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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Rosenfeld

Finally Finding Home: Welcome to NoDa

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Twelve homes in twenty-six years. That's how often I've moved around after I was born - and that's not even counting my temporary homes abroad throughout my college years.

The craziest part about this number is that up until my fifteenth birthday, I'd only lived in three beautiful, warm and loving houses. The other nine quickly occurred throughout my high school, college & adult stages.

Somehow those transient days in my adolescent years made my craving for a true place to call home so much stronger than I ever realized. For years I felt listless and discontent with my current situation, always looking ahead for the next big adventure or life event.

All of this is to say that when my partner and I packed up our two cars with all of our belongings and headed to Charlotte, I was so sure that it would be just another pitstop on my journey to find my true home. Five years later, I can safely say I was wrong.

Charlotte didn't become the home I had always craved overnight. In fact, it took over two years for me to stop calling the northeast my home. And although the city itself charmed its way into my heart, if it wasn't for the amazing people I've met here, this still may not be my home.

When it was time for us to officially put down roots here, Kyle & I knew immediately where we wanted to be. NoDa, what many call the "arts district" of Charlotte, has always been a favorite. In fact, there was a point in our lives where we exclusively hung out in this neighborhood alone when we needed a night out. So it's only fitting that we bought a house five minutes away from the heart of it all.

They don't call it the arts district for no reason - nearly every building's expansive wall is covered in a unique mural or concept. 85% of the people who come to NoDa are probably there to take the most Instagrammable picture possible. It's quite entertaining for those of us who come to eat, drink & people-watch.

NoDa has a little something for everyone: coffee shops, bars, breweries, mini markets, restaurants, farmers markets, tattoo shops, barbershops, eclectic boutiques, arcades, bakeries, and even a YMCA! I mean, NoDa even has a cafe where you can pet cats for an hour. What's not to love?

And now that I work remotely, I am always on the lookout for the right coffee oasis to escape to when I get stir crazy in my house. Smelly Cat has been there from the start - I am obsessed with both the coffee and the atmosphere in this place - and now they also serve drinks!

Pro Tip: Tired of busy brunch spots with lines out the door & disappointing service? Try Billy Jack's Shack! My personal favorite? The Zoe. What's not to love about a biscuit, egg, fried chicken & sausage gravy? And their bucket of grits - to die for...

I'm looking forward to some new additions to the neighborhood, namely Oh My Soul Cafe (hearty, all-vegan fare) & The Goodyear House (modern comfort food) coming this year.

But if all else fails, you'll find me exploring some of the great outdoors with my dogs in tow. There's still so much to see around here, and with 70 degree days cropping up in January, I'll always take full advantage of this.

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