelly Cat in NoDa, Café Moka in Waverly and Brakeman’s in downtown Matthews. Pro tip: In addition to great coffee, Not Just Coffee’s Dilworth location has a full food and cocktail menu.


NEIGHBORHOOD PUBS: Alexander Michael’s in Fourth Ward is the quintessential neighborhood tavern, while Selwyn Pub is another mainstay. Other lesser-known spots that attract a loyal crowd without a massive Instagram following include The Lodge in south Charlotte and Comet Grill in Dilworth.


BAKERY BOOM: It wasn’t long ago that you would have been hardpressed to find a scratch-made cupcake or brownie in Charlotte. Thankfully, bakeries are back. Newcomers Wentworth & Fenn at Camp North End, The Batch House in FreeMoreWest and Swirl in Oakhurst, left, join established bakeshops Suarez Bakery, Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe and Sunflour Baking Co. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth at Renaissance Patisserie in SouthPark and Villani’s in Chantilly. 66




MARKETDELIS: Laurel Market pioneered the market-deli concept when it opened in 1991. Then Common Market on Central Avenue came along in 2002, and a trend was born. Its “Oakwold” location has brought new energy to an up-and-coming part of town. Sip a fresh-brewed local coffee or a draft beer, enjoy a gourmet sandwich, and grab a bottle of wine and a snack to take home. But we have to admit, we’re a little partial to Rhino Market & Deli — its original location on West Morehead Street is a short walk from SouthPark headquarters. The Chicken Torta sandwich — roasted chicken, melted provolone, avocado, jalapenos, lettuce and tomato — is top-notch.



COCKTAIL CULTURE: Cocktail bars and speakeasies have made a comeback, shown by the sustained popularity of Dot Dot Dot at Park Road Shopping Center and newcomers Idlewild in NoDa and Elsewhere in South End. Head to The Crunkleton in Elizabeth for well-executed classics. Haberdish, Bardo and Zeppelin offer some of the city’s more innovative restaurant cocktail programs.


OLD-SCHOOL EATERIES: Not much changes at some of these long-tenured spots, and that’s just the way folks like it. South End mainstays Beef ’n Bottle, Mr. K’s and Price’s Chicken Coop never go out of style. Green’s Lunch has been serving hot dogs uptown since 1926, while The Diamond on Commonwealth started as a soda shop in 1945. The Landmark on Central Avenue serves classic diner fare, and if you haven’t eaten chili at Lupie’s Café on Monroe Road, you can’t call yourself a Charlottean.


The TRIED AND TRUE: They may not garner much social-media attention, but these long-running spots have been consistent local favorites for decades. Cajun Queen serves a taste of New Orleans in a 100-year-old house in Elizabeth; New South Kitchen at the Arboretum was an early adopter of Charlotte’s farm-to-table movement; 300 East packs a lunchtime crowd in its cozy Dilworth spot; other crowd-pleasers include Mama Ricotta’s and Harper’s. Cordial



PERFORMING ARTS: From opera to ballet to touring Broadway shows, Charlotteans never have to travel far for world-class entertainment. From the 2,400seat Ovens Auditorium at the BOplex to Children’s Theatre stages at ImaginOn to the intimate Theatre Charlotte on Queens Road, there are plenty of spots to catch live entertainment, including a few unexpected ones: The Charlotte Symphony’s On Tap series brings concerts to local breweries, and you might catch a pop-up performance by Opera Carolina at 7th Street Public Market.


MUSIC VENUES: Charlotte is fortunate to have a variety of places to experience live music, from the intimate, funky Visulite to the medium-sized Neighborhood Theatre to the “Cable Box” (aka Spectrum Center) and everything in between. A low-key newcomer is The Music Yard, located on South Boulevard between Mac’s Speed Shop and SouthBound’s Taco Stand.



DRINKS WITH A VIEW: Uptown isn’t the only place to take in a rooftop view. Whiskey Warehouse in Plaza Midwood and Unknown Brewing and Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails in South End also offer skyline views. With the recent openings of Cordial atop the AC Hotel SouthPark and the new RH Charlotte, The Gallery at Phillips Place, SouthPark is now home to two rooftop spots for drinks and dining.

MUSEUMS: It’s easy to live here and never set foot in a museum, but with so many cultural institutions packed within a few blocks of each other, you’d be missing one of center-city Charlotte’s best assets. Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for AfricanAmerican Arts + Culture, Museum of the New South and Discovery Place Science are within easy walking distance of each other. Most offer value-packed membership deals that are well worth the investment: For example, a $100 annual membership at The Mint gets you unlimited admission to both locations for two members, a guest and up to six children, plus additional perks.

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PUBLIC ART + MURALS: It seems there’s a new mural popping up every week in the Queen City, turning previously blank walls into vibrant works of art.

ART GALLERIES: From the more established dealers such as Jerald Melberg and Hodges Taylor to relative newcomers such as SOCO and LaCa Projects, local art galleries help fill cultural gaps by introducing Charlotteans to creative thinkers from the region and from around the world. southparkmagazine.com | 67



PARK ROAD SHOPPING CENTER: This 64-year-old center has been a mainstay thanks to longtime retailers such as Great Outdoor Provision Co., Omega Sports and Park Road Books. Blackhawk Hardware — which carries everything from cabinet hardware and tools to gardening and pet supplies — is expected to complete a 12,000-square-foot expansion this summer.


SOUTH END: It’s so much more than a millennial enclave: With expansions and a curated mix of retail tenants such as Society Social, right, OMJ Clothing, Twenty Degrees Chocolates, Uniquities and BOEM, Atherton Mill and Design Center of the Carolinas have made South End a destination for more than just breweries and bar-hopping.



SOUTHPARK MALL: If you grew up in the ’80s, you know the excitement of spending a day at the mall. And SouthPark is the only place in North Carolina where you’ll find high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. For back-to-school, holiday shopping or just any given Saturday, grab lunch at Cowfish, Bulla Gastrobar or Arthur’s in the basement of Belk and make a day of it.


ECLECTIC FINDS: Shopping is like a treasure hunt at some local stores, where you’ll find an ever-changing inventory of unique goods. You never know what you’ll stumble upon at Paper Skyscraper on East Boulevard, upscale women’s consignment store J.T. Posh in Dilworth or Boris + Natasha in Plaza Midwood. House of Nomad’s new Myers Park shop has treasures from around the world.


