We were entering the final two months of my wife’s pregnancy. Our typical summer weekends of relaxing at the neighborhood pool or boating on Lake Wylie were instead filled with multiple trips to Babies “R” Expensive Us, assembling more contraptions than I thought a pint-sized person possibly needed, and attending classes on how to be a parent. We were exhausted and the nighttime feedings and diaper changes hadn’t even begun yet.
One last weekend away to relax and reconnect would have been perfect, but my wife was in the “danger zone” when it came to travel. The doctor said airplane rides were off-limits and straying too far from home was a bad idea in case our son decided to bust out early. However, we craved a babymoon away from home without the temptation of staring into the nursery and thinking about what else was on our checklist.
Why couldn’t we do that right here in our hometown of Charlotte?
I reached out to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and asked them to help us plan a weekend away in Uptown, where we lived nine years ago as newlyweds. They assembled an itinerary that not only highlighted the best of Uptown Charlotte but also included plenty of pampering and indulgences.
Our day began with a stroll down Tryon Street from the Omni, our home for the night, to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. At first, it was awkward to be tourists in our own town. There was a temptation to rush past the city’s landmarks that had become status quo to us.
It was the Battle of Charlotte sign that caused us to slow down. How many times have we trekked down Tryon Street and never noticed a sign that said so much about our city’s early history? We began to take in other city landmarks or important sites from our own past. We passed Wells Fargo Plaza, reminiscing about going to Alive After Five when we first moved to Charlotte, and The Green, remembering when we stumbled upon Shakespeare on the Green purely by coincidence. We haven’t missed a season since.
We walked the exhibits of the Bechtler, soaking up as much Warhol, Matisse, and other modern artists as we could. After a couple of hours, she was tired and a little hungry, so we decided to skip the Mint Museum and head back to the hotel for some rest and a snack. We had an eventful evening planned with dinner at Rooster’s Wood Fired Kitchen and Motown at the Belk Theatre.
Our snack was the Carolina Sampler platter ordered to our room at the Omni. While we overlooked the intersection of Trade and Tryon from our point suite, we nibbled on pimiento cheese, house-made pickles, candied bacon, crisp prosciutto, and chicken cracklings. With a full belly, my wife napped while I caught up on some leisurely reading with a cold Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Captain Jack Pilsner.
Dinner was what one expects at Rooster’s – wood-fired excellence. As we were already a little weighed down from our afternoon snack, we skipped the appetizers and went straight to entrees splitting the Carolina pork shoulder and beef short ribs. The pork shoulder was crisp on the outside but bursting with spicy, smoky flavor on the inside, and the short ribs melted in our mouths. For sides, we ordered the pan-fried corn (which is a must at Rooster’s) and the woodsy, garlic-y shiitakes. After dinner, we made the short walk over to the theatre for Motown and enjoyed the last musical of our season pass.
The next morning, we woke to The Art of Breakfast at the Omni and filled our bellies (once again) with regional specialties featuring cage-free eggs, steel-cut grits, and hormone-free breakfast sausage. It was the perfect breakfast to nurture the growing baby. We wrapped up our weekend with massages at the Westin where they specialize in neo-natal massages for Mom. Yes, Dad got a massage, too. After all, he did have to move that crib up three flights of stairs. It was the perfect ending to our weekend “away.”
Many expectant parents may want a babymoon but can’t afford to escape due to cost, lack of PTO or travel restrictions. Thus they give up on the idea, and they shouldn’t. Our babymoon in Charlotte was the perfect chance to relax and reflect back on our own journey before the next adventure begins.