Please consider this article a work in progress. Since I am new to Empty Nesting, I have not had time to get all my “experiences” lined up and experienced. (Basically I’ve spent the first month of Empty Nesting trying to find a happy middle ground between My Peace Of Mind and Mind My Own Business).
I’ll be updating occasionally with more ideas for us Empty Nesters wandering aimlessly about Charlotte. If you have a suggestion, please do comment with it below or send it in using our contact form here. And if you do go to a local business based on our reco, it really helps our cause if you mention you saw it on scoop 🙂
P.S. no one is checking ID’s here. If you are new to town at any age, and don’t have the automatic friend-finder that are pre- and grammar school aged children, please feel free to use, share and abuse this list.
Our Inaugural Empty Nesters Guide to Charlotte
Who would have thought we’d be complaining about having too much time on our hands? How crazy is that after 20+ years of desperately trying to find more hours in each day? But time we now have, and Charlotte offers a lot of ways to fill it.
Learn Something New.
There’s a reason that this is a great stage in life for the old dogs to learn some new tricks ~ you’ve been honing your parenting skills at the expense of most others for the past 2 decades, and now you’ve actually got the bandwidth to learn something new. Take a big step outside your usual and your comfort zone and master a skill you’ve always envied.
There is ample evidence that dance is an exercise that offers not just physical benefits, but significant mental ones as well. Plus, it’s fun and you look good at wedding receptions. These will be coming back into your life, as you may already know.
Shag Lessons (you know you want to)
Salsa Lessons – Charlotte Latin Dance, Queen City Ballroom and more, just google for one near you.
Charlotte Ballet for Tap, Ballet, and Power Dance with Tara (personal reco. Love this lady for some a**-kicking fun)
Line Dancing Lessons and More Line Dancing. Or just hit Coyote Joe’s and fake it til you make it.
Trust a millennial to invent the easiest way to find new skill classes, brand it with an excellent name and successfully begin expansion. Don’t be jealous, you’ve already had at least one and maybe 3 careers. Now is the time to learn something fun, like Calligraphy, Terrarium Design, Cheeseboarding and more. Don’t like today’s choices? Check back often for new ones.
I’m not kidding. Bridge is awesome brain work and a skill you can take with you into the Cypress. There are LOTS of bridge teachers on CharlotteBridge.org. I say grab another couple and make this a weekly date night.
Grow Something in Your Yard Now That There are No Pesky Children to Tear It Up
Become a Beekeeper. Grow your own organic vegetables in a beautiful designer bed from Charlotte’s Microfarm Organic Gardens. Don’t raise chickens without checking with your HOA though.
Learn about floral arranging, herbs and bulbs you can plant for 12 months of color in Charlotte, plus buddy up with fellow gardeners and garden gazers at Winghaven.
Join a Garden Club where programs include information on horticulture, flower arranging, birds, butterflies, landscape design, often combined with volunteerism to help keep Charlotte beautiful.
Art lessons, of course, collaging and print making, or try pottery lessons, and photography here or here.
Embrace your inner granny with knitting and needlepointing, all the kids are doing it these days. It will give you something to do with your hands so you don’t snack during Netfix binges.
Make a Commitment to Try One Thing New Each Month.
Eventbrite and and to a lesser degree Facebook events are often good resources for random grown up things to do around town, and we use them to create our own weekly What To Do round ups. Your eventbrite page will recommend events that should interest you that are open to the public. This month, we find the following:
Get Cooking in a Whole New Way
I will have no personal advice for you here, as I went full-on “I will never cook again” before our son’s foot even crossed the threshold out. However, cooking for two is different, so they tell me, plus you can afford better ingredients and a more adventurous palate. There are so many cooking and cocktail mixing classes at Charlotte’s local restaurants ~ we usually have a few in our weekly scoopEATS posts.
For some specific topics, check out Clean Catch for how to prepare seafood dishes like Wasabi & 5-spice Seared Tuna with Soba Noodle Salad and Shiitake Mushroom Salsa. Sheah, that’s impressive stuff.
You can learn about chocolate making, like Truffles and Tempering with The Secret Chocolatier.
And check in with The Tiny Chef and Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen for both practical and out of the box cooking classes.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, ‘Cause Now You Can.
Half Price Wine Nights are Empty Nester Heaven. Mark them on your calendar and enjoy a new one every week.