THE PROS: With billionaire David Tepper owning the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Michael Jordan heading the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and developer Johnny Harris delivering major PGA golf events, pro sports are never dull here. The Charlotte Knights’ popularity also makes it among minor league baseball’s most valuable franchises, Forbes says. Fans lamented the recent departures of superstars Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton and Kemba Walker, but the Panthers still boast football’s most exciting running back in Christian McCaffrey. For those fond of roars and speed, Charlotte remains the global center of NASCAR. 68



In a town long obsessed with the shiny and new, it’s taken way too long for widespread historic preservation to catch on. But there are still gems, if you take a closer look.




HEZEKIAH ALEXANDER HOUSE: Tucked off Shamrock Drive behind the Charlotte Museum of History is the oldest surviving structure in Mecklenburg County: The two-story stone house built in 1774 that was the home of Alexander, his wife Mary and their 10 children. Alexander was a Revolutionary statesman and county magistrate who also played a role in the creation of Queens College, now Queens University of Charlotte.

THE HUGH MCMANAWAY STATUE: Longtime Charlotteans might remember Hugh Pharr McManaway, who used to mimic directing traffic at the confusing intersection of Queens and Providence roads during the 1960s and ’70s. McManaway died in 1989, but he’s memorialized in a statue at the intersection that is frequently adorned with signs, sports jerseys and more during holidays and other occasions.

THE DUKE MANSION: Built in 1915, the one-time home of James Buchanan Duke is now a nonprofit inn and meeting center nestled among 4.5 acres in the heart of Myers Park.

FOURTH WARD: Residents of this close-knit neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of uptown invite visitors twice a year for a peek at the Victorian homes: The Secret Gardens tour in spring, and the Holiday Home Tour in December, complete with food and cocktail tastings from local restaurants and distilleries.



THE EXCELSIOR CLUB on Beatties Ford Road became one of the largest private black social clubs on the East Coast after it opened in 1944. Original owner James “Jimmie” McKee, a leading black philanthropist and businessman, conceived the idea after several years working in Charlotte country clubs, creating a similar type of venue for blacks. The club closed in 2016 after falling into disrepair, but a California investor purchased it in December with plans to develop an entertainment venue with a restaurant and hotel.


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Participating is so much more fun than watching, explaining why YOUTH AND ADULT ATHLETIC LEAGUES pack dozens of local parks and gyms on weekends through much of the year. Groups such as Charlotte Soccer Academy, Myers Park Trinity Little League and South Park Youth Association keep players and their parents constantly on the move. No telling when the next Steph Curry will emerge.


The stately BIDDLE MEMORIAL HALL at Johnson C. Smith University can be viewed from several vantage points across the city. Built in 1884, the Victorianstyle building was the first large structure erected on the current campus of Johnson C. Smith University. Over the years, it’s housed classroom space, a theater and general-administration offices for the HBCU. Many original features, including the original flooring, remain intact.


COLLEGE: Sports fans who prefer college action have lots of options provided by UNC Charlotte, Davidson, Queens, Johnson C. Smith and other area schools. UNCC’s football team made its first bowl appearance this year, while Davidson and Queens run men’s basketball programs that rank among the nation’s best. Lots of big-time college sports are also close by in the Triangle and in South Carolina in Columbia and Clemson. SP southparkmagazine.com | 69

Campus chic


Leigh is wearing her own CeliaB dress from Five One Five, Swedish Hasbeen shoes and Irene Neuwirth jewelry. Angie is wearing her own LoveShackFancy dress, Dries Van Noten vest and Golden Goose Sneakers. 70




harlottean Leigh Goodwyn got the idea for a dorm-decor business in 2012, after her daughter, Carson, went off to boarding school in Virginia. “She had difficulty finding really cool dorm decor in the extra-long twin size,” Goodwyn says. “At that point, there weren’t many companies focusing on the dorm as a dedicated space. So we just made some things for her room. ... I drew a little picture of a headboard, and I took it to an interior-design workroom.” When other parents saw the result — a pink, monogrammed headboard pillow with white piping — they asked where they could get others like it. “I said, ‘Well, I just had it made, but I can get one made for you, too,’” says Goodwyn, whose daughter recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. (Her son, Gray, is a rising junior at UNC). Before long, parents started asking if she could get them other dorm accessories. Goodwyn asked an entrepreneurial friend, Leigh-Ann Sprock, to help her launch the business, and LeighDeux was born. When Sprock bowed out after three years, Goodwyn bought her share of the company. A chance meeting last fall with actor Angie Harmon led to a colorful, slightly edgy skull-themed collection that launched last month. Harmon, who has three daughters from age 8 to 15, moved to Charlotte a decade ago after visiting family friends Jimmie and Chandra Johnson. “It reminded me of what Dallas used to be like when I was growing up there,” says the Texas native best known for her roles on TV’s Law & Order and Rizzoli & Isles. “It seemed like such a beautiful place to raise kids, and obviously it’s just gorgeous — it’s got that smalltown vibe, but it’s still a sort of bustling metropolis.” SouthPark spoke with Goodwyn and Harmon about the new collection, raising daughters to be self-reliant, and dorm decor’s evolution from milk crates and matching duvets to chic camo poufs, faux-fur pillows and velvet headboards. Comments have been edited for length and clarity. How did this collaboration come together? Leigh Goodwyn: We didn’t know each other well, but we had a ton of mutual friends. Angie and I saw each other at a book-signing event at Tabor and SOCO Gallery one day in the fall. I said we should do something together sometime. Then we met for coffee and started talking.

