Seven things I'm looking forward to this summer | QC After Dark

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Seven things I'm looking forward to this summer

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 12:03 PM

It’s finally “Summer, summer, summertime; time to sit back and unwind” in the Queen City. (If you didn’t get that Will Smith reference, we can no longer be friends.) After winter’s seasonal depression and a spotty spring that had me to believe The Day After Tomorrow with Jake Gyllenhaal was a possibility, I’m ready for some summer fun. Although steady 90 degree temps threaten an extremely hot June and July that I am not ready for, there is so much that I am looking forward to.

Carowinds: The newest attraction at Carowinds is Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. Incidentally, it’s gotten stuck several times already, and I have no intention on riding ANY rides at Charlotte’s own amusement park. But going here has always been a tradition for my family. Of course, I got picked on by my cousins because I hated riding roller coasters with a passion. But the annual excursion is a reminder that summertime has finally arrived. There are attractions for every type of person, including those who prefer to keep their feet closer to the ground.

Red Clay Ciderworks: One of the newest attractions to hit South End, is going to be Red Clay Ciderworks, Charlotte’s first cidery. Say what?! My first passion hitting the beer scene was cider: Angry Orchard and Redd’s were my go-to. I quickly got over the commercialized taste when I started trying craft ciders. The taste was consistent but the flavors gave them a depth that widespread ciders lacked. (Look at me! Acting like my palate is developed.) I am super excited about this cidery hopefully opening in June in one of my fave neighborhoods.

Alive After Five (AA5): I still haven’t had a chance to get to AA5 after my article on favorite after-work spots, but this is definitely a must this summer. Now that I have expanded my social reach to dive bars and smaller venues, it’s nice to get back to my roots at the EpiCentre and experience the “big city” nightlife experience for a few hours. My goal this summer is to get there at 6 instead of 10, unlike last year. For once, I want to see the live music, socialize and then end the night early so that I can like myself as a human the next day instead of being hungover.

Crowders Mountain State Park: The last time I visited this lovely den of bugs and apparently large furry animals, I ended up walking around for two hours with an old roommate in circles. We started asking other (seemingly more experienced) park-goers, “How do we get to the trail that goes to the top?” The answers ranged from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours. Since our main goal was to take a pic for Instagram, we decided that the trail could wait and that we would just screenshot the website for IG. This summer, however, I am going to make it to the top, I just won’t go on an extended detour beforehand.

Food Truck Friday (FTF): I can’t wait to experience this circle of deliciousness this summer. Even though it’s really hot at 5:30 p.m. when FTF officially starts and beyond packed at 8 p.m. when it finally cools down, this South End summer staple features the best food trucks and Charlotte. I’m not sure if it’s legal, but I’m going to grab a six-pack at Common Market, find a spot to spread out my new monogrammed blankie — a 25th birthday treat — and then eat until I can’t eat anymore. The perfect pregame!

Queen’s Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week takes place twice during the year, once in July. Experience three courses at the best and finest restaurants in Charlotte. Talk about yum. Choose from over 100 restaurants and it lasts 10 days. Can we say “food baby” and “food coma?”

Kampground of America: Looking for a cabin escape without sacrificing convenience? KOA is the place for you. A while back a friend told me how you can rent a cabin right outside of Charlotte for super cheap. Not to mention you don’t have to rough it — they have outlets, Wi-Fi, cable TV, a pool and you can even rent a bike or fishing pole. Located in Fort Mill, experience the fun of camping — without a tent! I’m going to grab some friends, some adult beverages, smores and of course my bug spray.

Here’s to suns out guns out, or buns out, whichever you prefer, and to summertime fun in the Queen City!

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