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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Your Favorite Downtown

Posted July 24, 2006

The excitement surrounding the re-opening of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh triggered a thought: What is the best downtown in NC? What town or city has done the best job in rediscovering the charm and essence of downtown and the economic vitality that goes along with it? I don't really have a ranking but Asheville pictured to the left has done one of the best jobs with its "romantic European mood," great variety of restaurants and restoration of historic architecture downtown. The Most Improved Award might go to Apex in Wake County. Have you been there lately? I was blown away by the transformation by the train tracks. The Peak City Grill is a top notch restaurant. It is surrounded by several other wonderful eateries, antique shops and whimsical stores. Stop by Cari Long's photographic studios and take a look at her beautiful brick wall! The American Tobacco Historic District in Durham is outstanding in many ways. "Eat, stroll, and groove in whatever order you like" is the motto of this hip, happening and historic destination which includes a river right on the premises. Other great downtowns would have to include Chapel Hill's Franklin Street, Front Streets in both Wilmington and Beaufort. Blowing Rock still has a glorious downtown with its parks, restaurants, world famous ice cream, art and invigorating mountain air. Morganton has also done a nice job rekindling the heart of downtown on West Union Street where my parents once operated The Book Store. Charlotte certainly deserves credit for its big city feel downtown. Winston-Salem is also working hard to rejuvenate its downtown pulse. What is your favorite downtown and why?
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