I tend to gush about Cabarrus County.My wife and I moved here about six years ago from Philadelphia via Minnesota because the schools are relatively good and taxes relatively low compared with surrounding counties. The ultra-kind folks and undulating scenery reminded us of our home state.We’ve since had two kids and have a hard time taking advantage of all there is to offer throughout the 365-square-mile county, which includes Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland and Mount Pleasant.Concord is a mecca for NASCAR fans, thanks largely to Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosts major races like the Coca-Cola 600 every May and the Bank of America 500 each October.The 18-year-old Concord Regional Airport services a large chunk of NASCAR teams, the majority of which are located within 50 miles of the speedway. A handful even have public shops and museums on the airport’s grounds. The airport also hosts regular fly-in events, where the public can take rides in various historic aircraft.And, of course, Cabarrus County is home to Concord Mills, an enormous 200-store outlet mall with a 24-screen theater and a NASCAR-themed fun park. Kannapolis is home to the North Carolina Research Campus, the N.C. Music Hall of Fame and the historic Gem Theatre. The 350-acre research campus is the epicenter for biotechnology, agriculture, food science and nutritional research; the Hall of Fame will host an inductee ceremony this fall; the theater, which opened in 1936, recently transitioned from 35-mm film projectors to digital projectors to show new releases and independent flicks during an annual film festival.The area’s local food movement also is a force to be reckoned with and it seems to be evolving rapidly. The county’s 30-plus-acre Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm helps individuals start a business as a farmer. People enroll in a program that provides classroom instruction and hands-on experience as they manage their own agriculture business while receiving guidance from seasoned farmers.Cabarrus also has plenty of parks – including the 238-acre Frank Liske Park, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in May.Want wine? We have that, too. Rocky River Vineyards in Midland features sweet muscadine wines, chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, while The Farm at Dover Vineyards reaped its first grape harvest and debuted samples of the first batch of wine this year.Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there’s lots to do, see and learn about throughout Cabarrus County. I love it here. And I plan on calling it home for a long, long while.
Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012
Racing, flying and shopping
‘Must’ list 1. Memorial Garden (50 Spring St. SW) – a three-acre, walk-through garden/cemetery established in 1804 – is home to glorious flowerbeds in the spring and gorgeous trees in summertime. 704-786-8009. 2. Lil’ Robert’s Place (25 Union St. South, Concord) boasts a craft-beer bar with 23 ever-changing taps, live music every Wednesday and Friday, and movie nights on Saturdays. There are also occasional wine tastings, a collection of art from local artists and a full menu of Southern takes on bar-food staples. 704-795-2337; www.lilrobertsplace.com. 3. Doug Foley’s Drag Racing Experience allows fans to get behind the wheel of a 500- to 600-horsepower dragster and safely rocket about 130 mph down zMax Dragway (6570 Bruton Smith Blvd.), which hosts the NHRA’s Four-wide Nationals each April. www.dougfoley.com.