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Charlotte and preparing for NASCAR season
The long relationship between NASCAR and Charlotte, North Carolina, is due in part to the fact that 75% of NASCAR employees are based within two hours of Mecklenburg County. This association was enhanced with the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame museum in Uptown Charlotte in 2010, a must-see for any Charlotte visitors or locals from Concord, Gastonia or Salisbury who are interested in auto racing. Museum visitors can learn all about racing greats Dale Earnhardt (from Kannapolis), Bill France, Sr., Bill France, Jr., Junior Johnson (who also hails from North Carolina) and Richard Petty, who were selected as members of the Charter Class of 2010. And, if all those hours spent learning about NASCAR inspire the need for speed, visitors can also check out dirt track racing schools in Charlotte, less than an hour outside of Gastonia, Salisbury and Hickory. Just be sure to prepare for racing with items such as helmets etc. or purchase or own products emblazoned with the NASCAR logo as memorabilia.
Charlotte for Art and Architecture Lovers
Although Mecklenburg County's miles of racetrack are certainly impressive (some might even say that the NASCAR legend has as much staying power as it's memorabilia), Charlotte's culture extends beyond its infamous NASCAR roots. Art lovers can visit the Art Institute of Charlotte Gallery, which is located on the south side of the city, or the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, located Uptown in the City Center. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art holds famous pieces from prominent artists including Degas, Picasso and Warhol, and visitors can take home art themed gifts as souvenirs. To visit the plethora of museums located in the Center City from South Charlotte, take the LYNX Blue Line Light Rail connects South Charlotte to the Center City. The LYNX Blue Line Light Rail runs seven days a week from 5 am to 1 am at a cost of only $1.50 each way for adults and half of that price for students (subject to change).
Travel through Time in Charlotte
The Biltmore Estate, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is approximately two and a half hours away from Kannapolis and Rock Hill by car and well worth the drive- especially for visitors interested in architecture or history- as it is now the largest historic home in the United States of America. Visitors can wake up early, pack their coffee in products such as tumblers, and be at the Biltmore by noon. The mansion was built in a French Renaissance style and took over 6 years to complete after its commission by the famous Vanderbilt family. The house is now a museum, where visitors can view the massive 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, and two-story library. Don't forget to bring outdoor items such as sun screen and custom caps if you plan to wander through the over 75 acres of formal gardens or visit the winery on the grounds before returning to Carrabus County.