Baby Bonding in North Carolina

This is my first post in a few months because…

We had another baby!

We haven’t traveled much since last summer due to me being at the end of my pregnancy and then having a newborn. However, before my maternity leave ended, we wanted to take our newest baby on a “baby bonding trip.” We had done this with our older son when he was a baby (we traveled with him to Arizona) and it was the most wonderful way to spend some one-on-one time with him. There is something about being away from home with no schedule or responsibilities (no work, no laundry, no dishes!) that allows me to really focus on my family.

With our second son, we traveled to North Carolina for a baby bonding trip over New Years Eve. We chose North Carolina because it is easy to fly direct into Charlotte from our home airport and because there are plenty of opportunities to hike and relax in nature very close to the city. We wanted something that was easy and convenient but still felt like a getaway! Charlotte has a great airport and I must give props to CLT for having the nicest mother’s room, where I was able to feed our 2.5 month old in peace and quiet and change him on a clean changing table. The mother’s room has comfortable chairs separated by privacy curtains and is also equipped with plugs for pumping mamas.

We booked an Airbnb in Mooresville, about 45 minutes from the Charlotte airport. The cottage we stayed in was right on Lake Norman and had everything we needed for a few days. Our favorite part was the deck where we sat and enjoyed views of the lake while eating breakfast together. Our hosts were lovely and made sure we had everything we needed during our stay. 

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View of Lake Norman from our Airbnb

We began our first day in North Carolina with a walk around Davidson. The college campus is small but beautiful and the downtown is charming. We stopped into the Soda Shop for a milkshake (a must do!) and browsed for souvenirs at The Village Store and for books at Main Street Books.

Next, we stopped for lunch at Flat Iron Kitchen and Taphouse where I had a delicious kale salad with chicken. Need to attempt to recreate this one at home!

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After lunch, we went for a nice walk along Lake Norman in Jetton Park. The trail is paved and there are a number of picnic tables throughout the park. It would be a fantastic place to take kids to run around and have lunch! After our walk, we checked into our Airbnb and relaxed a bit before ordering pizza for dinner at Sebastiano’s nearby and calling it an early night.

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Trail in Jetton Park

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For breakfast the next morning, we ordered takeout at Patisserie Cafe and ate it on our dock as we eased into the day. With a 2.5 month old, our pace on this trip was very relaxed and revolved around his naptimes. After his first nap of the day, we set out to Lake Norman State Park for a hike. The Lake Shore Trail is a 6.2 mile hike, but we took the Short Turn trail option to make it only 3 miles. It is a nice path that runs along the edge of Lake Norman and has moderate climbs and beautiful views.

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Hiking the Lake Shore Trail

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After our hike, we spent the afternoon tasting beers at Ass Clown and Primal breweries. We ended our day with dinner at Eddie’s on Lake Norman, where we watched the sun set over the lake while enjoying crab meat nachos.

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Ass Clown Brewing
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Eddie’s on the Water

The next morning was New Year’s Eve. Before our trip, we had read about the restaurant Kindred in Davidson and basically everyone we know that either lives or has visited the Charlotte area recommended it. Because of the holiday, we couldn’t get a reservation there, so made a lunch reservation at Kindred’s sister restaurant, Hello Sailor, and put ourselves on a last minute cancellation list for Kindred. Hello Sailor is a casual Southern restaurant with fish and fried dishes in a bright, cheery, retro atmosphere. We loved it! We shared an incredible soup and some fried shrimp and beef fat french fries.

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After brunch, we drove to Latta Nature Center and Preserve for a hike and a tour of the plantation tour. Latta Preserve has a couple of short one mile hikes that are easy and flat. The Historic Latta Plantation, from the 1800s, is a living history farm with live animals and several outbuildings to give visitors a taste of plantation life. Tours of the plantation grounds are self-guided, but if you’d like to tour the inside of the house, you can go at a set time with a guide. The gift shop is also worth a visit as it has artisan goods like scarves woven with yarn from lambs on the property and handmade ornaments.

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Hike in the Latta Nature Preserve
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Latta Plantation

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After our adventure at Latta Nature Preserve, we went to Lake Norman Cottage for a late afternoon glass of wine. Lake Norman Cottage is a wine shop where you can buy wine and gifts or order a bottle or glass of wine to enjoy outside by the marina. It was filled with people having an early New Years Eve drink and enjoying the clear, sunny day.

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Earlier in the afternoon, we were notified that we got a 5pm dinner reservation at Kindred and after all of the praise we’d heard, we had to take it! We weren’t sure about bringing our baby to New Years Eve dinner at a nice restaurant, but the staff assured us we were totally fine as the owners have three kids themselves. Kindred is a restaurant where the menu changes weekly based on seasonal ingredients, and it is known for its delicious milk bread and phenomenal shared plates. The name Kindred is perfect for the homey, welcoming atmosphere. We shared multiple dishes and then ordered a milk bread cinnamon roll to take home with us for dessert.

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When we got back to our Airbnb, we put the baby to bed and completed a puzzle while drinking wine and toasting to 2020! In the morning, we cheers-ed to the new year with champagne and our milk bread cinnamon roll from Kindred. It was the perfect way to start the year. We were still hungry for something more savory, so after our baby’s nap, we drove to downtown Mooresville for breakfast at the local chain Famous Toastery. Even though there wasn’t much open on New Year’s Day, we were glad to find a place for a delicious brunch/lunch.

After we got back to our Airbnb and packed up our things, we sat on our hosts’ dock for a while and then headed back to Charlotte.

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Relaxing on the dock of our Airbnb

We stopped for a walk in Freedom Park and ate dinner at Bakersfield Tacos before our night flight home.

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Freedom Park

Thanks for reading! Having a new baby has a way of making time pass at lightning speed so it feels crazy that it’s been so long since our last vacation, but we are ready to get back in the swing of things with travel this summer (pending the status of COVID19)! Stay tuned for recaps of our upcoming travels to DC, Atlanta, and Utah!

RECAP
Eat
Flat Iron Kitchen and Taphouse, 215 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036
Kindred, 131 N Main St, Davidson, NC 28036
Soda Shop, 104 South Main Street, Davidson, NC 28036
Sebastiano’s Pizza, 862 Brawley School Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117
Patisserie Cafe, 631 Brawley School Rd #406, Mooresville, NC 28117
Eddie’s on Lake Norman, 643 Williamson Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117
Famous Toastery, 170 N Main St, Mooresville, NC 28115
Hello Sailor, 20210 Henderson Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031
Bakersfield Tacos, 1301 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

Drink
Lake Norman Cottage, 200 N Harbor Pl, Davidson, NC 28036
Ass Clown Brewing, 10620 Bailey Rd E, Cornelius, NC 28031
Primal Brewery, 16432 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078

Shop
The Village Store, 110 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036
Main Street Books, 126 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036

Hike/Walk
Jetton Park, 19000 Jetton Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031
Lake Norman State Park, 759 State Park Rd, Troutman, NC 28166
Latta Nature Center and Preserve, 6211 Sample Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
Freedom Park, 1908 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

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