I also have a track record over the last five years of doing collaborations with Charlotte artists and designers, all women. I loved the idea that Angie has this great affinity for skulls, and that’s something that college girls love. We [at LeighDeux] had actually talked about a skull collection a couple of times, and we just had never rolled it out. It was very collaborative — we designed the whole thing together. Angie Harmon: I’ve done products before, and I’ve always put the skull in it. I did a jewelry line called Red Earth [in 2015] that basically was helping African artisans and benefiting them and their families. I think it’s so relevant now with what’s going on globally — what I’ve always loved about skulls is that, it doesn’t matter what color we are, what sex we are. ... at the end of the day, we all look the same once you rip all this off. If you put nine skulls together, you can barely tell them apart. It just represents a really lovely camaraderie that exists without anybody being super-conscious of it. Some people look at skulls as something scary, and they’ve just never represented that to me. It’s the common thread between all of us. How do you develop styles that appeal to 18-year-olds? LG: I actually do quite a bit of research, and I do a lot of social-media research. … A lot of girls think that they want a really neutral dorm room. They say, ‘Oh I want gray and white, or I want black and white.’ Then you get in the room, and the dorm room doesn’t look like your room at home — it doesn’t have good bones, it doesn’t have good molding and it has hideous furniture and concrete walls. I always say to the girls, you think that’s what you want. But really, if you put some more color in there, you’re going to like it so much more, and it’s going to be happy. Your offer a broad range of designs on your website, LeighDeux.com. LG: Because everything’s made in North Carolina, if we run out of something, we can print the fabric and remake all the collections very easily. We’ve never gone overseas to produce anything. Mostly, that stems from my own textile roots. I grew up in Gastonia, and my family was in the textile business. They made the machinery and parts for textile mills. After NAFTA in ’91, the whole textile world changed. It really was detrimental to the industry. A lot of people lost their livelihoods. southparkmagazine.com | 71




So for me, I didn’t want to make anything overseas, because I felt like that would be a slap in the face to the history of the textile sector in this region, and that just really bothered me. How do your experiences as an entrepreneur and successful model and actor influence how you raise your daughters? LG: I’ve always had a career. I was in media and television for 20 years. My first job was at CNN in 1988 — I started the summer of the Democratic National Convention, and I worked in production. It sort of was like baptism by fire. It really was an amazing career, but I moved around — I worked in ad sales, and eventually international marketing. I always tell my kids, especially Carson, you want to have your own thing. You want to be able to make your own money; you never know what’s gonna happen in life. You need to be able to have your own career and be successful on your own. That was the message I was always trying to send her. AH: My girls didn’t know what I did for a living for a really, really long time. But they did know that I worked. I wanted them to see that I just didn’t want them to depend on a man at all. ... It wasn’t just about buying things, it was more about having their own safety net and being their own safety net. … Not having to depend on anybody except themselves, which I also think creates a level of their own responsibility and their own purpose. And as daughters, you just want to give them absolutely every opportunity or chance in life that you can. What did your college dorm room look like? LG: I had a roommate that I knew going in. We had bunk beds, and I had the top bunk. We had cinder-block walls, and I cut pictures out of magazines that I liked and taped them all over the wall like a mural. Cannon Mills used to have an outlet up in Kannapolis, and we went there and we picked out our bedding together. We did have matching bedding, but it was the ’80s, and that’s what you did back then. We had milk crates as side tables and really tacky shelves that we made using milk crates and pieces of wood that my dad cut and painted for us. We had our little refrigerator in there, and that was about it. AH: I went straight from Dallas to New York [to model], so there was no dorm for me. But I look back at what my friends had, and then I look at what Leigh’s created, and the wonderful, fun designs. I think what’s great about this collection is we didn’t want it to be frilly and girly without having a little bit of an edge. We wanted all different kinds of color combinations — not just a variety of pastels, we’ve also got bold, electric colors. When Leigh said we should do something together, I jumped at it, just because it’s such a fun audience base, and it’s such a fun collection. Her track record speaks for itself, and when you see all of her patterns and her colors — if I was a girl going to college, I would want exactly that. SP

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School rules




Left: Daydreamer Johnny Cash The Icon Tour tee, $70, Boem; Rails Maci skirt, $148, Uniquities; Ray-Ban Aviator Classic sunglasses, stylist’s own; Adidas sneakers, model’s own

Above: Raquel Allegra blue stripe tie jumpsuit, $345, Poole Shop; cowrie shell chokers, $24-$28, Boem Left: Lauren Moshi Edda Eye star tee, $118, Uniquities; AG Denim ex-boyfriend short, $168, Boem LeighDeux bedding collections available at LeighDeux.com




Middle: Maia Berman Simone blue floral dress, $266, Boem; Coach sandals, stylist’s own; summer stack necklaces made at Beads, Inc. Right: LoveShackFancy flutter-sleeve Gwen embroidered minidress, $395, Poole Shop; Le Specs Volcanic tortoise sunglasses, $79, Uniquities; Lucchese boots, stylist’s own On location at Queens University of Charlotte

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Left: Spencer & Ella dip dye ruffled sleeve dress in blue, $98, Uniquities; Las Bayadas La Mirel classic beach towel, $50, Uniquities; ale by Alessandra straw hat, Sol Candy Middle: Farm Rio Banana Pitta blouse, $100, Uniquities; Mother Teaser short Totally Innocent in white, $168 Uniquities; Quay aviator sunglasses, $40, Boem Right: Baume Und Pferdgarten Adalane Cloud dress in blue, $149, Uniquities; Le Specs Volcanic tortoise sunglasses, $79, Uniquities; straw bag, Uniquities; Wade knotted multipattern headband, $26, Boem; beach bag with black tassel, $82, Uniquities 1969 Ford Bronco 302 courtesy of Jason Powers




Left: Ulla Johnson Safa pant, $895, Poole Shop; Kule Modern Fab tee, $98, Poole Shop; Swedish Hasbeens Merci sandals, $280, stylist’s own; Wade lightning bolt earrings, $24, Boem; metallic and calf-hair cuff, $50, Boem Middle: Jesse Kamm high-waist short in Caribbean gold, $275, Poole Shop; Xirena Channing button-down in Clearwater, $175, Poole Shop; Vejas sneaker with me-

tallic laces sourced on Etsy; Wade Outer Banks choker necklace, $28, Boem; Virtue acrylic hoop earrings, $28, Boem Right: Pam & Gela striped pocket tee, $95, Uniquities; Pistola Parker Disoriented denim romper, $138, Boem; Golden Goose high-top sneakers courtesy of Lauren Moise; Wade cheetah beaded earrings, $28, Boem On location at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Myers Park Branch

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Left: Rachel Antonoff tie-dye Matthew jumpsuit, $245, Poole Shop; Deepa Gurnani earrings, $100, Uniquities; metallic and calf-hair cuff, $50, Boem; Steve Madden Kimber metallic platforms, model’s own Right: Ganni three-quarter sleeve washed denim mini dress, $315, Poole Shop; Deepa Gurnani earrings, $100, Uniquities; Dr. Martens boots, model’s own On location at Abari Game Bar




