1. Indulge in the fruits of the sea at Miro Spanish Grill.
This excellent eatery specializes in Spanish, Latin and Mediterranean cuisine. If you don't fill up on the tasty tapas — choice options include patatas bravas (fried potatoes), champiñones al ajillo (sauteed mushrooms) and pulpo (baby octopus) — then try one of the seafood stews, packed with such savory ingredients as shrimp, calamari and clams. 7804-A Rea Road. 704-540-7374. www.mirospanishgrille.com.
2. Drink until you just can't drink no mo' at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge.
The bar at Gallery Restaurant has recently stepped up its cocktails with its Liquid Arts program, offering fresh ingredients and house-made syrups and sodas. In addition, the Scotch Society of Ballantyne meets here every month to sample a variety of, uh, scotch, paired with small plates. (Price is $40 a person.) If staying sober is more your speed, come instead for afternoon tea or even an astrological tea, where the Ballantyne will blend up something special for your zodiac sign. 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway. 704-248-4000. www.theballantynehotel.com. (Kimberly Lawson)
3. Admire Mother Nature's handiwork at Big Rock Nature Preserve.
Charlotte's power players are always in a hurry to destroy old landmarks and erect new edifices, but good luck modernizing this impressive spectacle from Mother Nature. A 22-acre space smack-dab in the Ballantyne area, this park features sizable granite formations as well as archaeological evidence that locals have been visiting this terrain for thousands of years (take that, NASCAR Hall of Fame). Elmstone Drive. 704-504-9346. www.charmeck.org.
4. Mosey down to the village of Marvin and get a glimpse of the idyllic life.
Go cycling — the curvy roads and rolling hills are your friends. Make nice with the cows/horses/miniature ponies, and all their robust odors. Peer through the gates of the single-family homes you'd swear were resorts. These people have figured it out. Don't forget to wave at the other cyclists and runners. There will be plenty of weekend warriors out there with you. www.marvinnc.org. (Melissa Oyler)
5. Delight in some heavy metal at Eight Legs Gallery.
Venture to nearby Waxhaw and take a stroll through downtown and over the bridge. Before you head home, buy a huge metal sculpture for your front yard from Eight Legs Gallery, a custom frame shop and art gallery. Your neighbors will be so jealous. 310 E. South Main St. 704-843-1662. www.eightlegsartgallery.webs.com. (Oyler)
6. Take a lap (pool) around the outdoor waterpark at Morrison YMCA.
YMCAs are scattered all over the city, but because the Morrison branch resides in filthy-rich Ballantyne, you can bet it features many of the best amenities the organization has to offer. Among its attributes is the 10,000-square-foot waterpark, with a spacious lap pool, slides and an interactive spray area that's fun for kids and adults alike. 9405 Bryant Farms Road. www.ymcacharlotte.org.
This Nolan guy is an idiot ...whether the woman was a gold digger or not…