As are Wine Tastings, like at Petit Phillipe where there is also lovely hand made chocolate, Assorted Table, where Wednesdays are Wine & Cheese night with Ormans, Foxcroft Wine Co where you’ll find monthly tastings and events, Bonterra where there always seems to be a great wine dinner going on, and Corkbuzz, which gets our vote for best Empty Nester Meet Up, with its wine topic Tuesdays, Tasting Tours, Wine Dinners, plus BOGO wine bottle night Mondays and 1/2 price bottles champagne Sundays.
Every single week, there are various other food & dining events, restaurant openings etc. Granted, it’s a lot to keep track of, not to belabor it, but perhaps just check out our scoopEATS posts each month 🙂
Food & Brewery tours are also a good way to sample a few options in one outing. Feast Food Tours and Tour de Food are two familiar local tour guides, and Taste of the Carolinas covers CLT plus several other NC towns you might plan to visit for a weekend getaway.
Liberate Your Palate offers periodic cocktail classes and awesome cocktail tours, sign up for the email or follow them to stay up to date.
And if you want to brave the brewery crowds, where you might accidentally run into your children’s friends or old classmates…oh hey Mrs. Bear….a brewery TOUR is a great way to go, so you don’t have to figure out where to go, how to get there, where to park and who’s the DD. Charlotte Brews Cruise has standard tours on Saturday afternoons, if you’re feeling more ambitious you can join Charlotte NC Tours’ Bikes & Brews cycling tour through NoDa or South End, or you can buy a couple of seats on the Mixer Tour of the Charlotte Trolley Pub.
In the same way that you volunteered all those years at your child’s school, and it helped make you feel part of a community and make friends, volunteering as an empty nester will help you join in a new community to form new friendships. There are way to many options to name here, so we like SHARE CHARLOTTE as your one-stop shop for almost everything volunteering in the CLT.
Join Up and Join In.
Face it. Grown ups are who you find at many local arts & cultural events in any town. They have more time, they have more money, their tastes in entertainment have matured. Buy your man a tux and become a higher level member at the Mint or the Bechtler, join the Ballet, the Symphony or the Opera. As Richard Pattison says (of TRC) once a man owns a tuxedo, he finds himself going to all sorts of parties where he can wear it. This will give you all sorts of new outfits to buy and style. If you can afford to go to the Gala’s, they are always first class. If not, all of our Charlotte arts institutions offer free and / or low priced events and meet ups, many for non-members as well. This month you could go to:
Free Wednesday Evenings at the Mint Uptown and Randolph
NC Yoga Bar at the Mint Uptown
Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night (you missed Taste of the Mint, so get November on your cal)
Bechtler By Night: Dia de los Muertos (you missed Jazz at the Bechtler so get November on your cal)
Fall Works at the Charlotte Ballet
Cirque Goes to the Symphony
Mozart & Beethoven
Opera Carolina’s gala concert celebrtaing Charlotte’s Asian community in visual art, poetry, traditional songs, dance and opera
Toddies on the Terrace at Winghaven (sold out)
If you’ve got the disposable income, MUSIC WITH FRIENDS is a sure fire way to enjoy the legendary performers and bands of your misspent youth in an small concert setting at the McGlohin Theatre. You can read our reviews of recent concerts here. Most of the members are about your age, so you will feel among friends. Maybe we’ll see you at ZZ Top this month.
No need to limit yourself to summer and school holiday vacations any more, and no need to stick around the house for a boring weekend. Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get today’s version of e-savers. (Remember e-savers? Man we didn’t know how good we had it. We thought $99 Saturday jaunts would be around forever.)
You don’t HAVE to sign up for one of these flight tracker services, you can just do your own google flight search. But something about having the options hit your inbox as soon as they pop up makes them easier to follow. Just be prepared to act fast and be decisive, as the good ones go fast. Keep your passport current too so you are ready to hop (the UNCC Student Center passport office is the best in CLT for no-lines service).
And don’t just hang out at the house cleaning out the attic and garage and thinking about how cute your child was at three. Take some weekend road trips and see the sights around our state(s) ~ we’ve picked several favorites here, in our Perfect Fall Road Trip Restaurants post, and our posts on Autumn Leaves, Hikes & Waterfalls, Apples & Pumpkins to Pick and Wineries to Visit.
There. Round One Finished. I’m exhausted just writing this. Think of the fun you’ll have actually doing it.
Stay tuned, more to follow. Now that I’m an empty nester, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands.
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