Left: Cara Cara Sasha dress, $425, Poole Shop; Swedish Hasbeens Merci sandals, $280, Poole Shop; royal blue clear hoop earrings, $25, Uniquities Middle: Rhode Ella minidress, $375, Poole Shop; Wandler mini Hortensia leather bag in tan/flourish, $910, Poole Shop; See by Chloe suede open-toe platform, stylist’s own Right: Nicholas mocha etched floral Melissa top in blue multi, $275, Poole Shop; Nicholas belted mocha etched floral Naila short in blue multi, $345, Poole Shop; Janessa Leone Klint straw hat, $190, Poole Shop; Swedish Hasbeens Merci Sandals, stylist’s own On location at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

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hen Shannon and Chris Evans began considering a new house, the couple knew they needed a turnkey home. “We both work 60 hours or more a week, so we really needed someone who could take the project and run with it,” Shannon says. “We needed someone to meet with the architect, meet with the builder, basically do everything for us.” The couple also knew they wanted new construction — renovating an older home was off the table — so the project would involve designing a house inside and out from the ground up. Having never built a home nor worked with an interior designer before, Shannon and Chris were unsure where to start. It wasn’t until their wedding planner introduced them to designer Sarah Catherine Garvin of SC Collective that they finally felt like they had someone to guide them through the process. “The moment we met, we instantly clicked,” Garvin says. “And I knew my priority — in addition to designing them a gorgeous, functional home — was to take the design process off their plates and let them rely on me to cull through all of the options and specifications and present it to them.” After enlisting Grandfather Homes as the builder, the Evans and Garvin worked closely with architect Rob Foster to design a 4,700-square-foot, two-story home in Myers Park. “Everything really revolved around the home being stylish, functional for everyday living and ultimately a great place to entertain,” Garvin says. “Shannon and Chris are very laid-back, so nothing in the home could be too precious. Comfort was definitely a priority, too.” 80



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The dining table was designed by SC Collective, with Lee Industries chairs upholstered in a Pollack fabric and custom benches upholstered in a fabric by Kasmir.

The design plans were a slight departure from Garvin’s self-described contemporary aesthetic that’s become her calling card. “Shannon is drawn to a more neutral color palette, so we really needed to create interest through texture and accessories,” says the designer, who also drew inspiration from the couple’s travels. “When we first met, Shannon and Chris spoke a lot about their love for travel and scuba diving and their love for the beach. I wanted the home to be a reflection of them and what they love, so despite this home not being on the coast, I really wanted to incorporate a coastal vibe throughout.” Garvin looked to subtle textures and materials that feel inherently coastal but also are understated, modern and clean, such as whitewashed wood furniture and white oak hardwoods throughout. The tortoiseshell Schumacher wallpaper in the barrel ceiling of the foyer is a nod to the couple’s strong affection for sea turtles. “Every time they enter the home, it’s a small reminder of the things they love and that make them smile,” the designer says. Elsewhere, Garvin incorporated coastal finsouthparkmagazine.com | 83




ishes such as the glazed whitewashed pine on the dramatic vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom. “Sarah Catherine added just small hints of our love of travel and the beach throughout the home that we notice every day and make us happy — but that others could overlook,” Shannon says. “It’s as if you find a surprise every time you walk in a room.” With entertaining a high priority for the couple, Garvin knew extending the living space to the outdoors was a must. “Shannon and Chris travel to secluded places around the world,” Garvin says. “So we wanted to create this private oasis in their own backyard.” With the help of the homebuilder and Jeff Rounds with RedTree Landscape Design, the design team created a seamless transition from the indoors to the spacious backyard, featuring a lounge area with a pergola and a streamlined pool that Garvin designed with Marty Wynne of Winning Pools. Meanwhile upstairs, a large game room serves as the ultimate entertaining spot, complete with full-size shuffleboard, a pingpong table and bar area. Ultimately, the Evans’ home is exactly what they envisioned when they began the building process. “We wanted what we wanted — a functional home that allowed for easy entertaining but was also comfortable and relaxed,” Shannon says. SP

The whitewashed pine vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom contributes to the home’s coastal vibe. The bed, designed by SC Collective, is upholstered in a fabric by Clarke + Clarke.

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|carolina road






here is a man in Columbus County who creates dinosaurs in his backyard. He also builds bulldogs, painting some in tidy Marine Corps dress blues, and lighthouses as tall as an NBA player. Giant flamingos wearing bow ties and top hats watch him work, as kaleidoscopic cows, horses and zebras graze in the fields around him. A centaur points toward a pond where oversized herons hunt for giant glittering fish heads. Gargantuan golf balls are teed up beside polar bears. A whale that can’t swim breaches in the distance. A Jolly Green Giant, undoubtedly responsible for the massive tomatoes and colossal watermelons growing nearby, startles a glass-eyed Pegasus; it rears up on its hind legs, wings flapping. Overlooking the whole tableau is a 50-foot tall woman — a Uniroyal Gal, to be precise — wearing a cowboy hat. No, it’s not a fever dream. This is Grahamland, an 8-acre fiberglass menagerie on the side of U.S. 74-76, halfway between Lake Waccamaw and Wilmington. If you’ve ever driven that stretch of road, you’ve seen it. It’s impossible to miss, even at 70 miles an hour. The sculptures stare out at the highway, imploring you to pull over for a closer look, and many people do. Fiberglass artist Hubert Graham might get 20 visitors from across the state, country and world on a good day. Some people buy a sculpture — all of Graham’s work is for sale — but everybody asks the same question: Where on Earth did all this stuff come from? It began with one lighthouse 25 years ago. Back then, Graham worked for the local power company and came home one day to find his front door kicked in and some belongings gone. The house was surrounded by woods then, hidden from the highway, so Graham cleared the land and, with the help of two friends, welded together a metal lighthouse with a security

light on top. Pretty soon all his neighbors wanted one, too, but a hailstorm two years later left the original one badly dented and sent Graham in search of a more durable material. He found a man named Bill Sharp who built lighthouses from fiberglass up in Rocky Mount. Sharp was a roamer, far more interested in chasing women than in building lighthouses, but he taught Graham to “glass” and ended up selling him his molds when he retired. Graham eventually left the power company and got a job at Southport Boat Works, building fishing boats and further developing his fluency with fiberglass. When that company went under, they offered him the contents of their warehouse for one dollar, on the condition that he clear it out in 40 days. So, he hired some former co-workers to help and ended up with 200,000 gallons of resin and 300,000 pounds of fiberglass — the raw materials for Grahamland. Fiberglass resin has a shelf life. The next few months were a frenzy of activity for Graham, building as much as he could before his resin kicked off. Every afternoon he would wax and gel the molds for whatever he was building (his sculptures are pieced together from molds, which he makes — half horse heads, sides of cows, legs for bulldogs), and in the morning his hired help would come in and roll the glass while he went to work at Corning. That afternoon, once it had cured, he would pop out all the pieces and do it all over again. After a year, he had used up all the resin and had a yard full of fiberglass puzzle pieces of sculptures, waiting for assembly. To build a horse takes seven days. Graham never works on one thing at a time; while he’s putting a horse together, he might be making horns for a bull or fins for a dolphin, too. His work shed has benches full of petrified paintbrushes, scraps of glass and angle grinders. Rolls of southparkmagazine.com | 87

fiberglass cloth and 55-gallon drums of resin line the walls. Everything is covered in fine white dust, and the chemical-sweet smell of uncured resin, like some strange synthetic fruit gone far too ripe, hangs in the air. The floor is a textured mosaic of hardened resin drops, splattered with paint and glitter. Here is where the Frankenstein-like job of assembling the jumble of molded parts into a recognizable creature takes place. The seams are glassed from the inside to hide them, which means Graham must contort himself up inside each dusty, hot, cramped animal and smooth on layers of glass and pungent resin. Once the glass has cured, the real work begins: sanding. The ancient Greek Gods may well have punished Sisyphus by giving him a sander and some fiberglass instead of a boulder to roll up a hill; the work is loud and endless, and the dust is like itching powder that gets everywhere. Graham estimates it takes him 18 to 20 hours to sand smooth just one horse, during which time he wears through 30 discs of sandpaper. Amazingly, he works in short sleeves. “I’ll get too hot otherwise,” he says. “The less you sweat, the better off you are.” Then comes the paint, and the end result is something that will outlast almost anything else people can create. Wood may rot and metal may rust, but fiberglass is forever. Like all artists, Graham is a dreamer, and had big plans for Grahamland. He envisioned a theme park where people could come to escape everyday life, complete with a mini-golf course (where people could putt-putt into giant fiberglass animal heads, naturally) and a restaurant topped by one of his signature giant lighthouses. Then Hurricane Florence came swirling up from the sea, and Grahamland was completely underwater. Animated by the furious flood, the sculptures scattered into the surrounding woods, some making it a half-mile away. Seven-foot-tall pink flamingos floated past grizzly bears treading water; a fleet of fiberglass hot dogs sailed on the storm-tossed waves. The

Big Uniroyal Gal lost most of her clothing to the jealous fingers of the wind (fear not — she’s decent again). When the waters receded, Graham hopped in his tractor and shepherded his animals back home, but there is still a bathtub ring halfway up the side of his house. Then the coronavirus came, and Grahamland’s gates closed again. He found himself, as many of us did during the quarantine, with more time on his hands than he’d ever had before. He finally has time to spend with his girlfriend. Before, he admits, their relationship suffered: “I wasn’t paying her any more attention than the man in the moon. I was too busy doing fiberglass stuff.” But the recent death of his father put things in perspective. His father worked all his life, putting in 39 years with International Paper, acquiring a big house filled with things. But in the end, Graham says, he never got to enjoy it. “It’s so sad. You work all your life, you gain all this material stuff, and what do you got? When you die, all that stuff stays here . . . At the end of your life, were you happy? Happiness means more than anything else. Happiness, together with someone to share your life with, that means more than anything in this whole wide world.” Three disasters in a row have left him burned out, and Graham is pushing 60. A quarter-century of hard work hasn’t gotten easier with age, and with no apprentice who could continue it, he’s not sure what the future holds for Grahamland. But he’s created something unique, something durable enough to survive storms and plagues. Something that makes people smile when they drive past. Maybe that’s enough. Will he build more? Graham chuckles. “I don’t know if I want to be up in another bull’s ass or not.” SP John Wolfe enjoys life as a writer and mariner on the North Carolina coast. southparkmagazine.com | 89


Keeping it in the



Andrew Roby | Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas | Wofford Law | Harkey Tile & Stone Griffith Real Estate Services | Hearth & Patio | OA Salon | Central Bark Queen City Audio, Video and Appliance


70 YEARS STRONG Brothers Travis and Trent Haston will be the first to admit that running a business with family is not always easy. “Both Trent and I have strong beliefs and are passionate about the business,” says Travis. “We also have immense trust in one another and know that together we’ll make decisions that are best for the company and our team.” The business celebrates 70 years this year, and specializes in custom home construction, additions, full home remodels and kitchen and bath renovations. Andrew Roby and its sister companies - Roby Services, Roby Commercial and Roby Realty comprise the Roby Family of Companies.

The company was started by Andrew Robicsek, a Hungarian immigrant who hired Glenn Haston as his first employee. After 25 years of working together, Haston bought the firm from Roby. Since then, the company has seen three generations of Haston leadership. Travis currently serves as CEO of Andrew Roby, while Trent is President and CEO of the Roby Family of Companies. The company’s top priorities are taking care of its associates, clients and the Charlotte community. Their annual Pitchin’ for Wishes Cornhole Tournament supports Make-AWish Central & Western NC and other local charities. Trent says many of their customers are repeat customers that span generations. Some of their clients’ children later hire the company to build a custom home or for a remodeling project.

“That’s our model on how to grow our businesses,” says Trent. “It’s a long-term growth model, and if you’re patient, you’ll see it happen.”

Travis Haston


Trent Haston

2000 W Morehead St Suite C, Charlotte, NC 28208 704-334-5477 andrewroby.com

Glenn Haston and Andrew Robicsek


You’d be hard pressed to find a reason to question the passion behind Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas. At the helm of the local business is husband-and-wife team Ross Nash and Debra Engelhardt-Nash, who have been working in the industry for over 30 years. In their practice, Engelhardt-Nash says their team of seven likes to joke that “Debra is our boss, but Ross is our leader.” She handles the day-to-day operations while Nash focuses on cutting-edge dentistry and helping patients through the business’ fee-forservice model. “He’s the futuristic thinker

and clinical specialist, and I’m responsible for the objectivity of the business,” Engelhardt-Nash says. In addition to their practice, both are co-founders of the Nash Institute for Dental Learning in Huntersville and travel worldwide to educate others. Nash is an accredited fellow in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry – a status held only by a small number of dentists worldwide. Engelhardt-Nash serves on the Advisory Board of the American Dental Association, as well as being a board member for two other dental organizations.

403 Gilead Rd STE E | Huntersville, NC 28078 704-895-7660 | cosmeticdentistofcharlotte.com

The couple are active in SouthPark Church, but otherwise spend their free time in dentistry. Nash volunteers for the Give Back A Smile program, which gives free dental care to domestic violence victims, and Engelhardt-Nash educates dental practices everywhere on how to spot and treat human trafficking victims that come in. “I feel just like I felt when we started working together,” Engelhardt-Nash says. “I’m as happy and excited as I was. He’s as committed as the day he graduated from dental school.”




FROM LAW SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS TO BUSINESS PARTNERS During the Covid-19 pandemic, Wofford Law, a family owned business now located on Park Rd., took the opportunity to move closer to home. Despite uncertainty, husband and wife Hunt and Rebecca Wofford chose to look on the bright side of a difficult time: It gave them time to move their practice from Dilworth to South Park. It also allowed them to be grateful for simple pleasures such as walking to work. “We’re really excited about our location because now we work where we live,” Rebecca says. “It is a matter of pride for us to bring our business to our neighborhood.” Wofford Law got its start in 2017, but the pair have been passionate about family law since they met at Wake Forest University School of Law in the mid-90s. Although their law practices have not taken a direct route, they have always felt called to help families and children, Rebecca says. Although the business is relatively new, their experience, with a combined 24 years of family law practice, is not. What is most unique about Wofford Law may be their team approach. The couple focuses on different aspects of family law which allows their firm to be a one-stop shop for those in need of family law services. Although Hunt focuses primarily on litigation work while Rebecca enjoys collaborative law and appellate work, they help each other with their workload. Hunt says, “clients enjoy and value their team approach.” They are advocates for their clients; but they also serve as neutrals in the court system -- Hunt is a certified family law financial mediator and Rebecca is a court-appointed parenting coordinator. When they’re not working, they’re spending time with their two highschool-aged children, participating in local theatre, vacationing in South Carolina, where Hunt grew up, and supporting The Lunch Project, a nonprofit Rebecca founded in Charlotte. “We love our Charlotte community,” Rebecca says. “We have established roots here. We’re raising kids here and we enjoy working here. We want to continue to help our community thrive.”

4601 Park Road, Suite 540 Charlotte NC 28209 704- 626-6672 woffordfamilylaw.com



THE GOLDEN RULE OF TILE What started out in 1939 as a small tile installation business in an east Charlotte basement has greatly expanded over the years, but one fact remains the same: the golden rule is still at the core of operations for Harkey Tile and Stone. The Charlotte business has been operating for 80 years and is now in its third generation of family ownership. It began in 1939 as Renfrow Tile under the leadership of Jack Renfrow. The showroom was located in the basement of his Charlotte home until Renfrow built the current business location on Sunnyside Avenue. Jack

Renfrow’s daughter, Robbie, and her husband, Jim Harkey, later purchased the business and renamed it Harkey Tile and Stone. Now, Harkey Tile and Stone is led by Robbie and Jim Harkey’s children, Reid and Jeff Harkey. The two owners have been running everything since 2001, though they’ve been working in the family business since the early 80s. The business has grown from installing tiles to manufacturing countertops and supplying granite and marble. There are more changes planned for the future:

the brothers have an eye on technology upgrades, new water recycling techniques, and a renovated showroom. Ultimately, a larger warehouse would help create a one-stop shop with available slabs that clients could select. No matter what though, the brothers say they’ll continue to follow the golden rule, like their grandfather when he first started the business. “You treat people the way you want to be treated in life and business,” they both say. “We have great pride in surviving three generations in the industry and only want to supply the best we can offer.”

1822 Sunnyside Ave | Charlotte, NC 28204 704-334-0512 harkeytileandstone.com


E.C. GRIFFITH COMPANY Tracing History from 1912 to 2019

The E.C. Griffith Co. is one of Charlotte’s oldest family-owned real estate businesses serving and developing Charlotte one lot at a time . . . for the last 108 years! Started in 1912 by its namesake, E.C. Griffith Sr., they have faced pandemics (1917), The Great Depression and several recessions. The E.C. Griffith Company made its name in the 1920’s by developing farmland outside the Charlotte city limits. Many of these farms blossomed into present day neighborhoods you might know…Eastover, Rosemont (Elizabeth), Historic Wesley Heights, Camp Green, and a good portion of Myers Park. It is not widely known that George Stephens, successful Charlotte banker & developer of Myers Park, mentored E.C. Griffith Sr. to such a level of comfort that he turned over the Myers Park development duties in 1920 to “E.C.”, affectionately known as “Griff ” by friends and community leaders. One storybook deal was the trade in 1950 of a single large residential lot at the corner of Eastover Road and

Colville Road in exchange for a 90 acre farm out in the “boondocks.” That rural tract was right in the path of Charlotte’s future growth near Quail Hollow Country Club (est. 1959). In 1936, “E.C., Sr.” donated the acreage for The Mint Museum’s relocation and Eastover Park. He was also directly involved with Charlotte’s public health formation (1943) leading to construction of Memorial Hospital, now Atrium Health (Main Campus).

E.C. Griffith’s sons, E.C. Jr. and Jim Sr., came on board in the 1950’s, and expanded the company’s portfolio to include medical offices, apartments, industrial, retail and ground leases of all types. One such ground lease is the iconic Open Kitchen restaurant on West Morehead. In the 1990’s, the 3rd generation brothers Jim Griffith Jr. and Preston “Fred” Griffith transitioned into the leadership roles of president and vice president respectively. Together, with the Family Board of Directors, they continued to grow the company’s footprint in the Randolph Road corridor; constructing build-to-suits for Presbyterian Hospital (Novant) and Carolina Healthcare System (Atrium), and breaking ground on Eastover Ridge

apartment community adjacent to Eastover Park. The company received Family Business of the Year Awards in 1997 and 2010 from Duke Family Business Forum & Wake Forest University’s FBC (initiated by Business North Carolina Magazine.)

2020 and Beyond

Even after surpassing the 108 year mark in business, the Griffith family continues with their latest endeavor, a luxury apartment complex. Today, it can be seen rising in Charlotte’s West Morehead corridor across from Bryant Park. The E.C. Griffith Company has owned this elevated 17-acre site since 1917, which housed the famous Swain’s Steakhouse during the 1960’s. E.C. Griffith Company, Griffith Equities, and Griffith Real Estate Services are excited to offer a 271-unit luxury apartment known as “The GRIFF”! With extraordinary Uptown skyline views, “The GRIFF” will be in walking distance to restaurants, breweries, and Bank of America Stadium. Delivery is expected in fall of 2020. More details Coming Soon . . . so stay tuned and Stay Well!

E.C. Griffith Family Council Meeting 2019 - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Generations! 1944 Brunswick Avenue | Charlotte, NC 28207 704-332-7173 | ecgriffith.com


FIERY PASSION FOR FAMILY BUSINESS Although the children of the Hearth & Patio family business have come to work for the business at different times in their lives, they all came for one purpose: To keep the legacy of offering well-made products at good prices and offering outstanding customer service. The business first began with Don and Mildred Marze, who purchased the fireplace and patio store in 1985. It’s now run by their daughter, Donna Spurr, their son, Scott Marze and his wife, Cindy. What started as a small business has grown to offer outdoor furniture, grills, stoves and even more types of fireplaces. In 2016 the family expanded and purchased the building beside the original Hearth & Patio on Monroe Road, which now showcases cast aluminum, aluminum and RealisTeak collections and the business’ newest growing category, electric fireplaces. Visitors are able to walk between the two buildings and will see a beautiful display of plants from Mildred Marze’s own personal flower garden, a legacy she left for the location. The Marze family believes in treating everyone who walks through the door as an extension of their family. Because of that, they have many repeat customers and are now seeing the third generations of families coming through to purchase from them. “It makes us happy knowing the quality time our customers will spend relaxing by their new fireplace or enjoying their new outdoor furniture,” Cindy Marze says. PHOTOGRAPH BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL


4332 Monroe Rd Charlotte, NC 28205 704-332-4139 thehearthandpatio.com Monday - Friday 10-6 Saturday 10-5


FAMILY FIRSTS A new family business is set to arrive in the area in August. OA Salons will be run by its namesake, Olga Allen, who moved to the United States from Russia and has been in cosmetology for over a decade. She has been operating Olga Allen Salon, a salon suite, since 2017 when she left one of Charlotte’s top salons to try her hand out as an independent stylist. This suite closed to allow Olga to open OA Salons, according to her husband Graham Allen, which will include 8 styling stations with professionals who specialize in all types of cuts, color and style. This will be the Allens’ first family business together, but Graham Allen is no stranger to working with family. He’s currently the vice president of development for Sunbelt Land Management, his family’s regional business. “I have grown up in and around family businesses,” he says. “All I know is family business.” Olga Allen arrived in the United States at 25 with the goal of owning her own business. She and her husband wanted to wait to open their own salon until their youngest of three children turned 4. That magic milestone happened in May, and the Allens wasted no time with planning. OA Salons will open in SouthPark, but the couple has plans to expand quickly. They’ve already purchased a second location in Johns Creek, Georgia. The goal is to continue growing each year moving forward, and to make each additional salon as quality-driven and fun as the Charlotte location.

5126 Park Rd #2A Charlotte, NC 28209 704-676-15001 OASalons.com




Central Bark knows that people are not the only ones who have been cooped up during the pandemic. The 17-year-old national franchise is coming to Charlotte in August for dog lovers who want their pups to have a place to go while they’re working long days or out of town. The local franchise location will be run by Jennifer Adams, who formerly worked in the banking industry but decided three years ago she needed a change. Jennifer and her husband both worked long days and hated leaving their dog Annabelle, an American Boxer. They found a doggy daycare they began taking her to, and immediately saw a change in their pup. “Just seeing how happy daycare made her was heartwarming,” Adams says. “I don’t have children; my dog is my child, so I wanted to give this to her all the time, and I wanted to give this to other folks, too.” She chose to work with Central Bark because of their commitment to their Whole Dog Care philosophy, developed to enrich each dog’s whole health and well-being throughout their entire life. The heart of their Whole Dog Care approach is Enrichment Day Care, which includes individualized attention, group play and a personalized approach to fit the dog’s unique personality – all based on the latest behavioral science and dog training principles. Once up and running, they will promote and support dog fostering and adoption-related community organizations. For more information, visit https://centralbarkcltmatthews.com/.


9600 Monroe Rd Charlotte, NC 28270 704-261-3061 centralbarkcltmatthews.com |



Queen City Television Service Company was founded in 1952 by Woody Player as a TV repair business located in uptown Charlotte. Today, Queen City Audio Video & Appliances has grown into one of the top 40 appliances retailers in the country, serving our local community with 6 locations and over $7 million in inventory.

6 Convenient Locations: Charlotte, Pineville Monroe, Salisbury & Morganton QueenCityOnline.com

Queen City Audio, Video & Appliances remains family-owned and operated with three generations currently involved in the business.


Jim Harkey was the owner of Renfrow Tile in Charlotte, now Harkey Tile & Stone, and true friend to the Greater Charlotte Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), until his passing in 1999. Jim’s spirit lives on amongst his NARI colleagues and friends, and his memory is perpetuated through the establishment of the JIM HARKEY MEMORIAL FUND. In 1961, Jim Harkey married Robbie Renfrow — Robbie’s father, Jack, owned Renfrow Tile. Shortly before their marriage, Jim joined the family business to work alongside Robbie. When the opportunity arose, Jim bought Renfrow Tile from his father-in-law, and together with Robbie and two of their sons, Reid and Jeffrey, carried on the Renfrow Tile legacy. Jim became involved in NARI as a founding member in 1991, and remained passionately active throughout the balance of his life. In loving testimony to Jim, The NARI Chapter of Greater Charlotte, Inc established The Jim Harkey Memorial Fund in 1999. Fundraising monies raised under the auspices of this Fund are donated annually to worthy local causes in Jim’s memory. These worthy causes are comprised of two categories:

For appointments, please call 704-335-3400

Neurological Care for Both Children & Adults Michael Amiri, MD Matthew McConnell, MD Kelly Xiong, DNP, FNP-C John G. Rancy, FNP Betty Mays, NP-C

1300 Baxter St, Suite 114 • Charlotte, NC 28204 8001 N Tryon St • Charlotte, NC 28262 (University Area) 70 Lake Concord Rd NE • Concord, NC 28025 16507 Northcross Dr, Suite B • Huntersville, NC 28078 100



ANNUAL EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS Four Scholarships were awarded in 2018 and 2019 to students attending trade school, two, or four year colleges. For more information, visit: https://www.naricharlotte.com/scholarship-program VARIOUS LOCAL CHARITIES (listed below) Each chapter has received donations to date from $500 to $10,000 Make-A-Wish • CPCC Grant • Weatherly Memorial • Asher Memorial • Lymphoma Lukemia Society • Charlotte Rescue Mission • Andy Whitley Medical Fund • Joshua’s Farm • Mcgovern Family Medical • American Red Cross • National Ms Society • National Remodeling Foundation 911 • CPCC Institute of Construction Technology • National Alliance for Autism Research • Hospice at Charlotte • Arosa House • Ms Society • Arc Marrow Donor Program • CPCC Foundation For Student Scholarships • The Komen Foundation of Charlotte for Breast Cancer Research • Love, Inc. • Presbytery Of Charlotte • CPCC Career Days

|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Daughters of Penelope luncheon Feb. 15, Carmel Country Club

JoBrent Austin-Diehl and Irina Toshkova

Grazia Walker and Berhan Nebiouglu

One of the longest running annual events in Charlotte, this year’s luncheon featured raffles and a best hat and fascinator contest. A fashion show by designer Luis Machicao brought an extra touch of class. The women’s organization promotes Greek culture, education, philanthropy and more.

Christina Melissaris and Luis Machicao


Luis Machicao, Colleen Richmond and Jeff Wallin

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|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Echo Foundation gala Feb. 25, Knight Theater

The Echo Foundation grew from a 1996 visit to Charlotte from Elie Wiesel and has continued his message for human rights across the world. This year’s gala welcomed renowned doctor and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Denis Mukwege. The event also honored Charlotte’s own William Vandiver for his decades of service to the community.

Scott Gingrich and Maha Gingrich

Stephanie Ansaldo and William Vandiver

Rita and William Vandiver

Juliel and Richard McConnell

Stephanie Ansaldo and Denis Mukwege

Elizabeth Trotman, Sharon Harrington and Ann Caulkins

Shawn Paulk, Stacey Schanzlin, Rajnish Bharadwaj and Hans Schumacher




Mike Hawley and Katherine Pierce

Carla Jarrett, Diamond Gilmore and Chanel M. Davis


Blair Rohrer, Liza Cox and Gwin Dalton

|swirl A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas

Rural Hill Burns’ Night Supper Jan. 25, Historic Rural Hill, Huntersville


Those of Scottish heritage honor the birthday of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, each year with a gala supper and celebration of all things Scottish. This annual event featuring a three-course dinner, silent auction and live music, benefits Rural Hill, a historic site that was the homestead of Major John and Violet Davidson.

Peggy and Cally Franklin

Daphne Taylor and John Ferguson

Joy and Chase Marshall

Tom Inch

Football Finale

benefiting Dress for Success Charlotte Feb. 6, Charlotte City Club


The end of the NFL season brings hope for the next year, and lots of discussion about the Super Bowl. Dress for Success Charlotte filled the City Club to capacity for its 7th annual Football Finale, which was attended by former pro football players and featured a whiskey tasting, silent auction and more.

Shelly and David Fisher

Troy Pelshak and Randy Neal

Evan York and Allison Mitchell York

Charleata and Randy Neal

Walter Rasby and Deems May southparkmagazine.com | 103


Future forward



Former CPPC president and community leader Tony Zeiss was an important mentor to you. What did you learn from him? He saw something in me and encouraged [that] we meet regularly. One important lesson and value I learned was something he repeatedly stressed: If you help enough people achieve their goals, this will help you in achieving your goals. That has always proven true for me and reinforces my interest in helping others. What value was placed on education in the West African culture in which you grew up? 104



When you speak to any African, you quickly learn that education is everything. From the moment we are born, our parents and elders all emphasize its importance. Education is not free in most African nations. It’s a privilege — it’s the ticket to greater opportunity. What is the origin of Give N Go? It’s a double entendre of the basketball play where the player with the ball gives it to a teammate, then goes to an open position on the court where they are now free to receive back the ball and are in better position to score. This also embodies my approach to working with others. When we share experiences and help, the nature of giving to others opens the giver up to receiving so much more in terms of additional learning, experience and the joys of helping others. Many former Give N Go program participants come back as facilitators and trainers in our programs, perpetuating a cycle of helping others. People with privilege aren’t always certain how they can help make an impact with others less fortunate. How can they support efforts like yours? Reach out. So many community-based organizations need support. Of course, financial support is lifeblood, but folks can open up with volunteering their time, experience, connections, internships, jobs, etc. There are many ways to help. The first step is reaching out. SP


shiny silver bracelet rests on Armah Shiancoe’s right hand, the word IMPACT in all caps etched on its exterior. A cherished gift from a former student, the band also has an interior inscription reading, “The connection between your life and the lives you can choose.” Ever since he immigrated to America from ethnic conflicts and bloody clashes in his native Liberia at age 9, Shiancoe, 38, has chosen education as his key to positively impacting his own life and the lives of others. Shiancoe is a passionate youth advocate, serving for years as a college recruiter at Central Piedmont Community College, where he mentored dozens of students. For the past three years, he’s taught business education at Indian Land High School in Lancaster County, S.C. Shiancoe also serves as the executive director of Give N Go, a nonprofit workforce-development organization providing disadvantaged and minority youth with job-skills training, exposure and experience. Formed in 2009, Give N Go works with community partners such as the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, CPCC, Aisymmetry and Red Ventures’ Road to Hire initiative. SouthPark spoke with Shiancoe about the value of education, mentoring and how community members can make a difference for youth who lack opportunities.











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SouthPark July 2020  

The Art & Soul of Charlotte

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The Art & Soul of Charlotte

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